Zoom In, Zoom Out
It’s here: Sony and Panasonic have both announced DVC (digital
camcorders for the US market; the first unit to ship will probably be Panasonic’s PV-DV1000 (see this
month’s Product Scene for more details). Benefits of the DVC format include high picture resolution,
lossless digital dubbing, small size and easy interface with future digital video applications. Price will be
steep for consumer, but very inexpensive for professional
The first DVC VCRs may be
slow in coming–Sony has pushed back original year-end VCR release date until copy protection concerns
are resolved. Sony is reportedly working on a system to interface DVC with multimedia PC
Most major camcorder manufacturers (including JVC, GE, Hitachi and others) plan to produce DVC models in the near future. Expect a wide range of DVC products to hit the market within the next year.
On August 3, Sima announced three new videomaking products: the Video Ed/It Digital Mixer
(under $700), which features digital chromakey, wipes, fades and clean transitions between video sources;
the Voice-activated PC Ed/It II (under $100), which is an upgrade of their PC Ed/It DTV edit controller;
and the PC Video Studio (under $200), which bundles a simple stand-alone encoder with Corel Draw on
CD-ROM for creating titles and graphics on videotape. All products are now shipping.
Samsung has entered into an agreement with General Instruments to begin
development of a new dual-mode video decoder chip. The new chip will be able to decode both MPEG-2
and DigiCipher-II compressed video, and will be used in a wide range of next-generation multimedia
systems, including set-top boxes for cable and satellite television, video on demand, Video CD players and
digital videodisc players.
Jon Clemens, president of the new consumer electronics research firm Sharp Laboratories of
America, says digital video will be high on the list of Sharp’s future priorities. “Video is tied to
multimedia as well as to high-definition TV and other displays, so we will build a digital video
department,” Clemens said in a recent interview. The new research firm will engage in cooperative
research with other companies, research labs, universities and research personnel.
Other news from Sharp: the people who brought you the ViewCam series of camcorders have developed a new compact LCD panel, the QA-1200. Designed for use with both computer and video
sources, the QA-1200 boasts a 1.7 million color TFT LCD display, 640 by 480 resolution and a built-in
speaker for multimedia applications. Suggested retail price of the QA-1200 is $3,995.
According to a recent market report, 1/2-inch videotape is still (and will continue to be) far and away the
world’s leading video storage format. The report predicts that the worldwide consumption of T-120 VHS
videotapes will exceed 2.4 billion units this year, and remain above that number through 1999. The study
also shows that pre-recorded VHS video programming will total 1.4 billion units this year, with continued
growth expected through 1998; new optical disk formats are expected to have relatively little impact on
VHS pre-recorded programs until 1999 or later.
The 14th annual Black Maria Film and Video Festival seeks inventive, incisive, socially responsive and
otherwise provocative works of any style and genre. Entrants must submit their works on 1/2-inch
videotape or 16mm film no later than November 10; be sure to include the $25 entry fee with your
submission. For more info, write Black Maria Festival, c/o Dept. of Media Arts, Jersey City State College,
203 West Side Ave., Jersey City, NJ 07305; or call (201) 200-2043.
Attention video poets: submit your short poetry films and videopoems to the 20th annual Poetry
Film/Video Festival, to be held in several sites around the San Francisco Bay area and for the first time at
Charles University in Prague. Deadline is midnight, November 1, 1995. For an application, send an SASE
to: The Poetry Film Workshop, Fort Mason Cultural Center Bldg. D., San Francisco, CA 94123; or request
by E-mail at GAMuse@aol.com.