Attendees at Videomaker‘s fifth semi-annual Expo, held in Burbank last January, were treated to a few surprises. On the first day of the three-day show (Thursday, January 23rd), Sony announced the release of its long-awaited DV VCR, the DHR-1000. The deck it displayed at the expo was one of only two NTSC-compatible DHR-1000 VCRs in the country–the other one was on display at a Sony press conference in Hollywood.

Other surprises included Fast Multimedia’s demonstration of its new PCI-based DV video/audio capture board, the DV Master, and Pinnacle’s demo of its new linear editing software called Studio 200.

At a Thursday-night Gala, Videomaker announced its awards for the Best Products of 1996. Other events included panel discussions on camcorders and VCRs, linear editing and nonlinear editing, and over 30 instructional seminars on various topics in video.

Video Contest Adds a Sense of Humor

“Visions of U.S.,” an annual home-video competition sponsored by Sony Electronics and administered by the American Film Institute, has added a new video category and two new judges for its 13th competition.

The new Comedy Category seeks videos that have a unique comedic point of view or that feature new comedic talent. To help judge the entries in this new category, Emmy Award-winning actor Michael Richards of “Seinfeld” and actor/director Malcom-Jamal Warner of “The Cosby Show” have joined Vision’s panel of judges.

Visions of U.S., created in 1983 to celebrate the home-video format, is accepting entries in a total of six categories: fiction, non-fiction, music video, young people (17 years of age and under) and comedy.

“Our goal,” states Visions creator Jay Sato, vice president of marketing for Sony Visual Products,” is to challenge novice and experienced videographers to share their creative visions.”

Videographers of all ages and experience levels are welcome to enter the competition. The deadline for entries is June 15, 1997. For further information and an entry brochure, contact: Visions of U.S., P.O. Box 200, Hollywood, CA 90078; telephone (213) 856-7749.

DV Update

At long last, Sony has introduced its DV VCR in the United States. The PAL/SECAM-compatible version of the DHR-1000 VCR has been available in Europe since May of 1996. On January 23rd, 1997, Sony displayed the NTSC-compatible version of the DHR-1000 at the Videomaker Expo in Burbank. Sony announced it will begin shipping the deck to the U.S. in April at a suggested retail price of $4,199.

The DHR-1000 accepts the 30- and 60-minute Mini DV cassettes used in DV camcorders, and a new “standard” 120-minute DV cassette, the DV-120ME, which will sell for $32.95.

The deck is equipped with composite video, S-video and IEEE-1394 (Firewire) input and output connectors. Connect this deck to another DV deck or DV camcorder through the Firewire connectors and you can achieve virtually lossless video editing and duplication. You can also copy your home videos onto DV tape by recording them through the composite or S-video inputs. If you try to copy a rental movie onto this deck, however, you’ll be disappointed. Rental movies have an embedded signal that this deck detects, disabling its record function. Hollywood’s filmmakers, fearful of the deck’s potential for unauthorized lossless duplication on a large scale, insisted on this feature. The haggling that took place between the filmmakers and the manufacturers to establish this copy-protection system, called Copy Guard Management System (CGMS), is the reason for the deck’s delayed release in this country.

The DHR-1000 has some impressive editing features. It can store up to 10 sets of in and out points in its edit memory. And you don’t need a second monitor for editing because the deck shows the incoming footage and your selected in and out edit points on the monitor. It captures a freeze frame of each edit point you select and displays them on the monitor as small picture icons (picons), accompanied by their time-code location on the tape. On the down side, the editing accuracy of the deck is limited to +/-5 frames.

As for audio, the VCR has two ways to record audio. One mode records a 16-bit, 44kHz, CD-quality track that cannot be dubbed. The other records two 12-bit, 32kHz (near-CD-quality) stereo tracks, both of which can be used for audio dubbing.

The VCR’s detachable control panel sports a frame-by-frame jog/shuttle dial that allows you to scan the tape from one-fifth to 25 times normal speed.

Other features include a 181-channel tuner and VCR Plus+ programming.

U.S. Sales to Dealers:

1995: 3,560,000

1996: 3,671,000

1997: 3,857,000 (estimated)

Average Price:

1995: $598

1996: $589

1997: $587 (estimated)

Source: Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association

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