Tyco Toys has had big success with their kiddie-targeted, $99 black-and-white camera, which lets youngsters make their own video programs without using dads or moms expensive camcorder. Tyco anticipates even greater success now that it has created a full-color version. The ColorCam, complete with cables, storage bag and tripod, carries a suggested retail price of $150.
At an April 3 press conference, the JVC Corporation announced a new DV camera, the GR-DV1M Mini Cam. The company has arranged for product placement of this camera in the Jurassic Park sequel movie, Lost World. The camera has no firewire output, but has JLIP edit control. It comes with a flip-out viewfinder and a large lithium-ion battery. It also sports an "LP" mode. This can extend the play time of a 30-minute DV cassette to about 45 minutes, but only if the tape is played on the same camera that shot it. The camcorder also comes with a docking station which, strangely, does not charge the cameras battery as did the docking bay for the previous JVC minicam.
JVC is making available a docking station of a different kind for the GR-DV1M. Its called the GV-DS1 video-capture device. This JLIP-controlled box allows capture of video from the DV camera to a computers hard drive. The company is making a generic version of the capture box, the GV-CB1, for capture from other cameras. Like many video-capture devices, the $300 GV-CB1 connects to a computer through its serial port.
A JVC representative announced that JVC will no longer make S-VHS-C cameras, and that DV cameras are taking over its high-end consumer line.
Due to consumer demand, JVC has now made a commitment to feature four heads on all its VCRs. Also, look for a new family of JVC VCRs containing Digital Live Circuitry. This allows fast forwarding and reverse play without picture breakup.
Look for the HR VP830 and DD840 consumer editing decks. These allow real-time, forward-moving sound monitoring while playing clips, in forward or reverse, at various speeds. This is a neat feature for video editors who want to use sound to help identify in and out points.
Also, announced was the $200 JLIP Player pack, which allows PC-controlled DV camera editing. It can computer-control edits from a DV cam to any infrared-controlled VCR.
Ednet, Inc. has announced that its Fast Forward Delivery (FFD) network was used to deliver digitized video internationally between Queensland, Australia, Vancouver, British Columbia, and Los Angeles for the upcoming ABC miniseries, "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea". The economic impact of this technological application could be far reaching throughout the entertainment and media industries.
In spite of an 18-hour time difference, the "20,000 Leagues" crew used the FFD network to maintain immediate visual communication with production houses in Sidney, visual effects companies in Canada and editorial and post production sites in LA.
Video Toaster/Flyer Special Interest Group
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Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association
CEMA unveils their new home on the web, CEMACITY. Visitors explore the site by entering any of seven "buildings.” Items of interest include tradeshow reports, product facts and statistics, press releases and reports of government actions related to consumer electronics.
The 45th Annual Columbus International Film Festival is accepting entries for the "Chris Awards", a documentary, educational, business and informational competition. Entrants compete within 12 subject-area divisions in more than 90 categories including: The Arts, Business and Industry, Education and Information, Religion, and Science. Contact the festival office at 5701 N. High Street, Suite 200, Worthington, OH 43085, or visit their Webpage at http://www.infinet.com/~chrisawd. Entry deadline is July 1, 1997. VHS submissions are preferred.
"Visions of U.S." home video competition is accepting entries for its upcoming contest. Categories include fiction, non-fiction, experimental/music video, and a new category, comedy. All ages are welcome to participate, a special category exists for young people 17 years and under. Visions of U.S. is sponsored by Sony Electronics and administered by the American Film Institute. Deadline for entries is June 15th, 1997. Contact Visions of U.S., PO Box 200, Hollywood, CA 90078; telephone (213) 856-7749.
FAST Electronic US, Inc. has announced an OEM agreement with the Sony Corporation to distribute and market a new DV Drive product. The FAST DV Drive is a high speed internal tape drive for Mini-DV cassettes. It can feed DV video to computer-based editing systems, or record previously edited video onto DV tape. The unit, installed like any CD-ROM drive, requires no extra software drivers or computer interrupts. FAST will offer the drive both as a stand-alone device or bundled with their DV Master professional editing system. The company plans to start shipping the DV Drive this month.
In the March 1997 issue of Videomaker, the Benchmarks column included a test of a number of nickel-cadmium batteries. In that test, we listed one battery incorrectly as the NRG NoMem Gold. The manufacturer of the NoMem Gold battery is Lenmar, not NRG. We apologize to NRG and our readers for any misunderstanding this may have caused. We have re-printed a revised chart for your convenience.
Is Technology Passing Americans By?
Pioneer Electronics, (USA) Inc. recently announced the results of their first annual Techno IQ survey, revealing that Americans grasp on the latest technology may be slipping. Conducted by Harris & Associates, the national poll identified a sense of high-tech bewilderment that could be a result of multimedia convergence, the merging of computer and consumer electronics products.
The Techno IQ survey, taken by a cross section of 1,000 adults in the United States, confirmed the importance of understanding consumer attitudes toward technology. While a majority (77 percent) of Americans believe technology "improves the quality of life,” more than one-half of adults (55 percent) feel "overwhelmed by how that technology affects their lives.” Four out of ten Americans agree with the statement "technology is getting out of control." As the survey points out, the greatest concern by far is "how quickly products become outdated" (49 percent). The second biggest concern was "cost" (31 percent).
The survey asked participants to rank themselves as "expert, competent, struggling or clueless" when purchasing and operating consumer electronics and computer equipment. The findings indicate that 71 percent of Americans classify themselves as "expert" or "competent" when it comes to purchasing and operating electronics equipment, such as VCRs and CD players. Only 35 percent, however, feel as confident in regard to the purchase and operation of computers.
"Its all about education," says Mike Fidler, Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. senior vice president of new technology and strategic planning. "The Techno IQ survey illustrates the need to help consumers clear out the clutter so that they may step into the technology age with confidence."