New Products from COMDEX Las Vegas

November saw one of the smallest COMDEX events in recent memory. A few days before the doors opened to COMDEX, coordinator Key3Media announced that restructuring was imminent and that a filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection was also under consideration. While some pundits have speculated that we may have seen the last Fall COMDEX show, this didn’t stop manufacturers from showing off their latest and greatest products. Here’s a sampling of what caught our eyes at COMDEX.

  • MainConcept announced the imminent release of MainActor 5.0. With a slick and highly customizable user interface and extensive keyboard shortcuts, MainActor is looking to take on the big boys in the video editing market. Besides standard features like video capture, choice of storyboard or timeline editing, multitrack compositing and dozens of effects and filter, MainActor has an innovative keyframe animation controller and, of course, great encoding.
  • Serious Magic announced two new versions of its Visual Communicator software that enable users to share professional-looking video presentations. While the original Visual Communicator was designed for sharing video presentations via email, Web sites and company LANs, Visual Communicator Pro adds the ability to record and output videos in DV resolution.
  • InterVideo announced WinDVD Creator Plus, touting it as "fast and easy-to-use" DVD and VCD creation software for consumers who want to create their own DVD movies. Features include video transfer from camcorder to disc without editing, integrated DVD creation and editing and OnDiscEditing, which lets users delete, append or record over titles on an already-burned rewritable DVD without writing, rendering and re-writing the entire disc. InterVideo also introduced WinDVD Recorder, PC software that enables users to play DVDs and to record video from analog camcorders, DV cameras or television straight to CD or DVD.
  • muvee showed autoProducer DVD Edition, which lets users save finished muvees to MPEG-2 files that can then be dragged to a DVD-authoring program. autoProducer DVD Edition also supports SVCD-ready MPEG-2 formats, allowing users to print their productions onto low-cost CD-R/RW media that is compatible with many consumer DVD players.
  • Vinpower announced a format-agnostic disc duplicator based on the Sony DRU500A burner. Supporting DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW and CD-R/RW formats, this duplicator can copy from any format to any format. Units are available in a number of sizes, for example from a single source disc to up to three Sony destination drives. Although slightly more expensive than Pioneer DVD-R solutions (also available from Vinpower), you can avoid the DVD format war altogether with this first-of-its-kind solution.
  • EZ/CD Print has created a disc printer that can still be used as a standard paper printer as well (allowing you to also print DVD jackets and jewel case inserts). EZ/CD Print’s ingenious hack of Epson printers such as the C60, C62 and the 6-color 820 mean that the quality of the printing is excellent, up to 5760×720 dpi. The modification allows printable CD or DVD media to be inserted into a custom caddy in the rear of the printer that then runs through and comes out the front.
  • TDK announced their new Indi DVD Multi-format Burner, targeted at home videographers who would like to create professional-looking home movies on DVD. The Indi DVD package includes Pinnacle Studio 8 SE. The Indi DVD writes to DVD+R/RW, DVD-R/RW and CD-R/RW formats.

    COOL Stuff from Ulead

    Ulead has shipped COOL 3D Studio, a 3D animation package specializing in 3D text and titles for video editors. This version offers advanced features such as individual keyframe timelines for each graphic object and the ability to import models from 3D Studio Max. New particle effects include smoke and fire. COOL 3D Studio’s 3D space lighting controls allow the creation of intricate light effects. A library of primitive shapes is also provided, along with a path editor and lathe tool. COOL 3D Studio will be available to download for $129 and, for a limited time, upgrades will be available for $60.

    Ulead’s tried-and-true MediaStudio Pro advances to the 7th generation and features new software-only real-time editing, display and output features. A Ulead test showed that MediaStudio Pro 7 is capable of simultaneously outputting five DV streams. Other new features include real-time multi-track audio mixing, enhanced timecode, source management and a new titler with texture and motion effects. MediaStudio Pro 7 will be on sale in the first quarter of 2003 for $495. Upgrade pricing for current MediaStudio Pro users has not yet been announced.

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