As we’ve done every year since 1996, we loaded up a truck and boarded planes to make our way down to the Hilton Burbank Airport & Convention Center. When we arrived on January 21, 2004, we took over with a complete show floor and slate of lectures and panel discussions on several facets of video production. Thousands of attendees made their way to the show floor between January 22-24. Here are some of the products they saw:

Editing Appliances Galore
Applied Magic showed off the latest version of the operating system for their ScreenPlay and Sequel editing appliances, version 2.7. The software uses a tiered approach to introduce some premium features, such as keying, pan/zoom and audio features. These features appear as demos with the free upgrade, but can be unlocked and used as full versions with a Gold Pass passcode, available through Applied Magic.

MacroSystem US also demonstrated new software, including SmartEdit 3.1 and DVD Arabesk 2. SmartEdit 3.1 adds audio rubber-banding, Direct DV importing on all models and a handful of minor bug fixes. Also available now for the Casablanca family of editors: SmartSound Sonicfire Pro 3, a music creation package well-known to Windows and Mac users; BlueBox World, a package that brings out color objects while making the rest of the scene black and white; Split-X Images, a library of graphics that can be imported into the Casablanca’s imagepool; and Magic Lights, a light effect program that performs lens flare effects and adds gleaming effects to titles.

Edirol, known for their famous DV-7 editing appliance, is adding another video mixer, the V-1, to their roster. The V-1 includes four S-Video and composite video inputs, and handles both NTSC and PAL signals. A MIDI input lets performers switch between video inputs. Also unveiled: the P-1 Photo Presenter, which outputs digital photos to a television (it also includes a 5.6" color LCD touchscreen) while playing audio files.

A Cadre of Capture Cards
ADS Technologies and Matrox Video Products Group were out in force, showing new video capture devices. ADS showed their new FireWire cards, the PYRO 1394b, available in both PCI and Cardbus versions. Matrox was on hand with their latest RT.X10 and RT.X100 families of analog capture cards, recently augmented with drivers for Adobe Premiere Pro.

Effects On Call
Digital Hotcakes and Digital Juice wowed the crowd with their respective motion graphics libraries, which can be easily imported into just about any editing program, appliance or linear system to give your program a little boost. Both companies offer thematically-organized catalogs of stock animations. Digital Juice has just added a music library to their product offerings as well.

Impressive FX
Serious Magic showed off its Ultra keyer/set animation package that includes several virtual sets to choose from. You can use the sets’ flying camera moves with multiple angles and the ability to accept video clips within the scenes. It also manages to make the talent walk through the moving sets (some blocking is required, but the results are well worth it.) Hash showed the 2004 upgrade of Animation:Master, their complete 3D package for Windows and the Macintosh that also includes modeling and rendering functions. Several new features have been added, including more help and improved multi-monitor support.

More Learning
Two companies steeped in the training of entire applications used by videographers, PixelPops Design and Total Training, were also out in full force, with instructional programs on numerous applications (but interestingly, the programs focused primarily on applications by Adobe.) PixelPops Design also offers web design services and their own PixelMixer DVD packaging software.

DVD
Vinpower was there with their complete line of optical disc duplicators, some of which now include hard drives. This allows you to make an image of a completed project and store it on the hard drive, reducing wear on the reading DVD-ROM drive. The same unit also allowed you to connect the duplicator to a computer via a USB or FireWire connection.

Lite-On IT showed their new optical drives and set-top DVD burners, including FireWire-equipped set-top machines and dual-format burners.

The Best of the Rest
Canon showed off the new ZR80, ZR85 and ZR90 camcorders, which feature skin detail modes and extended battery life. The camcorders feature 18x, 20x and 22x optical zoom lenses, respectively, and all feature a 2.5" LCD viewscreen.

New Generation Video unveiled the ShotMapper, a unique new device that allows you to connect a GPS receiver to your digital camcorder, using one of the audio tracks to record position data. When the video is played back, the data can be rendered to a map, which can be shown either exclusively on screen, side-by-side with the video, or as an overlay.

After Affects showed off Visual Composer, a piece of software that creates basic interactive CD-ROMs.

Other Happenings
Many exhibitors had standing-room only presentations of their products. Panel discussions with manufacturers’ product managers were also busy.

Our after-hours events proved to be popular as well. We held our traditional Instant Stories contest, which attracted several hastily assembled, yet wildly creative applications for ice cubes. We also showed the winners of the Videomaker/Panasonic Short Video Contest over the course of the Expo.

See You Next Time!
Our next Videomaker Expo will be held at the Sheraton Meadowlands Hotel and Conference Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey on October 14-16, 2004. Our pre-show conference will be held on October 13. We look forward to seeing you there.

Charles Fulton is an Associate Editor for Videomaker.

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