RealNetwork Conference ’99 Gets Under Way

Among the products exhibited are a number that can help independent videographers distribute their work on the Web. RealNetworks’ CEO Rob Glaser kicked off the event with a keynote speech which introduced RealJukebox, a product enabling downloading and playing of customized high-quality music playlists. Streaming video of his talk is available on the RealNetworks Web site.

RealNetworks is showing, among other products, RealProducer G2. This is the latest update to the previous RealPublisher product. RealProducer encodes digital video clips, such as those in .avi and .mov formats, into RealMedia clips. It also holds a few basic SMIL (Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language) authoring features. These allow the Web video producer to add hyperlinking text, graphics and still images to streaming video presentations. RealPublisher comes in three flavors:

RealProducer, RealProducer Plus, and RealProducer Pro.

RealProducer is free. It supports two bit rates for SureStream encoding. RealProducer Plus costs $149 and supports more bit rates as well as MPEG and MP3 encoding. The $500 RealProducer Pro offers an option of using the TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) protocol for streaming instead of the standard UDP(Universal Datagram Protocol). This helps those video producers who have trouble streaming their productions past firewalls. With supported video capture cards, such as the preferred Osprey 100, all versions of RealProducer can encode live video on the fly. This makes live Web casting possible in the RealNetworks format. RealProducer is available in Linux versions as well as those for Windows and Mac OS.

Pat Boyle, one of the Product Managers for RealProducer, showed a few interesting Web sites deploying the RealProducer product. Among these were the Web sites of KIRO News 7, ABC, RadioBoston (which has integrated e-commerce links within the RealNetworks window),, New England Cable News and Arizona State University’s distance learning site.

An interesting upstart company,, announced its launch today of their Web-based slide show delivery service. offers Web surfers a place where they can upload still images and set them, slideshow fashion, to their favorite tunes. Users can upload stills captured from either digital still cameras or by still capture from camcorders.

The site makes available a range of popular songs to be used as the sound track. mslide’s SMIL engine divides the length of the chosen song by the number of pictures uploaded to calculate the duration each shot lasts on the screen. A user can upload favorite family photos, set them to a favorite tune and e-mail relatives to view the resulting slideshow at the resulting URL. provides this service free to the end user. The company generates revenue from slideshow ads which appear throughout the process. These ads, incidentally, are geared toward the classification or channel the user picks for a given slideshow. is also negotiating with recording companies for retailing. A button can appear on the page showing a given slideshow, for example, that lets the surfer order the CD of the music used for the slideshow’s soundtrack. These slideshows require the RealNetworks G2 Player on the surfer’s computer.

Sonic Foundry is demonstrating its SoundForge 4.5 which can output G2 files and read MP3 as well as ACID, software for composing music from pre-recorded clips. Rumor has it that Sonic Foundry will release a video-and-audio application this summer.

Adobe showed off the latest upgrade to its popular video compositing product, After Effects 4.0, as well as its video editor, Premiere 5.1. After Effects has a number of compositing features (including the ability to use the lines of a matte as motion path trajectories for moving titles and graphics) and new filters that should endear it to video editors.

It was a pleasure to watch Adobe Premiere Product Manager, David Trescott editing video on Premiere 5.1 on a dual-stream real-time DigiSuite rendering system from Matrox. The DigiSuite card enables real-time rendering of its native transitions and effects, not those that come standard with Premiere or those provided by third-parties as Premiere plugins. DigiSuite offers an add-on card, which supports real-time rendering of a number of 3D effects such as page peels.

Adobe plans to offer a free upgrade to Premiere 5.1 which will enable it to output directly to RealNetworks’ G2 file format.

When asked whether Adobe would create Premiere of the new BeOS operating system, Mr. Trescott replied emphatically, Never.

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