Archive for August, 2005

Free beta preview of Ulead MediaStudio v8

Ulead has announced a free beta preview of MediaStudio Pro v8. The final version is to be released Q3 2005.

Some interesting features:

*A single-track interface that allows for multiple timelines and virtual clips, plus transitions on every track.
*Capture from the latest HDV camcorders and decks, then edit either in full-resolution lossless native format, or Smart Proxy mode. With Smart Proxy, MediaStudio Pro automatically creates lower-resolution, resource-friendly copies of project clips in the background. Final output always links back to the original full-resolution files, making the process completely transparent and lossless.
*The software lets producers mix and match formats such as DV, MPEG, and HDV on the timeline with confidence. MediaStudio Pro 8 furthermore supports formats such as WMV-HD and 24P, and offers output options to SD, HD, or back to DV, analog or HDV device.
*A new Audio Editor offering channel steering to create Dolby(R) Digital 5.1 Surround audio tracks, even allowing upsampling from standard stereo tracks.
*SmartSound Auto Music Maker enables users to create custom royalty-free soundtracks which precisely match the duration of the video.

The beta preview is a free trial download, and offers no technical support, DVD authoring capabilities, and is available only in the English language version.

[Ulead press release]
[Download Beta Preview of MSP8]

I was browsing Robert Nagle’s blog and ran across an excellent link to a Creative Commons licensed database of sounds called Freesound. It’s a community project that offers sounds, effects and samples free for use in video and audio production via the Creative Commons Sampling Plus license.

The Freesound Project community offers a variety of ways to find samples, you can browse by pack (themed collections of sounds and effects), title, tags & description keywords, and they also have “Find similar sounds” and “Find dissimilar sounds” links for each sample. All the downloads that I played with were 16-bit 44k uncompressed wav or aiff files. Pretty sweet, eh?
Currently, there are over 6700 samples available for download (and you can add your own as well).

From the “What is Freesound” FAQ:
The Freesound Project aims to create a huge collaborative database of audio snippets, samples, recordings, bleeps, … released under the Creative Commons Sampling Plus License.

We also aim to create an open database of sounds that can also be used for scientific research. Many audio research institutions have trouble finding correctly licensed audio to test their algorithms. Many have voiced this problem, but so far there hasn’t been a solution.

Note we are not looking for songs, or compositions. We are looking for sounds. Field recordings, kit recordings, generated sounds, … as long as the sounds are not copyrighted (in a non-compatible way) or if the sounds are made by yourself and you want to release them under the Creative Commons Sampling Plus License.

It really does look like a great resource for creators and producers of digital media, and a great community to boot. As a matter of fact, I’m adding it as a resource on the FresHDV Downloads page. Check it out, download a few samples, and get involved!

[Freesound]
[Creative Commons Sampling Plus license]
[Robert Nagle's blog]
[FresHDV Downloads & Useful Things]

Adobe & Macromedia shareholders have approved the $3.4 billion merger of the two media giants. A whopping 99% of the votes cast were in favor of the merger.

A few notes:
*PDF & Flash technologies have tremendous presence on internet connected computers.
*Macromedia will drop the Freehand product, in favor of Adobe’s Illustrator.
*Likewise, Adobe will drop GoLive and market Macromedia’s Dreamweaver instead.

For producers and distributors of web media, Flash Video has become a very viable solution as of late. The player has a wide install base, and the latest versions of the codec have been shown to be quite efficient. Since Adobe already has a (semi) mature line of Pro Video products, I can see this merger even further extending the use of Flash as a video delivery technology.

[Article text]

JVC HD-100U first impressions

Mike over at HD For Indies (excellent resource, by the way) has dug up a first impressions review of JVC’s HD-100U camera.

Mike notes that 720p24 support in FCP is not available yet, but says that LumiereHD should be working on a fix. And as several of the HDFI commenters have stated, surely Apple will be releasing an FCP update soon with this feature addition.

[HD For Indies - HD-100U first impressions]
[FresHDV article on HD-100U (24p support)]
[FresHDV article on HD-100U (at WEVA, footage/stills)]
[FresHDV article on HD-100U (with P+S Technik Mini35)]

It’s been widely (and wildly) reported that Apple has inked a deal with FreeScale to provide PPC chips for Macs until as late as 2008. News sources all over are practically screaming “OMG OMG NO 1NT3L CHIPZORZ 4 133t MacH3adz!”

Please people, take a chill pill. Simma. Down.
Ok, breathing at a normal rate yet? Good. Now take a hypothetical journey with me for a moment. Suppose you own a G4 iBook. Suppose that iBook’s CPU goes south. Suppose your AppleCare warranty covers that part.
Now what happens if Apple doesn’t have a new PPC chip in stock to replace your ailing part? Is it making sense yet?

All sarcasm aside, I truly do think that this chip deal has more to do with warranty and replacement stock than the migration to the Intel architecture.

From the article: “Apple is under no obligation to purchase Freescale microprocessors other than work in progress that was in place at the time the agreement was executed.”
Move along folks, nothing to see here.

[MercurySkews]
[Forbes regurgitates the hype]
[Street.com wildly postulates]
[MacHypeWorld]

More broadcast stations moving to P2 card acquisition

We previously noted that TV stations in Oregon are adopting Panasonic cameras and using P2 cards + mobile card readers to acquire footage in the field.

Now, Media General, a broadcast company with six stations in the South has announced that they are migrating to P2-based footage acquistion.

[Media General stations adopt P2]
[Media General]
[Reference: Dump P2 contents to disk]
[Reference: Oregon Stations adopt P2]

DRM issues may delay BenQ Blu-Ray drive production

BenQ may delay production of Blu-Ray drives “one or two quarters” due to issues implementing the the BDA’s DRM scheme. In related news, Ritek and CMC Magnetics may also delay production of Blu-Ray media, citing DRM issues.

[Link1]
[Link2]

Cyberlink & HP to demo Blu-Ray burning software

Cyberlink & Hewlett Packard (both Blu-Ray Disc Association members) are touting Blu-Ray disc authoring and burning software at the World Consumer Electronics Fair in Berlin.
Says a HP rep:
“Consumer demand for recording and enjoying high definition video is rising, and we’re excited to demonstrate this advanced technology from HP and CyberLink to our customers to show how easy it is to play and burn Blu-ray Discs.”

Marketspeak and press-releases, yes…but it’s good to see the format actually coming to fruition.

EDIT: Nero demo’d BluRay burning at IFA as well.

[Article]
[World Consumer Electronics Fair]

Sony Blu-Ray disc recorders available in the US?

Has HDV’s delivery method arrived? If so, it comes at a substantial investment cost at this time.
Five Sony Blu-Ray disc recorders are for sale on eBay. They are listed with a $3,875.00 Buy It Now price (shipping is a mere $262.00).

These recorders are shipping directly from Japan, and all documentation and OSD is in Japanese. The items ship with a single blank “23GB” Blu-Ray disc.

Is this the Real Deal? Let’s hear your comments.

[Blu-Ray recorder auction]

Another Ergodex DX1 review

We mentioned the Ergodex DX1 input system not long ago, and here’s another hands-on review.

Sounds like a very solid tool for gamers…but I reiterate, I feel this device would be perfect for NLE users, and the price isn’t unreasonable at $150. Unfortunately for me, my primary editing platform is a Mac, and Ergodex hasn’t yet developed drivers for OSX. Supported OS’s are Windows only.

[Ergodex DX1 input system review]
[Previous post on the DX1]

JVC GY-HD100 footage and stills

Barry Green managed to snag some stills and video clips from a demo JVC GY-D100 camera at the WEVA Expo held earlier this month in Las Vegas.
He has posted 330mb of raw .M2T files and lossless PNG stills from the camera on the DVX User forums. It’s worth noting that he’s posted a few 24p clips as well.

Here are a few notes that caught my eye:
On the HD-100′s gain algorithm “It’s not a “free ride” like it can be on the Z1 — the Z1/FX1 gain is a lot ‘cleaner’”

“I got many, many dropouts in the first couple of minutes of tape that I shot (brand-new sealed MQ tape, and I cleaned the heads on the playback camera before digitizing)”
For the record, dropouts occuring on HDV cameras can span an entire MPEG Group Of Pictures (GOP). Sony cams use a 12 or 15-frame GOP, and JVC cams use a shorter 6-frame GOP.

[HD-100 footage and stills]

P+S Technik Mini35 adapter reviewed with JVC GY-HD100

A newly revised version of the P+S Technik Mini35 adapter will now accept the JVC GY-HD100 camera (also supports the Sony Z1U and FX1 cams). For those that aren’t familiar with the company, P+S Technik makes camera adapters that allow the use of “real” 35mm lenses on DV and HDV camcorders.

Charles Papert has posted a nice hands on review of the Mini35 used with the JVC GY-HD100, with plenty of pictures and videos (RAW m2t files for comparison). Charles says of the JVC cam “Integration with the Mini35 is tight and as stated before, the two components make a good single form factor.”
And later he states “To sum up: I do believe that the JVC HD100 when teamed with the Mini35 represents a formidable filmmaking package. I haven’t seen these images filmed-out nor projected digitally on a large scale, so I can’t comment on how they hold up under those circumstances, but on the monitor they were very impressive.”

P+S Technik also has a PDF on their site with a review by Uwe Mann of the Mini35 + Sony HDR-FX1.

[Hands-on Mini35 + HD100 review]
[P+S Technik Mini35 info]
[Mini35 + Sony HDR-FX1 review (PDF)]

Dual-core, quad cpu Mac’s with PCI-Express?

Mike over at HD For Indies thinks we’ll see dual-core, possibly quad-processor Mac computers this fall, and thinks that PCI-Express will also be available.

This would revive excitement in the Apple lineup until the new Intel’s roll out. Many think that PCI-E is long overdue, and that dual-core was not possible with the current G5 design.

[Click and drool]

FreshDV Downloads – Useful things

————————————————————
Universal counting leader
These files have been generated with Adobe Premiere Pro. This short clip begins with 0:04 of bars/tone and then counts down from 8 with a “classic” animated wipe.
counting_leader.mov – 720×480 (20MB)
counting_leader.mpg – 8.5MB CBR 720×480 MPEG-2 stream (17MB)

————————————————————
Film-look leader
This is a film-style leader, created by “Axis” from the VU forums. Total length is 0:03.
film_style_leader.avi – 3sec, 720×480 DV-AVI (10MB)

————————————————————
Links:
*The Recordist Sound Effects Collection – Free Sound FX categorized and organized for simple selection.

*owyheesound Sound Effects Library – AK 47 with long echo, Boise Birds, Urban Creek, Traffic Noise, Eerie Voices, Analog Synth Soundscape, possibly others.

*Files For Filmmakers – Location and talent releases, shot logs, tape logs, storyboarding templates and software, a veritable plethora of tools and templates for filmmakers and video freelancers.

*The Freesound Project – 6700+ Creative Commons licensed audio sound effects and samples + an active community of artists

*FreePlay Music – Extensive catalog of production music with very reasonable & affordable licensing terms and fees.

*allmusic – Explore and discover new music by genre, mood, theme, instrument, etc.

*Pandora – Music Genome Project – Find music that matches key similiarities in songs you prefer.

*Sonnyboo goodies for Indie Filmmakers – Many useful document templates, forms, releases, and other handy goodies for use by the indie filmmaker.

*FCP Plugin: Letterboxer – Free plugin for FCP to generate letterbox mattes.

————————————————————

The “VIDSTONE Serenity Panel” adds a 7″ LCD Panel “that may be attached to almost any upright or slanted gravesite monument”. The manufacturer says “it features a 5-8 minute photo slideshow detailing the most precious memories of your loved one’s life.”

On the technical side of things, the Vidstone is solar and battery powered (requires 4hrs minimum to maintain power), includes (2) standard headphone jacks (no speakers) on the flush-mount, “tamper resistant” weatherproof enclosure.

I have a few thoughts about this product.
My initial reaction is “T-A-C-K-Y”. But then I wonder, would some families really appreciate this? Perhaps I am criticizing too soon.
Photo montages and memorial videos are a rapidly growing aspect of the video industry, so perhaps this is just a natural extension of that service.

Regardless of the product’s viability or level of class, the LCD, playback components, and solar panel seem like a prime target for thieves. The term “grave robbers” takes on a whole new aspect, eh? Think about it; cemetaries are a fairly low-traffic environment, generally not under surveillance, and not a nighttime hotspot. I wonder how easily the LCD could be removed from a headstone…

[Vidstone.com]
[Article on the product]