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Sep 1, 2006 12:00 PM

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Save Time, Edit Online
Tech Envy: Panasonic TH-103PF9UK
Digital Content Producer's The Briefing Room
Media Resources
Business Intelligence: Turning Disc Publishing Into a Profit Center
Storage: Technology Topics

Save Time, Edit Online

The SyncVue interface allows review session attendees to mark up and comment on shots and scenes even while in remote locations.

By Dan Ochiva

By its very nature, editing is time-consuming. But even more than the hands-on part of the job, the logistics of pulling together all of the interested parties for review and approval looms as a constant frustration to many an editor. For smaller productions, meanwhile, spending time and money traveling adds another layer of difficulty.

Hoping to offer a solution to its clientele in 2001, Avid experimented with AvidProNet, a hosted web service that offered an extensive set of review and approval tools. The service, however, never caught on and was finally shut down.

Now, a new generation of web-based services is coming to the market. SyncVue ( is an innovative remote client-review software program that employs low-cost/no-cost Skype connections to facilitate shared review sessions. Services such as SeeFile ( deliver added functionality because they allow the creation of shared online repositories to hold video, animation, and other file formats.

“I've been an online and offline editor in L.A. for 17 years, but I've always lived 65 miles south of the city,” says Michael Buday, founder and president of SyncVue. “The commute has gone from barely tolerable to insane during that span of time, and gas prices have gone through the roof. I had a choice: Either move from my quaint beach town to the big city, or try to find a way to edit high-end product from where I live. The idea for SyncVue sprung from that dilemma.”

The SyncVue concept is straightforward. The software is a no-frills media player that plugs into Skype, which is probably the most popular — and cheapest (it's free) — VoIP phone system software around. Because Skype has easy-to-use conference capability built in, SyncVue makes use of the phone service's “buddy list” as its own, making it simple to collaborate with other SyncVue users on the Skype network.

SyncVue's software is also free, so all your clients can download the program. However, to do the actual online sessions, an editor has to buy a license with a set number of users. You can move your clients on and off the list as desired, as long as you don't exceed the license limit.

Image quality stays high because each user loads the media locally. When online, an editor and his clients can take control of the playback. With a click of a button and some typing, those in the session can create timecode-based markers with annotations, which can be exported to popular NLEs such as Apple Final Cut Pro. Using SeeFile in conjunction with SyncVue allows users to easily create a low-cost video server out of their own computer, which means there's no need to upload to an FTP site or rely on pricey hosting services.

After saving video clips, animations, and dailies to a system running SeeFile, users can view and download the files from any PC or Mac running a standard web browser.

In the coming years, with commutes becoming ever more expensive in both time and money, the combination of the Internet and savvy software might make it easier to hire the right person for the job — no matter where they reside.

Tech Envy: Panasonic TH-103PF9UK

The Panasonic TH-103PF9UK plasma screen is 103in. on the diagonal. You might have seen it at this year's InfoComm or NAB. In August, Panasonic put the monster screen on display in New York's Grand Central Station and announced it's now taking orders, which will ship before Christmas in the fourth quarter. NBC has already purchased two displays for Football Night in America, the highlights show that will kick off NBC Sunday Night Football. At 89"×50", the TH-103PF9UK is the largest flatscreen display ever. The 1920×1080p screen is the equivalent of four 50in. plasmas arranged in a 2×2 matrix, but without the unsightly bezel. The single pane of glass of the 103in. screen is quite a marvel. The TH-103PF9UK is almost as tall as a full-size bed is wide, but much longer — and just a bit more expensive, at a nickel less than $70,000.

Digital Content Producer's

Dayna Turcotte

Digital Rapids Distributed Transcoding and Live Encoding Management to Make European Debut

Stream Transcode Manager and Stream Broadcast Manager, two new enterprise-level tools from Digital Rapids, will make their European debut this month at IBC2006 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. These applications provide scalable, centralized management and control for multiple Digital Rapids encoding and transcoding systems.

Stream Transcode Manager is designed to manage and automate large transcoding jobs involving many media files. Working in conjunction with multiple Digital Rapids XCoder software-based transcoding nodes or Digital Rapids Stream media encoding systems, Stream Transcode Manager intelligently assigns jobs to automatically make the most efficient use of the available transcoding resources. …

Endless Noise Names Dayna Turcotte Executive Producer

Endless Noise, an original music and sound design production company specializing in commercials, TV programs, films, and multimedia projects, has named Dayna Turcotte as its new executive producer. Turcotte, who will be based in the company's headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif., is the former head of production with Elias Arts. The announcement was made by Endless Noise Founder/Creative Director Jeff Elmassian. …

Blackmagic Design Supports Mac Pro

Blackmagic Design announced support for the new Apple Mac Pro systems based on Intel Xeon processors. All Blackmagic Design PCI Express-based video capture cards are supported as a free update from the Blackmagic Design website.

Supported products include DeckLink HD Extreme, DeckLink HD Pro 4:4:4 PCIe, DeckLink SP PCIe, DeckLink Extreme PCIe, and Multibridge Extreme and Multibridge Pro.

Blackmagic Design customers will be able to purchase these new Mac Pro systems and use any PCI Express-based DeckLink card or Multibridge editing system. …

Post Logic Studios Audio Mixer Wins 2006 Emmy Award

Post Logic Studios audio mixer Jamie Santos has won a 2006 Emmy Award. The honor was bestowed during the annual Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremony Aug. 19, 2006, in Los Angeles, and recognized Santos in the category of Outstanding Sound Mixing (Variety or Music Series or Special or Animation) for the 78th Annual Academy Awards show, which aired on ABC in March.

Santos has contributed sound mixing to the Academy Awards telecast for six years running. Some 40 million viewers tuned in to the 78th Annual Academy Awards broadcast worldwide.

Santos' long roster of career credits includes television shows and specials from The Amazing Race to the AFI's tribute to Sean Connery; DVD featurettes for The Last Samurai, Chocolat, and other titles; television film trailers for Spider-Man and Men in Black, among others; commercial ads for Direct TV, Cisco; and a variety of radio promos (American Idol, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy). …

Media Resources


How to Cheat in Photoshop
by Steve Caplin
Focal Press
The art of creating photorealistic montages — updated for CS3 (third edition)

After Effects On the Spot: Time-Saving Tips and Shortcuts from the Pros
by Richard Harrington, et al
CMP Books

Premiere Pro
Editing Workshop

by Marcus Geduld
CMP Books

Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5 Studio Techniques (Studio Techniques)
by Jacob Rosenberg

White Papers:

Achieving the “Four Rights”: Getting the Right Content to the Right Subscriber at the Right Time on the Right Device
by Norm Slater

Implementing an intelligent storage policy with media asset management
by Nicolas Hans

Hands-on: how to deliver a successful Webcast


A plug-in for Google Sketchup

In your review of Google Sketchup, your reviewer points out a drawback for film designers stating, “You cannot move the camera directly, you can only change the view. This means that setting up shots takes more time, a minor annoyance. Also, there is no focal length setting or recognition of film or video formats. However, there is a field of view parameter. This is all you need if you have your American Cinematographer's Manual handy.”

I think your readers will find a solution to these drawbacks in our Film & Stage Plug-in. You can download it from the following link: (Scroll to the bottom of the page). The plugin will allow you to select a camera type under the Camera Menu or create your own camera and edit its position, focal length, tilt, etc.

I just wanted to bring this information to your attention. Thanks again for a great review!
Chris Cronin
SketchUp Pro Sales Associate

Which camera is the best?

I just read your review of the Sony HVR-A1U. I'm currently considering buying this product for a documentary I'm working on and trading out my Sony DSR-PDX10 for it. Yet, your review made me question the camera performance: the cheap focus ring, its poor ability under low light.

If you were to pick between the PDX10, the Panasonic AG-DVX100B, or the HVR-A1U, which one would you lean to? I've made several films on the PDX10, DSR-PD150, and the DVX100A, yet have not used the HVR-A1U. Its size and HD shooting makes me very interested. Any feedback would help, thank you.
Antonio Cisneros

Barry Braverman responds: These are the kinds of questions I receive often and, frankly, they drive me to my liquor cabinet. The right camera for you depends on the nature of your projects, the intended genre, and visual style of your storytelling. There is no “right” answer here because each camera you've mentioned has its relative strengths and weaknesses.

The Panasonic DVX100B, for example, is a sensational camera and looks great in very low light, but it is standard definition. The Sony HVR-A1U uses a single-CMOS, high-definition imager that looks fantastic with a pleasing pastel effect, but it is hobbled in low light, as is every small-format HD camera. Then there is the matter of HDV with all of its advantages and pitfalls you must also consider. There is no easy one-size-fits-all answer.

The A1U is a beautiful and amazingly compact camera to behold, and if you're asking me whether I prefer it to the PDX10, I'd say, yes. Given the price range you're talking about, the newer technology in camcorders is almost always preferable when it comes to the overall look and quality of pictures. Good luck in your buying decision. I've got to go get that drink now.

Articles discussed in Inbox can be found at:

Business Intelligence: Turning Disc Publishing Into a Profit Center

By Kent strand, VP, Business development, Rimage

Companies like yours are producing ever-increasing amounts of digital content for clients and for internal use. It is, therefore, critical to evaluate your disc production needs.

At what point does it make sense, cost-wise, to upgrade from a “Have our tech guy burn it” one-at-a-time method or to transition away from outsourcing the creation of thousands of discs? Bringing disc publishing inhouse is something most creators of digital content should consider.

Disc publishing solutions that automatically create large quantities of professional CDs and DVDs with customized digital content and labels are helping organizations of all sizes eliminate labor costs and generate additional revenue through new services, such as providing customized content on demand for customers.

For example, Momentum — a global event, promotion, retail marketing, and sponsorship firm with more than 1,800 employees and 55 offices — produces up to 40,000 CDs and DVDs per year. Content includes everything from videos of the corporate and marketing events it plans and coordinates for clients such as Coca-Cola and American Express Blue to client presentations and internal training videos. In the past, the company outsourced all of its disc production needs.

“When you are outsourcing,” says Doug Pierce, worldwide director of IT for Momentum, “you are dealing with more than just the hard costs of discs, cases, and shipping, but also the time spent managing the flow of content and the overall relationship with an outside company.”

According to Pierce, better meeting its customers' demands was also a significant consideration. “When you are making a run of DVDs for a client, it's much more difficult to stop the presses and make an image or sequence change midstream if you are outsourcing the project,” he says.

For Momentum, the formula for calculating return on investment prior to purchasing a disc publishing solution was simple: the company weighed the hard costs, time, and labor associated with outsourcing against purchasing first one, then two more disc publishing systems, taking into account a five-year depreciation timeframe on each of the expenditures.

“After evaluating our options, we figured we could produce discs internally for significantly less than through outsourcing,” Pierce says. Momentum turned its disc-publishing investment into a profit center within just three months, even as it reduced its costs for clients. With three systems in place, Momentum needs to produce approximately 1,000 discs per month to turn a profit.

For smaller companies, the scale might be different, but the variables are similar. Pierce recommends every company considering this type of purchase go through its own evaluation process. Labor and shipping costs, for instance, can be very different depending on the company and where it's located.

DVDs and CDs currently provide the universal format for securely archiving and distributing unique digital content. And, according to research conducted by Rimage, the disc publishing market will continue to grow and expand compared to most other archiving and distribution media, including flash memory and magnetic drives, over at least the next 10 years.

Additionally, the high storage capacity provided by new emerging formats such as HD-DVD and Blu-ray open up many new application opportunities for organizations of all sizes. Blu-ray disc publishing systems that also do standard-definition DVD burning are already on the market.

Storage: Technology Topics

Networked Storage

Workgroup Storage Solutions

Storage: Better Technology, More Choices

The P Word

Itty-Bitty Bits

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