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Ross Video Launches BlackStorm Video Servers

Ross Video has announced the launch of their new line of BlackStorm Video Servers. BlackStorm is an affordable production player with file based workflow support.

The BlackStorm 102P Playout Server is a 2 channel high definition 1 rack unit video player. It natively supports the popular Quicktime (.mov) file format and a selection of codecs. It provides an easy to use, user configurable and intuitive client/server interface fully integrated into the Ross DashBoard Control System. The 1RU chassis is designed to use off the shelf hardware and is built on Dell Server hardware.

BlackStorm is an excellent live production playback solution and supports file based workflows with popular editing systems and graphics packages such as Final Cut, Adobe Premier, Avid Media Composer and Adobe After Effects. BlackStorm supports production-oriented playlists with built-in transition effects, and it integrates well with Ross’ Production Switchers as well as 3rd party units and controllers.

BlackStorm is shipping, and has been put through beta-test in a number of live production environments. BlackStorm is also available as a “Studio System”, a specially priced package with either Vision, Carbonite or CrossOver Production Switchers and the XPression Graphics System.

Click for more information about Ross Video’s Blackstorm Video Servers.

AJA Io XT With Thunderbolt Technology Is Now Available

The new Io XT Thunderbolt-enabled professional video I/O device is now shipping from AJA Video Systems. As the only Thunderbolt-enabled video I/O device on the market with dual Thunderbolt ports, Io XT opens up a host of new workflow capabilities to video professionals.

Io XT connects to a Thunderbolt-enabled Apple computer via a single cable. An additional Thunderbolt port is provided, enabling users to daisy-chain Io XT to other Thunderbolt peripherals including high bandwidth storage and high resolution displays through a single interface; simplifying the connection of multiple devices.

The highly portable device supports capture and playback of 4:2:2 and 4:4:4 HD and SD formats and can unify disparate formats via its 10-bit realtime Up/Down/Cross conversion capability. Io XT also provides compatibility with the most popular NLE programs, the newest codecs, video formats, stereoscopic 3D workflows, and more.

Key features include:

  • Dual Thunderbolt ports
  • Two 3G/HD/SD-SDI inputs and outputs
  • Single link SDI 4:2:2 support, single and dual-link SDI 4:4:4 support
  • HDMI input and output (including support for 3D)
  • Analog HD/SD component and composite output, 10-bit
  • Video Up, Down, and Cross conversion (hardware-based, 10-bit)
  • 8-channel embedded SDI audio I/O
  • 8-channel balanced analog audio output (using an optional DB-25 type cable)
  • Uncompressed I/O allows capture, monitoring and mastering to Apple ProRes, DVCProHD, CineForm, Avid DNxHD and more
  • Front panel LED VU meters
  • Headphone output w/level control
  • Reference In/LTC In (selectable)
  • LTC output
  • RS-422
  • 4-pin XLR Power (AC adapter included)
  • AJA Technical Support and International Warranty included

Io XT is available through AJA’s global network of resellers.

Click for more information about Io XT with Thunderbolt technology.

CrumplePop Releases ShrinkRay X for FCP X – Free for One Week

CrumplePop is pleased to announce that ShrinkRay X, a fully-featured tilt-shift effect for Final Cut Pro X. With ShrinkRay X, you can make big scenes appear strikingly tiny, whether it is buildings, people, or landscapes. ShrinkRay X is available as a free download from the CrumplePop web site for one week, after which the price will increase.

With ShrinkRay X, users can add mesmerizing tilt-shift effects to any project by simply dragging and dropping inside FCP X. ShrinkRay X was built from the ground-up for Final Cut Pro X, and includes simple on screen controls and a full suite of focal area adjustment tools. Cityscapes, wide shots of crowds, forests, or rivers suddenly appear as mini, toy-like versions of themselves, providing a remarkable new perspective on the physical environment.

CrumplePop ShrinkRay X includes a raft of brand-new features, including:

  • A powerful mask view to more quickly and easily see which areas within your frame are blurred and in focus
  • Three Focus/Blur Patch tools that help quickly clean up the frame and create photorealistic focus areas
  • Precise control over blur magntitude, orientation, and falloff
  • Instantly play back a preview after you have applied the effect, thanks to the incredible performance of FCP X

ShrinkRay X supports all codecs, resolutions and frame rates supported by Final Cut Pro X. ShrinkRay X works in Final Cut Pro X only, on Snow Leopard or higher. Users who already have ShrinkRay for FCP 6 & 7 will receive a free upgrade to ShrinkRay X via an updater on the CrumplePop web site.

Pricing and Availability:

For one week, CrumplePop ShrinkRay X can be downloaded for free from the CrumplePop web site.

Click for more information about CrumplePop’s ShrinkRay X.

Avid Updates QuickTime Codecs

Avid has updated its QuickTime codecs.

Click here for more information to access the download.



Avid Media Composer: Avid Editor Quicktime Work Flow For Proper Brightness Levels

Chapter: Editing

Topic: Capture, Digitize, Import

There seems to be a decent amount of confusion about which settings should be selected when exporting a video as Quicktime and then importing the Quicktime movie into an Avid editor. In this article I will describe the proper settings for exporting video out of a third party application such as Adobe After Effects using the Avid Quicktime DNxHD codec and then importing the Quicktime DNxHD movie into an editor. Four workflows are shown, one of which is invalid. This same workflow should hold true for all the Avid Quicktime codecs. It will not apply to non-Avid Quicktime codecs.

Digital Video Codec Choices Part 1

Chapter: Distribution

Topic: Encoding for Web or ROM

[Part 1 of this series covers types of codecs and Compression basics, and remains relevant even though Part 2 and other related codec reviews is no longer relevant.] Compression is both the boon and bane of computer video. Boon because without it today’s computers could not keep up with video data rates; bane because it modifies the video image in ways difficult to predict, complicating the job of the video professional.