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Digital Production Buzz — Jan. 27, 2011

Catherine Buresi, Marilee Potthoff, Kristin Frascione, and Jonathan Handel

HEADLINES: More on the 2011 European Film Market, protecting your hearing, editing for National Geographic, and are AFTRA and SAG really merging?? — all this, and The Buzz Shout-out!, on this week’s show!

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This week’s episode of the world’s only interactive talk radio program covering Digital Production, Post-Production and Distribution is filled with information and entertainment designed for the independent filmmaker or industry professional.

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Join host Larry Jordanas he talks with:

Catherine Buresi, Co-Director, European Film Market

Last week, we spoke with Catherine Buresi, co-director of the European Film Market, about the difference between a Film Festival and a Film Market. (A Market is where filmmakers go to sell their films.) The European Film Market is the third-largest film market in the world, running next month in Berlin, Germany. This week, we talk with her about the specific programs they have to help filmmakers make the most of their sales opportunities.

Marilee J. Potthoff, Director of Community Education and Outreach, House Ear Institute

Do your ears ring? Do you have to ask people to repeat themselves? Do you work in a noisy environment? Anyone working with sound is risking hearing impairment and we’ve invited Marilee J. Potthoff, Director of Community Education and Outreach at the House Ear Institute to give us some guidance on everything from how to measure risk to picking the right headphones.

Kristin M. Frascione, Free-lance Editor

Ever wondered what it would be like to work at a network like National Geographic? Kristin M. Frascione has over twenty years of experience in the film and video business, as an editor on both non-linear digital (including AVID, DV Express, AVID Symphony, Final Cut Pro and Media 100), linear and non-linear analog systems. She has worked on award-winning documentaries, dramatic films, and industrials for clients including National Geographic, the Discovery Channel, HGTV, and the Smithsonian. We have lots of questions for her about deliverables and schedules on a network reality/documentary show.

Jonathan Handel, Entertainment Labor Reporter, Hollywood Reporter

He covers entertainment labor for the Hollywood Reporter and both labor and legal issues for The Buzz. Jonathan Handel, Of Counsel at Troy/Gould in Los Angeles, returns with a look at the rumored merger between SAG and AFTRA, the upcoming Writers Guild negotiations, and other “gossip from the guilds.” Cool stuff – don’t miss it!

You can’t find people or interviews like this anywhere else! It’s another fascinating show.
It’s all the information you need now to know what’s coming next!

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The Digital Production BuZZ airs LIVE Thursday from 6-7 PM Pacific Standard Time. Ask questions during the show on our Live Chat, listen live, download an episode from the archives, or subscribe to the podcast either through iTunes or our website. Whatever you do, DON’T miss this week’s show!

Atlona Releases New AT-LINE-PRO4

Atlona Technologies announced its most powerful video processor to date with the release of the AT-LINE-PRO4. The professional video switcher/scaler with a single HDMI output boasts 10 inputs for all A/V devices, including four HDMI/DVI, three VGA, one component, one S-Video, and one composite video input.

Part of Atlona’s Signature line of digital connectivity solutions for large-scale commercial applications, the AT-LINE-PRO4 is designed to upscale the signal from any A/V device to the native resolution of the connected display up to 1080p or 1920×1200, ensuring the highest picture quality possible. The unit’s HDMI output is capable of both digital and analog switching, as well as full 3D support for HDMI pass-through. For digital projectors, the unit’s digital coaxial audio output allows audio to be sent to a separate A/V amplifier.

For simple operation, the AT-LINE-PRO4 offers an intuitive on-screen display for changing audio options, scaling, resolution, switching, and more. Control options include front-panel buttons, IR remote control, or RS-232. To eliminate regional format challenges, the AT-LINE-PRO4 is capable of 50Hz/60Hz (PAL/NTSC) conversion.

For more information click here.

Matrox Announces HD-SDI Scan Converter with Genlock and Region-of-Interest Support

Matrox Video Products Group announced Matrox Convert DVI Plus, an SD/HD SDI scan converter with high-end features. Matrox Convert DVI Plus lets broadcasters easily and economically take the computer-based content that is quickly becoming a key part of the nightly news to air. It’s ideal for creating broadcast video from computer applications such as Skype, YouTube, Google Earth, video games, and web browser sessions, as well as citizen journalists’ mobile phone videos. Matrox Convert DVI Plus is also the perfect appliances to drive projectors and large displays at live events and in houses of worship.

Matrox Convert DVI Plus controls are provided via an intuitive PC-based graphical user interface which can include a live preview pane for scaling and positioning in context. By simply dragging a mouse, rather than fiddling with buttons on the unit itself, users can choose to output the entire screen or a region-of-interest of any size. Premium features such as a flicker reduction filter, customizable presets with user-assignable hotkeys, password protection, SD pixel aspect ratio compensation, and a stand-alone mode ensure optimal flexibility for many different applications.

Product Demonstration Webinar

Registration is now open for two identical sessions of the Matrox Convert DVI Plus webinar which will be held February 10. The webinar will include a comprehensive product demonstration and tips and tricks to help attendees make the most of computer-based content in broadcast and live event applications.

Key features of Matrox Convert DVI Plus include:

  • DVI-D input up to 1920 x 1200
  • Digital outputs: HD/SD SDI
  • Analog outputs: HD/SD analog component, S-Video, and composite
  • SD analog black burst (bi-level) or HD tri-level genlock with timing offset controls
  • Simultaneous analog and digital video output
  • Stereo audio input can be embedded into the SDI output signal
  • Realtime hardware upscaling and downscaling with proper color space and aspect ratio conversion
  • Region-of-interest support including scaling, positioning, and panning with realtime output update
  • Background color selection including super black and super white for downstream keying applications
  • Can operate as a stand-alone appliance
  • Advanced features such as an anti-flicker filter, customizable presets, password protection, and SD pixel aspect ratio compensation
  • Three-year hardware warranty and complimentary telephone support

For more information click here.

Singular Software Releases PluralEyes for Avid Media Composer

Singular Software, developer of workflow automation applications for digital media, has announced that its flagship product PluralEyes has expanded its support for non-linear editing applications to include Avid Media Composer software. PluralEyes dramatically accelerates the workflow for multi-camera, multi-take and dual-system audio productions by analyzing audio information and automatically synchronizing audio and video clips. In addition to Media Composer, PluralEyes also supports NewsCutter software.

For more information click here.

Noise Industries Releases Manifesto

Noise Industries, developer of visual effects tools for the post-production and broadcast markets, is pleased to announce its latest FxFactory freebie plug-in pack, Manifesto. The brand new Manifesto titling plug-ins provide new and current FxFactory users with a quick and easy way to generate eye-popping titles in Apple Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Express, Motion and After Effects. Manifesto comes in two variants: a static title generator and a title roll/crawl generator.

Manifesto highlights include:

  • Optional Keyframing: No keyframes are required for animation. The text of choice is scrolled in and out of frame automatically based on the length of the generator track. This feature also lets users match a title roll (or crawl) to the duration of a different clip.
  • Use Existing RTF Files: Manifesto can reference an existing RTF file on disk, allowing users to rely entirely on an external program for text input and layout.
  • Built-in Motion Blurring and De-Flickering: Create high-quality animations at any frame rate with built-in motion blur and the ability to reduce interlacing artifacts.
  • Easy Masking Abilities: Use external media to determine which portions of the title are visible, or vice versa.

For more information click here.

Pro Sound Effects Releases The Foundation Sound Effects Library

Pro Sound Effects, provider of next level sound effects libraries and licensing services, released the Foundation Sound Effects Library produced by game sound design expert Stephan Schütze. Currently comprised of 16,006 sound effects, The Foundation library is the result of Schütze’s virtually non-stop sound effects recording odyssey through Australia, Asia and North America starting in 2005 and continuing to this day. At 22 GB, The Foundation Sound Effects Library is delivered on a USB 2.0 external hard drive, includes sound effects search software, and free sound effects updates digitally delivered every 3 months.

Schütze created this general multi-purpose library guided by the age-old maxim that “all things that last must have a strong foundation.” The Foundation Sound Effects Library contains a wealth of contemporary sound effects recordings organized in categories such as animals, ambiences, vehicles, industrial machinery, domestic sounds, weather and other audio elements from which a limitless number of sound events can be crafted. As a leading consultant for interactive audio engine FMOD, Schütze consulted with professional game designers while cultivating Foundation to fit their needs, and has used the library extensively in his lectures and in various audio productions.

Features include:

  • 16.006 sound effects (22.42 GB)
  • 320 GB LaCie Rikiki Hard Drive
  • 16 / 48 broadcast .wav files
  • Free Sound Effects Updates (at least 250 every 3 months)
  • Universally compatible embedded metadata
  • Free Sound Effects Search Software: NetMix Lite (video)
  • Mac and PC compatible
  • 3 -year Data Replacement Policy

For more information click here.

Sorenson Media Announces Sorenson Squeeze 7

Sorenson Media launched Sorenson Squeeze 7, a major upgrade of the company’s award-winning video encoding application, designed to save users valuable time while significantly boosting performance. Among its key new features are graphics processing unit (GPU) acceleration, adaptive bitrate encoding and myriad new input and output formats.

Sorenson Squeeze 7’s new improvements represent a major leap forward in enabling video professionals and companies to maximize their most valuable commodity – time:

  • New GPU Acceleration. By utilizing GPUs such as NVIDIA Quadro professional graphics solutions, the specialized microprocessors that power graphics in professional workstations, Sorenson Squeeze 7 delivers significantly faster encoding times. Sorenson Squeeze 7 automatically recognizes when the user’s primary CPU or GPU may be faster and will use the better resource for the encoding job. The software is optimized for NVIDIA CUDA, the parallel computing architecture created by NVIDIA that powers a variety of their popular GPUs. Internal benchmark tests have shown Sorenson Squeeze 7 is up to three times faster than Sorenson Squeeze 6 when encoding in the H.264 format using GPU acceleration.
  • New Adaptive Bitrate Encoding. Sorenson Squeeze 7 handles all aspects of adaptive bitrate encoding, from encoding multiple renditions of videos at varying data rates to segmenting files and uploading them to the user’s chosen content delivery network. This streamlined workflow frees users from the previously labor-intensive, detailed and time-consuming process involving many steps and tools.
  • New Input and Output Formats. Sorenson Squeeze 7 adds Flash, Apple ProRes, and MPEG Transport Streams to its wide range of existing input formats. New output formats available in Squeeze 7 include WebM, MPEG Transport Streams with H.264 and Dolby AC3 for broadcasters, MPEG-2 elementary streams for Blu-ray authoring with H.264 and VC-1, DVB for cable/satellite/terrestrial television, and digital signage-specific formats.
  • New Audio Only Output Formats. Sorenson Squeeze 7 now supports audio-only output formats such as Dolby’s AC3, AAC, AIFF, M4A, MP3, Ogg, WAV and WMA.
  • New Adobe Premiere Plug-in. With the addition of a unique plug-in for Adobe Premiere (compatible with Creative Suite 4 and Creative Suite 5), Sorenson Squeeze 7 now provides seamless encoding from within every major professional non-linear editing application, including Avid’s Media Composer, Newscutter and Symphony and Apple’s iMovie, Final Cut and Final Cut Pro.

Squeeze 7 builds on what has become the gold-standard, total workflow solution for video professionals. Its productivity-boosting tools – including email and text notification, a secure review and approval process, optimized video codecs and myriad filters vetted by Sorensen Media engineers – all work seamlessly with the Sorenson 360 online video platform.

For more information click here.

Stereo 3D Video Goes World-wide

Quantel has just posted an article on 3D channels around the world and the different types of programming they’re producing. The company wants to get user feedback about it. They are hoping to use this as the basis for a definitive list, so they’re curious to know if users worked for any of these channels. Also, if Quantel have missed any from the list they’d appreciate comments or discussion.

For more information click here.

The Foundry Releases MARI 1.2

A visual effects software company, The Foundry, announced the latest release of its creative paint and texture tool – MARI 1.2.

Now shipping, MARI 1.2 adds Python integration, Fractal Noise Tools, Texture Mirroring and new Shader tools as well as improved detection and support for GPUs.

Support for Python 2.6.5 allows users to produce scripts that seamlessly integrate MARI in to their workflow.

Texture Mirroring is useful for painting UV assets and, when combined with the two new fractal noise tools, can be used to add natural looking detail quickly and easily.

A new Levels Filter allows users to change the colour levels in paint, and new shader modules have been added for masked bump and improved Normal mapping.

MARI continues to follow an aggressive development roadmap into 2011 with support for Ptex to follow this summer.

For more information click here.

Scenios Brings Film and Television Production into the Cloud

Scenios unveiled the first public showcase of its next-generation online collaborative platform for film and television production at the National Association of Television Production Executives (NATPE) conference.

The Scenios platform enables producers to manage film, television and commercial projects in a cloud-based environment. As an online service, Scenios works with all the major operating systems – Apple Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows and Linux.

Scenios includes a suite of apps that streamline workflows through all aspects of a shoot – from pre-production, through shooting and on to post. The apps that are available at launch include:

  • Cast & Crew, which allows the producer to easily add cast and crew members to each project
  • Script, which enables all team members to have access to the current script, in popular formats like Final Draft and Screenwriter
  • Schedule, which provides a shared production calendar to keep everyone in sync
  • Locations, which uses the power of Google Maps to manage shooting locations
  • Budget, which allows certain team members to share and review the production budget, in popular formats like Movie Magic Budgeting and Excel
  • File Cabinet, which provides a place for team members to share documents related to the production
  • Call Sheets, which streamlines the process of creating and distributing call sheets

The Scenios platform also includes robust video management capabilities, supporting virtually every pro video format. Scenios enables members of a production team to share and review dailies, rough cuts and final cuts in any Web browser with a broadband connection.

With this suite of tools, Scenios enables real-time collaboration across the production team, whether in the office or on location.

The Scenios platform is free to use for a first project, including unlimited users and 20 GB of cloud storage. Producers only begin to pay if they need to add more projects or storage. There is no software to install, as the solution is completely cloud-based and does not require any contract to sign in order to use the service.

Scenios is led by a team that collectively holds more than 70 years of experience in film, television and digital media. Scenios CEO and co-founder Mark Davis is a William Morris Agency alumnus who was also the founder of streaming video pioneer Fresh Baked Studios in the late 90’s. More recently, Davis was a founding manager and director of BT Digital Media, a consortium between London-based BT Group (NYSE: BT) and private equity firm Quadrangle Group. Co-founder and Chief Evangelist Jeff Wurtz is the Emmy Award-winning producer of Inside the Actor’s Studio, now in its 15th year on Bravo.

For more information click here.