Production Software That Sizzles At NAB 2009

Smartsound – Final Cut Pro Music Plug-In

Smartsound - Final Cut Pro Music Plug-In

Smartsound - Final Cut Pro Music Plug-In

Tuesday evenings FCPUG Supermeet  was host to the formal announcement of SmartSounds Final Cut Pro Music Plug In. I like SmartSound and use it in just about everything I edit. This software sizzled because I like it and Larry Jordan did the presentation. It fizzled because Larry made a boo-boo during the presentation but in classic LJ style he made it sizzle again by joking his way out of it…

Video of the presentation below….

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Speaking of Larry Jordan, he mentioned the following NAB Products in his latest newsletter.

GeeThree releases software that GREATLY simplifies animating still images.

Data Robotics releases DroboPro – faster expandable RAID storage

CrumplePop releases flock of new Final Cut Pro plug-ins (Video Below)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “CrumblePop For FCP 6“, posted with vodpod

Samson Technologies releases Zoom H4N digital recorder

Digital Juice is Releasing All Sorts of New Stuff

EditShare and Automatic Duck team up to provide media sharing between FCP and Avid systems.

nVeil announces a graphics tool for the artist living within every editor.

MWA Nova’s flashtransfer teams with Front Porch Digital to provide film transfer and archiving solution.

MXF4mac announces support for more MXF video formats.

ADOBE CS4 and Final Cut Pro Integration. Export FCP Projects To Windows.

ADOBE at FCPUG Supermeet

Jason Levine of ADOBE at FCPUG Supermeet

Interoperability is the key element relating to this software. NAB 2009 and the 2009 FCPUG Supermeet provided the forum for me to get a demo of Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 version 4.0.1 software, that has seamless project exchange with Final Cut Pro. CS4 version 4.0.1 enables users to import Final Cut Pro projects via XML interchange, export to Open Media Framework (OMF) format, and import and export projects in Advanced Authoring Format (AAF).

Specifically the new software enhancements allow Final Cut Pro users to be able to transfer projects directly to Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 version 4.0.1 without conversions or re-rendering. The transfer preserves commonly used effects and transitions. Once files are in Adobe Premiere Pro CS4, assets can be moved amongst Adobe After Effects CS4, Adobe Premiere Pro CS4, and Soundbooth CS4. Apparently these files can work with Premiere on Windows. Below is a video on how this import function works.

One neat new feature in Premiere Pro CS4 is called Speech Search. It turns spoken dialog into text-based metadata that makes video searchable. During the Supermeet presentation Jason Levine (who sizzled)demonstrated how the Speech Search works. It actually allows one to select and edit point between text based words, significantly speeding up editing dialogue. A video on this Speech Search Function below.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

One other advantage of CS 4 is its workflow to Blu-ray, something that is sadly lacking in Final Cut Studio. Adobe Encore is CS4’s path to Blu-ray.

Automatic Duck – Media Copy 2.0

Media Copy 2.0 is a useful application for copying media from your NLE to another computer that needs to import your AAF, OMF or XML file. Media Copy is a helpful application that reads an Avid AAF or OMF 2.0 file or a Final Cut Pro XML file. It figures out which media files are used by that sequence then copies the media to a location you specify. It’s especially handy when media files are in several locations on your system, or to assist the editor who just doesn’t know which media files are represented in your edited sequence. Below is a video on Automatic Duck from NAB 2009;

Sony Vegas Pro 9 and VASST

SONY Vegas Pro 9

SONY Vegas Pro 9

Sony Creative Software was showing the next generation of Sony Vegas Pro 9. 4K and native RED One support along with better AVCHD and XDCAM support is part of Vegas Pro 09. On the output side Sony Vegas 9 outputs to traditional SD and HD broadcasts, to the Web, DVD and Blu-ray discs, and to portable devices like cell phones, portable media players and the Sony PSP.

SONY was also promoting the Vegas Pro Production Assistant plug-in that was developed in partnership with VASST. Pre-built output presets for broadcast workflows are included to quickly begin finalizing content for television. Additional broadcast features include tools for creating lower thirds, splitting stereo track into two mono tracks, normalizing audio tracks, broadcast color process, audio ducking functions and outputting to multiple formats simultaneously. In addition to a number of secondary tools, the Vegas Pro Production Assistant software plug-in features five primary productivity tools. They are;

  • Montage Tool
  • Motion Tool
  • Lower Thirds Tool
  • Workflow Automation Tools
  • Batch File Processing Tool

mocha for Final Cut

mocha for Final Cut is a stand alone 2D tracking tool designed for the Final Cut. It generates solid 4-point tracks based on Imagineer’s unique Planar Tracking technology. It provides position, scale, rotation, shear and perspective matched tracks and exports the data to Final Cut Pro and Final Cut Express as XML files. Final Cut Studio users can then optionally send their mocha tracking data to Apple Motion for advanced compositing functionality. Below is a video on how it works.


MXF4MAC with its MXF import and MXF export solutions is the first video capturing solution for the Mac that wraps video feeds straight to MXF without creating intermediate files. Of interest to Final Cut Pro editors is P2 Flow. P2 Flow quickly and automatically links MXF video and audio in Final Cut Pro while providing full metadata mapping. This allows editing straightaway without converting or referencing the MXF media to QuickTime MOV.

At the FCPUG Supermeet Jeremy Garchow described the process of using P2 Flow.He described a project where he used media generated from five P2 cameras and six wireless microphones in a freestyle shoot that also had a Sound Devices 788T recording 8 tracks of audio.  Following the shoot he had less than a week from shoot to air, he had over 6 hours of material and had to edit down to 60 seconds.

To speed the editing process up he used P2 Flow to import the P2 into Final Cut Pro. He synced the camera material using free run time code and a clap slate and it was ready to edit in Final Cut Pro through a workflow never seen before. Below is a video of how it is used to quickly import P2 material (no audio) and some links to tutorials on how to use the product.

Boinx TV

BoinxTV was one of the truly cool products I saw at NAB 2009. The software converts your MAC computer into a live production studio. Its features include;

  • Connect up to three cameras (SD or HD).
  • Play back any QuickTime video as a source to roll in live.
  • Switch among up to 4 sources (3 cameras + playback of pre-recorded clips).
  • Animated lower thirds, scrolling credits.
  • RSS ticker with headlines and summaries
  • Sports scores.
  • Pre-defined layers for different production styles, customizable with Apple’s free Quartz Composer software.
  • Real time, on-screen clock.
  • Records to a QuickTime file or outputs live output for live streaming (using optional 3rd-party software) or live SDI output (using optional 3rd-party hardware)
  • Integrates with Twitter
  • Works with any DV25 camera (DV, DVCAM) with IEEE-1394 (FireWire, i.LINK) output.
  • Works with any HDV camcorder as long as it has a true progressive mode.
  • Works with any camera with HDMI output, if you add the Blackmagic Intensity or Intensity Pro to a Mac Pro tower.
  • Has a BoinxTV’s template chooser, you can select one of the default designs, whether for news or sports or whatever…..

The video above outlines what I saw at NAB.

Tiffen Photofx iPhone App

If you’re in a pinch, only have your iPhone and have to do some image editing Tifen might have the App for you! Photo fx is comprised of the following filters:, Black and White, Black Pro-Mist®, Center Spot, Color-Grad® , Color Spot, Day for Night, Enhancer, Fog, Glow, Halo, High Contrast, Infrared, Looks, Night Vision, Old Photo, Polarizer, Pro-Mist®, Reflector, Star, Soft/FX®, Tint, Two Strip, Three Strip, Ultra Contrast and Vignette. Once its fixed e-mail the image from your iPhone or iPod Touch.

audio video design inc – Voice Recognition Teleprompting Software

Voice Recognition Teleprompting Software

Voice Recognition Teleprompting Software

audio video design inc. was showing a teleprompting prototype at NAB that was of interest. The software includes voice recognition software that will automatically adjust to control the speed of the teleprompter scroll. According to the developer who I talked to at the booth, since the teleprompter text is loaded into the computer, the program only tries to recognize words in the text. This makes the voice recognition element much less compute intensive given that the dictionary is pre-defined. Neat product….

Other Products

TOPAZ Adjust

TOPAZ Adjust



CPC Webcast Captioning

CPC Webcast Captioning



Premium Production Gear at NAB 2009

Digital Video Assistant PSU-3

Digital Video Assistant PSU-3

Digital Video Assistant PSU-3

The PSU-3 is an interesting Video Assist System on the market. The battery powered unit records up to 4 cameras at the same time via a touch screen interface. Besides monitoring four cameras the unit can simulate post-production effects in realtime right on the set.

Bal Broadcast – Multiviewer Floorman

Multiviewer Floorman

Multiviewer Floorman

The Multiviewer Floorman is a wireless touch-screen, quad-split, handheld portable monitor. The system allows four picture sources, including one from a teleprompter, to be viewed on one cable free handheld screen. The monitor can be powered either from the integrated battery or via a battery belt.

The video is created by the unit’s combiner/encoder that accepts the four composite or SDI signals and feeds the modulator/transmitter with an ASI signal. Floorman offers diversity reception and licensed UHF channel transmission (selectable from 21 to 68), making it ideal for either studio or OB applications and eliminating picture loss.

Pro Prompter for iPhone

Pro Prompter for iPhone

Pro Prompter for iPhone

As a quick and fast teleprompter you can use your iPhone or iPod touch with ProPrompter. It’s available with a magnifier to make the iPhone screen appear twice its size. It’s a subscription service of sorts but it comes with the ProPrompter patented hood, studio quality beam splitter glass, anti-reflection hood, iPhone/mobile device clip, ProPrompter software for iPhone –it’s a free download from the App Store plus 1 year subscription to the ProPrompter Producer site. The subscription gives you unlimited script uploads and downloads. The magnifier comes with a custom military grade Storm Case. Retail is US$995.

Invisible Prompter Monitors

How about and invisible teleprompter? If your doing an event and you don’t want the audience to see a teleprompter Jumbo Bright has a solution.  In a nutshell Jumbo Bright’s size and brightness the prompter can be placed at the back of the room. The video above shows the kinds of setups possible with Jumbo Bright.

RL48 Rotolight

RL48 Rotolight

RL48 Rotolight

This looked like a simple and useful product. The Rotolight slips onto your camcorder’s shotgun mic and shines 48 LED’s at ‘Daylight’ (5600K) that’s bright and soft. Perfect for hand held shooting where you are working in low light situations. It runs for up to 3 hours on 3 standard or rechargeable AA alkaline batteries.

Micro-Fill & Micro-Sun Gun Kits

Frezzi makes an economical light kit called Micro-Fill kits. The kit includes a Micro Fill-Light, Battery, Battery Pouch, Quick Charger and all mounting hardware to attach to any camera. A little bit on Frezzi in the video below.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Frezzi Lights For Hand Held Camera“, posted with vodpod

superBOGIE Camera Swiveler

superBOGIE Camera Swiveler

superBOGIE Camera Swiveler

For those who want to swivel their camera the superBOGIE has a range ±90°. It contais a gear unit with 3 reductions (1:1,2.5:1,5:1) for sensitive adjustment. It’s also been designed for easy mounting with a Touch&Go plate.




I took a quick peek at Fx-Motion’s remote controlled camera systems. Video below;

Fusion RC Helicopter

A "roll your own" Helicopter" camera solution

Redbyte Design

Redbyte Design Down Conversion Devices

Redbyte Design Down Conversion Devices

CG232W Calibrated Monitor

CG232W Calibrated Monitor

CG232W Calibrated Monitor

The ColorEdge CG232W has been designed as an LCD monitor for post-production. According to the manufacturer it can be used for both reference and editing work. What makes it suitable for Post and Reference is that it includes BNC × 2 (SD-SDI/HD-SDI × 2 or dual-link SDI × 1), DVI-D, and D-Sub for direct connection to broadcast and studio sources as well as desktop PCs. Extensive support for SDI signals is also offered with this monitor.

The panel’s gamut reproduces broadcast-standard color spaces such as PAL/SECAM and HDTV. In addition, preset color modes for Rec. 709, EBU, SMPTE-C, DCI, and sRGB are available at the touch of a button.

Zennatek Housing Systems

Underwater Zennatek Housing

Underwater Zennatek Housing

Zennatek Housing Systems design and manufacture products that enable filming in the most extreme conditions and environments. The housing picured above is used underwater and the bag that covers the camera is watertight and extremely flexible so camera operators can operate the camera.

3D Zennatek Housing Systems Being Built On Show Floor

3D Zennatek Housing Systems Being Built On Show Floor

Newtek Tricaster XD3000

TriCaster XD300 Provides Portable Live Production in HD/SD

TriCaster XD300 Provides Portable Live Production in HD/SD

Just about every large organization I know has a TriCaster operating somewhere in their organization At NAB Newtek announced the model XD300 which will operate in either HD/SD and stream (as other TriCasters) from almost anywhere. The company has announced Q4 delivery.


SONY BRS 200 Production Switcher

SONY BRS 200 Production Switcher

At the SONY Booth I came across the BRS-200 switcher which is a new portable switcher from SONY. The BRS-200 can be used for either standard- definition (SD) or high-definition (HD) system configurations. The BRS-200 is an ideal tool for event and live staging, conferences, concerts, and broadcast operations.

Broadcast Pix Slate

Broadcast Pix Slate

Broadcast Pix Slate

Another switcher at NAB that I’ve never blogged about before is the Broadcast Pix Slate. Slate systems are unique because they are the only production form factor switchers on the market with a built-in HD CG, a built-in HD clip store, and multi-view monitoring of outputs and sources. Designed for solo operators the switcher can create live video complete with compelling graphics, animated text, picture-in-pictures, keyed clips, spinning logos and the switcher can even provide robotic control of cameras.  All Slate G Series models create in HD, SD, analog or DVI and can be upgraded to 3G for 1080p full HD video.

PJP-25UR – PC Conference Microphone Speaker

If you use Skype the PJP-25UR conceals itself neatly in a B5-size laptop bag, and weighs only 570 grams.

Photosimile 5000 *


Photosimile 5000 is an integrated solution for creating spherical, 360-Degree and Still flash product animations

Bron Kobold DW 400 All-Weather HMI

There’s something fascinating about a production light that will operate in the pouring rain. If you need some kobold is a manufacturer.

Video Robotics Inc

We're starting to get into more robotic systems at Ryerson. One booth I stopped at was Video Robotics to look at their control systems

Mark Roberts Motion Control – 3D Stepper Control For DSLR’s

A specialty product that I don’t have an image of is Mark Robers Motion Control  3D Stepper control for the creation of lefteye/righteye still images that controls DSLR camera’s…. Link to website above.

Zacuto SharpShooter for Canon EOS 5D

Zacuto’s DSLR Gunstock Shooters

Zacuto’s DSLR Gunstock Shooters

Zacuto was one of several companies at NAB that manufactures kits for DSLR cameras so they will operate as Digital Cinema camera’s. Called Gunstock Shooters they can be used with any 15mm lightweight accessories, follow focuses & matte boxes. They can also be used with or without counterbalance.

ikan V5600 5.6″ TFT LCD Monitor

Ikan showcased its V5600, a 5.6″ LCD monitor designed for HD-enabled DSLR cameras. It has a 1024×600 resolution panel, critical focus is achievable and it works in 480i, 480p, 720p and 1080i. Ikan also demonstrated Director which is a new tool that combines LANC control and high resolution LCD monitor, designed for hands-free camera operation. Director is able to control Zoom, Focus and Record. It provides users a handheld production monitor with variable aspect ratio, a port for headphone out, safe area guides, and A/V input.

Anton Bauer Solar Panel Battery Charger

Anton Bauer unveiled a prototype solar panel battery charger. It’s in the form of a 3.5ft x 5ft (11in x 9 1in folded up) flexible sheet that can be spread on the ground. Its used in remote locations where access to AC power is problematic. The solar panel, made by a company called Power Film, charges a standard two-hour Dionic (Lithium Ion) battery in three hours in full sun.

Roland Edirol VC-50 Video Field Converter



I dont think there is any other conversion box on the market that goes between IEEE-1394 (HDV) and HD-SDI in real time. The VC-50HD converts from HD-SDI to 50/ 35/ 8 Mbps MPEG-2 TS as well as HDV format (25/19Mbps). The unit also supports conversion from SD-SDI to DV format (25Mbps) and 12/ 9/ 2 Mbps MPEG-2 TS. Goes between IEEE-1394 and HD-SDI.

Marshall OLED Monitors

Marshall OLED Monitors are coming....

Marshall OLED Monitors are coming....

OLED display technology seems to have made a name for itself in advance of its mainstream release. Marshall, who are known for a line of LCD production monitors, showed off a new OLED monitor that will be coming out this fall.

SONY RM1000BP LANC Remote Commander

You cant Do That With LANC!

You can't Do That With LANC!

SONY might have released the ultimate LANC controller. Their new RM-1000BP is multifunctional providing LANC contol for ZOOM, REC START/STOP, IRIS, GAIN, and all camcorder MENU SETTINGS.


Viewfactor make a number control devices for cameras. Thier Origo™ allows for  remote start and stop of the RED ONE™ Camera from distances of 1 foot to 25 feet.

Their Inclino™ product strongest and most advanced Digital Motor made. Using Inclino™  large external boxes attached to the camera are not required. Wires are limited to power only. Inclino™ has integrated wireless reception and had easy setup.

Mirus™ is the only fully self-contained motion control pan-tilt head produced. The manufacture indicates claims it is as easy to use as your regular head and costs about the same!


ActionCam «RED-edition»

ActionCam «RED-edition»

Firefly LED Cable Protectors

Firefly LED Cable Protectors

Firefly LED Cable Protectors

Petrol Inflatable Airline Bag

Petrol Inflatable Airline Camera Bag

Petrol Inflatable Airline Camera Bag

New Digital Cinema Technologies Noted From NAB 2009

There was a lot of digital cinema technology at NAB 2009. It shows up just about everywhere in my posts on the event. In this section I thought I’d note a few of these technologies that did not find their way into other posts.

Fraunhofer Institute easyDCP

Fraunhofer Institute easyDCP

Fraunhofer Institute easyDCP

The last step in the field of motion picture production in digital cinema is the creation of the Digital Cinema Package or DCP. At NAB Fraunhofer IIS was showing an easy-to-handle solution for DCP creation. They claimed the software could be operated easily and without any in-depth, expert knowledge. easyDCP outputs high-resolution HD, 2k, and 4k into finished SMPTE compliant DCPs. The software supports creation of DCPs in JPEG2000 which is DCI compliant.

The software undertakes color space transformations (ie. TIFF images to JPEG2000) and wraps the various DCP components (audio and image files, subtitles, etc.) into MXF files prior to delivering a DCP ready for playback.

A test version of the easyDCP™ software can be downloaded from the Fraunhofer IIS web site or

Fraunhofer Institute DCPplayer

Another highlight of the NAB is the new Fraunhofer DCPplayer. It’s basically an extremely fast JPEG2000 decoding software and it enables real-time playback of 2k DCPs and JPEG2000 image sequences. The Fraunhofer DCPplayer employs a standard PC an nVidia graphic card.  The video above shows the DCPplayer in action.




Sony had a 3.8K monitor on display at its booth at NAB. For the record 3.8K is not true 4K. A 3.8K TV is actually the equivalent of four 1920×1080 HD displays melded into one display. The 3.8k TV is 3840×2160 which is sometimes referred to as Quad Full High Definition and was the subject of a previous blog post.

DCI compliant 4K is 4096×2160 and it’s interesting to note that most Japanese companies often refer to Quad Full High Definition as 4K. At least SONY has it right….

ASTRO DM-3400 3840 x 2160 Monitor

ASTRO DM-3400 3840 x 2160 Monitor Displaying NICTs 4K Images At NAB 2009

ASTRO DM-3400 3840 x 2160 Monitor Displaying NICT's 4K Images At NAB 2009

Astro’s 4K monitor specifications make it a Quad Full High Definition set offering a 3840 x 2160 resolution and the support for both DVI-D (4 channels) and HD-SDI (4 channels/Dual Link) signals. The new DM-3400 handles RGB 4:4:4 signals as well as four input channels for a quad display view.

Sharp True DCI Compliant 4K Monitor

Sharp True DCI Compliant 4K Monitor

Sharp True DCI Compliant 4K Monitor

I did manage to get a look at SHARP’s 4096 x 2160 64” monitor at the KEISOKU GIKEN booth at the show.

Other Technologies



Catapult Technology

Catapult Technology

Rethinking Blu-ray Authoring

Blu-ray Authouring Station At Ryerson University In Toronto

Blu-ray Authoring Station At Ryerson University In Toronto

Ok, so Blu-ray is not new…. And a variety of programs can now create Blu-ray media…. I know, I know…. I discovered this when I recently had to work myself through the process of shooting at 24p on a Canon HV-20 with the idea of outputting it in 24p using a PlayStation 3. It got complicated on my Apple system. I first had to used Apple’s Compressor to transcode the 24p frames out of the HDV bitsetream, edit it using in Final Cut Pro, run it through Compressor again to create an H.264 stream and and finally write the 24p h.264 stream back to Blu-ray. Yuck!

I found it was much easier using Pinnacle’s Studio 12 (which saw the 24 p stream immediately) and after editing my material it appeared to write it back to Blu-ray as a 24 frame file. Well at least that’s what the Playstation 3 told me.

With that bevy of experience behind me a research project crossed my desk this month that required a Windows desktop system. Windows was required because the Blu-ray authoring software that was being used included a BD Live authoring component. The project gave me the chance to re-invent a Blu-ray authoring workstation from scratch so I thought what I’d do in this blog post and outline what we ended up doing here at Ryerson.

Hardware Goodies

Tiger Directs Bareboneasaurus

Tiger Direct's Bareboneasaurus

One thing I had learned from both Apple’s Compressor and Studio 12 software was that the rendering process was the slowest part of the process, so a good processor is a key element. Since the research included some BD Live authoring (a relatively new programming discipline I guessed) I felt it was best to stay on Intel’s processors for this project so there would be no second guessing around the hardware as this new “black art” was being learned.

In the end it was TigerDirect’s Bareboneasaurus promotion that caught my eye as the base technology for this project. We have people here on staff who love to build computers and when I spotted the 4 core Intel and 12 gigs of DDR 3 memory this had to be the Unit. Not only would the multicore processor decrease rendering time, but the amount of RAM associated with the Bareboneasaurus would be handy in the future for other development activities. The kit (in Tiger Direct speak) consisted of ASUS P6T Intel Socket LGA1366 Barebone Kit – Intel Core i7 920, 12GB Corsair DDR3-1333, 1TB SATA2, Clear Side ATX Mid-Tower, 650W. The price you see above is in Canadian dollars.

For a video card –again in Tiger Direct speak– we chose a XFX GeForce 9800 GTX + Video Card – 512MB DDR3, PCI Express 2.0, SLI Ready, (Dual Link) Dual DVI, HDTV, VGA Support.

For our first monitor we chose a Sceptre X23WG-1080p 23in Wide 8ms DVI LCD Monitor. Although its use would be primarily a VGA monitor, it’s 1080p capability meant it could also double as a 1080 display when checking HD Blu-ray material.

We had an internal LG 6X Super-Multi Blu Ray Writer (Model : GGW-H20L) mounted in a 5.25in Silver eSATA USB 2.0 to SATA Optical Drive Enclosure. The portable unit had found a lot of use in the department writing one off Blu-ray media for display so I ordered a  GGW-H20L specific for the workstation. It’s still not delivered, so they must be hard to come by and that’s why you see the external Blu-ray writer installed as part of the workstation below.

TigerDirect's Bareboneasaurus (Assembled), GGW-H20L) mounted in a Optical Drive Enclosure and a a Sceptre X23WG-1080p

To view Blu-ray media in 1080p and to act as a second production model we the second monitor a Sharp Aquos 32″ 1080p Flat-Panel LCD HDTV (model LC32D64U). We also chose a PlayStation 3 80GB as the Blu-ray player. The project needed an Internet connected Blu-ray player and we thought since SONY updates the software on its PlayStation’s we would be somewhat assured the hardware would work should BD Live firmware or software receive updates.

Sharp Aquos 32″ 1080p Flat-Panel, PlayStation 3 80GB Blu-ray player

Other additional items we obtained were four premium Blu-ray movie titles that BD Live content.

Blu-ray titles with BD Live Content

Blu-ray Titles with BD Live Content

One nice item we got with the PlayStation was the PlayStation Blu-ray remote control. After several botched attempts trying to access Blu-ray disks via the PlayStation 3 game controller the remote control actually  streamlines access to the disc features. In a way its funny that Bluetooth was chosen for PlayStation 3 but unlike standard infrared remotes, it can be used without having to point directly at the PlayStation system.

SONYs Bluetooth Remote Makes the BD Live Content Work

SONY's Bluetooth Remote Makes the BD Live Content Work

No Blu-ray blues with the hardware in this installation…..


Sony’s Field Emission Technologies – FED technology worth watching closes its doors

According to an Engadget report SONY’s spinoff Field Emission Technologies is closing its doors. The company was youting the technology as a replacement for CRT monitors used in high end broadcast and film for critical evaluation. The technology had actually captured some buzz amongst the TV and Film engineering community.

Don’t know what the future of the concept is so if it’s a RIP scenerio I’ve included a couple of video’s on FED technology below;


NAB 2009 To Feature Less Expensive HD Cameras

According to an article posted by TVNEWSDAY, this year’s NAB Show will showcase a variety of cost-effective cameras that feature IT efficiency and fit downsized budgets.

In something that has been historically uncharacteristic JVC, Panasonic and SONY have released a lot of information about their product offerings long in advance of NAB.

GY-HM100  hand-held 3-CCD camcorder

GY-HM100 hand-held 3-CCD camcorder

In January, JVC introduced new Final-Cut-Pro 6™-ready solid state camcorders that feature their ProHD camcorders that can natively record Quicktime for Apple’s Final Cut Pro directly onto SDHC memory cards.

The GY-HM100  hand-held 3-CCD camcorder was introduced in January and on February 10, JVC introduced the GY-HM700 shoulder camera. Both camcorders record 35Mbps high definition video and uncompressed audio directly to SDHC media cards in the Quicktime format used by Apple Final Cut Pro™. The camera’s also inroduced solid state recording into JVC’s professsional line.

HPX-300 - World’s first affordable 10-bit, 4:2:2 camera

HPX-300 - World’s first affordable 10-bit, 4:2:2 camera

One day later on February 11, Panasonic announced a huge slate of products including the AG-HPX300 which is a shoulder mount P2 HD camcorder. Panasonic is billing it as the “world’s first affordable 10-bit, 4:2:2 camera”. According to the TVNEWSDAY article the HPX-300 will cost $10,700 U.S. and comes with a 17x Fujinon lens. The camera employs one-third-inch CMOS native HD imagers and according to Panasonic the imagers overcome the physics of small chips and deliver low light sensitivity.

AJ-HRW10 Rapid Write

AJ-HRW10 Rapid Writer

Just in case your interested in Panasonic’s other announcemnts you can find them here. In a nutshell they’ve announced a new 17” BT-LH1710 HD LCD Production Monitor, an AJ-CVF100G color viewfinder for higher end P2 HD and DVCPRO HD camcorders, an AJ-PCD35 P2 memory drive with PCI Express interface for fast transfers,an AW-HE870 2/3-inch 3-CCD HD convertible camera, a free AVCHD-to-DV transcoder update, the AJ-HRW10 Rapid Writer P2 workflow tool, an AG-HPG20 P2 HD portable Recorder/Player that features AVC-Intra recording and an expansion to their professional AVCCAM product line with a compact HD Recorder and multi-purpose camera head.

SONY HVR-Z5U - compact point-of-view camcorder

SONY HVR-Z5U - compact point-of-view camcorder

According to Glen Dickson of Broadcasting & Cable, SONY surfaced last week. According to his post,   Sony is saving most of its major product announcements for NAB 2009 but last week it previewed a handful of new products. They included an HDV-format high-definition camcorder, the HVR-Z5U, which is a compact point-of-view camcorder, the HXR-MC1; and two new LCD monitors, the BVM-170 and PVM-L2300.

According to Dickson’s post SONY also announced a new field recorder for the XDCAM HD optical-disc format, the PDW-HR1, which supports legacy formats including MPEG IMX, DVCAM and 4:2:0 HD 24P content.

Looking forward to NAB.


Sony and Samsung both claim “world’s first” 200Hz LCD TV

Harry McCracken’s blog post dated August 29th, day speaks of his day at IFA. IFA is a giant consumer electronics show in Berlin that’s often called Europe’s equivalent of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. One thing he noted was that both SONY and Samsung claimed the worlds first 200Hz LCD TVs. These innovations are important given that  a faster frame rate provides smoother action on an LCD TV with less motion blur.

McCrackens image from SONY's booth

McCrackens image from SONY’s booth

In the video below the BBC reports on this 200Hz technology at the show. In addition the report covers SONY’s MP3 Walkmans with built in noise canceling technology and Tom Tom GPS technology that delivers advances in car GPS navigation that collects information on the driving habits of local drivers and then updates its directions based on that information.

Audio Technology At InfoComm08

Hidden Audio

When one talks about trying to hide audio one often thinks of hiding speakers in products like rock or tree trunk speakers (left). However this year there was a lot of products that allowed one to embed audio in walls where it would be impossible to tell exactly where the sound was coming from. One really neat technology was from Holosonics. Their product allows one to embed a holophonic speaker that directs sound into a a tight beam. Their AS-16 and AS-24 Audio Spotlight Panels are unique to the marketplace. The technology means that only when you are in the beam can you actually hear the sound. It’s great for replacing ceiling tiles almost side-by-side to create a different acoustic environment under each tile.

Below is a YouTube Video that explains the Audio Spotlight technology;

Below is an American TV report that shows how this technology is being used in advertising;

Stealth Acoustics was showing their three-way, full-range loudspeaker system that becomes completely invisible after installation. The loudspeaker has a rigid frame and the technology includes a paintable active diaphragm face.

Below is a video on Stealth Acoustics’ Invisible Speakers;

Below is a competitors promotional video on their invisible speakers;

Below is a competitors video on how invisible speakers are installed;

Automated Live Audio Capture

One area that’s growing in our work is the ability to capture live sound with limited manpower. We saw a few technologies at InfoComm08 that assists us in this area. Sabine’s series of Phantom Mic Rider microphones combines both DSP processing and an Infra Red detector that provides gated technology to turn microphone on and off as people approach the microphone. Depending on the series purchased the distance at which the microphone becomes active can be adjusted as can the amount of digital signal processing.

FullSound from the Conference Technology Group was another technology that impressed us. It’s a fully engineered system that employs embedded ceiling microphones, and can even work with speaker support systems in the room. It works in small conference rooms and can scale out to full sized classrooms. It can even follow peoples voices around the room as they change locations.
Headset Microphones

We’ve been thinking about implementing headset microphones for some of our audio work in the department. The problem is with these kind of microphones is that the high end versions are expensive ($500.00), can break easily and in some cases are actually fine pieces of jewellery or instruments depending on how one wants to classify them. We came across a series of these headset microphones at Galaxy Audio that are more affordable than some of the higher end models that we’ve been looking at.

Speciality Microphones

Earthworks Audio showed two specialty microphones that caught my attention. Earthworks PianoMic system. It has been designed to fit inside a grand piano. It’s part of Earthworks High Definition Microphone series which is explained at this link.

The video below demonstrates the microphone in action;

The other series of mics that looked really good was their Earthworks Flex Series microphones. Earthworks claims a patented pick-up pattern allows an orator to move up to 90 degrees off-axis and still be heard with intelligibility and sound quality. This is a real advantage for church, civic and corporate podium speech applications. The Flex Mics smooth off-axis response will provide more gain before feedback. The flexible neck has been designed for the adjustment of microphones positioning with no handling noise.

Handheld Recorders

In wandering around the floor at InfoComm08 we came across Samson’s Handy H4 and Handy H2 handheld recorders along with SONY’s PCM-D50 handheld unit. All these have been in the market for some time. New this year was Roland’s R-09HR handheld recorder. The R-09HR is a professional, high-definition recorder that records 24bit/96kHz fidelity.

Below is the promotional video on the R-09HR recorder;

Below is a “lunch and learn” video on the R-09HR recorder that I found on YouTube;

Below is a more detailed operational video on the R-09HR recorder that I also found on YouTube;

Below is a video on the various handheld recorders that are currently on the market;

While not a handheld Roland’s R-44 appears to be a great machine to replace most desktop recording devices. The Edirol R-44 is designed for professional capturing up to 4 channels of uncompressed audio with selectable bit depths (16-bit or 24-bit) and sampling frequencies of 44.1kHz/48kHz/88.2kHz/96kHz. For recording media the R-44 employs SD cards or large capacity SDHC cards while employing no moving parts to record audio.

Gilderfluke & Co. showed a unique series of products. Their Sd-10 is a complete stereo audio repeater. It can be used anywhere you need a solid state, high quality audio system that will play for years. The Sd-10 can be dropped right into an audio system in place of a CD player. Their product line also includes an amplifier that will operate with the Sd-10 and a combo unit that includes both the player and amplifier.

Speaker Systems

Anchor Audio’s Beacon Sound System

A number of manufacturers were displaying products using Array speakers as their base technology. Anchor Audio was showing their Beacon® Sound System line array tower can be opened and operational in less than a minute.

The training video below explains how quickly the Beacon can be deployed;

This video below –from NAB 2008– quickly shows many of the features of the Beacon system from Anchor Audio’s booth. (Please note the demo starts approx. 2 minutes into the video.)

PHA – Pragmatic High Performance Array Speakers

We came across Pragmatic designs small, portable and wireless PA system in a briefcase. It uses a small PHA-4 array speaker that contains 4 high performance, full range drivers that has a well-defined dispersion pattern with no hot spots. When mounted vertically, the speakers offer a uniform sound field 360 degrees around the speaker.

Firewire Interconnectivity for Makie Onyx Mixer

The Onyx FireWire Card for an Makie’s Onyx mixer series is a user-installable 24-bit/96kHz card transforms the Onyx 1220, 1620 and 1640 mixers into digital audio interfaces capable of sending up to 18 channels of audio to a Mac or PC without the need for additional converter boxes or hardware.

The Onyx FireWire card contains two 6-pin FireWire connectors that each supply all 16 channels plus the L/R mix. With the dual connectors the Onyx mixer can be placed anywhere within a chain of FireWire-equipped devices. It’s possible to daisy-chain two 16-channel Onyx mixers via FireWire and send up to 32 mic signals right to your laptop.

Other Audio Links

QDP Invisible Motorized Speakers –

NAB 2008 – Camera Report

Supacam DVD Streaming Camcorder

Over the past few years NAB has become the ultimate show to look at video and film related cameras. Judging by the lineup at the B+H Photo booth this year the market appears hot. While the “big iron” cameras often get the lions share of press at NAB, there appeared to be a brisk business at the $299 Supacam DVD Streaming Camcorder at their booth. Although they could not well them on the floor, (they delivered orders directly to your Las Vegas hotel) as the show went on more people showed up on-site with these cameras. The camera’s are a little hard to explain but the video below will give you the lowdown on this popular NAB item.

3D Cameras

Silicon Imaging

Over the past few years NAB has been showing more and more 3D cameras. While some have been for special theatrical purposes, Hollywood’s recent appetite for 3D movies has spawned a variety of approaches to record 3D. While not a new camera Silicon Imaging, manufacturers of the SI-2K line of 2K resolution cameras, announced some new features in their full-sized cameras. Employing P+S Technik’s Professional 3D Mirror Rig, (covered in my camera mounts blog post) they added a frame-accurate start-and-stop feature for 3D shooting and announced it as a new product for 3D shooting. However Silicon Imaging added a surprise! They introduced a new developmental SI-2K Micro camera that they added to the 3D Mirror Rig, making 2K 3D film making truly portable. Heath McKnight covered this better on his blog and you can find his posting at

Below is some test footage of the SI-2K Mini camera shot last year. (Note: This is obviously not a 3D movie)

Below is a video from NAB 2008 that explains how one 3D system actually works.

Red Digital

Red’s new top of the line camera is the Epic 5K digital cinema camera. It “ups” the quality from the 4K Red One released in 2007. Its smaller than the Red One, features a new S35mm Mysterium full frame X sensor, shoots at 1 – 100 FPS, has 2 XLR inputs, HD-SDI, HDMI, FireWire 800/USB2 and is slated to weigh 6 pounds. Expected price for Epic is $40 000 USD. For those Red One owners who wish to trade up, they will receive the full cost of their original Red One –$17,500– deducted from the $40 000 price of the Epic 5K.

Scarlet is a new low cost camera that will beat 2K cameras in terms of capability. It features a 2/3 inch 3K Mysterium sensor and comes equipped win a non-interchangable 8 x 2.8 zoom lens, auto and manual modes of operation, FireWire 800/USB 2 as well as a still image capture mode. It will produce images suitable for cinema projection and will sell for $3000. Below is a video that features an interview with Ted Schilowitz of Red Digital on the Scarlet camera.

And finally Red Digital announced Red Ray. Red Ray is a playback unit which enables one to play 4K, 2K, 1080P, 720P AND SD direct from DVD or from an SD card. The Red Ray unit will interface to viewing devices such as a 4K projector. one simply chooses the playback standard.


SONY was showing the F35 CineAlta Camera. Given RED Digitals announcements it seemed odd that this high-end camera which is more advanced than the current F23 was rated as a 2K camera. The F35 promises to deliver more features and functionality for cinematographers through its larger 35mm Single CCD Imager and it accepts 35mm PL mount lenses. Announcement video below;

Given the F-35’s price tag, SONY’s new PMW-EX3 camera caught my eye. It has a shape similar to Canon’s XL-H1, has three 1/2 inch CCDs and records 1920 x 1080 resolution. Lenses can be interchanged on this camera and it can shoot native 24p (23.98 fps)at the more affordable price of $13,000. Click Here For A Review Of The PMW-EX3 Done At NAB 2008

Promotional video below.

PMW-EX3 announcement video below;

The other camera that caught my eye was the Sony HVR-S270U. It’s form factor is “old school” being a of a big, professional style camcorder. It can record in 1080i or 1080p HDV, DVCAM and DV. The 1080p can record at 24p or 30p frame rates and can be recorded to tape in a progressive format. It has 3 – 1/3″ CMOS sensors, an interchangeable lens system, an HD-SDI output and hasthe ability to capture up to 4.5 hours on select Sony tapes. Its price is approx 12K Canadian.


At first Panasonic’s offerings at NAB 2008 appeared to be very confusing. That’s because it now offers two new compression formats in its camera that take a little getting used to. They are AVCHD and AVC-Intra. AVCHD was built as the successor to HDV, a format that Panasonic never adopted. AVCHD was built around MPEG4 compression where HDV was built around older MPEG compression. AVCHD has been built to record on to SD memory cards. AVCHD can record 1080i and 720p at PH mode (average 21 Mbps/Max 24Mbps), HA mode (approx.17 Mbps), HG mode (approx.13 Mbps) and HE mode (approx. 6 Mbps) It’s only drawback is that not all versions of editing software support this new codec. It requires more computing power to edit this codec so there is a requirement for more modern hardware and software packages. Despite this AVCHD has one other advantages. It’s codec is supported by all Blu-ray players so when one writes content out to that media no transcoding is required and burns will occur much faster. Below is a video from NAB 2008 that outlines AVCHD from the Panasonic booth;

AVC-Intra was built by Panasonic to improve the compression capabilities of its DV-50 and DV-100 camera’s that record to more expensive P2 media. AVC-Intra records data for each individual frame making it much easier in the editing cycle. Below is a video of the presentation at the Panasonic booth that explains AVC-Intra.

Again, because of price, I was checking out the AVCHD line. Panasonic was focusing on the HMC150 which uses HVCHD and comes with a 28mm Leica Dicomar wide-angle zoom and has built-in optical image stabilization. The camera supports the same HD formats as the AG-HVX200 including 1080/60i, 1080/50i, 1080/30p, 1080/25p, 1080/24p native, 720/60p, 720/50p, 720/30p, 720/25p, 720/24p native. The camcorder is also 50Hz/59.94Hz switchable. One drawback of these HVCHD camera’s is that they are not DV centric. As such they lack firewire outputs and use USB to transfer out of the camera or employ HDMI as the live output should they lack an HDSDI output. Below is a first look video of this camera where many of the features are highlighted.

Also in the AVCHD line is the AG-HMC70 shoulder-mount AVCHD camcorder. Like all other AVCHD camcorders it records 1080i images onto SD/SDHC memory cards. No comment on how it looks….. Below is a video on Panasonics AG-HMC70.

In P2 Panasonic announced the AG-HPX170 1080p camcorder. The camera has two P2 slots and records in twenty HD and SD formats including a variety of 1080i and 720p formats in DVCPRO HD, in 480i in DVCPRO50 and DVCPRO, and in 480i in DV. It has switchable aspect ratios and offers 720p variable-speed shooting in the 12fps to 60fps range to acquire fast- or slow-motion. No word if it will be able to record employing AVC-Intra to increase recording times. Announcement video below;

Other Manufacturers

ARRI introduced a D21 camera, CANON introduced HF100, HF10, XL H1s & XL H1A cameras.

Video on ARRI D21 Below

Video on Cannon HF 10 Below

Good Wrap Up Video Of Items Discussed In This Post (below)

Finally Clarified – 24p Blue Ray Recording For Indy Filmmakers!

This is my first detailed post in some weeks and my first detailed post since returning from NAB 2008. April and May has always been my busiest months of the year. In fact, with the exception of NAB I always feel at this time of year that I live a nearly a monk like existence. It’s the end of the school year and we’re planning what we can accomplish in my workplace for the fall startup of the Undergraduate classes so I’m very busy.

One of the things I went to NAB for was to look at Blu-ray and how it might be used as a 24p distribution medium by our Film Studies school and in the Radio and Television Arts program at Ryerson. My contention at Ryerson had been that this was not as easy –or as cheap– a proposition as some thought it might be. I’m quite happy to report that it turns our my assumption was incorrect.

Prior to NAB my hopes were raised that inexpensive 24p Blu-ray playback was practical when I discovered that;

  1. The Playstation 3 was indeed capable of playing back 24p Blu-ray discs in 24p.
  2. A number of consumer level LCD displays are capable of accepting and playing back 24p frame rates.

However, for a conference that billed itself at a place where “Content Comes To Life”, I have to admit that when it came to Blu-ray at 24p, there was little apparent information on it. My first stop was SONIC Solutions. There they continued to sell their industrial level software authoring packages that I had always considered costly. SONiC Solutions does create packages that are really designed for advanced authoring of big name and big budget DVD titles.

SONIC Solutions

When I asked at SONIC how I might be able to burn 24p discs on a modest budget I was directed to a consumer package that they did not have in their booth. Since getting back from NAB and getting a chance to look at their site this evening I discovered that their Roxio’s DVDit® Pro HD package indeed encodes at 1080p, or 720 @ 24P. You can watch the flash video that clearly shows the author selecting 24p as part of the authoring process. That link is at


Sony was a little more difficult to understand because they have a high end product called Blu-print and at NAB they announced Blu Ray authoring capability in a couple of their products.

SONY’s Blu-print is their “high end” authoring tool that was designed for “Hollywood” to authour the first and next generation Blu-ray discs. According to SONY’s site, some of the key features of Blu-print are the following;

  • Blu-print supports the entire range of the BDMV specifications, allowing you to fully author BD discs with up to 999 movie objects, 9 video angles, over 2000 playlists.
  • Blu-print is fully compatible with all three HD codecs approved by the Blu-ray Association, which are AVC/H.264, VC-1, and MPEG-2.
  • Blu-print handles all integration of a BDJO (Blu-ray Disc Java Object) project so you can easily integrate your BD-J JAR (Java Archive) files and associate them with the BDJO. (Java is used to implement interactive menus on Blu-ray Discs)
  • Blu-print allows for full HD audio using the newest available audio codecs, including DD+ (Dolby Digital), DTS-HD (Digital Theatre Sound), Dolby True HD, Dolby Digital, DTS and LPCM (Linear Pulse Code Modulation) audio files.
  • Blu-print provides full support for subtitle streams for both image and text-based subtitles.

These Blu-print features go beyond the authoring abilities of SONY’s other Blu-ray authoring products and since there is no pricing for it on SONY Creative’s website I gather this is an industrial level (and priced) package.

SONY Vegas

According to SONY Creative, SONY’s editing package Vegas has “for Blu-ray Disc burning allows you to create a disc similar to a “single movie” DVD—the movie has no titles, menus, or buttons. Blu-ray Disc burning in Vegas Pro 8 software provides an alternate distribution option for high-definition content, rather than traditional file-based hard disk or streaming media formats. You can also use the Blu-ray Disc burning feature to create high-definition discs that can playback on a set-top Blu-ray Disc player or on a Sony PS3 gaming system.”

I can’t find the exact specification of the Blu-ray on the website so –for now– I’m working on the assumption that Vegas will support 1080p or 720p at 24fps. Assuming the frame rate is available his was and is the basic functionality that we we’re looking for. So reading this was good news.

DVD Architect™ Studio

It was announced at NAB that SONY’s DVD Architect™ Studio, which is a DVD authoring software package in the same vein as APPLE’s DVD Studio Pro 4, would also author Blu-ray disks. However in checking SONY Creative’s site it’s again not clear what Blu-ray formats the software outputs.

What about Final Cut Pro?

Nothing yet from APPLE and Final Cut Pro but it appears if you have and INTEL Mac, Adobe Encore CS3 –that includes Adobe Premiere® Pro CS3– would be your choice for Blu-ray authoring.

More soon….