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We found some interesting product developments at NAB 2003. See what we found.

By Ben Miskie
Apr 9, 2003

NAB is the largest television convention in the world; however this is not the same convention we have seen in the past. A lot of the flash and the glitz from 2 years ago had vanished. Gone are the free t-shirt give always. Gone are the promotional models. The only thing they are giving away now is a pen (if you are lucky) and a couple of stale starbursts. This could be due to the war, SARS, and the economic down turn. What ever it is, it is slowing down the development of new and innovative video products. That said, there are still a few things going on in the show room floor and there are still a few exciting announcements:

Apple Computer
Apple Computer unveiled 3 very exciting products at once: Final Cut 4, Shake, and DVD Studio 2. Final Cut 4 was looking good with over 300 new features including better text tools. One of the new features that was much needed is the ability to do key framing and time remapping. In the past, a gradual slow motion effect required Adobe After effects; that has now changed. DVD Studio Pro 2 had been completely redone from the ground up and is far more stable and easier to use with almost all of the convenience of the amazing iDVD. However, DVD Studio Pro 2 will not be available until August 2003.

TRAPCODE introduced a slew of new after effects plug-ins with Pieter(programmer and owner) demonstrating them at the adobe booth. Of these effects, probably most exciting is the Shine effect. This effect is very similar to Final Effect’s light burst and can be used in a number of ways. It only costs 79 dollars, which is far cheaper than buying the Final Effects suite and we think many consumers will be excited about this product.

JVC introduced two pro-sumer cameras that shoot in HD format on a MiniDV tape. The cameras are only 1 CCD chip so it is difficult to understand why they would place a higher quality format in a cheap body. It will be interesting to see who would ever want to buy this product. Because of the poor camera body, the final out put may be worse than a 3 CCD MiniDV camera that still costs less.

Serious Magic
Serious Magic had a very exciting product called Ultra Key. Affordably priced, the product allows you to create a virtual studio with a regular video camera and a green screen. But unlike many other products, this one actually works! In the past many other green screen/chroma key type programs require the background to have an expensive lighting set up in order to work. However, we were able to witness it working with basic 7 dollar lights – and work extremely well. Ultra key will be available around June. Another product being demonstrated and available now is Visual Communicator. This product gives you similar green screening capability while also allowing you to manipulate backgrounds on the fly, add titles, as well as many other features. It’s perfect for people wanting to make small business presentation, or set up a virtual sound stage!

FOCUS presented a portable hard drive that attached to the JVC DVCAM camera. It allows you to capture video directly to hard drive, and then it allows you to connect the hard drive via FireWire to your computer. It can save the files in a variety of formats and is very flexible. In addition you can purchase additional hard drives to swap in and out. It speeds up the process of filmmaking by passes capturing from tape while still making a backup of all your footage on tape. The product is still bulky and costs about $1850 so it is not a product that is ready for consumers. However, things always get smaller and cheaper so it may be ready for consumers in our near future.

ULEAD unveils StudioQuartet. StudioQuartet is a collection of four applications which include: digital video, image editing, 3D animation and DVD authoring supporting only the PC. Priced at $895 and able to natively edit MPEG-2 video, ULEAD is making inroads into the Adobe stronghold with their easy-of-use products, integration, and competitive pricing.

Category: Learn

Updated: Apr 9, 2003 2:39:05 PM

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