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Product Finds
(April 23, 2001)

NAB2001 (National Association of Broadcasters) is the annual exhibition of converging electronic media communications. It showcases television broadcasting, video production, audio production, multimedia, Internet, satellite and telecommunications.

We found some hot products from these companies at the show:

3DV
Adobe
ASACA/Shibasoku
Canon
Dazzle
LaCie
Maxtor
Mitsubishi
Panasonic
Perceptual Robotics
Pioneer
Polhemus
Sharp
Silicon Graphics
TeraOptix
Verbatim


Depth is the Key
3DV's innovative ZCAM
No longer do live productions need to suffer from CG envy.

3DV Systems is demonstrating an innovative add-on to any pro video camera that can not only allow you cut-out even troublesome backgrounds from your subjects, its live z-buffer technology lets you insert CG characters and props right into live action video.

You attach the ZCAM between the lens and body of any color NTSC, PAL or HDTV camera. While filming as usual, the ZCAM emits pulses of infrared light and uses patented Parallel Range Sensing technology to generate a z-buffer or depth key mask for every frame.

Because the device is self-illuminated, your lighting setups are unchanged. Likewise your set (or lack thereof) can accommodate the device unchanged with no blue screens in sight.

Once you start rolling, the fun begins since you can "dial-in" the depth for your switchers to mask from the scene. Is the talent wearing a blue checked blazer in front of a blue plaid background? No problem.

The ZCAM also has the potential to bring virtual sets alive since CG elements can be easily placed into a live scene in the foreground, background, or in-between overlapping live elements in the same shot, something impossible with traditional color keying.

Beyond its ability to streamline studio setups and add new CG effects to live video production, 3DV's technology has the potential to break down the walls between synthetic and live content. It will be interesting to watch how ZCAM technology filters its way down into everything from full-body interactive video games to security cameras.

Features:

- Cameras: any NTSC-PAL or HDTV color camera
- Frame rate: 24-30 frames per second
- Depth: 8-10 bit (256 to 1024 levels)
- Range: up to 10 meters
- Output: B&W video or digital data
 

 


Adobe Digital Video Collection
If you need to add some more pizazz to your web site, Adobe has created two new "collections" of their software that can help. One is Adobe Digital Video Collection and the other is Adobe Streaming Media Collection. These collections help create a flexible workflow of tightly integrated products and the combination saves you money.

Adobe Digital Video Collection combines Adobe Premiere 6.0, Adobe After Effects 5.0, Adobe Photoshop 6.0 and Adobe Illustrator 9.0. There are two versions of Adobe Digital Video Collection -- Standard and Production. The difference is due to the version of After Effects that is included. The Standard version is street priced at $1199 and the Production bundle is street priced at $1999. These prices represent a $1000 savings, when compared to the combined street prices of the component packages..

Each part of the collection has a specific purpose.

  • Premiere 6.0 saves and edits the digital video content. Text, audio and effects can be added to these videos.

  • After Effects 5.0 adds rich visual and motion effects to the video content, through the use of composites, still images, shapes (2D and 3D) and over 80 filters

  • Photoshop 6.0 performs image editing, color correction, animations and background creation.

  • Adobe Illustrator 9.0 assists in the creation of artwork using its vector drawing tools and typographical controls.

    Since all these programs are from a single vendor, they share a common Adobe-standard interface. The toolboxes, palettes and internal commands all work the same way which makes learning the entire suite of tools much easier. These packages also work similarly on both the PC and Macintosh (cross platform), so work can be performed on the appropriate hardware platform. Other features this collection share are:

  • Special effect filters are common to Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere, and Adobe After Effects.

  • Bins, edits, and markers are preserved when importing Adobe Premiere projects into After Effects.

  • After Effects projects and Photoshop files can be opened from within Adobe Premiere

  • Layers, masks, transparency and editable text are preserved when Adobe Illustrator artwork is saved as native Photoshop files

  • Photoshop layers become editable objects when Photoshop files are opened in Illustrator.

  • Each Photoshop layer imported into Adobe Premiere or After Effects can be manipulated independently.

  • Photoshop vector masks, adjustment layers, and transfer modes can be used in After Effects.

    No matter how you intend to use your digital video, Adobe has created a comprehensive set of tools that helps you become more creative, streamlines your workflow and increases your productivity. With Adobe's Digital Video Collection, you don't have to learn and integrate packages from several different companies and now you can save money at the same time. 

     


    Adobe Streaming Media Collection
    If you need to add some more pizazz to your web site, Adobe has created two new "collections" of their software that can help. One is Adobe Streaming Media Collection and the other is Adobe Digital Video Collection. These collections help create a flexible workflow of tightly integrated products and the combination saves you money.

    Adobe Streaming Media Collection combines Adobe Premiere 6.0, Adobe After Effects 5.0 (Standard version), Adobe LiveMotion 1.0 and Adobe GoLive 5.0. This collection is street priced at $999, which represents a $750 savings, when compared to the combined street prices of the component packages.

    Each part of the collection has a specific purpose.

  • Premiere 6.0 saves and edits the digital video content. Text, audio and effects can be added to these videos.

  • After Effects 5.0 adds rich visual and motion effects to the video content, through the use of composites, still images, shapes (2D and 3D) and over 80 filters

  • Adobe LiveMotion 1.0 helps you create user interface elements and other animations that incorporate motion graphics, sound and interactivity.

  • Adobe GoLive 5.0 integrates streaming media and interactive animation content into your Web site without reformatting HTML or JavaScript code

    Since all these programs are from a single vendor, they share a common Adobe-standard interface. The toolboxes, palettes and internal commands all work the same way, which makes learning the entire suite of tools much easier. These packages also work similarly on both the PC and Macintosh (cross platform), so work can be performed on the appropriate hardware platform. Other features this collection share are:

  • Special effect filters are common to Adobe Premiere and Adobe After Effects.

  • Bins, edits, and markers are preserved when importing Adobe Premiere projects into After Effects.

  • After Effects projects can be opened from within Adobe Premiere

  • Web Markers inserted into Adobe Premiere and After Effects timelines can automatically launch HTML-referenced Web pages at precise points during streaming video playback.

    No matter how you intend to use your streaming media, Adobe has created a comprehensive set of tools that helps you become more creative, streamlines your workflow and increases your productivity. With Adobe's Streaming Media Collection, you don't have to learn and integrate packages from several different companies and now you can save money at the same time. 

     


    ASACA RapidAccess MediaMachine
    Broadcasters have huge libraries of analog video archives. Finding material quickly and making changes for airtime is getting harder as programming becomes more "just in time". The RapidAccess MediaMachine from ASACA/Shibasoku Corporation helps solve these problems.

    The RapidAccess MediaMachine is a unique concept in MPEG-2 video storage and playback. It combines an ASACA TeraCart rewritable DVD Library with an embedded video server. By supporting direct analog/digital encoding and multistream decoding, the RapidAccess MediaMachine provides direct-to-air playback of up to 30,000 hours of video storage. That's nearly three and half years of continuous content available for quick retrieval.

    The ASACA/Shibasoku Corporation has created a solution that offers scalability and playback flexibility that is useful in applications such as sports venues, jumbotrons, amusement parks, theaters, museums and shopping channels, in addition to conventional broadcasting.

    The RapidAccess MediaMachine also:

  • Supports Windows NT

  • Includes a complete encoding/decoding, monitoring and storage management solution for broadcast-quality MPEG-2 as well as MPEG-1 video content

  • Utilizes SDI and Composite video inputs/outputs

  • Offers direct Analog/Digital video input encoding at compression rates ranging from 1.5 to 50 Mb/s depending on encoder

  • Manages video content playback through playlists that can be easily modified or moved at the last minute

  • Stores specific content and detail information on every encoded clip for fast, accurate retrievals

  • Uses Microsoft SQL or Access as the relational database

    Since the RapidAccess MediaMachine is built with a modular open architecture, it can be upgraded as needed. The embedded video server stores about 18 hours of on-line video, but optional 72 GB drives can be added to get 40 more hours of on-line video storage. The DVD-RAM libraries of the RA-750DVD system provide about 1,900 hours of near-on-line capacity using 750 rewritable DVD discs. The RA-1450DVD system doubles this capacity. Using eight of these units, you can create a massive single library or multiple virtual libraries.

    For even greater capacity, expansion cabinets can be added that include up to 192 DVD-RAM drives with up to 11,600 double-sided DVD-RAM discs. This provides a whopping 109 terabytes (about 30,000 hours) of removable, rewritable video storage.

    Each side of a double-sided 9.4 GB DVD-RAM disc stores two hours of theater-quality video. DVD-RAM also:

  • Costs less than 40 cents per gigabyte

  • Provides more than 100,000 write/rewrite cycles

  • Lasts more than 30 years (videos will not deteriorate over time)

  • Offers exceptional picture quality, instant access to individual frames and non-linear editing support.

  • Allows manipulation of clips -- freeze-frame or super slow motion playback without registration or tracking problems

    The RapidAccess MediaMachine RA-750DVD system starts at $136,900. The RA-1450DVD, with 6 drives, is approximately $231,800.00, depending on options. Options include Fibre Channel/SAN connectivity, embedded RAID and a Traffic/Billing interface. 

     


    Canon 3D Lens for XL1
    Digital meets stereo
    Canon has boldly claimed a stake on immersive digital video territory with the introduction of a first-of-its-kind 3D zoom lens for its popular XL1 digital video camera.

    By introducing stereo imaging into the digital producer's toolkit, this new lens could add depth, literally, to all kinds of projects from documentaries, to medical applications and interactive game footage.

    In the past, stereo photography has often discouraged experimentation because of its many quirks and limitations. Fortunately, Canon's thoughtful design gracefully dodges the usual quirks with clever engineering.

    First, it employs a high-speed shutter to alternate between capturing left and right images 30 times per second. Such a "Field Sequential System" offers the huge advantage that both images ultimately pass through the same zoom and focus optics. This means that the image pairs always remain aligned and identically focused, something that takes constant manual recalibration for twin lens stereo systems.

    Secondly, a smart focusing unit in the 3D lens constantly adjusts the angle of convergence (i.e. makes sure both images are looking at the same point in space) even as you zoom in on different subjects at different distances. Less sophisticated lens systems commonly require manual re-convergence between fixed shot setups. Otherwise, a simple zoom-in would give the entire audience a wall-eyed, parallax-induced headache.

    If these innovative design choices are any indication, Canon's 3D lens could be just the thing to draw audiences deeper into your digital video subjects while making stereo photography less a leap for you into the artistic unknown.

    Features:

    - Image Size: 1/3 inch
    - Focal Length: 7.5mm - 22.5mm (35mm
    - 35 mm equivalent: 54mm - 162 mm
    - Auto/Manual focus
    - Focus range: 1 meter (3 ft.) to infinity
    - Dimensions: 10 mm (max. dia.) x 310 mm (L) (excluding hood)
    - Weight: Approx. 2lbs. 3oz.(1000 g) 

     


    Dazzle's Hollywood DV Bridge
    You just bought a DV camcorder, but still have lots of older tapes of your kids growing up. Now what? Dazzle's new Hollywood DV-Bridge is just what you need. Using it, you can become part of the digital video revolution.

    The Dazzle Hollywood DV-Bridge solves the compatibility problems associated with analog and digital video. With this device, connected to either your Windows PC or Macintosh computer, you can digitize and edit the video from your older VHS tapes and mix it with the DV content from your new camcorder. In fact, you can directly transfer video from your new DV camcorder to your older VHS machine directly and vice versa, without using your computer! This is handy when you need to make a copy to show neighbors or relatives that aren't digital yet.

    By using a Firewire (i.LINK/1394) interface the Dazzle Hollywood DV-Bridge can transfer the video quickly to your PC. It is compatible with Apple iMovie, iDVD, DVD Pro and Final Cut Pro, Microsoft MovieMaker, Adobe Premiere and others. Dazzle includes their own video editing and authoring software, so you can start right away.

    Now you can make your own fully edited video tapes, CDs or DVDs. You can even convert the digital video to a streaming format to view on your website or the Dazzle Webcast Theater. You can even send video emails to the relatives overseas. Now your whole family is part of the digital video revolution.

    Dazzle's Hollywood DV-Bridge retails for $299 and is available nationwide.

     

     


    Dazzle Digital Video Creator II
    Video production suite in a box
    Dazzle is shipping the second version of its Digital Video Creator II (DVC II) hardware and software combo for capturing and producing DVD-quality videos.

    The compact hardware is no bigger than an external modem standing upright on your desk. But, there's a lot of audio and video smarts within that small footprint.

    For starters, the unit can sample and record mono or stereo audio at or near CD quality. Conversely, it can output edited audio to WAV or MPEG files.

    When it comes to video, the DVC II can grab hi-res stills (at near 2 megapixels resolution) or capture video (at better-than-VGA resolution) from composite or S-Video input at up to 30 frames per second (fps). Alternatively, you can set the DVC II to capture video frames at regular intervals, useful for security applications, time-lapse photography, or feeding Web cams.

    The included editing software makes cutting and mixing video and audio tracks together a drag-and-drop operation. You can preview your work at any time on an external monitor or TV and then go nuts adding digital transition effects and scrolling titles.

    Finally, you'll want to render your edited masterpieces directly to a VCR, the Web, CD-RW or DVD-RW disks in your choice of video formats; RealVideo®, MPEG-1, or MPEG-2.

    Whether you shoot techies in training videos or toddlers in training pants, Dazzle's Video Creator II appears to be a low-cost production tool bristling with the video gadgetry you need to tell your story.

    Features:

    - Video Formats: RealVideo®, MPEG-1, MPEG-2
    - Video In: Composite and S-Video: NTSC, PAL
    - Video Out: Composite and S-Video: NTSC, PAL
    - Media: Create CD-ROMs or DVD-ROMs
    - Audio: RealAudio®, MPEG and WAV at 64Kb/sec to 384Kb/sec
    - Audio sampling: 32KHz, 41.1KHz and 48KHz, mono and stereo
    - Max resolution: 720 x 480 (video), 1600 x 1200 (stills)
    - Still image capture: single, multiple, or periodic snapshot modes
    - Max frame rate: 30 fps
    - DVD playback: Mediamatics Software DVD Player
    - Requires: 400 MHz CPU, 64MB RAM, Windows 98/2000
    - Interface: PCI
    - Price: $350 

     


    LaCie FireWire Desktop Drive
    When capturing and working with digital video, you need high performance. A few years ago, some SCSI drives had video capability. Now LaCie pushes those limits, with drives that can transfer data at up to 45 MB per second.

    These external LaCie drives have up to 75 GB of capacity and can hold more 5 hours of DV video. They are hot-pluggable and easily connect to FireWire-equipped (1394) PCs and Macs. These drives double the data throughput performance of standard ATAPI (IDE) drives since they can stream data to the computer at a sustained rate of 35 MB/s (burst performance to 45 MB/s).

    Four sizes are currently available -- 20, 45, 60 and 75 gigabytes. The external LaCie drives also

  • are ideal for storing, exchanging and manipulating digital video

  • improve quality and eliminate video frame loss due to their high speed

  • are fully ATA 100 compliant and support Ultra DMA mode 5

  • feature LaCie's new 400 Mbps FireWire controller chipset

  • can capture video from DV camcorders

  • can be locked up in a safe when not being used

  • are simple to install -- no need for terminators or device IDs - Sorry, external SCSI.

  • feature an internal, worldwide-capable power supply (no external power module needed)

  • interface via two 6-pin IEEE-1394 connections

    The LaCie Fast FireWire hard drives are about $573 and are currently available. Included in the package are the 1394 cable and LaCie's Silverlining drive utility software for all the supported OSes (MacOS, Windows 98 SE and Windows 2000). Silverlining is the only driver able to manage USB, IDE, SCSI and FireWire peripherals at the same time.


    LaCie PocketDrive

    If you need this same level of performance in a more mobile package, LaCie offers the PocketDrive for mobile computing. With capacities ranging from 10 to 30 GB, these "pocket rocket" drives can interface to a laptop via either USB or FireWire. 

     


    Maxtor MaxAttach
    Need more hard drive space? Who doesn't? For anyone running a data center, adding a few more tower servers to get that extra storage can run you out of floor space in a hurry. The Maxtor MaxAttach is a more spatially efficient solution.

    In only 1.75 inches of rack space (1U size), you can have a 320 GB file server -- nearly a third of a terabyte! This server is also compatible with Windows, UNIX/Linux, Macintosh and NetWare users and takes only 10 minutes to install, without any network downtime.

    The Maxtor MaxAttach also:

  • provides value at less than 2 cents per megabyte

  • interfaces directly to the LAN with Gigabit Ethernet and dual 10/100 Ethernet ports

  • supports Novell's NDS and Microsoft's Active Directory

  • provides additional SCSI port to enable local tape backup

  • supports RAID 0, 1 and 5

  • includes Maxtor MaxNeighborhood, a Web-based tool that provides centralized storage management

  • can be monitored remotely through SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol)

  • is compatible with backup and device-management tools from Veritas, Legato, CA and HP

  • includes software to mirror the operating system between two hard drives for increased fault tolerance and data availability

  • provides network status reporting and automatic e-mail alerts

  • allows easy field service access to fans, drives, fans and power supply

  • includes an integrated UPS for better fault tolerance.

  • includes a three-year hardware warranty.

    The 160 GB Maxtor MaxAttach server configuration is $3,299 (without Gigabyte Ethernet) while the 320 GB MaxAttach server configuration is $4,999.

    Need even more space -- about a terabyte? Get three units. In only five and a quarter inches of rack space, you can now have 960 GB of storage -- much better than stacking towers around the data center. 

     


    Mitsubishi Megaview Wall
    Video/Data Display
    If you have the need for a huge display, Mitsubishi's latest large-scale product, the MegaView Wall, is what you need. By combining 50-inch display "cubes" with state-of-the-art controller technology, Mitsubishi creates an enormous video wall. Specifically designed for power plant control rooms or retail security environments where a display is mission critical, these units can run non-stop, 24 hours a day.

    Each of the "cubes" has an XGA resolution (1024 x 768) and offer superior color reproduction. Each cube is color matched to the other cubes, through the use of a color calibration system. These individual cubes are "rear projection" devices and feature an ultra-short (26-inch depth), optical focusing system to save installation space. Their long-life lamps offer energy-efficient power consumption.

    Other important features of the Mitsubishi VS-50FD10U include:

  • Digital Micromirror Device (DMD) - This Mitsubishi designed monitor engine uses a DMD chip for display -- this is not conventional CRT technology.

  • No burn-in - The DMD semiconductor is a reflective device and is not adversely affected when projecting a fixed pattern over a long period of time, like most CRT displays.

  • Color calibration - Internal circuits compensate for color tone discrepancies between projection units, which provides consistent, outstanding color and brilliance uniformity. 

     


    Panasonic DVD-RAM/R drive
    If you need to maximize your flexibility and interchangeability within the DVD format, the new Panasonic DVD-RAM/R drive has what you need. Panasonic has combined the capability to create a rewritable DVD-RAM disc and write-once DVD-R disc into a single drive. This drive provides the hard drive like random-access functionality of DVD-RAM technology, but is also also compatible with DVD video players, recorders and other DVD-ROM drives. Now you can create interchangeable discs for home video and personal computer storage, as well as develop and test master DVDs.

    The Panasonic DVD-RAM/R drive is shipping and will have a MSRP under $1,000. It also:

  • reads and writes general-purpose 4.7GB DVD-R discs and 4.7GB/9.4GB DVD-RAM discs

  • provides over 7 times the capacity of a CD

  • plays back DVD video, DVD-ROM and DVD-R discs

  • reads CDs at 24X

  • transfers data at up to 11.08 Mbps with DVD-R media (9X)

  • transfers data at 22.16 Mbps for 4.7GB DVD-RAM media (18X)

  • has a 1 MB Buffer and ATAPI interface (Ultra DMA Mode 2)

    Some of the many possible uses of this drive are:

  • personal computing backup and archiving

  • storage and authoring of home movies

  • professional video authoring and editing

  • DVD video playback

  • image archiving

  • low-cost limited-run duplication 

     


    Perceptual Robotics
    TrueLook Technology
    You wish you could go to the game, but it's halfway across the globe? You want to know if a specific chair is in stock at the furniture store? You need to see the daily status on your construction project four states away? All of these problems can be solved with Perceptual Robotics TrueLook technology and systems.

    If a TrueLook system was installed at the ball park, furniture store or construction site you would be able with a standard web browser, without any plug-ins, to look where you want at these locations. More than simply a fixed "Internet cam", the TrueLook system allows you to remotely pan, tilt and zoom camera at the remote location. You get to see what you want, when you want to see it.

    If a few more people decide that they want to go to the game, store or construction site, the TrueLook software automatically shares the camera. This gives you the feeling that you are the only person controlling your very own private camera. For crowds of people, TrueLook uses banks of cameras and software algorithms to cache, share and control the camera movement. Camera operators at games have only a single director telling them where aim, but TrueLook's robotic cameras could have hundreds of people shouting (via their browser screen) to look over "there". With each "there" being a different location for each viewer, the TrueLook software gives each viewer their own private image and optimally handles all the requests.

    Editor's note: We first met with Perceptual Robotics at the 1998 Digital Frontier Conference at the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. I spoke with Kevin Convery from their Sales and Marketing department -- he is now their Vice President of Sales. See the pictures

     


    Record both DVD-Rs and CD-Rs
    on the same drive
    If recordable CD-ROMs don't have enough capacity for you, Pioneer has a recordable DVD drive that also can record CDs as well. The Pioneer model DVR-A03 is a combination of a recordable DVD drive and a recordable/rewritable CD drive in one. This is the world's first drive that can perform all these functions in a single drive.

    The DVR-A03 will ship by the end of May 2001 and will have a suggested price of $995. Now you can store a whopping 4.7 gigabytes of data on a single, removable media -- that's over seven conventional CDs in storage capacity.

    Software included to make the most out of this multifunction drive is:

  • Prassi's PrimoDVD 2.0 for recording data to DVD and CD media

  • Sonic Solutions' MyDVD for DVD-Video authoring

  • CyberLink's PowerDVD 3.0 software DVD player

    This drive is primarily targeted for digital video recording and data archiving applications, but I can see some avid digital photographers using this drive as well. Kodak's latest six megapixel camera and sixteen megapixel DCS Pro Back makes conventional CD-ROM capacities look puny.

    This drive reads and writes four recordable formats:

  • DVD-R (Write once and is compatible with most DVD Video players and DVD-ROM drives)

  • DVD-RW (DVD re-recordable -- erase and re-record your own DVD discs more than 1,000 times)

  • CD-R (CD write once)

  • CD-RW (CD rewritable)

    It is capable of recording DVD-R discs at twice normal speed -- the other key speeds for the DVR-A03 drive are:

  • 2X DVD-R record
  • 1X DVD-RW record
  • 8X for CD-R record
  • 4X for CD-RW record
  • 4X DVD-ROM read
  • 24X CD-ROM read

    In case this drive sounds familiar, Reviews OnLine covered the OEM version of the drive, before it even had a part number. That drive (now numbered DVR-103) is currently available in the Compaq Presario 7000 and PowerMac G4 systems. Now it is available to anyone by the end of May 2001 for under a thousand dollars. 

     


    Polhemus FastSCAN
    3D scanning
    Polhemus is offering a portable solution to capturing the 3D surface of actors or objects.

    The FastSCAN is a handheld "wand" scanner that captures accurate 3D contours of opaque subjects using its built-in laser and two miniature cameras. In as little as 15 minutes, you can digitize an entire face for output to your favorate CG package.

    More practical than platform-based scanning stations, FastSCAN is ideal for field assignments or where tight deadlines (or temperamental talent) prevent a separate trip to the lab for digitizing.

    Features:

    - Accuracy: 1mm at 200mm (0.02 at 8 inches)
    - Range: 760 mm (30 in)
    - Output: 3D Studio Max, Lightwave, VRML, and more 

     


    Sharp LC-28HM2
    Wide-screen Video Monitor
    TV displays seem to get larger every year. Now they are getting thinner as well. In a package measuring about 27 inches wide, 18 inches high and 2.4 inches deep, Sharp has created their largest and widest LCD monitor to date. This LC-28HM2 wide-screen video monitor features:

  • wide-screen high-definition resolution

  • 1280 x 768 component video inputs

  • PC compatibility (XGA, SVGA and VGA resolutions)

  • accepts inputs from HDTV signals and DVD players

    While the LC-28HM2 would make a stunning addition to a home theatre, its $16,995 price tag makes it more suitable for use in TV broadcast and production, corporate videoconferencing or in-flight entertainment. Other uses are hotel lobbies, retail environments, trade show booths, museum displays, sports books or stadium displays.

    The LC-28HM2 is compatible with digital television input signals and offers a wide-screen aspect ratio for HDTV display. It weighs under than 25 pounds. 

     


    Zx10 VE Visual Workstation
    SGI's desktop media forge
    Silicon Graphics introduced its Windows-based visual workstation for high-quality virtual sets, virtual characters, and real-time graphics applications.

    This dual Pentium media workhorse comes in a tower or rack-mount configuration and is optimized for seamless merging of computer graphics and live video, in real-time.

    The Zx10 achieves this harmonious convergence thanks to high-quality conversion between YCrCb and RGB colorspaces along with configurable gamma correction. In addition, the workstation can genlock to your choice of an external reference, internal reference, or input video signal.

    Combined with a full sample rate Alpha channel and multisampled, scene-based anti-aliasing of CG elements, these advanced feature are designed to eliminate compositing artifacts and produce clean, broadcast-ready standard definition (SD) video.

    Features:

    - Dual 1 GHz Pentium III processors
    - 512MB memory double-wide PC133 SDRAM
    - 18.2GB 10,000 RPM,Ultra160 SCSI drive
    - Wildcat 4210 VIO graphic
    - Ultratower or 5U rack-mount chassis
    - DMediaPro DM1
    - Windows NT or Windows 2000 

     


    Terapin CD Video Recorder
    While many companies tout the recordable DVD as the digital format for consumers to store their own videos, TeraOptix has created the Terapin CD Video recorder that uses more conventional and lower cost recording technology. For about 600 dollars, you are now able to record any video source directly to CD-R media. Now it is quite inexpensive to record a TV program you missed, since some generic CD-R media is only thirty cents each. Considering a bulk pack of fifty CDs takes up far less space than the equivalent VHS tape volume, finding that program again should also be much faster.

    While there are plenty of ways to digitize video on your PC, the Terapin CD Video recorder doesn’t require any computer expertise or even a computer to operate - it’s self contained. It behaves just like a conventional VCR, except you insert round CD media instead of a tape. Playback is accomplished through this device, as well as CD video players, DVD players and a multimedia PC. It also comes with a remote (see below).

    Now that I look over the product specs and features, I have to wonder why more companies haven’t created one of these - a simple, easy to use, digital video recorder, using inexpensive rigid media instead of tape.

    The Terapin CD Video recorder also:

  • records 74 minutes of motion video with audio in CD-DA or VideoCD format on CD-R Audio and CD-RW Audio media

  • requires NO MORE REWINDING! This feature alone almost make this CD Video recorder worth it and no more jammed or broken tapes either.

  • has Slow Motion and Fast Forward/Rewind Playback at 3 different speeds each

  • shows full OSD (on screen display) on PCs and TVs

  • can play directly from a specific time location on the CD disk. You no longer have to wait while you fast forward or rewind to arrive at the desired scene - you can just “skip” directly to it. While DVD has this feature, you now have this capability for your OWN content. Instead of having to wait to access a particular scene in the video of your son or daughter’s birthday, graduation or wedding, you can simply “skip” to it. And unlike tape, you won’t wear out the CD media as you play it for friends and neighbors that drop by.

  • features a wild, nine pane “split screen” mode that helps you more quickly find the start of your desired scene

  • has video inputs and outputs for S-Video and Composite video. Representative video sources include camcorders, television broadcasts, VCRs, DVD players and cable set top boxes.

  • has stereo inputs for optical, coaxial and analog audio. Representative audio sources include CD players, PCs, DAT devices, DVD players, tuners, tape decks and phonographs. Audio outputs include coaxial and analog.

  • is available in 3 colors (Raven Grey, Lava Red and Ice Blue). My favorite color - Ice Blue - is shown above and below.

  • is compatible with both American NTSC and European PAL formats

  • has a 90dB signal to noise ratio and 0.05% THD (Total Harmonic distortion)

  • includes a remote control that matches the device.



     

     


    Verbatim DVD Media
    Price reductions in recordable DVD drives are making them a more affordable choice for data storage. A single-sided 4.7 GB disc provides the same capacity as seven CDs. This is the approximate equivalent of:

  • up to 2 hours of theater-quality video

  • 4,700 full-color photos

  • 14+ hours of MP3-compressed audio files

  • more than 400,000 documents

    Depending on your drive, there are several different types of DVD media that can be used. To help you choose the appropriate media for the job, here is a quick overview of the different types available from Verbatim:

    DVD-R for data
    DVD-R for authoring
    DVD-RW for data
    DVD-RAM


    DVD-R for data



    This media supports the DVD-R for general use drives from Pioneer, Panasonic and others. The Verbatim DVD-R for data media has a lifetime warranty and is fully compliant with the DVD-R General specifications established by the DVD Forum.

    Ideal for storage and archival of critical information, the Verbatim DVD-R for data media can be used for financial data, legal files, government records and medical images that must not be altered or overwritten. It is also ideal for consumers who want to share their videos with family members. Corporations can also use this media to replicate training courses, marketing videos or multimedia presentations.

    Verbatim DVD-R for data media:

  • is compatible with the leading DVD-ROM drives and DVD-Video players

  • uses a write-once format

  • has a data life in excess of 100 years

  • features Verbatim's patented Metal Azo recording dye technology for recording stability and high archival life

  • supports both incremental and disc-at-once writing

  • is available in both branded and blank printable surface con-figurations

  • has an MSRP of $18.00


    DVD-R for authoring



    Similar in usage as DVD-R for Data described above, Verbatim's DVD-R for authoring is for professional authoring drives.

    (Not pictured is 3.95 GB DVD-R media that is compatible with both 3.95 GB and 4.7 GB DVD-R authoring drives.)


    DVD-RW for data



    Because of its rewritable capability, Verbatim's DVD-RW for data media allows you to edit and incrementally update files on the disc. It offers a lifetime warranty and is fully compliant with the DVD Forum's specifications for the DVD-RW format.

    Being cartridge-free, the rewritable Verbatim DVD-RW media provides read compatibility with both DVD-ROM drives and DVD-Video players. It is a single solution for both real-time video recording and data recording, with the ability to protect content from unauthorized copying. This media also makes the job of combining digital video and digital data in multimedia presentations easier and cheaper. Now you can fine-tune your video without having to write another "one-shot" DVD-R disc that will need to be discarded with each new version of the presentation.

    Because of multi-session writing capability of DVD-RW, you can easily add documents, data or video segments without having to open and close write sessions. Now you can edit and author a video on a DVD-RW drive and when you're satisfied with the results, play the disc back on any standard DVD-ROM drive or DVD player. Verbatim's DVD-RW for data is compatible with the industry-standard UDF (Universal Disc Format) data storage standard endorsed by OSTA (Optical Storage Technology Association). This standard provides for the efficient reading and writing of small amounts of random access data. This insures that data written to the disc can be read on nearly any computer platform.

    Verbatim's DVD-RW for data also:

  • provides a data life in excess of 50 years

  • can be written, read and overwritten more than 1,000 times.

  • incorporates extensive defect management to ensure that data written to the disc is accurately and completely captured

  • has an MSRP of $30 for single-sided 4.7 GB DVD-RW discs

    For video applications, the DVD-RW format uses advanced "lossless linking" so variable bit rate recording can be used for longer playback. Constant Linear Velocity technology is used so video can be quickly streamed to the media. For data applications, the disc rotates at a constant speed (constant angular velocity) to provide fast, random-access reading.


    DVD-RAM



    Verbatim's DVD-RAM family of media includes the single sided 4.7 GB bare disc and removable-cartridge discs, as well as the double-sided 5.2 GB and 9.4 GB media in protective cartridges. DVD-RAM media allows you to save, update and overwrite files just like you do with your standard hard drive.

    This "easy write" capability makes Verbatim's DVD-RAM media popular to use for the storage of Internet downloads, videos, databases, backup archives. It can be used anywhere that high-capacity, removable storage is needed. DVD-RAM can also be used for high-volume work-in-progress and storage applications including graphics, desktop publishing, and pre-press production, as well as multi-Terabyte knowledge management library applications. It also:

  • provides more than 100,000 write/rewrite cycles

  • has a 30-year data life

  • incorporates random access technology which allows users to move instantly to any location on the disc

  • can write and erase individual sectors to enhance productivity during editing

  • makes backups faster because there is no waiting for tape rewinds and its random access capability speeds file recovery

  • has an MSRP of $42 for the 4.7 GB bare disc DVD-RAM media and $70 for 9.4 GB double-sided media cartridge.

    Verbatim DVD-RAM media has been tested and certified compatible by two of the DVD Forum's DVD testing labs. The 2.6 GB/5.2 GB and 4.7 GB/9.4 GB DVD-RAM drives from AOpen, Hitachi, LG Electronics, LaCie, Panasonic, QPS, Samsung, TEAC, Toshiba and other leading manufacturers are supported. Data and videos recorded to Verbatim 4.7 GB bare DVD-RAM discs or removable cartridge media can be played back by more than two dozen DVD-ROM drives, nearly a dozen DVD players and six DVD recorders available today. 

     

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