Canopus is now shipping ProCoder Express, a cost-effective, consumer oriented video conversion package based on the core technology found in the companyâ€™s professional video transcoding software, ProCoder. Fast, and user-friendly, ProCoder Express enables users to create video files for DVD, VCD, Web streaming and e-mailing, in just a few steps. Also included in the product is a wizard for step-by-step guidance in choosing the best settings for a range of applications such as Web, e-mail, DVD, and high-definition playback, which frees users from the task of learning about video compression. The suggested retail price of ProCoder Express is $59.95. www.canopus.comChristie, which offers Pro AV networking solutions, has recently released two new Christie Connectivity Modules and the ChristieNET Master Display Controller professional software solution. The CCM 2PORT Type 3 for drop-in integration with an existing RS232 control system, and the CCM Type 50 connects Christie DS30 and Christie DS30W to any network. This product line enables the monitoring and controlling of both new and older Christie projectors or display devices, from anywhere in the world. www.christiedigital.comDigital Projection International has announced LIGHTNING 35HD, the third generation LIGHTNING series projector. The large-venue system, which has 2000 x 1000 native resolution, offers numerous new operational features, including 18,000 center lumens, and 1200-to-1 full-field contrast through Texas Instrumentsâ€™ new 2000x1000 Dark Chip II DMDs, enabling it to support native display of sources with resolutions up to 2048x1080. It also uses a proprietary xenon lamp, includes a variety of motorized zoom lenses, and at 40 inches long and 242 pounds, is the most compact product in its class. www.digitalprojection.com; www.digitalprojection.co.ukMatrox Graphics now offers a WYSIWYG plug-in developed for Adobe Premiere Pro, which enables video output support with the Matrox Parhelia graphics card. Premiere Pro users can output their video presentations to an external video monitor or tape deck when in Parheliaâ€™s dual-display plus TV output mode, to enhance software nonlinear editing efficiency. The plug-in is a free download for registered Parhelia users and can be accessed from the Matrox Graphics Web site at the following link: www.matrox.com/mga/workstation/video/sw_video/premiere_pro/home.cfm Additional information can be found at www.matrox.com/mga. NEC America recently announced the availability of BlueFire VC, a network appliance that enables centralized control, scheduling, and multimedia content delivery for digital signage on plasma display panels and liquid crystal displays. Compact and user-friendly, the BlueFire VC can centralized multimedia content delivery on nearly any display to facilitate applications such as public information, entertainment and training. The BlueFire VC supports a wide variety of screen resolutions, ranging up to 1365x768 and has an 80GB hard drive to store multiple programs for scheduled playback. www.cng.nec.comPentaWare has released PentaSuite 7.0, a new end-to-end file management program. The product allows users to open, compress, encrypt, view, upload or download, store, and send files. It seamlessly integrates with e-mail and antivirus software and makes handling large files easier than ever. It can also be easily customized to fit the needs of a broad base of users. The new version features a redesigned graphical user interface and a host of file management components. www.pentaware.comUlead Systems announced that it will be equipping its professional video editing and DVD authoring software to support the High Definition Video format. The HDV format specification, which was established by Canon, Sharp, Sony, and Victor Company of Japan, is designed to enable consumer and professional videographers to record and playback high-definition video on standard DV and mini DV cassette tapes. The new format will enable video camcorders to offer a video recording quality that is far higher than currently possible. Uleadâ€™s MediaStudio Pro 7 video editing software, the first of the companyâ€™s products to work with the HDV format, is now available. The remainder of the companyâ€™s products will follow suite in time. Also new from Ulead is DVD Workshop 2, the next version of its professional DVD authoring software. The new version offers more professional authoring features, including multiple subtitle and audio tracks, playlists, and professional output with support for Digital Linear Tape and dual-layer DVDs. www.ulead.com
In a unique exhibit last November, Philadelphia area art students used high-definition plasma and liquid crystal flat-panel TVs to display digital masterpieces created through the manipulation of images taken with camera phones. Students from Drexel University, Moore College of Art and Design, the Art Institute of Philadelphia, the Hussian School of Art, and the University of the Arts gathered to participate in this one-night-only event at the Highwire Gallery. The students used Samsung VGA 1000 camera phones from Sprint to capture images and personalize them with their own artistic expression for display on the high-end hardware. The flat-panel TVs were supplied by cosponsor Hifi House, which supplies high-end audio and video electronics for homes, businesses, and educational institutions. A company spokesman reports that â€œHifi House is happy to support Philadelphiaâ€™s visual arts students who have created a unique experience by blending the latest in telecommunications, digital photography, and display technologies.â€ www.hifihousegroup.comSoftimage, a subsidiary of Avid Technology, has launched its Be The Hero student animation contest. The contest seeks to recognize leading talent from up-and-coming animators worldwide, inviting both full- and part-time students to submit a piece of animation for one of three prizes. Top prizes include a production license of the Softimage XSI software and one yearâ€™s maintenance for the winner, and Academic versions of the nonlinear software system for the winnerâ€™s home institution. The deadline is June 1, 2004. Entrants must submit a rendered piece of animation that includes a coherent narrative. The animation may be a story, a spoof of a commercial, or a social statement, and must run between 10 seconds and two minutes, including all titles and credits. The piece will be judge on its visual and storytelling sophistication. For additional information, visit www.softimage.com/contest.
CUB REPORTER EARNS EMMY
No news is good news? Not so for students in Dallas, who highlight positive stories from their district in an Emmy-winning magazine-style show.By Michelle Thatcher â€œHave you ever heard of a 19-year-old Emmy award winner?â€ asks 19-year-old Emmy award winner Royce Williams with disbelief. Williams, along with cohost Ismenia Gaviria, executive producer Jon Dahlander, and a team of dedicated students and staff from the Dallas Independent School District, were awarded a Lone Star Emmy last October for their monthly television program School Zone Dallas. The year-old show, which airs on local PBS station KERA, is filmed on location at a different DISD school each month. For each episode, the two cohosts and a team of student field reporters create three segments about students, parents, or teachers who have a positive impact on the district. Past stories have focused on one schoolâ€™s Dadâ€™s Club; sixth-graders who volunteer at a home for the mentally disabled; and the Washington High School jazz combo, which recently played at the renowned Monterey Jazz Festival. One of the staff favorites was the story of a girl with Downâ€™s Syndrome who wanted to be a cheerleader; her schoolâ€™s cheerleading squad pooled their money to buy her a uniform and created cheers to include her. This year, students served primarily as on-air talent, with DISD staff filming the program on Panasonic cameras then editing it on Avid systems. Jon Dahlander, the director of Dallas Schools Television, envisions a day when students write, produce, and edit every episode themselves. To that end, he is working to obtain the software and teacher training necessary to involve the kids more deeply in video production.
School Zone Dallas began as a fresh way to reflect whatâ€™s really going on in the school district. â€œIn urban public school districts, how do you explain to the general public whatâ€™s really taking place in your schools?â€ asks Dahlander. â€œBecause of the nature of the news business, the good news doesnâ€™t get out there.â€ Dahlander decided it was up to the district to showcase its positive stories, and he convinced the superintendent that video was the way to do it. Once he had the superintendentâ€™s buy-in, Dahlander recruited a handful of top-performing students to work on the show and filmed a pilot. He then approached a number of local television stations to ask for airtime, eventually partnering with KERA. Throughout its first year, the program gained considerable momentum. The local ABC affiliate offered School Zone Dallas a time slot after the 6 oâ€™clock news if they could find a sponsor. Dahlander approached the New Car Dealers Association of Dallas, which matched him with a dealership willing to sponsor the show for a one-time special edition in January. Dahlander hopes the time slotâ€™s 60,000 viewers will generate even more buzz for the show and attract additional sponsors.
Students interested in working on the show must go through a rigorous application process to demonstrate their academic achievement and community service. The high standards are necessary, Dahlander says, because theyâ€™re trying to showcase the best of the district. And the opportunity to work in television has indeed proven motivating: while last year saw 16 qualified applicants, the number of applications this year has jumped to 40. Working in video production has opened new doors for the students involved. â€œIâ€™ve always been a shy person,â€ says cohost Williams, â€œand working on the show has taught me to feel comfortable and confident talking to people Iâ€™ve never met before.â€ Though he had planned to attend community college, Williams is now a freshman at Sterling College in Kansas on a full scholarship that he was offered after admissions officers saw a tape of the program. Though he had wanted to become a TV news anchor even before he auditioned for the show, Williams says his experience with School Zone Dallas has broadened his focus: â€œI now envision myself as a leader in my industry, whether that means being a great anchor or running my own communications company.â€
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