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SYPHAnews - 24 March 2004

Welcome to SYPHAnews - a free newsletter designed to keep you up-to-date with nonlinear audio and video, and digital video camera news, as well as developments at http://SYPHAonline.com.

We will deliver this service to you every month - unless there is some major news we think you should know about sooner. To unsubscribe, please follow the instructions below.

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STOP PRESS!! We have almost finished updating the NLE Buyers Guide and will be sending out an announcement that it's available in a couple of weeks. Any manufacturers that haven't renewed their product listings should do so immediately.

We are also in the process of compiling the print edition of this newsletter, that will be distributed at the NAB Convention, as well as being available as a PDF online. If you haven't sent us your NAB announcements yet then you'd better be quick!

Camera news

JVC Introduces The KH-F870U HD POV Camera
JVC Professional Products has introduced the KH-F870U box-style high definition camera. It features three 2/3 inch 2.1 megapixel ProCam-HD CMOS image sensors, which provide 1936x1086 image capture area, on-chip 12-bit ADC and a signal-to-noise ratio of 54dB. The KH-F870U is interlace or progressive switchable, offering 1900x1080i or 720p/60 HDTV specifications and a high dynamic range of more than 68dB. Offering a high data rate, 75MHz at full HD resolution, the camera offers lower power consumption levels (approximately 200mW, about 20% that of a comparable CCD), similar to those of standard definition cameras. The highly integrated CMOS image sensors give high sensitivity, negligible blooming, no visible smear and low fixed pattern noise. CMOS chips avoid skew lag, where an image does not have a true vertical appearance on the screen from top to bottom. By accessing the pixels directly, the KH-F870U lets the videographer quickly pan the camera without skewing the images. The CMOS imagers correct the skewing flaw, producing more natural movements and a more natural image. The camera provides two SMPTE 292M HD-SDI outputs. Compact size and remote control capability make the KH-F870U the ideal camera for studio configurations and field broadcasting, such as sporting events, where unmanned cameras play such a critical role. The camera's industry standard B4 bayonet-style lens mount allows attachment to high-quality HD lenses, microscopes, telescopes, and similar applications. See http://www.jvc.com/pro

Sony Ships XDCAM Range with Seven Year Laser Warranty
Sony is shipping the XDCAM range of camcorders and decks with free seven year laser life warranties on all the XDCAM optical drives. XDCAM products constantly monitor the laser's health by checking the current to the laser. If it approaches the end of its life, the current will fall out of tolerance, triggering an alarm. This mechanism ensures that the laser can be replaced before any failure occurs. If the warranty lapses after 7 years' use, the cost of replacing a laser is expected to be approximately 50% lower than the cheapest digital tape recording head. The laser warranty applies to the optical drives in the full range of XDCAM camcorders and decks. See http://www.sonybiz.net

NLE news

Pinnacle Announces CinéWave 4.5
Pinnacle Systems has announced the immediate availability of CinéWave 4.5. This features new realtime HD capabilities, advanced 24-bit multitrack hardware enhanced audio support, desktop mirroring for multiple programs such as Apple Shake, and full support for Apple RT Extreme. Pinnacle has also included the 66MHz bus interface on the PCI-X compatible TARGA Ciné Engine, which delivers guaranteed realtime performance for SD and HD to modern Power Macs. In addition, it offers exclusive CinéWave features including mixed formats within a timeline, 16-bit video, guaranteed support for up to five uncompressed realtime streams with multiple effects, realtime native RGBA support, realtime animation codec support, realtime HD (16:9) pan and scan downconvert with keyframeable controls to uncompressed SD (4:3), and simultaneous live SD and HD outputs. Using CinéWave 4.5 on the latest dual processing Mac G5 gives the capacity to image correct uncompressed HD images in realtime with simultaneous SD downconvert. CinéWave now offers hardware-enhanced audio features with full support for 24-bit multitrack audio, enabling users to take advantage of Steinberg Nuendo for high-quality audio mastering while simultaneously monitoring full quality SD and HD video. A new DupliCiné application enables users to select all or part of their desktop for viewing on NTSC, PAL and HD monitors. DupliCiné is application-independent and provides realtime SD and HD viewing of key tools such as Photoshop and Apple Shake, and is a powerful complement to the RAM preview CinéWave offers for combustion, After Effects, and Commotion Pro. Owners of versions prior to CinéWave 4 can purchase a software upgrade for US$295 and 33MHz TARGA Ciné Engines can be upgraded to 66MHz for US$295. See http://www.pinnaclesys.com/cinewave

Blackmagic Announces Support for Adobe Premiere Pro and Microsoft DirectShow on Windows XP
Blackmagic Design has announced the immediate availability of DeckLink for Windows V4.2 software allowing full Microsoft Windows compatibility for the standard definition DeckLink range of uncompressed 10-bit video cards. Support includes Adobe Premiere Pro compatibility and full compatibility with Microsoft DirectShow based applications. QuickTime support is also featured allowing compatibility with applications such as Adobe After Effects and Discreet Combustion. Now all DeckLink standard definition models can run on either Microsoft Windows XP or Apple Mac OS X operating systems using the same hardware card. Full capture and playout of Adobe Premiere Pro edits are supported via custom plug-ins, and files captured in Adobe Premiere Pro are standard Microsoft UYVY format AVI type files, which allows easy compatibility with other software. See http://www.blackmagic-design.com

Blackmagic Announces DeckLink Extreme and Price Reductions
Blackmagic Design has announced the immediate availability of DeckLink Extreme. This Apple Mac and Microsoft Windows XP compatible 66MHz PCI capture card features 10-bit SDI and analogue component video in a single compact card. DeckLink Extreme includes extended features such as support for Mac OS X, Final Cut Pro, RT Extreme, Windows XP and Adobe Premiere Pro. It is designed for connecting to high-end broadcast decks such as Digital Betacam, D5, and D1. True 10-bit SDI capture retains all the subtle detail in images even during the heaviest multi-generation rendering and video processing. When connecting to decks such as Betacam SP, DeckLink Extreme features full analogue component YUV video allowing crisp clean images that take full advantage of the Betacam SP 4:2:2 analogue video path. DeckLink Extreme also supports 24-bit professional balanced analogue audio on XLR connections. Completing this suite of connections is full-speed SPDIF/unbalanced AES audio output for digital audio monitoring, genlock input, and RS422 serial remote. DeckLink Extreme includes the Blackmagic Deck Control and LiveKey applications, and DeckLink Extreme on Mac OS X supports playback of DeckLink HD HDTV compatible media and Final Cut Pro timelines directly out to its standard definition video outputs. DeckLink Extreme has a recommended retail price of US$895. Blackmagic Design has also announced lower prices for other cards in the DeckLink range. DeckLink Pro has been reduced from US$995 to US$595, DeckLink SP has been reduced from US$895 to US$595, and the original SDI-only 10-bit uncompressed DeckLink has been reduced from US$695 to US$295. See http://www.blackmagic-design.com

Ulead Offers High Definition Video Plug-In for MediaStudio Pro
Ulead Systems has introduced the Ulead HD plug-in, a video editing technology to natively edit HDV. The HDV format specification, which was recently established by Canon Inc., Sharp Corporation, Sony Corporation, and Victor Company of Japan, Limited (JVC), enables consumer and professional videographers to record and playback high definition video on standard DV and mini DV cassette tapes. The Ulead HD plug-in provides users of the JVC GR-HD1 and the JVC JY-HD10 camcorders with the tools to capture, edit, and output high resolution HDV content within MediaStudio Pro 7 video editing software without requiring additional tools or interfaces. The Ulead HD plug-in is available for US$299. See http://www.ulead.com

Optibase Executes Agreement to Acquire Media 100 Assets
Optibase and Media 100 have announced that they have executed a definitive loan agreement to provide up to US$1 million of secured debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing, and an asset purchase agreement which, subject to court approval, calls for Optibase to buy substantially all the assets of Media 100 for US$2.5 million (less the amount of any funding advanced). In accordance with its previously announced plan to facilitate the transaction, Media 100 has filed a voluntary petition for reorganisation under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts (the 'Court'). The sale will be subject to various conditions, including approval by the Court in the Chapter 11 case. Optibase and Media 100 have requested that the Court, upon expedited hearing, enter an order setting forth sale procedures, including notice and overbid provisions which would be applicable to the transaction. Optibase has stated that it intends to keep Media 100 activity intact as a unit in Optibase in order to continue the development, sales, and support of Media 100 products. The acquisition is subject to a number of contingencies, including approval by the Court. In the event the transaction is not completed, Media 100 may be required to cease operations. See http://www.optibase.com or http://www.media100.com

DAW news

Steinberg Releases Cubase SE
Steinberg, the Audio Group of Pinnacle Systems, has announced the release of Cubase SE, a new entry-level music production workstation. Cubase SE includes Steinberg music production technology from its Cubase SX product, but offers a compact feature set ideal for beginners and educational use. It features 48 audio tracks, an unlimited number of MIDI tracks, sequencing and hard disk recording features as well as 24-bit/96kHz resolution. Cubase SE has an MSRP of $US149.99 and is fully upgradeable to higher versions of Cubase. See http://www.steinberg.net

Digidesign Announces AVoption|V10 Avid Video Interface
Digidesign has announced the AVoption|V10 Avid video interface for Pro Tools|HD on Windows XP. AVoption|V10 combines Avid DNA video hardware with custom capture and conform software, providing fast, efficient interchange with the family of Avid editors. Using a standard FireWire connection, the AVoption|V10 hardware supports Pro Tools playback of all Avid-created video media, including all JFIF (up to 1:1) and AVR resolutions, DV25 and DV50, multicam, interlaced, and 24P/25P. AVoption|V10 allows users to mix different video resolutions in the timeline. Users can accept projects cut on the full line of Avid DNA products, including Xpress Pro, Media Composer Adrenaline, or DS Nitris, as well as legacy Meridien and ABVB-based editing systems. Video captured with the Digidesign AVoption and AVoption|XL is also supported, and component, composite, S-Video, and SDI I/O are all included. Media Station|V10 software, shipping with AVoption|V10, has been designed and built by Avid specifically for Pro Tools users. It allows automated capture and conform of both audio and video with full machine control, and EDL import or opening of an existing Avid sequence. The ability to render effects and export sequences for use in Pro Tools gives audio engineers complete control of the entire AAF/OMF export process. An 'Export to Pro Tools' command ensures that the video and audio files are exported exactly as needed for use in Pro Tools. Additionally, audio can be imported from Pro Tools into Media Station|V10 in order to verify that audio is in sync with the original video, to lay back audio and video to tape with full machine control, or to export digital movies for review, mastering, or for Web distribution. AVoption|V10 also includes DigiTranslator 2.0 for easy OMF and AAF interchange, and fully supports record and playback of audio and video with Avid Unity Shared Storage. Initially, Avoption|V10 is only available for the Windows XP operating system. Apple Mac OS X support will be provided in a future release. IMX and MXF video will also be supported in a future release, in the meantime, these resolutions may be transcoded for playback via Media Station|V10 software. See http://www.digidesign.com

Digidesign Announces New Pro Tools LE Factory and BLUE Factory Bundles, and Factory Hardware Exchanges
Digidesign has announced the new Pro Tools LE Factory and BLUE Factory bundles, and Factory Hardware Exchanges. The LE Factory bundles include an Mbox, a Digi 002 Rack, or a Digi 002 along with over US$2000 worth of Bomb Factory plug-ins - additional to those that already ship with all regular Pro Tools systems. Mbox Factory systems include Mbox system (hardware and software), pre-authorised iLok Key, moogerfooger Analog Delay, JOEMEEK SC2 Compressor, JOEMEEK VC5 Meequalizer, and Cosmonaut Voice by Bomb Factory, and Maxim by Digidesign. Digi 002 Rack Factory and Digi 002 Factory systems include Digi 002 Rack or Digi 002 system (hardware and software), pre-authorised iLok Key, Bomb Factory BF-3A, moogerfooger Ring Modulator, moogerfooger Analog Delay, SansAmp PSA-1, Cosmonaut Voice, JOEMEEK SC2 Compressor, JOEMEEK VC5 Meequalizer, Tel-Ray Variable Delay, Voce Spin and Voce Chorus/Vibrato by Bomb Factory. Pro Tools LE BLUE Factory bundles offer even greater savings and include a Pro Tools LE system and its respective LE Factory plug-in bundle, plus a discounted BLUE Bluebird mic and its accessory kit comprising BirdNest pop filter, BirdCage shock mount, and a premium Blueberry cable. Specifically developed by BLUE for Digidesign, the Bluebird mic's neutral character and rich midrange response make it an ideal microphone for recording vocals, drums, and acoustic stringed instruments. The Digi 002/Digi 002 Rack Hardware Exchange program provides the opportunity for registered owners of Digi 001, Mbox, or Digi ToolBox/Audiomedia III to exchange up to a 96kHz-capable, FireWire-based 002 Factory system. Hardware Exchanges to Pro Tools|HD from Digi 001, Mbox, and Digi ToolBox/Audiomedia III systems continue to be available, and exchanges up to Pro Tools|HD from Digi 002 and Digi 002 Rack are also available. See http://www.digidesign.com

Akai Announces New Features For DPS24
Akai Professional has announced the imminent release of DPS24 version 1.60. New edit features include Insert Silence, Move to Original, Move to Track(s), a visible zero-crossing line at maximum zoom in WaveView Edit, and DSP features can now be performed on more than 2 tracks at a time. Other new features include direct record/playback to/from external SCSI hard drives so the DPS24 can now run without internal IDE drives, copy/backup/restore of user custom presets and 88.2kHz sample rate support. There is also a new upgrade mechanism that allows an OS upgrade from any device - IDE, SCSI or USB host. There have been improvements to WAV and AIFF import and export, including automatic resampling of imported WAV/AIFF files to the current project's sample rate, and improvements to the V.Tack page. See http://www.akaipro.com

Nagra Releases Nagra V Upgrade
Nagra-Kudelski has released version 2.21 software for its Nagra V hard drive location recorder. Available as an EPROM based upgrade, V2.21 reduces boot up times by up to 50%, making units equipped with 60GB removable IDE hard drives ready for use in less than 30 seconds. The new version also allows the Nagra V to be switched from 'power off' to 'play' or 'record', executing either mode automatically and safely, following the accelerated boot. Operational functionality has also been improved with the addition of auto-repeat on backwards and forwards skip, simplifying index search. The V2.21 software is incorporated into all new Nagra V packages and is also available as a retrofittable EPROM upgrade at a cost of GB£25 (excluding VAT). See http://www.nagraaudio.com

Fostex Ships FR-2 Field Memory Recorder
Fostex has announced the shipping of the new FR-2 Field Memory Recorder. The FR-2 supports uncompressed recording at sample rates from 22.05kHz for extended recording time through to 192kHz, and it is designed specifically for location sound recording, TV and radio documentary, high-quality broadcast and sound effects acquisition. It uses the BWF file format which offers compatibility with most third-party software editors. It features a prerecord buffer (up to 20 seconds depending on bit rate and sample frequency), and an automated scene/take file naming routine, plus balanced microphone inputs with switchable phantom power and high pass filters, AES/EBU or SPDIF digital I/O, USB connections for both a PC/Mac and external keyboard, and a large LCD display. As well as external power, the FR-2 can run off eight AA-sized rechargeable NiMH batteries. An optional retrofittable timecode card is expected during Q3/Q4 2004, which will add a fully-featured timecode reader and generator. See http://www.fostex.co.jp

Fostex Announces Additional Media Solutions for PD-6
Fostex has announced two additional products to complement the PD-6. Model 9056 is a service-centre fitted 40GB 1.8" hard drive that mounts internally into the shocked-proofed PD-6 and, partitioned into 1.46GB areas, provides the equivalent of twenty-six 'mini' DVD-RAM sides of audio file/take storage. When recording direct to the 40GB hard drive, the PD-6 can be set to automatically 'mirror' in the background to its DVD-RAM disc, making for quick handover to the edit suite of audio files at the end of a day's shooting. With the Fostex metadata provided as standard in the BWF files, this makes the post production process even quicker. The second product launch is the EX12, a docking station that mates with the PD-6 through its dedicated expansion connector, providing an additional two media choices in the form of a 'full-size' DVD-RAM drive and an additional 40GB 2.5" hard drive. The EX12 hard drive sports 4.7GB partitions to match the format of a single-sided DVD-RAM disc, and it or the DVD-RAM can be selected as the primary recording medium, with file/exchange and 'disk' duplication functions available, plus the choice of automatic background mirror from hard drive to DVD-RAM. With the larger capacity partitions providing even longer recording times, the EX12 is ideally suited to use in sound mixer carts, on a sound stage or in the edit suite. It has removable 2U rackmounting ears, plus AC and DC power options with the added ability to provide power to the docked PD-6. Both IEEE1394 and USB2.0/1.1 ports are provided to allow external computer access to the DVD-RAM drive, however, like the Model 9056, files on the respective hard drives are exported via the DVD-RAM drives exclusively. The Model 9056 will be available during Q2 2004 and the EX12 is expected later in the year. See http://www.fostexdvd.net

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