Monthly Archives: January 2010

Barix Store and Play Application Delivers Premium In-Store Audio and Control for Businesses

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND, January 27, 2010 — Barix AG, a pioneer in IP-based audio, intercom, control, and monitoring, will introduce Store and Play, a new FTP/HTTP download and playback application for in-store audio programming at the upcoming ISE show, taking place February 2-4 at the RAI Exhibition Centre in Amsterdam (Booth #1L4).

“While digital signage and out-of-home networks remain the big buzz for in-store entertainment and advertising, many businesses continue to rely on audio as their main resource for reaching customers at the point of purchase,” said Johannes G. Rietschel, CEO and Founder of Barix AG.  “Recent studies have proven that the right mix of music and advertising can have a significant influence on brand perception and in-store atmosphere, de-stressing both customers and employees to respectively increase purchasing and raise productivity.  The Barix Store and Play application can deliver these benefits to retailers and hospitality businesses that need a less expensive, premium-quality alternative to professionally produced, branded in-store audio programs.”

Store and Play gives businesses more control over the audio content playing in one or more store or branch locations, without requiring the same level of investment in resources as a branded radio solution.  The same inexpensive Barix hardware supports both store-and-play and branded radio streaming solutions, which delivers a low-cost upgrade path for businesses should they later decide to further enhance their in-store audio platforms.

Store and Play is written in Barix’ BCL (Barix Coding Language) programming language and can be customized by the system integrator.  It downloads configuration data and playlists with the corresponding music files, stores them on a USB flash memory and plays back the downloaded music according to the schedule held in the configuration.  Music and configuration updates can be automatically retrieved from a central server via FTP or HTTP according to a controllable schedule.  Playlists, music and advertising can be regularly updated, with outdated files being automatically deleted from the local device to ensure storage efficiency over time.

The Barix Store and Play solution can also combine with Barix Annuncicom audio over IP/intercom hardware to enable priority local and remote break-ins with store PA systems to broadcast important audio announcements.  Other options include system monitoring and alarm notifications using the Barimon service from Barix partner MOH Technology.

Store and Play supports audio distribution when network access or fast and reliable network connections aren’t guaranteed.  It can also serve as a standalone player without any network connection: Preloaded USB sticks are simply sent to stores and inserted in local Barix Exstreamer decoding devices.  The application can be set up to only use the network at specific times to ensure that there is no impact of downloading files during times when a low-capacity network connection may be needed for other tasks, like credit card authorization.

Barix closes the gap in its in-store audio offering with the Store and Play application.  Barix in-store audio solutions now range from full standalone operations to professional streaming with fallback – all using the same low-cost, market-proven hardware.

Advertisements

Woods Hole Explores Deep-Sea Volcano with Fujinon Lens

WAYNE, N.J., January 19, 2010 – Fujinon a major manufacturer and distributor of optics and lens assemblies for the digital cinema, broadcast, and industrial markets, announced today the Advanced Imaging and Visualization Laboratory (AIVL) at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) used a Fujinon HA13x4.5 wide angle Premier Series HD zoom lens on a prototype still and HD video camera to capture the first video and still images of a deep-sea volcano actively erupting molten lava on the seafloor.

During a research expedition last May aboard the RV Thomas Thompson, oceanographers from NOAA used Jason, a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) that is part of the National Deep Submergence Facility operated by WHOI, to observe and record the powerful event, which occurred in the South Pacific almost 4,000 feet below the ocean surface. The HD video footage was shown for the first time last month at the American Geophysical Union fall meeting in San Francisco.

A team of scientists led by Dr. Joe Resing, a chemical oceanographer at the University of Washington and NOAA, used the Jason ROV, which was positioned close to the erupting volcano to collect samples of rocks, water, and biological specimens. “We were lucky to have those cameras on the vehicle. They are important to the science,” said Tim Shank, a WHOI macro-biologist who, along with Maryann Keith, helped operate the camera system. “We use the high def cameras to try to identify species. They allow us to look at the morphology of the animals, some smaller than three or four inches long.”

The unique camera system was designed and operated by AIVL, which develops high resolution imaging systems for scientific and entertainment imaging applications. Footage from AIVL systems has been used in hundreds of television programs and documentaries, as well as IMAX films.

According to William N. Lange, AIVL research specialist, the camera’s 1-CCD image sensor acquires up to 60 still images per second while simultaneously generating HD video at 29.97 frames per second. The system offers 1920×1080 resolution, producing raw still image data without spatial compression and a 10-bit, 4:2:2 HD-SDI video stream.

“We found a type of lava never before seen erupting from an active volcano, and for the first time observed molten lava flowing across the deep-ocean seafloor,” said Resing. “In terms of understanding how the volcano is erupting, the high frame rate lets you stop the motion and look to see what is happening. You can see the processes better.”

The ROV transmitted live HD video of the eruption back to the RV Thomas Thompson through a fiber optic tether. Lange said the system’s Fujinon HD lens provides almost twice the focal length and many times the resolution of the SD cameras that are normally used on vehicles like Jason.

“This camera is a hybrid based around the concept that we need to acquire still and motion imagery from our HD cameras,” Lange explained. “It’s an architecture we’ve developed to support a variety of image sensors and its modularity allows us to adapt it efficiently for different scientific purposes.”

Installation of the prototype camera system, which had been used on two previous expeditions, was funded by the National Science Foundation. After its successful tests, Lange said the new camera could become a permanent upgrade on Jason and Alvin, a manned deep-sea submersible, later this year.

“I think it performed very well,” Lange added. “It did a fantastic job of capturing this unique geological event, and gave the scientists the ability to see details they could not see with standard definition systems.”

To see video footage of the deep-sea volcanic eruption, please visit:

http://www.whoi.edu/page.do?pid=37675&tid=201&cid=38496&ct=281.

Cinematographer Bob Poole captures Gorilla Footage with Fujinon Lens

WAYNE, N.J., January 11, 2010 – The “Gorilla Murders” episode of Explorer on National Geographic Channel covers the complicated issues of politics, refugees, and the economy of charcoal production in central Africa that culminated in the death of a family of gorillas in a wildlife preserve. The investigative journalism was underscored with incredible wildlife footage supplied by cinematographer Bob Poole, who was able to capture the intense features of these animals with a Fujinon HA25X16.5BERD super telephoto 25x HD field lens on a Sony HDW-F900 HD camcorder.

To convey the emotional tale, the producers wanted the gorillas looking as human as possible. “He wanted super tight shots of eyes, fingers, fingernails, and expressions,” said Poole. “You can only get so close to the gorillas and then you have to rely on the long lens to get those details. The key is the lens is long. These Fujinon lenses are fast, very sharp, long lenses.”

Physically, it was a challenging shoot for Poole, who had to walk through forests and mountainous terrain. “Fortunately, the lens is not huge, and it’s very long and very fast,” he said. “At 6.5 pounds, the Fujinon 25X16.5 is about half the weight of Fujinon’s 42x but it still has the length and the speed, which is important in the dark forest.”

The HA25X16.5BERD has a focal range of 16.5 to 413mm, with a maximum reach of 826mm when the internal 2x extender is employed. The other lens Poole used on the shoot was a Fujinon HA13X4.5BERD 13x wide angle HD lens with 2x extender. “At times I was really close,” he said. “I knew if I got low to the ground and used the handheld camera with the wide angle lens, that would make the gorillas seem really big when they approached.”

Poole also made use of the TS-P58A optical stabilizer on both cameras he used. “Not only is it a stabilizer, but it adds 1.25x magnification so it becomes longer,” he said. “Most stabilizers are built into the lens. This one was better for me since I could take it off if I wanted to lighten the weight.”

For more information on Poole, visit www.poolefilms.com.

PopUp TV, Vizrt Update Branding, Graphics for CNN Chile

CNN Chile, the country’s leading pay television news network, selected PopUp TV, a Santiago-based expert in interactive applications for television and channel branding, to design and implement its election graphics and to refresh the channel’s overall branding.

PopUp TV presented the network with an opportunity to further differentiate itself from the competition with a modern and elegant design, coupled with maximum functionality and flexibility.  Using state of art of technology to visually better inform the viewer and make it interactive and user friendly. The reface was unveiled during CNN Chile’s coverage of the December 13 presidential and legislative elections and the presidential run-off on January 17, 2010.

PopUp approached the creation of CNN Chile’s graphic continuity with a process similar to daily news production.  By creating templates for each Channel ID using Vizrt’s Viz Trio real-time 3D graphics generation and Viz Artist design software, the network can adapt existing elements, changing and expanding the on-air look without losing brand consistency.   The screen is dynamic and evolving, saving time and money in the production process and in operational expenses.

For election coverage, PopUpTV proposed Vizrt graphic and touch screen applications for delivery of real-time results.  Thanks to Vizrt’s Viz Engine real-time rendering engine, CNN Chile’s screen was updated with real-time information shown within slick, lustrous animated graphics. The information was loaded from the official source of results into the system and stored within a database, along with statistical and historical information.  Viz Trio character generation software provided access to the database and displayed the touch screen with any data the journalist requested – all in real-time.

Ariel Stroh, CEO and founder of PopUp TV explained, “This was a unique project in that CNN Chile gave us a comprehensive, behind-the-scenes understanding of the content and production. They partnered with us to create an on-air look that not only created a visual impact, but also included a high level of functionality that allowed for the ever-changing production needs of a newsroom.  This is why we put aside many of the traditional post-production software, choosing instead Vizrt.”

Among the results, Vizrt’s Viz Artist and Viz Trio were linked to the network’s master clock and enabled CNN Chile to include elements such as an elections day countdown that started 60 days before the election and created suspense for the broadcast.

Using Vizrt’s Viz Artist 3.2 touch-screen application, CNN Chile showed 24 simultaneous video feeds on a 3D carousel that the presenter could roll and zoom to a specific video feed.  Each video feed originated from different places throughout Chile.   The application allowed CNN Chile to interact with different journalists and candidates in various locations from one single studio.

The same application is now used for daily live coverage, headlines, and for traffic reports throughout the country. Vizrt’s Viz Artist 3.2 touch screen application is also used to present breaking news alerts. Using the touchscreen, the presenter can easily transition to a video, text or graphic feed without interrupting the content and flow of information. Both touch screen applications are now being used to provide daily news and information.

Plazamedia, Vizrt Show Germany’s First 3D, HD Virtual Studio

Plazamedia is not an average production house. With a long list of first-class outdoor, studio, and sports productions created for customers around the world, the Munich-based company is also well known for using its Open Houses as sneak previews for the most exciting developments in the industry.

“We knew that Plazamedia planned to demonstrate  its new real-time HD virtual studio. So we thought, why not take it one step further and create all the scenes in 3D?,” explained Gerhard Lang, Chief Engineering Officer, Vizrt.

The result of the cooperation allowed Plazamedia to promote not only the company’s new HD virtual studio and HD master control room, but also Germany’s first 3D HD virtual studio, powered by Vizrt technology. The Open House early last month was the public premiere for the new setup.

Instead of seing the usual flat TV picture, Vizrt’s real-time renderers created stereoscopic images that were used to create an illusion of depth. Using special 3D glasses, the guests could see moving 3D content on a typical TV screen. The installation was done without the special stereo cameras normally needed for 3D demonstrations. Vizrt’s stereoscopic rendering ensured that the on-camera talent remained properly situated within the 3D scene.

Plazamedia’s HD virtual studio is based on two Vizrt products: Viz Virtual Studio and the Viz Engine real-time renderering engine. Both system are capable of creating real-time graphics both in SD as well as HD. In addition, Plazamedia worked closely with other leading virtual studio vendors—including Thoma, Technocrane, and Infitec.

“We pride ourselves on having possibly the most innovative virtual studio capability, which is why we added our new HD virtual studio,” said Florian Nowosad, CEO of PLAZAMEDIA GmbH.  “But our Open House was an opportunity to show our customers that 3D HD virtual studio capability has arrived, and it’s now the cutting edge of realtime TV graphics effects.  We’re the first in Germany with a HD virtual studio, and we’ve set the bar even higher by showing stereo 3D HD virtual studio production—both of which are exciting new ways of keeping TV viewers engaged.”

Technomad Expands Dealer Network in Europe

BOSTON, January 19, 2010 – Technomad LLC, a leader in weatherproof loudspeakers and Turnkey PA systems for the commercial pro audio market since 1995, welcomes three new companies to its dealer network in Europe and the United Kingdom.  POGO Geluid of the Netherlands, Lynden Micros Ltd. of England and Prosound Munster of Ireland are the latest dealer representatives to join the growing network.

The dealer network expansion follows a year of steady business growth in Europe following the company’s announcement that it would begin stocking equipment in the Netherlands.  The overseas warehouse has enabled faster delivery and reduced shipping costs to Technomad customers across the continent.

John Futter, Managing Director of Lynden Micros Ltd, said that Technomad’s range of weatherproof loudspeakers has proven popular for custom projects where quality of sound and durability are key requirements.  He points to recent projects at the Worcester Rugby Club in Wales, home of the Worcester Warriors; and the Blackgang Chine Amusement Park on the Isle of Wight as examples.

“The quality and long-range durability of these products have convinced some of our customers who have purchased cheaper products in the past to come back to us and replace them with Technomad,” said Futter.  “Having stock available in Europe makes for a far more attractive price point for new and existing Technomad customers as we eliminate the duty and shipping costs.”

Technomad weatherproof loudspeakers are available in 14 custom colors that do not fade in the sunlight

Leontine van der Poel, Managing Director of POGO Geluid, added that Technomad products offer a unique design in Europe compared to other loudspeaker and PA products.  She cites a recent Technomad installation by her company at Feyenoord, a major league football (soccer) club in the Rotterdam area, as an ideal example of the professional audio niche that Technomad fills in her region.

“We installed Technomad Noho loudspeakers and PowerChiton amplifiers at the facility, both of which are weatherproof products that give Feyenoord a durable outdoor PA system for its training and playing field for amateur and youth teams,” said Van der Poel.  “We found the products to be very thorough, easy to handle and easy to install.  The European warehouse also seems to be a well-thought out strategy.”

All Technomad products are completely RoHS-compliant, and the company employs a green design process that includes the use of 100% recycled plastic in its manufacturing process.  Technomad continues to manufacture its products at its U.S. factory in South Deerfield, Massachusetts, including its complete range of IP56-rated weatherproof loudspeakers; its PowerChiton range of networkable weatherproof amplifier modules; and its Schedulon mp3 player and recorder.

Technomad also offers its Online Quote and Order System to dealers globally, which brings the conveniences of online purchasing, parts replacement, quote generation and other benefits to its network of authorized dealers and resellers.

Premiere Entertainment Ready for Red Carpet Coverage with Broadcast Pix

(Billerica, Massachusetts) January 14, 2009. Broadcast Pix™ announced today that Premiere Entertainment Network, a video production company based in Sherman Oaks, Calif., is using the Broadcast Pix Slate™ 1000 integrated production system during its live coverage of red carpet events.

According to Brad Sexton, founder and partner of Premiere Entertainment, the company has been hired by movie studios, music companies, and broadcast networks to produce live, multi-camera red carpet event coverage since 2000. The company had rented satellite trucks in the past, but recently decided to invest in its own production truck to save money and improve production quality. Its new vehicle is a HD mobile production truck, complete with satellite dish, green room, and edit suite.

Premiere Entertainment has previously used the Slate 1000, rented from VMI in Southern California, for a number of productions, including the premieres of Avatar, Michael Jackson’s This Is It and The Twilight Saga: New Moon, as well as the American Music Awards last November. Sexton said the company will use the Broadcast Pix system extensively during the upcoming awards season that begins this weekend, as well as its recently announced LIVE from the Red Carpet weekly program.

Premiere Entertainment Network is using the Broadcast Pix Slate 1000 during its live coverage of red carpet events.

“My technical directors absolutely love it,” said Sexton. “It’s a very robust piece of equipment – dependable, which they like, and so easy to use.” The Slate 1000 also helps reduce personnel needs on site, Sexton added.

Premiere Entertainment estimated there were close to 3.2 million viewers for its exclusive live pre-show and red carpet American Music Awards coverage, which was streamed live at http://www.abc.com and provided as an uplink for ABC affiliates. The program included a 30-minute countdown show that featured almost a dozen video clips, followed by 90 minutes of coverage from the red carpet using eight HD cameras.

Bob Bolling of RBL Engineering served as TD for the American Music Awards production for Premiere Entertainment. He said no external playback devices were used during the show – all graphics, audio, and video roll-ins, including commercials, were accessed from the Broadcast Pix Slate system. According to Bolling, Fluent Macros was the key to the show’s success.

“I created more than 50 macros to help run the show. All our commercials and bumpers, plus the animated alpha channel graphics, were executed flawlessly using Fluent Macros,” he said. “The on-air product looked great – the Broadcast Pix system outperformed all our expectations.”

In addition, Fluent Watch-Folders, a new feature found in Slate Version 7.3 software, helped keep the show organized. Bolling said all lower-third graphics, which had been created in Photoshop, had to be loaded into the Slate during the show. “Two video  elements had to be loaded after the show had started, too,” he added, “but Watch-Folders made it easy to find the new roll-ins and graphics so we could and play them to air.”

About Broadcast Pix Broadcast Pix is the leader in integrated live video production systems. Its Slate systems create compelling live video, and its unique Fluent software provides a file-based workflow that streamlines production and improves functionality. With its integrated switcher, multi-view, CG, clip and graphic stores, and aspect and format conversion, Slate saves 70% on equipment and allows more efficient staff allocation. And Slate is future-proof, as it is upgradeable to 3G 1080p.

Broadcast Pix is based in Massachusetts, with distributors worldwide. Customers include leading broadcast, webcast, podcast, cable, entertainment, mobile, corporate, education, religious, and government studios in over 70 countries. For more information, go to http://www.broadcastpix.com.

Broadcast Pix and Slate are trademarks of Broadcast Pix, Inc. Patented. Made in USA.

#          #          #