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%% The Voice From Across the Pond                   By:  Michael Wolf   %%
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This time yours truly is going to report from the Photokina expo that
happened September 22-27 in Cologne / Germany.  The Photokina is probably the
largest consumer photography/video/film expo in the world.

There are two parts to the photokina, one covering consumer oriented
photographic products (ranging from frames for pictures to genlocks) and a
pro part, covering everything from lighting equipment to video beamers and
SGI's.

I was mainly interested in the pro video stuff, especially the M-JPEG
boards for the Amiga (If you read my previous article on that subject then
you might have noticed that this subject fascinates me.  May be its because
I want to buy one of those suckers in the near future ;-).

Let's do a quick rundown of the products on the show.

MacroSystems
------------

They were showing of their new VLab-Motion board, on an A4000 with a 40Mhz
Warp Engine, and a Retina BLT ZIII board.  Unforunately their demo was,
frankly, crap.  They only had a 260 MB Partition reserved for the
VLab-Motion, no demo Videos/Animations on that partition and the Toccata
audio board wasn't installed either.  Instead they grabbed some live video
from a cheap HI-8 camcorder and played around with their editing software
(which is very nice BTW, very similar to Adobe Premiere for Mac's/PC's).

The MS rep was extremely boring (the kind of guy that would sell you his
grand ma, you know the type), and just talked to much instead of showing
off the board.  So there is now way I could compare the image quality to
the DSP PAR that was also exhibited at the same booth (by a different
company).

MS was also demoing Elastic Reality for PC's, but it didn't impress me too
much, the PC kept crashing all the time ;-))

dcp
---

was the other company at that booth, they distribute SGI and Amiga
software, mainly for the video / interactive market.  They were demoing
Lightwave 3.5 PAL, the DSP PAR and Elastic Reality for SGI's.  I don't
think I need to tell you anything about these great products.

BTW:  They are selling A4000's with the DSP PAR board as an alternative to
single frame recording, 'tis funny though that they don't mention the name
"Amiga"...

on to the next one:

ProDad
------

were showing all their software, including an early beta of their video
editing program CAVIN.  It sounds quite promising (I couldn't see much of
it, it kept crashing ...).

It supports all kinds of hardware (Control-L, LANC, PANASONIC-EDIT, RS 232
and RS 422 protocolls) and timecode (VITC, TCTC, RAPID).  You can also use
infrared signals for older hardware.

CAVIN hast timelines for A & B VCR's, graphics / animation, hardware (i.e.
framegrabber, M-JPEG boards, cd-player), audio (Amiga, audio boards or
external). So you can use it as a complette A/B editing system.

You can of course configure CAVIN to work in conjunction with other Pro Dad
products, such as clariSSA, Monument Titler and Adorage.

ProDad has also upgraded older products.  Adorage 2.5 now supports a
transparent colour 0, image conversion and loading of different image types
(i.e.  TIFF, PCX) and has some new 3D effects.

There are two new modules for clariSSA, the Loaderpackage allows you to
import new image formats (i.e.  GIF, JPEG, PCX), while the "motion sound"
add on allows you to add samples to your SSA animations.

electronic-design
-----------------

were at the same booth as ProDad.  They demoed their new genlocks (mainly
the Neptun), and their Framegrabber / Framebuffer combo FrameMachine.

The Neptun looks very nice.  It is the only "low cost" genlock I know of
that allows you to use a simple kind of alpha channel.  You can define one
colour as beeing semi-transparent, while the others behave as normal.  The
Neptun is also fully software controlable (Very nice if you use SCALA for
video editing).

Oh, and Tobias Richter was there (known for his amazing Star Trek / Star
Wars animations), showing off some of his work.  It is amazing what this
guy can do using a raytracer (Reflections) and a DCTV.

after a long day and blisters on my feet...
-------------------------------------------

Well, that is about it Amiga wise.  electronic design was also showing the
genlocks at the consumer part of the show, but you could also find lot's of
PC video solutions there as well (such as FAST's Video Machine).

Some PC People got very excited at Caligari Broadcast (for Windows), which
has added features (and decreased performance).  SGI were there too,
showing all kinds of media solutions (I hate SGI's, they always make me
drool, yeuch, what a mess...).

We got bored at the fair after 6 hours, so we went to Cologne to have a
beer (Koelsch) and enjoy what is left of summer.  Nice city, go there if
you're in the area !

This is all for today, next is a review of GVP's TBC Plus (in an A2000,
unaccelerated :-(), and hopefully soon the Cyberstorm.

Cheers !

Mike