Videoguys' 2009 Holiday Gift Guide
Recommendations for Videographers & Editors at Every Price!
In these difficult economic times the one thing that is on everyone's mind is savings and value. We've kept that in mind with this year's Videoguys' Holiday Gift Guide.
We've broken the guide into several categories that I think will help make your holiday shopping easier:
Gizmos & Gadgets - Low-priced recommendations for everyone!
Blu-ray Disc Authoring - Add the latest HD delivery to your editing system!
Upgrades - Key upgrades from Apple, Adobe & Avid will give you more from what you have!
Hardware - Do you need more video storage, Hardware I/O or a video converter?
Plug-Ins - Another way to get more from what you have with recommendations under $100
Training - Learn how to make the most of your editing system
We realize that many of you are shopping for yourselves, but that doesn't mean you can't "guide" your family and friends to find the perfect gift for you that meets their budget and will bring you an extra little bit of holiday cheer!
I. GIZMOS AND GADGETS
The first section of our guide is the "Gizmos and Gadgets section." A half dozen items that are great to own, are very affordable, and deliver a tremendous amount of bang for the buck!
Sima SL-20LX Compact LED Video Light
The Sima SL-20 light should be on the very top of everyone's list. Theses LED lights are compact, bright and can fit in the side pocket of your camera bag. You can get a single SL-20LX light for only $35.00 to help get rid of shadows and add some help in low light situations.
We also have a Sima SL-20LX 3-Light Bundle for $99.95. You can clip multiple SL-20s together (they can be stacked like Lego's) and you have a portable light kit that is perfect for small HD cams and DSLRs.
The Sima SL-20LX has been getting rave reviews and has been recommended on video editing and professional camcorder user forums all over the web!
Bella Professional Series NLE Keyboards
These color coded keyboards allow you to quickly learn and use the keyboard shortcuts integrated into your favorite editing application. By using shortcuts you will become a more efficient editor.
What makes these keyboards even more unique is their integrated jog shuttle. I still find using a shuttle to be the most natural way to scroll through a timeline or control my decks during capture.
Contour Design ShuttlePRO v2 (Black)
Speaking of Jog Shuttles, if you are already a wiz with keyboard shortcuts, or you already own a custom keyboard, keycaps or stickers, the Shuttle Pro from Contour Design is tops in it's class.
The Shuttle Pro's control wheel gives you firm and exceptionally responsive control. You can program all of the buttons on it for your favorite keystroke combinations, or macros, to make your editing environment even more efficient.
The Contour Design ShuttlePRO v2 (Black) is $89.95, but we also offer The Contour Design ShuttlePRO v2 Bundle w/ any NLE or DVD for a special discounted price of $75.00 if you add it to any order!
M-Audio Studiophile AV30 Compact Desktop Speaker System
Are you still editing your video and making your DVDs using the cheap, poor quality speakers that came with your computer system? If you are, you need to do your ears a favor and step up to these affordable but fantastic sounding speakers. For only $99.99 the M-Audio Studiophile AV30 Compact Desktop Speaker System delivers a level of audio quality that will have you wondering why it took you so long to get them.
Not only are these speakers great for your video editing studio, I put a pair in my kids room for them to listen to iTunes, watch YouTube and play computer games. What a huge difference it makes!
If you are shooting and editing HD video the time has come for you to start authoring and delivering your content on Blu-ray Disc. The newest versions of Apple Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro, Sony Vegas and Avid Media Composer all support Blu-ray Disc and we've got some fantastic Blu-ray Disc bundles available that make upgrading your system very affordable. In fact, it's a lot less expensive than you may think.
The latest Blu-ray Disc Burner from Pioneer is the BDR-205 and it supports 12x Blu-ray burning speeds and high-capacity Dual Layer discs. The BDR-205 is only $229- making it a very affordable addition to your editing machine. We also offer the BDR-205 in a MEGA Bundle with an external housing and a 10 Disc Spindle of Verbatim BD-R media for just $299.95!
One of the cool things that separates Videoguys from all the other retailers for video editing and production gear is our bundles. We put together products that we know will work great together at prices that save you money.
For the student or beginning videographer looking to put together their first HD production, our Pinnacle Studio HD 14 Ultimate Collection Blu-ray Disc Bundle gives you a great choice for only $375.00.
If you are looking for a professional-level video editing program that won't break the bank and is easy to use, check out our Sony Vegas Pro 9 with Blu-ray Disc Bundle for only $599.95.
If you've got a fast Intel Core i7 computer and your looking to edit AVCHD footage in real-time, monitor it out via HDMI on your LCD or Plasma HD TV and you want to author Blu-Ray, we have just released a brand new bundle from Grass Valley featuring the Edius Neo 2 software with AVCHD Booster Option. The AVCHD Booster makes realtime AVCHD editing an affordable reality and our bundles include the Grass Valley EDIUS Neo 2 with AVCHD Booster Option Blu-ray Disc Bundle for only $469.95 and the Grass Valley HDSPARK and EDIUS Neo 2 with AVCHD Booster Option Blu-ray Disc Bundle for HDMI monitoring for only $699.95.
Finally, if you already own a Blu-Ray burner or know that you'll need more media for the bundles above, we're running a holiday promotion on the Verbatim Blu-ray Disc Pack with 30 BD-R 25GB Discs - that's 30 BD-Rs in all - for just $95.00!
Apple Final Cut Studio 3 UPGRADE with Red Giant Magic Bullet Quick Looks
Final Cut Studio 3 is the must have upgrade for all Final Cut editors. You can upgrade from any version of Final Cut Pro or Studio to the complete Final Cut Studio 3 for just $279.00. You get some great new features including Blu-ray burning and authoring, with the new Share tool, the ability to color code your markers and new Pro Res resolutions. "Share" allows you to output your timeline directly to Blu-ray Disc, DVD, YouTube, iTunes, iPhone, Apple TV or MobileMe. Pretty cool if you ask me, and it can all take place in the background so you can keep working!
As an added bonus Videoguys is offering Red Giant Magic Bullet Looks (a $99.95 value) for free with your upgrade.
We've also got some amazing FCS3 Upgrade bundles with Blu-ray, G-Tech Storage, Focus D.T.E. devices and Matrox MXO2 family hardware. You can learn more about FCS3 on the Videoguys' Blog and Guides when you select the tag "FCS3."
Avid released Media Composer 4.0 a few months ago and the response from Avid editors has been enthusiastic and supportive. With the 3.5 upgrade Avid added a new feature called AMA which allows you to edit media from tapeless workflows directly, without any re-wrapping or transcoding and now, with 4.0, Avid added Mix & Match formats and frame rates to the timeline. Now you can work with media from multiple HD sources on the same timeline without any extra work, or wasted time trying to get everything to play well and work with each other. This is a major improvement. When combined with AMA it gives Avid the best all around HD workflows and performance.
You can upgrade from Media Composer, Xpress Pro or Xpress DV to the complete Avid Media Composer 4 with Avid Production Suite for only $495. The Avid Production Suite includes the latest versions of all the third-party software from Boris, Sorenson, SmartSound and more. We're also including a Videoguys' Bonus Pack that includes an Avid Keyboard and Class On Demand's Complete Training DVD for Media Composer ($99.95 value).
We've also got some amazing Videoguys' Money Saving Bundles with Avid Media Composer 4 plus Blu-ray, G-Tech Storage and Focus D.T.E devices.
Avid has also brought back their MojoDX trade in promotion. For just $4,995 you get the MojoDX hardware and the upgrade to Media Composer 4.0 with the Avid Production Suite.
This trade-in program requires that you complete this form and return your old Mojo or Mojo SDI.
You can learn more about Avid Media Composer 4 on our the Videoguys' Blog and Guides when you select the tag "MC4."
Adobe Production Premium CS4
Last year Adobe released Production Premium CS4. This past month, they released the free 4.2 upgrade that adds some exciting new features including expanded support for tapeless workflows. Now Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 supports AVC-Intra as well as RED, P2, XD CAM and AVCHD. What really separates Production Premium CS4 from other NLE suites is the way the programs work together using Adobe Dynamic Link and Adobe Bridge. Of course, if you are going to fully utilize all these applications working together, you need to make sure you've got a fast machine, running on a 64 bit OS with plenty of RAM - at least 6 GB but 8 or 12 is even better!
Adobe Encore CS4 is also a key part of the CS4 Production Premium and is still the ONLY affordable application to support Blu-Ray Disc authoring with advanced features like pop-up menus on both the PC and Mac.
Adobe offers several upgrade paths to the CS4 Production Premium and we'll add our Videoguys Bonus Pack to all of them. The bonus pack is worth more than $375 and includes software from Red Giant and Boris FX plus a training DVD from Class on Demand.
If you own an old copy of a single Adobe application including After Effects, Photoshop, Premiere or others you can take advantage of Adobe's Point Product Upgrade for PC or MAC just $1075 with bonus pack.
For those on a tighter budget you can upgrade to Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 which includes On Location and Encore CS4 for just $299. Any older version of Premiere or Premiere Pro qualifies for this upgrade!
We've also got some amazing CS4 Production Premium and Premiere Pro CS4 Upgrade bundles with Blu-ray, G-Tech Storage and Matrox MXO2 family hardware.
You can learn more about CS4 on the Videoguys' Blog and Guides when you select the tag "CS4."
Lets face it, if you edit video, especially HD video, then the one thing you can always use is more storage. A few months ago G-Tech introduced the fourth generation G-RAID, their award winning, best-in-class external video storage solution. You get support for USB2, Firewire 800/400 and eSATA. The Videoguys' Techs recommend using eSATA for the fastest rates and best performance.
The superior design is what makes G-RAIDs so much better than other external storage solutions. G-RAIDs are sleek and sexy, taking their design cues from Apple, and they are engineered for the video editing environment. Heat is the enemy of your hard drives. G-RAIDs have superior cooling that protects your drives and allows them to operate at peak performance and reliability for years. Unlike most competitive solutions that cut corners on cooling and materials, G-Tech uses only the best – down to the drives they include inside each G-RAID. They have the highest quality standards and controls in the industry - which is why they are the most reliable and dependable video storage company and why G-Raids are our go-to choice for video storage.
G-Tech was purchased this past summer by Hitachi. While that gives G-Tech access to all of the great performance and R&D of Hitachi, it has also brought some glitches to the supply channel. We are happy to report that we have all of the new 4th generation G-RAID sizes in stock!
The G-Tech G-RAID 1TB (4th Generation) is on sale for just $219.95, the G-Tech G-RAID 2TB (4th Generation) is less than a hundred bucks more at $299.95 and the whopping big and fast G-Tech G-RAID 4TB (4th Generation) is only $499.95.
iKan V5600 5.6" HD LCD Monitor w/ HDMI
I bet you love your small HD cam, but, if you're like me, I bet you also wish you had a bigger LCD to better frame your videos and make sure you are really getting the shot you want. This is especially true with today's DSLR cameras that shoot both high resolution still photos and full resolution HD video. The Ikan V5600 HD monitor is the perfect solution for you.
While the $649.00 price makes the V5600 one of the more expensive gifts on our list, you'll find it pays for itself the first time you start using it.
iKan offers a wide range of LCD monitors and has something for everyone. Starting with the Ikan V2500e 2.5" Mini-LCD Monitor for $89.95 up to the new iKan V17 - 17" Desktop / Rackmount LCD Monitor for $1,195.00.
Matrox MXO2 Mini
If you're shooting HD footage and editing it with Apple Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere Pro, the MXO2 Mini is the perfect I/O device for you.
This sleek little box gives you both component and HDMI input and output, and it works with Mac and PC workstations and laptops!! When you're editing HD, the mighty MXO2 Mini lets you preview your work on an HDTV, while you edit, in full HD resolution. If you have a Quad Core Mac Pro you can capture directly into ProRes via Component or HDMI using the Matrox MXO2 Mini.
The MXO2 Mini is just $449.00 with your choice of either a Desktop PCIe card or an Expresscard for a Laptop. And, while supplies last, the Videoguys will include a FREE HD Cable Kit including and HDMI cable and two Component Video/Stereo RCA Audio cables.
Matrox CompressHD with MAX Technology
While we've got so many HD acquisition formats and camcorders to choose from, there is one delivery format that is emerging as the clear compression of choice - H.264. Blu-ray, YouTube, Flash, iPods, iPhone and mobile media all support and work best with H.264 files. Why? Because it is an extremely efficient compression that allows you to pack an incredible level of video quality into a very small file or stream. Unfortunately there is a downside to H.264, it takes a really, really long time to render. How long? With an 8-Core Mac pro you could be waiting several hours for a 30 minute clip to render. But, that's when Matrox Compresss HD and Matrox's MAX technology come to the rescue!!
Matrox Max technology is a hardware H.264 accelerator that allows you to encode faster than real-time. For example, with Matrox Max, one hour of HD video can be encoded to H.264 in around 55 minutes!
Matrox Max technology works great on both PC and Mac with Apple Final Cut Pro and Compressor, Adobe Premiere Pro and Media Encoder, and Telestream Episode. Matrox MAX is available two ways, as a stand-alone PCIe card called the Matrox CompressHD for $495.00 or integrated into an MXO2 I/O device like the MXO2 Mini with MAX at $849. As a rule of thumb the MXO2 products are currently sold for $400 more with MAX than the I/O box alone without the MAX hardware.
Grass Valley ADVC110 & 300 Converters
The Grass Valley ADVC110 is the best selling analog video converter of all time - and for good reasons - quality and value. Before Grass Valley put their name on the box it said Canopus and if you ask any long time digital videographer they'll wax poetically about the Canopus DV CODEC and how clean it is. That same technology is still inside the ADVC110 and that's why it so far ahead of other converters on the market.
While the ADVC110 delivers the best possible DV video from your old analog footage, the old axiom still holds true. Garbage in = garbage out. While the memories that exist on those old VHS tape may be priceless, the quality has been deteriorating while it sat on the shelf all these years. And, if you're in that situation you may want to consider stepping up to the ADVC-300 with built-n image enhancement technology.
Does your older VHS footage tear at the bottom or top of the screen?
Do you see color smearing at the beginning and end of each scene?
Does your video roll on the screen and as a result you lose sync and drop frames when capturing?
If so, the Grass Valley ADVC300 addresses these issues by providing basic color processing and time base correction in order to preserve and actually improve the quality of the video when you digitize it. If you've got years and years of old VHS footage that you want to archive, the ADVC300 is your best bet for preserving all those precious memories.
One of the least expensive ways to add new features and performance to your existing NLE is to add software plug-ins. Plug-ins give you new effects, tools and sometimes even the ability to handle additional formats. We've picked out a few of our favorites, all now available to you for under $100!
Boris Continuum Units
Boris Continuum Complete (BCC) is one of the top rated and most used plug-ins by professional editors. It's provides you with hundreds of additional filters and effects, all with professional level keyframing. Best of all, it utilizes the look and feel of your editing application so there is not a huge learning curve.
Unfortunately, Boris Continuum Complete is a bit expensive for the casual videographer who doesn't have the revenue stream of the pros. However, Boris FX spends a lot of time listening to their customers and last year they began offering some of the individual Continuum filters and effects as affordable plug-ins called Units.
We now have more than 20 different Boris Continuum Units that are all available ala carte and range in price from $99.95 to $299.95. We also offer some mini-packs that combine several BCC Units at a great price and value.
CineForm NeoScene for PC and Mac
If you're working with AVCHD footage in Adobe Premiere Pro or Apple Final Cut Pro, Cineform's NeoScene is simply the best $99.95 you can invest in your workflow.
NeoScene allows you to convert all of your AVCHD files into the Cineform CODEC. What's so great about that? Simple - it delivers the same exact HD picture quality as the original AVCHD footage, but with a CODEC that is very easy for your NLE to handle.
Even with a brand new, screaming fast Quad Core computer, editing AVCHD footage is clunky at best. But, if you add Cineform NeoScene, even a slower dual core machine can handle AVCHD, and with a Quad core processor you'll feel like your editing DV footage!
DigiEffects Damage ESD
If you're like many videographers you're always looking for a way to make your footage more interesting and stand out from the crowd. Damage allows you to make your footage look older, like it was a vintage TV show, or shot on an older video format, or like watching TV in the country with rabbit ear antenna.
Try using it in your montage or if you're integrating older VHS footage of the kids into a video you are making for a celebration or wedding. It's also great if you're trying to use flashbacks or shots that you want the audience to think happened a long time ago.
DigiEffects Damage is a downloadable software that you can have the same day for only $79.95 from Videoguys.com.
Sonicfire Pro 5 Scoring Edition with Bonus Pack
The soundtrack is just as important to your video as the video footage. It is a great way to set the mood or tempo of your production. You will not find a better, more affordable soundtrack creation tool then Sonicfire Pro, and you don't have to be a musician to use it. Sonicfire Pro's Mood Mapping feature lets you control the mix of instruments used during the soundtrack to help set the mood. Start with just a few strings, bring in some horns then build to your crescendo with a full percussion section! It sounds hard, but it's actually very easy to do with Sonicfire Pro.
Another benefit of SmartSound's software is that all of their music libraries are royalty free and you can use them whenever and wherever you want. Video sharing sites like YouTube will pull the audio from your video if they feel you are using music you do not have the rights to but when you use Sonicfire Pro this is NEVER a problem.
We have a special Sonicfire Pro 5 Scoring Edition with Bonus Pack that includes more than $270 in software for only $199.95. And, if you add Sonicfire Pro Scoring Edition to any other Videoguys order you can save an additional $100 and get this great bundle for only $99.95.
One of the best selling, most award winning plug-ins of all time is Red Giant's Magic Bullet. Magic Bullet lets you manipulate the color scheme of your video in order to give it a different feel or, as they like to call it, "Look."
is an easy to use library of 100 pre-made "Looks" that you can add to your video for only . With just one click you can give your footage just the right style, whether it’s a urban grunge, a desert sunrise, or the film stocks used in classic movies. Magic Bullet DeepColorRT taps into your GPU so you can preview and render your Looks with blazing speed.
What's the best way to make better videos, learn how to more fully use the tools you already have! If you're a beginning editor, or if you've just stepped up from a basic video editing program into a full featured NLE, training is worth it's weight in gold. There is no better way to get up to speed and comfortable with the new interface and tools of your software. Even seasoned editors can learn a few new tricks or 'secrets' that will make editing better, faster and more enjoyable.
One of the other benefits of training DVDs is how often you find out that the tool/ effect / transition you wanted was always there, but it just wasn't easy to find.
For this holiday season we are offering some fantastic deals on training from Class On Demand, Total Training and VASST. We've got training for Adobe CS3 & CS4 , Apple FCP and Final Cut Studio, Avid Media Composer, Sony Vegas, Grass Valley Edius and many of our plug-in titles.
Spend a few minutes browsing through the training section of our website from the BY CATEGORY menu at the top of every page. You'll be surprised by the wide variety of training titles we offer and how many fantastic deals you'll find there!
(Holiday 2009 update - with new Video Montage Tips and HD shooting tips)