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 - Now is the time to start delivering Blu-ray Discs!
- Hardware - Do you need more video storage, Hardware I/O or a new graphics board for a faster system?
- Upgrades - Major upgrades from Adobe, Avid & Grass Valley raise the car for HD editing and workflows!
- 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 bunch of items that are great to own, are very affordable, and deliver a tremendous amount of bang for the buck!
Azden SMX-10 On-Camera Stereo Mic - Perfect for DSLR Cameras!
DSLR cameras are equipped with just the most basic microphone and the sound is just okay, at best. If your talent is more than 6 feet away from the camera your audio quality will diminish quickly. Fortunately, many DSLR cameras are equipped with a mini-jack microphone input and we recommend adding a stereo microphone like the Azden SMX-10
The 177mm long, dual uni-directional, electret-condensor mic is powered by a single "AAA" battery (not included) and features a built-in cable with a 3.5mm stereo mini plug. Comes with a windscreen and camera hot-shoe mount and is on-sale this holiday season for just $69.95
Reg $79.95 - sale price expires 12/21/10
Sima SL-20LX - Ultra Bright 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 just $35 to help get rid of shadows and add some help in low light situations.
We also have a 3-pack on sale for $88.00 (reg $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.
Avid ProTools Studio Essentials
Avid ProTools Studio products are powered by the same technology behind many of today's greatest hits. These bundles include the ProTools SE software with the hardware device to best suit your application.
Avid Pro Tools Vocal Studio includes the Producer USB mic to record stunning vocals for songs, soundtracks, narratives, podcasts or voice-overs. - $95.00
Avid Pro Tools Recording Studio includes the M-Audio FastTrack USB audio interface to capture guitars, instruments and vocals. - $115.00 (pictured)
Avid Pro Tools Key Studio includes the 49-note, velocity-sensitive M-Audio KeyStudio Keyboard that lets you choose from 100 different instrument sounds - $120.00
Contour Design Shuttle Pro
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 Shuttle Pro is $99.95, but we offer a special discounted price of $75 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 just $99.95 the Studiophile AV30 Speakers deliver 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!
Hauppauge HD-PVR High Definition personal Video Recorder
The Hauppauge HD-PVR is a great gift idea for anyone who wants to record and archive their favorite shows on a PC.
HD PVR is the world’s first High-Definition video recorder for making real-time H.264 compressed recordings at resolutions up to 1080i. HD-PVR records component video (YCrCb) from cable TV and satellite set top boxes, with a built-in IR blaster to automatically change TV channels for scheduled recordings. Audio is recorded using AAC or Dolby Digital.
Hauppauge HD-PVR is on sale now for $188.00
II. BLU-RAY DISC
You shoot in HD, your customers have HDTVs and now they can buy a Blu-ray Disc player for under $100! Now is the time to start delivering on Blu-ray Disc.
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. This holiday season you will find sub-$100 fully loaded Blu-ray players at your favorite electronics superstores. The latest versions of Apple Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro, Avid Media Composer, Sony Vegas Pro and Grass Valley Edius all support Blu-ray Disc burning and authoring, 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-206 and it supports 12x Blu-ray burning speeds and high-capacity Dual Layer discs. The BDR-206 is only $139.95- making it a very affordable addition to your editing machine.
We also offer the BDR-206 in an External MEGA Bundle with an eSATA/USB2 housing and a 10 Disc Spindle of Verbatim BD-R media for just $179.95!
The BDR-206 is a FANTASTIC solution for backing up your native HD files!
You can get 25GB of data on a single sided BD-R media that will cost you about two bucks each. That's perfect for backing up your DSLR footage from CF cards, XDCAMHD SxS cards or your AVCHD media.
We recommend using Roxio Toast (for Mac) or Creator 2011 Pro (Windows) to back up and archive all your original HD tapeless footage. This is why we offer bundles starting at just $199.95 which include the BDR-206 and Roxio software.
This next section includes a bunch of Holiday Gift Ideas for hardware that videographers appreciate and wrap up nicely in a gift box!
Matrox MXO2 Mini
If you edit HD with Adobe Premiere, Apple Final Cut Pro or Avid Media Composer the must have hardware for you is the Matrox MXO2 Mini. The Mini is the only I/O device that is triple AAA rated by the NLE leaders in the industry.
Whether you are on a PC or Mac, Desktop or laptop, editing in Final Cut, Premiere Pro or Media Composer the MXO2 Mini is for you. It's the worlds most affordable, versatile, portable, and stable I/O solution on the planet for under $500. Nothing else even comes close.
And, for just $400 more you can go for the MXO2 Mini with MAX technology. MAX gives you massively accelerated H.264 encoding for blu-ray, web streaming, iTunes or Flash. Not only will your encodes be FASTER then real-time, the quality as good or superior to the software encoder you are using now. As an added bonus save $50 on any MXO2 family I/O with MAX using Coupon MAX50 !
Lets face it, if you edit video, especially HD video, then the one thing you can always use is more storage. For the past 5 years we've been recommending G-RAIDS to all our customers for video storage. Why? Because they work great, they are incredibly reliable, they run cool, they are quiet and let's face it, they look great too! Now you can get a 2TB G-RAID with quad interfacce (FireWire800/400, USB3 and eSata) for just $249 after you apply our $20 OFF Coupon by entering the code GRAID20 at checkout! But HURRY! This coupon has just been extended for a few more days but will expire Friday December 3rd.
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.
Euphonix from the Avid Artist Series
This past year Avid technology purchased Euphonix, the makers of control surfaces for DAW and NLE applications. We discovered Euphonix about 6 months before the Avid acquisition and they've been a favorite add-on of mine since.
Now Avid has significantly reduced the prices of all of the Euphonix products now known as part of the Avid Artist Series.
MC Control is a programmable control surface for Mac based titles such as Final Cut pro and Logic. With the introduction of ProTools9 last month Avid also announced full compatibility with their EUCON protocol. Can Media Composer support be far behind? Back at NAB the guys at Euphonix gave me a sneak peak at an MC Control surface hacked to work with MC5. I was blown away, and that wasn't even a faction of the real functionality we'll see when true compatibility is announced in the future.
MC Color is a color grading control surface that offers a host of trackballs, trackwheels, encoders and more to provide colorists with interactive, hands-on control of Apple's Color 1.5
MC Mix brings the unparalleled audio mixing speed, resolution and DAW integration of Euphonix's high-end professional consoles to the personal studio.
MC Transport is a compact media controller that offers professional, hands-on control and navigation of all your favorite audio and video applications
For years we have been recommending NVIDIA Quadro professional graphics boards to our professional customers who demand the highest level of performance, reliability and stability. Quadro cards cost a bit more than your average gaming graphics card, but for professional content creators, the extra cost is often worth it. In a nut shell, many tech support issues we run into are graphics card related. While you may be able to save some bucks going with a gaming card, we feel confident that if you invest in a Quadro4000, you'll be happy you did!
The world's best under $1,000 graphics card for the Adobe CS5 Mercury Playback Engine!
With the introduction of the Mercury Playback Engine, Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 becomes the world's first CUDA optimized NLE solution. The Quadro 4000 taps into the new Fermi technology, which is basically CUDA on steroids. For under $900 the Quadro4000 delivers performance that blows away the almost twice as expensive QuadroFX4800 cards. The Quadro 4000 for MAC is the must have upgrade for Mac based Adobe CS5 users. Now, for under $1,000, you can edit multiple layers of native DSLR or AVCHD footage, plus incredible graphics performance with Photoshop, After Effects and all the other software in the Adobe CS5 Production Premium.
The next section for you to check out is our editing upgrades and upgrade bundles. We've got some great deals on the latest software versions available
Make no mistake about it, the two biggest releases of 2010 are Avid Media Composer 5 and Adobe Production Premium CS5. If you're an Avid or Adobe editor and you have not upgraded to 5 yet ........ WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! These are must have, killer upgrades that add features, performance and have set the bar for tapeless workflows. If you are editing DSLR footage (or AVCHD or XD CAM or P2 or RED) on Final Cut Pro you are spending far too much time converting and re-wrapping instead of editing. You may not realize it, but you probably have an old copy of software that you can use to upgrade to the latest software from Avid or Adobe. So, go through your desk drawers and find that old dongle or some old software that will be your key to unlock big savings.
The Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 Mercury Playback engine allows you to edit multiple layers of DSLR or AVCHD footage in real-time. You'll need to make sure you have a CUDA equipped graphics card, but that's a small price to pay for such outstanding performance.
If you own Photoshop CS, After Effects 7 or any old copy of Premiere or Premiere Pro then you qualify for what Adobe calls their Point Product upgrade. That means that for around $1000 you can upgrade to the full Production Premium CS5. If that's over your budget, but you have an old copy of Premiere hanging around, you can upgrade to Premeire Pro CS5 for just $299! Premiere Pro CS5 gives you the new Mercury Playback engine plus Adobe Encore for DVD & Blu-ray authoring.
Avid Media Composer 5 adds AMA support for QuickTime files including ProRes and DSLR footage. AMA allows you to edit with the original native files, no conversions or special encoding required. MC5 takes this even further, allowing you to mix 7 match HD footage for multiple sources, in different HD settings, CODECs and even frame-rates.
If over the years you've switched from Avid to another NLE - Avid Wants You Back! All you need is your old Xpress DV, Xpress Pro or Media Composer dongle and you can upgrade to the full Media Composer 5 with all 3rd party software!
Videoguys have put together special Videoguys Money-Saving Bundles with MC5 or CS5 upgrades and Pioneer Blu-ray burners, Matrox MXO2 Mini, and G-tech storage. For the most possibel saavings log into our Avid or Adobe configurator and create your own customized bundles and watch the savings add upa s you include more items!
Grass Valley Edius 6 enhances the industry's most comprehensive and powerful multi-format editing platform, with expanded capabilities to help broadcasters, independent professional video editors, and prosumers continue to streamline their workflows with increased speed, wider format support, and improved system efficiency.
EDIUS 6 gives users the ability to work with any video standard up to 1080p50/60 or 4K digital cinema resolution. Also, all major codecs in use in the industry are supported natively, with no transcoding required even when different compression formats are mixed on the timeline. In addition users are able to preview effects in real time.
For a limited time you can upgrade from any previous version of Edius for just $299. We also have the full version of EDIUS 6 and the Grass Valley hardware solutions including EDIUS 6 with the HDSPARK, HDSTORM, HDSTORM PLUS and the new HDSTORM3G.
Sony Vegas Pro 10 is simply the most powerful NLE for under $600. With version 10 Sony has added support for 3D Stereoscopic editing. While this is pretty cool, we realize that not too many folks are actually editing 3D yet. What really excited us about Vegas Pro 10 is the new HD engine for handling your DSLR H.264 footage.
Sony claims that Vegas 10 is almost 300% faster when working with these files. What this means for you is that that you can now work nicely with your DSLR footage even running an older Core 2 Duo or Quad. Put it on a new i7 machine running Win7 64-bit and you'll be amazed at how smoothly you can handle even multiple streams of DSLR footage! Owners looking to upgrade must purchase directly from Sony.
Videoguys is still offering some amazing bundles with Vegas Pro 9 plus a Blu-ray burner or G-Raid and a free upgrade to Vegas 10 - while supplies last.
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!
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.
For $100 it is the must-have utility for anyone editing AVCHD or DSLR footage. Many folks don't quite understand what NeoScene does, so we're going to give you a very simple explanation here. Think of it as an hardware accelerator card for editing difficult HD footage, only it is an inexpensive software plug-in rather then expensive hardware. The workflow is simple. You use NeoScene to convert your DSLR or AVCHD footage onto the CineForm CODEC, which is virtually losslesss (which means you maintain all of that fantastic video quality) plus it is super easy to edit.
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 a vintage TV show or like it was 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 $99.95 from Videoguys.com.
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.
Smartsound Sonicfire Pro
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 Scoring Editing bundle 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.
Red Giant Magic Bullet Quick Looks
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."
Red Giant Quick Looks is an easy to use library of 100 pre-made "Looks" that you can add to your video for only $99.95. 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.
Finally, our last shopping suggestion this Holiday Season is to add one of the many Training DVDs or Books to your library.
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. We've got some great new titles bundled together from VASST that should be considered required viewing for anyone who wants to get into videography and learn proper lighting and audio techniques, how to work with the new AVCHD format, and even how to make money in the video business. This 4-DVD set is on sale for just $99.95.
We have put together these great Class on Demand 2-pack bundles for Adobe, Avid and Apple NLEs. You get basic training plus more in depth complete training. Perfect for the new editor or someone changing NLEs!
We offer the new Class On Demand Two-Packs for:
• Adobe CS5 with "Complete Training for Adobe Premiere Pro CS5" and "Getting Started with Adobe CS5 Production Premium"
• Avid Media Composer 5 with "Complete Training for Avid Media Composer 5" and "Avid Media Composer for Final Cut Pro Users"
• Apple Final Cut Studio 3 with "Basic Training for Final Cut Studio 3" and "Complete Training for Final Cut Pro 7"
Your choice, any of these 2-PACKS for only $99.95!
While the holidays may be over, it's never too late to get something for yourself!