The best consumer video production products of 2006, selected by the editors of Videomaker. Best Products of the YearBest Products Award Criterion: E.Q.U.I.P. For a product to qualify for an award, it must have shipped in the 2006 calendar year, and it must have passed through Videomaker headquarters for examination by our editors. From there, we judged products based on the following five criteria: Empowerment - how effective the product is at helping videographers be more effective at video production. Quality - it must be put together well, durable and show excellence in its category. Usability - how user-friendly it is. Innovation - it should have some inventive or original features. Performance - it must work consistently, effectively and provide a good value for the price. As video enthusiasts we get attached to some of the products that land on our desks for review. This year we've seen products get smaller, lighter, faster, sexier and more affordable. This year we really got attached. While many are incredible tools, we have to narrow the field for our "Best Products" award. These proved to be extraordinary tools for the consumer videographer; a handful of the camcorders introduced this year blew away our expectations for what a consumer camcorder can do; new computer systems have more processing power than you can shake a stick at; and, software packages give users the ability to make feature length productions with as much gloss as Hollywood. Still, the thing that amazes us the most is how approachable video production has become. Videomaker's 2006 Best Products of the Year salutes, not only the best gear, but the new generation of video producers who will be using these tools to share their voice with the world. read more...

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