1. Audiovisual works included in the educational library of a college or university’s film or media studies department, when circumvention is accomplished for the purpose of making compilations of portions of those works for educational use in the classroom by media studies or film professors.
    So, it’s now legal to rip a DVD for some educational uses. Nice. Now… about the rest of the DMCA?
    EFF has the whole story

Film School in a Box

Stealing shamelessly from DVGuru today – Check out Film School in a Box. They’re selling harddrives preloaded with all the footage from a 90 minute film, with 9 camera angles for every scene. They’ve set it up as a multicam project in Final Cut, so that you can go through and cut the film in the way you want, with the angles you want. I think this is a pretty cool concept as a way to learn about story telling through editing. You can do it all in realtime. Slick.

Review: Microsoft Zune

I had a chance to play with a Zune last week. Frankly, I’m a bit of a biased reviewer in this case, being an Apple fanboy and all. That said, here’s my rundown of the player itself. I haven’t used the software, but check out Engadget’s Zune review for the whole scoop. This is mostly just ranting.


Zune next to a 30gig video iPod

First off, I’m not sure I could get past how gigantic the things is. It just doesn’t feel pocketable. Beyond that, it feels a bit cheap. The choice of a non-spinning “wheel” control is also a bit questionable. Everyone who picked the unit up started trying to spin the wheel and said “why isn’t it working?” – a clear indication that it’s not very user friendly. Having to use separate back and play buttons outside of the wheel is also a bit cumbersome.

Once you’ve gotten the controls down, the interface is for the most part quite nice. It’s certainly got more visual flair than the iPod, but you can still navigate it at a pretty good pace.

The choice of a larger screen rotated 90degrees makes for some awkward situations though. As you switch between videos and the menu for example, you need to rotate the player back and forth. It will be interesting to see how Apple deals with this issue when they go with a larger format screen on the “real” video iPod.

As a music player, the Zune is fine. It’s not great, it’s not terrible. The FM tuner is nice, and I’m sure the WiFi will be useful to some folks. I’ll stick with my iPod though.

Review: Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD1A

The Sanyo Xacti HD1A is a pocket-sized direct-to-memory camcorder. The Xacti line has grown to encompass a number of cameras, ranging from around $350 to the HD1A, which retails for around $600. All of the cameras boast direct-to-memory recording in an MPEG-4 format, using SD memory cards.


The HD1A distinguishes itself, as the name might suggest, by being capable of recording HD video. I’m resisting the urge to put HD in sarcastic quotes (“HD”) as the HD this camera records is a bit of a joke. But more on that later.

Read on for the rest of the review…

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Review: Zoom H4 pocket recorder

This is a review of the Zoom H4 “Handy Recorder,” a portable audio recording device. Sometimes branded a Samson device, the H4 retails for around $300.


These devices have been growing in popularity over the last few years, due to the growth of podcasting and also the growth in independent film production. Because the H4 records in either wave or MP3, it is appropriate for both uses. MP3 bitrates can be adjusted between 320kbps and 48kbps. Wave files can be sampled at 44khz, 48khz or 96khz with either 16bit or 24bit precision. So, whether you’re a podcast producer looking to create quick MP3 files on the go, or an indie filmmaker looking for better audio than your camera can produce, this device tries to meet your needs.

Read on for the rest of the review… apologies for the terrible picture quality, my normal camera was unavailable.

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BMW “Precipice” Ad overview

StudioDaily has an interview with Ben Grossman from the Syndicate, discussing the creation of the BMW “Precipice” advertisement. It’s a pretty cool bit of CG, as they had to shoot the commercial during the day, in the dry, but present a commercial which showed the car at night in the rain. Lots of rotoscoping and particle effects ensured, and the end result is pretty impressive.

First look at the Sony V1U has a preview of the Sony HVR-V1U online. I’m very interested in this camera, as it seems like a pretty solid player in a part of the market that has long by dominated by “subpar” options. I’ll be eager to get a chance to play with one. The article makes mention of the new CMOS chip setup in this camera. I think it will be interesting to see how the indie-film types adapt to the minor differences inherent in CMOS imaging. Curious.

By the way, I’ve got a bunch of reviews coming next week, including the Zoom H4, Sanyo Xacti HD1A, Presonus Firepod, Microsoft Zune and a few other cool toys.