With more than 500 entertainment suppliers displaying their newest tools, techniques and technologies, there’s lots to see at ShowBiz Expo.All eyes will be on Iwerks International’s West Coast introduction of SimGraphics Engineering Corp.’s new interactive 3-D system, VActor, which combines virtual reality with live acting, hence VActor. And those seeking the rest of the Virtual Reality picture will want to check out the Virtual Reality Theatre, Multi Media Research Project presented by the department of art and design at Cal Poly University in San Luis Obispo. Cal Poly students will demonstrate SteroGraphics Desktop Virtual Reality System, which includes a head tracking system that follows the movements of the viewer. Other exhibits feature new hardware and software and refinements of established products and formats ranging from cameras to lighting systems to sound and editing systems. Apple Computer Inc. will display new technologies from a variety of software developers in the Mac Product Zone along with a Macintosh Theatre featuring Quick Time demonstrations and other media applications. IBM has created a new division, Ultimedia Tools Systems, designed to bring together graphics, animation, audio and video editing and multimedia control under one roof. Panasonic, in its first appearance at ShowBiz Expo, is touting the industry’s smallest digital VTR. Called AJ-D340, the midget machine delivers four hours of recording and playback at D-3 levels. The rest of Panasonic’s line of digital composite video equipment will also be on display. Canon USA Inc.’s video products division will highlight its Hi8 Ultra compact camcorders, including one with the first interchangeable lens, the L1, with optical image stabilization. At the other end of the spectrum, Daedalus presents its new iXL-870, eight-perforation, 70mm camera along with Conform-It, its editing system for large-format films and theme-park rides. Helicam Flying Camera Systems has come up with a camera-carrying remote-controlled miniature helicopter to take over when traditional camera-support systems prove too bulky or expensive to get the job done. S.L. Cine Inc. has what it claims to be the lightest weight 35mm motion picture camera, the SL 35. For aerial photography, Spacecam Systems has its new Spacecam Series II System, with gyro stabilized camera and new nose-tail mountings. The Post House is demonstrating a new robotic camera control system developed by Lynx Robotics, which uses a joy stick to enhance the camera’s freedom of movement. A new rolling camera head from Weaver Steadman permits three axes of movement along with standard camera or suspended camera mounting. Innovision Optic’s new tabletop cameras involve a three-axes mini-jib crane arm for motion-controlled camera moves, with a joy stick controller to ensure accurate repeats. Panasonic is talking a new language with its FTZSAC and Rbi-directional zap automatic digital control camera functions. Panasonic also has the Panatape II ultrasonic range finder. Going beyond normal film stock, Eastman Kodak unveils a range of new products , including a CD Photo line, digital publishing, and the Cineon Film System, which establishes high resolution for digital media and film compositing. More new film stocks are on hand from Fuji Photo Film USA Inc., including high speed 500T, intermediate FCI and improved positive release prints. Trident Engineering, known for its environmentally safe film-cleaning products, has combined with parent company OCS/Freeze Frame to create the new Variable Anamorphic Lens, a compact additive lamphouse that adds six to eight more stops of light. Bringing more light to thesubject, Cinemills claims its 6k Single Ended Axial is the most powerful single-ended light system available. Dedo Weigert, who won an Academy Award for his Dedolight System, will be at Dedotec USA Inc.’s display, which features their new DSET-M41, self-contained Dedolights with built-in transformers. Lowell-Light, which has been around for 30 years, has updated its system with a Stand-link, Home-plate base clamp and a new barndoor system. Vari-Lite’s new DL-5 tungsten lights boast a convection-cooled technique that allows no heat to come from the front of the fixture and no sound during its robotic movements. Wildfire, whose work has been seen in “Lawnmower Man” and Michael Jackson’s concert tour, introduces a new line of long-throw ultraviolet lighting fixtures. FRAMEdge, from the Cine-Laser Group, throws a rectangular outline onto a movie set matching the boundaries in the camera’s viewfinder. A red laser beam alerts anyone or anything that crosses the line. The company’s subsidiary, Light Frontier Laboratories, is also introducing energy-saving Electro Luminence Panels, with a variety of applications. Laser Fantasy International will present its 3-D and Beam Ballet systems, first installed last year in Seoul, Korea. Micro-Flo, the pencil-sized light tubes that make beer bottles glow while remaining cool enough for actors to hold them in Miller Lite commercials, will be presented by Kino-Flo Inc. Also on display will be Wall-o-Lite, 4-foot-by-2 -foot soft-light-ing units that give off no heat. The Multi-Stage Portable Staging System, from Bil Jax Inc., minimizes parts and assembly for stages, runways, and risers. JVC Professional Products shows off its new high-end S-VHS tape decks with freeze frame and slo-mo, along with decks intended for multimedia video production. They also have an advanced time code system and new edit controllers for dynamic motion editing and A/B rolls. Editing Machines Corp. (EMC) has a new non-linear editing system, Primetime, a digital editor available as a kit containing the software and add-in cards, or as a complete turnkey system. Metro Video Systems combined a D/Vision system with a portable “lunch box” style computer to create what it claims to be the world’s smallest non-linear editing format. It has an extra use as a digital video assist on the set. Quantel moves ahead in the world of digital optics with its custom editing system, Domino: Digital Optics for Movies (pictured). Packaged in two parts, the system offers the Domino Lab, to handle input scanning to convert film to digital pictures, and the Domino Bench, an optical workstation covering digital image creation, compositing, retouching, correction and effects. Spinning off from its work on theme-park rides, Video Image Associates/VIFX features a new Ultrascan video playback with RTVGA system, which delivers twice the resolution when filming monitor playback. A new system for transferring videotape to slides, negative, or prints, VideoStill produces improved image and enlargements to 8×10. All States Office Machines Inc. has what it calls the world’s first portable, computerized surveillance system, a wireless unit with models for motion sensing , time interval, and real-time playback. Dazian now uses computer dyeing to give its Expo Cloth color consistency and economy. With a claim to being the fastest and cheapest method of manufacturing props, costumes, prototypes, masks, and miniatures, DBFX and Vacuuform Co. introduce their new model VF22 Vacuuforming machine. Denecke Inc. has a new GR1 code generator reader that enables a spot to be found quickly. ShowBiz Expo also features innovative presentations. The S.S. Lane Victory is a fully restored ship anchored in San Pedro and available for filmmakers. Strategic Weather Services offers meteorological predictions months in advance. And Rail-Tech Prods. Inc. provides expertise to production companies wanting to use railroads, including script advice, railway equipment and scheduling.
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