Versatile Video Editing
iMovie is not enough. Final Cut Pro 3.0 is too much. What is a Mac owner to do when it comes to editing video clips? Maybe take a ride on Apple's new Final Cut Express (street: $299), which is to video editing what Photoshop Elements is to image manipulation: a versatile, full-featured program that's not quite pro-level-but is a lot less pricey. Final Cut Express provides: simple import of video from any FireWire-enabled miniDV camcorder; over 200 transitions, filters, and effects; and 2-D and 3-D titles. Express also uses nonlinear editing techniques such as slips, slides, and splits to make edits without changing your original footage. You even get audio filters, a three-band equalizer, and the ability to mix up to 99 tracks, plus voice-over. Once you've played, tweaked, and rendered, you can use the print-to-video function to record back to tape, or employ
Apple's iDVD to create DVDs. To see pricing and a full list of features, or to purchase, log onto www.apple.com.
Pro Color Profiling for Non-Pros
Want to coax truer color out of your digital camera? That's easy if you use a high-end color-profiling system and software like GretagMacbeth's Profile Maker 4.0 (around $1,000). Too rich for your blood? QPcolorkit (street: $200) from Argraph offers a remarkable level of control for the home enthusiast. All you do is place a QPcard 201 in your picture (the kit includes five), shoot it, and download the image into the QPcolorsoft 501 software. Compare the original file to the one your camera captured, and save a profile. Now, whenever you take a picture under the same lighting conditions, just apply that profile. Your images should show better, more accurate color. You might consider profiling daylight, flash, indoor tungsten, and indoor fluorescent lighting-for starters. For more info, or to purchase, log onto www.qpcard.com.
An Alluring Elura
You've determined that your next digital video camcorder will go anywhere, but also do everything, and well. Here's one for your short shopping list: Canon's Elura 50 (street: $900) is small enough to fit in a coat pocket (albeit with a bit of a bulge), but packed with features for both video and still shooting. The Elura 50 has 10X optical zoom, up to XGA (1024x768 pixels) still-image capture, Motion-JPEG, and direct-connect printing to Canon printers. Canon claims greater color accuracy in either capture mode using the new DIGIC DV chip, which has two different color processing techniques specifically tailored for video or still imaging. The Elura 50 accepts both Secure Digital and MultiMedia cards to store stills and Motion-JPEGs. For those shaky moments, it also has image stabilization. The fully rotating, 2-inch color LCD monitor helps with high- and low-angle shots, and self-portraits. There's also a full range of exposure controls and shooting modes. Color Night Mode allows the user to shoot in near-total darkness and still get a full color image. For a complete list of features visit www.canondv.com.