Animoto announces major revamp

Animoto_logo

Animoto, New York, N.Y., launched an enhanced version of the service for photographers. The new Animoto utilizes a brand new render engine allowing for the creation of 720p HD videos and 10x faster video rendering. Also announced today is a completely redesigned Web site designed for a smoother video creation and distribution experience.

“All of these new features and enhancements announced today are a continuation of our efforts to provide photographers with a high-end video creation tool unrivaled in ease of use,” says Brad Jefferson, CEO and co-founder of Animoto. “Our photography focus really took off last year with the creation of eight new video styles designed in collaboration with professional photographers. 2011 will see continued expansion of our Pro product and as always, professional photographers will play a major role in product development.”

Animoto now features 360p web-quality videos, 720p HD video upgrades, and 10x faster video rendering.  Animoto is one of the first companies to build around Amazon’s GPU-driven cloud. Animoto’s 720p HD-quality video and 360p web-quality video will initially only be available on the most popular video style, the Animoto Original, but will soon be available across all video styles over the coming months. The new 720p HD-quality video represents a substantial improvement over a previous highest quality output of 480p (DVD-quality). Pro account users can create unlimited HD and DVD-quality videos at no extra cost.

In addition, Animoto’s Web site was completely redesigned to offer users improved functionality, it’s first since 2007.

HP launches “Everybody On” global marketing campaign

HP, Palo Alto, Calif., unveiled “Everybody On,” a global marketing campaign that celebrates how people around the world are using HP technology to pursue their personal and professional passions.s”

The launch – spanning music, fashion, community activism, business and more – is supported by an integrated marketing campaign featuring print, broadcast, online and social media.

The “Everybody On” campaign kicks off with a 60-second anthem TV spot featuring an instrumental version of Lou Reed’s iconic song “Walk on the Wild Side.” It showcases a broad range of solutions – from computers to mobile devices and printers – and how technology connects people to their passions.

At the center of the campaign is the “Everybody On” Digital Hub, where a variety of digital content will be hosted, including inspirational interviews about pursuing passions using HP technology. The digital hub will allow consumers to engage with passionate individuals and businesses from around the world, including IndyCar driver Gil de Ferran, social activist Aria Finger from DoSomething.org and “Project Runway” star Mondo Guerra.

During the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards telecast on Feb. 13, HP will unveil the first in a series of TV spots that highlight personal passions and the HP technology that enables them. The first spot will feature 13-time Grammy Award winner Alicia Keys sharing her passion for music and the importance of her audience hearing her songs exactly as she recorded them.

PhotoCardsDirect.com donates to Soldiers’ Angels

PhotoCardsDirect

PhotoCardsDirect.com, Ridgefield Park, N.J., an online publisher of contemporary photo cards, announces a Valentine’s Day charity partnership with Soldiers’ Angels — a non-profit organization that provides support to current and former members of the United States military and their families.

PhotoCardsDirect.com has pledged $.10 to Soldiers’ Angels for every free Valentine’s Day E-Card created through its website. Those looking to make this free donation may send their E-Card to a family member or friend in the military, to someone special in their lives, or to Soldiers’ Angels at valentines2011@soldiersangels.org. All E-Cards received by Soldiers’ Angels will be printed out and sent in care packages to those currently serving in the Armed Forces. In addition, PhotoCardsDirect.com will pledge 10 percent of every paid order on its wide selection of photo cards to Soldiers’ Angels. Customers are to use Promo Code PRTYC at checkout for both offers.

CRU-DataPort debuts portable RAID storage

ToughTech Duo has two drive trays

CRU-DataPort, Vancouver, Washington, launched ToughTech Duo, a RAID portable storage system works with two 2.5-inch notebook drives or solid state drives to back-up and store data. Designed for professional photographers and digital media users while on location or in the studio, ToughTech Duo maximizes storage in a mini footprint to ensure data integrity and protect digital assets. ToughTech Duo guards against data loss by writing the same information in real-time to both drives.

ToughTech Duo offers front-accessibility with removable trays to swap drives and a smart LCD menu to monitor drive health and to configure RAID mode. Connecting to any host computer via FireWire 800/400, USB 2.0 and eSATA provides flexibility, while the eSATA interface option offers the fastest transfer rates. ToughTech Duo also supports bus power with an included FireWire cable and ships with a multi-country compatible AC power supply for international use. A standard Kensington security slot is integrated for a lock to prevent theft.  ToughTech Duo is available through CRU resellers starting at US$499.00 SRP.

ToughTech Duo from the front

ToughTech Duo from the front

ToughTech Duo has two drive trays

ToughTech Duo has two drive trays

Preliminary sales figures of Spector

The Spector Photo Group, Wetteren, Belgium, has announced preliminary sales figures for 2010. Compared with 2009, sales declined 8.46 percent to Euro 223.35 million (US-$ 304.4 million). The company’s retail business under the Photo Hall brand recorded sales of Euro 161.32 million (US-$ 219.9 million) for 2010, a decline of 5.1 percent. According to a press release, the results were particularly affected by falling prices and the weather conditions during the holiday sales period in December, which resulted in a decrease by 9 percent in Belgium and 11 percent in Luxembourg compared with December 2009. This decrease, however, has already been compensated in January 2011, Spector said.

Spector’s Photomedia business, which comprises the company’s imaging services activities, recorded sales of Euro 62.7 million (US-$ 85.5 million) in 2010, a decrease of 16.2 percent compared with 2009. Revenue from ExraFilm’s digital mail-order activities increased 1 percent in 2010, while analog activities dropped 43 percent. In the fourth quarter of 2010, digital mail-order activities showed a growth rate of 7 percent in revenue. Compared with the same period 2009, the number of photobooks increased by 24 percent.

Spector’s 2010 annual results will be announced March 8, 2011.