Top Ten Products of 2012 for filmmakers and film fans

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Happy New Year to all of our readers! It’s that time of year again, and Cinema Without Borders has put together a list of our Top Ten Products of 2012. As in years past, we have encountered these select products in our tests—as well as personal use—and would like to share our joy with you! The following is a list of CWB’s favorite tools-of-the-trade released within the last year, chosen by our esteemed staff of tech-geeks and software-junkies. Without further ado, here are our top ten products of the year for 2012! (In alphabetical order)

1. Adobe Premiere Pro CS6
The latest iteration of Adobe’s film program makes a number of improvements over previous versions and provides a viable alternative to Final Cut Pro X. More speed, new tools, a simplified user-interface, and improved overall editing control mark just some of the betterments of Premiere Pro CS6, and it’s in our top 10 because it is a fantastically well rounded, professional-level digital video editing program!

2. Abrosoft FantaMorph 5
FantaMorph 5 puts complex animation creations within the reach of amateur animators. The software allows you to easily turn two or more images into a morph animation whilst allowing customization with FantaMorph’s powerful and easy-to-use tools. Users can export their creations into one of seven video-export formats, ranging from AVI to Flash Movie—amongst others.

3. Autodesk’s 123D Catch – For PC, iPad & iPhone
Autodesk’s popular 123D Catch found its way onto our iPads and iPhones, and stole our hearts. This simple app creates 3D models from photos; 123D Catch taps into Autodesk’s expertise in the 3D modeling department without making it difficult on the user’s end. The fun doesn’t stop there: 3D captures made within the app can later be fabricated as physical, 3D printed objects (or they can be exported to be used for further 3D Modeling or 3D Animation).

4. Gefen TV Wireless HDMI
Do you require the ability to wirelessly extend an HDMI signal? Well Gefen has a number of solutions with their Wireless HDMI extenders. We used one to wirelessly stream high-quality video from an iPad to a big-screen (with the help of an adapter) and were thoroughly impressed.  The GefenTV Wireless 60GHz provides an uncompressed, 1080p stream in scenarios where traditional cabling isn’t viable; it’s great for an old studio building, for a quick set-up (plug-and-play installation allows you to be up and running in minutes), or just for watching movies on your TV from your iPad!

5. HP Elitebook 8770W mobile workstation
This Elitebook from HP is a great portable computer for film professionals, complete with the Dreamcolor display (which can be calibrated to a variety of color spaces: sRgb, Rec. 601, Rec 709, Adobe RGB, and DCI-P3 Emulation). This mobile workstation can help reshape workflow for the better, with functionality which greatly compliments a production atmosphere. Tech-junkies will appreciate the available 3.3. GHz Quad-Core processor, 32 GB of RAM (max), and 17.3 in full HD display. Let’s not forget a plethora of inputs/outputs (firewire, USB 3.0, memory cards—the works),  and overall exceptional performance.

6 Nuance Dragon Naturally Speaking 12
We put Dragon Naturally Speaking on our list for the second consecutive year! The new Dragon 12 provides improved accuracy and other refinements that helped keep its spot as our favorite dictation software. For filmmakers and screenwriters who want to think aloud and dictate their ideas or scripts to a computer, iPad, or iPhone, Dragon offers the best voice recognition tool on the market. Dragon 12 is a welcome step forward for the program that allows for easier correction and editing, more control in text-to-speech, and an overall faster experience—so you can actually get some work done!
Click here for more info.

7. Pimsleur Approach
The market for language-learning software can seem oversaturated and overwhelming, but CWB has found the best tool available. Whether you’re a film fan trying to watch a movie in its original language, a writer or an actor involved in international projects, the Pimsleur Approach to learning language will be your closest ally. Unlike its competitors, Pimsleur actually works! The spaced repetition method is a fantastic device for embedding foreign language into your memory, and—though it takes time and devotion—Pimsleur will teach you a language more completely than Rosetta Stone will.

8. Reallusion’s  CrazyTalk 7
CrazyTalk 7 builds upon a solid foundation to bring us their latest program for creating lip-syncing and facial-animation creations from photos. Reallusion’s software offers amateurs and professionals the ability to animate characters with the power of their voice with new Auto-Motion technology. You will be impressed by CrazyTalk’s animation tools (facial recognition/control), character creation (custom eyes, teeth, hair), and the aforementioned auto-motion technology (auto-lip sync from audio or text). Reallusion has taken revolutionary steps in the field of animation creation tools and We promise you a feature story on all Reallusion programs.

9. Script Pro
Script Pro is an easy-to-use iPad and iPhone app for screenplay writers looking for on-the-go tools of the trade. The app provides industry standard formatting and editing capabilities, so you can easily edit character names (all at once), compose and edit scripts, and email your work out of the app.
Click here for more info.

10.Verizon’s MIFI
CWB is always looking for the best wireless connectivity options, and Verizon’s Jetpack MiFi personal hotspot has made it onto our list again because of its consistent performance and reliability. For those of you unfamiliar with the technology, Verizon’s Jetpacks are small, wallet-sized devices that provide high-speed internet hotspots with a monthly fee. The latest models offer 4G LTE connections for the film fan on the go. Up to five devices can be connected simultaneously, and connection speeds are high enough for enjoying films away from home (with download speeds of up to 12Mbps). Users attempting to view videos and films online won’t be disappointed with a Jetpack hotspot, as the ability for multiple connections and wide-ranging functionality makes the device well worth the price. 
Click here for more info.

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About Author

Luz Aguado

Luz Aguado was born in Guanajuato, Mexico and grew up in East Los Angeles. She is the oldest of four siblings. Prior to attending The Art Institute, Luz was a student at the University of California Riverside where she studied biology and aspired to become a medical doctor. Now she studies Media Arts and Animation at The Art Institute of Los Angeles and hopes of one day having the opportunity to work for Disney Animation Studios. Three dimensional animation and the innovative techniques that have given animation a more realistic appearance is something that she wishes to focus on while at The Art Institute.

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