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COW Appreciation Day

Yes, Cow Appreciation Day is a real holiday and for us, it is one of the top days of the year -- not that we're prejudiced or anything. And to celebrate, our friends at Digital Juice have offered to give one lucky COW member their pick of any product from the Digital Juice line of great tools. You might pick their Motion Designer's Toolkit or perhaps you'll choose their Compositor's Toolkit. Maybe it will be their new and über-slick Digital Juice Fonts -- the choice is yours, if you are the winner from among those that qualify on July 15th.

What do you have to do to win? To enter the drawing, you must answer a question anywhere on our forums on July 15th. We will pick one lucky winner from among those that qualify and we will introduce you to our friends at Digital Juice who will give you your choice from their wide selection of tools for your studio.

So, visit us on Wednesday July 15th and answer someone's question. You may find yourself being appreciated as the kind of cow that makes Creative COW such a great resource for those working in the fields of film and video.

So help us celebrate Cow Appreciation Day, July 15th, a day that is always a lot of fun here in the Creative COW forums. We'll announce the lucky winner in next week's newsletter.

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Business Contract Issues

Today, in our popular Business & Marketing forum, noted COW contributing author and member, Mark Suszko, penned one of the funniest articles on contract considerations that we have ever read. Whether you are new in business or have been in business for years, you will enjoy this hilarious offering that explores points that you should address in your contracts.

While it is an incredibly funny look at contracts, the points he covers are quite serious and if you have been in business any time at all, you will quickly recognize most all of them.

So, join the discussion in the Business & Marketing forum and add your own "contract points" for consideration to the "Ultimate Sample Typical Contract for Newbies.
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Demo Reels

If you have been looking for a place to host your reel or a short film, music video, or other work that you have done, has added free video hosting for your reels and videos. We host up to 900 pixels wide, including 720p HD, with up to 100MB per file, in either H.264 or Flash encoding. We support AAC for audio.

If you can't afford your own unlimited bandwidth pipe, you will likely need to use someone else's service to host your reel. YouTube and Vimeo are nice, but often the sizes are too restrictive for professional use, and the small clips do not really show well when displaying your work to clients. Brightcove is an excellent choice but the costs can be very prohibitive to most anyone other than the biggest businesses with deeper pockets than most small and mid-sized companies.

We launched it a few weeks back and today, we are already passing the 40,000 unique monthly user marker and some of our videos have already passed the 6,000 views marker. And it's growing fast! How fast? Like most things at the COW, we will likely double in July, even with all of the holidays and Summer vacations that many northern hemisphere COW members will be taking this month.

Check out the links for "Most Viewed" and "Most Votes." Or try the link to "Sort by Nation." That's one of our favorites because we are getting some great work from around the world.
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Redrock Micro DSLR Cinema Bundle for the Canon 5D MKII

If you are using the Canon 5D MKII or Nikon D90 for their gorgeous HD video, or even thinking about it, you need to read this. Creative COW Contributing Editor Jim Harvey shows how the Redrock Micro DSLR Bundle makes these cameras even more useful for video shooters, then shows how he and other pros are using it, in the field and in the studio. Jim is enthusiastic about the possiblities it opens up, and thinks you will be too.

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Lights, Camera, Audio

When you need advice on lighting, sound, and cinematography, you want it from pros at the top of their game. That's exactly who you'll find hosting and participating in the forums at Creative COW: winners of Oscars, Emmys, and others of the industry's highest honors. Here are just a handful of examples.

Dennis Size has won two Emmys for his lighting on "All My Children" and "Ryan's Hope," among his total of six Emmy nominations. He's lit the Democratic (2008, 2004) and Republican (2004) National Conventions, and provided lighting for MSNBC, Fox News, (for whom he has also designed studios), CNN, PBS, and Al-Arabiya in Dubai. His resume also includes Oprah, Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, Sesame Street and Bruce Springsteen.

John Sharaf shot an Oscar-winning Documentary Short, soon after his graduation from the renowned UCLA Film School. His emphasis on lighting has helped distinguish his camera work in documentaries and news over the past 30 years, and continues to feed a successful business providing crews, cameras, lighting and post facilities in LA.

Ty Ford has written books from "Advanced Audio Production Techniques" to the updated section on microphones in the weighty NAB Engineering Handbook. He has lent his voice talent to thousands of promos and spots over the years, and handles a wide variety of music and voice production in his own studio. Ty also specializes in location audio for film and video.

Michael Palmer has worked as a DP, and in the lighting and electrical department for projects including "Pulp Fiction," "Dead Man," "Profiler," and "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" He has produced and directed sports programming, and is currently the DP for "Faithful Friends" on Animal Planet.

Todd McMullen has been a camera operator on "Friday Night Lights" since it began in 2006. The first feature he lensed was Martin Scorcese's "Casino," followed by films as diverse as "The Green Mile," "Miss Congeniality," and "Superman Returns." Other TV series he's worked on include "X-Files" and "Rescue Me."

That is just a small handful of the working pros you'll find in those forums, who, between them, have worked on thousands of films, TV series, spots, and corporate projects of every description, as well designing and teaching courses at every level. And that's not even counting the thousands of pros who pass through those forums every month, ready to help with anything you need.

Any questions for the pros? Ask them in the Cow's Lighting Design, Audio Pros, and Cinematography forums.
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Grow Your Brain With COW Training Tools

A New Solid

Announcing the latest addition to the Creative COW Master Series of DVD Training: Eran Stern's "A New Solid"

Not only a compilation of some of the world's most popular After Effects tutorials, our new Creative COW Master Series DVD, A NEW SOLID, hosted by Eran Stern, is our longest running DVD ever, nearly 8 hours in all!

In addition to full size versions of the world's most popular AE podcast, you'll find two hours of never-before-seen advanced training. Expressions, motion tracking, particles, time warps, integration with other AE programs, advanced title animation - it's all here, complete with project files and accompanying footage.

Learn from one of the COW's masters, Eran Stern, a motion graphics artist and a leader of our popular After Effects forum. His uniquely entertaining style will introduce you to whole new worlds of Adobe After Effects.

For more details, including the amazing trailer that Eran designed, visit the Creative COW Master Series store.
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Stereoscopic 3D Issue - Creative COW Magazine

From what we have heard from industry insiders and experts with whom we worked on the new Stereoscopic 3D issue of Creative COW Magazine, this magazine is unique in the market. It is filled with articles that explore the world of making stereoscopic 3D. And taking our readers along for the ride is an all-star cast that includes many of the people that the top studios draw on when they plan, create, finish and distribute stereoscopic 3D movies.

From major productions to indie projects, from camera rigs and hardware, to software and compositing, we have cast out a net and drawn in some of the very best content that we have ever seen anywhere on this new and rapidly growing market.

So download the PDF electronic version online and don't forget, it comes in a read-friendly "spread" edition, or the printer-friendly single page "print" edition.

We would like to thank all of the wonderful people that helped us by allowing us inside their production worlds to bring this issue together. We are honored by your trust that we would tell your stories carefully and build something that you would be proud to be a part of. It has been a true honor to work with you all.
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What an incredible last 30 days it has been. We have had 2.2 million visits by visitors that are quickly heading towards 1.5 million absolutely unique visitors, according to Google Analytics. We are also on a countdown to cross the 100,000 visits a day marker, having just crossed into the 90,000s. At our present rate of growth, we may even be crossing over before the end of June.

Our new Demo Reels section has now seen some of our reels exceed 3,600 views and there are many that are quickly nearing or exceeding the 1,000 views level. There are some fabulous reels in the new Demo Reels area, so don't forget to visit it soon.

And don't forget to visit our new Magazine website, which has been totally redesigned and is one of the showcases of great content here at Creative COW. Our new issue on Stereoscopic 3D is about to be released in a day or two, so keep your eyes open for it.

Thank you to all of our members and sponsors for being a part of all of this. We are amazed at the growth and want you all to know that we appreciate your confidence and your involvement, and we have more new things coming soon to help support your business and your craft.
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Demo Reels Feed

We've been hard at work expanding our new demo reels section and now your demo reel will auto-load into your services offered listing, showing potential clients your work and expertise as only a video can.

If you would like to see an example of a services offered listing with the new demo reel auto-embedding feature, please see

The new demo reels section has been growing rapidly and the level of some of the reels is simply astounding and here are a few of the best reels we have seen...

Thomas Horne's demo reel from the USA.
Sascha Verwiebe's reel from Germany.
Glow Studios' reel from Moldava.

This reel from Lab Rats Multimedia just came in and is a really fine reel from a company in Puerto Rico. Great work.

We'd also like to give a tip of the ole cow hat to Dan Parsons, whose Director of Photography reel is spectacular. Great work, Dan.

If you haven't voted on any of the reels, please take some time to visit as it is quickly becoming one of the most popular areas of Creative COW. The work is inspiring and many of the reels are very impressive.

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COW Demo Reels

Tired of having your reel rescaled to 320 wide, or smaller? Can't see your reel because it got compressed so small that it's tough for you and the audience to see or read what is there? Well, we are happy to announce that Creative COW's new DEMO REELS area is now open and supports the largest reel sizes of any site that we have seen in this industry. And if you upload a file that meets our largest supported size (see instructions just below), and you click on the movie player's View in Full-Screen mode button, you will have a marquee for your work that we haven't found anywhere else in the industry.

What can you upload? Your reel can be anywhere up to 900 pixels wide -- that's three- to four-times the size of what you find on competing sites. And if you upload your files as 900 wide and in either Flash or H.264 formats, you won't lose a pixel because our mechanism will upload them without having to recompress your reel. And you can upload up to 50MB for your reel. So, 900 pixels wide, 50MBs or smaller, in Flash or H.264, and you don't have to recompress. Now, that's stylin'.

COW Demo Reels

Right now, you can visit the REELS section to see Demo Reels, Promotional videos, Movie Shorts, and the latest products in the Sponsors Showcase.

In the next few weeks, we will be developing additional Demo Reels section features that will allow for even more types of media, and in even more categories. So visit the new Demo Reels section today and upload your own work, or vote on your favorites.

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