News From The Woods.18


By Bob Ketchum

Originally Published March 17, 1998

"The Amiga Show in St. Louis"

Well, we just got back from attending the last day of the 3-day Amiga computer show put on by Bob Scharp and his Gateway crew in St. Louis this past weekend (March 13/14/15, 1998). Unfortunately I had a wedding here to videotape on Saturday so I was unable to attend the first two days of the show. However, I was able to make it for the last day and meet quite a few folks and make some new friends. I'm sure there will be many various reports written up about the seminars and goings-on with all the Amiga gearsluts, but I thought I'd like to do a "special report" covering my visit on Sunday. So here it is:

Talk about the power of the internet! I no sooner had got out of my car in the parking lot that I heard "Hey! Bob Ketchum!!" over my shoulder. I turned around and there was fellow Video Toaster Mailing List (VTML) subscriber Len Huffman. He recognized me from the picture on my website! So much for "Do websites really work?"

The VTML "power breakfast" at 8AM started the day off for me. Along with Len, I met with and talked to Jim Davis (DVS Direct), Aaron Ruscetta ("AArex AAron"), Bill Evans (ProWave), Scott Bates (SB Enterprises), Jim Boydston (Video Edit 'Cetera), John Zale (AV Productions), J. Eugene Fox (FoxHaven Videograophy), Fred Klein (Klein Video Services), Brian Ehlers (Video Memories), Todd Ehlers (D-Dot), and several others who either did not have business cards or luckily escaped my attention. All these people are either professional videographers, 3rd party developers, or dealers. A myriad of subjects were openly discussed during breakfast before we had to break it up in time to make the first of the day's presentations.

I attended the OPUS utility session, showing off the latest in directory utilities and ftp SW. The room was absolutely packed. SRO. While it became very apparent that my level of knowledge on the subject was very limited, I DID pick up quite a bit and learned how OLD my version of OPUS was. Drat! More updates in the future!

Most of the computer gear used during the event were furnished by local user groups and/or Michael Fioretti, who was always scurring around like a madman attending to everyone's needs. However, as usually happens, there were more than the usual fare of SNAFU's which I think were caused by people using computers configured by someone else (their owners) which sometimes made things difficult. Case in point: At the demonstration of Tunebuilder by ProWave's Bill Evans we never actually got to look at a demonstration because he couldn't get the "borrowed" computer to boot up his floppies of the SW. The session became more of an interactive lesson on disk salvage utilities. Suggestions were being offered by the attendee's present. Bill got a bit flustered and commented that this looked silly for a "big time" programmer-type person not being able to install a simple SW program. I felt for him. He is a very knowledgable and savvy technician who obviously knows what he's talking about. I understand he finally did get the demonstration underway later on in the day.

The ImageFX demo on Saturday and Sunday by Corinna Cohn was also cursed. I don't know if they ever got the glitches out of the system in time for a demonstration of the 3.0 "Tips & Tricks" seminar. And speaking of ImageFX, I finally met up with Kermit Woodall at the ImageFX booth on the exhibit floor. He spotted me coming and said "Don't get near me, Bob Ketchum! I SWEAR your 3.0 SW is on it's way. No trouble, now...". Gee, Kermit, I didn't think I wrote THAT many flaming emails about my 3.0 update. I DID buy two EXCELLENT VHS tutorials on ImageFX which include tips & tricks using 3.0 (that is, if I ever get it....heh) and also picked up PAN CANVAS, a motion control addition to ImageFX which I have been reading about on the VTML for a few weeks. I can't wait to try this stuff out! And talk about CD-ROMS! I just wish I'd had more time and money. I brought home a half-dozen CD-ROMS specifically for my Amiga with loads of images, soundtracks, fonts, and programs to better equip me for website design.

I had lunch with Scott Bates, who is a Toaster user but not (yet) a Flyer pilot. He, like some others, is concerned about investing in a Flyer system but also confessed that although he has never had an actual "hands-on" it looked like the only system to do what it does in an affordable price range. I invited him down here to see my setup and to take an hour to play with the Flyer. I know that's all it would take to convince him. That is, if Aussie didn't convince him after talking to him about it.

For me, the highlight of the entire day was an almost 2-hour gab session at the bar (naturally) with Michael "Aussie" Holton of OzWare. Aussie, Scott, Len, Fred, Aaron, and a couple other Flyer pilots and I sat and bounced ideas back and forth, mostly about MultiCam Editor and it's magnificent capabilities. How this guy (Aussie) can sit and quaff beers rapidfire while simultaneously expounding on the various configurations of his software is totally beyond me. I wasn't even drinking and I got a headache just trying to keep up the pace. We would keep bringing up scenario's and he would tell us how he'd configure MCE to do that job with a minimum hassle. We also got a glimpse of what's on the horizon in SW develpement for the Toaster/Flyer and it looks very exciting! After attending this show I can attest to the fact that, despite the naysayers, the Amiga computer platform and in particular the Video Toaster Flyer System is FAR from being "dead".

Very little time was spent by anyone grousing about the "situation" with Amiga or NewTek. Most of the discussions I was a part of was centered around how to properly utilize our systems. The gereral feeling about the VTML was that it is an extremely valuable resource pool of professionals, FOR professionals. All of us present cited our own stories of a "quick fix" in a tight spot during production by just going online and waiting for suggestion on the VTML. There was a little snickering about the borderline (?) "truth in advertising" concerning the Play Trinity newspaper ads announcing a non-linear editor when we ALL know it ain't happenin' yet! Pity those poor souls who have already shelled oout their dollars for a system that STILL isn't shipping as advertised. I hate to be an "I told you so".... but......

And, even though I didn't win the Amiga 1200 or 4000 at the end of the day, I DID get enough of a glimpse of Bob Bradley (Creative Media & Entertainment) when he went to claim his prize to recognize him a few minutes later at the end of the show. I was supposed to meet up with him but we got in so late Saturday night I missed him (he was out painting the town red with Aussie). At least we met up at the end of the day. I'll be over your way (Memphis) soon and we'll get together, Bob! I Promise.

WHAT A GREAT TIME I had! I learned SO much in just one day! I am more dedicated than ever to learn more about my T/F system and all the wonderful software being written by all those fine third party developers. Especially the ProWave and OzWare programs. I have promised Aussie to give him full reports on my applications for MultiCam Editor (and I WILL, Aussie! And by the way, these German Brown Trout are waiting for you...). Ditto for ImageFX, which is a program I need to spend more time with. Hopefully, those two new "Catalyzer" video tutorials will get me started ...AFTER I get my update..... right, Kermit? :)

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