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Accom's Affinity NLE - Dimension 8.2

by David Fox

The latest version (Dimension 8.2) of Accom's Affinity NLE adds "speed, speed, speed" to its feature list, according to Janice Bowen, freelance editor, who demonstrated it at IBC 2001. It now allows instant stop, start and moving around. "Everything responds extremely quickly."

As an Affinity owner, she didn't have any problems except for long projects (90 minutes or more), but these have been rectified by 8.2. "We rewrote a lot of the application," explains Phil Bennett, Accom's executive vice president, technology.

It includes a new keyframer, including flying controls - "just click on a point in a move and you can see everything associated with it," she says. Auto-insert keyframes means that if you change the parameter, it sets the keyframes (which can also now be accessed from the timeline).

Effects are now faster to create and change, and can be made more complex without waiting for it to be re-rendered. Indeed, "there are fewer steps in any procedure," says Bennett, due to its increased real-time functionality, with fewer clicks and dialog boxes.

It can also now composite both fields with just one click when creating a freeze frame, "which reduces any shakiness," says Bowen. It could be done before, but took several clicks.

It now has clip stacking, which flattens stacked sheets and trims any overlapping stacked clips. "When you start stacking clips on top of each other, there is always the worry that the wrong clip will come forward. It also guarantees you have an absolutely accurate in and out point," she explains.

All compositing of multiple layers has also been speeded up. The timeline ripple has been revised and fully implemented. "It finally works very well," she says.

It now includes EDL Max software, which gives industry standard EDL import and export. Previously it used its own software which didn't support a wide range of EDLs.

Four workstations can share material on an Atto SAN, using Medéa drives. "It is a very open solution, because we try to do everything in standard ways to make it easy for people. It's very simple compared to something like the Avid solution," claims Bennett. Affinity uses QuickTime, which is very open and takes care of all import and export.

Affinity includes full DVEous effects and full RGB colour correction. Its price has been reduced to compete with lower mid-range broadcast systems, but it is still aimed at commercials or mainstream broadcast, including editing sports highlights (as it operates quickly enough, with effects, for close-to-air work). Indeed, it has just been bought by France Television to edit rugby highlights shows, where it was chosen partly because of the speed and flexibility of the built-in DVE, which also enabled it do programme mixing and credits on the system.

Bowen mainly does promos, commercials and long-form work. Because the Medéa drives are low-priced, she can afford lots of storage (about 800GB), which allows her keep three or four long-form productions going at one time. "I love the fact that I can mix compressions and maybe do 2:1 and something uncompressed and mix them together," she adds.

NOV 2001

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David Fox