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Media 100

Post Impressions
Reader's Comments

Editing Gets Streamlined

by David Fox

The ability to stream direct to the Internet is a key innovation that virtually all nonlinear editor makers now offer. This year's models are also increasingly real time, with only a few requiring users to wait while they render effects. Where rendering is required, several systems offer to take care of it in the background (with Avid|DS able to remotely process work using any spare CPU capacity attached to the network). Networking, too, was a big part of the technology demonstrations at IBC 2000, with a lot of sharing going on. Useful features like colour correction and analogue-style audio scrubbing, which were previously rare, are also becoming routine.

Symphony Fast Tracked

At IBC, Avid showed new releases of MC (v10), Symphony and Xpress (v4.0) which were the same on both Mac and PC. New features include improved tracking and stabilisation on Symphony 3.0, with a new real-time Ultimatte card attached to a real-time DVE "and a very fast tracking engine." It also has a new colour correction tool, with secondary colour correction, which can alter up to 12 colours in the same frame in real time. It can also export anything to the Web in a single step. Indeed, streaming media creation ability is now included in every product.

New features in Media Composer include: real-time full-motion alpha keying; a real-time nine-stream hardware multi camera option; hundreds of editing and ease-of-use enhancements, such as the ability to loop selected clips before adding them to a sequence. Xpress now includes: VTR emulation for controlling playback from Xpress by external devices; improved editing, such as mappable keyboard, JKL trim and a bin improvements; and one-step creation of QuickTime reference movies for use with third-party applications, such as Adobe After Effects.

The next release of NewsCutter, due this month, will be able to access any shared material on centralised storage. It will be followed by an MPEG-2 NewsCutter early next year.

The high-end Softimage|DS has now become the Avid|DS. "The real benefit of bringing all our technology and people under one roof is that our customers benefit," says Joe Bentivegna, general manager, Avid Media Solutions.

It will mean that the same engineers who developed the HD i/o for Symphony are doing the same for DS. Applications are also being made more interoperable and scalable, so that Xpress DV users will be able to move projects onto Media Composer and Symphony more easily.

Avid|DS version 4.0, which Bentivegna called "the next generation digital production system," was new at IBC. It has more than 3,000 new features, such as remote processing, which allows rendering or other intensive processing to be sent to all available CPUs on a network, allowing the DS user to carry on with other work uninterrupted; completely non-destructive compositing; 5.1, 6.1 and 7.1 audio; and hundreds of new graphics and effects, including a new titler.

Avid|DS HD is due to ship now and is claimed to be the first system to offer the full range of editing, compositing and finishing for HD, including a real-time HD DVE, doing a total conform of DS-originated material and OMF conform for material from other Avid editors. Bentivegna says the advantage of using OMF is that "it is able to preserve a lot more parameters from offline edits, such as graphical elements, so you can easily change anything created on the standard definition machines." It is expected to cost from $300,000 including more than 30 minutes of uncompressed HD storage.

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99x32x99 = 6

Discreet launched edit 6 at IBC, which "is really adding a lot of power to the desktop and a lot of integration, with the ability to work with combustion," says John Miller, Discreet's VP sales and marketing. It offers DV and MPEG-2 support using the Matrox [more on Matrox below] DTV board, making it a more flexible product, especially for broadcast, says Miller. It can also output direct to the Web for publishing and streaming. It includes upgraded compositing and its timeline supports 99 tracks, supporting 32 sub-timelines, each of 99 tracks, with nested timelines (which can be passed onto fire and smoke, as can other project information, such as colour correction). Each video track can access its 2D DVE.

The NT-based system can open combustion (Discreet's new paint, animation and 3D compositing package) in one monitor and edit in the second, enabling users to work more interactively. There is also a new multicam module, with up to nine camera playback at broadcast quality, with video cut in real time.

It supports all the main formats for Web streaming and can also publish all associated metadata to Websites if clients need it. Discreet is also launching Club Discreet as a European Web community for freelance users, which will incorporate free on-line training and technical support.

Discreet is also now shipping smoke and fire versions 4, which include advanced Vertical Editing for nested effects, new Soft Effects (for compositing and colour correction in the timeline and previewing without rendering), HDCAM support (although non-real time HD on smoke), improved paint module with motion tracking for faster automated rotoscoping, audio and media management (including support for the newly upgraded background media management and i/o package, backdraft v4.5).

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High-end Hybrid

Accom introduced 24p editing option at NAB for its Axial 3000 uncompressed hybrid online editor and didn't expect any interest from Europe, but has now had several European facilities looking at it and it new HD disk recorder. "It appears 1080/24 is going to be a little more widely used than we expected," says Harris Rogers, Accom's vice president for Marketing.

Affinity has gained a new dual-channel RGB colour corrector, which Rogers claims is "the only real-time colour corrector in its price range. The only thing close to it is Symphony which costs twice as much." The Affinity, launched at IBC a year ago, is a five-stream uncompressed NLE/compositing system with up to 100 video layers (all of which can be processed in real time), clip stacking and three-point editing

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Streaming Hits Hot Spot

More than any other NLE maker, Media 100 is focused on media streaming. It owns Terran Interactive which makes Media Cleaner Pro (version 5 of which has just been released), the core technology for optimising material for the various streaming media formats. Naturally, Media Cleaner is built-in to each of its editing systems.

The newest addition to its line up is Media 100 i, which it claims is the world's first interactive video streaming production system. It is aimed at Internet broadcasters, web designers and digital content creators, enabling them create streaming media with which viewers can directly interact.

Its EventStream technology allows users embed interactive, multidimensional instructions directly into streaming media to trigger graphics, Flash animations or Java applications, synchronised with the streaming video on the web site. It means that viewers can interact with media by clicking on objects to gather information, launch related web sites from the video and even purchase items in the streaming video. "We've created the future of web site design, and it's all about streaming media," said John Molinari, chief executive officer of Media 100.

It "will fundamentally change how web sites are designed," added Caren Anhder, product line manager for Media 100 i. "With Media 100 i, viewers can click on Tom Cruise's sunglasses and buy them online - that's the Internet revolution we're enabling."

It allows users capture (from any video format), edit, create effects, author, encode and publish streaming media content within one system. It is also designed for use by collaborative workgroups.

Users can create hot spots (the active area of the video that viewers click on to trigger other actions) while viewing the video, and triggered events that retrieve graphics and text relevant to the streaming video can all be programmed during editing, an ability the company claim is unique to Media 100 i.

For effects, the system includes the new Media 100 iFX Engine which integrates tightly with BorisFX and (optional) Adobe After Effects, offering: unlimited compositing layers; 2D and 3D animated titles and advanced digital video effects; and real-time broadcast quality colour correction tools. The system also includes Media 100's existing editing tools.

Media 100 i ships soon, with prices from £2,745 to £13,745

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JVC Adds Zip

The new JVC MW-S1200 editing system is "zippier and faster to use" than its predecessors, and is "wonderful" for doing little trims and tails, says David Gifford, international marketing and planning manager, JVC Japan. They system has eight audio tracks, an SDI interface, and runs from lossless (for use with D9) to 35:1 compression. It runs on NT using Matrox DigiSuite with Pinnacle effects and Inscriber CG. It also comes with a new controller pad, although it is mainly keyboard based.

It is still MJPEG for now, but JVC will probably show a native DV version at NAB, which will have a DVD authoring system built in for archive and DVD production (to support its DVD browsing library jukebox).

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InCite Breaks Free

InCite has released version 2.8 of its NLE software as its last free upgrade - future upgrades will have added features which users will have to pay for. It has about 30 improvements over version 2.6, including better fibre channel networking. One of its key selling points is its sophisticated audio, says Tony Rieder, InCite's managing director, offering 64 channels with surround sound (although there is a version for news with just four channels). Its Mykerinos real-time 32-bit audio card will now be an option for all Matrox boards.

Rieder claims that Swiss TV replaced its Avids with InCite for regional news, because InCite offered a faster way of working and more sophisticated effects. It can now do multi-layer compositing with any of the Matrox cards is uses. Its software-only Media Assistant has also been made more powerful, supporting files larger than 2GB. The cuts-only browser created for the BBC, works across Ethernet and also takes care of multiple batch conversions, including colour correction. It supports MJPEG, DV and MPEG formats and has sophisticated media management tools.

InCite has also opened a new training centre in Geneva. "We find the lack of training in the industry is quite alarming," says Rieder. The company is also improving on its previously "poor" communications, with new Web support and a users forum, to add to 18-hour a day telephone support.

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Fast And Furious

FAST has added a new 3D FX option to its FAST-Studio editors. The silver.FX and purple. FX add the Z layer to the 2D-editor, to provide 3D-functionality. There is also a modified page-turn effect, with lighting and transparency, a new greenscreen keyer, and an improved bluescreen keyer allowing greater adjustments for optimising the key, such as spill suppression, luma threshold and cutoff, and transition shape.

FAST's newest native DV editing system, purple, has gone mobile with the new purple.Field for news gathering and EFP. The system is exactly the same as the desktop version, just portable, and can be added to with purple.XL for complex editing and multilayering, and purple.FX for 3D effects.

FAST-Studio now features background rendering, multiprocessor support and hardware acceleration, with uncompressed an option, which places the system firmly in the online market. The next free upgrade to FAST-Studio, version 2.55, for silver and purple includes Panasonic DVCPRO support, Fuse and X-Send functions (for After FX integration), and improved file management.

FAST-Studio's improvements, such as the new effects upgrade, also apply to Sony's ES-3 NLE, which is based on Studio. At IBC, Sony was showing the ES-3 as part of a 1km Fibre Channel SAN with Sagitta, which it feels will make ES-3 more attractive to post houses who want to share the same material between users.

BBC Training & Development has become FAST's exclusive international training provider, and now offers two FAST-Studio editing courses: a three-day foundation course for new and developing editors and a one-day masterclass for experienced editors, either at its Wood Norton centre in England or at clients' premises.

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Maximum Velocity

DPS has released version 7.5 of its real-time NLE, dpsVelocity. The upgrade includes dpsNetStream technology, which enables real-time creation of streaming video from the timeline in any of the main formats. It can also do batch encoding of multiple formats, or live streaming including live video from a camera or VCR combined with titles, transitions and existing clips in real time.

Other new features include: analogue-style audio scrub; a new jog wheel controller; improved trimming; additional batch capture features; refined EDL export and import; bundled DVD authoring software; and enhanced project management. "The tight integration of these features means that users can concentrate completely on their creation, while dpsVelocity takes care of repurposing and optimising the content they create," says Rich Green, its product manager.

It is also bundling Cayman Graphics' Power CG titling software with both 7.5 and its dpsReality 2.0 digital disk recorder (which can now work with Adobe Premiere). It can generate rolls of up to 1,000 rows and crawls of up to 8,000 characters, use multiple type faces on the same page, modify multiple lines of text in one go, and add texture mapping and the importation of images for logos and backgrounds. For full text rotation and animation, users can upgrade to Power CG Plus.

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Pressure To Conform

The latest version 3.0 of Post Impressions finishing system, con4mer, is faster and easier to use and supports Avid audio mapping. The system is aimed at rapid EDL assembly of programmes like serial drama or wildlife programming which don't need multilayered effects, but mainly originate in linear tape suites. Post house BFE, Bristol, has two, which they bought because they didn't have room to put in another edit suite, so con4mer enabled them to increase throughput for relatively little investment. The uncompressed systems cost about £30,000 for a 75 minute version and £40,000 for 150 minutes. There are also new NT and Mac user interfaces for remote use, so owners can leave the system in the machine room, taking up even less space. A high definition version, con4mer HD, will be shown at NAB which will be built around the AAF format interchange standard, so that it can easily conform material off-lined on a wide range of other editing systems.

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Razor's Cutting Edge

The new Speed Razor 2000 X, from in-sync, offers "significant" improvements in long-form editing, along with QuickTime export for Internet streaming, multiple bins, a totally programmable keyboard and a new interface. The Windows software is also better integrated into the Targa 3000 board, which allows up to four layers of video and six layers of graphics, all with multiple effects, to be used together to build up an unlimited multi-layer composite. It is also releasing local language versions for Italy, Spain and Germany.

"We believe that this version is the most flexible, fully functional and stable version of Speed Razor to date. This version encompasses support of video capture hardware from standard definition NTSC and PAL, to 1920 x 1024 HD resolution, as well as the ability to output everything from QuickTime to 4000 x 4000 stills," says Jamie Carr, in-sync's president. The software will cost $1,995 ($995 as an upgrade from Mach 4.x).

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Life Is Suite

Matrox is at the heart of most Windows-based NLEs, and it is its advances that bring features like real-time processing, DV, MPEG-2, FireWire input and many more to the systems. Its latest hardware includes DigiSuite LX, new 3D real-time effects for the RT2000 board, and a MAX upgrade option for the DigiSuite range. It has also introduced the Mac-based RTMac DV card.

DigiSuite LX is a DV/MPEG-2 platform offering two channels of 2D DVE, YUV colour correction, independent transparency control on all layers, 32-bit animated graphics, two keyers, customisable wipe generator, and perfect audio sync. The (Euro4,695) basic card includes 1394 and analogue i/o, but an optional (Euro2,395) SDI and AES/EBU module can be added.

At IBC Matrox demonstrated three new types of 3D real-time effects for the RT2000 board: particle effects (such as explosions controlled by real-world attributes, like gravity); distortion effects, such as shimmers or waves; and 3D tile transitions, where slices of video flip, rotate or spin. All RT2000 effects also now feature keyframeable perspective settings, such as position, size and rotation.

MAX is a single-slot (Euro2,950) PCI card which can be added to any of the DigiSuite range, including the LX, to enable real-time 3D DVE moves as well as DV, MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 output, although 1394 support won't appear on the initial release for the DigiSuite LE.

The RTMac card offers real-time DV editing on the Macintosh and has been developed with Apple to be tightly integrated with Final Cut Pro. It supplements the built-in FireWire ports in the Mac G4 with composite and S-Video analogue video capture and export, outputs to a second computer display and plays back video on both a computer display and PAL/NTSC monitor simultaneously. The Euro1,119 PCI card enables real-time effects such as keyframeable scaling, rotation, perspective and opacity.

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Vox Pops Out

Early next year, Lightworks will release the first of its new NLE range, the $41,600 VOX 1000. The system includes wipes and dissolves, but an internal 2D DVE and colour correction card can be added. All effects are real time. It has 4 in/4 out audio ports and 16 internal channels, with real-time audio cross fades and analogue-style audio scrubbing, expandable to 16 in/16 out and 32 internal channels. Initially it will offer up to Digital Betacam quality (2 minutes per GB), with a lossless version at NAB. It has full film support, PAL and NTSC, at 24, 25 and 30 fps. A multi camera version will be launched at NAB, along with an internal 3D DVE.

This is the third generation of Lightworks system, and its marketing director, Keith Lissak, says "if you've used a Lightworks in the past, you'll be right at home on this system," as it uses the same "sophisticated, ergonomic console and basically the same interface." However, for users of other NLEs, such as Avid, there is assignable keyboard mapping, so you can work in the style you are used to. It has also added a nodal tree view to make it easier for users to swap and change layers.

Users can also add any third party plug-ins that work with Adobe Premiere, such as Inscriber CG, Boris FX, Hollywood FX, or Ultimatte. The system runs on NT using the Matrox DigiSuite LE board and a Lightworks video signal processing board. It was shown at IBC working as part of Sagitta's SAN City using a Fibre Channel network.

Lissak believes that even former users who abandoned Lightworks when it stopped developing, will find that "this is the system they've been waiting for." There will be a trade-up package for existing users, who can also now install the new version 6.5 Lightworks Turbo and Heavyworks software ($2,500), which improves reliability, compression, usability, film support, audio, routing, titling, and import/export. It is the company's first product since it bought out Tektronix last year, and the first new version of the software since 1997.

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Hybrid Gets Lift Off

LIFT's new hybrid system, L2, is more than an editor, it can also run playout or multi-camera (or multiple feed) recording. It can control almost any machine, including servers like Profile, MAV-555, Abekas 6000 and (soon) Pluto, any type of video and audio mixer, character generators, and VTRs. It works a bit like an audio sequencer, with 80 control tracks (which could be 80 VTRs or and 80-channel server). "You drop information on the tracks and they all play together," says Robert Malzan, chief programmer on L2. Any timeline can play independently, so you can assemble something on one to play into another channel while recording on another track (whether video or audio). It automatically knows what it should dissolve to if a new event is inserted, he explains.

"If the video server will support this, we can play back to back cuts without stopping and starting again," he says. "If it's a tape machine, we'll try to cue the tape while it's not contributing, so it will continue playing. You can play straight to air from the editor."

It doesn't use dedicated hardware. "We have our control unit and we try to support any machine out there in frame accurate fashion," says Malzan, which means it isn't tied to any video format, using whatever the machines it controls use.

"This is a tool for near to air production or even on-air production, including not only cuts but very sophisticated control of switchers," says Michael Lohmann, LIFT's managing director.

Malzan believes it will appeal most to producers of programmes requiring rapid turn-round times, like sports, soap opera, or Big Brother, "because they don't have the time to wait for the digitising process. They want to start working as soon as the first image has been seen by the camera," and L2 can start processing only one frame later. "It is aimed at people who are in a hurry," he adds.

It can also be used to assign ingest material to different machines and includes router drivers together with a programming language to control devices across the network, set timed or triggered events, write special EDL filters, or allow users link the system to databases or asset management systems. As L2 can independently control several different M/E channels at the same time, it can also be used for multi-screen conference presentations.

It runs on an NT-based PC in a 19 inch rack with all the control i/o ports. It also comes with a full control panel, but users can add a mouse and keyboard if they want to.

It is currently in use with Top Vision, Berlin, which was the beta tester, for its OB vans, but the final version is now available.

EditWare is its closest competitor, but it doesn't have L2's graphical interface or control so many devices (only up to 12 machines at the same time, and only the Profile server). Malzan says EditWare is also only RS-232-based, while L2 uses Ethernet, which is faster.

OCT 2000

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© 2000 - 2010



David Fox

Reader's Comments

Date: 25 February 2001 21:56 Subject: great site
Houston Says We've Got A Problem....

Jim from Houston wrote: "Just found this site and love it. I'm curious, in the NLE section, why you didn't list the Canopus DVRexRT system. I've been using one for two years and couldn't be happier. Not only is it extremely stable, (I've had zero crashes or hiccups) but the quality is excellent (shooting with the [Sony] DSR300). Plus, as is the main reason I purchased the system, 95% of editing is realtime. I can have up to 10 titles with independent motion as well as multiple video filters and audio filters laid on a clip(s) all in realtime. The only rendering I have is with Boris fx pro,which take 20 seconds to render. The 3D fx in the Xplode package, (Canopus' 3D fx) are mostly realtime too.

I guess some still don't recognize its success. I just couldn't bring myself to have to wait for everything to render. I see a lot of people raving about FCP [Apple's Final Cut Pro] and the RT2000, but on FCP,there is only realtime on cuts (which is really not much of a feature) and everything else you have to render. On the RT2000, there is a lot of realtime, but the key fact that when you take the project out via FireWire you have to render the whole timeline is a negative. Some will say analog out is realtime, but that defeats the whole concept of nonlinear which is optimal for digital in/out. Just my two cents."

The main reason we haven't mentioned Canopus is because it has only recently become established in Europe and we've been concentrating on the main systems in use with broadcasters and production companies, and some of the higher profile new launches. But, as you rate it so highly, we're certainly going to include it in future articles.

For anyone not familiar with Canopus, its products are mainly DV-native nonlinear editors - hardware and software (it bundles Premiere with several of its products as the editing system). Canopus' software DV CODEC technology is highly thought of. Indeed, Avid uses it to enable it offer software-only versions of Avid Xpress DV and NewsCutter XP for use on laptops.

Canopus' latest, broadcast product is DVRexRT Professional which allows users capture and blend DV and analog footage. It has component video I/O, balanced audio I/O and RS-422 analog deck control, offering real-time editing, MPEG encoding, DVD authoring, soundtrack creation and Internet streaming tools. It comes with Adobe Premiere 6.0 as well as Canopus RexEdit nonlinear editing software and an Adobe Premiere RT plug-in for real-time filters and transitions, including picture-in-picture, slow motion, movie look, colour correction and chroma key and luma key, which can be used with Premiere. It includes a 19-inch rack-mount breakout box for the various connectors, plus analog audio level meters that can be switched between input and output levels.

It also includes a real-time MPEG encoder that creates MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 streams directly from Premiere or RexEdit. Other bundled software includes Sonic Foundry's ACID Style audio software and Spruce Technologies' SpruceUp DVD authoring software. It runs on single- or dual-processor Windows 2000 or NT 4.0 PCs and costs $4599.

Another newly-launched lower cost option is its $1799 DVStorm, real-time DV editing system, including Premiere 6.0 and a breakout box that moves the DV and analog connections to the front of the PC. An optional real-time MPEG encoding module costs $599.

Jim adds: "I'd love to see a section on wireless mics (currently using Lectrosonics uhf) - Jim in Houston."

we now have an article on wireless mics hope you find it useful.