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Discreet editing report

by David Fox

Discreet's latest versions of fire and smoke (version 5) have become HD and digital film finishing solutions for Avid users, thanks to the incorporation of Avid's Open Media Framework Interchange standard for file compatibility. Real-time HD is now available on smoke, while fire can cope with high-resolution digital cinema work.

High-End Finishing Touches

Discreet has been in HD for seven years, and claims to be the "premier choice for high resolution work," says Eric Lemaréchal, Discreet general manager, EMEA. For example, it recently sold five flame HD effects systems to London facility, Smoke & Mirrors. He is aware of about 22 projects shooting or in post-production on HD in Europe recently, such as Rave Macbeth at Das Werk (which uses fire and inferno HD).

The fire 5.0 NLE can now deal with 4k x 4k film resolution in real time. It also has 12-bit colour depth and 100 new DVE channels, hundreds of editing improvements, and delivers "real-time interactivity for digital film," according to Terry Ragan, Discreet's director of strategic and product marketing.

Version 5.0 allows the sub-300,000 Euro smoke to handle new soft effects in the timeline (including audio time effects and hundreds of sparks developer effects - such as lens and glare effects). TVE, Spain has just bought two smokes to add to an existing system, together with combustion and 3ds max, connecting everything with its wire HiPPi network. Paris-based Transatlantic Video has also bought an HD smoke.

The new edit 6.5, also launched at IBC 2001, can now support Pinnacle's Targa 3000 board, offering multiple streams of non-compressed video and graphics. Other enhancements include duplex voice over, multi-camera editing and jog/shuttle functions.

Its entry-level effects, paint and compositing tool for the Mac or PC, combustion v2.0, now has film grain and degrain tools, 16-bit support, animated text, a new particle system, improved performance with support for OpenGL, and a new renderer. $3,495. It also works better with its other systems for improved workflow.

Its new frost 3.0 3D graphics creation and delivery system allows users to make changes while on air. It boasts better usability and better integration with 3ds max, as well as 2D text enhancements using Inscriber. It can also take in live video data feeds for financial and sports information.

Its workflow and infrastructure strategy, heatwave, which is built in to every product, is now getting a consistent infrastructure environment, which makes it easier to bring external material into Discreet systems. It can share and distribute work to different users. It includes new 2GB fibre channel storage and switches for edit 6 as well as a jobnet SAN configuration for increased storage utilisation, reliability and workgroup editing.

All the products have been including better media management within their architecture over recent releases. Now, Discreet is opening the pipeline between the products, so that they can transfer things like garbage masks and additional metadata. It has also moved to a shared server storage in jobnet.

It has made progress in both its desktop and Irix products, now Ragan hopes that it can bridge those two worlds, to enable people on Irix to look in to the jobnet SAN domain and vice versa. "Version 3.0 of jobnet allows us pull together edit, Max and combustion in the NT environment," she says. There is also mountstone, which enables a gateway between jobnet and Irix.

However, backdraft v5.0 doesn't extend media management to NT, but that is next (although possibly with another product).

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David Fox