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Edition 6 Pro
version 5 of Edition Pro, Pinnacle introduced a combined AGP graphics
card and real-time accelerator. For the new, feature-packed, V6, this
is replaced by an external box with no acceleration - requiring the
user's PC to already have a powerful CPU and graphics card.
In the previous
incarnation of Liquid Edition Pro - V5 - Pinnacle provided an AGP graphics
card that doubled as a real-time accelerator. This was a good solution,
feeding video overlay out through analogue channels for high-quality
monitoring on a TV set, but the board had the disadvantage of only supporting
one computer monitor, and left users stuck with one particular graphics
card rather than being able to upgrade to something better.
For Liquid Edition 6, Pinnacle's Pro provides no hardware accelerator
at all. Instead, there's an external USB 2.0 breakout box, and this
has to be paired with a PC having a fast editing hard disk and a powerful
CPU and graphics card - Codecs are handled by the CPU; effects by the
CPU or graphics card.
Pinnacle has cut the price since Edition was acquired from Fast, and
broadened its brief with integrated DVD authoring tools. Indeed, Edition's
capabilities in authoring and burning video discs have put an end to
development of Pinnacle's dedicated but awkward DVD application, Impression.
So, we'd hoped Liquid Edition 6 would gain more professional DVD authoring
tools, but we were wrong. Instead, Liquid Edition 6 has been enhanced
in other ways. Significantly, these include an interface make-over -
adding menus where Windows users expect them to be, along the top of
the interface - together with HDV support, simplified import and export
tools, a surround-sound mixer, and a multi-camera editor.
The retail package comes with three books - a heavy and detail-rich
reference manual, a more lightweight and visual User Guide for basics,
and an installation guide. They're well-written and nicely presented,
but the User Guide may throw beginners into a spin - the index is poor,
contents pages point to many wrong page numbers, and some page references
are missing from the main text.
The first things to stand out about Liquid Edition 6 are the interface
changes. Gone are the discreet button highlights and subtle shades -
judged by some to make the interface too dark - to be replaced by strong
outlines and bold colours. It's also less icon-driven than before, which
gave rise to a little confusion caused by our familiarity with the old
interface. However, the new approach should make it easier for newcomers
to learn Edition, even if existing users find themselves disorientated
for a while. Sensibly, it's possible for old hands to start up with
the previous interface style by choosing the LE6 Classic icon from Windows'
All Programs menu.
However those who stick with the new look and menu arrangement can easily
customise the interface by adding tool icons as they see fit. As before,
there's an eye icon at the bottom right of the interface, for access
to different interface layouts, and a render indicator showing the progress
of background rendering. Another icon provides a pop-up menu for choosing
the output channel for external monitoring - one of the Pro box's analogue
channels or its FireWire port, or the PC's FireWire output when using
the software on its own.
The Pro box proved to be a worthwhile enhancement to the Liquid Edition
software, and very stable, too. However, question marks remain over
sync problems with analogue capture.
The Liquid Edition 6 software itself is hugely impressive, though does
require a powerful PC. This is a major upgrade that will appeal to all
existing users. Given that the software alone is £300, many newcomers
may be tempted, too. Not everything's perfect, though - the multi-cam
editor and surround-sound tools could be more user-friendly, and we'd
like to see the main missing pro features added to DVD authoring interface.
But, LE6 is one of the best editors out there and its interface is no
less tactile than before, even in its new novice-friendly incarnation.
Reviewed in this issue:
Three-CCD consumer camcorder, £1,030
Liquid Edition 6 Pro
Windows analogue and digital video editing software, £600
Studio Plus 9
DV editing software for Windows, £60
Three-CCD consumer camcorder, £989
A4 graphic input device with pen and mouse, £345
Canopus Edius Pro 3;
Ulead cut-price DVD Workshop options;
Acronis Windows disk imaging software, True Image 8;
Mediachance's no-nonsense DVD authoring with DVD-lab Pro;
Cut-price HD-compatible hardware/software Edius bundle from Canopus;
Apple Motion training with Motion PowerStart;
Video Forum 2005 preview; multi-format optical disc recorder with 160GByte
HDD from LiteOn;
V7 of 3ds max from Discreet; enhanced video editing, authoring, streaming
and digital imaging with Nero Reloaded