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Computer Video News

Edius upgraded to V2.5

Workflow and productivity enhancements set to improve editing in Canopus Edius V2.5

Canopus's OHCI-compatible real-time DV/analogue editing software for Windows, Edius 2 (review, Jun 04, p24) has been upgraded to version 2.5, adding workflow and productivity enhancements said to include selecting and moving multiple clips, and a cropping, scaling and repositioning tool for real-time aspect-ratio conversion.
Price is £410 (inc VAT) but registered users of Edius 2 can get a V2.5 upgrade as a free download (224MByte) or pay £24 for a pack that includes a printed manual and the program on CD.
The company says that filters and transitions can be easily and quickly applied to multiple clips simultaneously, and that Edius projects can be merged and projects from Canopus Imaginate 2 (news, Jul 04, p10) imported.
There is also support for AIFF and Ogg Vorbis audio files, and a plug-in bridge that's reckoned to allow VST audio plug-ins to function as Edius 2.5 audio filters. Version 2.5 also adds an applet for customising and setting up keyboard commands to suit the user. As with V2, the Inscriber TitleMotion Pro titler is provided.
Minimum (recommended) specs include Windows XP; 1GHz PIII CPU (2.4GHz CPU with Hyper-Threading); 256MByte RAM (512MByte); graphics card with hardware-based DirectDraw overlay and 32-bit/1,024 x 768 display; ATA100/5,400rpm hard disk (Ultra SCSI 160 or better when playing two or more streams while reading uncompressed files).

Canopus UK, 0118 921 0150;

Faster, low-cost editing Macs

Edit-ready 1.25GHz eMac for just £699 with DVD burner and £549 without

Apple's upgraded eMac one-piece computers offer a low-cost entry into video editing on the Mac platform. The two 17in CRT models - each now with a 1.25GHz PowerPC G4 processor - go out for £549 and £699 (inc VAT).
As standard, they have two FireWire 1394a ports, three USB 2.0 ports (plus two USB 1.1 on the keyboard), Mac OSX 10.3 and Apple's iLife 04 suite of digital media programs (review, Jun 04, p34).The extra for the £699 model buys an 8x DVD-R/CD-RW burner (together with iDVD authoring software) in place of a CD-R/DVD-ROM combi, plus more hard disk space (80GByte, rather than 40GByte).
Other shared specs included 256MByte of DDR333 RAM (expandable to 1GByte); a 32MByte ATI Radeon 9200 4x graphics card; S-video and composite video outputs (only usable with a £15 adapter); mirrored VGA output (ditto); a 56K/V92 modem; 10/100 Base-T Ethernet wired network connectivity; and the ability to upgrade to wireless networking - Apple's own fast, 802.11g-compatible Airport Extreme system or Bluetooth. The package is rounded off by the AppleWorks 6 integrated office suite and Sound Studio - a program for digitising LPs, tapes, cassettes and live recordings.

Apple UK, 0800 783 4846;

Matrox Premiere Pro 1.5 drivers

Matrox adds Premiere Pro V1.5 support for RT.X100 Xtreme Pro and RT.X10 series and offers Xtreme Pro trade-in to users of Matrox, Canopus and Pinnacle kit

Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5 drivers for Matrox's RT.X100 Xtreme Pro series (RT.X100 Xtreme review, Nov 03, p72) and RT.X10 Suite real-time DV/analogue video editing cards are available for free download (237MByte) from Matrox. Owners of the Matrox Xtreme Pro Suite, Xtreme Pro Collection or RT.X10 suite who bought after March 20, 2004 can also get free upgrades of their included Adobe software.
The latest drivers add DVCPRO support and WYSIWYG video output on a PAL or NTSC TV monitor while authoring in Adobe Encore DVD 1.5 (review, Jan 04, p28), or creating effects in Adobe After Effects 6.5 (news, Jul 04, p11). More real-time filters add colour-correction tools such as colour match, colour pass and colour replace, along with lens warp and timecode overlay effects.
Matrox lists the advantages of using Premiere Pro 1.5 with the RT.X100 Xtreme Pro hardware as editing at full quality and full resolution; real-time analogue and DV capture and export to tape; real-time MPEG-2 capture and encoding; real-time 3D effects with advanced keyframe control; real-time filters such as Pan & Scan, Old Movie and Soft Focus; and faster and more versatile capture and export tools.
The company is also running three trade-in-to-Xtreme Pro offers to owners of Matrox RT.X10, RT2500 and RT2000, Canopus DVStorm, DVRaptor and Fast DV, and Pinnacle Pro-ONE (RTDV), DV500 (DVD and Plus), DC1000 (DVD) and DC2000.
The first offer (£469 inc VAT) lets users swap their cards at an RT.X100 Xtreme Pro reseller for the RT.X100 Xtreme Pro hardware and Matrox software, providing they already own a copy of Premiere Pro 1.5. Any other Adobe programs must be bought directly from Adobe.
The second is a trade-in (£539) for the RT.X100 Xtreme Pro Suite bundle that includes the RT.X100 Xtreme hardware, Matrox, Premiere Pro 1.5 upgrade version, and full versions of Encore DVD 1.5 and Audition 1.5. The user must already own a copy of Premiere 4.1 or higher, or Adobe Premiere Pro 1.0.
The final offer (£821) is for the RT.X100 Xtreme Pro Collection that includes all of the above plus a full version of After Effects 6.5 Standard - with the same caveats about owning Premiere.

Matrox, 01753 665500;

Sorenson squeezes further

Interface redesign and High Definition (HD) and H.264 (AVC) encoding in V4 of Sorenson Compression Suite media re-purposing software

Sorenson has upgraded all versions of its Mac/Windows-compatible media re-purposing tool Squeeze (Compression Suite V3 review, Sep 03, p46) to version 4, and redesigned the interface to improve usability and workflow.
The Squeeze series now includes Squeeze 4 Compression Suite (expected to cost US$449), Squeeze 4 for Macromedia Flash MX (US$119), and Squeeze 4 for MPEG-4 (US$199). UK pricing has yet to be announced and owners of earlier versions are advised to call Sorenson or a reseller for upgrade pricing.
The Squeeze 4 interface is reckoned to be fully customisable - allowing the video preview pane to be positioned anywhere on-screen, whether used with a single monitor or multiple screens. There's a video zoom tool reckoned to allow pixel-perfect cropping, plus a slider with in/out markers to allow a segment of video to be previewed before compression; and shortcut keys for quick access to common compression functions. Batch-processing options allow presets and filters to be added simultaneously to multiple files, and the batch window itself also permits settings to be applied at job, source and output levels to save time.
Squeeze 4 Compression Suite adds High Definition (HD) encoding for a variety of video formats including MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, QuickTime and RealMedia. The Windows version adds HD encoding options for Windows Media 9. The Sorenson AVC Pro Codec - also known as H.264 - has also been added to Compression Suite and Squeeze 4 for MPEG-4. This Codec is reckoned to give good quality video at 70 per cent of the data-rate of MPEG-4.
Minimum requirements for Squeeze 4 are said to be a Windows XP/2000 PIII PC or a PowerPC G4 running OSX 10.2; 128MByte of RAM; QuickTime 6; and (for Windows) DirectX 9 and Windows Media.

Computers Unlimited (UK distributor), 020 8358 5858;
Sorenson, 001 801 287 9400;

Porsche drives

Porsche designs latest LaCie external hard disk drives

LaCie's latest external hard disk drives come in portable and desktop cases designed by FA Porsche and with either FireWire 1394a or USB 2.0 connectivity.
The portables, based on 2.5in/4,200rpm drives, span capacities from 20GByte (£110 inc VAT for USB 2.0) to 80GByte (£270 for FireWire). Desktop models - using 5.25in/7,200rpm drives - range in capacity between 40GByte (£85 for USB 2.0) and 250GByte (£270 for FireWire).
All the drives are said to be compatible with Windows 98SE or later, and Mac OS 9.x and OSX, and come with appropriate data cables. Supplied software consists of LaCie's Storage Utilities CD-ROM with Silverlining disk utilities Mac/Windows software and SilverKeeper easy backup for Macs.

LaCie, 020 7872 8000;

Really cool Apple Power Mac

Apple resorts to liquid cooling in dual-2.5GHz Power Mac G5

Although even Intel now admits that clock speed is only one of the things by which a processor should be judged, speed remains a significant factor and is still the headline feature. That's caused problems for Apple because it's been unable to get hold of G5 processors for its range-leading PowerMacs that get anywhere close to the clock speeds offered by CPUs from Intel and AMD.
However, Apple's latest range-leading PowerMac uses two tricks to skirt around the problem. The first is to fit two processors - and that's nothing new for the company. The other is far more radical - to fit liquid cooling. This is something that's more usually associated with Windows PCs set up by overclocking enthusiasts vying to produce the best benchmark figures. They use liquid cooling to dissipate the extra heat generated by processors running above their rated speeds, suggesting that Apple may have had to overclock the 2.5GHz processors to get them up to their quoted speed.
The dual-2.5GHz machine (£2,200 inc VAT) sits above two other G5 dual-processor PowerMacs, one rated at 1.8GHz (£1,500), the other 2GHz (£1,850). As has long been the norm, all are video-edit-ready. They're fitted with FireWire ports (FW400 and FW800) and 8x DVD-R burners, and come with a software package that includes iMovie 4 for video editing and iDVD 4 for authoring software, along with iPhoto 4 for still images and iTunes 4.6 for music.
All have 512KByte of Level 2 cache per processor, are fitted with USB 2.0 ports, run Mac OSX 10.3 and use DDR400 SDRAM - 256MByte in the dual-1.8GHz (expandable to 4GByte) and 512MByte in the others (8GByte max). The cheapest has three PCI slots, instead of the speedier PCI-X slots found in the higher-end Macs, and a 40GByte SATA hard disk, rather 80GByte. The range-leader carries a 128MByte ATI Radeon 9600 XT graphics card, the others have 64MByte Nvidia GeForce FX 5200 Ultra cards.

A 29.7in High Definition monitor (£2,550) now tops Apple's range of three Cinema flat-panel models, and appears to be targeted at those wanting a display suited to editing and playing HD content from Final Cut Pro HD (V4.5, news, Aug 04, p14).
The others are a 20in model (£999) and a 23in HD display (£1,549). Optimal resolution is 1,680 x 1,050 for the 20in; 1,920 x 1,200 for the 23in; and 2,560 x 1,600 for the big daddy - which requires a Mac fitted with an Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra DDL graphics card. Each is finished in brushed aluminium and fitted with a DVI connector, two FireWire 400 ports, a two-port USB 2.0 hub and a removable stand. Wall-mounting is possible by using a £19 Apple adapter and a VESA-compliant wall arm.

Apple UK, 0800 783 4846;

Boris professional FX

V3 Continuum Complete plug-in suite of video filters and transitions for Avid Xpress Pro/DV, Apple Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects, and more

Continuum Complete V3 is the latest plug-in suite of high-end effects and filters from Boris FX that works natively in video editing and compositing programs such as Avid Xpress Pro/DV, Apple Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects, Discreet Combustion, and Boris's own Red series (Red GL review, Apr 04, p74). Recommended price is £539 (inc VAT) or £175 for an upgrade.
The suite offers many customisable presets and over 50 effects including lens flare, glint, glare, degrain, match grain, denoise, deinterlace, optical flow, motion blur, glow matte, wire remover and Witness Protection (blurs facial features).
There are over 150 filters (160-plus for Avid) including keying, matting, compositing, image-processing, distortion, motion-tracking, lighting and colour. The software is reckoned to support multi-processors and OpenGL acceleration, and recreate multi-layer composites quickly on all compatible systems.
Among key features are PixelChooser for creating channel or region-based masks and Z-space (XYZ axis) filters said to give more control over 3D compositing. In addition, there are auto-animating 2D and 3D particle wipes and procedural generators claimed to create realistic-looking clouds, smoke, metals, wood and stars. Also included are effects said to make video look like film, along with chromakeying tools and 3D geometric shapes such as cube, sphere and cylinder.
There's support for eight-bit and 16-bit colour image processing, along with online help for each filter; transitions and real-time static generators for Final Cut Pro; and the ability to add native masks for After Effects and share filter presets with Boris Continuum Complete AVX filters from Avid systems to improve integration with Avid Xpress Pro/DV software.
Avid has bundled Boris FX products with its editing software for some years, and is set to start selling Avid-specific Boris products from its websites in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Boris FX, 0 1491 875665;

Digital arts from onedotzero

Animations and audio-visual compositions feature on the third of the collective's DVD series

Leading digital arts collective onedotzero is shortly to release the third in its DVD series, select_dvd3. The compilation, scheduled for a September release, features choice cuts from the collective's best animation and music video artists. Price has yet to be confirmed, but the first two in the series are available on for £16.19 and £17.09 (inc VAT) plus £1.16 p&p.
Contributions include work from both up-and-coming artists and seasoned pros - using hardware and software for all budgets. The organisation, part-funded by the Arts Council, has recently finished its eighth festival, onedotzero8, at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. The festival has grown in size and scope since its inception eight years ago, and now attracts talent from as far afield as Japan.
The week-long programme this year hosted screenings of prominent digital visual and audio artists, talks from industry professionals and live VJ events. Other events are hosted around the globe - a full list can be found on the organisation's website.
As the onedotzero brand is also now a distribution label in its own right, other DVD titles from specific artists in the fold will come available. Releases already on offer include the first from D-Fuse, d-tonate. This offering is said to fully exploit DVD technology for more immersive viewing, utilising multi-angle films and multi-audio tracks.


Cheaper, faster Mac portables

Five-model PowerBook range spans prices from £1,149 to £1,949 with G4 processor of 1.33GHz or 1.5GHz

Apple has cut the price and boosted the speed across its five-strong series of Titanium PowerBook laptop Mac computers. Prices now range from £1,149 up to £1,949 (inc VAT), and there are two speeds of G4 processor - 1.33GHz and 1.5GHz.
Cheapest of the gang is a 12in (1,024 x 768 pixel) model with FireWire 400, a 1.33GHz CPU, 256MByte of DDR333 RAM, a 60GByte hard drive, a 64MByte nVidia GeForce FX Go5200 graphics processor and a combined DVD-ROM reader/CD-RW burner. Next up is a similar model pitched at £1,299 - the extra buying a 4x DVD-R/CD-RW SuperDrive burner in place of the combi unit.
A further £100 buys a similarly-spec'd 15in (1,280 x 854) PowerBook with FireWire 800 and 400, a combi unit and a 1.33GHz CPU. A second 15in model, with SuperDrive, is £1,749, and this has a 1.5GHz CPU, 512MByte RAM, and an 80GByte hard drive. In each case, the graphics processor is a 64MByte ATI Mobility Radeon 9700, but in the SuperDrive model this can be upgraded to 128MByte for £40.
Range leader is a 17in model with a 1,440 x 900 pixel TFT display costing £2,000. This is otherwise identical in features to the SuperDrive 15in PowerBook.
Each of the five has a built-in AirPort Extreme card, Bluetooth, 10/100Base-T Ethernet (plus Gigabit in all except the 12in models) and full-size keyboards (backlit in the two top-end notebooks). Ports further include USB 2.0, S-video out (15in and 17in models), and DVI (mini-DVI in the 12in notebooks).
OSX 10.3 is installed, along with Apple's iLife '04 media software suite (review, Jun 04, p34) - including the GarageBand music creation program and V4 of iMovie, iTunes and iPhoto, plus iDVD with SuperDrive models.

Apple UK, 0800 783 4846;

Formac FireWire hard disks

160GByte, 250GByte, 320GByte and 500GByte external HDDs with FireWire 400 or 800 connectivity

Formac's latest 7,200rpm external hard disk drives are available in capacities between 160GByte and 500GBytes with either FireWire 400 (IEEE 1394a) or FireWire 800 (IEEE 1394b).
The Disk Oxygen FW400 drives have white stackable cases and use Oxford 911 chipsets. VAT-inclusive suggested prices are £127 (160GByte), £168 (250GByte), £214 (320GByte - 2x 160GByte) and £387 (500GByte - 2x 250GByte).
The Disk XTR Platinum FW800 drives use Oxford 922 chips and have SRPs of £135 (160GByte), £172 (250GByte), £215 (320GByte - 2x 160GByte), and £397 (500GByte - 2x 250GByte). Cases are stackable and finished in silver for single-drive models and white for the twin-drive units.
Formac says that the 320GByte and 500GByte models in each range are Raid-compatible. Each has a two-year warranty and comes with a power supply, a manual and an appropriate data cable.

Formac UK, 020 8996 5770;

Edius goes high-end High Def

Canopus introduces £23,500 turnkey High-Definition system

Canopus is introducing a High Definition version of its Edius 2 real-time DV/analogue editing software for Windows (review, Jun 04, p24) to offer real-time, mixed HD/standard definition editing to the broadcast and content-creation markets.
Edius HD - available in June at an estimated price of £23,500 (inc VAT) - is being sold as a complete turnkey solution that includes Edius Pro real-time HD editing software, Canopus's HD software Codec and a Canopus HDRX-E1 HD-SDI/SDI input/output editing card with RS-422 support for frame-accurate VTR control.
The HDRX-E1 card is said to support HD two-way transfers with HD-D5, HDCAM or DVCPROHD decks, and has a single HD-SDI/SDI input, two HD-SDI/SDI outputs, one HD Ref input (Tri-level Sync), and one SD Ref input (Black Burst). All connectors are BNC.
The customisable editing interface is said to offer real-time, multi-track HD/SD editing, compositing, chromakeying, titling and timeline output, as well as the ability to edit projects at HD resolution and frame rates to prevent the need to down-convert. Inscriber TitleMotion HD for Canopus with real-time preview capabilities is included for creating keyframable 2D/3D titles.

Canopus UK, 0118 921 0150;

Steinberg V5 audio updates

Pinnacle updates Steinberg budget audio software - Clean, Clean Plus, myMP3PRO and Cubasis VST

Pinnacle is introducing V5 updates of four Steinberg-branded budget Windows audio programs - Clean, Clean Plus, Cubasis VST and myMP3PRO.
Clean 5 (SRP £25 inc VAT) and Clean Plus 5 (£60) are restoration tools for removing imperfections from vinyl, tape, CD, or MP3, and burning the cleaned up audio to CD and DVD (Plus V3 review, Dec 02, p80). Plus 5 comes with a USB phono pre-amp for directly connecting a record turntable to a PC via USB, rather than a sound card as with previous Plus hardware.
New Clean features include full DVD support, with menu-creation from customisable templates; an improved auto-clean audio-waveform restoration tool; and an Expander tool for putting dynamics back into compressed audio.
Cubasis VST 5 (£60) is an audio mixer with real-time effects for composing music, editing audio, printing scores and burning tracks onto CD using the supplied mastering and CD-R burning tools - WaveLab Lite 2.5 and Master Unit. Also in-pack is a lite version of Pinnacle's entry-level DV editor, Studio.
A number of real-time, professional VST plug-in filters and effects are included - deesser, amp/speaker-simulation combo, and VSTDynamics with compressor, limiter, noise gate, sub-base synthesizer and RezFilter - and it's possible to use up to ten VST instrument tracks in compositions. Cubasis VST 5 has a four-band equaliser with graphical editing; an improved time-stretch tool; integrated LoudMax for 'pro' mastering; and Midi recording and Groove Control with presets.
MyMP3PRO 5 (£30) is a music jukebox and file-management tool for playing, organising and creating MP3 files, and burning them to disc. New features include full DVD support; a DJ effects console; FTP network support; integrated web browser; and customisable skin-creation. Upgrades for previous versions of all four programs will be available online.

Pinnacle, 01895 424228;


Recent features...
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Reviewed in this issue:

Double Layer DVD+R9 burners and software
Microboards Gemini
Primera Bravo II DVD
Apple DVD Studio Pro 3
Neuston Virtuoso MC-500
Canopus ProCoder 2

In September's news:

Edius upgraded to V2.5
Faster, low-cost editing Macs
Matrox Premiere Pro 1.5 drivers
Sorenson squeezes further
Porsche drives
Really cool Apple Power Mac
Boris professional FX
Digital arts from onedotzero
Cheaper, faster Mac portables
Formac FireWire hard disks
Edius goes high-end High Def
Steinberg V5 audio updates


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