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adds OSX-compatibility and Windows MPEG-2 encoding
Adobe Premiere 6 remains the prosumer video editor against which all
others are judged, a number of rivals have started to make the program
look decidedly jaded. But many of the Premiere's most obvious shortcomings
look to be addressed with the launch in September of V6.5, SRP £540
(inc VAT), in Mac and Windows versions.
The biggest change with the Mac version is its ability to run on Apple's
new multi-tasking, multi-processor-aware operating system, OS X - not
just OS 9. With the Windows version, the big news is the introduction
of a built-in high-quality MPEG-2 encoder for DVD authoring. In each
version, there's also a much needed all-new - and very powerful looking
There's little change to the main interface, so existing users will
feel at home. Such folk can upgrade at a discount - £135 from
previous full versions, and £182 from LE versions.
MainConcept's well-respected technology ñ already used by Ulead
and Sonic Foundry ñ is at the heart of the Windows MPEG-2 encoder.
It is also available for use with the Studio 3 editor, but Studio 3's
maker, Pure Motion has had to stop selling its most recent variation
on the MainConcept-based encoder - an MPEG plug-in for Premiere! V6.5
for Windows has an easy-to-use MPEG export window. This offers an extensive
list of encoding options for DVD, SVCD and VCD creation, and launches
the included lite version of Sonic's DVDit DVD authoring software when
choosing DVD export.
Mac users haven't been totally forgotten when it comes to MPEG. Version
6.5 promises improved compatibility with Apple's DVD Studio Pro authoring
program, with chapter markers on the Premiere timeline being recognised
by Apple's program. In addition, Premiere DV movies created in V6.5
are said to be suitable for importing into Apple's lite DVD-authoring
Adobe says that V6.5 offers real-time previewing of transitions, effects
and titles, assuming the host computer is powerful enough. The company
reckons all that's required is a 500MHz PIII under Windows, and a lowly
300MHz PowerPC processor for Mac systems - though one running OS 9.2.2
or OS 10.1.3. However, on the beta we've seen, the real-time capabilities
look little different from those available with V6. The significant
difference seems to be that V6.5 has an option to turn on real-time
preview, where V6 requires the user to hold down the Alt key throughout
The new built-in titler -Title Designer - is one of the best-looking
titling tools we've seen, and is a big improvement over the very limited
capabilities provided with V6. Title Designer appears to be based on
Adobe's Illustrator, and has the same convenient mouse-drag parameter-changing
controls with which users of Adobe After Effects will be familiar. It
installs 90 fonts that are said to be especially suited to titling,
and offers rolling, scrolling and sliding motions ñ but no 3D
animation effects. Title Designer offers manual control over the usual
wide range of text and background effects, but also has over 300 pre-designed
templates to save time and effort ñ though these, too, are fully
adjustable. Title compositions are automatically placed in the clip
bin and - nice touch - even the most complex of titles is seen as one
layer by Premiere, for instant previewing and reduced render time.
Version V6.5 comes with 30 After Effects plug-ins - five of them new,
including a Lightning effect. Windows users also get three useful DirectX
audio plug-ins from TC Works - Reverb, EQ and Dynamic - while Mac users
are provided with a copy of TC Works SparkLE. This is a real-time audio
editor that works with WAV, AIFF, SDI and QuickTime files; can decode
MP3s; and is said to provide support for the industry-standard VST audio
plug-in and ASIO hardware.
As with V6, the very useful SmartSound QuickTracks program is integrated
into V6.5 for speedy creation of any length of music track. Some 27
QuickTracks sets are provided, including 11 that are said to have been
updated to reflect the latest musical trends.
Adobe UK, 020 8606
Philips slashes DVD+R/+RW set-top burner price to under £500
third-generation set-top DVD+R/+RW burners are to be launched by Philips
this month, each virtually half the price of the model it replaces.
The two machines, the DVDR880 (£499, inc VAT) and DVDR890 (£599),
take over from the £800 DVDR980 and £900 DVDR985 ñ
models that were introduced only few months ago (news, May 2002, p9).
Set-top burners have built-in tuners and timers, and are sold as hi-tech
substitutes for VCRs. The newcomers - which feature VCRplus+ timer recording
and an AC-3 decoder/encoder - have an almost identical spec to their
forerunners, and to one another. However, as before, only the more expensive
model has a FireWire port (which is input-only), though it does distinguish
itself in a new way, by offering an extended record mode of six hours.
This is in addition to the two-hour, three-hour and four-hour modes
of its cheaper stable-mate and the previous-generation models.
Each model uses the MPEG-2 encoder that was introduced last time round
and which is said to offer best-in-class video and audio quality, irrespective
of recording time - a claim we've still not been able to test. The encoder
is also reckoned to prevent recordings made at slow speeds from stopping
short of their full recording time. This is most likely to happen if
the material being recorded has a lot of movement that requires a higher
data rate to maintain quality. Philips' encoder uses Smart VBR - a method
of variable bit-rate writing - which constantly monitors the data-rate
to work out if a recording is likely to over run, and reduces the data-rate
(and quality) accordingly to fit everything in.
The Philips machines are claimed to play virtually all disc types, including
the rival DVD-R/DVD-RW format, SVCD and VCD, audio CD and, unlike their
predecessors, even MP3-CD. Sockets include front audio and S-video/composite
video inputs, and two rear Scarts, one able to input RGB, the other
to take it in.
Philips, 020 8665
Canopus one-way analogue/digital converter on a card
has come up with a novel, if not entirely satisfactory way of cutting
the cost of analogue/DV converters. The company is introducing a product,
the ADVC-50 (SRP £175, inc VAT), which takes the form of a PCI
card, rather than a black box, and can convert only one way ñ
from analogue to digital.
That means it's only suitable for users who want to bring analogue video
footage into a FireWire-equipped computer for editing, and don't need
to save DV projects back out to VHS or S-VHS tape. The ADVC-50 can be
fitted inside a Mac or Windows PC, but doesn't have to be installed
in the normal sense. It requires no drivers and does no more
than take its power from the PCI slot.
The card works with PAL or NTSC footage, uses Canopus's own DV Codec
and is said to be the first inexpensive converter to support locked
audio. It has one internal six-pin FireWire port, plus five sockets
on its back-plate ñ a four-pin FireWire port, and inputs for
S-video, composite video and L-R audio. Also in-pack are a six-pin-to-four-pin
FireWire cable, and a housing for the card that fits into a PC's front-facing
5.25in drive bay.
The housing is used either because the PC has no free PCI slot, or simply
to make the sockets on the card easier to access. There are no sockets
or power connectors on the housing ñ it's just a shell to hold
the card and has holes on the front through which protrude the card's
own back-plate sockets. When the card is used in the bay, rather than
a PCI slot, it needs an alternative source of power ñ and this
is supplied by connecting it to the sort of power cable normally used
for hard disks and CD-ROM drives.
Canopus UK, 020
7793 1188; www.canopus-uk.com
DV now compatible with OHCI cards and DV500
keenly-priced professional Windows DV editing program, Edition DV 4
has been upgraded. Version 4.5 is said to work with OHCI-standard FireWire
cards and analogue/DV converters, and to offer real-time effects (dissolves,
wipes and titles) and full in/out capabilities with the company's own
DV500 analogue/DV dual-stream card.
As with V4 - recent winner of an Editor's Choice award (review, July
2002, p32) - V4.5 carries an SRP of £499 inc VAT and will ship
with an OHCI PCI FireWire card. Version 4 required the card to be running
Pinnacle's own drivers - stopping it being used for FireWire peripherals
such as hard drives. V4.5, though, is said to work with standard OHCI
drivers and be able to run on any FireWire card or built-in FireWire
port fully conforming to this standard. This should mean that Edition
can be used with FireWire hard disks connected to the same FireWire
card or port as a DV camcorder ñ rather than requiring a second
card to be installed.
Edition 4.5's full compatibility with the DV500 allows Pinnacle to offer
a compelling and affordable hardware/software pairing ñ Edition
DV500. This has a suggested price that's just £50 more than the
software alone, and only £10 more than the over-the-counter price
of Adobe's Premiere editing software, a new version of which is due
out shortly (news, this issue, p6).
Like the original (and still current) DV500 version sold with Premiere,
which can be had for under £470, Edition DV500 includes a breakout
box with S-video, composite video, and L/R audio in/outs. Edition V4.5's
value is further enhanced by the hundreds of pounds worth of additional
Pinnacle software that comes in-pack - the Impression DVD Pro 2.2 DVD
authoring program (review, July 2002, p48); Hollywood FX and AlphaMagic
FX for special effects; and TitleDeko.
Current Edition users can upgrade to V4.5 free, but the software will
be available only on CD -not as an Internet download. Existing DV500
users running Premiere 6 will be offered various cheap Edition deals
on Pinnacle's web site. The first will offer Edition for £119,
but without a copy of Impression DVD Pro 2.2. The same deal is available
for just £25 to owners of the desktop version of FASTstudio.DV3
- Edition's forerunner - though this offer was scheduled to end July
Leef FireWire drive bays
company best know for its DV-in enabling Widgets, has taken on UK distribution
of the Leef range of FireWire products, including inexpensive drive
bays for 3.5in and 2.5in hard disks.
Each drive bay has two six-pin FireWire ports, comes with a six-pin-to-six-pin
FireWire cable, and is keenly priced ñ £69 (inc VAT) for
the 3.5in model and £65 for the 2.5in. The bays are said to support
UltraATA/100 hard drives, run under Win XP, 2K, ME and 98SE, and MacOS
9 and OS X, and to use Oxford OXFW911 and Texas Instruments TSB41AB2
The 3.5in bay measures 132(w) x34(h) x220(d)mm, is powered from an external
adaptor and has a power on/off switch. The 2.5in bay ñ petite
at 80(w) x22(h) x140(d)mm - has a soft carry case but no power adaptor
or on/off switch. It is powered from a PC's six-port FireWire port or
ñ if the FireWire port isn't up to the job ñ via USB from
a supplied adaptor cable.
'cable' from Pinnacle
Pinnacle is offering
a novel external analogue-to-USB video capture device that takes the
form of a chunky cable. The Linx Video Input Cable, SRP £40 (inc
VAT), plugs directly into a Windows PC (98SE/ME/2000/XP) and comes with
drivers and a lite version of Pinnacle's entry-level editing
software, Studio 7 (review, Sept 2001, p32).
One end of the bright-yellow cable carries inputs (RCA composite video
and stereo audio L/R - but no S-video) for connecting to a camcorder
or VCR. The other is a USB 1.1 plug for a USB-equipped computer.
Linx captures AVIs at a relatively low resolution of 320x240 pixels,
so isn't going to replace internal video capture cards, but does
offer a quick and dirty way of bring analogue footage into a PC, without
having to open up the case. Footage edited in Studio 7SE can be output
as AVIs, or in MPEG1, MPEG2, RealVideo8 or Windows Media formats.
adds DVD authoring and Sony MicroMV camcorder support to Studio budget
7 - about the easiest to use and best-spec'd Windows budget video editing
program available ñ is being replaced with a version that offers
background rendering and adds the ability to record projects directly
from the timeline to DVD, VCD and SVCD.
Rather more surprising, Pinnacle says that Studio 8 ñ SRP £60
(inc VAT) ñ is compatible not just with DV camcorders but also
with MPEG-2 footage output via FireWire from Sony's range of MicroMV
That must be a big relief for Sony since, to date, the only other editing
program that could cope with this footage was Sony's own Movie Shaker
Plus. This shortcoming must have been holding back the MicroMV format
since, as we pointed out in our review of the DCR-IP7E MicroMV camcorder
(February 2002, p54), Movie Shaker Plus is basic, seriously flawed and
not a patch on any of the leading budget editing programs.
The new DVD and VCD capabilities, though, are what will attract most
new buyers to Studio 8. According to the company, the program offers
sophisticated DVD menu features, such as moving video backgrounds and
moving video in menu buttons, and allows users to add looping background
music and easily create multiple linked and nested menus for complex
Pinnacle is offering V8 as a £40 upgrade to users of the full
V7 and free to those who have bought V7 in the UK between July 1 and
September 30, 2002. The free upgrade also applies to purchasers of Pinnacle
hardware that includes the full Studio 7 software ñ Studio DC10plus,
Studio Deluxe, Studio DV and Studio DVplus.
£50 DVD authoring bundle
latest keenly priced DV editing bundle is a £50 hardware/software
combination, the Cameo 200 DV, that includes Cyberlink's PowerDirector
Pro 2 DE for DVD authoring.
The package runs on Win XP/2K/ME/98SE and centres on an OHCI PCI FireWire
card with two six-pin ports (one internal, one external). PowerDirector
Pro 2.0 DE is an all-in-one entry-level program with a drag-and-drop
storyboard interface; and capture, edit, authoring and burn-to-disk
capabilities. It's said to be able to output in MPEG-1/2, DV-AVI,
Windows AVI and WMV (Windows Media Video) formats and to import AVI,
MPEG-1/2, DAT, MP3, WAV, Audio CD, BMP, JPEG and TIF files.
Pro 2.0 DE is similar to the full version, but has fewer
video effects and offers four fewer audio tracks. On the authoring side,
the wizard-based software is said to support chapters; interactive menus;
a range of templates (30 in
total); slideshows; and previewing before burning to VCD, SVCD, DVD
and miniDVD. Supported hardware is claimed to include CD-R/RW, DVD-R/RW
TerraTec, 0118 982 1612; www.terratec.co.uk
EIDE hard disk
to be a new leader in the race to offer the biggest EIDE hard disk.
Western Digital is launching a 200GByte/7,200rpm model, price still
unknown, that will nose ahead of the current no.1, Maxtor, with its
160GByte/5,400rpm D540X-family drive, which can be had for under £210
The new-comer will sell alongside WD's established 7,200rpm Caviar
models, which include 80GByte, 100GByte (review, May 2002, p76) and
01372 360387; www.wdc.com
£230 analogue/DV editing card
Canopus is launching
a low-cost editing card ñ the ADVC1394, SPR £229 (inc VAT)
ñ offering DV input and output, analogue input (but not output),
and the ability to work on Mac and Windows PCs in PAL or NTSC formats.
Because it lacks analogue outputs, the card can't be used to
save projects back out to VHS or S-VHS tape. That will considerably
limit its appeal, though Apple users may like the idea of a card that
adds analogue input and two extra FireWire ports ñ one an external
four-pin, the other an internal six-pin.
The card has L/R audio inputs and a seven-pin video input for both S-video
and composite video. It's said to be fully OHCI-compliant, and
thus compatible with a wide range of Mac and Windows editing software,
and also able to work directly with FireWire hard drives (and other
FireWire peripherals), as well as DV camcorders.
Among the programs reckoned to be compatible with the card are Apple's
iMovie and Final Cut Pro; Avid's XpressDV; and Adobe's
Premiere 6. No Mac software is supplied, but two Windows programs are
provided in-pack ñ a lite version of Sonic Foundry's Vegas
Video 3.0 for video editing (review of full version, this issue, p76)
and InterVideo WinProducer 3.0 DVD.
WinProducer 3 DVD is a timeline-based editor that can capture from analogue
and DV sources; convert files to a range of formats including VCD-compliant
MPEG-1, SVCD and DVD-compliant MPEG-2, and Windows Media Video MPEG-4;
and create and burn projects to VCD, SVCD and DVD or save them back
Canopus says that the card's minimum system requirements are
Mac OS9 or OSX running on a PowerPC Mac; and Win XP/2K Pro and ME running
on an AMD Athlon 500MHz or PIII 600MHz PC fitted with a graphics card
that has DirectDraw off-screen overlay, is DirectX 8 compliant and offers
screen resolution of 1024 x 768 or better. An Ultra ATA/66 hard disk
and 128MByte RAM are also recommended.
As with another newcomer from Canopus, the ADVC-50 analogue/digital
converter card (news, this issue, p8), the ADVC1394 uses Canopus's
own DV Codec and supports locked audio. A nice touch is pairing the
card with a breakout box ñ a £76 optional extra ñ
that mounts in a 5.25in drive bay to duplicate the card's sockets
at the the front of a PC.
Canopus UK, 020
7793 1188; www.canopus-uk.com
sub-£70 TV tuner card trio
range of Windows TV tuner cards now includes three PCI models priced
at £30 (PCTV Rave), £50 (PCTV) and £70 (PCTV Pro).
Video editing software is supplied as standard - Pinnacle Studio 7SE
with the PCTV and PCTV Pro, and a trial version of the full V7 with
the PCTV Rave. All come with two other Pinnacle programs - Vision V5
for tuning and recording; and PCTV WebText for teletext (with direct
links from text to internet pages) ñ and the top two also have
for multimedia file conversion. The main software bundle is reckoned
to allow recordings to be made from a TV signal of any standard (PAL,
NTSC or SECAM) and from analogue sources via S-video or composite video.
In each case, footage is said to be converted in real-time to MPEG-1
or MPEG-2 IBP format. The MPEG footage can be replayed or burnt direct-to-disk
from the Vision capture library, and it's said to be possible
to watch the start of a timed recording before the show has finished
Each of the top two models comes with an IR remote handset and matching
that connects to a PC's nine-pin serial port. The range-leading
PCTV Pro adds stereo FM radio reception, with audio capture to MPEG
audio or Microsoft Windows Media Audio format (WMA), and supports Nicam
and multi-channel TV sound. Stated minimum system requirements are Win
XP/2000/ME/98SE and 98 and DirectX 8 (or higher); a PII 450MHz or Celeron
600MHz processor; and 128MByte RAM.
Ulead DVD Workshop
1.2 update supports DVD+R and speeds up DV-to-MPEG capture
Workshop version 1.2 update - available from the company's web
site ñ is claimed to support the new DVD+R format and offer faster
DV-to-MPEG capture and file transcoding.
It's also said to allow DVD-compliant MPEG files with different
bit-rates and aspect ratios (4:3 or 16:9) to be used in a single project
without transcoding, and to burn VIDEO_TS and Audio_TS folders direct-to-disc
without first creating a disc image file. Also saving time, V1.2 is
said to render only non-DVD compliant MPEG files while burning; and
to write projects directly to DVD without first creating a temporary
Among other listed features are improved capture device support; better
error reporting; the ability to use re-editable Ulead PhotoImpact UFO
files in DVD menus and work with high-quality uncompressed linear PCM
audio files; and reliable burning of large projects (4GByte DVD, and
Ulead, 01327 844880;
Reviewed in August's issue:
Sonic Foundry Vegas Video 3
Red Submarine laptop
In August's news:
Philips cuts DVD burner price
Canopus analogue digital converter card
Edition DV now compatible with OHCI
Low-cost Leef FireWire drive bays
USB capture 'cable' from Pinnacle
Pinnacle adds DVD authoring
Sony MicroMV camcorder support
TerraTec £50 DVD authoring bundle
WD 200GByte EIDE hard disk
Canopus £230 analogue/DV editing card
Pinnacle sub-£70 TV tuner card trio