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SIBC Show report
Barrett reports from the candyland of Amsterdam's International Broadcasting
A visit to a trade
exhibition the size of IBC is a bit like being taken into a sweet shop
and given only a few seconds to make your choice. And this year's International
Broadcasting Convention, in Amsterdam's massive RAI Congress Centre,
was very much a gigantic sweet shop. There were 11 halls accommodating
over 995 exhibitors representing the whole spectrum of the broadcasting
industry, and a claimed 25,000 visitors set a new record attendance.
IBC is aimed at everyone involved in TV and radio programming - taking
in planning, acquisition, production, post-production, transmission
and every conceivable means of distribution - and it attracts visitors
from every corner of the broadcasting globe.
Many of the exhibitors, though, will be familiar to readers. Pinnacle,
Microsoft, Matrox, Canopus, Sony, Apple, Discreet and Sonic were all
there in force, together with an impressive number of smaller, more
specialised exhibitors. Our first port of call was Pinnacle, which used
the show not only to demonstrate its Liquid Chrome and Liquid Blue uncompressed
4:2:2 DV25 broadcast quality real-time editing and FX tools, but also
to launch a new version of a package that itself only appeared a couple
of months ago.
This year's show made it clear that, for DV-based prosumers, real-time
is the way forward, and - judging by Pinnacle, Canopus, Matrox and Apple
- that yesterday's state-of-the-art technologies are today's entry-level
packages. And that's good news for those starting out in video editing,
as well as for those who are willing and able to invest in the hardware
and software that delivers tip-top performance.
Apple uprates edit-ready
G4 laptops, and slots in two 15.2in models
Apple's range of
edit-ready PowerBook laptop PCs now takes in five models priced between
£1,299 and £2,399 (inc VAT), and spans three speeds of G4
processor (1GHz, 1.25GHz and 1.33GHz) and three screen sizes - 15.2in
has been added to existing 12.1in and 17in options.
Three PowerBooks are fitted with DVD burners - the 17in range-leader
and one model in each of the other two screen sizes. Others have combined
CD-RW/DVD-ROM drives. As before, Apple describes the DVD burners as
being DVD-R/CD-RW units, but we expect that, with software such as Roxio's
Toast 6, rather than Apple's own, they will also be able to burn to
Shared features include two USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire port (FireWire
800 in the case of the 15in and 17in models), built-in wireless networking
(Bluetooth 1.1 on all, and AirPort Extreme on 15in and 17in models featuring
DVD burners); Ethernet wired networking (Gigabit on all but the 12in,
which has 10/100Base-T); and a 56K V.92 modem. All run OS 10.2 and have
Apple's video editor iMovie 3, but models with DVD burners also have
the company's basic DVD authoring software iDVD 3.
The 12.1in PowerBooks (£1,299 and £1,449) use TFT displays
with a resolution of 1,024 x 768 pixels, and are fitted with 32MByte
nVidia GeForce FX Go 5200 graphics processors. They also feature 1GHz
G4 CPUs; 256MByte of DDR266 SDRAM; 40GByte Ultra ATA/100 hard disks;
and mini-DVI out (S-video out is an optional extra).
Resolution on the 15in versions (£1,599 and £1,999) is 1,280
x 854 pixels, and the screen is driven by a 64MByte ATI Mobility Radeon
9600 processor. As well as a DVD burner, the extra £400 buys a
1.25GHz processor, rather than 1GHz; 512MByte of DDR333 SDRAM instead
of 256MByte; a bigger hard disk (80GByte vs 60GByte), and a backlit
keyboard. Each 15incher also has a DVI port and S-video out.
The 17in PowerBook has much the same spec as the 15in model with a DVD
burner, except for it's bigger screen (having a resolution of 1,440
x 900 pixels) and faster, 1.33GHz, G4 processor.
Apple UK, 0800 783
Avid tours UK universities
Xpress Pro open
days at UK universities and colleges in November
Avid is running
video editing open days at universities and colleges around the UK through
November, offering workshops, master-classes and seminars for its Xpress
Pro software (news, August 2003, p6, with SRP £1,530 inc VAT).
The company is also sponsoring the D&AD (British Design & Art
Direction) Student Awards 2004, and will be encouraging students to
enter at the open days. Further details and entry packs can be downloaded
Confirmed venues are Wolverhampton University (Nov 5); Ravensbourne
College (Nov 12); Chester College/Warrington Collegiate (Nov 19) ; and
Portsmouth University (Nov 26). Other venues include Guildford/Surrey,
Leeds, Lincoln, Newcastle, and Sheffield Hallam, but dates have yet
to be finalised.
Avid, 01753 655999;
Edition 5 editing and DVD authoring packages with network-capable Liquid
Edition 5.5 versions
Edition 5.5, announced at this year's IBC (show report, news, p6) is
set to replace the company's low-end professional video editing program,
Edition 5 (review, September 2003, p24).
Liquid Edition is said to allow clips and projects to be shared on networks
with special effects programs - such as Pinnacle Commotion Pro (V4.1
review, February 2003, p24), Adobe After Effects (review of V6, p48)
and Macromedia Flash MX - and be used on Pinnacle's Thunder servers
and Dekocast graphics systems. The program also supports the use of
networked drives for playback and effects rendering, and its projects
are reckoned to be compatible with Liquid Blue, Chrome and Silver systems.
As with V5, Liquid Edition combines editing, compositing, effects and
DVD authoring in a single interface, and comes in two version. Standard,
£499 (inc VAT), is software-only; Pro, pitched at £629,
includes a 128MByte 3D graphics card with a FireWire port and analogue
inputs/outputs for audio and composite video and S-video. Pro comes
with a breakout box to bring connections to the front of the PC, and
offers real-time effects preview from the timeline on a PAL/NTSC TV
set or video monitor.
As well as using the PC's CPU, the Pro version also takes advantage
of the processor in the AGP card, and is reckoned to create over 1,000
real-time 2D/3D effects and chroma/luminance keyings, and offer background
rendering of effects and support up to ten real-time streams. Pinnacle's
CX primary and secondary colour corrector and dynamic slow-motion controls
Minimum requirements are said to be Windows XP/2000 (XP recommended);
1GHz CPU or 1.8GHz processor for Pro (dual 1.8GHz CPUs or faster); 256MByte
of RAM (512MByte); a 64MByte graphics card and an SVGA monitor (capable
of 1,280 x 1,024 pixels at 32-bit resolution); a dedicated video hard
disk drive; and an OHCI-compliant FireWire card for the software-only
Man and Machine
(UK distributor), 01844 261872; www.manandmachine.co.uk
Pinnacle, 01895 442003; www.pinnaclesys.co.uk
Avid Free DV arrives
Free DV-only Avid
editing software for XP and OS X now available for download
Avid has at last
made available for download the free, DV-only, video editing program
for Mac OS X and Windows XP announced at Macworld 2003 (news, March
Free DV, which is based on Xpress DV (review, January 2003, p30), was
scheduled for a Spring launch, but only became available on the net
in the second week of October. The downloads (from www.avid.com/freedv/)
are quite large - 25.5MByte for Mac and 42MByte for Windows - but look
to be worth getting hold of, judging by the brief time we've spent with
the Win XP version, trying it on PIII 933MHz and P4 3.06GHz PCs.
Although Free DV has far fewer features than Xpress DV, it's not been
totally hamstrung, and runs on laptop or desktop PCs - all that's required,
apart from the appropriate OS, are an OHCI-standard FireWire port, QuickTime
(all footage must be QT), and a system with sufficient hard disk space
for captured footage.
The program comes with 16 RT effects, can use two video tracks and two
audio tracks, and is said to support unlimited audio/video layers and
YUV rendering. It has basic trimming and editing functions and a built-in
titler applet, and allows previews on-screen or on a TV set or video
monitor fed from a DV camcorder or VCR connected to a FireWire port.
Avid looks to be using Free DV as a way of introducing editors to what
it describes as, 'the industry-standard editing interface used by more
professionals than any other video editing solution'. The company clearly
hopes that the freebie will bring users over to its Xpress DV and Xpress
Pro packages, and the strategy may work - Avid's sister company Digidesign
had a massive number of downloads of its free music editing program
Pro Tools Free, and the experiment surely wouldn't be repeated if it
hadn't been successful the first time round.
Avid, 01753 655999;
Pure Motion updates
EditStudio 4 budget editor to meet demands for higher-end features
Pure Motion says
that version 4 of its Windows entry-level video editor EditStudio includes
many features and changes requested by users of V3, a number of which
were raised in our review (June 2002, p68) when the program won a Good
Version 4, £59 (inc VAT), can preview edits via FireWire to a
video monitor or TV set connected to a DV camcorder, and is claimed
to provide smoother playback in the on-screen preview monitor than V3
(and with real-time viewing of effects). MPEG-1/2 encoding isn't built-in
but, instead, comes from a plug-in costing £20 (or £15 if
bought with the program) and offering output to files compliant with
VCD, SVCD and DVD formats.
Text and effects can be keyframed in V4 for greater control in creating
motion effects, and editing is reckoned to have been improved with more
keyboard shortcuts and new trimming tools. These include the Close Gap
tool for removing unwanted gaps between items, and the Stretch tool
for changing a clip's frame rate. There are also new selection tools
for working within layers.
Among other enhancements are automatic audio fades and crossfades; support
for QuickTime 6 and Windows Media 9 file import; and, it's said, reduced
use of memory and processor power when outputting to DV using DV Builder.
Multiple effects can be applied to a region of a picture, and video
and bitmap frames can be moved and resized. There are three new picture
effects - Router Tracer for marking out journeys on a map; Knock Out
for removing unwanted text and logos from footage; and Old Film for
adding scratches. Pure Motion's Herb Garden Herbs - transition effects
- now appear in Media Explorer and are ready to use.
Titling has been enhanced with more text fills and effects - including
presets for making titles fly, glide, spin or zoom onto screen. Dynamic
text tags have also been added to all text effects to include counters
for time, timecode or frame-number that automatically update.
A free 30-day trial version of EditStudio 4 can be downloaded as a 14.5MByte
file from: www.puremotion.com/downloads/index.htm.
An unlock key giving access to a basic version of the program costs
£20 (or £35 with the MPEG plug-in), and provides support
for a maximum of six layers in a project, but not keyframing or DV previews.
The code for the full feature-set is £59, or £74 with the
MPEG plug-in. The full package is also available boxed, rather than
as a download, for £90 and includes Herb Garden transitions, program
tutorials and a printed manual. As a final option, there's EditStudio
DV Complete, at £110, which adds a two-port (six-pin) FireWire
Upgrades from previous versions are £20 for the full V4 (£35
with MPEG plug-in), or £49 for the boxed version.
Pure Motion, 07092
265 529; www.puremotion.com
LaCie four-way DVD
burner for Mac and Windows connects by FireWire or USB 2.0
LaCie's Dual DVD
Recorder Drive is an external, high-speed, four-way DVD burner with
connections for FireWire (1394a) and USB 2.0, and is pitched at an SRP
of £228 (inc VAT).
The unit, housed in the company's distinctive stackable and side-mountable
d2 aluminium enclosure, has a 2MByte buffer and is reckoned to write
to DVD-R (4x), DVD-RW (2x), DVD+R (4x), DVD+RW (2.4x), CD-R (16x) and
CD-RW (10x). Read speeds are DVD (12x) and CD (32x).
Power comes from an external AC adapter - less convenient than a standard
kettle lead, but said to enable the burner to stay cool without the
use of a fan, and to run more quietly. Included Windows software takes
in Sonic MyDVD 4, WinDVD 4 and three Roxio programs - Easy CD&DVD
Creator 6.1 Basic (OEM version) and DirectCD 5.3. Toast 5.2 Lite for
Mac is also provided, along with USB 2.0 drivers for Win 98SE and online
manuals. Also in-pack are cables for USB and FireWire and two blank
discs - one CD-R the other DVD-R.
LaCie, 020 7872
introduces £100 video editing program to work on any OHCI editing
card, and offers it bundled with its own OHCI analogue/digital cards
Video editing hardware
specialist Canopus has, as expected, introduced an editing program that
should work on any OHCI-compatible editing card, not just its own non-standard
cards. But, contrary to expectations, the newcomer is not an OHCI version
of the company's recently launched middle-market program Edius (news,
Oct 03, p9) but, instead, is an enhanced version of the basic editing
program that has long been supplied with most of the company's editing
The new £100 (inc VAT) program, Let's Edit, is claimed to be ultra-easy
to use, yet offer quite sophisticated features, including real-time
preview on-screen or to an external monitor, film-quality effects and
2D/3D transitions, and manual setting controls - in addition to simple
presets - for files being output from the timeline for the creation
of DVDs, SVCDs and VCDs, and for use on the web or for discs in QuickTime,
Real and Windows Media formats.
As well as being sold on its own, the program is being bundled with
an OHCI card in two packages - one at £230, the other £300.
The card in the cheaper package, Let's Edit RT, is the same one that
comes with the £235 ADVC-1394 bundle (review, Dec 02, p68). This
has two in/out FireWire ports for DV (one six-pin, the other four-pin),
plus analogue inputs - S-video, composite video and L/R audio.
The extra £70 buys Let's Edit RT+, where the card is a more recently
launched OHCI model, the ACEDVio (news, Aug 03, p6). This adds analogue
outputs and provides composite in/out by means of supplied adaptor cables
for the S-video ports. All three versions come with Ulead's easy-to-use
authoring program, DVD MovieFactory, and each version with a card also
has a four-pin-to-four-pin FireWire cable.
Although recommended system specs for using Let's Edit start off with
a fairly modest 800MHz processor and 256MByte RAM, what's actually needed
to take advantage of the program's real-time capabilities is a processor
of at least 2GHz (the faster the better), and 512MByte or more RAM.
Canopus UK, 0118
921 0150; www.canopus-uk.com
LG burns five ways
LG writer handles
DVD-R/-RW, DVD+R/+RW and DVD-RAM
LG's Super Multi
Write Plus (model GSA-4040B) is a five-way EIDE/ATAPI internal DVD burner
that's able to record to DVD-R/-RW, DVD+R/+RW, and DVD-RAM formats.
That makes it an alternative to Iomega's forthcoming Super DVD Writer
(news, September 2003, p10) but, whereas the Iomega looks likely to
sell for over £150 (inc VAT) when it does eventually arrive in
the UK, the LG burner is already available and pitched at a much keener
price - the best we've seen being £118 at Dabs Direct.
Burn speeds are said to be 4x for DVD-R and DVD+R; 3x for DVD-RAM; 2.4x
for DVD+RW; and 2x for DVD-RW. For CD, they are 24x for CD-R and 16x
for CD-RW. Read speeds are given as 12x for DVD and 32x for CD.
The LG has a 2MByte buffer, and couples this with underrun protection
to help ensure successful burns. It's also said to use Defect Management
technology when recording to DVD-RAM, preventing defective areas of
the disc being written to.
In-pack, the LG has two Windows programs - CyberLink's DVD software
player, PowerDVD, and B's Recorder GOLD for CD/DVD creation - as well
as audio and IDE cables, a manual and a quickstart guide.
Dabs Direct; www.dabs.com
LG, 01753 491500; www.lge.co.uk
Royalty-free wedding goodies
Over 75GByte of
professional, royalty-free wedding animations from Digital Juice
The Wedding Editors
Toolkit - the latest collection of royalty-free samples from Digital
Juice (likely price £464, inc VAT) - is said to feature over 75GByte
of high-quality, professional, customisable animated graphics on ten
There's a choice of more than 60 animated backgrounds, 90-plus wipes
and transitions, 20 lower-thirds overlays, 20 overlays and 100 motion
design elements, all with alpha channel support. The package also includes
25 fonts from Bitstream. Digital Juice says that the samples have a
wide variety of uses - for openers, fillers between scenes, title overlays,
transitions and wipes, as backgrounds for video and DVD menus - and
are suitable for the web, too.
Also provided is the Juicer 2 animation processing program for Mac and
Windows. This is said to convert the supplied QuickTime PNG files -
without loss - into MPEG, AVI, QuickTime and M-JPEG, making them usable
in almost any video editing software. Juicer 2 also allows adjustments
to be made to duration, speed and colour.
Previews of content can be found at: www.digitaljuice.com/wetk/wetk.asp
Holdan (UK distributor),
01457 851000; www.holdan.co.uk
Digital Juice, 01 352 369 0930; www.digitaljuice.com
TV and film music scores from specialists 2b Royalty-Free
- described as the first collection of high-quality, low-cost royalty-free
music from TV and film soundtrack specialist 2b Royalty-Free - is available
at an introductory price of £35 (inc p&p and VAT).
The disc features 16 atmospheric underscores and 50-plus Soundtrack
Tools - music effects for layering to create new soundtracks. All tracks
(73 minutes in total) have been composed by the company's founder, Colin
Willsher, who's said to have produced work for ITV, BBC, Channel 5 (UK),
Discovery, National Geographic and Sky Sports. Tracks can be auditioned
on the web from the URL below.
023 8070 1682; www.2b-royaltyfree.com
Philips and MKM
develop dual-layer DVD+R able to record up to Philips and Verbatim's
parent MKM (Mitsubishi Kagaku Media) have developed a write-once, DVD+R
dual-layer disc that's reckoned to store up to 8.5GByte on a single
side and be compatible with most existing set-top DVD players and DVD-ROM
Discs and suitable DVD recorders are planned for release next year,
and their arrival will mean that good quality DIY DVD recordings will
no longer be limited to about 2hrs as they are on current 4.7GByte media,
which have 4.3GByte of usable space (assuming 1GByte is 1,024MByte,
not 1,000). The 8.5GByte discs (with a 'real' capacity of 7.95GByte)
have space enough to record close to four hours of DVD-quality video,
or up to 16 hours of VHS-quality video.
The dual-layer DVD+R stores data on two thin embedded organic dye films
separated by a spacer layer. A detailed explanation of the make-up of
the new discs is here.
All eyes will now be on the DVD Forum to see if it comes up with a DVD-R
Philips, 020 8665
More news appears
in December 2003's Computer Video magazine.
Reviewed in this issue:
Adobe Premiere Pro 7
Adobe After Effects 6.0
Apple DVD Studio Pro 2
Pinnacle MovieBox USB
Roxio VideoWave Movie Creator
In December's news:
2003 Show report
Apple PowerBook overhaul
Pinnacle Edition relaunched
Avid FreeDV available for download
Pure Motion EditStudio 4 feature upgrade LaCie four-way external burner
Canopus's OHCI-friendly LetsEdit
LG five-way burner
Royalty-free music scores
Double recording time DVD discs