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MAGAZINE NEWS - FEBRUARY 2005
version of Canopus's real-time professional video editing software just
£105 to current version 2.x users until end of February
In a promotion running
until February 28, 2005, Canopus is offering the latest Pro 3 version
of its Edius real-time DV/analogue Windows editing software (Version
2.5 review, Jun 04, p24) for £105 (inc VAT) to Edius 2.x users
and £163 to owners of Edius LE/V1.x.
From February, the product will also be available standalone for the
first time, for an SRP of £434. A Canopus Codec Option Pack, which
includes the DVCPRO 50 and DVCPRO HD software Codecs, will have an SRP
Edius Pro 3 offers real-time, multi-track, mixed-format SD/HD editing
(including HDV, DV, MPEG-2, lossless and uncompressed video formats),
along with compositing, chromakeying, titling, and direct-to-DVD timeline
output. The software supports OHCI-compatible FireWire and Canopus's
real-time editing cards, including the DVStorm and DVRaptor RT2 series,
to give accelerated real-time editing performance.
On the HD side, Pro 3 uses the Canopus HQ Codec featuring adjustable
bit-rate settings and chroma sampling that's reckoned to be superior
to HDCAM format quality.
In addition to native HDV MPEG-2 transport stream editing support, Pro
3 can capture from HDV cameras and decks directly to the Canopus HQ
Codec for increased real-time editing performance.
Edius Pro 3 also sees many new features said to have been requested
by users of earlier versions - such as support for QuickTime import
to the timeline and a new Canopus Codec for lossless capture of SD footage.
Other enhancements are said to include improved white balancing and
audio handling - with channel mapping functions; layer blending keyers
for high-quality compositing; Canopus QuickTitler with roll/crawl support;
and a number of user-interface customisation options. The latest version
also supports EDL import and export with full timeline reconstruction
and project-trimming functions.
Minimum (recommended) system specs lists Windows XP Home or Pro (SP
2 or later); a 3GHz P4 processor (dual 2.8GHz Xeon processors for HD/HDV
editing and hyper-threading support); 512MByte (1GByte) of RAM; 800MByte
free disk space for the application; DirectX 9.0 or later; a graphics
card with hardware-based DirectDraw overlay and 32-bit colour display
at a 1,024 x 768 resolution (128MByte of video memory is required when
editing in HD resolution); ATA100/5,400rpm or faster hard disk recommended
(Ultra SCSI 160 or better for playing two or more uncompressed video
streams); sound card; and internet connection for activation.
Ulead is dropping
the price of each version of its mid-range Windows DVD authoring program,
DVD Workshop, until January 31, 2005.
DVD Workshop 2 (review, May 04, p34) sees £100 slashed, and now
stands at £199.99. Upgrades from a previous or SE version can
be had for £99.99 (was £129.99). The Competitive Upgrade
can be had for £70 less at £129.99.
DVD Workshop Express - essentially DVD Workshop minus commercial duplication
features - has been reduced by £40 to £104.99. A previous
or SE version upgrade costs £54.99 instead of £79.99. Finally,
the Special Upgrade from selected Ulead products including MediaStudio
Pro 7 (review, Aug 03, p28) and VideoStudio 8 (review, Aug 04, p36)
can now be had for £79.99 (£20 less).
Both DVD Workshop versions are available though the Ulead UK online
store (www.ulead.co.uk/store/store.htm) and from the company's resellers.
Ulead UK, 01327
for disk imaging, system backup and partitioning
Acronis's True Image
8 is a wizard-based Windows program said to offer an easy way to create
and restore images of hard disks for system back up and disk cloning.
Price in single units is around £30 (inc VAT, ex delivery), making
it a few pounds cheaper than its direct competitor, Symantec's Norton
Ghost 9. No less significant, TI8 uses a Linux-based recovery environment
rather than one centring on a subset of Windows XP, and thus, unlike
Ghost 9, can be used with PCs running older operating systems - Windows
98, ME and NT 4 (SP6) - not just XP and 2000.
Like Ghost 9 (which is an enhanced version of the Drive Image program
acquired with Symantec's takeover of PowerQuest), True Image 8 is able
to back up a PC's system disk while the user continues to work (with
the added bonus of being able to manage PC performance by changing the
priority of disk-imaging). And, the main enhancement offered by Ghost
9 - incremental backups - is also a feature of True Image.
Files and folders can be selectively restored, not just entire disks
or partitions, and the program is claimed to offer the fastest bare-metal
restore available - something we plan to test in a future head-to-head
review with Ghost 9. Other notable features include scheduled automated
backups; the viewing of backup logs; disk-image verification after the
image has been created and before a restore; and post-restore system
Version 8 excludes unnecessary paging and hibernate files, producing
smaller images than its predecessor and, thus, backing up faster, too.
Disk cloning, typically used when replacing an existing system disk
with a larger-capacity drive, can be carried out in manual or automatic
modes - and partition-by-partition or the entire disk at once. Transferred
partitions can be resized to better match the capacity of a new drive,
and there are tools to create, copy, move or delete partitions, and
to securely wipe old hard disks.
Images can be stored in a location hidden from other Windows programs,
for added security. There's also an option to create a special area
on hard disk that allows the system to be speedily restored at start-up,
using the F11 key, and without requiring a bootable rescue CD.
Supported storage includes PATA (IDE), Serial ATA, SCSI, IEEE 1394 (FireWire),
USB 1.0/2.0 and networked drives; and Iomega ZIP and Jazz, and PC Card
storage devices. CD-R/RW is directly supported but not DVD. It's necessary
to pre-format DVDs using packet-writing software - such as provided
by Roxio, Ahead and Pinnacle - True Image can't do the formatting itself.
Supported file systems include FAT16/32, NTFS, Linux Ext2, Ext3, ReiserFS,
and Linux SWAP, and there's sector-by-sector support for other partitions
and corrupted file systems. True Image 8 requires a 133MHz CPU; 128MByte
of RAM; and 20MByte of HDD space for installation.
Pro offers multiple audio tracks, subtitling and much more
When we first looked
at Mediachance's DVD-lab (review, Mar 04, p56), we were impressed by
its no-nonsense approach to DVD authoring and the quality of thought
and planning that had gone into its feature set. However, we wondered
how much more of a splash the program could make if it were pushed into
the same advanced market as Adobe Encore or Ulead's DVD Workshop 2.
Well, the latest version, DVD-lab Pro (US$199), is doing just that,
with multiple audio tracks, subtitling tools, multiple title-set support
and dual-layer authoring capabilities, but no copy-protection tools
or support for DLT export.
The program is available only as an electronic download from Mediachance's
web site, but the coding is very lean, because the installer is only
22MByte in size. As with the original, Pro has no integrated video capture
tools or MPEG encoder. Mediachance reckons - quite rightly - that this
side of things is handled well enough by the DV editing software that
potential users will already have.
As you'd expect with an advanced authoring program, Pro supports up
to eight audio tracks, but only a maximum of eight subtitle streams,
compared to DVD's maximum of 32. Supported audio formats include AC3,
MPA, Linear PCM and DTS, but again, no encoders are provided, so compressed
sound must be prepared in advance. Subtitles can be given background
bars, shadows or outlines to help legibility.
More exciting is the program's ability to create audio-only tracks with
editable title screens, and its comprehensive support for scripting.
Scene-branching allows authors to rearrange movie chapters to create
variations without duplicating media on the disc. A Skip-Selection command
allows footage to be ignored during playback - useful if last-minute
cuts are required and there's no time to re-cut and re-encode. Play
Lists allow a playback order to be set for menus, movies and slideshows
within a project. These can be strict linear lists, random lists or
case-sensitive, with an outcome dependent on selections made by the
Menu-design tools are impressive, supporting still and motion menus,
as well as a choice of 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratios - with the option of
having widescreen menus displayed in a cropped or letterboxed format
on 4:3 TV sets. The range of filters for use of text and graphics has
increased with clever magnification effects, bevels and texture fills
for applying a wood veneer or metallic appearance. Textures can be made
to change over time for animated menus. Possibly most exciting in DVD-lab
Pro's menu design tools is its ability to create film-strip menus, in
which scene-selection menus appear to crawl across the frame left or
right as users navigate a horizontal strip of thumbnails. Similarly,
there's also an option for making menus from 360° panoramic images,
where hitting left or right navigation buttons causes the viewpoint
to spin on an axis. In each case, a collection of menus is used to give
the impression of one advanced screen.
For the mainstream market, DVD-lab Pro is unique in its ability to produce
DVD discs with more than one VIDEO_TS folder - essential for any projects
that go beyond the maximum allowance of 99 movies or 250 menus per title
set. The program also supports Double Layer discs, but burning to DL-DVD+R
must be done with a US$26 add-on program, Copy ToDVD, from VSO Software.
lower-cost HDV hardware/software combination based on the Edius Pro
3 real-time video editing program
Edius NX for HDV
(SRP £1,291 inc VAT) is a software/hardware combination from Canopus
that's roughly half the price of its direct forerunner, Edius SP for
HDV, and will also replace Canopus Storm.
Software is V3 of Canopus's Edius program (news, this issue, p10) capable
of editing SD and HD. The included editing card has four-pin FireWire
(DV and HDV), and inputs/outputs for S-video, composite video and unbalanced
stereo (L/R), together with SD/HD outputs.
The card's hardware accelerator does tough jobs such as expanding edited
HDV content, with 1,440 samples-per-line, to 1,080i (HD) 1,920 resolution
on output - for viewing on an HD monitor via the HD component output.
To ease the transition from SD to HD, Edius NX is said to edit SD content,
such as DV, in HD resolution while providing real-time output to HD
monitors. All conversions (up and down) between NTSC and PAL, and 4:3
and 16:9 aspect ratios are reckoned to happen in real-time.
Also provided is a breakout box that fits in a 5.25in drive bay and
brings to the front of the PC a selection of ports - FireWire, S-video,
composite video and analogue audio.
There's further software in the bundle, too. Inscriber TitleMotion HD
for Canopus is included for creating 'high-quality' titles with real-time
preview and keyframable 2D/3D animation capabilities, along with Ulead's
mid-range DVD authoring program DVD Workshop Express (News, Oct 04,
p8) and Sony's Screenblast Acid 4.0. DVD Workshop Express supports two
subtitle and two audio tracks but has no commercial duplication features;
Acid is a loop-based music program used to create music tracks from
Among available extras are a £622 option pack with Canopus's DVCPRO
50 and DVCPRO HD software Codecs, and a £316 Canopus video-out
plug-in adding SD/HD analogue component output for Alias Maya V6, Bauhaus
Mirage V1.2, Discreet 3D Studio Max V7 and Combustion, and NewTek's
LightWave 3D V8.
Learn Apple Motion
Tutorial DVD for
Apple Motion software splits learning process into three practical,
Michael Wohl's Motion
PowerStart, a US$80 tutorial DVD, is said to deliver three fun and practical
hands-on lessons, together covering all the major features of Apple's
real-time motion-graphics design software, Motion (review, next month).
After introducing Motion's interface, the DVD first guides the user
through Motion's workflow. Lesson Two goes into Motion's powerful tools
such as Behaviours, Particle Systems and Keyframing. The last lesson
gets the user to build a DVD motion-menu using skills learnt in the
previous lessons, but taking advantage of some of the most powerful
Motion features such as the Keyframe Editor, Parameter Behaviors, Masks
and Custom Text Sequence Effects.
One of the main ideas - apart from becoming a master in Motion - is
to pick up the good habits and common techniques of motion-graphics
professionals. Each stage is said to consist of a series of clear, easy-to-understand
'learning chunks'. The user must verify understanding and complete each
step and action before the virtual instructor moves on.
The DVD, created by Michael Wohl (a member of the official Motion documentation
team) and Josh Mellicker of DVcreators.net, also includes a section
on integrating Motion with related Apple programs.
Video Forum Preview
HDV set to take
centre stage at UK's biggest and best video editing show - Earls Court,
Jan 25-27 (Tuesday-Thursday)
Forum 2005 show will host some of the biggest names in the video industry.
There are set to be over 120 exhibitors at the new central London venue
of Earls Court, showing everything from DV and HD through to DVD and
3G. Canon Consumer Imaging is exhibiting for the first time, and another
newcomer, NTL, will be providing advice, through its Digital Consultancy,
to those who have ever thought of launching a TV channel!
Two new parallel events support the main show. TV Tech 2005 will focus
on HDTV and AVIT (Audio-Video-IT), while i-deliver 2005 is dedicated
to digital TV and media streaming.
Our own team of experts - drawn from magazine contributors, staff members
and DVdoctor-forum regulars - will be on the joint VE/Camcorder User
stand (number 152, opposite Matrox), and ready to share a wealth of
experience. Hopefully, you'll be able to meet Alan Roberts, Gary MacKenzie,
Guido Giles, James Morris, Pete Wells, Ray Liffen, Tom Hardwick and
Hendrik Dacquin among others, but to find out for sure who'll be there,
and when, check out this thread on our DVdoctor-hosted forums:
We'll be holding a seminar each day at 10.15, starting with James Morris
looking at PCI Express on the Tuesday. The next day, Peter Wells will
be talking about Steps to Mastering Pro DVD, and Ray Liffen rounds off
on Thursday wearing a Camcorder User hat and looking at Shooting for
Editing - how to edit in camera by carefully choosing what you shoot.
The major buzz this year will be the UK showing of new HDV camcorders
from Sony, following on from the storm the company raised at the IBC
2004 show in Amsterdam in September (news, Dec 04, p20). Sony (stand
110) won't be showing the HDR-FX1 prosumer HDV camcorder (news, Dec
04, p16) that wowed 'em in Holland, though this is certain to be on
many other stands. Instead, it's majoring on the professional version,
the HVR-Z1, claimed to offer over 40 additional features for pro users,
along with the HVR-M10E compact VCR - said to support recording and
playback of HDV, DVCAM and DV formats. There will also be an HDCAM showcase,
an LCD display section and an area for Sony's partners in HDV non-linear
editing. Watch out, too, for the latest XDCAM developments and for pro-media
and pro-audio initiatives.
A number of makers of HDV-capable video editors will be showing their
compatible offerings, lead by Canopus (stand 450) with its latest HDV
hardware/software solutions. They're based around the Edius editing
program, feature the new Canopus HQ Codec and are said to be capable
of mixed-format SD/HD editing, including HDV, DV, MPEG-2, lossless and
uncompressed video formats.
Pinnacle's Liquid Edition 6 (LE6 Pro review, p46) will be shown on stand
300. The company plans to run a series of classes on LE6, including
overview sessions and in-depth seminars on some of the key aspects such
as HD, multi-cam, audio enhancements and multi-format editing.
Ulead (stand 560) will be demonstrating an HDV solution, too - a plug-in
for its mid-range editing program MediaStudio Pro 7. Throughout the
show, videographer Tobie Openshaw will be presenting a seminar entitled
'HDV-to-DVD' with Ulead. The company will also be showing its 3D animation
and text software Cool 3D Production Studio, and DVD Workshop Express
(news, Oct 04, p6) - the version of DVD Workshop for corporates and
video hobbyists that hits a lower price-point by doing without commercial-duplication
features such as encryption and regional encoding. And, look out for
specialist resellers offering Ulead products at a show discount of 10
HDV editing requires a lot of PC muscle, so it's good to see that AMD
will be back again, showing high-powered editing solutions from Alienware
and Armari based on fast Athlon and Opteron processors.
Free seminars and workshops are a big draw, and there will be over 100,
including ViZFx Masterclasses - on four Adobe programs, After Effects,
Encore DVD, Photoshop and Premiere Pro; Apple's DVD Studio Pro and Final
Cut Pro; Avid Xpress; Boris FX techniques; and Discreet's 3ds Max and
Budding filmmakers can catch highlights from some of the best film festivals
in 2004, including showreels from Rushes Soho Shorts, Sweet HD, Lovebytes
and HIFF. Show entry is free, but to avoid queuing, pre-register on
the organiser's site at the url, right.
LiteOn set-top multi-format
video disc recorder with 160GByte hard drive
set-top DVD recorder is the hard disk-equipped LVW-5045, set to sell
at around £350, inc VAT. As with its predecessor, the LV-5005,
the deck records to DVD-R/RW and DVD+R/RW, and to CD-R and CD-RW in
VCD and SVCD formats. However, the 5045 adds an internal hard disk of
160GByte. Thus, users can catch programmes for once-only viewing without
wasting media, aren't limited to 4.7GByte capacity, and can edit out
commercials before committing programmes to DVD.
The deck offers five levels of MPEG compression, allowing between one
and six hours of footage to be recorded to a 4.7GByte disc. 'HQ' and
'SP' settings have full resolutions of 720 x 576 (720 x 480 for NTSC),
but vertical resolution is reduced to 352 pixels for LP and EP mode,
while horizontal resolution drops to 288 pixels (240 for NTSC) at the
most highly-compressed SLP mode. There's also a Just-Fit DVD-recording
option, allowing the machine to select the best data rate based on duration
and media capacity.
VCD and SVCD standards offer less flexibility in encoding bit-rates
than DVD, so only one option is available for each, allowing up to 34
minutes of video to be recorded to a 700MByte DVD-R in SVCD format,
or 68 minutes as a VCD. The machine can also make Audio CD recordings.
The 160GByte hard drive is said to accommodate up to 33 hours of HQ
video, or 198 hours at the most compressed SLP setting. DVD chapters
can be added manually or automatically, and edited after recording.
Menu subtitles can be set by the user, and users can rewind and review
recordings that are still being made.
The deck provides high-speed copying from the hard drive to DVD, and
device control over DV camcorders connected via FireWire. Along with
a four-pin FireWire port for copying from DV, the recorder features
inputs and outputs for composite video, S-video, RGB and L/R analogue
audio, along with outputs for component video and digital audio.
3D modelling and animation software
New features in
the latest incarnation of Discreet's professional 3D modelling, animation
and rendering software, 3ds max 7, include normal mapping, advanced
character animation tools, and improvements to the general user interface.
Discreet also claims the program is now more stable. The Windows version
(requiring XP with SP1 or 2000 with SP4) still carries a hefty price
tag - £3,261 inc VAT - so isn't for 3D newcomers.
Normal mapping works in a similar way to bump mapping, but uses RGB
textures rather than greyscale maps. The result is reckoned to be high
levels of detail on simple, low-polygon models - helping boost the detail
of computer games and saving time when creating models for use in film
Version 7 of the Mental Ray 3.3 illumination tool is bundled. This has
a reorganised interface that's been streamlined for global illumination,
and improvements to photon dispersal's reaction to the nature and intensity
of the light source. Mental Ray supports motion blur and transparent
shadows, and offers better control over the way light is reflected from
coloured, reflective, and translucent surfaces.
With V7, 3ds max includes the once optional Character Studio 4.3 plug-in
as standard. Character Studio creates articulated figures based on simple
bipeds, which can be built upon by changing proportions and adding bones.
A physique command allows bulges and tendons to be added, while a crowd
function creates collections of figures. Characters can be animated
or loaded with motion capture data taken from live-action sessions.
Also on the animation side, 3ds max has a parameter collector, helping
to organise attributes in a more intuitive and streamlined manner, plus
a Skin Wrap Modifier that uses low-resolution meshes as a guide for
animating more complex models. There's a Reaction Manager that creates
master-slave relationships between objects and allows changes in attributes
for one object to be shared among a group. Interface improvements include
a paint selection tool, allowing objects to be selected by dragging
the mouse in the viewport.
Update to Ahead's
CD/DVD burning suite said to enhance video editing, DVD authoring, playback,
streaming media and digital imaging
The latest version
of Ahead's Nero CD/DVD burning suite for Windows - Nero 6 Reloaded (£60
inc VAT boxed or US$60 via download) - is reckoned to offer improvements
to video editing, authoring, playback, streaming media and digital imagining,
and speed enhancements, too.
The redesigned product launcher, Nero StartSmart 2, is claimed to integrate
more intuitively with Windows' autoplay capabilities - opening automatically
when a blank disc is inserted in readiness for starting a Nero project.
Nero Burning ROM 6 and Nero Express 6 are said to support ISO 9660:1999
for multi-system compatibility, and offer automatic media-size detection;
increased verification options; and short lead-out recording after a
disc is burnt to - reckoned to free up an extra 12MByte of space for
data. A tree-diagram view of a data project is also available under
Video editing and DVD authoring tool NeroVision Express 3 is said to
include import and editing support for DVD-VR on DVD-RW and DVD-RAM
discs as well as accepting content from DVD-VR/+VR, DVD Video, SVCD
and VCD discs. Smart encoding and Nero's MPEG-2 encoder are claimed
to have been improved to reduced encoding time.
Version 2.1 of Nero Recode supports direct file encoding to Nero Digital
(MPEG-4 format). And, for compatibility with Windows CE devices, it
adds new profiles including Mobile, Portable, Standard, Cinema and High
Definition TV. In V2.1, Recode supports two subtitles, two audio tracks
and chapter-point creation.
Nero ShowTime 2 DVD/media player includes MPEG-4 H.264/AVC decoding
capabilities in preparation for future DVD and TV content delivery,
as well as CPRM protected content. The suite gains MediaHome media server
and this integrates with ShowTime for managing video, audio and image
files, and creating playlists for playback over a network.
Also new is a photo-image utility - PhotoSnap - for 'easy' viewing,
importing and editing of digital photos and images before they are burnt
General system requirements are Internet Explorer 4.0 (or later) and
Win 98, 98SE, ME, 2000 (with SP4) or XP. A 500MHz CPU is needed, along
with 64MByte of RAM, though for DVD and video authoring a 1.2GHz CPU
and 128MByte are said to be the bare minimum. For best real-time capturing
and burning, the CPU should be a 1.6GHz P4 processor or equivalent.
At least 500MByte of free hard disk space is needed for installation,
and up to 9GByte for DVD images and temporary DVD files. More detailed
requirements can be found at: www.nero.com/en/System_Requirements.html.
Apple G5 Macfirmware
Apple has made available
a firmware update for Power Mac G5 models that's intended to improve
Power Mac G5 (June 2004) Firmware Update 5.1.8f7 (1.2MByte) is installed
in Applications/Utilities after following the instructions on the download
Once the update is complete, the system restarts automatically. When
a message says the firmware has been successfully updated to version
5.1.8f7, the process is finished. For further information, see: www.apple.com/support.
Apple UK, 0800 783
Hauppage addresses WinXP SP2 problems
TV card maker Hauppauge
has available for download a software update to overcome incompatibilities
between its hardware and Service Pack 2 for Windows XP. Problems have
arisen with SP2's embedded security. In some instances, the operating
system blocks IP traffic to/from the Hauppauge product. Version 2.17g
of the drivers is said to address this problem.
Users of Hauppauge's digital TV range for Freeview reception - including
the WinTV Nova-T and the DEC2000-t - can download a fix for free at
Hauppauge UK, 0207
378 1997; www.hauppage.co.uk