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COMPUTER VIDEO NEWS
supports OS X
has at last introduced a version of Photoshop that runs on Mac OS X.
The launch of version 7 is good news for Apple, since it should help
the company to move users over to its new operating system.
Photoshop is the most widely used professional still image editing program
on the Mac platform, and many companies and individuals won't have even
considered switching to OS X until the arrival of a compatible version.
But, for OS X to really pick up steam, what's still needed is an OS
X version of Quark Xpress - the most popular Mac professional desktop
publishing program - which, amazingly, still seems some way off.
Version 7 of Photoshop - which also runs on OS 9.1 and is available
for Windows as well - has much the same hefty street price as V6, £530
(inc VAT), but can be bought for about £140 as an upgrade from
full versions of 4/5/6; or for about £465 if upgrading from the
lite, LE, version.
Mac and Windows versions each offer three key new features - a revamped
File Browser, an improved painting engine, and a clever Healing Brush
tool. The File Browser now has four parts. There's a Tree view window
for file navigation and a Preview pane for selected images. Images are
browsed as thumbnails in the Thumbnail pane, complete with their details,
and can be rotated (180 degrees), re-organised or batch-renamed - a
powerful option that needs some care under Windows. The Metadata pane
shows detailed information on each image selected, including format,
size, colour, resolution, bit-depth, date created and modified, and
Exchangeable Image File (EXIF) information generated by digital stills
020 8606 4000; www.adobe.com
Beginning of the end for tape?
Hitachi is introducing
a trio of products that just might signal the start of the demise of
tape-based camcorders. The three are reasonably-priced digital camcorders
(£805, £990 and £1,240) that record DVD movies to
1.4GByte/8cm DVDs for playing in set-top machines.
They can use write-once single-sided DVD-Rs (costing about £7
each), as well as more expensive rewritable double-sided DVD-RAM discs
(£16), and look much more likely to sell in volume than the company's
two previous MPEG camcorders - each of which had serious technical shortcomings
and was priced well out of reach of the mass market at £1,800.
Hitachi's first attempt was with a hard-disk-based MPEG-1 unit, the
MP-EG1E (review, September 1997), which was lacking in almost every
department. The company went back to the drawing board and last year
launched the DZ-MV100E. This did encode to standard MPEG-2, but recorded
only to DVD-RAM discs that couldn't be read by 99 per cent of set-top
DVD players. And, although picture quality was far better than
on the first generation machine, the MV100 tended to produce relatively
poor images when encoding footage of moving subjects.
We plan to fully test the new-generation models as soon as possible
but, in a brief hands-on session, we didn't notice any motion artefacts.
We'd only expect to be able to do so when viewing footage on a normal
TV set, though, rather than on the camcorder's small built-in monitor,
which we used. If Hitachi has cracked this problem, the prospects looks
01628 643000; www.hitachidigitalmedia.com
Sony adds DVD
burning and Premiere to desktop Vaios
A revamp of Sony's
edit-ready Vaio desktop PCs sees the introduction of one model fitted
with a DVD burner, and the inclusion of Adobe Premiere 6 LE with three
out of the four new Pentium 4 Windows XP machines. All come with v3.1
of Sony's own entry-level video editing program MovieShaker and have
two built-in FireWire ports - a four-pin at the front and a six-pin
at the back.
Range leader is the PCV-RX203 fitted with a 2GHz processor and a Sony-made
DVD-R/DVD-RW burner (Sony is a member of both the -RW and +RW camps).
Suggested price is £1,503 - which includes VAT, but no monitor.
Programs provided for DVD creation are DVDit! for authoring and DVD
Maker 1.1 for recording. Disk capacity is a whopping 120GByte, and there's
512MByte of DDR SDRAM, upgradeable to 1GByte.
NVIDIA GeForce2 Ti 3D graphics cards appear across the range, with 16MByte
RAM on the LX2 and 64MByte on the others. A spread of Sony software
is supplied with all models - DVGate; PictureGear; SonicStage; and PictureToy.
Another picture editor, Adobe's Photoshop Elements, is also standard,
with the LX2 offering Adobe GoLive and LiveMotion Web creation and authoring
programs. The Vaios have front and rear USB ports (four in total), a
Memory Stick slot and built-in Ethernet and modem. RX models have two
free PCI slots, and VGA, serial and parallel ports. The LX2 has only
one PCI slot (plus a CardBus slot) and is fitted with Sony's own LCD
monitor port, instead of VGA.
08705 424424; www.vaio.sony-europe.com
Iomega external HDDs
We were somewhat
critical of Iomega's Peerless modular 20GByte hard drive system (£335
inc VAT, review, January 2002, p80) but the company's latest trio of
external hard drives look to use better designs and offer better value.
One is a portable FireWire unit in 20GByte (£189) and 40GByte
(£309) capacities. It centres on 2.5in EIDE hard disks, and is
claimed to be rugged enough to withstand a 50-inch drop onto industrial
carpet - up to five times the drop height of other portable hard drives
on the market today.
Next is a desktop USB 2.0/1.1 model (£279) holding an 80GB 2.5in
EIDE drive. Range leader, at £399, is another desktop unit, but
with a 120GByte drive and FireWire connectivity in addition to USB 2.0/1.1.
All models come with Iomega's own QuikSync automatic backup software.
020 7365 9527; www.iomega.com/europe
ADS 2.5in FireWire drive bay
ADS is introducing
an external FireWire enclosure for 2.5in EIDE hard disks. The Pyro 2.5in
Drive Kit - RRP £100 (inc VAT) - can be used with an Ultra ATA/33/66/100
drive and runs under Windows (98SE/2000/ME/ WinXP) and Mac OS (9 and
The portable unit has two six-pin FireWire ports and comes with a six-pin-to-six-pin
FireWire cable (2m) plus a CD of Mac and Windows drivers. The drive
is powered from a FireWire port and has no power supply of its own.
However, ADS does provide a cable for powering the drive from a USB
port if it's connected to an unpowered FireWire port.
The 2.5in kit will sell alongside the company's established Pyro Drive
Kit for 5.25in hard disks and CD/DVD drives, and its recently launched
USB 2.0 equivalent, the Pyro USB 2.0 Drive Kit.
0035 36170 2018; www.adstech.com
DV500's DVD capabilities
Pinnacle is replacing
its £500 analogue/digital dual-stream editing package, DV500 Plus,
(review, July 2001, p42) with a version costing £50 more and offering
better DVD capabilities, including the time-saving ability to re-import
MPEG-2 files into Adobe Premiere for further editing.
The new version, the DV500 DVD, has an improved MPEG-2 export plug-in
for Premiere that's said to double the speed of the encoding process
to near real-time when used on PCs with fast processors. Also included
is a stand-alone software MPEG encoder, the T-Rex Universal Multimedia
File converter, for converting individual AVIs and audio files to and
from MPEG-1 and 2.
01895 424228; www.pinnaclesys.com
Roxio adds DVD burning and Win XP support to WinOnCD
One of our favourite
CD burning programs - Roxio's WinOnCD - has been upgraded to offer DVD
capabilities and run under Windows XP, not just Win 2K, ME and 98.
WinOnCD 5 Power Edition (PE) is expected to sell for around £55
(inc VAT) - £10 more than its predecessor, the multiple award-winning
version 3.8 (review, May 2001, p64). V5 comes with an upgraded DirectCD
utility that supports drag-and-drop data burning to DVD and is claimed
to work with DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-RAM, DVD+RW and the new write-once DVD+R
Promised soon is a DVD Video/MPEG-2 plug-in for creating interactive
menus and buttons during DVD authoring. This will be made available
shortly as a download - price still unknown. The integrated ArtWork
editor has been enhanced in keeping with the new changes and can now
produce library covers for DVDs, as well as CDs.
+49 2405 45080; www.roxio.de/english
DVC opens in London's Oxford Street
Video editing specialist
DVC has earned an enviable reputation for the quality of the systems
it builds and the support it offers. However, its main office is a bit
off the beaten track in the south coast town of Hove - not the first
place one would think of for buy editing hardware and software.
For that, the area around Soho and Tottenham Court Road comes to mind
- which, sensibly, is where DVC has recently opened a London sales and
demonstration office, at 77 Oxford Street, W1 (nearest tube, TCR). The
company's usual mix of desktop and laptop systems is on show, running
hardware and software from Adobe, Avid, Canopus, Matrox, Pinnacle and
7659 2096/ 01273 707200; www.dvc.uk.com
CD Creator adds
DVD support and complete XP compatibility
underpins the CD burning capabilities of Windows XP, but this hasn't
ensured that users of Roxio's own CD burning software have had an easy
time when trying to run it under XP.
April's Updates (p14) gave details of how to upgrade Easy CD Creator
5 Platinum for XP, including the hoops that users had to jump through
when installing. Now, though, Roxio has launched a further updater (to
v5.1) that goes on easy - well, as easy as a 17.74MByte download can
- and sorts out a number of usability issues. One is the complete elimination
of the troublesome Take Two module under all versions of Windows. But
perhaps the biggest improvement is that the Direct CD packet writing
software that comes with Easy CD Creator no longer seems to battle against
XP for the rights to burn data CDs created by drag-and-drop.
Also very good news for CV readers is that moving to v5.1 is said to
provide a new DVD data project option with support for DVD-R and DVD-RW.
There's now also support for drag-and-drop writing to DVD formats and
rather more of it than in the project option. Supported DVD formats
for drag-and-drop are DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-RAM and DVD+RW. There's not
yet any confirmation of DVD+R support, but we tend to think this will
be included, too, if not immediately.
The full v5.1 is now also coming available retail, and at much the same
sub-£50 price point as its predecessor.
Roxio, +49 8382
For more news,
see the June 2002 issue of Computer Video.
Reviewed in June's issue:
Apple Final Cut Pro 3
Apple iMac with SuperDrive
In June's news:
Photoshop supports OS X
The end for tape?
DVD burning for Vaios
Iomega external HDDs
ADS 2.5in FireWire drive bay
CD Creator DVD support