Canopus Edius 2.0 test and review from Computer Video Magazine

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Canopus Edius 2.0

The range of improvements with Edius 2 includes support for OHCI-standard FireWire ports. But does this bring Edius into the mainstream as a genuine competitor to established editing programs such as Adobe Premiere?

What used to be a battle between hardware editing cards running Adobe Premiere now seems to have become one between competing editing software running on generic OHCI hardware.

Premiere has morphed into Premiere Pro - but been ditched by Pinnacle in favour of its own Edition software (now Liquid Edition). And, as Pinnacle was ending its long-standing relationship with Adobe, Canopus released its own powerful editor, called Edius, although still supporting Premiere and Premiere Pro.

But how well does Edius, now in its second incarnation, stack up as a genuine competitor to Premiere Pro and Liquid Edition?

The big change with version 2.0, which puts Edius on a level playing field with the competition, is OHCI support. Previous versions would only work with Canopus's own editing cards. Now anyone with standard FireWire, even a laptop user, will be able to edit with Edius. And, perhaps rather surprisingly, one of our test systems used the FireWire built into a Matrox RT.X100 editing card, and encountered no problems.

Aside from OHCI support, the other major new inclusion is MPEG capture and editing, along with DVD authoring from the timeline. Edius 2 has a few other usability tweaks, but the big news is that, at last, Canopus's proven capabilities of mixing multiple video streams are promised without needing proprietary hardware.

Edius is becoming an impressive piece of software. Each new release fixes a few issues and expands functionality. There are still some areas where improvements could be made, though.

For a start, the manual has a very small and relatively limited index. Although descriptions are detailed and comprehensively illustrated (once you find them) a good index will make it easier to come to grips with the Edius way of doing things.

Another downside, which is more a sign of how young the app is compared to Premiere and even Edition, is the lack of third-party plug-in support. This will pick up but, for the time being at least, there's no Boris support, and precious little else is available to extend Edius's effects functionality other than Canopus's own Xplode Professional 4.0 and PhotoAlbum 2.0, plus the already bundled Inscriber TitleMotion Pro and ProCoder. We're told that Boris has expressed an interest in providing support for Edius, but there's no word on a timeframe yet.
We also found that a few quirks took a little getting used to. For example, a 3D picture-in-picture can't be keyed, even though a straight 2D one can, and a transition can't be applied to keyed video - or vice versa. The program also lacks nested sequence - a feature new to Premiere Pro but standard with both Avid and Edition editors.
Although filters can be keyframed, offering plenty of effects control, not all of them can be. Colour-correction filters, for example, can only have one setting throughout a clip's duration - so it's not possible to have any freaky cycling colourisation.

For many, these limitations will be easily lived with. Canopus has made a good fist of bringing Edius into the mainstream with OHCI support, and made it a direct competitor to Premiere Pro and the standard version of Liquid Edition. We just hope that Canopus will relent and allow a larger playback buffer for OHCI users. Until then, existing Canopus hardware owners will get even more benefit.
Upgrading is a no-brainer for anyone using DVStorm or DVRex. But the decision is tougher for someone trying to make a choice of which editor to go for - Ulead Media Studio Pro 7 is worth a look-in here as well, as is Sony Vegas.

However, those intending to do a lot of DVD authoring could even find that Edius's ability to blend MPEG and DV make it worth adding to their toolkit on top of a competing editing system - we found Matrox RT.X100 Xtreme files functioned as if they'd been captured with Edius, with full real-time playback.

Whatever the case, Edius is shaping up nicely to take on the big boys, and ought to be given serious consideration by many Windows-using video editors.

James Morris

Read the full review in June 2004's Computer Video magazine.

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