March 2003 News From Computer Video Magazine

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In Software Downloads:
Adobe Premiere 6 (trial)
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Computer Video News:

Real-time MediaStudio
Software-only, real-time editing, display and output from Ulead MSP 7

The latest version of Ulead's DV/analogue editing program MediaStudio Pro promises a bunch of useful features. Version 7, SRP £300 (inc VAT) and due March, is said to offer previewing in real-time without rendering; scene-detection during capture and editing; support for Sony MicroMV camcorders; and the ability to edit MPEG footage, encode to MPEG-1/2 and create Video CDs.

Version 7.0 includes support for the multi-tasking performance of dual-processor systems, and also for Intel's Hyper-Threading technology in single-processor PCs. Tests the company carried out on a single-processor 2GHz P4 PC with 512MByte RAM are reckoned to show that MSP 7 can provide real-time preview and output of five or more DV streams without further hardware assistance.

The software is claimed to handle DV Type-1, Type-2 and MPEG files in all real-time/dual-display modes, and to work with Windows Media files and with 16:9 aspect ratio footage.

On fast enough PCs, MSP 7 can support real-time monitoring on a TV set or monitor with analogue feed from an attached DV camcorder. And, by adding an appropriate graphics card, such as a Matrox Parhelia, it can preview full-screen in real-time on a second monitor or attached TV set.
Other enhancements include real-time/multi-track audio mixing; Dolby AC3 encoding and decoding support; more, automatic, add-to-timeline options; and enhanced timecode and source management. Among new creative tools are an all-new titler with advanced texture, shadow and motion effects; and video filters that include Old Film, Smart Blur and Diffuse Glow. There's also better integration with other Ulead programs including Cool 3D Studio - with support for C3D or Flash (SWF) files. Ulead will be showcasing V7 at Video Forum (show preview, p12).

Combustion slashed to under £900

Price cut of 80 per cent brings Discreet Combustion visual effects software within reach of mere mortals

With the launch of V2.1, Discreet's Combustion has been massively cut in price from £4,518 (inc VAT) to £852. The move is intended to make the software - a powerful vector paint, animation and 3D compositing program - affordable to a far wider range of users.
Combustion runs under Windows and Mac OS (XP, 2000, NT; OS 9.x, OS 10.x), and offers sophisticated tools for tracking, keying, colour-correction, particle effects and rotoscoping - sharing features with top-end Flame, Flint and Inferno systems used in professional post-production houses.
Version 2.1 is said to improve on all main features and to have a new titler, 2D particle visual effects tool, and workspace. Discreet says that colour resolution for HD work has been improved, as have film tools that include grain and colour management, and the program's integration with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, and Discreet's 3ds Max 5 desktop PC 3D modelling and animation software.
V2 users can download a upgrade free from: (23MByte for Windows; 33MByte for Mac). Discreet, 0870 241 0416

Matrox FX exchange web site

Matrox's new free-to-use exchange community web site - - lets registered users of the company's Windows-based video editing products download real-time effects, as well as exchange effects, keyframe sequences and DVE masks.
Editors can use the search engine to find effects, as well as rate and review the effects they have tried. Each effect is demonstrated in RT in its own thumbnail window on the site.
Effects available to users of RT.X100 and RT2x00 Pro Pack include real-time mesh warp, lens flare and emboss. Matrox, 01753 665500.

Avid DV editing freebie

Free, DV-only, Avid video editing software due Q2

Macworld 2003 saw Avid announce a free, DV-only, video editing program for Mac and Windows, with many features taken from Xpress DV (review, January 2003, p30).
Avid Free DV - scheduled for Spring - is intended to introduce DV camcorder users to DV editing in a 'fun and easy working environment' before they progress to higher-end programs. It's expected to offer two video tracks, four audio tracks, and basic trimming and editing functions, and support two streams of real-time effects. This won't be Avid's first free program - its Digidesign Pro Tools Free music editor is said to have been downloaded over a million times.
The company is also extending for an unknown time its cross-grade offer for Xpress DV, first scheduled to end Christmas 2002. Users of a range of competing programs can buy Avid Xpress DV 3.5 for £1,116 (inc VAT) ñ a £411 saving - and the Power Pack version for £1,645, £588 less than usual.
Eligible programs are Adobe Premiere, Apple Final Cut Pro, Canopus DV Storm, Digital Origin Edit DV, Discreet Edit, Matrox RT.X10/X100, Media 100 and Pinnacle DV200, Edition, Liquid, and Pro One. Avid, 01753 655 999;

DVD X Copy

Software for backing up DVDs navigates a course for would-be pirates under flag of legitimacy

321 Studios' DVD X Copy Windows software (US$100) makes pure digital dubs of DVDs, writes Barry Fox.
'Every backup copy you make is EXACTLY like the original', claims 321. One thing is added, however ñ an on-screen notice reminding owners to use the software only to make backup copies of their own discs. 321's web site encourages users to lobby US Congress for changes in the law needed to keep personal backups legal. Our tests show that DVD X Copy works well copying commercial and home-made Video DVDs, and does so with PAL as well as NTSC discs.
DVDs are usually copy-protected in two ways. The more powerful of the two uses the CSS digital content scrambling system. This is designed to stop copying of the raw digital content of a DVD movie to a blank DVD in a PC-based burner. CSS encrypts the MPEG movie on the disc and adds hidden codes. An unauthorised copy is missing the hidden codes, so a DVD player or DVD-ROM drive can't play it.
CSS can be defeated using software called DeCSS, but this is illegal in many countries - the penalty in the USA under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act can be five years in jail and a $250,000 fine. Commercial DVDs also use Macrovision, which stops analogue output from players being copied. But cheap black-box ësignal cleaners' can defeat Macrovision.
DVD X Copy does not defeat either protection system - it slips in between them. The DVD-ROM drive in a PC plays the original disc in the usual way, unscrambling the encrypted code. But, instead of sending the unscrambled digital code to an MPEG decoder to produce analogue pictures, X Copy stores the unscrambled digital code on a PC's hard disk before burning it to a blank DVD - or two if necessary. The copy is unscrambled digital code, which plays fine on a DVD-ROM drive or set-top DVD player. 321 Studios,

MS WM9 hits the net

Windows Media Player 9 is now available for Win XP, 98SE, ME and 2000. Microsoft has also announced low-cost licensing deals allowing Media 9 technology to be used on any platform, application or device.
Media 9 is claimed to offer video playback at up to six times the resolution of DVD; 5.1 surround sound streaming audio; and a faster, more-TV-like, internet experience. The new licenses cover Windows Media Audio and Video 9 Codecs; the Windows Media file container (aka Advanced Systems Format, or ASF); and Windows Media streaming protocols. Pricing for devices and non-Windows platforms is 10 cents per decoder, 20c per encoder and 25c for both. This is cheaper than MPEG-4 - at 25c per decoder or encoder and 50c for both - and has no content-use fees. Microsoft Windows Media,

Recent features...
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Reviewed in March's issue:
Philips DVDRW228
Sony DRU-500A
Pioneer DVR-A05
DVanced PAL/NTSC Converter
Sonic Desktop Movie Maestro
Sonic Foundry Sound Forge/Acid Pro

In March's news:
Real-time MediaStudio
Combustion slashed to under £900
Matrox FX exchange web site
Avid DV editing freebie
DVD X Copy
MS WM9 hits the net
Video Forum 2003

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