The DV Expo (Oct 13-16, Pasadena CA) was a very informative and exciting show. I strongly recommend that digital videographers and content creators put the '99 DV Expo in their plans. The seminars and conferences were well done and the presenters were both knowledgeable and interesting to watch. The exposition was extremely focused and the atmosphere on the floor was electric! The products shown were cutting edge technology and the roster read like a who's who of digital video vendors. I was very impressed by the strong presence of Sony and Intel. Special kudos to Valerie Dow and all the staff who made this a top notch event and a MUST ATTEND SHOW for next year!
Now for the stuff you guys really want to hear about!! Hot new products and industry news.
1) Adobe formally announced Premiere 5.1 with a target ship date of Oct 31st. This is a significant update that includes the expected bug fixes but also added speed, native DV support and other improvements. Registered owners will be able to download the 8.4 meg "patch" or call Adobe and order a new CD for a nominal handling fee.
2) Canopus was one of the hottest booths at the show. Jan Piros was there doing demos of both the 2.0 version of Rex Edit and the new DV Raptor. Rex Edit 2.0 is simply amazing. It has grown into a complete non linear editing package with dissolves, A/B wipes, titling and the ability to playback bitmaps directly form the timeline w/o rendering. But Rex Edit 2.0 is much more then a nice little video editor, it is simply the fastest DV rendering system to date. A 1 second dissolve was rendering in 3 seconds. Titles and wipes render just as fast. Canopus gets such tremendous speed and performance by utilizing a dual CODEC (both the on board hardware CODEC and Canopus's own DV software CODEC).
The DV Raptor was also being shown, at both the Canopus booth and at the Intel booth to show off DV/FireWire technology! First, I want to explain a feature of the Raptor that is causing much confusion. The analog I/O of the board is for preview loop through. With software CODEC boards the biggest complaint we hear is that the preview window on the computer screen is to small and you can't get live DV output during capture or editing. The Raptor uses the analog output of the DV cam to overlay the preview. When you play video from the hard drive it is actually sent out of the Raptor to the DV Cam via FireWire, the hardware CODEC inside the DV Cam converts the DV signal to analog and then shoots it back to the Raptor via analog, then it is seen full screen, full speed on your computer monitor. The analog I/O is not for converting DV to analog or visa versa, for this feature you will still need a Hardware CODEC solution like the DV Rex M1. (Although Jan did hint that in the future, when 500 mhz processors are the norm, Canopus has the technology to add a real time MJPEG software CODEC to the Raptor.) That said, Raptor looks to be a killer product. the interface is clean and simple, the features are great (batch capture, auto scan, no 2GB file limit) and the Canopus DV Software CODEC is FAST! Hats off to Jan and the gang at Canopus!
3) DPS was showing off the Perception RT and Video Action 6.2 with an FX accelerator board. This system was very cool and had by far the fastest 3d FX rendering I've seen in an NLE system. Even more exciting for our customer base was word that 6.2 would be released by Halloween and that it would work great with both Spark and EditBay. Video Action offers a tremendous palette of effects and filters. With Spark the entire editing process including capture, preview, scrubbing and export is fully integrated into the VA interface.
4) Fast was showing the new 601 and DV Master Pro. 601 looks to be a very exciting product offering real time MPEG-2 compression and its own custom NLE editing software. I can't wait until it drops down in price, at over $10k it's still for professionals only. DV Master Pro with Speed Razor once again showed that it is the best choice for long form DV editing. The talk at the Fast booth was how many documentaries have been, and are planned for, using the DV Master Pro. My inside guys also confirmed that new drivers are almost ready for both AV Master and DV Master and that Premiere 5.0 optimization is very high on Fast's development plans. GREAT NEWS!! As a direct result of my meetings with Fast at DV Expo, prices on DV Master and DV Master Pro have dropped DRAMATICALLY!! Way to go Fast!!
5) In:sync gave me a private showing of the new SE version for DV300 and DC30+ (pricing still to be determined). I can't wait until its shipping. Real time previews of effects and titles give an editing environment that is simply more professional and productive. While the demo was going on I learned a few interesting tidbits. SE will run on Win NT and Win98 and compatibility is planned for all the popular MJPEG and DV cards!!
6) Medea was the other big news at the show. In addition to announcing Mac support for January '99, Medea drives were everywhere!! Just about every booth at the DV Expo had a VideoRAID PCI running their demos. Canopus DV Rex and Raptor, Fast DV Master and 601, Pinnacle DC30+ and ReelTime and Matrox Digisuite were all seen running with VideoRAIDs. When the hardware vendors themselves choose to run their demos on a VideoRAID over SCSI, I think it tells you something about their performance and reliability. Great job Medea!!
7) Pinnacle was busy showing off the ReelTime Nitro as well as the new DC30+deko bundle with Premiere 5.0, TitleDeko and Pixelan Video SpiceRack. What struck me the most about the Pinnacle booth was how entrenched they are in all levels of the digital video production market. From consumer (Studio 400) to professional (DC30+/ReelTime) up to broadcast products like DekoGraphics, Pinnacle is becoming not just a major player, but the market leader. They are also very rapidly adapting their knowledge and technology from the broadcast arena down to their desktop products (DC30+ up through ReelTime). When you see how how outstanding the titles created using the new TitleDeko for DC30+ are, you start to see just a hint of the technology juggernaut that is becoming Pinnacle Systems. During the show Pinnacle announced a partnership with pipeline Products that will port the top rated proVTR deck control software to DC50 and ReelTime, making them even more powerful bundles. They also announced another quarter of record sales and profits. Congrats to everyone at Pinnacle!
8) Radius made very exciting announcements for both their Windows and Mac products. On the Windows side, MotoDV 2.0 was announced for November release. MotoDV 2.0 adds a full suite of custom plug-ins for Premiere 5.0 that provide complete and seamless integration with 5.0. You get batch capture and full device control of the DV cam from within Premiere as well as timeline playback. MotoDV2.0 also adds LiveDV for full speed, full resolution video out the FireWire from within premiere for preview and scrubbing. Moto2.0 will work on Win95 & 98 as well as NT. NT drivers will be fully multithreaded for increased speed and performance. MotoDV Studio owners can upgrade for $99.95, MotoDV owners $199.95. Truevision has yet to announce its upgrade pricing for BravadoDV2000 owners.
On the Mac side Radius EditDV 1.5 was demonstrated and the biggest improvement was seen in rendering speed. Up to 50% faster for all renders including filters, transitions and titles. EditDV1.5 also ads batch capture and timeline playback. Terran Media Cleaner EZ has been added to the bundle for recompressing into other formats for multimedia or web video. EditDV 1.5 will be avialable this October! Fantastic job to everyone at Radius, keep those powerful upgrades coming!
9) Ulead was showing the 5.2 version of Media Studio Pro with a DV Rex. The new SmartPlay timeline playback utility worked flawlessly. Ulead hopes to have SmartPlay compatible with all the popular MJPEG and DV capture cards, giving everyone a 2GB file workaround.
Also of interesting note at the Ulead booth was the new Video Editor 3.0. Aimed at the lower cost capture card it is simply the easiest, simplest non linear editor I've ever seen. But you don't sacrifice any capabilities for the ease of use. If Iomega doesn't start bundling the Buz with this software they are out of their minds!
There you have it, my complete DV Expo recap. Actually, I learned a lot more at the Expo but I can't tell you about it yet! At the show were many VPs, Product Managers and even a few founders and presidents! I had the chance to sit down with most of them and all I can tell you is that an explosion of new products and features is around the corner!! Bookmark this page and check back every week or so, I expect to be adding several more very exciting announcements as I get permission to post them.