DV Expo has become one of the more important shows in the industry. It's a great opportunity for end users to get the chance to see the current landscape of digital videography. You can sit in any of the major vendors presentation theatres and watch slick product demos complete with bad jokes and free T-shirts. Then mosey on over to the Sony, Canon, Panasonic & JVC booths and check out the latest generation of camcorders. While the show had good attendance, the crowds were not that bad. Later in the afternoon there were more than enough opportunities to spend some quality one-on-one time with a product specialist and really get into the features and performance of the gear. Looking for a turnkey NLE solution? Several integrators were on hand ready to ship you a complete system – fully loaded and optimized for video editing.
Each year we've seen major product announcements and launches. This year was no exception. While Adobe made the biggest splash with the official launch of Premiere Pro, several other vendors had exciting news of their own.
Adobe rocks the show with the launch of Premiere Pro, After Effects 6,Encore DVD & Audition. Premiere Pro is not the same program we've grown to love and hate over the past few years. Adobe started with an all-new 'core' and rebuilt Premiere Pro from the ground up. It has greatly improved audio including 5.1 surround support. The new keyframer is excellent, as are the new color correction tools. Adobe has done a great job addressing some of the existing shortfalls while raising the bar in other areas. The workflow between Premiere, Encore DVD, Photoshop & After Effects is very cool.
In other big news it was also announced that the new Premiere Pro, Encore DVD & Audition will be for Windows XP only. They will NOT be available for Mac. This is a major change in direction for Adobe and it marks the end of a very close, long-standing relationship with Apple. It will be very interesting to see how this split develops over time. Is it possible that even After Effects and PhotoShop could become Windows only?? Time will tell.
Adobe also announced new DV Collections. The new collection includes Premiere Pro, After Effects 6, Encore DVD and Audition. This new bundle will be have a $999 estimated street cost. Adobe announced an introductory price of $799!! That is one amazing value! In the fall, a Pro collection will be available with AE Production bundle and PhotoShop.
Matrox has followed up Adobe's news by announcing full support for Premiere Pro and a FREE upgrade to it for RTX100 Xtreme & RTX 10 Xtra versions purchases after 7/7/03 (that include Premiere 6.5)!! Matrox also extended their trade-up program through July and it has been expanded to include Pinnacle & Canopus real-time cards!!
This comes right on the heels of Matrox shipping the new RTX 100 Xtreme drivers. These new drivers add several new features including ;
* XtremePreview for editing many layers and effects without rendering
* Professional waveform and vectorscope monitors
* Realtime super-smooth field-blended fast and slow motion
* WYSIWYG video output support for DirectShow compliant applications
* Video capture using OHCI and Video-for-Windows compliant applications
* Professional DVD authoring with Sonic ReelDVD Studio
I had the chance to spend some time with product managers from both Matrox & Adobe. Everyone I talked to was impressed with how well Matrox was integrating their technology with Premiere Pro. These two companies are working really hard together to ensure that as soon as Premiere Pro ships, new drivers for the “Power of X” will be released.
Pinnacle makes it official - It's Edition all the way! Pinnacle Edition was one of the major attractions of this years expo. With version 5 Pinnacle has gotten it right and the industry and consumers have taken notice. The integrated DVD authoring is my favorite new feature, but the harnessing of both CPU & GPU (graphics processor) for unprecedented real-time performance is the big story. With a 3 Ghz hyperthreaded CPU and advanced 3D graphics card you can easily layer up to 5 layers of full motion video, with filters applied to each clip flying all over the screen. I've always loved Hollywood FX transitions, and with Edition 5 they are all in real-time! You can read my hands on review of Editon 5 here.
Pinnacle also gave the official word - there will be no further development for Premiere Pro driver support on legacy hardware. In light of this DV500 & Pro-One users have been offered some great deals on Edition 5. The $499.95 Edition 5 Pro trade-up program has been extended through the summer. Even cooler our DV Expo show special of FREE upgrades to Hollywood FX Pro and TitleDeko now includes all flavors of Edition 5 including the trade-up. That's an additional $400 worth of software!!
I got the chance to spend some time at the Avid booth and got some hands on time with Xpress Pro and Mojo. All I can say is WOW! When can we have it!! Xpress Pro with Mojo is Avid's new NLE application that will bridge some of the gap between Xpress DV and Media Composer. Based on the same Avid DNA technology Avid introduced at NAB, this takes Xpress DV users to the next level.
Keep in mind that we are talking about two distinct products which work together. Xpress Pro is a $1699 NLE software package – it does not include Mojo for this price. Xpress Pro adds in several new features that Xpress DV users have been wishing for:
* Editing features like 24 video and audio tracks with unlimited layering, use 2D & 3D OpenGL-based video effects, utilize JKL edit and trim controls, extend & replace edits, group and gang clips
* More customizable real-time video and audio effects, titles, keys, and transitions than any other software product including real-time 3D transitions
* Automatic Expert Color Correction
* Avid Film Composer technology: 24p film support, support for Panasonic AG-DVX100 24p camera, 35:1p, 28:1p and 14:1p offline formats
* Xpress Pro includes all of the Avid PowerPack extras such as Image Stabilizer, Illusion FX and the Film Tools. It includes the ltd versions of Boris FX and Grafitti. You'll also get Sorenson Squeeze for MPEG and streaming export and Reel DVD le for Authoring.
Mojo is a hardware accelerator for Xpress Pro. It will cost you an additional $1699 on top of Xpress Pro. Mojo is an external device that attaches to your computer via FireWire. It gives you both DV and analog I/O including component video input with the optional adapter cord. Do not mistake Mojo for a converter box – it is much more. With Mojo you'll get real-time DV and analog output from Xpress Pro, plus the ability to capture, edit and output with uncompressed video.
Xpress Pro & Mojo were first introduced at NAB. Unfortunately the product has been delayed until later this summer. While this delay stinks, Avid has put together a promotion that will let you save hundreds of dollars on Xpress Pro. This is how it works. You buy Xpress DV today ($999) or PowerPack ($1295) and you can upgrade to Xpress Pro for only $295. We figure that's a $400 savings for base owners. While PowerPack purchasers only save $100, you will be getting the full versions of Boris FX & Grafitti. Upgrading from ltd to Full is $199.95 per title, so your realized savings of buying the PowerPack today is $500!! We can take your order for Xpress DV or PowerPack today and backorder the upgrade for you. You will not be charged for the upgrade until we have it to ship to you.
Canopus also announced support for Premiere Pro for both the DV Storm and Raptor RT2 product lines. In addition, Canopus announced some summer software specials of their own.
Canopus Visual Effects Suite
Bringing together Xplode Professional 4.0, PhotoAlbum 2.0 and Imaginate. The Canopus Visual Effects Suite provides video professionals with an arsenal of tools to quickly and easily create stunning videos. With a price of $399, the Canopus Visual Effects Suite is a full-featured, cost-effective solution. For greater savings, customers can purchase the Canopus Visual Effects Suite for just $299 with the purchase of a Canopus hardware nonlinear editing solution, such as DVRaptor RT2 or DVStorm2.
Canopus Production Suite
Designed to give editors a complete video editing solution, the Canopus Production Suite combines the remarkable collection of applications found in the Canopus Visual Effects Suite with Canopus's powerful EDIUS nonlinear editing application and its state-of-the-art video transcoding tool, ProCoder. With a price of $999, this collection saves customers almost $900 off the MSRP.
AJA has a DV converter / breakout box that will allow Final Cut pro users to get just about any kind of video in or out. Io delivers 10-bit uncompressed video and multi-channel 24-bit audio. It connects to your Mac with one simple FireWire™ cable. All Io outputs are available all the time—allowing simultaneous connections to tape decks and monitoring - analog or digital. Io also provides RS-422 machine control, audio word clock, and a professional video Genlock. Developed in close cooperation with Apple, Io was designed to take full advantage of Final Cut Pro 4™'s exciting and powerful new features. At $2290 it's not for everybody, but if you need it, it's one heckuva solution.
Hopefully AJA will take a serious look at Premiere Pro and all the cool new technology coming out of Adobe and create a version of Io for it. If they do, you can be sure we'll be leading the charge.
Pioneer was at the show with the new DVR-A06 burner. This is Pioneers first multi-format drive and I asked them specifically about the change. While Pioneer still feels that the DVD-R format is the best solution for DVD authoring, they also admitted that consumer confusion was hurting the overall acceptance and sales of DVD burners. By giving consumers the flexibility of supporting both formats and media, they are hopeful that DVD burner sales will accelerate.
Pioneer was quick to point out that while this is their first multi-format drive, it is their 6th generation DVD burner. Each generation has been an improvement in performance and ease of install and use. So while others may have introduced multi-format burners, they do not have Pioneer's experience or expertise in this technology. I couldn't agree more!
While Medea did not have a booth at the show, they did have their new FireFly storage solution in a couple of booths. FireFly is a very sexy looking external FireWire RAID solution. For around $1,000 you get a pair of 200GB external drives and the FireFly base and power supply. You also get a FREE download of RAID software (Windows or Mac). With this software you can configure your drives the way you want them. Stripe the two 200GB drives for a blazing fast 400GB RAID-0. Or set them up as a mirror to protect your data. The RAID software can be set to automatically sync the data on both drives. This is very cool because you could keep the base unit in the office, and then take one of the drives on the road with you. When you pop the drive you took with you into the base, the new data gets mirrored to the drive that stays in the office.
Panasonic, Sony, Canon & JVC camcorders
Although we do not sell camcorders, I still love going to these booths and checking out the newest camcorders. It also gives me a chance to talk to the various company reps and get a feel for what the next big thing is going to be. From my conversations it was clear that HD is coming and it's going to be much more affordable than most realize. I'm not saying it'll be in the $1,000 consumer cams, but from what I could tell, you'll be seeing several more HD cams later this year in the $2500 - $5000 space. So, professional videographers need to keep a close eye on this trend.
Speaking of HD, I had the chance to spend some time at the CineForm demo in the JVC booth. These guys have developed an HD plug-in for Premiere that gives you software based real-time HD editing. Aspect HD is a remarkable innovation. It captures directly from a JVC high-definition camcorder or D-VHS deck via a standard FireWire port. The Aspect HD real-time editing engine allows you to work with up to 4 HD streams. Real-Time FX include: keyframable color adjustment, slow motion, static & moving titles, over 30 transitions and Pan/Scan/Rotate/Zoom. The current version is for Premiere 6.5 and will cost around $1,000. A Premiere Pro version should ship a month or two after Premiere Pro ships.
TriLabs Digital Hotcakes
Digital Hot cakes are high quality motion graphics for digital video. You can use these animations for your titling sequences and to add a more professional/ broadcast look and feel to your videos. What I like best about Hotcakes is that it is affordable and REALTIME! Our Digital Hotcakes on DVD are native DV compressed files, just drop them in your timeline and go. No processing required. You get both AVI and MOV files for compatibility with virtually every NLE.
There are currently 8 volumes of Hotcakes available plus a Wedding Essentials volume. A second Wedding Essentials volume is in the works. Volumes go for $119.95 each (The Pyromations volume is $149.95). We offer a sampler CD for only $49.95 that contains 3 full resolution animations from each of our 9 current volumes including Wedding Essentials Volume 1. Our best value by far is the Grand Slam. This affordable package includes the first eight volumes all in one convenient-to-use binder. The Grand Slam includes Animated Backdrops, Organic Backdrops, Skydrops, Aquadrops, Pyromations, AcidDrops, Grids & Grunge, and Alpha Mattes. That's a whopping total of 376 animations in all.
We'll be running our Digital Hotcakes DV Expo specials through July!!
Matrox Graphics demonstrated two of the most productivity-enhancing multi-display graphics cards for video workstations at DV Expo East in New York City. Attendees saw the mid-range Millennium P750 in a hardware non-linear editing (NLE) configuration with the Matrox RT.X100 Xtreme. The high-end Parhelia, in a software NLE set-up, runs a host of applications from Adobe, Avid Technology, Inc., Boris FX, Discreet, NewTek, Inc., Softimage and Ulead Systems Inc. in signature Dual-display plus TV output mode.