"B" is for Boards & More..
Plenty of New Hardware

click here for NAB Part 1: Adobe, Apple & Avid

One of the things I like best about NAB is the chance to see all the new hardware coming down the road for video editing and production. Over the past few years computers have become so powerful that we can edit DV footage extremely well with just software alone. With the move to HD the software can handle the footage, but it takes some extra hardware to get the job done right. This can be as simple as some additional storage, an I/O board or a hardware accelerator. At this years NAB there were some very exciting hardware developments.

Matrox

Matrox has been making hardware accelerator boards for Adobe Premiere going all the way back to Premiere 5.x. With Adobe’s announcement of Premiere Pro CS3, it came as no surprise that Matrox announced plans for full support within weeks of it shipping. For RTX2 and Axio this will be as part of the new 3.0 driver release. The initial 3.0 drivers will be WinXP only, but Vista 32 bit drivers are being worked on for release later this year. The new features in version 3.0 are so impressive that Matrox did not want to delay them while getting Vista finalized. (Note: 64 bit OS support has yet to be announced but it is on the roadmap).

In addition to support for CS3, these new drivers are adding some great new features that will continue to make RT.X2 and Axio LE MUST HAVE products for serious Adobe video editors. The most exciting new feature is the broad support for the widest range of HD cameras including their individual “specialized” progressive formats.
• DVCProHD and P2 MXF support – got it.
• Sony HVR-V1 with 1080p – got it,
• Canon’s 24f and 30f mode – got it!
• JVC Pro HD with 24P and 30P – Got it!
• Sony XDCAM HD – Axio will have it!
Plus of course you get full support for all the pro-sumer level HD camcorders from these vendors. For XDCAM HD support or the ability to write back to P2 you will need to step up to the Axio LE.

Two of the new features we are most excited about for editing are the new real-time color correction using RGB curves and real-time Adobe garbage masks. The Matrox Sphere effect has also been brought back.

Anyone who purchases an RT.X2 with Adobe Premiere Pro CS2 now will get a FREE upgrade to the new Premiere Pro CS3 including Encore DVD CS3 with Blu-Ray support and On Location (formerly Serious Magic DV Rack) when it ships in July. If you purchase one of the promotional bundles with the Adobe Production Studio Premium will receive a FREE upgrade to the new Adobe Production Premium CS3.

Matrox is now shipping the new 2.0 drivers for MXO. While MXO was first shown at last years NAB2006, many folks didn’t quite understand exactly what it does. For Apple Final Cut Pro editors working with HD footage, this is the must have accessory to add to your bag of tricks. It will allow you to get the most precise and accurate HD output from your FCP timeline possible. They are also adding DVI monitor calibration – hue, chroma, contrast, brightness, and blue-only adjustments; Super black and super white monitoring on the DVI display; and Pixel-to-pixel mapping on the DVI display with the new version 2.0 driver. MXO is also an amazing SD down converter and can be used for presentation work or to provide SDI output from a Mac laptop for integrating into any production or post-production environment.

Matrox also told me that they are planning on having MXO support for Premiere Pro CS3 on Mac when it ships in July.

Blackmagic Design

The gang over at Black Magic was showing off three new hardware I/O products that provide an incredible “Bang for the buck”.

1) The new Intensity Pro card adds Component video I/O to the HDMI I/O found on the current Intensity card. At a price point of just $349 ($100 more then the standard Intensity card), the Intensity Pro card is the must have I/O device for those looking to work with uncompressed footage from a non SDI-HD source. Videoguys has put together some fantastic bundle deals featuring both the Intensity and Intensity Pro cards and the new Final Cut Studio 2 (full versions and upgrades).

2) The new HD Link Pro converts SDI output to HDMI & DVI while also providing SDI loop through.

3) The Multibridge Eclipse takes the Multibridge family to the next level. It is the ultimate SDI to everything else converter. At $3,495 it’s not for everyone, but if you need to integrate a wide variety of broadcast HD and SD equipment into your NLE workflow, this is the product for you. It has a massive number of video and audio connections, with elegant styling and form factor.

All 3 new Black Magic solutions are scheduled for shipment in June. We are taking back orders.

Grass Valley

The big news for us at the Grass Valley booth wasn’t hardware, but the new Edius 4.5 software. The latest version will be made available as a FREE download for all Edius 4.x owners. The interface has been given a new, more streamlined, and cleaner look, which is going to be carried forward into all new Grass Valley software. New features include multicam editing, nested timelines, basic DVD authoring, enhanced color correction and time remapping. Overall it’s a pretty impressive upgrade and it shows Grass Valley’s commitment to Edius.

On the hardware front Grass Valley wasn’t showing off any new NLE hardware cards, but just after we got back from NAB we were given a very aggressive sales promotion (expires June 30th, 2007) on the Edius NX Express bundle – now only $1199, and the base Edius NX PCIe card – now $899 w/ NX Bay. The ADVC700 converter box is also on promotional sale for $1499!!

Focus Enhancements

Many churches, schools, and small corporate video producers have been gradually updating their cameras to HD. If you are using 2, 3 or 4 HD cameras on a multi-camera production, you need a way to switch between them. At NAB2007 Focus was showing off a pair of new HD switchers that look to be just what you need. The HX-1 is a 4 input HD-SDI switcher with a target MSRP of $10,995 while the HX-2 will have 8 SD/HD SDI inputs for $19,995. Both models are rugged, portable, and designed to excel in today’s most demanding high-definition production environments, the brand-new HX line of HD video switchers from Focus Enhancements not only meets the highest broadcast standards, but also provides an array of simple-to-operate features. Whether you’re conducting a live outside broadcast or shooting inside a production studio, the Focus HX-1 Portable HD Video Switcher and Focus HX-2 HD/SD Video Switcher enable you to switch seamlessly between video sources and blend high-quality digital content on the fly. Videoguys will be carrying a full line on SDI converters allowing you to switch between any HD cam with HD output. Focus was using the Matrox MXO to feed graphics, video and images from a Powerbook into the mixers via SDI HD and it looked AWESOME!

While Focus was not showing any new FS-4 versions, we are very excited to announce that we will be continuing our special promotion on the FS4 HD Pro 60GB unit at $999 ($1199 w/ field kit). We hope to have some new and exciting FS4 news later this summer.

G-Tech

What can we say about G-tech that we haven’t been saying for the past few years? The G-Raid and G-SATA family of external storage solutions are simply the best performance / value storage solutions available for video editors. These drives look great and work even better. The G-SATA drives now include an E-SATA host adapter, so everything you need to get them set up is now included.

For those requiring even more substantial storage, with the capability of uncompressed SD or HD footage as well as RAID 5 data protection the new G-Speed eS drives are the perfect affordable solution. G-Speed eS includes a high performance 4-lane PCIe eSATA host adapter and is capable of handling 8-bit uncompressed 1080i HD video. You can select RAID 0,1, 5 & JBOD with ease thanks to the included browser based configuration utility. The best part of all – prices will start at just $999 for a 1 TB unit (5 x 200GB drives – 800GB if configured as RAID 5)

ADS Pyro AV

At NAB ADS introduced the Pyro AV line of broadcast quality SDI converters. The first shipping unit, SD10DAC is a 10bit SDI to analog video encoder. It gives you standard definition SDI to Analog Composite, Y/C, or Component output. It is a broadcast quality converter designed to demanding quality specifications and utilizing the finest components available. Future units in the Pyro AV line will also include:
• HD10DAC - Multi-Rate 10 bit HD/SD SDI to Analog Video Encoder
• HD12ADC - Multi-Rate 12 bit Analog Video to HD/SD-SDI
• 3G14DA - Triple Rate 4 Port Distribution Amplifier
• SDI2DV - DV to SDI with Embedded Audio Bi-Directional Professional Video Converter
to HD/SD-SDI

Newtek

In 2005 Newtek revolutionized multicamera video production with the introduction of the TriCaster. At NAB2007 they took it even further with the introduction of the incredible new TriCaster STUDIO. TriCaster STUDIO extends the excitement of live broadcast production via projector, television and Internet with more power and capabilities than ever before. The result is an advanced production studio powerful enough to be utilized in network environments yet still portable and small enough to fit in a backpack.

The ultimate portable production package awaits you in TriCaster STUDIO™ which extends capabilities with 6 inputs instead of 3, offering multiple upstream effects, advanced switching and virtual set support. TriCaster STUDIO’s live virtual sets and switching provides portable, live production, and allows all six inputs to have its own camera angle in the room. Like most virtual set systems, you can cut between angles, but STUDIO lets you fade or perform 3D transitions between angles.

Newtek was also showing off the latest rev of LightWave. Version 9.2 offers new Material Shaders for easy and accurate representation of real-world surfaces, depth of field, global illumination and anti-aliasing improvements that offer better results in less time, a true 3D motion blur that mimics live-action film and new modeling and selection tools for improved workflow. The LightWave v9.2 update is now available free to registered owners of LightWave v9.

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