Videoguys Top 10 Products of 2010

Videoguys Top 10 Products of 2010! 

2010 was one of those years that I think we will look back at as a key turning point in our industry. While HD camcorders have been around for 5 years, it was in 2010 that we hit the tipping point that made HD editing a reality for everyone. Many professional videographers migrated to HD years ago with an HDV camcorder that delivered great looking footage. The resolution was there, but the camcorders lacked the optics and focal controls, and flexibility, to make your video look like something shot in Hollywood.  Today we have affordable DSLR cameras that have incredible HD video capability, with interchangeable lenses, that give you full control of your exposure and focus. This means that your productions can all have a level of cinematic excellence that would have required a professional camcorder costing $10,000 or more!


2010 - The year of the DSLR!

Before we even list the Videoguys' 2010 Top 10 products, I have to give Special Honors to the Canon EOS family of DSLR cameras for their breakthrough technology and revolutionary impact on our industry.

The introduction of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II in 2009 was a landmark release that lead to an expanded line of Canon DSLR cameras including the EOS 7D (my personal DSLR camera of choice) and the affordable Canon Rebel T2I. Nikon, Olympus and others soon followed and traditional camcorder manufacturers like Sony and Panasonic jumped in as well.

What makes a DSLR camera such a great choice for HD video shooting? The answer is simple - it's the flexibility and tools they give you to unlock your creativity and take you from shooting video into digital film making. Interchangeable lenses and the manual controls for focus, exposure and lens settings give you the ability to create looks you never imagined! 

We were so impressed by what we saw coming out of Canon back in January of 2010 that we partnered with them to create our "Videoguys Guide to DSLR workflows." This article has been referenced by websites and user groups all over the world!

The final piece of the puzzle that made HD DSLR video viable was the introduction of non-linear editing software that can edit the native footage created with these cameras. The # 1 spot in this year's Videoguys' Top 10 Products of 2010 is a tie between two professional software suites that excel in DSLR and other tapeless workflows: Avid Media Composer 5 and Adobe CS5 Production Premium. There are also two other applications that made the Top 10 with improved native DSLR editing capabilities -  Grass Valley Edius 6 and Sony Vegas Pro 10. Any of these native tapeless workflows will save you hours of work since you no longer have to capture your video footage, or  wait for the files to be encoded into a format that you can edit.
Top 10 of 2010!

1) Tied: Avid Media Composer 5

1) Tied: Adobe CS5 Production Premium

3) Matrox MXO2 Mini

4) NVIDIA Quadro 4000 by PNY

5) Grass Valley EDIUS 6

6) SONY Vegas Pro 10

7) Pioneer BDR-206MBK Blu-ray Disc Writer with BDXL

8) G-Tech G-SPEED with Enterprise Class Drives

9) Red Giant Magic Bullet Suite 2010

10) Avid Pro Tools 9

#1 (TIED) - Avid Media Composer 5

At NAB 2010, Avid previewed the next release of Media Composer 5 to much fanfare and enthusiasm from Avid editors all over the world. This was the big release we  had been waiting for, something that would give Avid editors the next level of tools and power they had been hoping to see. When Avid Media Composer 5 (MC5) began shipping in June it actually exceeded everyone's expectations! Especially the tapeless workflows with Canon DSLR footage!

In August we published the Videoguys Guide: "Avid Wants You Back with Media Composer 5." This article details all of the new features in Media Composer 5 and why we recommended it so highly to Avid editors, and former Avid editors who may have gone over to another application but still have their Avid Dongle.

The top reasons to come back to Avid Media Composer 5 are:

  • Avid AMA which allows you to natively edit HD footage from P2, XDCAM, RED and H.264 DSLRs
  • Support for the Matrox MXO2 mini (another Top 10 award winner this year) for affordable HD monitoring directly from the Media Composer timeline in full resolution HD
  • The new Avid Smart Tool which makes it easier for Apple Final Cut Pro editors to pick up and use Media Composer
  • The price of the upgrade! At $695 this is one heckuva great deal. This upgrade even includes the Avid Production Suite with all the 3rd party applications!

Click here for Avid Media Composer 5 bundles

Click here for related guides & articles using the "MC5" hot tag


#1 (TIED) - Adobe CS5 Production Premium

The Adobe CS5 Production Premium software suite has an exciting new hardware graphics acceleration feature known as the Adobe Mercury Playback Engine. By tapping into 64-bit CPU processing and NVIDIA's  CUDA technology you can edit DSLR, AVCHD, RED or any other tapeless format in real-time.

A Mac or PC with a Quad-core processor and a new Fermi based GPU like the NVIDIA GTX470 or Quadro 4000 by PNY can edit multiple layers of HD footage with transitions, effects, chroma-keying, graphics and more. The sheer power and performance of the Mercury engine is enough to make many Final Cut Pro editors switch back to Adobe - especially with the introduction of the Quadro 4000 for Mac (another Top 10 award winner this year). Adobe quickly released support for the Quadro 4000 making it the best graphics board for Adobe Mercury support for under $1,000 and they continue to add support for more CUDA boards and Laptop GPUs. You can also activate Mercury Playback for many NVIDIA graphics cards with 92 or more CUDA cores with a simple, non-destructive hack that has been posted on the web for both PC and Mac. 

In August, we published the Videoguys' Guide: "The Top 10 Reasons to Switch to Adobe CS5 Production Premium" and the reasons listed there and in the following blog post"Top 10 Reasons to use Adobe CS5 Production Premium for Editing DSLR Footage" is a comprehensive list of all the reasons why we had to have Adobe's new software at the top of this list.

I must also say that Adobe CS5 keeps picking up momentum! More and more users at every level, from hobbyist, to event videographer to professional post houses and broadcasters have added CS5 to their editing workstations.

If you own an old copy of Adobe Premiere or Premiere Pro you can upgrade it to Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 for under $300, or you can take advantage of Adobe's point product upgrade to get the full Adobe CS5 Production Premium for about $1,000!

Click here for special Videoguys Money Saving bundles featuring Adobe CS5 Production Premium for Windows 64-bit PC or Mac OSX

Click here for related guides & articles using the "CS5" hot tag

Adobe CS5 Production Premium FULL

Point Upgrade from any single Adobe title

Upgrade from a CS2/CS3 Collection

Upgrade from a previous CS4 Collection

#3 - Matrox MXO2 Mini

OK, I realize that Matrox didn't actually introduce any new MXO2 hardware this year, but they did release new drivers that added support for Avid Media Composer 5 and Adobe CS5 Production Premium. That makes the MXO2Mini one of the most versatile pieces of hardware available with support for PC or Mac, desktop or laptop, and with or without Matrox MAX technology. The MXO2 Mini is also the only "Triple-A" rated I/O hardware on the market - which is our way of saying it is approved and recommended by Avid, Adobe and Apple for use with their professional editing applications. This is huge! No other hardware gives you the features, performance, flexibility and stability of an MXO2.  When you add in their MAX technology for faster then real-time H.264 encoding, you can see why we say that the "Matrox MXO2 Mini is the Missing Link in Your Tapeless Editing Workflow!"

Matrox also released new drivers that add yet another level of performance for Mac based MXO2 users. The Matrox Vetura Capture utility allows you to quickly and easily capture QuickTime files using popular CODECs installed on your editing system. If you use Adobe Premiere Pro CS5, you can capture to the Matrox MPEG2 I-frame full raster (1920 x 1080) HD CODEC or to other popular Adobe-supported CODECs. If you're editing with Apple Final Cut Pro, you can capture to ProRes and other popular Final Cut Pro CODECs. Finally, if you're using Avid Media Composer, you can capture directly to Avid DNxHD .mov files or other popular Avid-supported CODECs.

The Matrox MXO2 Mini with Max delivers even more features! If you're editing on a Windows PC with Adobe CS5, the Matrox MAX technology will give you additional real-time playback performance with the Adobe Mercury Playback Engine. The Matrox MXO2 Mini with MAX will also give Avid editors using a Mac the ability to encode directly from the Media Composer timeline to H.264 for Blu-ray Disc or high-definition multimedia video. Matrox continually provides new drivers with  additional features and performance FREE to all registered owners so the MXO2 Mini that you buy today will only get better with age! In fact, the next release scheduled for February 2011 will include a new utility for PC that will allow you to capture directly into H.264 for web and mobile videos including YouTuve, iPad, Iphone, iPod Touch and more. No wonder it is being included on Top 10 lists all over the web!

Click here for related guides & articles using the "MXO2" hot tag

Matrox MXO2 Mini

Matrox MXO2 Mini with Max

Click here for special bundles featuring the Matrox MXO2 Mini

Click here to learn more about the rest of
the Matrox MXO2 family of products
including SDI I/O and more

#4 - NVIDIA Quadro 4000 by PNY

When Adobe worked with NVIDIA to create the CS5 Mercury Playback Engine, they made it more important than ever to choose the best graphics board for your NLE workstation.  In the past, when manufacturers required special graphics cards, they were often extremely expensive. Now, the NVIDIA Quadro 4000  by PNY is an incredibly powerful board for under $1,000 and it's available for either PC or Mac! While the Quadro4000 Mac costs a little more than it's PC brother, it is substantially less expensive than any other Quadro board ever offered for Mac.

The Quadro 4000 is based on NVIDIA's Fermi technology, which is the next generation of their CUDA technology. This is an understatement, it's more like CUDA on steroids. The Fermi/CUDA power allows software vendors to tap directly into the GPUs many processing cores. The Quadro 4000 has a whopping 256 CUDA Parallel Processing Cores to go along with it's 2GB of GDDR5 memory.  Think about that, it's like having a dedicated graphics workstation on a card. The folks at Adobe jumped on this and other software manufacturers in the content creation and encoding business are following along. When you put a Quadro 4000 in your PC or Mac workstation, you're making sure that you'll have the GPU CUDA performance to take full advantage of these new performance enhancements as they become available in more and more applications.

Click here for related guides & articles about the Adobe Mercury Playback Engine and the Quadro boards using the "Mercury" hot tag

NVIDIA Quadro 4000 by PNY for PC

NVIDIA Quadro 4000 by PNY for Mac Professional Graphics Board


#5 - Grass Valley EDIUS 6

Over the past few years the corporate ownership of EDIUS has changed from Canopus, to Thompson and now to Grass Valley but the technology has survived through all the changes and remains cutting edge today. In fact, while other software companies are just now supporting native HD workflows, EDIUS has had it for years! EDIUS even allows you to mix different HD and SD formats on the same timeline, without any special hardware requirements.  This is why EDIUS continues to dominate as the event videographers' choice for Same Day Edits and is gathering momentum in news organizations for field based editing as well.

Grass Valley HDSPARK with EDIUS 6EDIUS6 is available as a stand alone software title or you can use it with Grass Valleys various HD I/O hardware choices. The HD SPARK card gives you affordable HDMI output, while the new STORM 3G gives you SDI I/O plus HDMI output. For even more professional I/O the new STORM 3G Elite attaches via PCIe card to your desktop or laptop to deliver just about every kind of professional I/O you could every imagine or need!

Click here for Videoguys Money-Saving Bundles including EDIUS 6

Click here for related guides & articles using the "Edius" hot tag



#6 - SONY Vegas Pro 10

I've been calling SONY Vegas the best kept secret in the industry for so long know that I can no longer call it a secret.  What I can call it is the best video editing value for your hard earned dollar. SONY Vegas Pro 10 gives you all the features and performance you need at less than half the price of other professional editing applications or suites. Vegas Pro 10 delivers native HD editing, Blu-ray Disc authoring with SONY DVD Architect and excellent audio tools at a fantastic price.

One of the biggest improvements in SONY Vegas Pro 10 is the internal HD encode/ decode / rendering engine that allows it to handle DSLR or AVCHD footage that SONY Vegas Pro 9 would choke on - even on an older Core 2 PC. Even more impressive is how Vegas Pro 10 scales when you run 64-bit machine with a new Core i7 processor and plenty of RAM. The new engine will also take advantage of an NVIDIA graphics board with CUDA processing for faster rendering and exports but it will not benefit from GPU while you edit.

Sony is also hyping the new native 3D editing capabilities of Vegas Pro 10. I think they are ahead of the curve for their target audience but there is no denying that 3D is exciting technology and is here to stay.

Click here for related guides & articles using the "Vegas" hot tag

Sony Vegas Pro 10

Sony Vegas Pro 10 Special Bundles!
Your Choice $499.95

#7 - Pioneer BDR-206MBK

The Pioneer BDR-206MBK is the worlds first BDXL Blu-ray Disc writer. That means that you can now burn quad-layer Blu-ray Discs with a tremendous 128 GB of storage. This means you can back-up eight 16 GB flash cards or four 32 GB cards on a single disc making it the perfect solution for archiving all your video from your tapeless workflows!

The BDR-206MBK  comes bundled with CyberLink software to support BDXL burning and, for a limited time, Pioneer is including a BD-R XL triple layer (100GB) disc free with each drive.  

Videoguys' Tech Tip: When archiving your tapeless workflows, make sure you maintain the folder and file structure of the original media. This is essential to opening and using the files quickly and easily in the future.

Blu-ray Disc authoring is integrated into all of our professional NLE products. Adobe Premiere Pro CS4/5 with Adobe Encore, Apple Final Cut Studio 3, Avid Media Composer 4/5  (PC Only),  Grass Valley EDIUS 5/6 and SONY Vegas Pro 9/10 all allow you to deliver your HD content to your customers, friends and family on Blu-ray Disc. This past holiday season Blu-ray Disc players where one of the hottest selling items and are now easy to find on sale for under $100 so I'm sure more and more of your audience is ready to watch your productions in full HD. If you are not delivering the Blu-ray Discs yet, what are you waiting for? 

While the BDR-206MBK is perfect for high-volume storage and archiving the Pioneer BDR-206 is still our top-selling Blu-ray Disc burner.

Click here for all of our Blu-ray Disc bundles for PC or Mac featuring the BDR-206

Pioneer BDR-206MBK BDXL Blu-ray Burner w/ software

#8 - G-Tech G-SPEED with Enterprise drives

We've been huge fans of G-Tech since they were a subsidiary of Medea. Today they are a part of Hitachi GST, the worlds premiere maker of hard drives. As a result of their new ownership, G-Tech has been able to take advantage of Hitachi's capacity and technology. Nowhere is this clearer then the new G-Speeds with Enterprise drives.

What is the advantage of enterprise drives you ask? First and foremost they are the most reliable drives on the planet, designed for intense server environments that run 24/7, year round.  As you know, video editing puts a tremendous strain on all of the components in your system so the best way to get the highest possible level of reliability is with enterprise class drives. Another benefit of enterprise drives is that they are "tuned" for maximum RAID performance. The Hitachi drives in G-tech storage solutions incorporates enhanced Rotational Vibration Safeguard (RVS) technology that provides up to 50% improvement over the previous generation against performance degradation.

Our customers have been asking us for years for an external drive solution that provides the plug & play performance of a G-RAID with the added protection of RAID -5 redundancy. For those customers, we're happy to introduce the new G-SPEED Q! G-SPEED Q storage solutions are a breeze to install because the RAID technology is integrated into the unit. You do not need any special controller card hardware. Just plug it into your PC or Mac, Desktop or Laptop, via your choice of eSATA, Firewire or USB 2. This gives you versatility, portability and performance at a price level that is unmatched.

Click here for related guides & articles using the "G-Tech" hot tag

Enterprise class Drives are included in:

G-SPEED Q Quad-Interface Solutions
starting at $779.95

as well as G-SPEED es and G-SPEED es PRO

#9 - Red Giant Magic Bullet Suite 2010

If you don't know about Magic Bullet yet, you should. Red Giant offers a suite of tools that allow you to easily manipulate the color scheme of your video to create a completely different look and feel for your footage. You can make your production more romantic, intense or relaxed by using Magic Bullet and manipulating the colors of your video. These tools go far beyond color correction and are easy to apply. Hollywood directors have been using color to set the tone and reinforce the setting of their films for years, and now, with Magic Bullet, you can too!

Magic Bullet is even more valuable if you are shooting with a DSLR. Professionals will all tell you to shoot with your settings as flat as possible and then manipulate the colors in post-production. Red Giant Magic Bullet makes this easy.

The complete Red Giant Magic Bullet Suite 2010 includes the newest version of their popular titles including Looks, Mojo and Colorista II and more.  We've got a great price on the Suite right now but if you can't affords the whole package, you can get started with one of the individual titles and build your library over time. You will be amazed at how easy it is to make your video look even more like a Hollywood film.

Click here for related guides & articles using the "Red Giant" hot tag

Red Giant Magic Bullet Suite 2009.2

#10 - Avid Pro Tools 9 Professional Audio Software

We are the Videoguys, not the Audioguys, but sometimes an audio  product comes along that is so incredible and revolutionary that we have to include it on our list. When Avid announced that Pro Tools 9 would no longer require special hardware to work we got excited, when they told us the price would be just $599 we flipped our lids. This isn't big, this is huge. Now for under $600 you can have access to the same audio editing tools used by professionals, along with affordable M-Audio MBOX I/O devices. And by professionals, I mean Hollywood movie studios, broadcast television and radio;  recording artists and record labels; everyone and anyone who creates audio content. Now you can to!

Earlier this year, Avid purchased Euphonix, the maker of  audio and video control surfaces. Avid Pro Tools 9 takes advantage of the EUCON Integration technology so you can use newly branded Avid Artist Series control surfaces like MC Control or MC Mix control options. WOW!

Avid Pro Tools is a very powerful software that requires a lot of computer power so you may want to install it on your NLE workstation. This is fine, but you can't run ProTools and your favorite video editing software at the same time. Hopefully Avid will find a way to allow you to run Pro Tools and Media Composer at the same time, and perhaps even allow the programs to talk to each other and work together. Imagine being able to score your video or produce a multi-channel audio mix in Pro Tools and have your Media Composer timeline simultaneously update!

Click here for related guides & articles using the "ProTools" hot tag' Review from 2010 and 2011 Wish List

We made some predicitions when we wrote the last Videoguys' Top 10 article and I am happy to say that some of our wishes came true! Here's a look at what each of the key manufacturer's gave us in 2010 and what we're hoping for this year.

AvidAvid -  My wish for MXO2 Mini support was right on the mark and hopefully in 2011 we'll see added support for  the rest of the Matrox MXO2 product line.

While we don't have native AVCHD support we wanted we do have native DSLR support, which is even better. Plus, now you can now import AVCHD clips into Media Composer. Hopefully MC6 will add AMA support for AVCHD and any other new flavors of HD footage.

Avid brought ProTools down to the masses with a $599 price point, could you imagine what would happen if they did something similar with Media Composer? WOW!

AdobeAdobe - Mercury lived up to the hype and Adobe delivered a knockout with CS5. So did NVIDIA with the affordable Quadro 4000 graphics board.  Adobe took a brave step requiring a 64 bit OS and CUDA GPU for the Mercury Playback engine. One that is paying off handsomely for them.

I can only imagine what they have in store for us down the road with CS6. Can you imagine having Photoshop CS5's Content Aware Fill migrate to After Effects or Premiere? Or being able to use voice commands to control your editing interface? The folks at Adobe Labs have leaked video clips of a touch based interface that could completely change how editors interface with their media and the editing application.

AppleApple - The rumor mill continues to churn around Apple Final Cut Studio but there has been no news this year and Avid & Adobe have taken the opportunity to leap-frog Apple with improvements on tapeless workflows. The good news is that the latest rumors are all pointing to an NAB release - I can't wait!

As for that mythical Apple tablet - the iPad is my new favorite gadget and we're starting to see more and more apps that are video production related.  A new iPad 2 is also rumored to have an HD camera for shooting photo & video.

Now what if they made Final Cut Studio and the iPad work together? Can you just imagine the possibilities of  using your iPad as a control surface inside Final Cut, or Color or Motion? Or being able to use your iPad as a preview monitor from the FCP timeline?


MatroxMatrox - WOW! These guys delivered. The Matrox MXO2 family of products now support Avid, Adobe and Apple. I wished they would also support Sony Vegas and although that never materialized, the new features and performance they keep adding for the 3 "A"s keep them at the head of the class.

In 2011 I'd like to see stand alone capture, playback and encoding utilities from Matrox which would allow the MXO2 to function without a host NLE. I'd also like to see them just put the MAX technology in every MXO2 - while of course keeping the prices at the level of a non-MAX version ;-). While that may not be possible for the Mini, certainly they could do it on the higher end MXO2 and Rack model.

Grass ValleyGrass Valley - EDIUS 6 is here and it edits native HD formats as well as or better than any other NLE. While the STORM 3G Elite was much higher end that what I had hoped for, it's a good start.

Hopefully we'll see an affordable I/O solution for EDIUS similar to the Matrox products.  An under $500 HDMI output box that could be used with desktops or laptops, available bundled with Edius for well under $1,000.   I'd also like to see them add affordable HD I/O devices to the ADVC lineup of converter / capture devices.

PioneerPioneer - I didn't get a sexy slim external Blu-ray burner from Pioneer, but the new Quad layer BDXL is very exciting.  I also didn't think we'd see Blu-ray burner prices drop so fat, down almost 50% from a year ago!

For 2011 we need to see affordable triple and quad-layer media. I'd also love an automated backup/ archiving solution to take my tapeless footage to Blu-ray Disc in as few clicks as possible!

Sony Creative SoftwareSONY Vegas Pro - I am still waiting for broader I/O hardware support for this great software. Come on guys - talk to Matrox - I know you can make it work if you put the resources behind it. The new 3D editing is cool, but I think it's ahead of its time. I'd also like to see Vegas get tighter integration with the other SONY apps like Sound Forge and Acid. G-TECH from Hitachi

G-Tech - They keep on delivering better drives that cost less so it's hard to wish for much more than that but I would love to see a desktop-sized storage solution with integrated networking that would allow access from 2-5 workstations without expensive controller cards.

What's in store for 2011? Videoguys predictions... last year's article I briefly mentioned DSLRs but my future attention was focused on 3D. While 3D continues to grow and expand in the movie theaters, it's not going to become a major part of our home theaters until we can get rid of the glasses. I think 3D is cool and I love going to new 3D movies like Tron: Legacy, but I think it's still ahead of its time for all but the most professional videographers.

In 2011 I want to see the impact that DSLRs have on future camcorders. I love my Canon EOS 7D. The footage looks amazing and, after several months, I'm getting good at shooting photos and videos. I can play with my lenses and their aperture settings and the other controls the DSLR allows me to get some really amazing shots. The only problem I have is the form factor.  DSLR cameras are too awkward for me to use as my everyday camcorder and the rigging is expensive and cumbersome. I want all of the features and control of a DSLR in a form factor that's more like a traditional camcorder at an affordable price. for 3D, did you know that you can rig together a pair of camcorders and shoot 3D footage that you can then edit with Avid Media Composer, Sony Vegas Pro or Adobe Premiere?  You don't have to go out and buy an expensive 3D camera to start fooling around with 3D!!

What do I think will be the biggest impact for video production in 2011? Tablets. The iPad was just the first of many. Several manufacturers are showing off their tablets at this year's CES Show. I never understood the concept of watching video on a smart phone, but I do watch TV, movies and videos on my iPad all of the time. I expect to see new workflows and solutions aimed at optimizing the creation of video created primarily for viewing in HD on tablets with touch screens.  This will add a level of interactivity into our video viewing that goes beyond DVD navigation. I expect to see interactivity include embedding hotlinks into videos that would launch websites or bring up additional info in a picture-in-picture window. The interactivity of tablet based video can and should revolutionize viewing as we know it. 


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