Company Puts New Emphasis on Streaming Technology
|Quantel Enhances Editbox|
|Quantel, which pioneered editing with uncompressed (no, the company insists "noncompressed") video, has introduced a program to make its prestigious Editbox NLE affordable to smaller post houses or broadcast graphics suites. Editbox Choice is a build-to-order process that lets users design an Editbox system with only the features they really need.|
"We are also continuing to develop our level 8 software for Editbox," said Steve Owen, business manager for workstations at Quantel, "and all new systems are now shipping with Version 8.22, which includes an improved auto conform with OMFI (Open Media Framework Interface), graphical keyframe control and the ability to output a project without previously having to black the tape."
Editbox FX can now hold up to four hours of uncompressed 601 video and network to Quantel’s Clipnet. With the Image Mine background loader, Clipnet facilitates adding new material to the system without interrupting the editing process.
Clipnet also lets Editbox interface to Quantel’s most exciting new technology, iQ, an image processing platform offering complete "resolution co-existence." For us Yanks, that is English for being able to handle any video in its native format simultaneously on the same timeline – all the way past HDTV up to film’s 2K requirements.
Once you have mixed and matched your source footage formats, iQ can output, or "publish," the master in any format you want. True, this is a dicey time in this industry to be introducing a new system costing more than $500,000, but Universal Studios in Hollywood is already up and running with the one they purchased, and Quantel just recently installed one at Eyes Post Group in Toronto, Canada.
– Jay Ankeney
Now that they are claiming more than 150,000 customers for their total family of products in the entertainment, news, and corporate communications fields, Media 100 Inc. – like all who are involved with editing video on NLEs – has been exploring alternative uses for its systems until either the demands of DTV or the capabilities of entertainment programming on the Web catch up. "Media 100 is focused on the digital media workflow for both broadcasters and new media content creators," said Mike Savello, vice president Enterprise Solutions at Media 100, Inc. "Our emphasis is on a broad range of systems, from Media 100i on the Macintosh to iFinish for the Windows platform, providing tools for everything from capture to delivery. In fact, our new version 7.5 software that shipped last April for the Media 100i line features a breakthrough lossless codec technology at up to 1 MB per frame. That gives you the look of uncompressed video while maintaining storage efficiency."
With a sluggish market hindering vertical developments, Media 100 seems to have decided to spread out horizontally, having newly acquired ICE ("Integrated Computing Engines"), which lets them bring out two new effects acceleration options for Adobe After Effects 5. They are called Media 100 ICE and ICE Ultra, and both are based on Media 100’s BlueIce 166 acceleration engine.
To enhance their streaming capabilities, Media 100 has also presented Cleaner XL for high-volume, deadline-intensive streaming media applications. Cleaner XL leverages the high-speed processing of the company’s CrystalICE engine. In addition to increasing overall systems performance, CrystalICE leaves the host system’s CPU free to complete other encoding tasks more efficiently.
Notably, Media 100 has made no announcements regarding systems for HDTV and is instead focusing on streaming for business communications. That’s why the company has also demonstrated Cleaner Live to facilitate real-time teleconferencing. "We are intentionally producing streaming technology that will be useful to those outside of the entertainment community," Savello explained, "because we’ve seen predictions that by 2005 enterprise companies will be purchasing streaming technologies to the tune of $2.8 billion. That gives large companies the opportunity to use our systems as significant communications tools in their operations."
To its credit, Media 100 has put a lot of effort into providing education about new video technologies in addition to producing the hardware/software products the company sells. Last year Media 100 introduced icanstream.com to teach prosumer-level customers over the Web how they can employ these new digital tools. This year, the company has partnered with Canon Inc. to launch icanstream.tv, a more sophisticated online streaming educational channel to provide tips and techniques geared for professional content creators.
Canon, after all, sells one of the most popular line of DV camcorders that is bringing digital video acquisition into the range of a much broader group of users. "This is a Web destination that will offer higher end tutorials than the previous site," Savello said. "We are designing it intentionally for those who intend to use streaming for business communications."
WORTH A VISIT
The new icanstream.tv site contains three sections: "Video Gallery," where industry experts showcase their own streaming media video examples; "Learn," which is designed to educate the streaming media novice to shoot, edit, encode and deliver video on the Internet; and "Community," which provides a forum for industry discussions and access to browsing video directories that video professionals have posted. It is well worth a visit.
Finally, just this month Media 100 announced it was teaming up with Globix, a leading content delivery network, to provide a cost-effective Webcasting system for both internal (intranet) and external (Internet) communication using Media 100’s Cleaner Live system. This new arrangement should enable even moderate-sized companies to economically provide live Webcasts to a sizable external audience.