For the first time at NAB, the Avid and Apple exhibits were in widely separated areas of the Lower South Hall. It seemed that the two no longer vied for attention on opposing sides of the aisle, as the companies are both moving in different directions.
In addition, several other edit system options are becoming viable alternatives. Here is a look at the highlights in mainstream production editing from the NAB2007 show floor.
This year, Avid wanted to emphasize its broad interoperability with third-party systems. The company invited 27 hardware and software companies to demonstrate their ability to work with Avid tools. To prove its Open Storage Initiative (OSI), Avid had systems from Adobe, Apple and Digital Vision all running off an Avid Unity MediaNetwork 5.0 shared storage system. The company announced it was collaborating with more than 50 manufacturers to promote open workflows.
The company also released version 2.7 software, which includes support for its new DNxHD 36 codec that can compress a 1080P file down to only 50 percent more than DV25. The company also showed the ScriptSync, a phonetic indexing system powered by technology from Nexidia. The system automatically links shots to their corresponding lines in a script. Avid Liquid Chrome Xe version 7.2 software was shown with support for AJA Video's XENA LHe board, providing a low-cost SDI I/O option for uncompressed SD and HD editing. Both of these NLE software versions can finally edit JVC's ProHD format. Avid Xpress Pro was upgraded to 5.7 software, and Avid Symphony Nitris now features version 1.7 software.
Apple created quite a buzz with its release of Final Cut Studio 2, and it's not just because this significant upgrade is at the same price point as the original version. The new Final Cut 6 editing software has an Open Format Timeline that allows users to mix and match video formats as well as frame rates. It supports the company's new ProRes 422 intermediate format codec, which offers either 145Mb/s or 220Mb/s bit rates to compress HD material down to SD file sizes. The software works well with Apple's new color grading software called Color, which provides up to eight layers of secondary color correction.
Adobe Systems' Creative Suite 3 is the company's biggest software release and features Macromedia product innovations. The suite includes InDesign CS3, Photoshop CS3, Illustrator CS3, Flash CS3 Professional, Dreamweaver CS3, Acrobat 8 Professional, and, for video editors, Adobe Premiere Pro CS3, offering improved slo-mo with time remapping, nested real-time audio sequences, and output to DVD and Blu-ray Discs with Adobe Encore CS3 software.
DVS presented real-time 4K editing with the latest version of its CLIPSTER now boosted by a Linux-based data manager Spycer. Digital Vision's systems were seen working with DVS gear, and the company announced that all of its products are now Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) compliant, including Film Master version 3.5 now with C-mode list event order and support for the DVS Centaurus video card including 2K HSDL I/O at 15fps.
Grass Valley showed version 4.5 of its nonlinear editor EDIUS with a revamped GUI and multiformat support, including JPEG2000 as used for HD recording in the Grass Valley Infinity digital media camcorder.
Matrox Video Products Group showcased a full range of productivity enhancing solutions for Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 and Apple Final Cut Pro 6 editing software along with the Matrox MXO for inexpensive, portable HD monitoring of Final Cut Pro systems.
Media 100, a division of Boris FX, presented its “Field to Finish” editing and effects workflow on Intel-based Macs with new version 11.6 software for the Media 100 NLEs. The Media 100 product family now includes Media 100 HD Suite, Media 100 HDe, Media 100 SDe, Media 100 Producer Suite and Media 100 Producer.
NewTek returned with SpeedEDIT, a video editor that gets its speed by linking timeline and storyboard views, eliminating transcoding steps.
Quantel came to NAB2007 with a new asset management system called Mission, but its real thunderclap was Genetic Engineering. It provides open network access to managed media on other systems, working with the metadata in its GenePool rather than its content, thereby letting users perform tasks such as streaming multiple 4K files simultaneously.
Sony Creative Software (formerly Sony Media Software) brought out its new Vegas+DVD Production Suite that combines Vegas 7, DVD Architect 4 and Dolby Digital AC-3 encoding software into a new nonlinear post-production package that is ready for prime-time DV, HDV, SD/HD-SDI and all XDCAM editing. It supports editing files from Sony's new AVCHD camcorders.
Finally, in a move with implications still to be determined, Cineform proved it has overcome the challenge of cross-platform file encoding. Its new NEO software, available in both Mac and Windows versions, creates files that can move seamlessly between either workstations running either operating system.
L.T. Martin is a freelance writer and post-production consultant.