Liquid Edition 5.5
Issue: Volume: 27 Issue: 5 (May 2004)

Liquid Edition 5.5

You tend to expect a great deal from a company that has won nine Emmy Awards. With Liquid Edition 5.5, Pinnacle Systems delivers. The company put a great deal of thought into this editing system, and it shows—from its power and flexibility to its highly detailed manuals. There's not only a lot that's new, but also a lot to like about Liquid Edition.

For starters, Liquid Edition is custom-izable and designed to enable video editors to work the way they want. While many NLEs allow for the customization of keyboard shortcuts, Liquid Edition takes it a bit further, with the ability to personalize the interface and editing style.

Liquid Edition 5.5 enables users to customize the interface, streamlining work flow and saving time.

When you first launch Liquid Edition, you'll be presented with the default setup, already configured for your resolution. Because editors have their own styles, it permits them to customize their working interface. If any buttons that you don't use frequently are on the toolbar, you can simply drag and drop them back into the Function Library and, by the same token, reverse the process to add buttons used more regularly. It's no more difficult than right-clicking the toolbar and selecting customize. Additionally, users can choose between single track or A/B styles and overwrite or film-style editing.

In professional studios, you frequently find multiple people working together on a single project, and even the same workstation. Here, Liquid Edition really shines. Users can save their individual work space customizations or profile. As a result, they can sit at a shared workstation and im-mediately begin working in their own style, regardless of who most recently work-ed in Liquid Edition.

Version 5.5 offers seamless interoperability with other products and support for networked drives. By supporting networked drives, multiple users can share resources as well as play back from and render to the same drives. And with the X-Send feature, users are able to share resources with Pinnacle's Commotion Pro, Macromedia's Flash, and Adobe's After Effects.

Liquid Edition is all about working better, faster, and smarter—and it shows. Its Instant Save feature constantly saves your progress in the background. A history palette function (similar to that found in imaging programs) makes reverting to an earlier point a simple matter. With features such as real-time compositing, support for up to 10 streams with real-time effects and background processing, automatic scene detection, and a full-screen preview, you can spend more time on what matters most, the creation process, and less time worrying whether your NLE can keep up with you.

With Liquid Edition, you no longer have to spend time rendering your project and opening a separate application to author to DVD. DVD authoring can be performed directly from the timeline. While in Liquid Edition, and with your project on the timeline, click DVD Menu Wizard on the toolbar and you'll be walked step-by-step through the DVD-creation process. You can use a supplied template or make your own. Users save time by creating menus and chapter points, testing a DVD "build," and then burning to DVD within Liquid Edition.

With Liquid Edition 5.5, Pinnacle had hoped to provide users with a powerful non-linear editor beneath a simple interface. By combining Edition and Liquid Purple, they have succeeded—with one caveat. If you're considering moving to Liquid Edition from another NLE, such as Adobe's Premiere Pro or an Avid system, expect a learning curve. The structure of Liquid Edition is significantly different from other NLEs and so, does not lend itself to a simple NLE changeover. It is wise to continue using your current NLE during the transition, until you reach a comfort level with Liquid Edition.

Pinnacle's Liquid Edition was put to the test on two different workstations and a laptop, all running Windows XP and equipped with Pentium 4 processors (2.26ghz and higher) and RAM ranging from 512mb of DDR memory to 768mb of PC800 RDRAM. Liquid Edition proved to be stable and ran smoothly on each platform. Through each test, it performed admirably without requiring any massaging to make things work. With all the features Liquid Edition offers video editors—such as CX Color Correction, RS-422 Machine Control, Jog/Shuttle Con-trol support, DVCPRO25 support (natively), and too many more to list—Pinnacle has hit a home run with this NLE.

David Singer (singercreativeservices@ is a founding partner of Singer Creative Services offering digital photographic, video, and other services.

Pinnacle Systems
Price: $699.99
Minimum System Requirements: 1ghz processor, 256mb of RAM, Windows 2000 or XP, 64mb graphics card supporting 1280x1024 32-bit resolution, and an AV-rated hard drive capable of a 10mb/sec. transfer rate.