Editors' NAB2005 Picks
Issue: Volume: 28 Issue: 6 (June 2005)

Editors' NAB2005 Picks

Apple unveiled Final Cut Studio, its HD video production suite including upgrades to Final Cut Pro 5, Motion 2, and DVD Studio Pro 4, as well as a new release, Soundtrack Pro. Present at Apple’s NAB2005 press conference, senior technical editor Karen Moltenbrey recalls, “The Apple User Group portion of the audience, in particular, erupted in applause during a demonstration of Final Cut Pro 5’s multicam functionality-enabling simultaneous real-time playback of up to 16 camera angles and supporting up to 128 video sources.” Also a hit among editors, in addition to Final Cut Studio’s price tag, were Motion 2’s GPU-accelerated 32-bit float rendering and more than 130 filters and over 50 new particle effects. Now available, Final Cut Studio is priced at $1299 for the full version, $699 for registered users of Final Cut Pro, and $499 for users of Production Suite.

Apple Computer www.apple.com

Panasonic Broad-cast introduced the new AG-HVX200 DVCPro HD P2, a handheld, high-definition camcorder. A multiformat device, the AG-HVX200 shoots in 1080/60i (30p and 24p), 720/60p (30p and 24p), DVCPro50, DVCPro, or DV. The camcorder incorporates a native progressive 16:9 three-CCD HD imaging system, an HD-quality Leica Dicomar wide-angle zoom lens, a 3.5-inch LCD monitor, two P2 card slots, and an 8gb P2 card. HD and SD video is recorded on the camera’s P2 card as MXF files, which can be edited from the card or downloaded to an NLE or server. “Panasonic’s AG-HVX200 is easily the biggest story at NAB2005 alone, partly because it does not support HDV,” says Jeff Sauer. “The 24p and variable speed-capable handheld camera will record in both SD and HD modes to either a DV [SD only] tape or to a solid-state P2 memory card.” The new HD camcorder will be available in the fall, priced at $5995.

Panasonic; www.panasonic.com/broadcast

NewTek unveiled its TriCaster live production suite for the production of quality presentations, Webcasts, and video through the combination of graphics, titles, PowerPoint slides, live and recorded video, and other forms of digital content. “In these harried times, flexibility is key, not only for a professional, but also for a solution,” recognizes Courtney E. Howard. “NewTek has packed a lot of production power into a portable, versatile system.” TriCaster envelops integrated real-time editing, keying, and live streaming functionality, replacing space- and budget-intensive production equipment with a single, compact box. The device sports enough storage capacity for roughly six hours of digital video, three camera inputs, and various video, projector, monitor, and Internet outputs. TriCaster supports Microsoft PowerPoint, archiving to hard disk or DVD, and simultaneous output to three destinations: video, the Web, and projectors. Its more than 200 transition effects and title templates promise ease of use and timesavings. At the same time, its non-linear editing, live Internet streaming, video capture, camera setup, and Virtual VCR playback capabilities and its $4995 price tag are among the reasons the new offering drew much attention at NAB2005.

NewTek; www.newtek.com

Adobe Systems, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Microsoft, and Dell have partnered to deliver HD technology to the masses. As part of the OpenHD initiative, the companies involved intend to deliver open, scalable, certified HDV and HD solutions to professionals in the video, film, and broadcast markets. As part of the OpenHD certification process, Adobe, HP, Intel, Microsoft, and Dell look for compatibility between hardware and software components, a simple purchasing process, and a validated turnkey system. During NAB2005, Adobe presented its OpenHD Certified solutions: Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5, After Effects 6.5, Adobe Audition 1.5, and Adobe Encore DVD 1.5-software programs included in the company’s Video Collection, now in Version 2.5. Also on hand was an HDV system incorporating the Dell Precision 670 workstation with 64-bit Intel Xeon processors, Adobe Premiere Pro, and Sony’s HVR-Z1 camera and HVR-M10 recorder. The HP xw9300 workstation, Blackmagic Decklink HD and Matrox Axio Capture cards, and Cineform PospectHD plug-in also could be seen driving uncompressed and compressed real-time HD work flows. “HD, although the hottest and most sought after technology in the industry, has been beyond the reaches of many due to its high cost of entry,” notes Howard. “If successful, the OpenHD intitiative will spur the launch of affordable, integrated, and stable solutions, and thereby fuel the widespread adoption of HD.”

Adobe Systems; www.adobe.com, www.openhd.org

Blackmagic Design released Multibridge Studio, a bi-directional converter with a built-in PCI Express port. Says Sauer, “It represents the state of the art in video I/O. It captures up to 12-bit RGB 4:4:4 at rates as high as 10gb/sec, and works with both HD (720 and 1080) and SD video. There’s even integrated DVI-D output to an LCD monitor.” The new offering supports Windows XP and Mac OS X, and such popular applications as Apple’s Final Cut Pro 5, Autodesk Media and Entertainment’s Shake and Combustion, and Adobe’s Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Photoshop. Priced at $3495, Multibridge Studio is a two-rack unit offering analog component RGB/YUV and composite NTSC/PAL video conversion.

Blackmagic Design; www.blackmagic-design.net

Avid Technology expanded its Digital Nonlinear Accelerator (DNA) product family with Avid Symphony Nitris, a non-linear HD and SD finishing system. The new release combines the company’s Nitris hardware, offering real-time editing, effects, and compositing capabilities, with Avid Symphony software, providing corrective finishing tools, such as color correction, motion tracking, image stabilization, and hardware-accelerated 16-bit SpectraMatte chromakeying. It supports a maximum of two streams of 10-bit HD media or up to eight streams of 10-bit uncompressed SD, in addition to analog and digital video capture and various HD resolutions and formats. Avid Symphony Nitris is priced at $89,995.

Avid Technology; www.avid.com

Garnering much attention during the show was Serious Magic’s Ultra 2, an upgraded version of the company’s professional chromakey and virtual software tool. Sauer credits Ultra 2 with one of the most clever ideas of the show: shooting a virtual set subject with a 720x480 SD camera turned on its side for a 480x720 image. “Ultra 2 lays that 720p image over a virtual set and gets true HD from an SD camera,” says Sauer. “It’s a major upgrade in both features and quality.” Version 2 features expanded support for HD and HDV cameras, including 1080i, 1080p, and 720p formats, 16:9 and anamorphic widescreen sources, and standard frame rates. The upgrade also boasts improved integration with 2D compositing and 3D animation applications, including Adobe After Effects, Autodesk Combustion, and Pinnacle Commotion; compatibility with Apple QuickTime, Macromedia Flash, and Avid MXF file formats; and support for GPU and CPU rendering. Ultra 2 is priced at $495 without virtual sets. Master Sets Library 1 is offered at $395, whereas editions 2 and 3 each carry a $495 price tag.

Serious Magic; www.seriousmagic.com

Given the 1400 vendors exhibiting at the show, it was difficult to limit our choices. In fact, the following products narrowly missed inclusion in our top seven.
  • The JVC GY-HD100U handheld three-chip camera
  • Matrox Axio hardware for working with real-time HD
  • Miranda HDV Bridge for converting HDV to HD SDI
  • The Sony SRXR105, a 4096x2160 digital cinema projector
  • Ciprico MediaVault 4212 extreme data protection with RAID 6
  • Autodesk Media and Entertainment’s Toxik film compositing solution
  • Silicon Graphics Prism deskside visualization system