The Roundup

November 1st, 2004 Film, Film Features, Inside Film

Helping you make the best decision about the software to suit you, Drew Turney brings you a cross section of the best known suites on the Australian market.

Adobe Premiere Pro

Because Adobe offer you the whole package — from editing to motion graphics to raster and vector graphics and DVD authoring — Premiere blends seamlessly with a lot of other applications you might have in your toolset.

Multiple timelines let you experiment with several edits and the Title Designer is a standalone application that comes with Premiere for doing your credits and onscreen text. The standalone audio mixer is one of the best in the market, and the window showing your raw footage or music files is vastly improved.

The only major downside is that — presumably influenced by the ubiquity of Apple’s Final Cut Pro on the Mac — the current release is only available for Windows.

Publisher: Adobe
Web: adobe.com/products/premiere/main.html
Contact: 1300 550 205
Price: $1,367
System requirements: Windows XP only. 3GhZ Intel processor recommended

Final Cut Pro HD

One of the first editing suites to offer you controls over downloading your footage straight from your camera from within the application itself — without having to touch the camera once — now with full HD capability.

Unique in the field in being suited to everyone from recent graduates of the free, OS based editing utilities like iMovie to industry-based professional editors.

One of the big barriers broken by Final Cut was that of your work being rendered on the go, so no more waiting for a sequence to render before watching it in real time. Not only is it great not to wait, you can watch your sequence on a broadcast monitor or TV as you work.

Publisher: Apple
Web: apple.com/finalcutpro
Contact: 133 622
Price: $1,499 full version, $598 upgrade
System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.2.5.
At least a 500MHz PowerMac G4 with 512Mb RAM

Avid Xpress Pro

The most all encompassing software-based NLE suite on the market, and the best value for money simply because to pay for external applications to perform every aspect of video production that Avid Xpress Pro already does would cost twice as much.

Like Xpress DV on steroids, it has 115 customisable effects, 2D and 3D OpenGL-based effects, the ability to add Avid Mojo, the optional transcoder and accelerator, a serious colour correction toolset (including an AutoCorrect feature) and tools upon which the DV editing industry is based make it almost an essential if you want to hit the big leagues (we say ‘almost’ because some of the others are edging so close to professional level).

Publisher: Avid
Web: avid.com/products/xpresspro/
Contact: 02 8977 4800
Price: $3,300
System Requirements: Windows XP or Mac OSX (10.2.6)

Let’s EDIT

Another render-free offering, Let’s EDIT is near the front of the pack for that reason alone.

All the major effects and transitions you’ll want are included, as are text and graphics layers with full motion controls for credits etc. Another groovy trick is that you can input a voiceover in realtime from a microphone.

A pared down version of Canopus’ high-end systems to tackle the prosumer market, it sports a more attractive layout and interface than other more professional level systems. In fact, the interface is the likely benchmark for future products as more options crowd more of your desktop real estate. The preview window is nice and big and controls are clearly marked.

Publisher: Canopus
Web: canopus-aust.com/US/products/Lets_EDIT/pm_lets_EDIT.asp
Contact: (03) 9885 5888
Price: $149
System Requirements: Windows 2000 or XP, Intel Pentium 4 2Ghz processor recommended.

Vegas Video

A comprehensive offering that contains everything Sony claims you’ll need in the one box, from your compositing to audio mixing, titles and every encoding format you’ll need.

Once more render-free, it has unlimited tracks and a detailed audio mixing tool that includes audio effects.

The audio controls, in fact, is the most liked feature; it’s said to be slow when it comes to transitions and titling. It’s got an interface like the set of a Terminator movie — neat enough, but with so many shiny things clamouring for your attention you’ll feel lost at first glance.

But by all accounts it easy to use for a simple reason; it’s one of the only NLE software products not developed on and for a Mac and then translated to Windows. It was built on Windows, so will seem a little more familiar to PC users even though they might not be sure why.

The colour correction is where it really takes off, giving you a huge number of presets and options in a robust control tool that would make professional editors with systems worth thousands of dollars envious.

Publisher: Sony/Sonic Foundry
Web: http://mediasoftware.sonypictures.com/products/vegasfamily.asp
Contact: (02) 9528 4555
Price: $799
System Requirements: Windows98, ME, 2000 or XP

All prices include GST.


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