Besides my CS5 reviews, I haven’t posted much about new products or developments in a while. There were a number of interesting releases at IBC last week, and a few from Siggraph before that, that I hadn’t gotten around to yet.
AJA released a variety of new products, most of them adding 3D related features to previously existing offerings. The Kona3G is a revision to the existing Kona3/Xena2Ke that adds stereoscopic support through HDMI 1.4 output and dual stream SDI-3G I/O, while also dropping in price about 30%. Their Hi5-3D replaces the Hi5-3G and adds HDMI 1.4 output as well as a variety of options for processing dual stream and muxed stereo inputs. The Ki Pro Mini is a smaller version of the Ki Pro that can now be mounted directly to camcorders, and record ProRes files directly to CompactFlash cards from HDMI or SDI inputs.
Blackmagic Design had their own selection of new products to announce. Their line of SDI routers must have really taken off, because they are really scaling their offerings upwards, with new models that offer up to 288 Channels of input and output, and options for coaxial or fiber based connections. I am just now upgrading to a 16×16 3G Micro VideoHub, but maybe someday. Their other big news comes from their DaVinci line, with previously announced Resolve 7.0 for OSX finally being released. It will be interesting to see what effect that new option has on the marketplace and the price of existing products. My company will definitely be looking into setting up a Resolve system, and our primary colorist is very interested in the new capabilities it would give us.
NVidia released their new line of Fermi based Quadro graphics cards at Siggraph. The Quadro 4000, 5000, and 6000 will be the successors to the current QuadroFX 3800, 4800, and 5800, with similar form factors and interfaces. I have not had a chance to test them myself yet, but everything I hear has been positive. Adobe has announced that the Quadro 4000 and 5000 will be officially supported for CUDA acceleration by the Mercury engine in Premiere Pro CS5. This support came in the form of the Premiere Pro 5.0.2 update last week, which also adds the GeForce GTX 470 as a fully supported GPU option. More significantly from a technology standpoint, they added 10bit Displayport support for Quadro cards, and also support for RedRocket acceleration, RMD files and newer Red camera updates, as well as better support for Broadcast Wave and certain XDCam-HD files. There is also a 6 page list of smaller fixes in the new release, many of which fill significant holes in certain workflows. I haven’t had much time recently to test out the new features, but getting 10bit color to my Dreamcolor is at the top of my list.
Avid Media Composer 5 was released three months ago, and they are now on the 5.0.3 revision. I have had a chance to test it out at work, and while the ability to import any Quicktime via AMA can totally change the workflow for certain tasks, I wouldn’t use it as a primary way to edit large projects. The performance and stability is not up to the same level as MXF based editing is. You also need a very fast system for that to work. Most of our Avids are HP XW8600s, while we have been dedicating our newer Z800 systems to CS5, but AMA playback requires more computing power than DNxHD editing, which is to be expected. We also found Version 5 to be less stabile and less responsive on our large feature length DNxHD project, even without AMA based media. The fact that it fully supports Windows 7 will be the factor that motivates our facility wide upgrade in the near future.
I was also able to test Media Composer 5 with my Matrox MXO2-Mini, for hardware HDMI out, and while it worked great at first, I once again saw a major hit in stability, with an escalating number of system crashes. It is so close, but not quite there yet. Hopefully we will see many of those issues worked out in intermediate dot releases, since most of these features are brand new. Stay tuned, since I have a few other new toys that I will review in my next post.
FTC Disclosure: Many of the companies I refer to above have made their products available to me or my company in the past, but none of the new items discussed above were provided to me without independently purchasing them.