|Page (1) of 2 - 11/25/04||email article||print page|
Plugging In HDVHDV Plugin for Vegas 5 opens path for new Sony HD camcorders
Hot on the heels of the recent release of Sonys new consumer HDR-FX1 HDV camcorder, and the announcement of the pro-featured Sony HVR-Z1U HDV camcorder, software allowing the capture of their footage is set for release. One of the first out of the gate works with Sony Vegas 5. DMNs Charlie White traveled to Sonys Madison, Wisconsin offices to get a first look at this soon-to-ship applet, and talked with Sony software engineering gurus about the new camcorders and their interaction with Sony Vegas software. On the minds of all: In which direction is the revolutionary HDV format headed?
|Sony's version of the CineForm ConnectHD capture tool|
The goal of Sony Vegas staffers circa late November, 2004 one thats been stated by many in the digital video industry is to bring to high definition production the same workflow to which weve become accustomed using the user-friendly DV format. Beyond that, Vegas developers want to allow users to edit HD footage on a minimal system, even a notebook. To illustrate that point, Sonys Director of Engineering for Media Software Dave Hill showed how Sony Vegas can manipulate HD files on a computer that was decidedly ordinary, a 2.2GHz P4 machine that was probably quite remarkable about three years ago.
The process begins with a capture tool designed by CineForm. Thats the company that last year stunned the digital video world with its AspectHD, a software codec that allowed users to edit 720p/30 HDTV footage, previewing dissolves and effects in real time on a garden-variety computer. Now CineForm has developed an applet called ConnectHD thats able to work with the higher-resolution 1080i/60 format used in Sonys new camcorders. It allows you to effortlessly move footage from camcorder to hard drive, converting the frames to the CineForm codec on the way. This facilitates faster response on the timeline, because with the exception of Pinnacle with its Liquid Edition software, editing software developers including Sony havent developed their own real-time method for editing native long-GOP MPEG-2 on the timeline. Nevertheless, CineForms codec accomplishes this feat very well. And Sony has been working with CineForm, tweaking CineForms ConnectHD product for optimum performance with Vegas. The software, which will be offered for download in the next few days on the Sony Vegas Web site (and a Beta version is currently available for download from CineForms site located at http://www.cineform.com/products/DownloadCHDBetaDone.htm), is obviously an early version of a capture tool for the HDV format, with no presets and bare bones choices (see graphic below).
|The preferences dialog box gives you a choice of capturing to straight MPEG transport stream (MPEG-2 TS) -- the native HDV format, a combination of MPEG-2 TS and the CineForm codec, or the CineForm codec alone. It also offers you the option of scene detection on capture and more.|
Sony told Digital Media Net we can expect more sophisticated capture tools in the future, both short and long term. Said Sonys Dave Hill, ?In the next few weeks we will be releasing a Vegas 5 update that provides HDV render templates, project settings, media profiles etc to make it easier to get started with HDV, and future versions of Vegas will have significant new HDV capabilities. In conjunction with Cineforms ConnectHD, todays Sony Vegas lets you achieve a DV-like workflow with high definition footage. ?You plug the HDV camera in just like a DV camera, and from there you can capture native MPEG right off the camera and edit with that, said Dave Hill. ?Even better, you can capture to CineForms intermediate CineForm codec for vastly improved performance, or you can even capture both MPEG-2 and CineForm and swap them out at render time, he continued. But given the high quality and fast response of the CineForm codec, Hill saw little reason to use the MPEG-2 transport stream that is native to Sonys HDV format as the editing source. ?I personally have yet to see a case where I needed to use the native HDV MPEG files instead of the Cineform intermediates. Im sure there are purists who worry about problems introduced by a secondary compression step, but from everything weve seen, you dont have to worry about it. Hill said.
Related Keywords:HDR-FX1, HDV camcorder, Sony HVR-Z1U, Sony Vegas 5, Charlie White, applet, HDV format