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Grass Valley's EDIUS 5 and HDSTORM

Realtime GPU FX leads a host of powerful new features

By Ron Seifried

On the eve of IBC in Amsterdam, we were informed of new product announcements from Grass Valley, specifically for their post production line. Without any first hand demonstrations, a handful of pdf files and images, and a couple of hours to write an overview of the new line, I was able to put together a comprehensive understanding of the latest software releases.


First up is the long awaited upgrade to Grass Valley's flagship editing software, EDIUS. Version 5 has the same interface of the previous release, but comes with a host of new features. Previous versions including EDIUS Broadcast and Pro have been consolidated into the new EDIUS 5 and the NX and SP board sets will now be bundled with the latest release.

Real-time editing has been ubiquitous in post production for several years, and EDIUS is no exception. Real-time features include SD and HD mixing on the timeline, vide filters, keyframed 3d DVE's, transitions and titles. EDIUS also has the ability to convert frame rates, aspect ratios and resolutions with transcoding for some time. With version 5, EDIUS now includes real-time 2D and 3D GPU FX (replacing Xplode for EDIUS) processed in the YUV color space, so now there is no waiting for effects to be rendered that was inherent with CPU bottlenecks. The new GPU accelerator requires Direct3D 9.0c or later, and PixelShader Model 3.0 or later is required. With 22 transition groups, and hundreds of presets, the GPUfx with complete key-frame controls over all the properties of the effects, should greatly expand the digital effects options.

The GPU FX window

As acquisition methods have been changing at a rapid pace in the past several years, Grass Valley has always been proactive in supporting new media's like Infinity-REV PRO, Sony XDCAM and Panasonic P2. Version 5 adds Ikegami GFCAM to this growing list. Codec's has been an important ingredient in EDIUS's past success. All codecs are now included as standard MPEG-2, Infinity JPEG 2000, AVC-Intra, AVCHD. With the included Canopus HQ intermediate codec heavy codecs like AVCHD can be edited on PCs with much less CPU power than is required for native editing.

The new exporter interface provides comprehensive multi-format output options complete with resolution and frame rate conversion, replacing ProCoder Express for EDIUS. New export support for Infinity JPEG 2000, AVC-Intra and AVCHD have been added as well as faster MPEG-2/HDV export with improved multi-threading. Export support includes Infinity JPEG 2000, XDCAM 4:2:2 50Mbit, XDCAM EX, AVCHD, AVC-Intra, generic MXF (with FTP upload support) and even Apple TV and iPhone H.264. The MXF container format provides play-out compatibility with not only Thomson Grass Valley K2 Media servers, but also other third-party servers as well.

As Sony's XDCAM and Panasonic's P2 get more popular, Grass Valley understands the importance to include support for these tapeless workflows. Clip marker support, including P2 Shot markers and XDCAM Essence markers now makes it easier to navigate. Clip markers can also be given specific text labels, and may be applied during clip capture. Clips that are captured as Canopus HQ will also retain clip marker information in any future project.

Exporting now includes options for Apple TV and iPhone

Other features include keyframe functionality for the Video Layout Tool with key-frame controls for panning and zooming effects to any clip on the timeline (video and stills); improvements to the Bin search functions and Quick Titler; MPEG handling, with MPEG now available as a project rendering format; and clip color management, freeze frame option, mouse-based track adjustment and additional audio level controls.

The Layout Keyframe window

EDIUS 5 is compatible with earlier NX and SP boards and the new HDSTORM. The HDSTORM is an HDMI-based card with built-in Canopus HQ hardware codec for SD and HD processing and seamless integration with the next generation of HDMI-equipped camcorders. EDIUS 5 also has a software bundle that includes NewBlue video filters, ProDAD video effects and image stabilization, iZotope VST audio plug-ins, and Corel DVD/Blu-ray authoring.

The ProDAD window which includes image stabilization

For the operating system, EDIUS works with Windows Vista and XP. Windows XP 64-bit edition is not supported, since EDIUS is not 64-bit native, but it is 64-bit compatible. 64-bit Windows Vista hardware drivers are supplied for all the supported hardware, except for HDSTORM.

If you are a current EDIUS 4.x user, you can open and edit projects saved from all previous versions. You will have to figure out some workarounds though, if the old project includes any Xplode effect, as they will be disabled. It also important to note that EDIUS only supports Thomson Grass Valley hardware and generic IEEE 1394 OHCI FireWire interfaces. It does not support third-party video capture boards or any of the old Canopus boards (EDIUS DVX, DVRex series, DVStorm series, DVRaptor series, EZDV). ProCoder 3 is supported via a free software update.


Grass Valley expands their hardware options with the introduction to the HDSTORM. Similar to conceptual design as the old Canopus DVSTORM, HDSTORM includes HDMI I/O for uncompressed digital video and audio and A/V controls over a single cable. By using the Canopus HQ codec chip, image playback is not degraded and provides full frame rate resolution with 4:2:2 color sampling with alpha channel support. Another nice add on is that all HDSTORM boards comes with EDIUS 5. The HDSTORM Plus includes an optional Bay that adds analog capture and output from composite, S-Video or component devices via a 5 PC case-mounted unit. The HDSTORM can also co-exist with the EDIUS NX hardware for added HDMI output.

The HDSTORM features an onboard codec chip for capture from HD (and SD, with the bay) sources. If desired, you can bypass this codec chip to capture to uncompressed or lossless formats. This is a nice advantage over other HDMI boards as they do it through software only, with a choice of only uncompressed or M-JPEG. HDSTORM can also preview compositions from Adobe After Effects, Adobe Photoshop and NewTek Lightwave 3D via the HDMI output.

It is important to note that the HDSTORM can capture 10-bit data streams, but will write the data as 8-bit when using the Canopus HQ codec chip. Since EDIUS is entirely based on 8-bit processing, all output from EDIUS to the HDSTORM board will also be 8-bit. HDSTORM is based on version 1.1 of HDMI and does not support data that includes HDCP information, and cannot generate or pass-through HDCP data.

The new HDSTORM includes HDMI I/O

It should be noted that through December 31, 2008, existing DVStorm and EDIUS NX hardware owners can purchase HDSTORM (or HDSTORM Plus) for a very special upgrade price without exchanging their existing hardware.

The new HDSTORM Bay with HDMI I/O's

Since Grass Valley's acquisition of Canopus almost three years ago, the broadcasting giant has proved they are dedicated to deliver reliable and relevant editing products. If this new versions looks as promising as the preliminary data says, EDIUS will be around for a long time.

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