Canopus EDIUS Pro 4 Review


”’EDIUS NX PCI-X – £821.33 & EDIUS NX PCI Express – £880.08”’

Canopus is an usual company. Back in 1997, it was known to the gaming cognoscenti as a purveyor of the fastest 3dfx Voodoo Graphics cards around, which had 6MB of memory instead of the usual 4MB. But since then Canopus has completely changed direction. It is now one of the most respected purveyors of fast real-time video editing products instead. In fact, it is now so respected in this area that video product mega-corporation Thomson-Grass Valley bought the company at the end of 2005.

So Canopus is the new kid on the block which is fast making a name for itself, and central to that is EDIUS. Despite already being on version 4, EDIUS has only been around a few years. But it is rapidly accruing features, and with this new version it now claims to offer most of the same abilities as the Adobe and Avid competition. Since version 2, EDIUS has held the crown for offering the fastest real-time video mixing ability of any app. So in the third and final part of our tour of the semi-professional video editing options, we take a look at the just released EDIUS Pro 4.

On first loading, EDIUS Pro 4 doesn’t look that different from its predecessor. The most major (and very welcome) addition with this version is a traditional menu system, which helps you find a lot of features which were hidden behind icons before. Despite this, the interface still behaves a little unlike some other non-linear editors (NLEs), and is designed to be used with a dual-monitor setup. So it feels slightly cramped even on a 1,600 x 1,200 screen. Some of the palettes tend to overlap, as you’re meant to drag these to the second desktop, leaving the main one just for the timeline and preview windows. It has a few other quirks, too, which we will mention later on. But otherwise it follows a similar timeline arrangement to Adobe Premiere Pro and Avid Liquid.

Capturing DV or HDV is pretty seamless, and works with any OHCI FireWire adapter. However, while DV footage is essentially left in its native format, HDV is transcoded on the fly to Canopus’ HQ codec. This proprietary format uses a higher data rate than HDV and better-quality colour sampling. EDIUS is optimised to work with the format, too, so it potentially offers faster, higher-quality editing than native HDV. But Canopus’ use of its HQ codec has another advantage, too. Unlike Matrox’s RT.X2, which is limited to HDV’s 1,440 x 1,080, EDIUS Pro 4 can edit in full 1,920 x 1,080 using HQ, although you can’t capture at this resolution. On the downside, even with the NX hardware (see below) you can’t capture from component sources. For this you need the £2,500+ EDIUS SP hardware instead.

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