There are a few things to note regarding the installation of EDIUS 6: Installing the software went very smoothly and took only a few minutes. Upon running it through the paces on my main editing system, I noticed some unusual and slow behavior. After lots of research and discussion with Grass Valley tech support, I discovered the reason: My minimal-level graphics card has problems if you make the EDIUS playback window too big. If your graphics card is on the lower side of Grass Valley specs for functionality—512MB, 1024x768 (32-bit), Direct3D 9.0c or later, and Pixel Shader Model 3.0 or later are the minimums for HD editing—you may encounter a few small problems with functionality and jerky playback.
I reduced the size of the on-screen monitor, and things settled down; EDIUS functioned like I expected it too—fast, nimble, stable, and all in real time. I can’t blame Grass Valley for the slow performance I got at first; after all, I built the computer and chose the graphics card. But it’s probably best to use the recommended specs as a baseline rather than the minimums.
Another issue to be aware of with version 6 is that Titlemotion Pro, the titler that has been included with EDIUS since version 1, will not be supported after version 6. There is a patch available for download from the support site that will make it work in version 6. But there will be no Titlemotion Pro support whatsoever in future major releases.
As in previous versions, Quick Titler is included. But keep in mind that this is a lower-level titler. There is a new titler available for EDIUS called Vistitle, but it’s available only as a plug-in for an additional fee. If you have legacy projects using Titlemotion Pro, you may want to fix those or make contingency plans for when it is no longer supported.
Plug-Ins on Parade
Included in the release are a few handy little third- party plug-ins to sweeten the upgrade. These include plug-ins from proDAD’s Vitascene that appeared in EDIUS 5, as well as an updated version of Mercalli, proDAD’s stabilization tool (see Figure 2, below). You can read my review of Mercalli 2.0 in October EventDV. I’ve been very impressed with the improvements and the quality of stabilization it offers, including rolling shutter correction. By upgrading to EDIUS 6, you’ll get it at no additional cost.
Also included is a nice collection of Video Essentials filters from NewBlueFX. NewBlueFX Video Essentials is one of the more popular filter sets to hit the market in recent years. Many users will find some of those plug-ins to be valuable tools. For more info on NewBlueFX’s latest release, Video Essentials IV, see Jan Ozer's review.
Keep in mind, however, that EDIUS’ celebrated real-time playback is not guaranteed with third-party filters. Only EDIUS filters have real-time display and playback. So if you use one of these, you will be forced to render to see your work in full-resolution and frame rate. Also included is a good selection of very effective VST audio filters. These are the same VSTs released with previous versions; if you’ve been editing with EDIUS 5, you’ll be familiar with them.
Key New Features
Now on to the main attraction, the key features added to EDIUS itself. Fortunately, there are lots of them. Some don’t apply to most things event shooters do, but many of them will provide enhancements to our products and workflows.
Some of the major new features are as follows:
• 10-bit editing support
• 2K/4K resolution support
• Free-shape mask filter
• 16-camera multicam editing
• Proxy mode workflow
• Canon XF format and EOS movie format support
• Exporting in AVCHD format to a media card
• New Layouter tool
Those are just the big ones. But there are also several improvements to smaller functions that you’ll use every day. These include the following:
• New audio-mapping abilities
• Zebras right in your playback monitor to help find areas that may be overexposed
• Audio offset at the sample level
• New timeline edit functions for enhanced cuts and track manipulation
• Full-screen playback mode (a very cool feature)
• Nudge a track
• A new source browser for easy import from media sources such as solid-state or P2 cards
• Enhanced DVD/Blu-ray Disc menus that include motion backgrounds
• The ability to save a transition length as a custom preset
The list goes on from there. Those are just some of the things I discovered in my first few days working with the software on a current project. There are still others to discover as well. For more information on new features, check the EDIUS page on the Grass Valley site for details at www.grass valley.com/products/edius_6.
New Timeline Edit Functions
Now let me explain a few of the new features that I’ve already started to use regularly. When you first start a project, you will notice the timeline looks a little different than before, as shown in Figure 3 (below). Along the left are new icons and some changes that I found a bit confusing at first. I discovered a page on the Grass Valley website that provides short demo videos that explain most of the features. The timeline video will explain the new icons and demonstrate how to use them.
One of the new features on the timeline is easier audio mapping for those times when you want to split your audio from the video. Previously, you had to map audio channels manually with some right-clicks and submenus or keystrokes. Now, you can just drag and drop your audio-mapping indicator to the track you want. Then, your audio drops to that track. There is also a nice new feature that allows you to select multiple tracks of video/audio and apply a cut only to the selected tracks. Previously, you could cut all tracks or individual tracks. There are times in an edit when choosing tracks will be helpful.
A major new feature I will be using frequently is full-screen playback. I don’t have any Grass Valley hardware playback cards on my setup, so I use EDIUS in a strictly software environment. In version 6 you can double-click on the playback window and it goes full screen. If you’re on a dual-monitor setup, you can set it to play full screen on your right monitor and use your left monitor for the timeline and other features; then you’ll have a real-time full-screen monitor. Double-click on the full screen, and you are back to normal.
This feature can be a real benefit when you’re doing an on-site edit for a customer and you want to let them preview the project in a full-screen display. I’ve already fallen in love with this feature. You can also set up the multicam function to show your different cameras and have the full-screen playback be the master, as shown in Figure 4 (below). It makes the whole multicam experience even more like a live shoot and mix. Did you also notice in the features listed previously that you can now do a 16-camera multicam edit? I don’t anticipate needing that kind of functionality for most weddings and events. But it’s nice to know it’s available if I ever do that kind of project.
Zooming Into the Timeline
A feature I have not seen written up or talked about anywhere, which I discovered quite by accident, allows you to quickly zoom to the frame level of your timeline. Just hold Shift+R to click and drag a section of your timeline. Once you release those keys, EDIUS will zoom in to the frame- level timeline with the section you highlighted centered on the screen.
To my knowledge, this is an undocumented feature that could be very handy for quick, high-precision tweaking of a section of a clip in the timeline or to do a detailed edit on an audio track from which you are trying to remove a sound. If the area you select is larger than what will fit at the frame level, EDIUS zooms in to show only what you highlighted.
Another new timeline feature called “Nudge” has already become part of my workflow. It took about 5 minutes to make it part of my routine when needed. Similar to some other NLEs, you just highlight a track and press the period key to nudge the track forward a frame in the timeline or the comma key to move it backward a frame at a time.
Working With the Mask Tool
One of the big new updates in the feature set is the improvement to the old Region tool. If you are an EDIUS editor, you’ve used the Region tool for many different things, and you’re also probably aware of its significant shortcomings in earlier versions.
It’s a whole new tool now and has been renamed the Mask tool. In previous versions, you were limited to rectangular or oval masks. Now, you can define a mask, and the keyframe process is much more user-friendly than the old one. The functionality is very similar to keyframed mattes in After Effects and other applications. You can define points along an object and move them along as the object moves along as well.
I haven’t really put it to work in my current project but there are times in the past where I wished this functionality were in EDIUS, so I didn’t have to go into After Effects to pull it off.
Figure 5 (below) shows a simple use of the Mask tool: taking a clip on one track and masking out all but the “Ceremony” sign to show over the track below. Just drop the transparency of the outside to 0%, and your masked section shows on top of your lower track. Keyframe any movement in the upper track, hit the spacebar, and you’ll have real-time playback of your setup.
Another big change is the Layout tool. It’s now called the Layouter and has much more functionality than the Layout tool in EDIUS 5. The old Layout tool was limited to zooming and panning. Now, you can zoom/pan/spin/flip and do it all in a three-axis environment. You can add a colored background or a border to your footage as well.
In Figure 6 (below), I took a clip, twisted it, and moved it around with a border and background to show what the tool can do. You’ll also note in Figure 6 that I expanded the Layouter window to show all the options available. It replaces most of the functionality of the old 3D Picture in Picture tool. This will be great for those times you need to use stills on the timeline and do some manipulation to them or build a slide show.
Editing in Proxy Mode
There are several other features that will become part of the editing workflow for many of us, including proxy editing, which allows you to check out and check in projects for field editing. To use proxy editing, just select Proxy mode at the beginning of a project, and EDIUS will create all the proxy files associated with your bin. It’s all done in the background, so you can continue to go about your editing with no slowdown. When you stop or take a break, the background work continues. The thumbnails in your bin will show a small proxy indicator, letting you know it is working. When it’s finished, the indicator will disappear.
If you’re going to be away from the studio for a day or so, you can check out a project using the proxy function. It will create smaller, low-resolution files for editing on a smaller laptop drive. When you return, just check in the project and the full-resolution files on your main system get integrated with your new edits. If you have a large project taking up hundreds of gigabytes in storage space, this is an easy way to take your project with you without hauling extra drives along.
Proxy mode editing can also be useful if you have a slightly older computer that may not be up to working with AVCHD or other HD file types. Create proxy files and edit those. If you switch back to full resolution later at encode time, you’ll have an easy way to work with files your computer may not be able to handle under normal editing conditions.
One more major feature you will notice upon starting a project is Background waveform/proxy creation. When you import audio files into your bin, EDIUS 6 will automatically start creating the waveforms in the background. When you’re ready to use them, there is no wait. It does this for the audio in a video file as well. While the background functions are running, the thumbnails in your bin will display an indicator showing the progress. When all the indicators go away, you’re finished, just as in Proxy file creation.
You also have the option of pausing background jobs while editing so your performance will not be affected. The jobs will start again only when you’re not doing something on the timeline. This will save lots of time for all those media imports from solid-state drives and memory cards.
Creating Transition Presets
One last little feature that I’m already using may seem small to some, but it will definitely be handy for me. That is the ability to save a transition and its length as a preset. By default, transitions are set to 1 second. You can modify the duration on the timeline by dragging the edges, but you can change the default transition length by right-clicking in the Effects palette.
Now, you can put a transition into your timeline, access the information palette for the transition, and save it as a user preset. I have a dissolve preset already created for a 10-frame dissolve, a 1-second dissolve, and a 2-second dissolve. Occasionally, I use 10-frame dissolves just to soften cuts in a ceremony or 2-second dissolves as a stylistic decision. Now, I don’t have to drag them to the length I want or set the default length before applying and then reset the length to 1 second afterwards. It works with any transition or length. I started using this little timesaver in my workflow a short time after installing EDIUS 6.
I’ve touched on only a handful of the many new features packed into EDIUS 6. There are other great enhancements to the software, but these are the ones I expect will be most exciting for us as event filmmakers and editors. The link to the Grass Valley site that I provided earlier will give you more information on all the new features.
The wait for EDIUS 6 is finally over, and I’m happy to report that it was worth the wait. EDIUS is maturing nicely into a well-rounded, nimble, and quick NLE system.
Philip Hinkle (philip at frogmanproductions.com) runs Madison, Wis.-area video production company Frogman Productions. A 2008 EventDV 25 honoree, he won a 2008 WEVA CEA Gold in the Social Event category and a 2006 4EVER Group AAA Diamond. He was a 2009 WEVA CEA judge and a featured speaker at WEVA Expo 2009. He is co-founder and vice-president of the Wisconsin Digital Media Group.