TV-BAY January 2013

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The joy of field editing by Kieron Seth I n the world of remote working, cloud storage and instant news, the ability to edit on location at a shoot has become a pre-requisite. Only a few years ago, field editing used to be merely about the quick rough cut, the assembly of proxy files or simply the ingest of media in an edit-friendly format. These days, however, energy efficient, high performance processors allow for the complete post production process on a laptop. Now, programme turnaround times can be slashed with editorial decisions made on the spot. Power in your hands The potency of today’s top-end laptops almost exceed the horsepower of yesterday’s workstations. Armed with 16GB or more of 1600MHZ RAM, twin fast hard drives spinning at 7200 RPM, multi-core processors and, crucially, professional graphics chipsets, a system such as HP’s 8770w 17” mobile workstation easily merits the description of ‘portable workstation’. Like the beautiful MacBook Pro, it is actually a super-computer in clever disguise, capable of editing several streams of uncompressed 1080p HD video, right from the internal storage. Faced with tight deadlines, impatient clients or demanding directors, editors can now harness computing power on location to achieve high quality, results – fast. Slots galore However, as ever, it’s not as simple as installing an app and starting to edit. Most new laptops are armed with card reader slots for transferring media into the NLE. But, in the heat of a production, importing cards into post one at a time is painfully slow. Sonnet’s Qio external card reader connects via eSATA for the very fast simultaneous import of data from different professional cards, including SxS, P2, SDXC and CF. The manufacturer also sells SxS and CF-specific readers with multiple slots, great for shoots that use a single type of camera. These devices are the simple answer to the data ingest bottleneck in tapeless workflows that has plagued broadcasters for years. Filling the kit bag Even when the data is loaded into the NLE, the dream of one-box field editing is still not quite realised. Full 1080 laptop screens and Retina displays make great work-surfaces, but are they all that video editors need? While they can show media assets, the timeline and the editing interface, even the best quality computer display will give inconsistent and erroneous results with video. Typically this is because of the inaccurate conversion between colour spaces and between interlaced clips and progressive playback. The answer for field editors is outputting via an external device: Grass Valley’s Storm Mobile, Matrox’s MX02 Mini, AJA’s Io Express and Blackmagic Design’s UltraStudio Pro to name a few. These devices are rich in functionality – ingest, capture, scaling, conversion – but in the file- based world, it’s the accurate HD monitoring that’s critical. In and out The Blackmagic Design UltraStudio SDI is not much bigger than a smartphone and packs massive broadcast power with HD video recording and external monitoring via HDMI and SDI. As a capture device, it records video from any SDI device including VTRs, with full RS-422 deck control. Video is ingested via USB 3.0 as 10-bit HD uncompressed or compressed in ProRes and other formats. As well as supporting high data rates, UltraStudio SDI is compatible with NLE software such as Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro and Sony Vegas. For compositing and grading, it works with After Effects, DaVinci Resolve, Nuke, Fusion and Photoshop, as well as Pro Tools and Steinberg Nuendo audio programs. It can output full video to an external video monitor at full frame rate, in full quality. 48 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE TV-BA073JAN13.indd 48 11/01/2013 14:17