Leitch dpsVelocityQ 8.2
Byline: Steve Mullen
Over the past few years all eyes have been on the battle between Avid and Apple as the two companies have increased the ability of Xpress DV and Final Cut Pro to support realtime effects using only PC and Mac CPUs. I’ve watched this battle with a jaundiced eye because I’ve been editing in realtime with Canopus for almost five years. In fact, CPU-based realtime effects for SD footage are now so common that we just expect it.
With that expectation, attention can shift to two other areas: CPU-based realtime effects with HD material (via CineForm’s Aspect HD) and hardware-based realtime effects. Leitch’s dpsVelocityQ addresses the latter.
Those with long memories know the dpsVelocity is a modern-day descendent of the DPS “Personal Animation Recorder” that used the company’s Perception board.
Over the years DPS made a realtime effects board available and replaced Premiere with software acquired by DPS. And, in turn, DPS was acquired by Leitch. Leitch now offers two versions of the dpsVelocity. The base model has one 3D effects engine. It handles one or two streams of video. The dpsVelocityQ (MSRP of $9,999) has four 3D effects engines and can process up to four streams of video.
Specifically, dpsVelocityQ is powered by the dpsQuattrus. This PCI board has hardware for video and audio input and output, plus the 2D effects hardware. The effects hardware supports realtime playback of four video streams, up to six graphics streams, with four channels of simultaneous realtime 3D DVE effects using the Q3DX4 quad-DVE daughtercard.
The dpsQuattrus PCI board can input and output composite, S-Video, and analog component video. If you need SDI input/output, you must add a second PCI board. This board also supports embedded SDI, AES/EBU audio, and S/PDIF digital audio I/O.
Video mixing and keying, video alpha-channel support, and multi-channel audio mixing hardware are contained on the dpsQuattrus board. The board also has an integrated Ultra160 SCSI-3 disk controller.
To make installation simple, the dpsQuattrus PCI card requires just one IRQ. Leitch recommends a 1.6GHz Intel Pentium 4 (or faster) processor, 512MB of RAM, one unobstructed, full-length 64-bit bus-mastering PCI slot (or a 32-bit slot that will accommodate a 64-bit board), and a 300W power supply.
Also required is a dedicated SCSI hard-drive array using 10,000rpm drives connected to either your PC or the dpsQuattrus PCI board. This RAID will support simultaneous playback of four streams of compressed video (2:1 compression or more; 10MBps or less per stream). For multiple streams of uncompressed video, striped 15,000rpm drives are required. Leitch strongly recommends a second SCSI drive for audio files.
My demo system, as supplied by Leitch, had dual Xeon processors and four 73GB 15,000rpm hard drives. Standard with the dpsVelocityQ, the rackmountable A/V breakout box has a full complement of audio and video jacks, including composite, S-Video, and analog component video connectors, plus digital and analog (both balanced and unbalanced) audio connectors. My system also had a SDI I/O board ($2,000); the JOG-4000 hardware jog/shuttle controller for scrubbing, trimming, editing, and deck control ($1,295); plus a color-coded custom keyboard ($150). The dpsVelocityQ runs under Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional or Windows XP Professional.
Leitch includes interoperability features such as EDL import and export, and optional OMF and AAF support. The dpsVelocityQ supports uncompressed and variable-compression recording, plus you can mix compressed and uncompressed footage in the same timeline. Proc amp controls, color correction, and an integrated waveform monitor and vectorscope display help keep video levels within spec. Batch recapture allows footage to be captured at offline compression rates and later replaced with high-quality versions.
Leitch’s dpsVelocityQ software features selectable A/X/B and single-track timeline modes, realtime support for video files with alpha channel, independent variable track scaling, mute and solo of video and audio tracks, plus support for multiple timelines.
DpsVelocityQ provides hundreds of predefined and customizable 2D and 3D transitions and effects. All are fully keyframeable. Realtime effects include variable speed changes, reverse, color correction, “garbage mattes,” and keying. All can be combined simultaneously, with transitions and rolling and crawling titles providing maximum flexibility. 3D effects such as rotation, perspective, and warp can be applied to graphics as well as video, and played back simultaneously with wipes and other effects in realtime. DpsVelocityQ supports four streams that can consist of four 24-bit (YUV) video clips, two 32-bit video clips (YUV plus alpha), or two 24-bit video clips combined with one 32-bit video clip.
When you layer more effects than can be handled in realtime, DPS Render Bank technology remembers previously rendered segments, eliminating re-rendering. And naturally, the dpsQuattrus hardware is used to its max when rendering. However, background rendering is not supported.
One advantage provided by software-based effects generators is they are free of the A/B-roll model for transitions. Like other hardware-based NLEs, dpsVelocity continues to be bound by the A/B-roll model. I’m not sure if this is a hardware or a software limitation. I can imagine being able, with the unlimited-track dpsVelocity software, being able to select a clip’s end on one track and a different clip’s beginning on any other track – and requesting a transition to link the two.
I found that editing multiple-camera shoots was easy with the Leitch NLE. I could switch interactively among captured sequences from four camera angles, as they are viewed simultaneously in realtime. Multi-camera edits can then be refined before applying them back to the timeline. You can choose to have audio follow or not follow the switch.
DpsVelocityQ features what Leitch calls EyeCon View. This view continuously displays the picons and clip timecode of all visible layers based on the current playhead position, providing constant visual reference for all layers on the timeline as you scrub and align clips. EyeCon View makes it easy to precisely align specific frames across multiple layers.
Both basic and advanced titling utilities are included. Simple rolls, crawls, and still titles can be created quickly with the integrated QuickTitler, while Eyeon’s bundled DFCG application provides an easy interface to the Text+ tool of DFX+, which offers advanced features such as text on paths. For more sophisticated tasks, the bundled Inscriber TitleMotion adds a more powerful titling interface and enhanced CG options such as graphical backgrounds and logos.
Every dpsVelocityQ system bundles Sony’s Sound Forge XP Studio. DpsVelocityQ provides realtime eight-channel audio mixing and monitoring, with realtime parametric EQ. Audio control nodes can be created on the fly by using the sliders during playback.
Included with dpsVelocityQ is Digital Fusion DFX+ 4.0, the latest version of the modular, resolution-independent compositing and effects software from eyeon. DFX+ effects such as glows, defocusing, and warps can be applied to clips from the dpsVelocity timeline, and entire timeline regions can be sent to DFX+ for processing.
DpsVelocityQ creates output directly from the timeline for many popular distribution formats – videotape, CD-ROM, DVD, and the Web. Web formats (RealVideo, Windows Media, and QuickTime) can be output from the timeline in realtime, as can Ligos GoMotion-powered MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 formats for CD-ROM and DVD authoring. DpsVelocityQ also can stream live from the timeline. The program bundles Sonic ReelDVD Studio authoring software, which supports Dolby Digital audio.
I really enjoyed working with the dpsVelocityQ on SD video. It will take significant resources to re-spin SD hardware to handle HD. And yet, HD’s significantly higher resolution can benefit greatly from the application of dedicated processing power such as dpsVelocityQ supplies. It will be interesting to watch how hardware-based editing products make the transition from SD to HD.
Company: Leitch Technology (DPS) Florence, Ky.; (859) 371-5533 www.leitch.com
Product: dpsVelocityQ 8.2
Assets: Supports four streams of uncompressed video; easy multi-camera editing; EyeCon view displays picons and clip timecode of all layers according the playhead position; supports compressed and uncompressed material in the same timeline.
Caveats: System is bound by the A/B-roll model for transitions.
Demographic: Editors on a budget looking to edit multiple streams of uncompressed video in realtime.
Price: $9,999 for boards, software, and breakout box.
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