• Price: 315 . 110

  • Company: Canopus

When first launched in summer 2003, Edius seemed like a saviour for users of Canopus’s capture and effects hardware. Tied to Adobe’s ailing Premiere 6.5, Edius offered a more professional and efficient editing environment for the discerning editor. However, Edius turned out to be about as well finished as a PoundStretcher tea-set – and by the time Canopus had fixed the bugs with the free version 1.5 update, Adobe gazumped Edius with the grown-up Premiere Pro.

When first launched in summer 2003, Edius seemed like a saviour for users of Canopus’s capture and effects hardware. Tied to Adobe’s ailing Premiere 6.5, Edius offered a more professional and efficient editing environment for the discerning editor. However, Edius turned out to be about as well finished as a PoundStretcher tea-set – and by the time Canopus had fixed the bugs with the free version 1.5 update, Adobe gazumped Edius with the grown-up Premiere Pro.

Canopus has reacted by widening the appeal of Edius 2.0. No longer tied to the company’s hardware, the application is now a full, real-time software NLE. It’ll run on any notebook, desktop, or workstation running Windows XP and capture through a standard FireWire port. You can run Edius 2.0 over a Canopus board such as the DVStorm if you want, which adds around three extra streams of real-time performance (depending on your host machine’s spec).

Branching out

Edius 2.0 is no longer tied to Canopus’s own DV codec, as it can happily work in real-time with standard DV files – so unless you’re on a Matrox system, your old projects should be available. MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 can be edited in real-time, which is great for those taking non-DV materials to DVD, especially for DVStorm2 users with the StormEncoder MPEG encoding daughter board. Edius is fussier about the quality of DV files than Premiere Pro, and refused to work with some less-than-perfect files that Adobe’s tool didn’t even raise an eyebrow to.

The rest of version 2.0 concentrates on filling the gaps that even the extensive 1.5 update didn’t manage. There’s a lot more information available on the timeline, especially about audio. MP3 support is a welcome addition, as many stock audio libraries use this format now. Combining these updates with the audio mixer added in version 1.5, and the excellent layout idea of allowing video tracks on the timeline to have their own audio tracks, and you have an impressive set-up. However, the mixer isn’t up to the standard of Premiere Pro’s – and there’s no support for audio plug-ins.

Canopus has upgraded Edius’s titling tool from the frankly pathetic Inscriber TitleExpress to TitleMotion 4.3. It’s no match for Premiere Pro’s Illustrator/ InDesign-based Title Designer but it’s an improvement that will satisfy most editors.

Canopus has added alpha channel support within 3D picture-in-pictures – but no 2D ones. Edius now has the ability to render parts of the timeline (for when the quality drops too far), and ProCoder Express. This is a cut down version of Canopus’s ProCoder transcoding tool that strips out most of that application’s manual functions – but it’s still useful if you rarely need to transcode.

However, for all the updates in versions 1.5 and 2.0, there are still holes in Edius’s feature set, as well as the occasional annoyance. The streamlined, customizable interface is well designed, but the various windows don’t snap together. Undo shortcuts don’t work in the effects dialogs. There’s no support for EDLs or traditional plug-ins – AE plug-in support is needed. There are genuine Edius innovations, such as gestural controls within the monitors for playback and on-screen timecodes – but they’re not enough.

Edius is still particular about video overlay modes. It doesn’t like Matrox graphics cards at all, and even when we swapped our Parhelia for a run-of-the-mill NVidia Quadro4 980 XGL we had to make sure that the correct type of dual display set-up was selected.

It’s hard to think of an editor who would benefit from Edius 2.0. Canopus has succeeded in its task of creating a reliable and powerful real-time NLE that allows you to edit as quickly as possible – but the competition is too strong. Owners of the DVStorm will gain more from Premiere Pro, and anyone who’s moved to Final Cut Pro or Avid Xpress DV/Pro won’t be coming back. And if you’re interested in powerful real-time effects, broadcast-standard reliability and an efficient timeline for long-form editing, we’d recommend Pinnacle’s Edition.