By Neil Bennett | on September 01, 2003
Price When Reviewed: £399 plus VAT
Edius’s main strength is its interface. Canopus has obviously put a lot of thought into its brand-new NLE, as it’s exceedingly efficient to use. All of the windows float above the desktop, making re-organization easy. It can seem a little confusing at first, but the clear, well laid-out buttons and controls soon feel natural. The only downside is that two monitors are a must. Canopus has added some genuine innovations to NLE design. First is the inclusion of gestural controls through the preview windows. This allows users to execute commands on the preview windows using different motions of the mouse. Right-click and sweep left, and playback begins, with speed dependant on the speed that you sweep. Using different buttons and gestures, you can move around video, adding in and out-points, with ease. It takes a while to learn, especially the circular motions required for shuttling, but with practice, it’s great. The inclusion of extra audio tracks within video tracks gives the application’s interface a much cleaner feel where you only need to touch the audio tracks for music, effects, and voiceovers. There’s also a title track that sits above the video tracks (though below it onscreen), to avoid titles getting in the way. Other features we liked included the inclusion of a real-time vectorscope and waveform monitor; powerful and intuitive effects tools that are the same as Canopus’ real-time plug-ins for Premiere; and the ability to fill the buffer before playback – avoiding overshooting the card’s power. The timecode and audio levels preview to the lower third of your PAL monitor is an inspired idea, but you can’t move it, you can only turn it off. The main problem with Edius is that it feels unfinished. For every great feature, there are two or three annoying holes in the software’s feature set. The preview windows gestural commands are great, but no substitute for the current inability to use jog/shuttle controls. Also, well-organized audio doesn’t make up for the lack of an audio mixer, support for MP3 (it’s WAV only), or just how fiddly using the small volume controls can be. Some controls produce odd buzzes and clicks from the audio output. The floating palette is designed to make interacting with Windows Explorer easier, but that’s no excuse for only having a single bin per project. There are also lots of niggling annoyances such as the combination of a lack of safe markers in the PiP and lag in the movement in the preview window, which makes safe placement difficult. You can’t drag a folder of files into your bin. There’s currently no support for external plug-ins. The title-specific effects are limited, and the included – and currently only – titling tool is awful. There’s also no support for output to the StormEncoder board that’s strapped to the bottom of the DVStorm2. Edius requires either DVStorm2 or DVRex hardware to run, making it the only major DV tool release to be totally reliant on hardware – and roughing projects on a laptop is out. Worse, it can only work with Canopus’s own DV codec – which means transcoding any previous work not created on a Canopus-driven system, and all of your stock footage. We’re hoping that Canopus will divorce the two soon, as for all of the power of cards such as the DVStorm2, we pulled much the same real-time power from the GPU-driven Pinnacle Edition 5 (excluding features such DV-out) using a powerful graphics card that was half the price of the DVStorm card. In its current form, Edius will cost you more time in transcoding and working around missing features than its interface will save you. It could have appealed to DVStorm owners annoyed with how backward Premiere has become, but the forthcoming Premiere Pro will likely be more fulfilling. Edius 1.5 – a free upgrade – is due next month, with multiple bins and many as-yet announced features. It had better sort many of Edius’s problems out for it to stand any chance of survival.