Using Speed Razor with high-end video capture/playback and audio hardware,
a designer can combine rendered images, animations, still graphics, camera
clips, and audio to produce dramatic video design presentations.
I used Speed Razor with DPS Perception hardware (PVR). Speed Razor automatically configured the PVR interface; installation was simple. The comprehensive documentation provides a clear path through the tuning process including BIOS, virtual memory, device driver, and tasking presets.
Performing all major video production functions, Razor captures, organizes, and manages video and audio clips; edits, enhances, and composites video; mixes audio; and plays or stores completed productions.
Razor organizes media references and working files into independent projects, making it easy to manage multiple productions. This is particularly important since files are scattered: Audio is saved on the system drive in WAV format, and video is saved on the dedicated PVR drive (using DPS hardware). Razor reads and writes DPS video files without conversion, so Razor and Perception card interaction is fast and effortless.
Each project includes a Media Library that displays source media and effects references. Library clips can be arranged and annotated in storyboard fashion, and can be trimmed and played as straight cut edits. These clips are added to the Composition Window--the detailed editing time line--for synchronization, addition of video transitions, effects and compositing, and audio mixing.
Razor can composite any number of video clips and effects. Creative capabilities are limited only by processing time. Each video effect and composite layer requires a rendering pass that accesses each source frame for processing. This processing, normally performed by the PC's CPU, can be quite time consuming. Hardware effects processing is an option. I installed a DPS FX Effects Accelerator card which Razor currently supports for basic transitions and scaling. Accelerated effects take about 10 seconds to render 30 frames. I realized a 4:1 speed improvement for wipes and fades, and a 14:1 improvement for picture-in-picture effects. I'd welcome the addition of accelerated title effects.
Razor can mix at least four audio tracks in real time, with interactive volume and pan controls. I've mixed eight tracks for short times with an Audiotrix Pro sound card and 133-MHz Pentium. Audio performance is sensitive to PC capability. The ability to selectively mute tracks and to mix down any number of tracks to a single file provides nearly unlimited audio capability. Razor includes VU meters to monitor audio input and provides automatic limiting and saturation detection, valuable tools for high quality audio control.
Razor's tools for editing video to sound are excellent. The combination of time-line audio waveform display, easily placed time markers, and video snap to markers makes it simple to synchronize video transitions. Adding narration to video is a little harder. I added synchronization tones to video in Razor, printed the video and tones to tape, then used Razor to record narration while I viewed the tape on a monitor. The tone, recorded with the narration, made it easy to sync the audio clips to the video in the Razor Composition Window. The ability to directly dub synchronized narration while playing video would be a valuable addition.
The combination of the inherent high quality of digital video and audio processing, Speed Razor's nearly unlimited flexibility for editing and compositing, and the tight integration with DPS's robust video hardware makes Speed Razor an ideal solution for in-house video production, and allows even a casual user to produce exceptional video presentations.
Speed Razor Mach 3.5
The Speed Razor non-linear video-editing program produces broadcast-quality videos using a PC. Razor requires a high-speed Pentium or DEC Alpha with 64M bytes RAM running Windows Workstation NT, a video capture and playback card, and an NT-compatible sound card. A high-quality video monitor is desirable. Automatic video capture requires a RS-422-controlled VCR.
List Price: $1,499
in:sync Corp., 6106 MacArthur Blvd., Bethesda, MD 20816; ph: (301) 320-0220; http://www.insync.com
A similar product:
Adobe Premier 4.2 - Adobe Systems Inc., 1585 Charlestown Rd., Mountain View, CA 94039; ph. (800) 833-6687.