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High Definition Video Editing Solutions
For all HD formats including HDV, HDCAM, DVCPRO HD and others.


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Old May 27th, 2004, 07:09 AM   #1
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Somebody listened!!

A few months ago in this discussion forum I floated the hope that someone should make an HDV editing appliance. (I had directed my wish to David Neuman since his original company Applied Magic makes a stand-alone unit called ScreenPlay, which I have and enjoy.) Someone heard my cry! Unfortunately it is Applied Magic's competitor MacroSystem Digital Video. They're best known for the legendary Casablanca.
This summer they're coming out with the Casablanca Solitaire. It's designed to edit HDV, has removable hard drives, DVD burner, fast processor, lots of memory and best of all, an intuitive and simple user interface! JVC even mentions them as a partner on their home page. It will run around $5000. I am really excited about this. I think this is the final link to making HD truly available to the masses. Up to this point, the HDV experiment has been way too "computer-centric" and has pretty much left folks who "just want to make videos" out in the cold.
Applied Magic--there is still time! Are you going to let MacroSystems run alone and free in this wild, wide open field?
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Old May 27th, 2004, 07:34 AM   #2
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Hmm,

Just my opinion, but spending $5,000 on a "editing appliance" sounds like lining a companies pockets while you have no upgradablity (except through them) on your system.

If you are serious about HDV and making money I'd spend the $5,000 on a computer that you can grow with and will have some re-sale value down the line. Otherwise, if you are looking to do home video type work...this might be a good option.

I've seen Casablanca and I wasn't impressed. It was Firewire-less and had no way to upgrade important pieces. It's just my opinion, but editing HDV or other video for $5,000 is a huge investment. Why not get TRUE independent power with $5,000? I don't know....$5,000 is about what my G5 dual 2ghz, 23 Cinema, Final Cut Pro HD kick ass system costs...ok, $1,000 more. But, hey who's counting?

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Old May 27th, 2004, 11:26 AM   #3
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I agree Murph. The real advantage of HDV is the fact that it can be acquired at a very low cost (and low apprehension). Not to mention, if HDV is, as Lynne put it, still in its experimental stages, no one is going to buy a stand-alone box until HDV is mainstream. So it seems that pushing proprietary systems to producers as way to start HDV would leave the possibility of adopting a new format in a catch-22. At least with a computer one has the ability to switch formats, or use it for something else. And I'm not sure I want a "simple" interface for editing (JVC's camera already comes with one). It just seems very counterintuitive for an editor who is versed in Avid or FCP to learn a completely new and untested software package just for the sake of having a stand-alone system. Why would it not be far more advantageous for the already-timid-about-HDV community to work with HDV on tried and true platforms with which they are already comfortable and versed? We're still not even sure yet of who will adopt the HDV format (consumers, indie filmmakers, in-house studios, etc). What will bring HDV to the masses is the ability for current producers to try HDV with the hardware and software that they already have and use, not an all in one box. Unless HDV just explodes into the mainstream, I'll bet MacroSystems will have a room full of closed boxes.
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Old May 27th, 2004, 12:02 PM   #4
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I have yet to see any computer that holds its value, proprietary or otherwise. I'm currently selling an eMac on ebay loaded with FCP4 that I'll be lucky if I can get half what I paid a mere year ago!
I talked with someone at MacroSystems this AM. These folks got burned on their Kron machine a few years ago so I'm sure they've learned a few lessons. I am convinced a revolution begins when everyone understands it. Can you imagine where CDs, DVDs and VCRs would be had they remained strictly an outputted product of a home computer?
For you professional editors that are used to the FCP or Avid or Premiere interfaces, I can understand why this machine would be a step backwards. For the rest of us, it would be like opening a window in a stuffy room!
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Old May 27th, 2004, 05:02 PM   #5
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I see eMacs going for about 75% to 80% of their value on ebay all the time. Don't confuse the hardware and software issue. Software can loose it's value very quickly, even FCP. If the software is sold separately (unregistered with disks, box serial numbers etc.) it holds it's value better also. Software installed on computers has very little value.
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Old May 27th, 2004, 06:29 PM   #6
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I wish my bidders knew that! OK, so it's an academic version of FCP. But still, my total investment was over $2,000 and the last time I ran my reserve auction I got a max of $860. One more try...

Back to the Solitaire, I asked if they would be showing at the upcoming NYC DV Expo but they said no, not until WEVA. Since they're based in Boulder, I asked if I could stop in and see a demo and they said perhaps in a couple of weeks.

Keep in mind that some of the greatest films of all times were cut with little more than a razor blade and some cement and a small viewer. Somehow we've lost sight of that and feel that if we can't make the letter "l" jiggle in the title, then the software sucks. I think I speak for the "masses" when I say that I just want something that works everytime I turn it on, that preserves picture quality throughout, that keeps track of my footage easily and gives me a few audio tracks to work with. And I don't want to share the electronics with a potential virus that snuck in overnight. Hey, I'm easy!
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Old May 27th, 2004, 06:44 PM   #7
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You think a Mac loses value...try an editing appliance! At least there are 10:1 ratio of people willing to buy a Mac from you later. But, an editing appliance is only useful to people on this board! (and other video boards)

I'll give you the fact that editing appliances are nice for beginners. But, if you are not a beginner I'd re-evaluate your $5,000 investment.

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Old May 27th, 2004, 07:10 PM   #8
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Maybe I'd better modify that price before folks get the wrong idea. I'm quoting their high end device with something on the order of 300 GB. I believe their standard option with 160 or so was like $4000.
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Old May 27th, 2004, 07:41 PM   #9
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The $860 price is pretty good for a computer that sells new for $799 or $999. Don't expect much for the software. Many students use pirated copies of FCP. I know many of mine do. A pro can't use an academic copy without updating the license. So, the software really won't have much value.
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Old May 27th, 2004, 08:20 PM   #10
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Here it is...

http://www.macrosystem.de/e/solitaire.html

Check it out rather than trust my brief exposure to it!
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Old May 28th, 2004, 10:08 AM   #11
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Re: Here it is...

I could see the benefit in a dedicated HDV box if you're planning on capturing from multiple HD10's at once, though even then one could IMO; with a bit of forethought, put together a decent system for under $4,000US.
As for easy to use HDV editing software, there's a growing number of software houses adding HDV capabilities to their NLE's as well as integrated capture utilities for the HD10.

It's my honest belief that the fear of what one needs to handle HDV is far greater than the reality, and that leaves indecisive, ill-informed people open to over investing in so many areas which inevitably leads to developing a negative opinion about something that really is pretty straight forward and quite enjoyable.
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Old May 28th, 2004, 10:13 AM   #12
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"And I don't want to share the electronics with a potential virus that snuck in overnight."

So unplug your PC from the net, and you won't have this problem.
A dedicated PC is just as reliable as any turnkey system. Just a lot cheaper and more upgradeable.
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Old May 28th, 2004, 10:43 AM   #13
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I still think if you buy a good PC and the bundled Premiere Pro and Aspect HD, you'd be better off.

I did a quick check, and came up with this:

Between $1700 and $2600 for an Alienware system.

Or a Dell for $1800.

Aspect HD, Adobe Premiere Pro, Encore (DVD) and Audition (audio or titles, I think) for $1200.

Find a good HD-style LCD monitor, and you're good to go!

Or go the Apple route:

$3000 for a dual 2 gz G5 PowerMac, $2000 for a 23 inch HD monitor, $1000 for Final Cut Pro HD, and $179 for Lumiere HD.

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Old May 28th, 2004, 11:37 AM   #14
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Heath, using your numbers the Solitaire box comes up as a good deal. It's $4000 for 160 GB storage and $5000 for 300 GB.
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Old May 28th, 2004, 11:42 AM   #15
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Heath, agreed.

Lynne, I don't believe the new Macrosystem product will be any match for technology that exists today (a.k.a Aspect HD) and it is not even available. When it is it will cost twice as much with half the performance and one tenth of the features. Macrosystems switched to PC platforms years ago. They use an embedded operating system like VxWorks under the belief that in more stable than Windows XP. This is no-longer true, primarily because bugs can appear everywhere, Macrosystem has a lot of code of their own as potential failure points. As for the number of engineers to fix bugs I would favour Microsoft and Adobe over Macrosystem and Windriver.

I do still believe there is a market for turnkey "black box" solutions but the stability is not the compelling reason. Ease of use can be a factor, and my ScreenPlay is still far easier to use than any Macrosystem product. :)
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