Thomson Grass Valley Edius 5

Edius aims to be the plucky little video editor that could.

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Thomson Grass Valley Edius 5
  • Thomson Grass Valley Edius 5
  • Thomson Grass Valley Edius 5
  • Thomson Grass Valley Edius 5

Pros

  • Great real-time performance, GPU-driven transitions wide format support.

Cons

  • Horrible effects system;, more fiddly to use than rivals with fewer features too

Bottom Line

Edius is an efficient real-time editor that offers outstanding performance and few top-notch innovations, but overall features-wise it’s behind the pack, adding tools in this version that other applications gained years ago. The effects system is a mess and you’d probably have to be using one of the more esoteric formats to see a benefit from using Edius over Final Cut, Premiere or Media Composer.

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Edius aims to be the plucky little video editor that could. Going up against three major competitors — Adobe’s Premiere Pro, Apple’s Final Cut Pro, and Avid’s Media Composer — Edius 5 aims to outperform its rivals and offer a faster and more flexible workflow.

Originally developed by Canopus — a company whose speciality was codecs not software — it’s no surprise that Edius is great at processing multiple layers of video in real-time, which can be in a wide variety of formats. Edius 5 gives real-time editing performance a boost by tapping the power of your graphics card.

The old Xplode set of effects and transitions has been ditched in favour an extensive set of transitions that have been developed in-house, and some bought-in effects. The transitions do all of the usual tricks from simple dissolves to cheesy 3D explosions, and the performance is excellent — we didn’t see any performance drop using them on our test Dell workstation (which has two quad-core Xeon processors, a triple drive RAID system and an AMD ATI FireGL V7600 graphics card), even with HD footage.

The effects system is less successful. Edius’s own effects tools are limited to transform, opacity and some basic colour correction. Everything else is provided through some bundled collections: the effects collections ProDAD VitaScene, NewBlueFX Motion Effects, Art Effects and Filter Effects, iZotope VST audio plug-ins, and the ProDAD Mercalli stabilisation filter.

None of these are great collections, and together they’re a bit of a mess, with different interfaces and overlapping lists of effects making them fiddly to use. VitaScene also has one of the worst on-screen interfaces we’ve seen in many years.

Transforms — like all effects and transitions in Edius 5 — are created and manipulated using a pop-up window. This Video Layout Tool can now keyframe pan and zoom effects. The pop-up window system is workable but we prefer Final Cut and Premiere’s intergrated effects panels.

Edius’s interface has improved a lot since its first release, but it still feels cramped on a single screen. Even on two screens, the reliance on pop-out windows seems outdated.

As you’d expect, Edius includes support for a huge range of formats. Previously you had to upgrade to the Broadcast version of Edius to get your hands on formats such as XDCAM and Thomson’s own Infinity JPEG 2000 for its Infinity digital cinema camcorder. Now you get them all out of the box. New in version 5, you also get support for Ikergami’s GFCAM and export of Infinity JPEG 2000, AVC-Intra and AVC-HD. If you deal with a lot of different footage types, Edius could be a godsend, as it happily mixes them all on the same timeline.

Exporting used to be handled through a cut-down version of Thomson’s ProCoder too, but with Edius 5, you get the built-in Encoder. This supports many more formats, adds more options and can batch process your output — but doesn’t run in the background.

Other new features include Windows Vista support, support for clip markers, a freeze-frame function, and better drawing and kerning tools.

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