d' Arte Media Creations, Buford, Georgia
© 2003, Walter Biscardi
All rights reserved.
is a leader in both the Final
Cut Pro and Pinnacle
CinéWave forum communities at CreativeCOW.net where
Cow members have long appreciated his friendly and insightful
input. In this article, Walter explores the new powers found
in Pinnacle's CinéWave 4. Walter is a longtime user of
CinéWave, having used it in many projects in his studio
where he serves a long list of corporate and broadcast clients.
How does the new CinéWave meet his demands and expectations,
along with those of his clients? Walter takes CinéWave
4 out for a demanding ride and gives Cow members his verdict
as a user whose own investment is behind his opinions. This is
no editorial done by a trade journalist with a unit for review,
these are the words of a guy whose own investment and decisions
either makes or breaks his company's future. See what he thinks
of CinéWave after owning one for quite some time and growing
with the system as it has developed...
Welcome to the age of Final Cut Pro 4! "Wow, it's got uncompressed codecs and RT Extreme so
I don't even need a capture card anymore!" Well, you
might think that until you get ahold of the CinéWave 4
Pinnacle has taken the proverbial bar
and raised it ten-fold in the world of post production: From
image quality to production workflow to real-time interoperability,
CinéWave 4 delivers on the promise of Final Cut Pro as
a professional Post Production standard.
For those of you who are already familiar with the CinéWave product, jump on down to Can't We All Just Get Along? For the rest of you, here's a brief history lesson. (Pay attention, there will be a test!)
First off, just what IS the CinéWave? There seems to be
come confusion out there as to just what this thing is. Is it
a converter box like the Canopus? Is it just software? Is it
just like that iO thing? CinéWave is a three-part system
combining software and hardware.
Part one is the TARGA Cine Engine. This
is a 64-bit PCI card that installs inside your PowerMac and features
two digital tether connections, more on those shortly. The processing
engine allows 8/16bit or 8bit RGBA (RGB+Alpha) native processing
in real-time. The card also features HD and SD on the same card,
no need to tie up two PCI slots. The card is updated with each
release of the CinéWave software.
Part two is the CinéWave Software.
The software basically plugs inside of Final Cut Pro and gives
you additional Capture, Sequence and Video Processing options
within FCP. You will also find a CinéWave Control Panel
in the OS 10 System Preferences tab. Here you set up the actual
CinéWave hardware to input/output of your video and audio
along with Genlock. If you purchased the RT Pro option, you would
enter your registration key in this panel as well. Depending
on the version of CinéWave you purchase, you can get over
40 real-time effects and filters in 8, 10 and 16bit SD, and HD
enters the real-time arena with the addition of Pan and Scan
RT with CinéWave 4. The base CinéWave Classic RT
features some 21 RT effects and filters including the 2 Way Color
Part three is the Breakout Box. This
is the device which connects your tape decks to the TARGA Cine
Engine for video/audio input/ouput (or I/O) Depending on your
source and record decks, you have options as to what type of
breakbox you will need/want for your system. As of this writing,
there are 5 options for breakout boxes: Pro Analog, Pro Digital
(SDI), Pro Digital Plus, Pro Digital & Analog, Pro HD Digital
(HD-SDI). These BOB's simply snap into the tethers on the back
of the TARGA Cine Engine.
IO. and then some! (or my friend BOB)
Now remember I said the Cine Engine has two digital tether connections?
That means you can have two breakout boxes connected to the system
at any time and they both work together. Whatever the format,
whatever input/output combination you need, CinéWave has
the answer. For all you folks hopping on the 24fps train, Pinnacle
throws in some real-time 3:2 pulldown for 24 > 30fps conversion
should you go that route.
Cool feature alert! All outputs are hot
at all times on the CinéWave BOB's. This is true for both
HD and SD. In one pass, you can lay out an HD master and simultaneously
lay out a letterboxed SD version in SDI, Component and Composite.
In a day to day editing situation, this is a feature that really
helps improve efficiency when it comes to mastering and making
client copies. Nothing has to be patched, routed or whatever,
the signals just come straight from the original source into
the record device.
For sheer flexibility, you can't beat
the Pro Digital and Analog BOB, it's the Swiss Army Knife of
Analog and Digital I/O. SDI, Component, Composite, S-Video, Analog
Audio, AES/EBU Audio, TDIF Audio, Unbalanced Audio all in the
one BOB. Just plug in an HD BOB on Tether 2 and you're ready
for whatever walks in the door. Here's a full detail from the
Pinnacle website on what each BOB offers and remember, you can
connect two of these at a time to your system.
- Video - Analog Composite, Component,
S-Video, Ref In (BNC)
- Audio Analog Unbalanced 10
dB(RCA), Balanced +4 dB (XLR), Pro Digital (SDI)
Pro Digital (SDI):
- Serial Digital interface (SMPTE 259M)
resolution at 10-bits with embedded audio @ 20-bit/48khz.
Pro Digital Plus:
- I/O for uncompressed standard definition
- Supports up to 4 channels AES/EBU audio.
- Supports monitoring of analog composite
video and RCA unbalanced audio.
Pro Digital & Analog:
- Video Composite, Component, S-Video,
Analog 10 bit, SDI
- Audio 4 in / 6 out analog Balanced
Audio, 4 in / 4 out AES/EBU audio @ 20-bit/48 khz, 2 in / 2 out
S-PDIF digital audio, 2 in / 2 out Unbalanced Audio, 8 in / 8
out TDIF digital audio, SDI embedded audio @ 20-bit/48 khz
Pro HD Digital (HD-SDI):
- HD SDI with embedded audio @ 20-bit/48
- Supports 1080i/30, 1080i/29.97, 1080p/24,
- Limited support for 720p.
Of course beyond all of these, you can
also use the Firewire input on the back of the Mac for bringing
in your DV, DVCAM, DV50, etc So essentially there's almost no
limit to the amount of Video/Audio I/O with a CinéWave
we all just get along?
With Final Cut Pro 3 and CinéWave
3, we essentially had two editing systems. For DV editing, CinéWave
was basically ignored and FCP handled all the work. Only by capturing
and editing with TARGA codecs could we take advantage of CinéWave.
Well Apple and Pinnacle seemed to have "found the love"
because CinéWave can handle as much of the workload as
Photo-JPEG, DV, 8bit, 10bit, 16bit uncompressed
can all co-exist in the same timeline with no rendering. Offline,
online, whatever, it all plays together and it really works.
Pinnacle has even incorporated the Apple codecs through the CinéWave
hardware so we can now capture to DV and Photo-JPEG codecs through
the BOB's. What does this mean? Well it really opens up a much
more efficient workflow for just about any type of editing situation.
You don't have to juggle timelines and
codecs depending on what type of footage you have. Let's see,
we'll make a DV timeline and cut all that material together,
then we'll just move that timeline into the YUV-16 timeline and
just render the DV footage once. Nope, just plop the DV footage
into a TARGA timeline and away you go.
Let's take a look at a typical "old
way" of working with CinéWave 3. CineOffline was
not exactly the best offline codec in the world, so many of us
took to using the DV codec as our offline codec of choice. It's
very clean and the file sizes are very small. So I would typically
take my S-Video out of the Beta Deck and run it through my DSR-11
so it would be converted to Firewire. Then I needed to hook up
my video monitor to the DSR-11 so we could view the offline edit.
When the offline was completed, I would recapture all the footage
using the Targa YUV or YUV 16 footage via SDI. Then switch my
video monitor back to Component to view my final edit.
Here's the "new way" of doing
things with CinéWave 4. Leave my beta deck hooked up via
SDI in on the Pro D&A BOB, set my Capture Settings to TARGA
Cine NTSC YUV to DV and voila. I'm now capturing DV files via
the CinéWave BOB. Set up a Targa YUV Sequence and edit
with that DV footage in the timeline and all of this is output
to my monitor via Component from the CinéWave BOB. Then
just recapture into TARGA YUV or YUV 16 for my final.
What about DV or DVCAM files that you
want to capture via Firewire direct from a device like the DSR-11?
Go ahead and use the standard DV Capture Settings that Apple
provides. Then set up a TARGA YUV or YUV 16 Sequence and start
editing. Now you're editing with DV files, yet you can use uncompressed
8bit, 10bit and 16bit graphics without all the artifacts and
aliasing usually associated with the DV codec. You can also add
Targa 8bit and 16bit video clips as well. As we all know, DV
video looks very good, it's the graphics that generally bring
it down. With CinéWave and realtime processing of 8bit,10bit,16bit
material with DV, this is no longer an issue.
A little sidenote: This DV with uncompressed
graphics options has been a really nice addition to our workflow
since the DV files are so small. I can capture a tremendous amount
of footage and for some of the corporate projects we do, the
DV codec is just fine. As I said, DV footage is very good. Add
realtime playback, realtime effects, uncompressed graphics and
you have a very high quality video with very little storage space.
What's the catch? Really, there's only
one catch, you need to work in TARGA Sequences to take full advantage
of all the features CinéWave has to offer. If you want
to work in a DV Sequence, then Apple's RT Extreme will be limit
of RT you will get and your video won't play out to a monitor
via the CinéWave BOB's. Also, TARGA files will NOT playback
in realtime in a DV Sequence. But with all the RT available from
CinéWave and uncompressed graphics, why would you work
in a DV timeline?
Ok, so we're up to the moment of truth.
Software is installed and does CinéWave 4 really do all
the things that Pinnacle promised back at NAB? Well,.. no. Actually
Pinnacle ADDED features that were not announced
in April. When was the last time you heard that from a company?
Sorry to disappoint you, but we threw in some more features
that you weren't expecting. Alrighty then!
As if we didn't have enough formats to
play with in realtime, DV50 support has been added. Watch your
titles dance around in real-time in LiveType. Create that perfect
John Williams score in Soundtrack with real-time video out. Support
for up to 5 uncompressed real-time tracks. (3 video, 2 graphics
with alpha channels.)
And finally, the real jaw-dropper for
me, real-time support of the Animation codec. Oh yeah baby! Create
After Effects comps or animations with alpha channels and just
drop them into a TARGA Sequence. No rendering required, just
hit play and away you go.
Some truly great surprises for me as
I worked with the software have included the greatly improved
Genlock. Genlock was a bit flaky in Cine 3.0 with the Ref-In
option temperamental at best. Genlock is now very solid and if
my reference device is not turned on when the system is firing
up, CinéWave let's me know by throwing up interference
on the NTSC monitor. I turn on the Genlock device and all is
Log and Capture times have improved as
well. Launching the L&C in Cine 3 could be trying at times
as the Genlock issue seemed to slow down the entire procedure.
The improved Genlock has turned Log and Capture into a smooth
If you really want to work in DV, FCP's
operation with the CinéWave enabled has been greatly improved.
No longer do you need to disable the CinéWave drivers
to speed up performance in DV.
Speed remapping is real-time and keyframable
in full uncompressed. Truly a lot of fun to play with.
But does it all work? Yeah, it does.
it really does. Believe me, I was very skeptical when I saw the
laundry list of features in the Press Releases.
Real-Time, all the time even in HD
Ok, so we've talking about real-time
through-out this article. Remember, there is Apple's own RT Extreme
which uses the CPU to create real-time effects for DV footage.
Then there is the TARGA Cine Engine which creates real-time effects
for 8bit, 10bit and 16bit footage. The two work hand in hand
and that's where you just get this tremendous power of Final
Cut Pro and CinéWave. All formats working together in
real-time in one timeline.
Notice I said 8bit, 10bit AND 16bit?
In Cine 3 we had a trade off. We had all the RT we wanted so
long as we stayed in an 8bit timeline. Once we were ready to
master and setup a 16bit timeline, everything had to be rendered.
Not anymore. Go ahead and capture to TARGA YUV16 and edit in
a YUV16 timeline. All the RT still works. All the format interoperability
In addition, CinéWave's RT filters
and effects are stackable and keyframable in real-time. Keep
in mind that RT is completely dependent on the speed of your
system. The faster your system, the more RAM, the faster your
SCSI drives, the less fragmented the drives are, etc. all play
a role in how much RT you will get and how well that RT will
be sustained in day to day operation. Keep your drives clean
and keep your system maintained for the best possible operation.
My favorite real-time feature continues
to be the CinéWave ChromaKey. It's gorgeous and it's real-time.
This has actually allowed us to add Chroma Key to projects where
maybe we wouldn't have because the renders were so long and tedious.
Now it's just plop in the video, do a couple of mouse clicks
and there it is. It's a beautiful thing and always impresses
Oh and one more thing. CinéWave
4 introduces real-time for HDTV. RT Pan and Scan is fully keyframable
and perfect for HD output to SD. Remember, with the HD BOB and
a Standard-Def BOB attached to your CinéWave, you can
output HD and SD simultaneously. So if we can do Pan and Scan
with the G4, what will happen when the G5's hit? I guess we'll
have to keep our eyes peeled on the Pinnacle website to find
What kind of real-time do you get with
the various flavors of CinéWave? As of this writing, here
are the CinéWave packages:
CinéWave Classic RT
This is primarily designed for folks who already own Final Cut
Pro and Commotion Pro or After Effects. Classic RT includes the
TARGE Cine Engine, over 20 RT uncompressed effects for Final
Cut Pro, and a self-contained application called CineAcquire.
CineAcquire is a deck and device control app that allows the
user to grab still frames, do batch captures or record to tape
from within Commotion Pro, After Effects or as a stand alone
app. RT features within FCP include:
- *Cross Dissolve
- *Cross Iris
- *Diamond Iris
- Image Control:
- *Brightness & Contrast
- Color Correction:
- *Color Corrector 2-way
CinéWave RT includes all the features of Classic RT but
also includes Final Cut Pro and Commotion Pro and Knoll Light
Factory. Commotion Pro is an outstanding compositing tool and
the Knoll Light Factory takes lens flares and light effects to
CinéWave RT Pro
CinéWave RT Pro includes all the features of CinéWave
RT and adds a ton of additional RT effects and filters including:
- Color Correction:
- *3-Way Color Corrector
- Motion Effects:
- *Crop, Scale, Center and Anchor Points
*Still Image Graphics with Alpha
*CinéWave Chroma (with Spill Suppression)
Let's wrap this up
By now you can figure out that I'm more
than pleased with CinéWave 4.0. Pinnacle has delivered
on its promises; no, actually they have exceeded their promises
and have now put us on par with just about any NLE system on
the market. From the quality of the image to the flexibility
of the system, I just don't see any comparison at this price
point. In fact, I think Andrew Baum from Pinnacle says it best,
"You could spend ten times the money, but you are not
going to find anything close to this scalability and flexibility."
Flexibility. That's the true key to Final
Cut Pro. From offlining on a laptop to finishing a feature film
in HDTV we have more flexibility than editing systems costing
$100,000 or more.
Flexibility is also the key to longevity.
G5's are upon us and in the not too distant future we should
have dual 3ghz systems in our midst. So what does this mean for
CinéWave? I think it points to a very bright future. CinéWave
4 shows us that Apple and Pinnacle can work together and make
a very strong Final Cut Pro product even stronger. As the machines
get faster, I think we can look to see more and more real-time
filters come into the uncompressed world. And with the addition
of RT Pan and Scan, I would expect CinéWave to really
propel Final Cut Pro into the world of real-time HD post-production.
Now won't THAT be something?
After 13 years in the business, cutting
in the linear world, CMX world, NLE world, I honestly feel that
Final Cut Pro 4.0 / CinéWave 4.0 is the best editing system
I have worked on, period. If you are serious about working in
uncompressed and want the ultimate flexibility in formats and
real-time functionality, CinéWave should be in your toolbox.
Walter Biscardi, Jr.
d'Arte media creations
Creative Cow Final Cut Pro, CinéWave and Atlanta FCPUG
This article first appeared on CreativeCOW.net.
and is reprinted here with permission.
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