Avid Xpress DV 3.5 Review - Digital / Desktop Nonlinear Video Editing Software Reviews

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Avid Xpress DV 3.5

Digital / desktop video editing software: Avid Xpress DV 3.5Since its inception, Avid has been focused almost entirely on hugely expensive editing systems for broadcasters and film production companies. While Avid sells small handfuls of systems at the very top of the economic ladder, companies such as Adobe and Pinnacle are supplying thousands of software and hardware products to the growing numbers of home editors and freelance professionals.

Avid's sole software-only product, the Xpress DV nonlinear editing package brings most of the interface and functionality of the company's high-end systems to independent producers and advanced hobbyists.

Avid Xpress DV 3.5 is clearly meant to go head-to-head with Apple's Final Cut Pro.. Until version 3.5, Xpress DV was a Windows-only product. But now it ratchets up the competition with Final Cut by running on Mac OS X and providing full cross-platform compatibility for sharing media and project files.

What's more, this superb editing tool is bundled with Boris FX 6.1 LTD, Boris Graffiti 2.1 LTD, and, for Windows, Sonic Solutions DVDit LE.

Like all modern Avids, Xpress DV 3.5 is a highly refined editing tool. Its powerful logging, batch-capture, and media-management functions make it especially well suited for long-form projects.

Xpress DV shines somewhat less brightly when it comes to effects. While billed as a real-time editor, it provides real-time previews only. As with Final Cut Pro, all effects appear in real time only in a window on the computer screen and when you disable output via FireWire. Effects must be rendered before they can be viewed at full quality on a professional video monitor.

Avid Xpress DV accommodates eight video and eight audio tracks. Via nesting, you can expand video and audio tracks.

When it comes to color correction, Xpress DV's new color-correction tool is unrivalled in the current generation of software-based editors. Lifted from Avid's top-end Symphony system, this tool truly obliterates the traditional offline/online distinction, enabling quick and precise image sweetening.

Audio is another area where Xpress DV 3.5 excels, offering powerful gain and equalization controls. Particularly nifty is the Automation Gain Tool, which lets you ride gain on the fly while playing an edit.

Xpress DV imports and exports all the typical video, still, and audio formats, including QuickTime and MPEG. Perhaps the greatest limitation of this software is that it supports full-resolution DV only--there's no low-res draft mode to save disk space and no support for higher-end digital video formats such as uncompressed and high-definition video.

For DV editing, however, Xpress DV is a winner.

If you need a comprehensive postproduction package, consider Avid's Xpress DV 3.5 PowerPack. For several hundred dollars more than the basic package, it includes additional effects, better titling, and, most significantly, Avid's Film Scribe, which enables Xpress DV to generate frame-accurate cutlists for film-originated projects.

Avid Xpress DV 3.5 Features

Avid Real-time Architecture

  • Over 100 customizable real-time software effects and multiple simultaneous real-time streams to create and view richly layered effects without rendering
  • Real-time professional level color correction tools that increase productivity and deliver better, more sophisticated results
  • Real-time performance on a wide range of desktops and notebooks - including all Apple PowerBook G4s
  • ExpertRender optimizes real-time performance
  • Keyframable, real-time picture-in-picture effects
  • Real-time display in both interface and video monitor

Expert Color Correction Toolset

  • Patent-pending NaturalMatch color matching allows users to click on a face in two shots to instantly match skin tones
  • A three-window view allows users to more easily compare color from frame to frame
  • Customizable real-time waveform and vectorscope for more accurate assessment of color correction
    Customizable, advanced vectorscope, waveform, histogram and parade monitors include RGH and YcbCr histogram and parade, Y & YC waveform, and quad displays.
  • Based on sophisticated color correction technology found in Avid Symphony - no other software-only NLE comes close to this level of professional color correction.

Customizable, Professional Tools

  • Industry-standard Avid user interface that's easy to navigate and learn
  • Customizable menu, toolbars and keyboard commands to enhance your workflow can be saved and transfered to other Avid editing systems
  • Unlimited video tracks via nesting for dynamic multilayered compositions
  • Best of class audio tools including real-time audio mix, punch-in, EQ, automation gain, stereo VU meters, and DigiDesign AudioSuite
  • Easy manipulation of imported graphics, including Adobe Photoshop layers
  • AutoSave with Attic folder to revert to previous version and 32 levels of undo
  • Superior title animation, effects, and 2D/3D compositing through Boris FX6 LTD and GRAFFITI2 LTD
  • SuperBins provide access to all media using minimal screen real estate

Productivity Features

  • Windows XP Professional and Mac OS X versions in one box
  • Avid One-Step technology to automate common tasks
  • Dynamic storyboarding with drag and drop to the timeline
  • Scrub clips with JKL control in any bin window
  • Award winning Avid Tour quickly brings new users up to speed.
  • Online tutorial and documentation
  • DV scene extraction instantly builds individual clips from a single DV clip
  • Six customizable toolsets speed up common tasks: Basic editing, source/record editing, color correction, effects editing, audio editing and recording from tape
  • Dual-processor support

Streamlined Interoperability + Workflow

  • Avid Unity LANshare support for sharing projects and storage in workgroups (up to 20 Avid Xpress DV clients per LANShare EX)
  • Projects, bins, and sequences bi-directionally compatible with other Avid editing systems, including Media Composer, Symphony, NewsCutter, and Avid Xpress
  • Avid DV codec provides higher quality DV playback in After Effects
  • DVCPRO PAL 4:1:1 support
  • Upgradable to Avid Xpress Meridien hardware
  • Import/export in many popular formats, including: MPEG-1, QuickTime 5, and QuickTime Reference Movie
  • OMF files for collaboration with graphics and other systems. EDL import/export allows finishing in tape online facilities
  • Seamless audio exchange with Digidesign Pro Tools systems
  • AVX Plug-in support to extend the native capabilities

Avid Xpress DV3.5 Bundle Includes

  • Boris FX LTD
  • Boris Graffiti LTD
  • Sonic DVDit! SE for Windows

Min Operating System

  • Apple MacOS X 10.1.4, Apple MacOS X 10.1.5, Microsoft Windows XP
  • Min RAM size 256 MB
  • IEEE 1394 FireWire port

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