As both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray technologies continue to emerge, the need for authoring of high definition video content intensifies. Until recently, setting up a HD authoring facility required the use of limited and specialized hardware-based equipment. Now, things are slowly changing, as the first software HD authoring packages appear.
Some may feel that talking about authoring of HD content is premature, since the
majority, including semi-professional or corporate users have not yet had any
hands-on experience with HD hardware equipment, while it's pointless to mention
PC users yet.
However, the "HD concept" will no doubt become a part of our everyday PC use, even
if this may happen in a couple of years from now. So what software packages are
currently available or are due out soon?
Final Cut Studio Pro
are being offered Final Cut Studio Pro, which features the Final Cut Pro 5. Final
Cut Pro 5 includes SD, DV and HD editing capabilities, as well as audio creation
and SD and HD DVD authoring features of DVD Studio Pro 4. The software is
compatible with the HD formats produced by Sony and Panasonic HD cameras, capable
of converting DV and native HDV to fully uncompressed HD. The software is capable
of producing HD discs that meet the HD-DVD standard requirements, convert PAL to
NTSC content and vice-versa, or even convert HD content to SD. In addition, the
package includes Apples DVD Studio Pro 4 DVD Authoring software.
Final Cut Pro Studio is available online from Apple's store
for $1299. Final Cut Pro is also
available for $999.
As an alternative to
Apple's packages, semi-proffesionals can purchase the Edius HD package from
Canopus. The software is also compatible with formatted HD content from JVC, Sony
and Panasonic cameras.
The Canopus HD software codec provides realtime compression, processing, filtering
and decoding of multiple HD streams. The Canopus HD software codec supports HD
signal recording, using the Canopus HDRX-E1 board, and playback from the hard disk
to HD-D5, HDCAM or DVCProHD VTRs.
Editing is powered by the Canopus EDIUS Pro 3 software. EDIUS Pro 3 provides
editors with realtime, mixed format HD/SD editing, including HD, HDV, DV, MPEG-2,
lossless and uncompressed video. EDIUS Pro 3 also features realtime playback and
DV output of all effects, keyers, transitions and titles, and can export projects
to any format or medium required, including DVD-Video.
The Blu-Ray side
Back in April, Sonic Solutions and Microsoft demonstrated the iHD concept,
originally developed by Microsoft and The Walt Disney Studios. The concept aims at
delivering the potential of advanced interactivity for new HD-based disc formats.
Sonic demonstrated at NAB a preview of the future of high definition video
entertainment, showcasing Sonic?s patented InterActual technology which enables
viewers of HD video discs to experience interactivity along with access to
movie-synchronized content that can come from disc or the Internet.
Many of the features highlighted in the demonstration build on the same type of
capabilities already supported in Sonic?s authoring systems and workflow
solutions for interactive DVDs, and are being integrated into Sonic?s systems for
HD-based discs to facilitate the planned launches of next-generation formats in
2005 and 2006.
Sony Pictures has also started up its own in-house Blu-ray Authoring Group in
Culver City to develop authoring software, but Sonic Solutions and Panasonic are
collaborating on their own Blu-ray authoring systems.
Sonic Blu-Ray Creator is the first commercial authoring system to enable high-end
production facilities and major motion picture studios to create titles for the
Blu-ray Disc format. The software fully supports the Blu-ray Disc HDMV
specification but its authoring environment is based on familiar DVD authoring
Blu-Ray Creator offers support for the latest high-definition codecs for video and
audio, up to 32 audio tracks for multi-language titles and expanded interactivity,
including pop-up menus, full-color subpictures, subtitling and tools to provide
Sonic DVD Producer HD
Incorporating Microsoft's iHD features, Sonic DVD Producer is capable of creating
WMV HD DVD-ROM titles, encoding HD video and audio in real time, author menus and
Supporting Microsoft's WMV HD
DVD technology proposal (http://www.wmvhd.com), Sonic DVD Producer HD delivers
high definition 720P or 1080P video content for playback on Windows PCs. In
addition, the software is able to produce WMV HD material to standard DVD titles.
We are talking about a hybrid title with standard DVD-Video for playback on
set-top players and HD content for playback on PCs.
The HD-DVD side - Sonic Scenarist HD
Possibly at the top of Sonic's packages, Scenarist HD is the first HD DVD
authoring system. The software features the same logical workflow and user
interface already familiar to the majority of professional DVD authors.
Main new features and capabilities of Scenarist HD include support for the latest
high-definition video codecs (H.264 AVC, VC-1, and MPEG-2) and audio codecs (Dolby
Digital +, DTS HD, and MLP), menus with up to 48 buttons each as well as 256-color
subpictures and expanded navigation capabilities.
Ulead Systems Inc. has also received the endorsement of Toshiba Corporation for
the company's work in developing HD DVD technology for high definition video.
However, there is not much information available on the progress of this
Avid Xpress Pro HD
that will support HD-DVD authoring. The software supports capturing and output in
native DV25, DV50, and DV100 (DVCPRO HD) media, mix DV, SD, and HD in the same
timeline, and export to formats such as MPEG-1, MPEG-2 SD/HD, MPEG-4 AVC (H.264),
WM9/WMV HD, Macromedia Flash, Real and Quicktime.
Avid Xpress Pro HD is available online at AvidStore