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Turnkey Editing Computer Review: DPS Velocity D3D-4500XI-36

Turnkey Editing Computer Review: DPS Velocity D3D-4500XI-36

DPS Velocity D3D-4500XI-36 Turnkey Editing Workstation

Professional-level Editing

A complete antithesis of the Sony VAIO PictureBook (which we also review in this issue) is the DPS Velocity V3D-4500DXI-36 editing workstation: a heavyweight in more ways than one. This turnkey editing workstation by DPS, is physically heavy. Weighing in at over 45 pounds without a monitor. It promises to provide real-time 3D transitions, a wide variety of professional-level input and output options, as well as full control of your video. This system is not for the faint of heart. Because of its features (and its price tag), DPS has clearly targeted the professional video editor. Let's take a closer look to see what makes this system run.

The Need for Speed

The Velocity workstation uses the DPS Reality Studio Disk Recorder as its capture card. This capture card allows you to work with uncompressed video. Added onto this is the V3DX real-time 3D effects card and the SDI/IEEE 1394 digital input card that allows you to capture video from a Mini DV camcorder or even from a professional-level DV cam or deck using the Serial Digital Interface.

To run it all, DPS started with a Pentium III 500MHz on a dual-chip board (you can add a second chip later if you wish). Then there is 256MB of RAM and a very hot multiple-monitor 32MB Appian Jeronimo video card. This card is built on a Permedia 2 chipset and has OpenGL drivers just in case you plan to use this workstation for 3D animations.

The Velocity uses LVD (Low Voltage Differential) SCSI drives. These drives allow you to attach up to 16 SCSI devices and transfer data at a rate of up to 80MB/second. The Velocity has a pair of SCSI drives in the tower; a 9GB system disk and a 9GB disk for audio capture. Then there is a Rorke Data external RAID tower. This tower houses two 18GB 10,000rpm Seagate Cheetah drives, giving you 36GB of video capture room. Yes, the system has separate drives for audio and video files. That is because in DPS's proprietary file format, the audio and video are stored as separate files on separate drives. This isn't uncommon. A similar method is used by Media 100 and Avid systems.

Putting this system together takes a little more effort than the typical consumer editing system. First, the Cheetah drives come packaged, in foam, separately from the RAID case. It was easy to install them in the RAID system, but you do have to crack the Rorke's case, which houses the RAID array, to get your system going. Then, you need to stop, gather your thoughts and attach the cables from the back of the Velocity's case to the breakout. Nothing too difficult, but you will need to refer to the instruction manual to sort out all of the cables and connections. Fortunately, the editing software comes pre-installed. After installing the hard drives and getting the breakout box wired up, you're ready to capture some video. The entire setup process took us nearly an hour.

It's Got it All

You're going to have a hard time finding an audio/visual source that won't hook into the Velocity's breakout box. This thing has the works. On the analog video side, it's got S-video, composite video (BNC) and component video in/out. For digital video, you can use either the consumer 6-pin IEEE 1394 FireWire (a 4-pin to 6-pin adapter cable is included for use with your Mini DV camcorder) or the professional SDI.

The options for audio are just as comprehensive. You can use unbalanced stereo audio with locking XLR inputs or good old analog RCA audio. On the digital audio side, there is a balanced AES/EBU XLR connector and an unbalanced AES/EBU connector. There is also a consumer S/PDIF digital audio jack like the ones you'd find on a DAT deck.

Rounding out the breakout box are connections for VITC time code and an RS-422 jack for controlling decks. When DPS puts together a breakout box, they pull all the stops. The breakout box can be mounted into a rack if you wish.

To use this impressive array of capture options, you enter the Reality program. This capture utility features full waveform and vectorscope options, and you can use controls to alter your footage as you capture it. You can capture clips manually one at a time or log clips to batch capture.

Real-time Means Now

After you've captured your video, you're ready to enter DPS's Velocity editing software and really get to work. With the 3D add-on card installed, this system runs real-time 3D transitions that would leave other systems in Renderville. You'd be surprised at what kinds of 3D transitions this system can do in real-time. If time is money to you, then the time you save with this system can offset the initial sticker price shock.

The Velocity editing software is easy to learn. It offers cool features besides the real-time effects and transitions. The system allows you to create real-time picture-in-picture and even does real-time variable speed playback like the slow and fast-motion effects seen on a lot of today's TV commercials. This software will be comfortable for users of Premiere or MediaStudio Pro. In fact, you may find that you like the Velocity software better, especially considering the addition of meters for your audio, and other nice touches.

The system includes a nice software bundle. For titling, DPS includes a copy of Inscriber CG. This is a full-featured titler that should be able to handle most titling needs that you have. To tweak your audio, the package also includes Sound Forge. For compositing special effects, there is the Digital Fusion DFX software. This software allows you to composite unlimited layers of video, or you make any color corrections you need.

While you would be wasting a lot of your hardware's potential, it would be possible to install another editing program on this machine. You'd give up all of the real-time effects, so why do it? If you are dead set on using files from another system, Velocity can import and export most types of files.

Who Needs One?

The Velocity is probably the most-powerful editing workstation that we've reviewed to date. You can do some amazing work quickly. With the range of options that are available, you'd have to work hard to find a camcorder or audio product that wouldn't easily work with this editing station. Remember, this system is targeted at serious professionals. It's price and features set it apart as a tool that will likely appeal only to our money making readership. -LL

TECH SPECS

DPS Velocity V3D-4500DXI-36 Turnkey Editing Workstation

  • Processor Intel Pentium III 500MHz on dual-processor Tyan motherboard
  • RAM 256MB PC100 SDRAM
  • OS Microsoft Windows NT 4.0
  • Drives 9.1GB IBM Ultra-2 LVD SCSI system, 9.1GB IBM Ultra-2 LVD SCSI audio capture, Rorke Data Max Array (RAID) 36GB Seagate Cheetah 10,000rpm (2x18GB SCSI LVD drives) video capture
  • Sound Sounblaster 16
  • Capture Card DPS Velocity
  • Video Card Appian Jeronimo 2000 32MB RAM (Permedia 2 Chipset) with OpenGL and multi-monitor support
  • A/V Inputs and Outputs IEEE 1394 , Serial Digital Interface (SDI) in (x1) and out (x2), composite video in (x1) and out (x2), S-video in (x1) and out (x2), component video in (x1) and out (x2), stereo unbalanced XLR in and out, stereo RCA audio in and out, Digital AES audio in and out, digital EBU audio in and out, digital RCA audio (S/PDIF) in and out, 1/8-inch audio in, VITC, LTC in and out, RS-422, 1/8-inch audio out, mini mike and 1/8-inch speaker out
  • Other Inputs and Outputs USB x2, COM x2, Parallel, PS/2 mouse, PS/2 keyboard, VGA, 10Base-T Ethernet
  • Included Accessories rackmountable breakout box, external RAID enclosure, keyboard, mouse

TEST RESULTS

Strengths

  • Wide variety of inputs and outputs
  • Real-time 3D Transitions
  • Handles uncompressed video

Weaknesses

  • Too expensive for hobbyists

SUMMARY

  • The DPS Velocity turnkey system is a serious tool for serious editors, it can handle almost any editing scenario without breaking a sweat.

DPS Velocity V3D-4500DXI-36 Turnkey Editing Workstation
($17,999)
Digital Processing Systems USA
11 Spiral Drive, Suite 10
Florence, KY 41042
(800) 775-3314
www.dps.com

Tags:  July 2000
Larry
Lemm
Sat, 07/01/2000 - 12:00am