The RexRack Goes Real Time
by Larry Lemm
DVRex-R3 Turnkey Editing Workstation
711 Charcot Ave.
San Jose, CA 95131
In our April 2000 issue we reviewed Canopus’ RexRack. Now Canopus is back with another turnkey editing workstation that promises to work in real time. Although they might look similar from the outside, these are two different beasts.
The DVRex-R3 combines three Canopus products: the DVRex-M1 capture card, the DVRex-RT real-time option board and the Xplode effects engine and video adapter. This combination of tools promises to make this the most powerful Canopus turnkey yet.
It Still Has the Rackmount
The hardware roundup of the DVRex-R3 starts with two Pentium III 500MHz chips. There is also 512MB of SDRAM. For a graphics adapter, the R3 has the Canopus Xplode. The Xplode is a Nvidia TNT2-chip graphics adapter with features to accelerate video special effects. It has the Canopus DVRex-M1 for digitizing analog video and capturing DV through the FireWire ports. And it also has the DVRex-RT, which is a card that works in conjunction with the DVRex-M1 to provide real-time effects processing.
For storage, this system uses an 18GB Ultra2 SCSI drive partitioned into a 2GB system volume and a 15GB capture volume (the rest is for formatting overhead, etc.). It also has a 32x CD-ROM. Canopus stuffs all of this impressive hardware into a rackmountable case that is similar to the one used in the RexRack. Once again it’s nice to be able to mount your editing workstations into a rack.
Capturing is much the same on the R3 as it was on RexRack, or just about any editor that sports the DVRex-M1. It batch captures and has deck control. Having the breakout box on the front of the workstation is a great bonus: it makes cabling and uncabling video gear much less of a hassle.
Once you’ve captured your video clips, you are ready to edit them. Here is where the R3 stands out from previous offerings from Canopus.
What’s the Difference?
The main difference between the RexRack and the R3 are the DVRex-RT card and the beefed-up hardware in the R3. To take advantage of its multiple processors, this system runs under Windows NT instead of Windows 98 (the RexRack uses the latter). It also has a SCSI drive where the RexRack had IDE drives. Lastly, this unit has an Ethernet adapter so you can plug it into your Local Area Network (LAN).
All of these additions make the R3 able to perform many editing processes without wasting time rendering. With the DVRex-RT taking on additional processing, you are able to perform transitions, color correction, slow motion, chromakey and picture-in-picture effects in real time. You can also create audio effects, such as reverb, echo, balance and equalizing in real time. By avoiding the rendering phase of these operations, you can save a lot of time using a system like the R3.
Real-time is for RexEdit
On the downside, you can’t do these effects real-time in Adobe Premiere. For real-time functionality, you have to use the RexEdit RT software to edit your video. RexEdit is Canopus’ own video editing software, and it does a great job. It uses a timeline interface, and when combined with the effects of Xplode, offers quite a few interesting transitions and filters. Canopus is working with Adobe to give real-time capability within Premiere.
The R3 ships with Adobe Premiere 5.1 pre-installed, along with Artel Software’s Boris FX. You don’t get the real-time effects and transitions that you get with the DVRex-RT and RexEdit, but many editors who are already familiar with Premiere may want to stick with what they know. One note though: don’t try to run Premiere and RexEdit at the same time. Each program wants to be the boss, and the confusion that followed when we tried it made the computer crash.
Not Enough File Handlers?
One problem we encountered when using the R3 was opening library files with Premiere. The machine would mysteriously give us the message that we didn’t have enough file handlers. To work around the error, we had to manually import the clips into our library file. Hopefully the Canopus/Adobe team will be able to fix this quirk in this turnkey system.
All told, the DVRex-R3 is a serious real-time editing workstation that can get your job done fast. Its combination of powerful hardware and familiar software make it a natural choice for the video editor who’s looking to step up to a faster workstation. You won’t currently get the real-time effects if you use Premiere with it, but it will still be a screaming fast editor. If you like Canopus RexEdit, you can really put that hardware to use, and edit in real-time. Good job Canopus. -LL
Canopus Corp. DVRex-R3
Turnkey Editing Workstation
Processors Dual Pentium III 500MHz
RAM 512MB SDRAM
OS Microsoft Windows NT 4.0
Drives 18GB Ultra2 SCSI
Sound SoundBlaster Live!
Capture Card Canopus DVRex-M1
Video Card Xplode effects accelerator (Nvidia TNT2)
A/V Inputs and Outputs i.LINK (IEEE 1394) x3, composite video in and out, S-video in x1 and out x2, BNC out, stereo RCA audio in x2 and out, digital RCA audio in and out, 1/8-inch audio in, 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 front-mounted breakout box, rackmountable case with 300W power supply, extra internal cooling fans, i.LINK cable, keyboard, Microsoft wheel mouse, Microsoft Windows NT, Adobe Premiere 5.1, Artel Boris FX, Canopus RexEdit, Xplode