An Editing Appliance from the Big Boys
By Larry Lemm
PV-DS1000 Editing Appliance
One Panasonic Way
Secaucus, NJ 07094
A few years ago, Draco was the only maker of video editing appliances, the groundbreaking Casablanca. Then, other companies such as Applied Magic joined the editing appliance market. Now, one of the big boys has joined the race. Not only has Panasonic built an editing appliance, in doing so, it has validated the whole idea of a simple unit to edit video. The PV-DS1000 is a simple, cuts-only editor that seems to be targeted at casual shooters who want to clean up their home videos.
The PV-DS1000 has a large 17GB hard drive that can store over an hour of digital video. The $2,200 unit promises to edit analog or digital video, with its composite, S-video and i.LINK in and outputs.
Get Into It
Getting video into the PV-DS1000 was a simple operation. There is a switch that allows you to use deck control on your i.LINK connected camcorder, control the editing unit from an i.LINK connected PC, or have no deck control at all. Recording from an analog camcorder is nearly as simple, but you don’t get the deck control.
Either way, to get video onto the hard drive, you merely have to select your input (either the i.LINK port or analog inputs 1-3) and click the record button on the unit. An easy process. Once you get your raw footage onto the hard drive, you are ready to mark the clips for your project.
The quality of the video captured on the PV-DS1000 looked extremely good. Whether it was captured through the i.LINK port or digitized through the analog input, we did not see any noticeable digital artifacts in our footage.
You can control all of the important features of the PV-DS1000 with the included wireless remote control. This makes it possible to edit video from the couch, while the unit itself is set up near your television. The wireless remote control is a nice feature for a home-editing appliance, and it is a feature that Draco and Applied Magic do not currently offer. The remote has a jog/shuttle wheel that lets you scrub through the video with frame-accurate precision. It includes separate buttons to mark the in and out points of each clip. The remote will feel comfortable in the hands of editors used to working with older tape-based editing equipment. The jog/shuttle wheel on the remote is one of the best features of this device.
The box itself is compact and sleek looking, but we felt the interface lacked a similar luster. The operating system that runs the PV-DS1000 is proprietary. It is a rough looking application that has all of the graphic glamour of an old-school DOS program. We had hoped that by giving up a fancy colorful interface, the system might be lighting-fast, but it wasn’t. The box took a long time to redraw each menu screen. This relatively minor inconvenience might be a cause of irritation to editors who want to work fast. First time editors will likely be more forgiving.
For moving and editing clips, the unit uses a storyboard style interface. Each clip is represented by a picture icon taken from the footage. Simply select an icon and use the arrow keys on the remote to change a clip’s position in the project.
What You Can Edit
Once you’ve captured your footage and trimmed your clips, you’re ready to edit. If you are looking for flashy 3D effects, you’ll have to look elsewhere, this box is not for you. In fact, it has no transitions at all. No fades, no wipes, no nothing. A fact that will turn off advanced editors, but might make the device more approachable to newbies. Because the PV-DS1000 is a cuts-only system, it is very easy for beginners to use. Just use the remote control to trim and arrange your clips.
You can perform audio dubbing with DV footage shot in 12-bit mode, or with analog video, but the unit does not allow you to dub audio over DV footage shot in 16-bit mode. If you want to dub audio, you have to capture your 16-bit DV footage through the analog inputs.
There is no titler with PV-DS1000 either. If you want to make titles, you’ll need to buy some markers and paper or use your camcorder’s built-in titler. Not a very imaginative solution by Panasonic.
It’s Not for Everyone
The PV-DS1000 is sure to disappoint those who hoped that Panasonic would take the lead from the smaller companies that have already built successful editing appliances. It offers very little flexibility, and although it is easy to put together a simple project, it lacks features that are essential for serious video editing. But, Panasonic apparently had a different customer in mind. Casual editors and beginners will find this to be an approachable tool for trimming and arranging clips, but even sheer amateurs will want to add a title or fade before long.
Considering the intended audience for this product, our biggest complaint is in regard to price. At $600 or $800, this would be a fantastic product for home video hobbyists, but we know of better equipped editing appliances out there for less money. The lack of a titler and ability to make transitions, make this unit inferior to similarly priced editing appliances. Draco’s Avio and Applied Magic’s Sequel will both ship in the next few weeks/months with prices under $2,000. Hopefully Panasonic will upgrade their unit to add titles and transitions or drastically drop their price. If you have $2,200 to spend and you don’t care about the ability to create titles, add transition effects or edit audio, this could be the editor for you. However, if you want to do anything more with your editing appliance, or want the most for your dollar, stay clear of the PV-DS1000. -LL
Panasonic PV-DS1000 Editing Appliance
Inputs i.LINK, S-video (x3), composite video (x3), RCA stereo audio (x3), System E (for printer)
Outputs i.LINK, S-video (x3), composite video (x3), RCA Stereo audio (x3)
Hard Drive 17GB (68 minute capacity)
Audio Format 12-bit (32kHz, 4 tracks) or 16-bit (48kHz, 2 tracks)
Other Features Proprietary printer port
Dimensions 11 (width) x 3 9/16 (height) x 8 7/16 (depth) inches
Weight 7.04 lbs