Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Survey of Real-Time Video Editing products ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   4 Comments )
Subject: Survey of Real-Time Video Editing products
Category: Computers > Graphics
Asked by: atr-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 21 Jan 2004 06:30 PST
Expires: 20 Feb 2004 06:30 PST
Question ID: 298701
I'm interested in doing Digital Video Editing of DV(1394)
footage and output to MPEG2/DVD and VCR without having to
wait around for hours at a time for rendering.

I have heard about or seen on a shelf, products from ADSTech,
Matrox, Canopus, and Pinnacle.

Researcher, please prepare a list of all the existing Real
Time Digital Video Editing products from these manufacturers.
If you believe the question is too "BIG", please request
clarification and I can perhaps cut down the scope to fit the

Assume all my capture and editing will be done in DV format
(captured from a camcorder via Firewire... I can already do
this). So, the files being edited are in DV AVI format.

I'm interested in, for each product:

- Does this product have Real-Time DV effects? (Yes/No)
  (If not, move on to next product)

- Does it have Real-Time (aka render-free) output to composite
  video or to mpeg2?
  (If not, move on to next product)

- Does it have Real-Time output to Composite Video (i.e. VCR) ?
  ("Real Time" means you can output from the Premiere Timeline without
  rendering first)

- Does it have real-time output to MPEG2 for creating DVDs?
  (here "real-time" means 1 hour of processing for 1 hour of video,
   i.e. process 30 frames per second).

- What is the Street Price (not MSRP).

- How Long does it take to render 1 hour of DV output to MPEG2?

- Does the actual device fit in a single PCI slot, or does it have
  extra "dongles", drive bay panels, breakout slots, etc ?

- Does this product have any distinguishing features (marketing
hype doesn't count, unless it's really distinctive)?

- Supply a link to the product specs, picture, etc, if available.

The ADSTech website is a mess, you may need to use alternate sources
or to call them up.

Thank you.

Request for Question Clarification by darrel-ga on 23 Jan 2004 06:08 PST

There are a ton of companies that offer video editing software. Is
there a specific number of software programs you'd like us to compare
for you? Are there any programs that definitely HAVE to be on the


Clarification of Question by atr-ga on 23 Jan 2004 22:53 PST
The functions that I describe cannot be done with software alone.
They require special hardware. That narrows down the playing field
considerably. I think you're limited to the 4 companies that I
Subject: Re: Survey of Real-Time Video Editing products
Answered By: sycophant-ga on 03 Feb 2004 05:10 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi atr,

I have come up with the following, after reviewing information about
the four companies you listed. Most of my information has been gained
directly from their websites, and in some cases I have cofirmed
ambigious information with basic searches.


- RT.X10 Suite

Realtime DV Effects:
Realtime effects for up to two video layers and four graphics layers.
This appears to include the basic effects you specified. As well as
some additional effects.

Realtime Composite Output:
Yes, composite realtime output is supported. Firewire DV output must
be rendered first, however this happens in 'near realtime'.

Realtime MPEG2 Output:

Recommended Retail:

Device Size and Accessories:
Seems to comprise of one PCI card and a small breakout box from a
multipin connector.

Special Features and Notes:
Packaged Adobe Premiere, Encore and Audition software.

Product Link:

- RT.X100 Xtreme Pro
Realtime DV Effects:
Realtime effects for up to two video layers and four graphics layers.
This appears to include the basic effects you specified. This includes
some effects above and beyond those offered by the RT.X10.

Realtime Composite Output:
Yes, composite realtime output is supported. Firewire DV output is also realtime.

Realtime MPEG2 Output:
Yes, the RT.X100 claims realtime MPEG2 export from Premiere timeline
for DVD authoring. Also supports MPEG2 capture, for simple
video-to-DVD transfers.

Recommended Retail:

Device Size and Accessories:
Seems to comprise of one PCI card and a small breakout box from a
multipin connector.

Special Features and Notes:
Packaged Adobe Premiere, Encore and Audition software. Additionally
available packaged with Adobe After Effects (for US$1499)

Product Link:


- DVStorm2 Pro+

Realtime DV Effects:
Realtime DV effects are supported on up to 5 video tracks in Premiere
Pro, and Canopus claim an 'unlimited' number in their EDIUS software.

Realtime Composite Output:
Yes, realtime analogue output is supported as is Firewire DV output.

Realtime MPEG2 Output:
Yes, realtime MPEG2 encoding from the timeline is supported.

Recommended Retail:

Device Size and Accessories:
Consists of a PCI card, 'StormBay' drivebay breakout, misc cables, and
a Component output board that mounts in a PCI slot.

Special Features and Notes:
Packaged with a number of software products, including Premiere Pro,
After Effects, Encore. Component output (no component input is

A 'Lite' version is available (DVStorm2 Lite) however, MPEG2 hardware
encoding is an optional add-on for that, and pricing and availabilty
for the 'Lite' version is scarce.

Product Link: 


Pinnacle's products in this area seem quite software focused. Hardware
is available, but seems very be Pinnacle-software specific. Also, the
features offered by the most likely product 'Liquid Edition Pro' seem
to be generally less that the other products under evaluation.

Liquid Edition Pro:


It doesn't seem that ADSTech offers any products that suit your
requirements. They have MPEG2 hardware encoders and Firewire cards but
nothing that seems to combine the two. Most of the 'Realtime' editing
claims appear to be based of the software abilities of Premiere,
rather than any accelerator hardware.


Overall, it seems that Matrox and Canopus are the only vendors
offering a single product to suit your requirements. Both companies
are heavily dependent on Adobe Premiere Pro as an editing environment.
And in all cases realtime output will only be for supported realtime
effects and layers. However all the products offer accelerated

A few various searches online seem to support my conclusions - these
two manufacturers are almost in a field of their own at this level of
their industry. Other companies offer products above and below these,
but in this range they have the market pretty well cornered.


Here are some comparison documents offered by the various vendors:
A comparison between the RT.X products that Matrox offer.
These are two tests by Canopus, comparing their product against the
Matrox product. 
This is the response form Matrox, a document which seems to be
supported by better testing methods.

Here are some external comparisions:
An interesting point-for-point comparison.
A basic comparison that covers a few of your basic requirements.

I hope this helps, I have spent about two hours looking into these products.

Let me know if you would like me to clarify anything further in my answers.

Request for Answer Clarification by atr-ga on 04 Feb 2004 07:36 PST
Thanks for the excellent answer. The amount of time you've put in
searching and analysing is quite clear from the results!

I just want to confirm one point on the Pinnacle product, and
why you wrote it off as a non-contender. Was it your conclusion
that Pinnacle's "Real Time" claim is, at best, a stretch? Is it
just regular, slow-as-molasses software rendering, but "Background
Processing" will do it while you work, and assuming you don't
work too fast, it will be done rendering by the time you want to

Clarification of Answer by sycophant-ga on 04 Feb 2004 16:11 PST
Hi atr, 

Glad you found my results helpful.

The background processing seems a sensible way to achieve some
results, and in most situations would probably work quite well.

The reason I wrote Pinnacle off is that their system is very software
specific. The Pinnacle hardware seems very much optimised to the
Pinnacle software is ships with. In fact, it wasn't even clear if the
card would work with Premiere, or any other software. And if it did,
it seemed very unlikely any of it's acceleration would be utilised.

In the same way, I would have written off the Avid Mojo accelerator,
as it will only work with Avid Xpress Pro, and while the two product
may provide some of the features you seek, the cost both in money and
reskilling probably wouldn't be worth it.

My personal opinion is, that for an editor used to working with Adobe
Premiere Pro, the Matrox RT.X100 seems to provide the best features
and technology. It seems that it will eliminate, in most situations,
render times, and where render may be needed it should be accelerated

While the Canopus card claims to be able to work on more levels at a
time, and with more nested effects, my experience leads me believe
that it's probably not really an issue, as real-world situations do
not often call for such extremes.

atr-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00

Subject: Re: Survey of Real-Time Video Editing products
From: sycophant-ga on 02 Feb 2004 01:03 PST
Hi atr,

The problem you will find, is that some effects can be done realtime,
and some cannot. It is hard to say flatout that a timeline will always
be able to playout realtime with no rendering overheads.

I am a professional editor, and even the suites I use ($60,000+ Avid
Adrenaline based) are unable to provide a realtime playout of more
than 2-3 channels of video, so a picture-in-picture (up to three
channels) and title will require at least some elements to render.

You propably need to define more clearly what types of effects you
expect to be able to output without rendering.

Subject: Re: Survey of Real-Time Video Editing products
From: atr-ga on 02 Feb 2004 07:22 PST
My biggest constraint is the budget... So I'm looking
for the "around $1000" solutions. If you believe Matrox's
marketing materials, the other products in the same
range are a total ripoff. 

My must-have realtime features are titling, PIP, simple
transitions, and MPEG2 encoding. RT color correction sounds
like it could be useful to me also (I have plenty of footage
with poor choice of lighting).
Subject: Re: Survey of Real-Time Video Editing products
From: 20mwg05-ga on 02 Dec 2004 13:59 PST
I am a Senior in High School.  I work with Pinnacle Liquid Edition
(not pro).  I am very happy with its rendering ability.  You do not
have to have the card that comes with it.  You can get another
graphics card that supports background rendering (for the effects that
require rendering).  Most of the effects do not require rendering.  It
has total 2D and 3D effect control.  I import all of my media via
Firewire, i have not had any problems.  I would request it to anyone. 
Hope this helps!
Subject: Re: Survey of Real-Time Video Editing products
From: answerbod-ga on 17 Dec 2004 03:46 PST
The Pinnacle software has a major advantage in it's preemptive
rendering. The Pro version of the software, which only adds with an
AGP card, and is marketed on the claim that as it works on an AGP slot
it is faster (AGP bandwidth being greater than PCI bandwidth). In
reality I've found no real life evidence to support that. In fact, the
AGP slot is being phased out and replaced with PCI-Express. Pinnacle
have used this opportunity to drop the card altogether and their
latest version, the 6.0, is software only. But it's a great software
package if you are willing to learn it's sometimes criticised
non-intuitive navigation.

That does leave just Matrox and Canopus with credible realtime cards
in their RT.X100 and DVStorm2 respectively. With respect to the
researcher - who's done a brilliant job - Canopus is more suited to
the in-house editing suite that Canopus is pushing i.e. Edius rather
than Premiere. Further, as they've dropped supply of the DVStorm2
(it's still on their site but they are ceasing supply in early 2005),
that leaves the RT.X100 as the only card in that market. Like the
DVStorm2 the RT.X100 provides hardware MPEG encoding in addition to
realtime rendering.

All the realtime editing cards fit in a single PCI slot. The Matrox
and some Pinnacle products have breakout boxes with additional
connectors (RCA, S-video etc). The Canopus is the only product that
came with a comprehensive break-out box BUT this is optional, fits in
an internal 5.25 inch bay, and is called the StormBay.

Comparison of the RT.X100 with the Canopus Storm2:
Canopus Storm2:

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy