Screenplay review please.

10 replies [Last post]
Louis
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Joined: Jan 30 2001

When are we going to see a review on Aplied magic's Sreenplay ? They have just updated the software and it now comes with a 60 GB hard drive.
I have been using PC's and a Cassablanca of which neither are much good. computers always crahing or freezing up while cassablanca's take forever to render.
From what i can see the Screenplay looks fantastic, but it would be nice to have your opinion on it before i go out and spend £4000 of my hard earned on one.

Charles
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Joined: Apr 7 1999

If you go to http://screenplay.virtualave.net/cgi-bin/Ultimate.cgi
this is a forum for Screenplay users in the USA but should be a good place to post any questions you may have,me,i would take the upgrade option on casablanca to kron,which is supposed to be faster in everything.
Regards
Charles

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Regards
Charles
avsvideo.co.uk

bcrabtree
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Joined: Mar 7 1999

quote:Originally posted by Louis:
When are we going to see a review on Aplied magic's Sreenplay ? They have just updated the software and it now comes with a 60 GB hard drive.
I have been using PC's and a Cassablanca of which neither are much good. computers always crahing or freezing up while cassablanca's take forever to render.
From what i can see the Screenplay looks fantastic, but it would be nice to have your opinion on it before i go out and spend £4000 of my hard earned on one.

Er, well, you could start with the June 2000 issue of Computer Video. But, if you did that, you'd definitely not buy one, because it scored very poorly - only 65%.

Does anyone hereabouts know if the company has address any of the problems Peter identified when he carried out this review?

These include:

* Need to support a wider range of DV devices

* More powerful editing tools

* General stability.

Our review ended thus,

"We'd be happy to take another look at ScreenPlay if and when these issues are addressed but for now we wouldn't advise adding it to your shopping list."

No one from the UK distributor - Holdan - has yet get back to us to tell us that these things are sorted out and to ask us to take a second look.

Bob C

Charles
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Joined: Apr 7 1999

Bob
All i can pass on is what my dealer has said in reply to a question i asked."If i had asked about a month ago which to go for Screenplay or Casablanca, and instant rendering on some effects,better titling,more effects on standard model,then Screenplay would have been his answer,but with the release of Kron now due his answer has changed to Kron.On that basis i would say that yes Screenplay has improved since your last review.Will you be doing one on Kron and Roland's DV7 ?
Regards
Charles

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Regards
Charles
avsvideo.co.uk

pcwells
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Joined: Jun 10 1999

We'll certainly be looking at both those machines when they're available for review. Edirol said their machine wouldn't be ready for release until the end of March, and Hama told me the final release software will br ready for Kron in the next few weeks, at which time we'll get a machine to look at.

One more point I will make about Screenplay (as I saw it in its 'version 1' state) was that it didn't allow device control of DV camcorders or decks via its FireWire connection. As the capture format isn't DV either - it uses wavelet compression - this defeats much of the purpose of having FireWire there in the first place. It certainly didn't justify the £1,000 premium for having a FireWire port on the machine, rather than just analogue I/O.

I couldn't get to talk to Holdan about it, as they were all too busy, so I can't say whether this has been improved with version 2. From talking to Edirol, it seems that their black box won't support device control either (although to their credit, when I asked, they said they didn't know but would assume not).

Cheers,

Pete

Louis
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Joined: Jan 30 2001

Regards PCWells note above. I dont think you understand or know what Wavelet Compression is, if you did you wouldn't have made the crass comment about Wavelet compression defeating the pupose of having a firewire board in the machine. For the record Wavelet is a far superior method of compression than mpeg2, in fact it is the next best thing to totally uncompressed. Do your homework Pete.

[This message has been edited by Louis (edited 09 February 2001).]

pcwells
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Joined: Jun 10 1999

Louis,

I'm certainly not making any comment about the efficiency or quality of wavelet compression.

My comment stems from the face that FireWire enables video to be transferred in its native state to a hard drive for editing, thereby preserving its quality.

In the case of Screenplay, it is not stored in its native state, rather it is transcoded to another format - in this case, wavelet compression.

Any such transcoding - regardless of whether it is to wavelet form or MPEG-2 will result in quality losses.

In that respect, with DV being transcoded from all inputs, and the lack of device control via FireWire, I stand by my initial comment and consider it a good sign that I have indeed done my homework!

Thank you

Oh, and I never was a big fan of Crass

[This message has been edited by pcwells (edited 10 February 2001).]

bcrabtree
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Joined: Mar 7 1999

Louis,

Please cut the insults, and please try to read what people write before commenting.

Bob C

Louis
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Joined: Jan 30 2001

No insult intended here. Look up the word Crass in the dictionary it means stupid, i don't think that is insulting is it ? and i will point out that the crass comment was aimed at the answer and not to Pete personally, in fact i think Pete and I have something in common because i never liked The Crass either. Anyway i apologise if any offence was taken, though i am still confused by the 2nd answer, and that is if DV boards are a waist of time in Screenplay because of the Wavelet compression it has to go through, then why arn't DV boards in computers and Cassie's a waist of time also, as it still has to go through a compression to MPEG2 ?. By the way i am not pro Screenplay, but i am about to buy one within the next couple of weeks as i am sick to death of my computer (Apple G4/ Final cut) freezing/crashing/ and doing stupid things all the time. I was prompted to do this after using a freinds and compairing the results, Screenplay has a sharper picture.

[This message has been edited by Louis (edited 10 February 2001).]

andrewh
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Joined: Oct 4 1999

Louis,

You said "though i am still confused by the 2nd answer, and that is if DV boards are a waist of time in Screenplay because of the Wavelet compression it has to go through, then why arn't DV boards in computers and Cassie's a waist of time also, as it still has to go through a compression to MPEG2 ?"

This is simply untrue: Do your homework

Almost (DC1/2000 plus others ? excepted) all computer cards that capture DV do so in native DV format. The data is simply copied from the camera to the PC and wrapped in an avi or QT wrapper for convenience. The editing package thenuses this data and any parts of the video that are not changed by filters or transitions are copied back out to tape UNALTERED.

The screenplay cannot do this because it does the following: DV data in, decode (to 4:2:0 YUV ??), encode to wavelet (4:2:2 YUV, no information added), edit, decode from wavelet, encode in DV, copy to tape. This is a touch inefficeient and lossy.

BTW, I think wavelet technoology is neat, fab and lots of other things. But, screenplay is not flexible: it has a hardware DV codec, but you cannot use it for editing DV, only for converting to wavelet. That is a BIG waste of money!

Andrew

Alan Roberts at work
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Joined: May 6 1999

At risk of getting into an argument, which I swear I will never willingly do. I'd like to add my 2 pen'orth.

There is no doubt that wavelet compression is, or rather, can be, more efficient than MPEG2. But we're stuck with MPEG2 for some years. Wavelets simply came along too late. But don't confuse the compression form of either MPEG2 or wavelets with what goes on in DV.

Both MPEG2 and wavelt compression seek to minimise the data rate for a given input. They both make use of both spatial and temoral filtering, which means that the data stream cannot be arbitrarily cut at frame boundaries, for glueing to other frame boundaries (i.e. cuts-only editing). DV compression is entirely intra-frame, each frame is compressed with no reference to any other data, so you can cut at frame boundaries. That's the real reason why DV is so user-friendly, plus the fact that we get access to the compressed bit-stream (firewire connection). So, with DV, we can edit in the compressed world, and that isn't on even with Digibeta but is with HDcam.

MPEG2 and wavelet compression both belong to the class of systems developed for video delivery, in that the bitstream isn't expected to be edited. DV belongs to the programme-production group of systems.

Any transcoding between systems will inevitably build into the signal some artefacts due to one or both relevant systems. Transcoding is a good thing only when the bitrate is sufficiently high (like using AVID (3:1 compressed) to edit Digibeta (2:1 compressed)). When the bitrate is lower, there's much higher risk of gaining artefacts.

[This message has been edited by Alan Roberts at work (edited 14 February 2001).]