Another one of my ‘must do’s has been to try and explain why I use Grass Valley Edius as my NLE (Non Linear Editor) of choice and why, in particular, that I use it for my work within Video Forensics.
In the EEPIP workflow, Presentation is at the end, but in reality it runs alongside the Investigation stage. I find that by building my video during the Investigation, it helps me to better understand what I am seeing and in turn leads me to look closer at individual native video files to further clarify certain pieces of information.
There are many packages available, some designed especially for Surveillance video where as others maybe for the professional broadcast field. I won’t go into the products designed solely for Surveillance video investigation as I believe that, although they all do have a place within a department, for the majority of cases they are simply not needed. What to get and how to use it depends on how your department is set up and what your staff have knowledge of. The biggest asset in any department or organisation is its staff. There is no point in hiring a highly trained person to conduct work in this field and then ignore the years spent learning a certain product. Most Professional NLE’s can be tweaked to suit the role required by a video examiner. By setting good file management and naming conventions within the OS and NLE, it is a pretty easy task to turn a broadcast program into one for video investigation and presentation. If a staff member has used Adobe Premiere Pro – let them use that. If they have used Final Cut Pro, let them use that…Avid Media Composer…you get the picture! They can then be up and running much faster and will output work much quicker. The trick with NLE’s is knowing….the tricks. The shortcuts, the workarounds, the tweaks to get something done in a way perhaps not originally planned. If a staff member knows those tricks, then getting them to learn something new is counter productive.
The difficulty comes when a number of new staff are employed and they have little or no experience in editing video. It is here, in my opinion, that Edius starts to rise up the ranks. There are numerous, professional reviews on Edius and many comparisons between other NLE’s in its class. I wont try and duplicate their work but a couple are listed below:
From these reviews and comparisons you will notice some similarities forming. “Stability”, “realtime”, “native”, “fast”.
It is for these reasons among others, that Edius is used extensively within the 24/7 news broadcast field where the ability to quickly input, edit and output can be the difference between breaking the exclusive, or being an also ran!
Before I go on, it must be stated that how the NLE is integrated into the work environment is also very important. We know that we have to input every format known to man and we must be very flexible in our output. In certain circumstances we have to be quick and create different versions for different reasons. My Video workflow consists of:
Documentation > Playback > Edit > Output > Research
In the Image below you can see the Playback, Edit and Output Monitors of my workflow.
To assist me in the Inputting of material, I use an NX card and also a Pegasus Card, both by Grass Valley.
The NX Card (which is now at its end of life) is for the capture and output of standard Video where as the Pegasus card can capture RGB and DVI PC Screen signals in their native resolution.
I am currently doing some research on the new Storm 3G Card to replace the NX. I will post again when the upgrade is completed!
If I need to capture video files from my playback PC’s screen then I will do these using the Pegasus card before opening Edius. For all other capturing, (VHS etc), I can do these from within Edius.
After opening, I can open an existing project or start a new one. Each project is named with a number of references that can be searched for later. Each project can have any video format – whether it is standard or not. If your investigation solely consists of 352×288, 5FPS files then you can set a project around this. Remember, with Edius, you can edit anything, in your way. You are not restricted. Most of my presentation work finishes on Video DVD so my standard project fits the Video DVD standard. Again, it must also be mentioned that I can also output any other format along the way – ideal for creating preview WMV’s.
Click on any of the images below to open full size….
When the project opens, the interface is clean and easy to understand.
The first thing I do is prepare the bin and sort my video evidence
I preview my captured clips and add comments to them. These comments are searchable and really help when dealing with a large amount of files in a busy compilation.
The same goes for Markers. When I am building a sequence, I can place markers on the timeline and add details to them. This is great when wanting to highlight certain actions and navigate throughout the clip. Its also really easy to capture the frames from these markers for other uses. The markers can also be chapter points in a Video DVD. A very versatile tool.
The layout and mask tools are probably the most commonly used and are immensely powerful. For boxouts, side by sides, quad view, zooms, area highlighting, blurring, mosaicing – these two tools do them quickly and professionally.
Another easy tool is the multi-camera editing mode. Makes the editing of up to 16 camera views really quick.
So, I have completed my investigation and the sequences are created. Some will be ‘building’ sequences and some will be final edits. I can then create a Video DVD direct from the timeline or output any part of any sequence to a standard video file, WMV for example.
This has been a very quick rundown of how Edius can be used within the Video Investigation field. The tutorials available for Edius, the Forum members over at Grass Valley and other online resources have always helped when I have visualised something but just have not known how to achieve it.
When used to its full potential, Edius is a really powerful tool and can help to quickly output a very professional end product.
At the end, I can wrap the entire folder up and its ready for archiving.