Avid XpressDV 3.5

What Is XDV?

Avid XpressDV is a 'software only' product, which means Avid provides the software and you have the option to buy hardware elsewhere. While XDV itself is a version 3.5 product, it is based on the Avid version 11 codebase. This means with XDV 3.5 you enjoy the stability, features and other benefits of Avid software, which has been leading the digital nonlinear "revolution" for over a decade. Among the benefits XDV 3.5 offers, which are not offered by some competing products, is the ability to customize your buttons and keyboard commands, an easy to manage timeline, stability in managing render and media files, smooth OMF export to Pro Tools, accurate EDLs, tight audio sync, audio sample rate conversion during file import, quick and easy output to tape, reliable application of saved effect parameters, and over 100 real-time effects with up to four streams of real-time preview. Avid XpressDV 3.5 also offers advanced color correction tools, layered Photoshop file imports and an advanced keyframe model for PIP effects.

Avid XpressDV 3.5 is offered for the both Windows XP and Mac OSX operating system. When you purchase XDV 3.5 you get a software key and installers for both Windows and Macintosh, so you can move your project from one platform to another as you choose. All media and project files are compatible with both operating systems and hardware. (link to XDV info at Avid.com)

XpressDV uses an IEEE 1394 (Firewire) I/O, audio and video input and output is done through a 1394 port. Deck control can be via the Firewire port or RS-422 serial cable. Projects can be 29.97fps NTSC or 25fps PAL and the media is DV native only. XDV does not currently have the option to compress the image further than the 5:1 compression inherent to the DV25 format. If you need variable compression and a 601 I/O, Avid has other products which are priced to compete, such as Avid Xpress and the Offline XL.

XDV projects and bins are compatible with other Avid Meridien products, so if you choose to offline on the XDV and finish on another Avid product you can enjoy the benefits of total conform. This means you simply move your Avid bins forward for conform, rather than using EDLs. XDV also produces accurate 24 or 30 fps EDLs, OMF exports (i.e., to ProTools) and film matchback cutlists (with the film option).

For more details on XDV 3.5 features and options go to videoguys.com.

XDV for Film

When editing a film on Avid XDV you will be cutting 24fps film at 29.97fps, so you will be using Matchback.

If you shoot picture at 24fps, your sound and picture have been slowed down .01% during telecine (to 23.976 fps), so any audio you mix to the picture will need to be pulled up to 24fps again in order to sync with the film print. - Pulldown Explained.

Be sure to request a shot log from telecine. These come in various formats (ALE,FLX,KSL. etc.)and make digitizing, tracking KeyKode and making CutLists easier.

When recording audio on a DAT recorder or Nagra, use 30fps NDF TC. That way if it is pulled down, the reference will be 29.97 and you don't have to deal with DF code. See Double System Sound below for more detail. I highly recommend using NDF timecode on all source tapes, if possible.

In short, the workflow is as follows:

Telecine to DV


Telecine to BetaSP or Digi Beta

If you have source tapes which are not a DV format (i.e., BetaSP, VHS, etc.), you'll need a bi-directional transcoder which will transcode SDI, component, composite or S-Video to DV. Which formats are transcoded will depend on the transcoder you choose. These transcoders induce a one frame delay while processing the video signal, so you will need to increment your source start timecode by one frame after capturing the video. This is easily done in Xpress DV by highlighting all the clips and incrementing the start timecode by one frame.

*Double System Sound

If you telecine picture to video and choose to sync the sound in Avid XpressDV with AutoSync, you have several methods for acquiring the digital audio. Remember, the film was slowed down to 23.976 during telecine, so, unless you shot the film at 23.976, you will need to slow your audio down .01% to sync to the video in XDV. If you plan ahead and record your sync audio at 48.048, you can go into the XDV with 48KHz digital audio which will sync to the pulled down picture. Otherwise, you will be faced with a D-A-D audio conversion (not so bad) or a sample rate conversion (bad).

All things considered, shooting the picture at 23.976 makes working with audio easier in post production, if you are going to work in a matchback project. If you do that, the audio does not have to be pulled up until the final mix/dub for the print.

If you shot 24fps picture, pull the audio down and choose one of the following. If you shot picture at 23.976, do the same without pulling the audio down....

Click here to see the Windows UI.

Xpress DV UI

Click here to see the Macintosh UI.

Desktop Video Delay Setting

This setting syncs up the external video display with the desktop playback.

Video Display Quality Settings

At the high quality setting you can play three or four layers of real-time effects or titles, depending on the complexity. This panel allows you to set a lower video image quality to enable more real-time effects.
You can also program a playback buffer which prefills a few seconds of the sequence into memory prior to playback, to further enable real-time playback of more complex effects.

Advanced Keyframe Model

You can promote PIP effects to this model, which gives you added control by assigning keyframes to individual effect parameters.

For more details and screenshots go to videoguys.com.

Link to Avid Technology, Inc. for more technical info regarding Avid products.
Link to
Filmmaker's Home Page/ Editing.
Link to
Zerocut main page.
Alan Stewart.