BOXX/Sonic Foundry Professional DV Production System
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Click graphic for QuickTime movie
Click for QuickTime movie -- the heavily-layered segment was all previewable in real time using Vegas Video 3 and the BOXX workstation.
Beyond that, the tremendous strength of Vegas Video with this BOXX computer is evident once you start building layers of video. The system keeps on giving you reasonable-quality previews of your composite, even with 15 layers. I kept building layer upon layer in a dizzying composition (see QuickTime video), and the thing just wouldn't quit. And, I was including some serious filters and effects in there, too, like a blue-screen chromakey, old-time movie effects, PIP, four text keys with motion, velocity envelopes all over the place (a great feature of Vegas Video), Gaussian blur and seven to ten shots with varying degrees of transparencies stacked up on top of each other. It looked like a mess, but hey, I could get a great preview of just how awful a visual cacophony it was, all in real time. The wonderful thing is, if you take the time with this machine, it gives you enough visual feedback to turn a mishmash stack of garbage into a masterpiece because you can preview it all before you commit to anything. Then, if you want to see it in full rez and full-motion, the BOXX can render all those layers in a New York minute. It's remarkable. I had a ball playing with this machine and its extremely powerful software, and I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to edit DV without too much nail-biting.

I was also impressed by the way the Sonic Foundry applications work together. For example, right-click on an audio track in Vegas, and there's a choice to either open that audio file or open a copy of it in Sound Forge. Then, there it is in Sound Forge, complete with its accompanying video, for reference. Add a few audio effects, edit down to the bit level, and then you can save that file and use it in Vegas. Another great feature of Vegas is its ability to open and use almost any type of video or audio file, and use it on the timeline with any other. And, when you're done, Vegas gives you a veritable smorgasbord of formats into which you can render your final output, including MainConcept MPEG-2 for DVD production, QuickTime, avi, and anything else you can think of. I only wish BOXX could have included a DVD burner in this configuration, which would have been a great stride toward the goal of making a complete start-to-finish DV production system. [an error occurred while processing this directive] Noticing the quickness of this hardware, I decided to run some After Effects and Photoshop benchmarks that we've used to evaluate numerous machines here. Not surprisingly, the BOXX system was generally faster than every other system we've tested so far, including our special red hot-rod Athlon 2000+ MP machine.

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