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Hero of our time

The FAST MULTIMEDIA company already known to us was one of the first to offer a rather professional, but affordable solution – FAST DV MASTER based on the SONY DVBK-1 hardware codec at a price of about 3,000 USD. In contrast to the popular at that time, FAST AV MASTER, FAST DV MASTER, in addition to analog inputs and analog outputs, also had two digital (DV) inputs and outputs in the ІЕЕ 1394 standard. 1394 interface feature is that through one and the same the same connector, and, therefore, on the same cable, the signal can be transmitted in both directions. But that is not all. The same cable transfers control signals from a tape recorder or camera.

Another distinctive feature of this video card is the presence of a professional component output on the remote unit. The delivery set included the installation program ULEAD MEDIA STUDIO 2.5, which made it possible to perform the necessary creative manipulations with digitized video. FAST DV MASTER also worked with more professional editing programs – Adobe Premier and Speed ​​Razor. The presence of a hardware codec made it possible to use the board as a transcoder of digital and analog signals in real time.

One only overshadowed the life of the video worker. By means of editing programs, it was very difficult to record large volume material on the HDD. In FAST DV MASTER, the DV Manager program was offered for this. She worked under the control of the Windows 98 operating system and, accordingly, could not write a video file to a disk of more than 2 (two) GB. That was about 9 minutes of video with constant compression 5: 1 (limitation on the file length in FAT 32). Accordingly, the finished film or video, exceeding this requirement, had to be calculated in fragments of 9 minutes. Then, for the drive to the tape, make up the Playlist from the calculated fragments in DV Manager. We must pay tribute to this program – it was not possible to find the joints on the tape (they searched specifically). In subsequent versions, the DV Manager program, when digitizing the video, automatically automatically split the driven video into fragments of 9 minutes each, assigning them serial numbers so that the user could then correctly collect the source material in the editing program. Imagine how much extra time was spent on all these corral-miscalculations-carriages. But, unfortunately, when FAST DV MASTER correctly worked in the Windows NT operating system, which removed the problem of limiting file length, other, more advanced boards were already released.

True, FAST DV MASTER is still popular among video artists to this day, as it supports working with professional compositing programs ADOBE AFTER EFFECTS and three-dimensional modeling 3D STUDIO MAX. And the presence of an analog RGB output allows you to dump finished material in professional quality onto a tape recorder in Betacam SP format, which is usually what customers require.

A description of the features (and “impossibilities”) of the FAST DV MASTER is important for understanding further trends in the development of non-linear editing technologies. You appreciate the advantages of IT technical progress in this area, only after hundreds of nights spent in front of the monitor in anticipation of the result of work.

Naturally, FAST DV MASTER was not the only solution for NLE. But the most affordable of the professional. There were other boards implemented on the software codec. This is DPS SPARK, MiroVIDEO DV100 / 200/300. Their price did not exceed 1000 USD. But on these boards there were no analog component outputs. And since the software codec was used, the load on the central processor increased significantly, the number of installation errors, system hangs were not uncommon. And, naturally, it seemed very long, the waiting time for the rendering result.

It remains only to add that all these boards were single-threaded. That is, capable of reproducing and processing only one stream of video in real time.

Not “make movie”, make money!
(don’t make a movie, make money!)
It was the message of the ADOBE PREMIER program version 4.2 “make movie” that appears during rendering that formed the basis of the advertising slogan of the new installation product – “REEL TIME”, from the American company PINNACLE SYSTEM. For the double price of the FAST DV MASTER board, it was possible to mount two video streams in real time in the ADOBE PREMIER program running the Windows NT operating system.

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