capsule review

CineStream 3.0

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Back in the last millennium, a company called Radius released EditDV, the first video-editing program designed specifically for the DV format. Radius changed its name to Digital Origin and was subsequently bought by Media 100, which has updated EditDV and renamed it CineStream. Got all that? Don't sweat it.

What matters is that a first-rate program has been updated--and that video producers deciding between Adobe's Premiere and Apple's Final Cut Pro have a third alternative. CineStream doesn't have Premiere's tight Adobe-family ties or Final Cut Pro's sophisticated compositing features, and it has a few rough edges. But it also offers some advantages over its competitors, and--although it's likely to be less popular--it's too good a program to dismiss.

Same Face, New Features

CineStream's interface resembles those of other video editors. The program stores video clips and imported media in folderlike bins, a Monitor window previews clips and edits, and a Sequencer window displays a timeline and editing tools. Although the interface seems less cluttered than those of Premiere and Final Cut Pro ( Reviews, May 2001 and July 2001, respectively), it has all the features necessary for efficient editing. And it's fast: in my tests on a 667MHz Power Mac G4, a 5-second cross-dissolve that took 106 seconds to render in Premiere 6 took 41 seconds in CineStream (but just 21 seconds in Final Cut Pro 2).

With CineStream 3.0, Media 100 has brought some major enhancements to EditDV 2.0 ( Reviews, October 2000). You can now divide a project into multiple sequences, each with its own timeline. And there are other new features, including a History window with multiple levels of undo, a pan-and-scan effect that lets you import and pan across large graphics,

and a scene-detection tool that captures each DV-tape shot as a separate video clip. And CineStream supports Media 100's EventStream technology, giving movies Web interactivity.

Doesn't Play Well with Others

CineStream is unique among software-only video editors in that it uses its own DV codec. That isn't a bad thing; the problem is, the codec is incompatible with Apple's FireWire DV Enabler extension, required for capturing video with Final Cut Pro, Premiere, and Apple's iMovie. CineStream users who also use other DV software will have to make frequent trips to the Extensions Manager to switch between Media 100's DV extensions and Apple's.

CineStream can't use effects plug-in modules designed for Premiere or Adobe's After Effects. Fortunately, it includes all the common transitions and effects as well as some uncommon and very cool ones. And, like Final Cut Pro and Premiere, CineStream isn't compatible with Mac OS X. Media 100 hasn't yet decided whether to deliver an OS X version.

Macworld's Buying Advice

CineStream's closest competitor is Premiere 6, and it's a tug-of-war between the two. Premiere offers tight integration with Adobe's other products, support for third-party plug-ins, and audio filters and a real-time mixer for excellent sound. But CineStream is better suited to long projects, with its support for multiple sequences, and its Web-interactivity features are superior for online publishing. These advantages make CineStream a versatile workhorse for video storytelling.

Diving into CineStream: A clean, efficient interface makes the program well-suited to long-form video projects.
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