Product Spotlight: Fastrack

May 6, 2002  •  Post A Comment

What it is: Fastrack, a hybrid editing system from Editware, in Grass Valley, Calif., that operates as both a linear and nonlinear editing system.
How it works: The Fastrack system interfaces with and controls video servers. In addition, it controls mixers, video switchers, character generators and other devices. The control of those types of devices has been standard for linear systems, but not for nonlinear systems, said Jay Coley, CEO of Editware. The advantage of managing such broadcast equipment is that switchers, for instance, allow for real-time delivery of the video into the editing system without it having to be digitized and then stored in the nonlinear editor’s internal storage, he said.
“A video switcher does multistream, multisource, multilayer effects in real time,” he said. “It’s advantageous to harness that power during the editing process. That’s why linear editing systems are still in use. Nonlinear is great, but a lot of times it takes longer.” Similarly, the benefit of linking with a video server is that an editor can edit in a nonlinear fashion while retaining the pros of a linear system, he said. “With a server, it’s much easier to find source clips and edit. That gives it an advantage like a nonlinear editing system that couldn’t be done with linear. The essence of nonlinear editing is the ability to move media around without playing out and recording,” he said.
Development: Editware worked with server makers such as Grass Valley Group to make better use of servers in a nonlinear system by developing the interface between the server and the system.
Features and benefits: Fastrack has an intuitive graphical user interface that allows an operator to manage up to 80 separate video or audio effects sources. The system permits users to perform multiple tasks simultaneously, such as playing out while they edit. “You can record, edit and start playing material at the same time,” Mr. Coley said.
Cost: $20,000.
Customers: ABC uses the system for “World News Tonight” for quick editing between time zones, he said.