Tenomichi 3D Edit Gold 4 review
When we first looked at Tenomichi’s 3D Edit in 2005 (see issue 126, p94), we were impressed by its innovative 3D interface – it uses DirectX 9 technology so that your graphics card’s power is being used for video-effects rendering. But we weren’t convinced that people would find its radical approach easy to learn. Since then, Tenomichi has smoothed off some rough edges, and the last outing (see issue 132, p79) was more user-friendly. Now 3D Edit enters its fourth incarnation, and it edges a bit closer to the norm – although its 3D-powered appearance is still rather different from most other applications.
From a purely aesthetic point of view, Tenomichi has squared off the various windows within 3D Edit 4. This will make the application more approachable for newcomers. The more expert editing tools such as Razor and Track Selection have been hidden away, so they don’t frighten the novice, but can be revealed at the press of a button. There are more Windows-like niceties as well, such as right-click menus and drop-downs that resemble the Windows equivalent. Switching to editing in widescreen mode can now be accomplished via a menu option – previously, you had to exit the app and load a widescreen version.
The Capture utility has been more tightly integrated into the 3D Edit interface. There’s a new Simple utility, which is entirely integrated, but the Advanced mode is still a pop-out window and offers the same features as the standalone applet of previous iterations. Simple Capture is one of the wizards added to the top menu, which also includes simplified output options at three different qualities.
One of the most significant changes to 3D Edit’s toolset is that Tenomichi has finally taken audio seriously. Both a fully fledged mixer and a selection of filters have been added, with special effects such as Chorus and Flanger and more everyday options such as Parametric Equalisation. All these operate through the same interface as the shaders, so you can keyframe their settings to change as the clip progresses.
New encoding options include MPEG4 types aimed at portable video players such as the iPod or Sony PSP, plus 3GP for mobile phones. The codecs for all these are supplied by Tenomichi, whereas in the past you had to provide your own. But there’s still no MPEG2 output available, so 3D Edit remains unfriendly towards those who want to distribute their finished work on DVD.
This isn’t the only aspect of 3D Edit that remains unimproved since the last version. The titler is still rather modest in terms of features, capable of only four lines of text, albeit 3D extruded. But at least the fiddly red, blue and green colour dials have been replaced by a more intuitive colour wheel. It’s certainly easier to use, if not any more capable.
We remain thoroughly impressed by 3D Edit’s real-time editing capabilities, though. On a computer with decent 3D graphics acceleration, there’s very little that isn’t capable of being played back to screen at the full frame rate. Multiple streams of video with multiple shader effects can all be rendered on-the-fly – unlike virtually any other video-editing software at this price. The features also encompass most of what we’d expect for everyday editing, with the audio toolset a particularly welcome newcomer.
But there are still annoying niggles. For example, adding an effect to a clip often involves not only highlighting it on the timeline, but double-clicking to load it into the Clip Player. If you don’t ensure the right footage is loaded, you may find you’ve been adding shaders to the wrong clip. Also, once you’ve added a shader, the only way to delete it is to highlight its Load button and press the Delete key, which is a little counter-intuitive. Keyframing itself can be fiddly, and the version we had for testing was buggy, with occasional crashes in file dialogs. However, Tenomichi updates its software dynamically over the internet every time it’s loaded, so we don’t expect a bugfix to be too far away.