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Avid Liquid 7

Avid Liquid 7 is available in two versions namely, the software only, and Pro version having the same software coupled with a breakout box. Breakout box adds both analog and digital videos, and also audio I/O. It is capable of monitoring Liquid’s 5.1 surround audio, and adds HDV/SD preview on the external monitor.

Once you set up effects and transitions, Avid Liquid 7 renders all the effects at the background, while you keep working. Further, with the help of GPU, the video card handles some effects, which are shown in real time, but the output is rendered to the background. Avid recommends the use of ATI gaming card. It supports HDV as well. With ‘Open Timeline’, you can mix any footage handled by Avid Liquid 7 on same timeline with the HDV footage. It saves much time. Liquid handles SD footage, HDV, various MPEG formats, and this new version supports for editing DiVx and Windows Media 9. Now, with support for P2 and XDCAM, footage acquired by any means can be edited.

The software only version is reviewed here. Prior to launching, you can choose to run either in the classic mode or regular mode. The latter offers access to a set of new features. After launching, the program runs as default user, which is suitable for individual users. For a multi-user environment, you can exit and launch as new user, and every user can create a distinct password and store personal setup like keyboard shortcuts or tool placements.

Avid Liquid 7 allows a lot of customization. Upon right clicking on a toolbar, and selecting customize, you can drag new tools or remove unused ones. The keyboard can be customized to map commonly used functions, by clicking on a keyboard icon placed on the bottom right of timeline. Through the control panel, it can be customized for each mode with distinct shortcuts for effects, editing, etc. The window layout, though not customizable, is available in a variety of styles.

According to Avid, the software is optimized to perform better while using one monitor. If you want to view the footage appearance while working on a spot, it is possible for Avid Liquid 7 to take over the second monitor to display a real time preview on full screen. All the effects and filters are visible, even with HD. For those on single monitor inclusive of a laptop, it is optimized to have the playback take over your full screen. With the break-out box (of Pro version), it can be displayed on the broadcast monitor too.

A new timeline can be created on Avid Liquid 7 by simply clicking ‘new timeline’ button. Adjust properties to match your project requirements, then hit enter. You can control all aspects inclusive of aspect ratio and frame rate. Presets allow quick creation of common timelines. Any preferred timeline can be saved as a template.

As Avid Liquid 7 allows freedom in customization, editing is simple. You can go for 3 point editing, or 4 point to fill function. You may drag from the source viewer and replace a clip on timeline, using the control key. Throughout, the filters and transitions of the original clip are retained. The multi camera feature will synchronize up to sixteen of your shooting angles, even if the formats are different.

Avid Liquid 7 automatically disbands your clips going to the timeline and separates the audio and video, to place the audio on a track defined by the user before editing. Four tracks of audio are allowed on one track. The user can create any number of user-defined tracks, regardless of audio or video tracks.

Numerous filters are provided, along with plenty of preset transitions, based on Hollywood FX engine. All the filters of Commotion (Pinnacle’s powerful compositing program) have been included in Avid Liquid 7. Many filters make use of GPU and realtime. Timewarps are realtime too. Avid Liquid 7 has also included SmartSound, a program which automatically creates customized music tracks giving real songs (not loops) with a start and an end, for any length.

Plenty of filters are available to create powerful audio mixes as well as effects. Classic filters like equalizers are included, along with new ones like noise reduction, all of which are completely customizable and most of them could be keyframed. The well laid out the audio mixer allows the user to decide on faders and rubber banding or both combined. It facilitates voice to timeline, whereby it is possible to record a live voice to the timeline, while Avid Liquid 7 is playing this timeline.

A Dolby Digital creator comes with the package. It is up to you to decide on the tracks to be sent to different channels in the 5.1 surround, and you can monitor it in full surround, using the break-out box of the Pro version. The surround sound may be authored to a DVD, or exported through Windows Media. The Dolby logo is seen when you click ‘about Avid Liquid’ in help menu. VST plug-ins is also supported. DVD authoring comes with the package too. Upon clicking the ‘DVD Wizard’ from your edit, you may create menus, links, etc. Pre-built menus are available to start your DVDs. Having created your DVDs, insert a Disk and export timeline to Disk. Choice of formats such as VideoCD and DVD are available.

The cost is reasonable with 499 dollars for the software version and 999 dollars for the Pro version. An upgrade price of 199 dollars is fair too. Avid Liquid 7, built on a superior technology is surely a quality product from Avid.

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