The Edius Pro Crash Course for Beginners (Part One): Setting Up

This crash course is written for those who want to explore Grass Valley Edius Pro to know whether it is the ideal application for their workflows or not, and to learn what might be in store for them. It is assumed that you have never seen or worked with Edius Pro.

By the end, you will have hopefully understood Edius Pro thoroughly, and will be in a strong position to learn how to take your education and work forward.

Edius 7

Which version of Edius should you use?

Before you can start with Edius, you might need a little background info on who it is intended for. According to the press release from Grass Valley:

EDIUS Pro 7 is the fastest and most versatile real time editing software—4K, 3D, HD, SD, and almost any format from 24×24 to 4Kx2K, all on the same timeline, even in nested sequences, all in real time. …

EDIUS Pro 7 means more resolutions, unlimited tracks, and real-time editing for the ability to Edit Anything, Anywhere. EDIUS Pro 7 is the perfect finishing tool for broadcast news, newsmagazine content, and studio programs, as well as corporate, documentary, and 4K theatrical productions.

Avid Media Composer

, the bigger giant in the broadcast world, cannot edit in 4K. From the products that Grass Valley sells, it is quite clear that their market is broadcast television and independent filmmakers.

What confuses matters, is that they have four versions of the software:

  • Elite
  • Pro
  • Neo
  • Express

 
Here’s a PDF Comparison so you can tell the differences. Only Pro and Elite can edit 4K, and has support for codecs from professional cameras.

This guide uses Edius Pro 7, which has the most features and offers the best value for money. Elite integrates with other products in the Grass Valley family, mainly:

  • GV STRATUS – “a custom-built suite of easy-to-use media production and content management tools, designed for simplicity, flexibility, and efficiency“.
  • K2 RAID storage systems – Pro integrates with K2 as well, but Elite goes all the way.

 
Which version should you start out with? Go with Edius Pro.

Hardware compatibility for Edius Pro

Edius Pro is Windows only (7 and above, 64-bit). No Macs.

Even though Grass Valley has its own monitoring and I/O cards like HDSPARK and STORM (notice Grass Valley likes all its products in caps?), it fully integrates with Blackmagic Design, and will support Matrox and AJA hardware sometime in Q4 2013.

Here’s an overview of recommended memory requirements:

Project Format RAM
Video Memory
Resolution Depth Min Rec. Min Rec.
SD 8-bit 1 GB 2 GB 256 MB 512 MB
10-bit 2 GB 4 GB 512 MB 1 GB
HD 8-bit 2 GB 4 GB 512 MB 1 GB
10-bit 4 GB 4 GB 1 GB 2 GB
2K/4K 8-bit 8 GB 16 GB + 2 GB 2 GB +
10-bit 8 GB 16 GB + 2 GB 2 GB +

In practice Edius is a lean program (it only needs 1 GB of RAM to work) and great for independent editors and filmmakers. With each passing year, it is getting better and better.

Take note, the GPU is an important component, used in effects (called GPUfx). For smooth playback, you’ll need a fast hard drive.

Where to get help

One of the strange things I noticed was that the manual wasn’t downloaded along with the software. To get the manual, go here. You’ll need to register to download the manual.

The Edius Pro manual is pretty straightforward and is easy reading. Compare that to other boring manuals!

For additional (and faster) support, check out the Grass Valley Forums.

How to set up Edius Pro for best results

When you first set up Edius Pro, you’ll need to specify a folder for project files. Since Edius will read from this drive, it is best to have your footage stored in a fast drive:

Edius Project Folder Setup

What settings can you choose from? Here’s the full list: Edius Video Options

Where’s 2K and 4K? It’s there. The above is slightly misleading – maybe somebody forgot to update it. Edius supports all standard broadcast rates, and is limited to 10-bit like most NLEs.

At the onset, when you start a new project, you can choose which project presets should apply to your project:

Edius Project Settings Screen One

To get 2K or 4K, or to make your own, make sure the ‘Customize’ box (lower left) is checked. This will bring you to the next screen (click to enlarge:Edius Project Settings Detailed

You can choose your desired resolution, even a customized format. The playback color model is fixed to Y’CbCr (with option of an alpha channel). No RGB.

As far as frame rates are concerned, you’ll get three more options:

  • 15 fps
  • 20 fps
  • 60 fps

 
Audio is limited to a maximum of 16 channels, 48 KHz and 32-bit. To fix the number of output channels, click on Channel map… (bottom right).

The settings screen is fairly intuitive and straightforward. You have the option of converting your footage to an intermediary or proxy codec. Grass Valley has its own codec, called Grass Valley HQ (similar to Prores and DNxHD). The options are shown in the above image. To get the relationships between project settings, sequence settings and device presets, check out page 32 of the manual.

The overscan setting is only used on broadcast, even with modern LCD HD displays. The amount of overscan varies, by a factor of 2% to 5%. It is not even on all sides of a television set. I prefer shooting slightly wider to account for overscan, rather than worry about the right percentage later.

Other Settings

All settings are neatly under one section. Go to Settings >:

  • System
  • User
  • Project
  • Sequence

 
If you’re a single user, then User isn’t that important. In a broadcast collaborative environment, you can assign different user profiles to restrict certain features. We’ve covered project settings above, which you can change at any time (but limited to the presets you’ve chosen earlier, mainly the frame rate).

Under system settings (Settings > System settings…), you have

  • Application
  • Hardware
  • Effects
  • Importer/Exporter
  • Input Controller

 
Full details of each setting are available on page 85 of the manual. I’ll only cover the basic ones. You may leave the others at their default settings when starting out.

Application

Under Playback, the default for Playback Buffer Size is 512 MB, which is okay for compressed 1080p stuff. For larger data rates, though, it might be a good idea to go up to the 2 GB. The number of Buffered Frames Before Playback can stay at 5, though if you have a slow system you can change that. Don’t check Stop Playback at Frame Drop.

Under Project Preset, you can use the Preset Wizard to create and save presets for future use.

Under Source Browser, you can specify a different folder for imported footage. Edius already has an organized folder system, so I suggest you leave it as is.

Effects

If you have enabled GPUfx (only works if you have a GPU meeting the specifications shown in the above table), you can antialiase your footage by choosing an algorithm under Mulitsample Type and Quality. Leave the defaults as is when starting out.

Importer/Exporter

Under this you can choose to tell Edius how to handle different codecs while importing or exporting.

Under RED, you can choose the Preview Quality for smoother playback. You can go from 1 to 1/16. If you’re monitoring on 1080p, then 1/2 or 1/4 works great.

Under Still Image, in the File Type drop down, choose the appropriate still image format. You have these options:

Edius Still Images

The XDCAM Browser defaults to ‘Proxy’, but you could change that to ‘All’ to edit native.

In Part Two we’ll look at the workspace and workflow within Edius Pro.