Turnkey Editing for DV, Screen and Web
iFinish v80 Powergrade

a "Reviewtorial," with helpful hints and commentary sprinkled liberally throughout

by Charlie White

When the newest of Media 100's iFinish editing systems arrived here at the Midwest Test Facility of DVFormat.com, I was remembering my positive experiences with Media 100 on the Macintosh. "No way," I thought, "could the NT version ever match up to the smooth, elegant Media 100 interface that has evolved over the years on the Mac."

Is that true? Well, let's take a look. I opened the box and there it was, a turnkey iFinish v80 Powergrade bundle ($18,995), including a Compaq AP550 workstation packing a 733 MHz Pentium III Processor, 256 megs of RAM and 36 gigs of SCSI storage. All this runs the latest version of the iFinish software, version 3.0. This monster had all the options (DV, SDI, RealTimeFX) except real time MPEG. In case you're wondering, here's a full features grid for all the iFinish products.

Uh-oh. This is going to be hard to set up. Lots of autoexec.bats and config.sys'es, no doubt. Wrong. I plugged the thing in, and it was ready to edit. Making matters even easier is a great breakout box that looks just like the Mac version, with places to plug in everything you might need for a pro-quality video production. Without even reading the manual, I plugged in my DV camera and after configuring the input settings (that were almost exactly like the Mac version's) I was ready to capture. Hey, I could get used to this. Even though Media 100 likes to promote the streaming video aspects of iFinish, make no mistake about it: This system is a sensational tool for editing extremely clean video for broadcast applications, too.

When I first got the system, it was preloaded with Windows NT. But then, in the middle of my review testing, Media 100 announced that iFinish now supports Windows 2000. After editing lots of footage on the Windows NT version (in case I couldn't get the Windows 2000 version to work), I took the step: I loaded the included free upgrade to the Windows 2000 operating system. And, lo and behold, what happened? Without patching any of the iFinish application, aside from the mouse cursor disappearing from time to time, everything seemed the same as with NT. The neat thing is, the 1394 in and out still worked perfectly. I must say, too, that the whole time I used this iFinish system, the software didn't crash one single time. An edit system as solid as this is nothing short of remarkable.

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