A truly beautiful ivory-white 1U enclosure, Hapi is a modular multi-channel microphone preamp and networked audio interface/converter. Like other Merging Swiss-made boxes, it is well constructed and exquisitely designed.
VCube V2.0 already introduced major improvements in the system’s video engine, supported more file formats and provided a fluent integration with Pyramix (ADR). VCube V2.1 builds on this tradition, explores it’s possibilities and adds new features. Let’s take a look at these nice novelties…
implementation of Direct Show handler
By analogy with Pyramix V6.1, VCube 2.1 is also capable of playing the majority of (compressed) Direct Show file formats (mp3, WMA, OGG, m4a, …). It also renders the audio in background to a cache file in the .wav format for frame accuracy. Settings for this cache file can be found in the Settings>Media Settings>mp3 window
New vertical wipe in ADR
Where previously only a horizontal wipe was possible, you can now define a vertical wipe (Colin Broad style). Just change the wipe type to vertical in the Countdown & Wipe Settings window.
New Audio Engine window
In this new window it is possible to activate an ASIO driver for audio output from a dropdown menu . From this moment on, outputs can be selected as usual (for Mykerinos or AJA boards) in the track header. VCube installs per default ASIO4ALL and will use this driver if no other is available on the system. ASIO drivers can only be used when the VCube application is set to ASIO in the VS3 control panel and when the Aj a card is disabled or not present in the system(VCube LE/XE).
Merges the output of any ASIO application on the machine into the audio engine and I/O. This bridge can also be used for merging the VCube timeline (edits) into Ovation (!) A maximum of 96 channels are available in the VS3 control panel.
Improved page layout in Render / Convert / Record page
Always looking for the best possible ergonomics for our users, the layout of the Render, Convert and Record page was improved and organized in convenient tabs ( Main, Video, Audio).
New options for moving clips
4 new options for moving clips were added for a better ease of use : Send to Mark In, Send to Mark Out, Send to Cursor and Send to Original Media TC. These commands can also be found in a contextual menu by right clicking on a selected clip and in the best Merging tradition you can also assign a shortcut to each of these options.
Real-time SRC (Sample Rate Conversion) for all supported media
Whether you add .mp3, .wav, .mov or any other supported format, the sample rate will automatically be adjusted to the composition’s sample rate (which for most video projects will usually be 48 kHz). A notice in the clip (“Real time SRC enabled”) will be shown.
VCube V2.1 is planned to be released in the early days of June .
PYRAMIX/VCUBE INTEGRATION TAKES STEP FORWARD
In Pyramix V6.1 integration with VCube takes a huge step forward. Basically, until now projects (or files) had to be opened or imported separately on each machine and VCube composition information could not be saved within a Pyramix project. As of Pyramix V6.1 these issues belong to the past and video in VCube can be opened/imported together with the Pyramix project without any manipulation in VCube whatsoever !
Let’s have a closer look at how this works.
If VCube is running and the All Settings > Virtual Transport > Clients State Saving is set to Save Clients State, then when saving a project in Pyramix the content of the VCube Timeline and all settings are saved in the Pyramix project. When the project is reloaded in Pyramix the VCube timeline will be reopened accordingly. (same behavior as the DS Player up to now, but for complete Compositions).
When importing a Composition in Pyramix (AAF, OMF, FCP XML, MT XML), if the Video Options of the Import dialog is set to Open Referenced Video and the imported composition contains video tracks, then this very same Composition file is sent to VCube for importing as well.
When importing a single Video File in Pyramix using Project > Import > Video Clips, this Video file is imported in VCube as well (or in DS Player if the dialog is set to the first option) and placed at its original timecode (timestamp).
Especially for users needing a mixdown from Pyramix into VCube for final review and/or Wrap/Render, the option “Place in VCube” has been added in the Mixdown window of Pyramix, at the bottom of the Post-processing options. When the Mixdown process is finished, mixed down audio files are sent to VCube and automatically loaded in the timeline at their proper timecode, replacing the audio tracks present in VCube at that moment. All this while Video tracks are preserved.
Above described functionality applies when VCube is running in the same machine as Pyramix, or when VCube is running on a different machine and it’s network name has been properly set in Pyramix > All Settings > Virtual Transport > VCube Options > Associated VCube network name.
Please make sure that VCube is running when opening/importing the Pyramix project, as in this first phase of the implementation it will not open automatically.
AES : AND THE WINNER IS...
Quiztime at AES on the Merging booth ! To celebrate the launch of Pyramix V6.1 all attendees could give their answer to the question : “how many simultaneous tracks you think Pyramix V6.1 can play and mix in real time ?”.
Many answers found their way to the “urn”, but only one winner received the MassCore 256+ pack from Claude Cellier by giving the closest answer to the actual benchmark number achieved in March 2009 with a preliminary version of Pyramix V6.1: 1149 tracks. Yes, you’ve read it right, an amazing count of 1149 tracks 24-bit at 88.2 kHz, playing all from individual files off a set of two SSDs configured in Raid 0, which Merging believes to be a world record, far beyond the capacity of any competing commercial DAW in existence.
Shown in the picture, Claude Cellier remitting the Grand Prize to Michael Buehlmann of AEU Studio Corporation in Bernwho, with a guess of 1128 tracks, came closest in the competition. Kostis Glonis from Athens, Greece came third, guessing 1182 tracks, and Richard Wear of recruitment company Interfacio guessed 1117.
Just minutes before our own prize celebration, another ceremony took place.
Every year, the Student chapter of the Audio Engineering Society holds a competition to find the best recording made by its members that year, and the results, divided into various stylistic and technical categories, are announced at the Student Delegates Assembly at that year's AES convention.
The award for this year's best classical recording was given to the 25-year-old German-born Ulrich Treutwein, who is studying in his fifth and final year of the Tonmeister recording course at the University of Music & Performing Arts in Vienna, Austria. Treutwein won the first prize with his recording of Bach's Concerto for Oboe and Violin in D Minor (BWV1060), which was played by students of the university, recorded in a small hall there, and recorded, edited and mixed entirely in Pyramix. Treutwein received his award and prize — a fully fledged Pyramix Native Mastering Pack — from Claude Cellier in person.
USER TESTIMONIALS : VCUBE HD FOR MILEY CYRUS DUB
Regularly users want to share their “Merging” experiences with colleagues all over the world. Always eager to spread the words of our users, today we include the story of Myron Nettinga, mix engineer at Miley Cyrus Dub who did the mix at 424 Inc. proud owner of a VCube HD with which he finalized “Hannah Montana – The Movie” .
Audio post-production took place at respected dubbing facility 424 Inc, based high in the Hollywood hills, under the watchful eyes of re-recording mix engineer Myron Nettinga, joint winner of the 2002 Oscar for Best Cinema Sound on 'Black Hawk Down', with the HD signal from the VCube being projected onto a 20x40-foot screen by 424 Inc's Barco DP-90. As the VCube HD was set to auto-boot each day with the last-used sequence pre-loaded, and because Nettinga was controlling its operation via a Euphonix System 5 control surface, using the Euphonix-authored open control protocol EuCon, the operation of the VCube HD was fully integrated into the sound stage's workflow the VCube's built-in controls scarcely saw any use at all, beyond the power button being pressed first thing in the morning to start it up and then again to shut it down at night.
"The flexibility of the system, combined with the image quality and amount of detail in the HD picture, was very inspiring to the creative process, both for the mixers and the director," comments Nettinga. He was also impressed by its compatibility with a wide range of video formats and codecs. As work on the picture progressed and effects or title sequences were completed, Nettinga was able to update individual sequences in the version of the film stored in the VCube HD using files in a variety of video formats sent to him over email or FTP, without having to recapture entire reels at a time.
Several other VCube features proved to be a great help to Nettinga, and a considerable improvement over those of linear video playback systems. "We kept a reel-by-reel version of the movie on one track in the VCube and an assembled long-play version on an other. That way, we could switch over to the long-play version with a single click, to check change overs or just to assess the flow from one reel to the next. And in the long-play version, we could reset the footage-counters at the head of each reel, so that the timecode references made by the director or producer at a screening would continue to be accurate when working on a specific reel." Even the tedious work of adding 'X' marks to rushes 10 frames before a cut point was made easier by doing it in VCube's character generator, rather than employing traditional grease pencil marks on the film itself. "You can turn the Xs off in the VCube, too" laughs Nettinga. “You can’t do that with grease pencil marks!”
In short, Myron Nettinga's experience of the VCube HD on 'Hannah Montana' was a very positive one. "The VCube HD's flexibility, combined with the integration and control offered by the System 5 through EuCon, makes it the most flexible and reliable solution currently on the market,” he concludes.
'Hannah Montana — The Movie' is on general release in the USA now, and is due to hit the UK and Europe in May and June 2009.
RECENT SALES SUCCESSES
Merging recently won a deal in Hungary where a specific demand of the customer was to add a software option that would allow a number of digitizing sections in Pyramix to provide automatic stop of recording if the sound level is under a preset threshold for a preset number of seconds. The main application being the archival of tapes being played on analog machines such as Studer 80, it is indeed of great benefit for the personnel to be able to leave a number of concurrent digitizing sessions unattended and that the end of record is automatically triggered at the end of the tape. Merging was able to implement this new feature in record time and hence got the order.
On the VCube front we are happy to report a number of recent successes in France and Italy with several fresh orders of VCube SD and VCube HD Players as well as recorders.
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