simplifying video editing

Render Booster

One stick, many units?

The “Render Booster” comes with a software key code. Such software key codes can be purchased without the stick as well – at a much lower price. This means that one stick can be used for several units, simply by purchasing multiple key codes and physically switching the stick between the units (the stick has to be connected before the related unit is started up).

It works on all Bogart compatible machines (Bogart 5 is required, though). This includes Solitaire/Renommee Ultra units. It does NOT support Smart Edit based products.

The Render Booster adds a total of three new formats to “save storyboard” function:

-          H.264 (ts) RenderBooster

This format uses the very advanced “H.264” encoding standard, which will usually give you the best possible encoding quality. The file will have a “.ts” appendix, which is the abbreviation for “transport stream”. .ts files are common in HDTV telecasting and can be played back with many newer players. However, older PCs and/or other players may not have enough CPU speed for a smooth playback of H.264 material. Youtube accepts such files just fine, so it is a good idea to use this setting (especially in the 8 Mbit data rate so the files are smaller, thus reducing the upload time).

-          MP4 Render Booster

This format is using the popular .mp4 standard. Since mp4 is THE video format Apple products “like”, it is playable on almost any available playback device on the market. If you want to give your video to others on a disk or USB storage device, this is the recommended file format. However, as the iPhone/iPod/iPad products do not support Full HD video resolution, such files won’t play on these Apple products when generated from a Full HD or HDV (1920x1080, 1440x1080) project.

-          MP4 (SD) RenderBooster

This format also uses the .mp4 standard, but always downsizes HD video to SD (720x576) resolution. These files are fully compatible with the Apple iPhone/iPod/iPad products and can be loaded into the iTunes program without any conversion. After the usual “synchronisation” procedure required to copy files from iTunes into the internal storage of the Apple device, the files can be played by the phone/pod/pad in pristine quality.

The most frequent application for the "RenderBooster" is the production of DVDs and Blu-ray discs in HD and SD formats. The "RenderBooster" is also used for the " export of storyboard “ functions.

It permits very quick and high-quality conversions. SD and HD projects can be converted to H.264 formats which are convenient for PCs, Macs and many media players. SD projects can be exported in the customary MPEG-2 format and the data rates are selectable by the user.

It is recommended that the "RenderBooster" be installed in one of the rear USB ports. A short USB extension lead is provided and permits a space-saving installation of the product.

The "RenderBooster" transcodes all SD and HD projects in the DVD format or in MPEG / H.264 formats. And of course every HD project in the Blu-ray compatible AVCHD format. The render time amounts to between 1.2 and 1.4 times the duration of the respective project. A 60-minute project needs between 72 and 84 minutes. This time includes the pure transcoding (faster than real-time) and the balance of the processes required to finalise the file. Working with a S4000, the process with "RenderBooster" is approximately 12 times faster than without the "RenderBooster.”

In addition to this dramatic rendering acceleration, the "RenderBooster" also markedly improves image quality. The RenderBooster’s hardware based conversion is unambiguously better than the usual software encoding provided by S series Casablancas and most PC and Mac systems. This has permitted the introduction of a new good-quality/low data-rate mode for Arabesk HD projects that allows 90 minutes of material to fit, in full HD resolution, on a standard Dual-Layer-DVD disk. A 25GB-Blu-ray disk has enough space for approximately 4 hours of material and a 50 GB disk for approximately eight hours. Even an inexpensive single Layer DVD can now store 45 minutes of HD material.

The background story

Many Casablanca aficionados vividly remember the “Render Accelerator Option” for the original Casablanca editing system. It was basically a faster processor, making the time intensive effects rendering more speedy.

Since then (1996), CPU power has dramatically increased. The Motorola processor in 1996 was clocked at 25 MHz, now the top of the line “S 6000” has 3.3 GHz – and multiple cores, too. This (theoretically) makes it thousands of times faster than the then-state-of-the-art original.

But rendering speed is still lacking. Not so much for rendering video effects – even in high definition, there is almost no more related waiting time. Plus, the background rendering allows the user to continue his work while the calculations are done in the background.

The new challenge is called “transcoding”. Since today’s world has not settled on just one video standard, it is absolutely common, even essential, to convert a video file into other formats for compatibility reasons. There are many different camcorder formats to begin with – and it is often desirable to create a Blu-Ray disk, a common DVD, plus a few different PC/Mac/Smartphone compatible files from a finished project.

And this is where today’s rendering time is painful. Making a Blu-Ray compatible HD video stream out of HD footage takes a long time, even with fast CPUs. And it gets worse: Making a DVD that looks good is a challenge – the “down conversion” is a complex task. The common software codecs always offer compromises – fast rendering usually means lower image quality. A difficult trade off.

The product

MacroSystem has now tackled these issues with the new “Render Booster” – a device that plugs onto a USB port just like a thumb drive. The small, elegant stick packs a lot of hardware power – it basically is a small computer on its own, with a highly specialised processor. It handles just the transcoding (the de-interlacing, the scaling, and the encoding), nothing else but it does that in a state-of-the-art quality, and far faster than high end mainstream processors.

The speed

The Render Booster can transcode any HD project into Blu-Ray, DVD or H.264 (TS) formats. The required time is about 1.2 to 1.4 times the runtime of the video. A 60 minute project will require just between 72 and 84 minutes of rendering time. This time includes the transcoding (faster than real time) and the “overhead” (massive amounts of data have to be copied back and forth).

Compared to a standard “S 4000 Pro, this means that making a Blu-Ray in Arabesk is about 12 times faster with the Render Booster.

The image quality

That is a dramatic speed increase for sure, but there’s more. The quality of the hardware transcoding is superb, far better than the common software encoders used not only by Bogart, but by many other PC/Mac based editing systems too. This allows a new quality mode for HD Arabesk projects – you can now get 90 minutes of pristine FullHD AVCHD material onto a double layer DVD media (45 minutes onto a single layer media). Almost 240 minutes on a single layer BD, 8 hours on a double layer (50 GB) BD!

The power consumption

Instead of using the power hungry main CPU (120 Watts at full capacity) for transcoding, using the low power consumption “Render Booster” (5 Watts) will save a significant amount of energy. For a typical Blu-Ray generation, savings of about one kilowatt hour are common.

The use cases

The most common use case for the “Render Booster” is no doubts the generation of DVDs and Blu-Ray disks in both SD and HD formats. These tasks are handled by Arabesk 5, which automatically detects the “Render Booster” (if the required add-on product has been activated by typing in the key code).

The “Render Booster” is also used in the “Export Storyboard” feature. It allows very fast state-of-the-art conversions. SD and HD projects can be exported in H.264.ts formats which can be played back by PCs, Macs and many other devices. SD projects can also be exported in the very common MPEG-2 format. The data rate is user selectable.

The “Render Booster” should be plugged into one of the rear USB slots. It comes with a short USB cable extender for those that have no room at the back of their unit.




Render Booster £299