Fastest transcoder on the market: EditReady 1.0

Divergent Media recently released its EditReady tool, a fast transcoding utility for video production pros. EditReady transcodes media from any QuickTime compatible format to one of the ProRes or DNxHD formats, as well as to H.264. It supports metadata and custom file naming. EditReady looks simple but is pretty powerful — but that’s not why you will want to have a copy.

EditReady has one huge major appeal. It’s transcoding process to ProRes is fast. Incredibly fast. I compared it to Red Giant’s BulletProof, Squeeze 9 and Episode Engine and it’s a whole lot faster than any of those. Even when I had Episode running with two extra nodes, EditReady was faster. If you have a lot of ProRes files, you’ll want EditReady — if not for anything else, then surely for its speed. As far as the other features are concerned, EditReady is nice too.

EditReady

Let me start with its support for clip formats. This first version of the app supports only those formats that you can play in the QuickTime player but that’s not an accurate claim. For example, I tried dropping an AVCHD file — the bundle OS X makes of it — and EditReady didn’t recognise it, although it did play in the QuickTime player. On the other hand, a GoPro file first converted in GoPro Studio Pro to the intermediate Cineform format was recognised without a problem, even if it did not play in the QuickTime player. As expected, RED clips were not recognised.

I asked the developers about future import formats and their response was promising: “In version 1.0 we focused in on QuickTime to QuickTime conversions. Now that the app is out in the world, our next update towards the end of the summer will be to add in more natively supported camera formats.” The export formats support is fine even in this first version. EditReady supports all ProRes and DNxHD flavours and H.264. There’s also the ability to pass-through video as well as audio formats. You would use pass-through ‘transcoding’ if you wanted to add metadata, colour grade (more on that later), or change framerate, for example.

EditReady

If you don’t have Avid products installed on your system, you’ll see the DNxHD codecs greyed out. That’s — as Divergent Media’s Colin McFadden told me — because Divergent Media doesn’t ship a built in DNxHD codec, but rather rely on the Avid provided codec. You can install Avid’s codecs for free, independent of any other Avid products, by downloading it from http://avid.force.com/pkb/articles/en_US/download/en423319.

Renaming files is easy with EditReady, as is adding metadata, but it’s a bit a hidden feature that’s not well explained in the user guide. There is, however, a tutorial guide on Vimeo that explains how it works. Adding metadata is done in a separate window. You can add as many metadata fields as you wish from a pre-defined bunch of categories. I could be wrong, but I think everyone’s needs are covered well in this department.

Renaming files dynamically is done by dragging metadata fields — the label icons next to the metadata — to the renaming ‘well’. I initially missed that one completely, but it’s there and it couldn’t be easier.

EditReady

For colour grading EditReady supports 3D LUTs. Here you can first preview the clip with a LUT applied before committing to one. This is done in the separate, but built-in player window. That window has a sort of rosette like icon in the top right corner. The icon lets you access the LUTs stored on your system. While previewing the clip, you can change LUTs without actually applying them to the end-result. In the main window, you load the LUT you want to effectively apply.

EditReady supports batch processing, so you can transcode all loaded files with the same settings together. You can also transcode only flagged clips, or one-by-one. Whatever method you prefer, you don’t have to wait for the transcoding job to finish before starting on a new job!

EditReady

One unique feature of EditReady that I couldn’t try out is its ability to show you on a map where a clip has been shot — provided your camera has a built-in GPS that was working when shooting the clip.

Finally, you can customise metadata keys if you know how to work with JSON. EditReady can be automated through its command-line interface as well.

All the while I was trying out EditReady’s features, I was comparing this new app with the others I have previously (and currently) been reviewing. The closest I got was CatDV, but without the DAM capabilities and associated levels of support and complexity. I would say EditReady is for when you’re in a hurry and want to move forward quickly. Certainly when more cameras are supported, EditReady will prove its worth to production pros.

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