This independent editor wants an affordable solution for high-volume Blu-ray Disc duplication

Anton Strauss is a veteran video editor, most recently working on corporate and local government training and promotional projects. A short video he shot and edited for the New South Wales government called “Earth Hour” (designed to help the fight against global warming), won a 2008 MTV Australia “Good Karma” Award in April. Strauss is now editing a number of high-definition videos, using a home-made PC with dual Intel Xeon (eight cores) processors. He uses the latest version (4.6) of Thomson Grass Valley Edius Broadcast editing software, with its real-time processing and JPEG 2000 codec.
Q: What’s the demand like for HD programming in Australia?
A: Well, there isn’t much at this point. HD is happening slowly in Australia, but it’s only a matter of time. [All of the broadcasters in the country are currently transmitting in HD.] The most requests I see are from consumers wanting to capture special events, like weddings and parties. That’s not really my business, but lots of my friends have taken advantage of it. I’m about to buy a Panasonic AG-HPX500 P2 (solid-state) camera.

Q: Why do you build your own computers?
A: Well, I know computers like the back of my hand, and I wouldn’t consider an of-the-shelf computer when I can make one to my specifications in order to handle the work I do. My latest workstation, which I built myself, includes the newest super micro board. I did a test with four HD cameras using the multicam feature in Edius and it plays the timeline without any hiccups whatsoever. I could hardly do HD playback without stopping with my previous workstation. To export a 60-minute timeline to a standard DVD now takes 12 minutes. It used to take almost twice that amount of time.

As for Edius, the output quality and real-time performance of the software has always been the easiest to use in the industry. Combining a high-powered PC with Edius software allows me to do any type of HD project with ease. In fact, I can do several at the same time.

Q: What’s the biggest misconception about HD editing and production?
A: I would say for an independent professional like myself, the biggest problem right now is that there is no affordable way to produce an HD [Blu-ray] DVD in large quantities. I can make a few copies to give to my client (at $25 each), but I can’t make a master DVD to give to a duplication house to make thousands of high-definition DVDs. They don’t accept it.

Right now to do that I have to spend $100,000 on a Sony or Sonic Solutions HD authoring software and hardware system. These systems allow me to properly output to a master format that duplicators can use. With all of the other pieces of the process coming down in price and increasing in functionality, this doesn’t seem to make sense.

The other misconception about Blu-ray Discs is that you can’t do any of advanced authoring for creating things like special features on a disc with affordable Blu-ray authoring software such as DVDit Pro HD. I use a software program called DVD Lab Pro (from Media Chance) for my SD discs and it costs $250 and provides all of the most advanced features. Why is this not possible with the Blu-ray format? [Editor’s note: Media Chance is working on a Blu-ray version, but there’s no word on its release date.]

The real problem is that, with the death of Toshiba’s HD DVD format, Sony has a monopoly on the market. This will change with time, but it’s what we have to live with at the moment.

The award-winning “Earth Hour” video can be seen online at and has also appeared on the New South Wales government’s own digital television channel that airs nationally. He used DXC-D35 DVCAM camera. For more on Antons Video Productions, visit