The SGI 320 has a number of built-in features that make it particularly suitable as a multimedia workstation. In addition to specific support in the applications listed below, please consult the Audio/Video Guide for the SGI 320 to understand the multimedia capabilities of the system and how to set it up for video post-production.
Adobe Premiere 5.1a+
Premiere was considered to be an important application for the success of the SGI320 when it was released early in 1999. For this reason, a substantial amount of work was undertaken to optimise features and codecs for running Premiere on the SGI320.
For a comprehensive list of FAQ follow the link. Nearly all the information has been reproduced from SGI’s discontinued Audio and Video Information Site.
Adobe After Effects 4.0+
After Effects was one of the early software packages identified by SGI to benefit from the SGI320’s unique architecture. A feature particular to this workstation is a plugin (sgiaftereffects1_0.exe) that allows video to be displayed on an external monitor while working within the application; the project is rendered to RAM before the framebuffer retargets it to one of the video jacks (RCA or S-Video). The SGI320’s Integrated Video Subsystem (IVC) supports both PAL and NTSC, as well as non-square pixels, making this tool ideal for displaying full-frame uncompressed video.
After Effects otherwise runs with no SGI320-related problems.
Avid XPress DV (Windows 2000)
A number of people have reported using Avid XPress DV on their SGI320s. This application runs fine with the following limitations.
You can only run Avid XPress up to version 3.0 (3.5 requires Windows XP)
- Must have minimum SP2 installed. Avid does not recommend running SP3 although a number of users have reported no problems running this configuration.
- The internal Cobalt graphics chipset cannot playback video source on XP DV’s source popup monitor and composer monitor. Use a graphics card such as a Matrox G450 to solve this.
The internal firewire ports cannot be used to capture video as they are not OHCI-compliant. Legacy firewire is supported under XPress DV version 2.0.
The internal sound card can be used to capture video (for example, it is possible to capture sound through ‘Line-In’).
Digital Fusion 3.1 / DFX+ 3.1
Out of all the editors/compositors, it seems that Eyeon’s DF/DFX+ has the best support for the SGI320.
In a recent e-mail received from Andrew Liszewski, Product Specialist at Eyeon Software Inc., I was told that both compositors support the special framebuffer the SGI320 uses internally, which translates to a ‘view-on’ feature using the 320’s RCA and S-Video connections. It also supports the 320-specific AVI codecs used to capture video and preview video on an external monitor. Furthermore, both 8-bit and 10-bit options are supported.
A number of users from 1999 to 2001 reported using Shake on the SGI320. Although stable, it does not take advantage of the 320’s built-in capabilities. In a recent letter from Matt Plec, Shake Product Specialist at Nothing Real (now a division of Apple), I was told that the SGI320’s graphic buffer had created problems for consumers of Shake in the past.
During the launch of the Visual Workstations there were rumours of the release of a special version of Speed Razor 4.5SE that would support the built-in features of the SGI NT systems. Unfortunately, this never materialised and a number of users have reported Speed Razor as being unstable when used on an SGI320.