DVdoctor interview - Hiro Yamada, founder and chairman of Canopus

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bcrabtree
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Joined: Mar 7 1999

DVdoctor's interview with Hiro Yamada, top man at Canopus, is now live over here on DVdoctor.net.

All comments, please, to this thread and not the original one that asked for questions that I could pose to Mr Yamada.

Bob C

S DAVE
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Joined: Jun 21 2005

Thanks to Mr. Hiro for taking the time to do the interview.

I have a few questions regarding this interview, though.

First of all, why have Premiere Pro support for the DVStorm2 and bundle it at all if you knew the SDK was not good? I don't know the exact amount of sold bundles, but it should be in the high numbers. I for one own a DVStorm (Original, sure only supported Premiere 6.5) and a DVStorm2 (Which included Premiere Pro)....

Don't get me wrong, the DVStorm cards are great, I own 2, and have been a Canopus customer for over 5 years now, and still am.

So basicly what I am trying to find out is, how are those customers who bought the "rocket powered premiere pro" bundles going to be compensated? It's been more than a year now.

dieterk
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Joined: Jun 21 2005
So why can Matrox then ...

...support Premiere Pro with the new Axio? It´s a dream of Premiere HD-Integration. It did not seem so impossible to work with the Premiere SDK...

So as a long time Canopus User, im a bit frustated, that Canopus is not able to cope wirh the SDK.

BTW: I´ts true, that many effects in Premiere are still RGB, but as long as you don´t combine them with the Canopus Filters in YUV a RT-integration should not be that hard...

BTW2: a RGB2YUV-Conversion in VGA-Shaders can be done lossless...

Greetings and thanks for the great interview....

Video Opp
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Joined: Jun 21 2005
Why not just Accelerate PPro?

Thanks for your interview!

I believe that most of the individuals who purchased the PPro bundle were primarily looking for a system that made Premiere Pro more of a RT product. I believe that there is a large user base that would still purchase Canopus cards for that reason alone. Why give up if the Adobe SDK did not allow for Canopus effects? If you were to develop stable drivers that accelerated the native PPro software, I believe that most of your disgruntled customers would be happy again, and that Canopus would sell a lot more NX cards as a result.

kwshaw1
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Joined: Jun 21 2005

References to Matrox Axio are amusing because (a) it doesn't seem to be available for sale yet anywhere, (b) it doesn't currently support HDV editing as a standard feature, and (c) it's rumored to have a starting price of around $11K for a complete system when it does finally ship. Meanwhile, Canopus has been shipping real-time HD/HDV editing products for several months now with a starting price of just $1299 for DIY hardware plus software, meaning you can build a nice dual-processor editing system for a few thousand dollars. Seems to me this puts Canopus ahead of Matrox in terms of hardware, plus they're arguably ahead of Adobe in some ways in terms of HDV support. I don't care much at this point whether Canopus ever sorts out any issues relating to Premiere Pro, but I think they may owe an apology to anyone who bought DVStorm with Premiere Pro based on Canopus marketing promises.

GlynH
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Joined: Apr 22 2001

Great interview Bob - really appreciate the time taken by Hiro Yamada to 'fight his corner'.

Just reading interviews like this make me feel good about the product I use... but...and there's always a but;

I was interested to read about the 'sixteen different steps' needed to load DVStorm and what seemed to me like a non-committal answer from Mr. Yamada.

So if he disagrees that it is sixteen steps then how many?

And in all honesty if there are more than 3 steps it seems OTT to me.

I have been badgering Canopus UK for over a year now just to obtain a single CD from which to carry out something close to a current fresh install without worrying about which patches, updates, fixes etc. to download and in which order to install them while throwing salt over my shoulder when the moon is full and chanting incantations hoping I haven't missed the small print!

The Canopus UK Tech people tell me it is uncomplicated and straight-forward but my 45 year old brain has difficulty coming to terms with the process - and most of my time is spent in IT sorting issues others are unable to solve!

Regarding the Premiere Pro issue - being an existing Canopus customer I took the opportunity to upgrade from Premiere v6 to Premiere Pro directly with Adobe only to find out that my DVStorm (which was touted by Canopus as being PPro compatible) doesn't support many of the features I require.

I desperately want Premiere v6.5 but feel aggrieved that I have wasted my money on PPro with apparently no way to exchange (upgrade?) PPro for v6.5

And a final thing - why oh why do I have to go through 'log on hell' just to download updates? It can't be a piracy issue as my DVStorm2 is the biggest hardware dongle on my system!

For some reason sometimes my password doesn't work even though I cut & paste from the Canopus confirmation email and other times its just slow as wading through treacle...

If these (IMHO) long outstanding issues were solved I would be a happy camper!

Thanks & kind regards,
-=Glyn=-

Scott Chapin
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Joined: Jun 22 2005

Great interview. I'm still waiting for the reason that Storm was advertised to work with PPro. I always felt that something was not right with the SDK, but why was this not known in advance?

The driver installations are convoluted, but not insufferable.

Scott

Dan42
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Joined: Jan 15 2004
Scott Chapin wrote:
but why was this not known in advance?

This should have be obvious to them early on in the development of the plugin. I suspect it was but Canopus were unwilling to change the way they work. In fact if the changes were so fundamental it should have been apparent just looking at the SDK specs on paper even before development began. It was stated before that Canpous tried to force their 6.5 plugin into PPro before giving up and starting from scratch on new code for 1.5 plugin. Square plug, round hole? Unfortunetly they still tried to code a square plug again.

drgagx
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Joined: Dec 1 2001
DVdoctor interview - Hiro Yamada, founder and chairman of Canopu

Thanks for posting the interview - very informative.

Re manuals, it would also be helpful to see them available to registered users via the Canopus Support area on their website. Per the reply it seems a complete manual will only be available in printed format,

bcrabtree
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Joined: Mar 7 1999

People,

Thanks for the kind words, they are very greatly appreciated.

I certainly have no intention of being an apologist for Canopus but I reckon there are things, still, that haven't been said (or indeed done) and which might change people's perceptions - but Canopus itself needs to come to that conclusion and move on from there.

I also think that some of Mr Yamada's answers demonstrate the sparkling clarity of hindsight. For that reason, perhaps, they may give a false impression of how things were during the time that Canopus laid its various plans for Premiere Pro.

From my dealings with the company going back to the days of the first Raptor, I'd presume to say that the company didn't look at the Premiere Pro SDK and say "that's rubbish but let's use aggressive advertising to kid people into believing we can do it anyway".

More likely is that the company thought it could work around the problem as it had done in the past (and Canopus does, clearly, have a superiority complex concerning Adobe) but then realised it had bitten off more than it could chew. But at that point it was too late.

But whether or not that's the case, the company does need to think carefully about what to do about those customers who are hacked off with the products they've bought.

Up to now pride may have been a major impediment to sorting out the problems to customers' satisfaction - never underestimate the damage it does to the clear thinking of western as well as Japanese companies.

However, perhaps because I'm based on the east side of the Atlantic, I also tend to think there may be another factor at play - fear of the legal system in the USA.

I know of no country whose citizens are more willing than those of the USA to take their complaints to law - and I say that not as a criticism but as a simple observation.

From that, I tend to think that Canopus may have been (and may remain) fearful of the consequences of making too big an admission of culpability.

I'd guess that offering some sort of modest compensation would satisfy a lot of people who are currently hacked off with Canopus but reckon that the company would have to do this so that legally it was seen as a goodwill gesture only, with no blame being admitted.

If this could be arranged, I'd guess that a money-off deal for, say Edius NX for HDV or for Edius 4 might be something that would satisfy a lot of people and not cause Canopus's lawyers or accountants to throw themselves off of high places.

Concerning the maddening issues with updater downloads from Canopus's web site, people who are new to the DVdoctor forums and/or have never read the magazine (Computer Video) I used to edit until Dec 2004, may not know that I have raised this subject with various Canopus people over the years - including Mr Yamada himself on more than one occasion.

This is not something we discussed during the interview (he was probably surprised I didn't raise the subject) but it is something that Canopus at the highest level does know is not thought by its customers to be satisfactory.

Hopefully, that means that Canopus is working towards sorting this out - I think the company would be letting itself down if it didn't do something about the issue.

Being a cynic, I also wonder whether or not Adobe co-operated less with Canopus than it did with Matrox - a company that had not introduced a rival editing program.

Certainly, if I was calling the shots at Adobe, that would have been how I'd have played the game, and I've little doubt that the people who run Adobe are smarter than me, and so would have been likely to implement that idea before I'd even thought of it.

It could even be possible that the SDKs that Canopus had were different or worse than those Matrox had. But I'd reckon it a near certainty that Adobe would have been more willing to work with Matrox than Canopus to help it try to work around any deficiencies in the SDK.

Mind you, in my view, Matrox's not developing editing software of its own, or buying in an editing company or its editor, remains surprising and - as I've predicted and as John "DVdoctor" Ferrick predicted - that decision is now coming back to bite them.

Oh, and concerning the promised good-quality printed manual for Edius - I'd personally be most surprised if this was not also made available as a PDF file.

I'd also tend to think that Canopus will offer registered owners of Edius the printed version for close to cost - to do otherwise would, I judge, be a seriously silly decision, and one that can readily be seen as damaging to the company.

Bob C

bcrabtree
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Worth checking out this Canopus forum thread, too

I also started a thread over on Canopus's forums highlighting the fact that the interview was now live.

There has been a lot of comment over there that people here might find interesting, and I have also made one sustantive posting there subsequent to some of these comments being made.

Bob C

stephenlnoe
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Joined: Feb 16 2005

Hi,

I can see Mr. Yamada's point about GPU boards and their function, however, with Pinnacle Edition there are GPU boards and specific drivers listed that are approved by Pinnacle to work with their products as intended. It is the same thing with Avid and the others that are software based. The hardware must meet the spec or there is no guarantee that the results will be to the software manufacturers specification. It's all good and frankly I like Edius very much.

Scott Chapin
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Joined: Jun 22 2005
bcrabtree wrote:
I know of no country whose citizens are more willing than those of the USA to take their complaints to law - and I say that not as a criticism but as a simple observation.

Go ahead, criticise. We know it. Most of us detest it. Some legislators are trying to curb it.

Quote:
Being a cynic, I also wonder whether or not Adobe co-operated less with Canopus than it did with Matrox - a company that had not introduced a rival editing program.

My intuition still suspects Adobe of being culpable, at least in part.

Scott C.

DVdoctor
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Joined: Apr 1 1999

I think it was a good interview. I happen not to agree with some of the conclusions but this is what it is all about.

Having been on the software development Side for quite a while I can assure you that Bob's point about Adobe being less open is a fact. When you are working with oem's every development organization that I know will look carefully to see if there is a potential conflict of interest and in fact both sides tend to limit discussions of future plans in great detail for fear of getting into a legal battle over the origin of designs. SO If you look back in one of my earlier colums you will see where I predicted that once Canopus offered its own software that would be the end of the Adobe relationship. IF I remember correctly Canopus channel argued quite strongly that that would not be the case.

I think there are to a certain degree two general types of engineering development groups those that when faced with design or reliablity issues with 3rd party componants choose to build their own and those that push and scream and work to get the issues resolved. My experience it that in this industry unless you are a mega billion dollar company you need to seek and work with partnerships and pick carefully the functionality that your company does and work to get the other partners to deliver the rest. So a number of the comments about the decision to go it alone and not use other pieces based on bugs or issues, IMO long term is a mistake.

I have always been a fan if Canopus and was one of the early raptor users. My frustration has been that over the years that have IMO become an early adopters vendor of choice, but as each segment develops they tend to be pushed aside.

I think that Hiro's interview is a very open and honest view of someone who has been successful, and has been a favorite of the early adoptors, but at the end of the day sadly becomes a niche player. Clearly the market is still dominated by Avid, and Final Cut pro, and certainly from what I see Vegas especially now with Sony behind it. Adobe is still a player but Premier was never Adobe's focus, sadly Ulead still seems to struggle for market share.
We have basically seen Media 100 for all practical purposes disappear, Fast/Pinnacle now highly questionable.

I would certainly have to disagree on the issue of using graphics cards. Perhaps Hiro needs to really visit the various games developers and see the images in their high resolution versions and it then IMO becomes apparent that HD is almost guaranteed (also something forcasted with lots of nay sayers) and that the development that is going into the graphics chips and the performance gains is staggering. To simply dismiss that available processing power simply because it operates in RGB seems to me to be extremely short sighted. Just look at the performance of dual SLI systems with two Nvidia 6800 or beyond and it is IMO hard to not want to take advantage of it.

I know Hiro knows Steve Jobs, and while I certainly would not consider us to be friends so do I. Steve DOES love hardware, but especially Hardware Design and packaging with a strong focus on style. That said Steve does not OWN APPLE, and in fact Pixar is probably his far bigger success. Steve at the same time is not crazy, he needs to keep generating profits inorder to be able to do the things that Apple would like to do. The Move to Intel had be be a very very painful one, and with lots of risk. There is a very high likelyhood that sales of power pc based systems will be dramatically reduced. It is also pretty clear that with the move over to Intel basically the Apple platform will be a PC (since it will run windows) so the real decision for Apple is do we keep building boxes or do we partner with someone and design a speced PC that apple software runs onl. I think that it is very very likely, HP and or Dell HAVE to be having serious talks with Steve.... along the lines of you do the packaging design, we will build the hardware and sell it, and it will come with your software. After all both HP and Dell offer a workstation line etc.

SO are you going to go down to your local Dixons and get your copy of Apple's software to run on what ever pc you chose to throw together from the componants you select, not likely, but could there be a Dell HP machine with a locked spec running it.... I think so. Apple currently has about 2 percent market share, Dell and HP have over 50%.

Time will tell

John

bcrabtree
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Joined: Mar 7 1999
Dell IS up for selling PCs running Mac OS, seemingly

John,

On the subject of Apple allowing Mac OS to be used on PCs from the likes of HP and Dell, it's worth knowing that in David Kirkpatrick's column (of June 16) in Fortune, he relates how he emailed Michael Dell and specifically asked him whether or not Dell would fancy this.

The reply he quotes says, "If Apple decides to open the Mac OS to others, we would be happy to offer it to our customers".

Oh, and what conclusion didn't you agree with? I didn't think there were any in the inteview except those about the HD cartel.

Interestingly, Kirkpatrick also says he phoned a high-up at AMD (Henri Richard, chief sales and marketing officer) to try to find out why AMD didn't get the deal, and was told that Apple hadn't talked to AMD about this matter.

Have to say I find what Henri Richard said VERY hard to believe.

Bob C

RandyD
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Joined: Jun 9 2005

I posted on the Canopus boards the same compliment but wanted to say it here as well. I thought the interview was great and very informative and the analysis was just as good...I need to visit here more often since there is some good info here....I see lot's of Brits here and make it over the pond to London at least twice a year. So even though I am a Texan I do know how to act proper on occasion....so long as the evil Stella stays away. I still get a chuckle out of what it is called in Pubs.:)

bcrabtree
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Randy,

Thanks for the kind words!

Oh, and don't forget to bookmark our front page - http://www.dvdoctor.net/ - as well as these forums; we hope to have lots of interesting stuff accessible there.

Cheers

Bob

drgagx
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Joined: Dec 1 2001
Re Hiro Yamada interview

A question not asked in the interview was when will MPEG 4 coding/decoding be supported in ProCoder (Express and full versions), and what variants of MPEG 4 will be supported, eg Part 2 and/or Part 4.

This assumes it will be supported by Canopus as Part 4 has been adopted as a broadcast standard and this market is important to the company. It also seems possible that MPEG 4 will appear in more consumer level camcorders in the future (Panasonic comes to mind), thus bringing forward the need to support the format in Edius just as MPEG 2 is supported now.

If there is the possibility of a response to this further question it would be appreciated.

RandyD
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Joined: Jun 9 2005

Just buy QT 7 Pro and both Procoder 2 and Procoder for Edius express will access all the apple codecs(and encoder that comes with Pro) including the mpeg 4 and h264.

drgagx
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Joined: Dec 1 2001

Thanks for the clarification.

I have had a look at the Apple QT site where there is a useful pdf
here:
http://images.apple.com/quicktime/pdf/H264_Technology_Brief.pdf

Among other things it describes the present state of the QT conformance as with the Baseline and Main specs. The implication is that the High (or Fidelity Range Extensions) will follow at a later date.

PaulD
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Hi
I would guess that Apple has passed on from any more development on their MPEG-4 basic encoder, because of the confusion over (the lack of ) adherence to that standard, and is concentrating on H.264 (MPEG-4 Level 10).

Their pdf states that the Fidelity Range Extension (High 4.2.2 and High 4.4.4) is 'intended for specific high-end professional uses'.
So unless you are settting up a digital cinema in competition with your local Showcase multiplex, you can probably manage on what QT7 is going to give in the immediate future.

Part of the problem is that both H.264 and Windows Media both make such enormous computing power demands at high quality encoding levels that no home or work computer that anyone reading this forum is likely to own is powerful enough - 24/48hour encodes are what people are getting at the moment for just HD DVD encoding on top Windows or Mac kit :(

S DAVE
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Joined: Jun 21 2005

Any news on Hiro's reply?