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JULY 28, 2000

Echo Fire 1.1 Adds Digital Voodoo Support

Upgrade offers drag and drop movie output

by David Nagel
Executive Producer
[email protected]

Synthetic Aperture has added new input device support and several other enhancements to its Echo Fire 1.1 software, a package for displaying After Effects and Photoshop documents on an NTSC monitor. New device support includes Digital Voodoo D1 Desktop, Aurora Fuse and Igniter and Media 100 systems. The Digital Voodoo D1 Desktop card (which we'll be reviewing in the next month or so) offers direct output to both a computer monitor and an NTSC monitor with extended desktop functionality. In other words, the NTSC monitor acts as a second desktop, allowing users to work in programs like Photoshop in NTSC.

The new version supports the 14:9 aspect ratio, in addition to 16:9. It can automatically adjust the aspect ratio of a monitor to display the format properly, whether letterboxed or cropped. It can also overlay test and diagnostic information on a preview, including a waveform monitor, vectorscope, safe action and title areas and a variety of color bar test patterns for evaluating a video signal, verifying title placement and calibrating a monitor.

Other new features in Echo Fire 1.1 include:

  • New Drop Player application for drag and drop output of movies.
  • New Screen Writer application for viewing the computer desktop on the NTSC/PAL monitor.
  • Scaling options for displaying images that are not the same size as a video frame without distortion.
  • Parade display for supplementing the waveform and vectorscope displays.
  • New 14:9 aspect ratio preview option.
  • Enhanced safe action and title limits for 14:9 and 16:9 previews.
  • Additional video test patterns.
  • New control panel to supplement the control strip module.

Echo Fire is available for PowerPC-based Macintosh systems and is compatible with Adobe After Effects 4.0 and later and Adobe Photoshop 5.0 and later. It requires Mac OS 8.1 or newer and QuickTime 4.0 or later. A complete list of supported video cards is available on the company's Web site. For use with FireWire, a DV camcorder or media converter is required. Echo Fire is compatible with NTSC and PAL video systems. Echo Fire is available for $275. Registered owners of previous versions of Echo Fire are eligible for a free downloadable upgrade. A demo version good for a fully functional 72-hour evaluation period is available on the Web site. For more information, visit

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