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Amiga "Toaster"

facattack

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2007
Messages
954
Location
Bucks County, PA
What exactly is a Toaster? I've heard it discussed in about a million places. Apparently video editing used to be done with Amigas? Did you digitize the footage into the computer? Or did your computer run a pair of VCRs?
 

Sharkonwheels

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Joined
Sep 21, 2006
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South Florida
What exactly is a Toaster? I've heard it discussed in about a million places. Apparently video editing used to be done with Amigas? Did you digitize the footage into the computer? Or did your computer run a pair of VCRs?

The Video Toaster, was a 4-input video (only) switcher, used for switching from one shot to another (ie, newscasts) with full titling, and analog (tape) video editing system. It was created for the Amiga's video slot, as it was probably the most graphically advanced computer of it's time, and for a few years after. It's video output was set to broadcast standards (NTSC in the US, PAL in Europe). The Toaster also came bundled with Lightwave, which is a 3D animation application. The toaster could also do chroma-keying (ie, blue-background "superman flying" scenes) and had full CG (Character generation) for full-screen titling. It could be used for anthing, from sports overlays, titling like names for newscasts, etc..

It had 4 inputs to switch, 1 output, and 1 monitor output, and could do fades and swiped from 1 input to another. it was usually set up with either an internal (I had a DPS - Digital Processing Systems, TBC III and IV) Time Base Corrector for syncing video, to record. It was an analog, tape-based editing system. Later they released the Video Toaster Flyer board, which was a full hard-disk-based digital video editing system.

The flyer, from what I understand (only acquired 1, and it was re-sold immediately) did video and audio.

The Toaster still exists on the PC platform nowadays,and the VT, from Newtek, Inc. (www.newtek.com) and the are still qickedly cool!

many a scifi movie was made on Video Toasters, and if any of you ever went to a Tandy Incredible Universe store in the 90's, the had abotu 3-4 of the systems in each store, for controlling the multiple large screens they had.

Tony
 

barythrin

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2005
Messages
6,256
Location
Texas
I didn't check the wikipedia link so it probably mentions it there but the specialty of the video toaster was doing liquid, smoke, fog, etc effects which would take forever to compile with your regular processor. They sped things up quite nicely basically like a 3-d accelerator card in the early PC days.

I never new they made them for any other architecture though. It was really mostly an Amiga thing which humorously kept the Amiga performance up to par with high-end PCs and Macs. I know my friend was compiling something in Lightwave on his PC (at the time it was the latest and greatest) but he was running a dual 500Mhz celeron system with 512 or a gig of RAM. He was really pissed when an Amiga 2000 or 3000 was rivaling his system it compiling time.

- John
 

Sharkonwheels

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Joined
Sep 21, 2006
Messages
1,640
Location
South Florida
I don't know what he was doing, but there is NO way ANY amiga was faster than even a PII400/early P3 on rendering in LightWave. I had lightwave on both platforms, and the only reason I had the Amiga, was to use the output straight to tape from the video toaster card. The toaster did nothing for lightwave - the big joke, was that it was the biggest, most expensive dongle on the planet - later they separated Lightwave from the VT bundle, and then they also made it for SGI Irix, Windows, MacOS.

I also used to go from lightwave, to a Personal Animation Recorder.

Tony
 
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