Test Drive: Hindenburg Journalist Pro

EDITOR ABUSE

I tried to get it to crash. Since the number of tracks available in a single session is unlimited, I created a whole mess of them. Things did get a little slow and spongy when I exceeded twenty tracks. Since I suspect that Journalist Pro does much of its work in RAM, at some point memory can be expected to get tight. That did not surprise me given the editor’s intended purpose, and I don’t see it as a negative. On the other hand, I threw a six-page, single spaced script at it to see if it could handle a serious, long-form piece without dying on me. It didn’t, although I saved religiously throughout and yes, you can save while recording, a good idea in any circumstance.

Journalist Pro is a very new product (although its sibling Journalist has been around for nearly a year). I expected some difficulties along the way, and indeed I did experience one nasty crash that corrupted my .nhsx file. However, all audio files survived intact, and after importing and re-building some edits all was well. I later figured out that I could repeat the crash -- Journalist Pro did not get on well with the Skitch screen capture program I use for these reviews. But no Skitch, no crash... never mind.

WHAT’S MISSING OR DIFFERENT?

The Journalist (non-Pro) product comes with a generic Automatic Leveling function rather than the region-specific version in Pro. It also lacks some of the Podcast publishing features, although you can still create chapters, embed images and whatnot. The fancy level meter plug-in is also missing, but the EQ and compressor are included. There are a few import and export formats that are missing as well, notably BWF, but if you’re looking for a program to record auditions then it’s unlikely you’ll miss these.

The Hindenburg Field Recorder provides the essentials for capturing content away from home. It records to a single mono or stereo track at 16/44.1, allows “cues” that are akin to Markers, gives you all of the important editing features (cut, copy, paste, fade, etc.) plus the compressor, and lets you send the results via FTP, email, or transfer to computer via iTunes. It does of course require an iPhone or iPod Touch of fairly recent vintage (generation 2 or better). But it does fit in your pocket!

WHADDYA THINK?

I get it. Much as I enjoy using some of the more complex and capable software editors, spelunking through layer after layer of menus in search of that one command that will make a repetitive task less repetitive, more often I just need to record a few paragraphs of monologue and get on with things. Station imaging is another matter altogether -- I don’t think that Journalist Pro is right for serious edit- and FX-intensive imaging work, but then again that isn’t what the software is designed to do.

Believe it or not, the main quibble I have with the program is the name Hindenburg, even though I understand the significance. It refers of course to the 1937 Hindenburg disaster, notable also because it was both the first coast-to-coast radio broadcast, and the first time recordings of a news event were broadcast (as opposed to live reads). But from a marketing perspective I do have some questions about referencing a software product to something that blew up. Whatever.

Hindenburg Systems offers a fully functional 30-day demo version of both Journalist editors on its website. Just sign up with a valid email address, and a serial number will be sent within a few minutes. You may find, as I did, that you have to re-enter the serial number each time you start the program, but this is a minor inconvenience.

Steve sez go beat on it yourself, and let me know what you think. I’m seriously tempted here. JP is available at www.hindenburgsystems.com for $375 USD. Journalist is available for $95, and the Hindenburg Field Recorder software retails for $29.99 on the company’s website or the iTunes App Store. For more information worldwide, visit www.hindenburgsystems.com.

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