Avid Technology is announcing products right and left at this week’s National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference and exhibition in Las Vegas — and some of them are Mac related.
The company has announced major releases to the Symphony, Media Composer XL, Film Composer XL, and Avid Xpress product lines, which will purportedly offer over 100 feature enhancements in editing, effects and compositing. The latter two are Mac compatible, with a Mac OS X version of Xpress due this summer.
Among the new features are a new Marquee titling tool and a DV option for Media Composer and Avid Xpress systems. In addition, these new versions offer highly customizable user interfaces and the strongest interoperability to date with Avid solutions and third-party applications, according to Matt Allard, product marketing manager for Avid’s high-end post production products.
Avid’s new MetaSync capability, a highlight in all the new versions, enables editors to synchronize virtually any kind of metadata with traditional video and audio content. With this technology, users can create or import pointers to assets in the timeline and modify the timing of these assets accordingly. With the addition of third-party developers, MetaSync technology will encompass a wide range of applications, allowing facilities to offer additional services that tap into new revenue streams in the ITV, broadband, DVD and converging media markets, Allard said.
The new versions of Media Composer and Avid Xpress systems feature an option that enables native support of DV-format media, including input and output of DV25 media through a standard FireWire connection; real-time playback and mixing of both DV25 and DV50 resolutions; and real-time 2D and 3D DVE effects performance. A Media Composer system with the DV option can exchange DV25 format media natively with a portable Avid Xpress DV system, enabling users to take projects out of the edit bay and onto the road.
The new version of Media Composer is due in the second quarter of the year; Avid Xpress DV v3 is due mid-year and should cost US$1,699. Avid Xpress DV v3 effects are fully customizable and previewed onscreen exactly as they will appear when rendered, according to Joe Bentivegna, VP of Avid’s Video Development & Operations.
There’s also a new user interface featuring customizable tool sets, Media Composer source-record style editing and a “SuperBin.” There’s a new keyframe model with bezier controls and keyframes per parameter. Xpress DV v3 has a switch that lets you channel the horsepower of your particular system to maximize either performance or image quality. There’s Avid Unity LANshare support for low-cost networking and media sharing. A new Avid DV CODEC purportedly offers improved image quality that withstands multiple generations.
Xpress DV v3 also includes Avid’s new real-time architecture that delivers real-time effects on systems with “as little” as 750 MHz and 256 MB of RAM, the company claims. There will be eight video tracks with unlimited nesting for dynamic multi-layered compositions, as well as low cost DVD burner support, plus five times faster MPEG encoding, Bentivegna said.
Avid has also announced Avid Productivity Tools, a family of products designed to leverage the Avid Unity environment to enable real-time creative collaboration and increased productivity.
The newly launched Productivity Tools family includes enhanced versions of the Avid Unity MediaManager, Avid Unity TransferManager, Avid Unity ProEncode, Avid NetReview, Avid Media Station XL products, as well as a new product, the Avid Xdeck ingest device. Each tool in this expanding family intelligently manages specific tasks in the production workflow, Tim Claman, director of Avid Workgroups & Storage, said. Time-intensive tasks such as encoding, ingest and file transfers are off-loaded to dedicated tools on the network and handled automatically as background tasks, dramatically reducing production cycles and increasing productivity, he added.
What’s more, Avid’s new digital dailies solution, which provides immediate access to Avid media and film dailies through a standard Web browser, is designed to extend the boundaries of the production environment to collaborators outside the editing suite. This solution enables producers and other key decision-makers to view high-resolution production elements and sequences in real-time over a standard Ethernet LAN, without transcoding or re-digitizing, dramatically improving the efficiency of the review and editorial process, Claman said. Specialized encryption and access control features ensure tight security and control over the media, he added.
Avid’s new Xdeck device is designed as an ingest device for recording audio and video content directly into Avid Unity storage. It sports the ability to “ingest” industry standard DV25, DV50, D10 (MPEG) and JFIF formats. Content ingested through each Xdeck device can be made available to all editors on the Avid Unity network as soon as 10 seconds after recording begins.
Avid Unity MediaManager 3.0 will sport a manufacturers suggested retail price of $20,000 It’s a production-oriented, browser-based media asset management tool that now includes an option to add digital dailies and near-line archive solutions (but more on that in a moment). Avid Unity TransferManager 2.0, which starts at $14,175, is a tool for moving media between Avid systems and servers that now has transfer rates four times faster than before.
Avid Unity ProEncode 1.7, which starts at $12,000, is designed to simplify and speed up the process of encoding Avid production media into streaming media for distribution. Users of Avid Unity MediaNet workflow with Media Composer and Avid Xpress clients can take advantage of the workflow benefits that ProEncode provides, Claman said.
The $29,995 Avid NetReview 1.0 is an all-digital review tool for LAN or Internet. The NetReview system operates on an in-house server and is designed for both local intranet and Internet-based collaboration, allowing reviewers to view and comment on media from virtually any location, whether within the corporate facility or over an Internet connection. It offers frame-accurate reviewer comments that are imported as Locators into the timeline of supported Avid editing systems such as Avid Xpress and Media Composer.
Avid Media Station XL 2.0, with pricing starting at $25,000, is a dedicated digitizing and output workstation. When connected to an Avid Unity media network, the Media Station XL system allows media ingest to take place at the same time as that media is being edited. Everyone has access to the same media and can store, protect, retrieve, share, transfer, and manage projects. It outputs all projects from Media Composer and Avid Xpress systems
The Avid Xdeck 1.0, which will set you back $18,000 or more, automatically records video material directly to the Avid Unity for News, Avid Unity MediaNet, Avid Unity LANshare shared media networks. It’s designed to work with Media Composer and Xpress systems.
The $50,000 and up Digital Dailies Solution offers one-time digitizing makes media immediately available for review with no encoding required, according to the folks at Avid. With it, you can purportedly stream Avid media to every desktop (Mac and PC) without the need for specialized hardware. It can encrypt streams and manage security through built-in access controls.
Avid Unity MediaManager 3.0, Avid Unity TransferManager 2.0, Avid Unity ProEncode 1.7 and Avid Media Station XL v2.0 are due later this month or in early May. The Avid Xdeck and the digital dailies and near-line archive solutions are due in the third quarter of the year.