Avid Editing Lineup Gets New Features, Expanded Usability

Avid, historically, has been mum when it comes to new-product announcements in the weeks leading up to the NAB Convention. But, today, Avid proved just how different the new Avid is from the old with the introduction of revamped versions of Media Composer, NewsCutter, and Symphony nonlinear editing and production systems.

“This is the fifth release of this family of products in the last two years,” says Angus McKay, marketing manager for professional segment for Avid. “We are doing more than listening to our customer base.”

He says the new systems — Media Composer 5.5, NewsCutter 9.5, and Symphony 5.5 — make it easier to collaborate and tighten workflows. Media Composer, for example, is now compatible with Pro Tools hardware: audio of Media Composer projects can be captured and monitored through Pro Tools hardware, and voiceovers can be recorded into Media Composer, enabling faster collaboration between sound and picture departments.

New playback options for audio routing and mixing improve broadcast workflows for tighter newsroom and station integration. Broadcasters now have increased flexibility to route audio signals when sending material to air, meeting multiple delivery demands for picture content with a variety of associated audio tracks, such as mono, stereo, or surround.

The most exciting new feature is PhraseFind, powered by the Nexidia phonetic searching add-on option. “It is a find tool that can search for clips based on audio content,” says McKay.

Users type a work or phrase, and the system automatically finds matching dialogue without a script or transcript. The U.S. version of PhraseFind is $495, with additional language support at $149 per language. PhraseFind is currently available in U.S. English, UK English, and Latin American Spanish. Customers purchasing PhraseFind from the Avid store will be eligible for a complimentary upgrade to Media Composer 5.5.

Both Media Composer 5.5 and NewsCutter 9.5 support AJA Io Express, a cost-effective video-input and output interface, offering increased options between accelerated Avid hardware and cost-effective third-party solutions.

Format support also is expanded. Panasonic AVC-Intra material can be captured in real time with the new Avid Nitris DX AVC-Intra video accelerator. And native support for Sony HDCAM SR Lite provides high-quality, file-based media transfer of this popular tape-based format over a GB Ethernet connection.

Additionally, taking advantage of Avid Nitris DX expandability, customers can now benefit from real-time capture and increased playback streams of Panasonic AVC-Intra material, significantly boosting productivity and accelerating workflows with this process-intensive format.

The new versions of Media Composer, Symphony, and NewsCutter will ship in the first quarter. Pricing for Media Composer version 5.5 starts at $295 for educational institutions and students (student versions include four years of complimentary upgrades from the date of software activation); the professional version is priced at $2,295.

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