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March 2011

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Avid ‘opens up’ in Media Composer bits & pieces B URLINGTON, MA — Avid ( will show improvements to its Media Composer, Symphony and NewsCutter editing systems at this year’s NAB show.The new Media Composer 5.5, which ships this month, is Avid’s fifth release since its new architecture was introduced in 2008, and has now ex- panded its openness to third parties. Last year with V.5.0,Avid announced support for Ma- trox’s MX02 Mini.This year, with Version 5.5, Media Com- poser (as well as NewsCutter 9.5) supports AJA’s Io Ex- press for input, output and monitoring.Avid’s marketing manager, Angus MacKay, calls this a cost-effective solu- tion, acknowledging that not all users need the combina- tion of CPU and GPU, which is offered in their higher- priced DX hardware.The Io Express works with Win- dows and Mac, allowing users flexibility. Also new in Version 5.5 is improved support for Panasonic’s AVC Intra codec.Avid worked closely with Panasonic on this module for Nitris DX and Symphony. This chip will go out with new versions of the product and is also available for upgrade. PhraseFind, a new $495 add on, is an offshoot of Avid’s ScriptSync. MacKay describes it as a “smaller and more affordable tool that allows you to do a dialogue search in all your bins, including AMA and shared storage. Just type in what you are looking for and it finds it and brings it into a bin.” Within 5.5, says MacKay, is native support for HDCAM SR Lite.“We worked closely with Sony and will now support HDCAM SR Lite through AMA. It’s a high- quality codec but not the full 800MB of HDCAM.” Also new is the Avid Artist controller series that takes advantage of the EuCon technology the company ac- quired from Euphonix last year.On the audio side, Media Composer can now use Pro Tools hardware for audio input, output and monitoring. With this new release, Avid feels it is addressing openness, productivity and collaboration.What do cur- rent Avid beta testers think of the new release? “I haven’t seen a company hustle more than Avid to prove itself in the marketplace,” says freelance Avid/Final Cut editor Jonathan Moser. “They’re continually proving detractors wrong (and probably their own bean counters) by now opening up to third-party hardware for ingest as well as output.They’re obsoleting their own Mojo. I also hope they offer users a chance to use PhraseFind for free be- fore charging for it. It’s one of the most revolutionary workflow speedups I’ve seen, and once you use it you’ll never go saves hours of searching.” Terence Curren, founder of Burbank’s AlphaDogs (, served as a V.5.5 beta tester for sev- eral months.The studio posts numerous reality TV pro- grams, and also handles feature work.“The Phrase Finder feature doesn’t really come into play in the finishing uni- verse, but for offline it is amazing. Besides the obvious use in cutting documentary or reality TV, it can be helpful for just trying to find a replacement word when the audio has been affected by bad sound recording.” Curren adds that the increased format support “is a win for everyone. Since the new world seems to be composed of ‘which manufacturer can come out with a new format that doesn’t work in the current universe fastest,’ the sooner we get those formats supported, the easier our lives are.The AMA architecture allows Avid to put some of the workflow development responsibility back on the manufacturer.” Having formats supported by AMA means editors can instantly start editing the material they are given, eliminating import and transcoding time.“With file-based workflows, the import times were long and became heinous if a transcode to a supported format was in- volved,” says Curren.“Now, the offline editors spit out a QuickTime in whatever flavor they are working with, and we instantly load it into our timeline.” By Randi Altman Superfad ( com- pleted 40 animated scenes for a new T-Mobile video featuring NBA great Charles Barkley.I May Be Wrong (But I Doubt It)has a user-generated look and cuts to original music by Cool & Dre. Spike Lee directed the piece for Pony Show Entertainment. Superfad used Cinema 4D, Maya, After Effects, Illustrator and Photoshop on the project. Crewing Co. adds Aframe licenses L ONDON — The Crewing Com- pany (www.thecrewingcompany. com), which provides crew hire and recruitment services to the televi- sion, film and advertising markets, has purchased 200 licenses of Aframe, a Web-based collaborative video platform. The purchase will allow The Crewing Company’s roster of freelance talent to immediately get involved with produc- tion companies and broadcasters run- ning Aframe projects. It will also give the editors, compositors, camera operators, dubbing mixers and other freelancers on TCC’s books easy access to their fa- vorite saved video and audio, docu- ments and other digital files while work- ing on an Aframe-based project. “By having these Aframe licenses, Avid Media Composer 5.5 now works with AJA’s Io Express. our freelancers will be of significantly more value to a production than a free- lancer who has had no experience with it,” explains TCC joint-managing direc- tor Stuart Hatton. “The fact that they will already be out there as Aframe users will also mean that the produc- tion companies can find them through the Aframe system and quickly add them to a project team.” Aframe acts as a central repository, project hub and asset management sys- tem for production companies, broad- casters, marketing agencies and individ- uals working in content creation. “Using Aframe, you can streamline the sharing of video, allow commenting on that video and get feedback from clients,” Hatton adds. 4 Post • March 2011

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