Post Magazine

November 2011

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Bits & Pieces Avid intros 64-bit version of Media Composer B Support for Avid's Artist Series of controllers allows users to easily access color correction features. URLINGTON, MA — Since Apple introduced FCP X, many who didn't content with the tool, which comes standard in every Media Composer. already jump to Adobe's Premiere Pro have been eagerly awaiting the next iteration of Avid Media Composer. Well wait no more. It's here, it's 64-bit, it offers a familiar but rejuvenated UI and it will work with all the Media Composer projects you have ever created. There are also updated stereo tools, two more formats supported by AMA, and more openness, thanks to a new SDK. There is also a software version of Symphony and lower pricing. More on that later. During a recent conference call, Avid's Angus Mackay ran us through the newest features of the product, which became avail- able for purchase on November 15. Version 6 is actually the sixth release of Media Composer in three years, points out Mackay, adding that this update is a complete rebuild from the app's core, designed with openness in mind and with big increases in productivity thanks to its 64-bit design. Some advantages of this include access to greater amounts of RAM and improved perfor- mance, playback and responsiveness, as well as increases in the speed in which users can play numerous formats. Mackay acknowledges that porting the Chicago's Sonixphere ( transformed combat dialogue into an original song for a campaign that promotes the launch of Gears of War 3. Conceived by The Richards Group, Dallas, the spot's song was derived the game's dialogue itself. The Rich- ards Group worked with 3008 partner/editor Brent Herrington on selecting game footage and assem- bling a :30 rough cut. The Sonixphere team flew to Dallas to work on-site, and based on the rough cut, created a click track. Once a final tempo was chosen, the sung phrases were dropped into a beat-driven track. 4 product over to 64-bit was a huge undertak- ing, but says the architecture itself doesn't dictate what you present to customers or what your UI is. "We did it while preserving all the muscle memory and our customer's investment in training." The updated user interface was designed to modernize it, taking advantage of contem- porary best practices while still respecting existing users. "They can preserve all of their work," says Mackay. "We've moved toward a tab interface, cleaned up the clutter, but still existing users will feel comfortable and famil- iar with the updates." STEREOSCOPIC 3D Editors working in stereo have specific challenges, including management of addi- tional metadata and the doubling of media. "Being able to have an editing syntax that makes sense and having the right kind of technical and creative tools is very important to them," he says. "The industry's redefining stereo editorial on our Post • November 2011 solution," boasts Mackay, reporting that there are users in the field who are actively post producing stereo There is a full stereo metadata under- standing in Media Composer 6 that allows you to group and match left eye and right eye, and allows editors to work single eye or double eye on one project. "The timeline and effects and bins are the same, and there is also the ability to do convergence and color and temporal adjustments, as well as a 3D titling tool." He emphasizes that in addition to the ability to perform creative editing on a stereo film or program, users working at HD resolution can also finish it in Media Composer, package up an AAF and send it off to visual effects, etc. Mackay points out that the stereo tools are built into every version of Media Composer; it's standard. "We want to give our customers the ability to always say, 'yes.'" OPENNESS Media Composer has opened up over the past few years, working with Matrox and AJA devices, and now they've taken that a step further, offering a new SDK that allows part- ners to write I/O support tools for the system. Mackay reports that five have already companies signed up: AJA, Blackmagic Design, Bluefish, MOTU and Matrox. "We will now have what our users have been asking for: support for Decklink, the Kona card and more." OTHER ADDITIONS There are two new formats supported by Avid's AMA — AVCHD and Red Epic — which allow for editing of files natively within the timeline. Support for a 444 version of DNxHD provides extra color detail for key- ing and color correction. Avid Marketplace is now part of V.6 and it's built into all of the company's editing tools, including the new version of NewsCut- ter. "When you need software plug-ins or stock footage you can now browse the Mar- ketplace and acquire them directly within Media Composer, so it doesn't break the artist's creative flow," explains Mackay. On the stock footage front they have partnered with Thought Equity Motion, allowing users to browse their library and download directly into bins and timelines. When the edit is done, users can then download a high-res version of the clip. In terms of audio updates, you can now edit and mix 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound directly within the Media Composer video editing application. SYMPHONY As they did with Media Composer a few years ago, Avid is now offering Symphony as a software-only solution. There is also a lower price for Nitris DX, which is now available for sale as a standalone item. Who are they tar- geting with this? Those who want to use advanced color correction tools on-set. Mackay points out that Media Composer software users can now add Avid Nitris DX to their system, including a choice of two encoding modules — DNxHD and AVC Intra — for full frame, full res capture moni- toring and output. AVID ARTIST SERIES Avid has also added support for its Artist Series, includ- ing its Avid Artist Color Panel, which was formerly a Eupho- nix device. Users now have the ability to control multiple parameters separately, and in Symphony can control the advanced sec- ondary color capabilities. The Artist Series can be used with other software too. "We want to play nice with others and have our products fit into pipe- lines," says Mackay. PRICING Media Composer 6 starts at $2,499. Upgrade pricing starts at $299. Pricing for the software-only version of Symphony 6 starts at $5,999. Upgrade pricing is $499. Nitris DX starts at $5,499. Media Composer Academic 6 is $295 for educational institu- tions and students. In addition, Final Cut Pro (excluding Final Cut Pro X) users can purchase Media Com- poser with free online training to help them transition from Final Cut Pro to Media Com- poser, for $1,499. By Randi Altman

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