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Avid Introduces Media Composer 6

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Avid Symphony 6.0 will be available in a standalone software version.
Avid has announced new versions of its flagship video editing systems – Media Composer version 6, NewsCutter version 10 and Symphony version 6.

The new versions are rebuilt from the core on a open, 64-bit architecture. “It’s a full 64-bit application, which is really the culmination of a couple years of work,” said Chris Gahagan, senior vice president of products and solutions at Avid. “We had to touch every line of code, but this allows us to have a product that is much faster, and can scale to much larger projects. It’s really required for things like stereoscopic production where you have essentially twice as much information – left and right eye.”

The new system adds advanced color management tools, (relying on Avid’s Artist Color control interface), as well as a tighter integration with the company’s new ProTools 10 system, enabling editors to open 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound mixes and make changes, which will show up in ProTools.

The big news for Symphony users was that Symphony 6.0 will be available as a standalone software application.

With this version, Avid is also introducing a sleek, new user interface – designed to speed workflows while preserving the same functionality as previous versions. “We’ve updated the look and modernized it, but the thing that we haven’t changed is the interaction model, which is extremely important. We can’t disrupt our customers,” said Gahagan.

In addition, these systems include support for third-party hardware, AVCHD and Red Epic support with Avid Media Access (AMA), an Avid DNxHD 4:4:4 codec, and support for Avid Artist Color. “We now have an open SDK that’s available to anybody that wants to extend into the Avid ecosystem,” said Gahagan. AJA Video Systems, Blackmagic Design, Bluefish444, Matrox and MOTU will all support version 6 when it launches, Nov. 15.

The company is also introducing a new workflow for stereoscopic 3D editing. “We’ve tried to make 3D editing as easy as editing in 2D, so the editor can work in 2D while being surrounded by tools which help them understand if they’re making good decisions from a 3D standpoint,” Gahagan explained. “They can then hop into 3D and make changes to depth of field or convergence.”

According to Gahagan, beta users report that “we’re changing the speed at which they can work, from days to minutes in terms of dealing with 3D content.”

The company is also launching Avid Marketplace, which offers in-system access to stock footage from Thought Equity Motion. The Avid Marketplace also enables customers to browse available video and audio plugins along with other products in the Avid Store to complete a suite.

“The real value of the new Media Composer and Symphony systems is enhanced interoperability and openness. It all comes down to labor,” said Terence Curren, colorist/editor, AlphaDogs (Life as We Know It, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Eagle Eye) “The bottom line is if you save 15 minutes a day, times four people, times 10 weeks, that’s a lot more than the difference in cost between any of these software systems.”

Concurrent with today’s announcement, Avid is introducing the Avid Vantage program, an annual membership program for Media Composer and Symphony customers that provides many benefits. The Avid Vantage Program – which is also available to Pro Tools customers – provides subscribers with unlimited online technical support, plus discounted expert phone support when they need it. They also gain access to a collection of NewBlueFX effects (for Media Composer or Symphony subscribers) or audio plug-ins (for Pro Tools subscribers).

Avid plans to host a public webcast with a live Q&A to discuss the new capabilities of Media Composer, NewsCutter and Symphony software at 1:00 p.m. E.S.T. today. To access the webcast, visit: http://event.on24.com/r.htm?e=373256&s=1&k=940A8514C0E3368ACF5A8D96DA1C8506

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