Avid Upgrades Its Editing Solutions

Avid has announced that it will begin selling new versions of its flagship video editing systems -- Media Composer version 6, NewsCutter version 10 and Symphony version 6 -- on Nov. 15th.

The new versions feature a number of enhancements, including a move to 64-bit capabilities that will speed up its performance and productivity; improved user interface; greater openness and support for third party hardware; and increased support for other platforms formats and codecs.

"As we debut the most open, accessible and highest-performance versions of Media Composer, Symphony and NewsCutter-ever-we are thrilled to take a significant leap forward in providing our customers with new industry standards in speed, ease and access that can help them do their jobs more effectively," noted Chris Gahagan, senior VP of products and solutions at Avid, during a press briefing announcing the new products.

In addition to the launch of new versions, Avid also announced Avid Vantage Program, an annual membership program for Media Composer and Symphony customers that provides unlimited online technical support and what Avid is calling "deeply discounted expert phone support."

As part of the upgrades, Avid will begin selling Symphony 6.0 for the first time as a standalone software option.

Both Media Composer 6.0 and NewsCutter 10 are priced at $2,499 each; Symphony 6.0 starts at $5,999 USD and Nitris DX starts at $5,499 USD.

Avid also announced discounts for Final Cut Pro (excluding Final Cut Pro X) users. They can purchase Media Composer with free online training to help them move from Final Cut Pro to Media Composer for $1,499 USD.

As part of the upgrades, Media Composer version 6, Symphony version 6 and NewsCutter version 10 were rebuilt from the core on an entirely new open, 64-bit architecture.

That allows the programs to work "much faster and scale up to do much larger projects," Gahagan noted.

This increased speed is important for the products improved support of 3D editing, which Avid has significantly streamlined, Gahagan noted.

The solutions are "already being used on some of next summer's blockbusters," he said, where customers are saying "it is changing the speed that they can work from days to minutes."

With this version, Avid is also introducing a sleek, new user interface. While this is designed to speed workflows and offer enhanced features, Gahagan stressed that the new design allows existing users to easily transition to the new versions.

Offering customers more open, flexible products was another key theme in the product upgrades, which continues a major push by Avid in recent years to offer open architectures and systems that easily work with existing infrastructures and outside suppliers.

As part of that, the new Avid Open I/O now supports popular video and audio cards from AJA Video Systems, Blackmagic Design, Bluefish444, Matrox and MOTU.

In addition, these systems include support for more formats and codecs.

Avid executives also stresses that the upgrades would significantly improve workflows in the handling of audio and metadata.

As part of the improved workflows Avid also launched Avid Marketplace to streamlines the process of acquiring and integrating stock footage into projects. Thought Equity will be the first supplier to be included in the market.