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IBC 2009: Avid Updates Editing, Asset Management Products

IBC Amsterdam 2009: Complete Coverage of the IBC Show

At IBC, Avid introduced updated editing products with broader support for acquisition formats and a new release of its Interplay production asset management software, which allows editors to collaborate remotely through the Internet.

The new versions of Avid's NewsCutter, Media Composer and Symphony editors have native support for Ikegami's GFCAM 100 megabit-per-second (Mbps) camcorder format, allowing customers to directly access GFCAM media, including full metadata, and begin working immediately without transcoding, copying or re-wrapping the material.

They also include better support for Panasonic's AVC-Intra (AVC-I) format. Avid editors had previously allowed AVC-I video to be ingested and edited, but the new editors include AVC-I encoding support, which allows customers to deliver final masters in Panasonic's AVC-I format without having to transcode to Avid's DnxHD format.

Other features of the new editors include improved stereoscopic 3D editing with the ability to view 3D material side by side in addition to over/under; monitoring of HD and SD cross-and-down converted formats from 1080p24 masters that allows customers using Mojo DX or Nitris DX hardware to view HD material on an SD monitor; "mix and match" capabilities, which allow media sources of different frame rates and resolutions (SD and HD) to be edited in the same timeline and played out in real-time, with no rendering; and 720p proxy editing support.

"That's big for sports broadcasters, as they don't have to store as much and they only restore the clips they need," says Avid marketing manager Angus Mackay of the last feature.

Interplay, Avid's asset management system for collaborative production which is installed in some 600 sites worldwide, has also received a significant overhaul with Version 2.0. The most important new feature to Interplay is "WAN Workflow" support, which uses low-bit-rate streaming proxies that allow members of a production team to collaborate through the Internet. A WAN software client gives Interplay users access to the system on a Mac or PC from any location with 1 Mbps or higher broadband connection.

While there has been a great deal of buzz on using the Internet as a new distribution channel for television, broadcasters and production firms are increasingly using high-bandwidth Internet connections behind-the-scenes for production applications, says Avid marketing director Patrick McLean, and WAN Workflow reflects that trend.

"It uses a new Quicktime streaming server and lets remote users view, log and create shot lists or work with assets that sit on the Interplay system," says McLean. "Users are no longer constrained to be in the physical location of a facility."

The WAN Workflow capability should be a particular boon to news broadcasters, says McLean, as it provides better access to content from the field and also facilitates sharing of material across a station group. The new streamlined Interplay interface allows users to browse, log and shot list media in three viewing modes, via a single screen, and toggle between views.

The new Interplay also offers support for Apple's Final Cut Pro (FCP) editing system, which Avid first integrated with its Unity ISIS storage products at NAB. Interplay now allows the check-in and check-out of FCP media with project links as well as media and metadata conversion of FCP-to-Avid and Avid-to-FCP projects. The system also has new transcoding capability that lets users "mixdown" full audio and video sequences while transcoding to a specified output format, whether it be for archiving or for publishing to alternative formats such as mobile or Web platforms.