Avid Technology unveiled a streamlined line of products at a pre-NAB 2008 event held at Universal Studios Hollywood. The event was a part of the “New Thinking” campaign designed to connect and listen to the user base.
The keynote speaker Kirk Arnold of Avid Technology told the select group of users the new simplified product line is a direct response to requests Avid has been listening to over the past months.
The new Avid software lineup consists of three products:
Avid Xpress Pro has been retired while the price of Media Composer has been competitively reduced. All new applications except Avid DS run on both Windows Vista and OS X Leopard.
On the hardware side Avid has introduced two new boxes that complement the already existing Mojo SDI. The three hardware products are:
The hardware devices will ship in June of 2008.
In spite of the best efforts by Avid to reduce product confusion by discontinuing Xpress Pro it still takes a bit of mental exercise to understand how to pair up all these pieces of hardware and software. On the other hand the “mix and match” options give customers a great degree of flexibility in choosing the right features at a comfortable price point.
On the high end of things the Avid DS is still delivered on Nitris hardware. This product is used for visual effects and 2k and 4k work.
Symphony Nitris DX
The Symphony is now delivered on the blazing fast Nitris DX box. It comes in both Mac and PC versions and offers facility class finishing.
Symphony Nitris DX shares the same toolset with the older Symphony Nitris although there are some new features which have to do with native HD format support.
Nitris DX delivers fast data transfer (many times faster than firewire) and real time features. Up to eight tracks of HD video with effects can be played in real time. The actual number of real time playback streams depends on the native HD file format as certain HD formats are more demanding then others.
The Nitris DX hardware is the smallest Avid rack mountable box yet. It is 2RU tall and has a handsome honeycomb grille. It features HD SDI, SD SDI, HDMI, Analog Component and Analog Composite connections. It also has 4 channels of balanced analog audio and a multipin AES/EBU digital audio connector. Standard VTR serial control is provided.
The new Media Composer can run on either Nitris DX or Mojo hardware.
Media Composer Nitris DX offers high performance productivity. Although this is a product intended for offline editing it can be used for some finishing jobs much like the older Media Composer Adrenaline.
Media Composer running on Mojo DX or Mojo SDI hardware is intended for offline capture and editing. The Mojos lack some of the real time features of Nitris DX.
Mojo DX comes with SD and HD SDI as well as analog and HDMI connectivity. Mojo SDI works in standard definition only.
Avid also gave a sneak peak of the new stereoscopic editing technology which is still in development. The new hardware aided system allows the editor to watch 3D output in the client monitor while working with 2D clips in the familiar Avid Media Composer interface. The new stereoscopic workflow also takes advantage of the already existing features of Avid DS.
Although Avid did not demonstrate support for RED ONE camera, a workflow tool which will allow direct access to RED Quicktime proxies is in development.
Avid chose to feature only the professional video products at the Los Angeles user gathering. ProTools and Pinnacle products were absent although Avid will probably make more announcements during the week of NAB 2008 in Las Vegas.