Media Composer and Symphony 4 Released

Avid released updates to Media Composer, Symphony and NewsCutter today.The products were shown at the IBC last week and are now available to customers for download.

  • Avid Media Composer v4.0.2 (Mac and PC)
  • Avid Symphony v4.0.2 (Mac and PC)
  • Avid NewsCutter v8.0.2 (PC)

Purchase and Upgrade

Any Avid customers who have purchased Media Composer v3.5 after September 1, 2009 are eligible for a free upgrade to v4.0.2  All customers with an Avid Support Contract are eligible for the software update as well.

There are various upgrade and pricing options for Media Composer ranging from $395 US to $495. New purchase of Media Composer 4.0.2 is priced at $2,295 US for download version without Production Suite applications. A hard copy of Media Composer with Production Suite is $2,495 US.

Production Suite contains applications and filter effects which complement Media Composer and enhance productivity. Included in the Production Suite are:

  • Boris Continuum Complete v6 (Mac and PC) – Comprehensive library of customizable video filters and transitions
  • Avid FX v6 (Mac and PC) – 2D & 3D compositing, titles, animation and effects
  • Sorenson Squeeze v5 (Mac and PC) – Multimedia export with customizable compression templates
  • Avid DVD by Sonic v6.1 (PC only) – Industry leading DVD and Blu-ray authoring
  • SmartSound Sonicfire Pro v5 (Mac and PC) – music creation software

Visit the Avid site for more information on upgrades and purchasing.

 Review of Some of the New Features in v4.0.2

The new Media Composer packs interesting new features. Some of the new I/O oriented features that rely on hardware behave differently depending on whether you use the legacy Adrenaline or the new Nitris DX or Mojo DX hardware.

The new Media Composer and Symphony have a good amount of new features like:

  • Mix and Match format support
  • 720P proxy transcode
  • GFCAM 100 mb decode
  • Panasonic AVC-I encode
  • Macintosh Media Composer as Pro Tools Video Satellite
  • Production Suite updates to Boris Continuum Complete, SmartSound SonicFire, and Sorenson SqueezeMixing

Frame Rates and Field Motion Types

At the top of the list is the mixing of frame rates and field motion types. Media Composer is now capable of converting frame rates of source material to match the project frame rate.

While this feature has been available in Final Cut Pro for some time, the avid automatic Motion Adapter effect takes into consideration the field structure of mixed rate clips (i, 3:2, p) in order to deliver the best possible quality for the current project frame rate.

Mixed and matched frame rates can be a problem for picture finishing. V4.0.2 addresses this issue by allowing editors to promote Motion Adapter effects to Timewarp effects for added third party compatibility.

Expert Decompose

The familiar Decompose dialog box has a new Expert Decompose option. This option allows the editor to filter and decompose only the specific tapes or clips instead of decomposing the entire sequence.

The value of the new feature lies in the ability to be very specific about which sources to decompose. For example, in a sequence with mixed rate clips the editor may choose to decompose (and later recapture) only the tapes of a certain frame rate.

Downconversions and Crossconversions

There is a range of new HD crossconversion and downconversion options available with Nitris DX and Mojo DX configurations. Some are available on the older Adrenaline hardware as well.

Generally, the progressive frame rates can play back to interlaced SD or HD video with a proper 3:2 sequence.

True 1080 24p standard can now also play back to 1080 59.94i and standard definition 29.97 fps video. Audio in 1080 24p sequences requires render based pulldown in order to maintain picture sync except in case of Nitris DX which applies the pulldown on the fly.

Ancillary Data Preservation
Anyone involved in reformatting of TV shows will welcome the new ancillary data capture and playback capability in Media Composer.

Closed Captioning CEA 608 and CEA708, Program Description AFD, and Ancillary Time Code ATC can all be captured and played back through HD SDI inputs and outputs.

Timeline Clip Colors

Clips in timeline can now display color based on editor’s needs. Clip Colors can also automatically indicate mixed rate clips, offline media, resolution mismatches and other types of clips.

Committing MultiCamera Edits

Reality and live switch feed shows can create very “heavy” bins due to grouped clips. The new feature makes it possible to convert grouped clips to selected clips which lightens the load.

Long sequences with thousands of grouped clips sources can be greatly simplified by Committing MultiCamera Edits. This operation can reduce bin size an speed up sequence load times.

Stereoscopic Support

Media Composer v4.0.2 allows additional types of stereoscopic media. Supported formats are Over/Under, Interlaced and Side-by-side.

Stereoscopic material is output to an external monitor or projector through the DVI or HDMI connections on the graphics card and can also play back within the editing application.

Many More Features

This is a rundown of just some of the Media Composer’s new features in version 4.0.2.

Other notable new features include: improvements to the image tracker and stabilizer, film edgecode burn-in, ProTools Video Satellite now supported on Macintosh platform, native support for Ikegami GFCAM media and more.