Avid Symphony is Dead

But that’s not a bad thing. Avid’s big NAB 2013 announcement is what many users have been requesting for a while–the product lineup simplification.

The difference between Avid Media Composer and Symphony editors has been minimal over the years.

Symphony featured a more robust color corrector with secondaries. This simple but important difference has been erased with the upcoming release of Media Composer 7 where Symphony will be a fee based option, not a separate product.

Pricing and the Shipping Date

Media Composer 7 to be available for download in June 2013. Media Composer and Symphony 6.5 purchases after April 7th 2013 qualify for free version 7 upgrade. Customers must register their software and retrieve the V7 upgrade code by the end of June 2013.

The regular Media Composer price is $999. Upgrades from older versions start at $299. For the final time, Avid will allow upgrades from from any version of Xpress DV or Xpress Pro to Media Composer 6.5, as well as upgrades of Meridien, Adrenaline or Mojo SDI hardware to a Media Composer Mojo DX system for a 53% saving or to a Media Composer Nitris DX system at a 40% discount.

And don’t expect to purchase a box with a DVD inside. Media Composer will be delivered as a software download only, with a $99 optional USB thumbdrive if purchased at the Avid store. Product boxes purchased from authorized dealers will come with an activation card with a download code redeemable for an Avid System ID.

New Features

However, cleaning up the product line isn’t the same as innovation. There are actually interesting new features in Media Composer 7.

AMA Media Management

AMA functionality allows transcode-free playback of many common media types. AMA files have not been subject to Avid’s powerful media management until now. This means that the life of Edit Assistants working on complex TV shows using thousands of AMA based files will be greatly simplified.

Dynamic Media Folders

Avid Media Management works well, but in prior versions of Media Composer any media management functions like consolidate or transcode would inevitably lock out the NLE during media processing. Dynamic Media Folders allow background media operations to take place while Media Composer is still available for editorial work.

Frame FlexTM

Will allow use of 2k-5k footage in the sequence with real time color space conversion, although the sequences are still limited to maximum resolution of 1920×1080.

LUTs and CDLs

Media Composer 7 supports 1D and 3D LUTs and CDLs.

There is quite a bit more like XAVC HD AMA plugin, independent clip gain, OSX Mountain Lion, and Windows 8 support. One of the best understated new features is cached audio waveforms. Anyone who has spent five minutes waiting for Media Composer to unlock while waveforms are generated will appreciate this one.