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Avid Symphony Part 3: The Conclusion

Symphony Has Strength in All Areas; Workflow a Big Plus By Peter May
Avid Symphony Review: Part 3According to Robert Stacey, Avid's Director of Product Marketing, "Our responsibility to the marketplace is to provide solutions that enable our customers to not have to step outside the box." The box of which he speaks is the Avid Symphony. I was lucky enough to have this box delivered to my doorstep for review. Right now you're reading part three of my three-parter. If you read part 1 and part 2 you know I loved this box. I think the Symphony development team did exactly what they intended. With sophisticated color correction, Ultimatte keying, motion tracking, image stabilization, Multicam and a half dozen other great tricks; this is a magic box. If I had $98,000 burning a hole in my equipment acquisition pocket, I'd have that box for my own.

But recently I've had to ask myself, "What does the Symphony offer that I wouldn't get by spending around $90,000 less and buying a complete editing system with Final Cut Pro or Premiere or Speed Razor or any of the other half dozen video editing programs available on every street corner today?"

Well, Avid has asked itself the same thing.

"Final Cut Pro does concern us," confirms Steve Bayes, Symphony Senior Product Designer. "We take a look at any product that appears to change the value proposition of the industry. A lot of people assume that Final Cut Pro is as good as some of the higher-priced systems. And on the surface there is evidence to support that assumption. There are some similarities. And it is difficult to show what difference in a demo, or even after using it for a few weeks. But the fact is that the Avid systems are designed to handle a huge range of situations in professional editing."

You have to give him that one. Avid is more than ten years deep. I once had an Avid tech tell me, "If your brain tells you the Avid ought to be able to do something but there's no button, choose the button that's closest to what you want accomplished, then try it while holding down the option key." His point is that the program is so deep, some of its abilities aren't even documented in the thousands of pages of manuals.

For instance, I needed to quickly sort through thirty-five hours of raw footage to find a shot I had used to create a slo-mo effect. I set my cursor on the slo-mo shot in my timeline and clicked "find frame." Sure enough the slo-mo pre-compute was called up in the player window. I then clicked on "find bin." But that just found the bin where I store special effects, not the original shot I used. So I tried clicking "find bin" again, this time with the option key depressed. Sure enough, it found the original shot.

Now some of you may be saying, "Well, duh! That is in the manual." Maybe so. I haven't checked. The point is, it seemed logical, I tried it and it worked. That's a comfort to me and a credit to the program.

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Related Keywords:Digital Video Editing, Digital Media Net, Peter May, Avid Symphony, color correction, Ultimatte keying, motion tracking, image stabilization, multicam, great tricks, Its pure magic.

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