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Avid Updates Mac-Based Editing Systems

Networking tools also updated By Dave Nagel
Avid has released updates to several of its high-end editing systems, including its Macintosh-based Media Composer XL, Film Composer XL and Xpress. Avid had previously shown off the updated systems at the NAB show this year. The company has also announced updates to its productivity tools, including MediaManager and TransferManager.

The new Avid Xpress 5 includes the editing software; Meridien video, audio, effects, display and drive controller hardware; Meridien I/ box; component, S-video and composite connections, with optional SMPTE-259 I/O; and analog, S/PDIF and AES/EBU digital audio. It features more than 75 real-time effects and several more fast-render effects, as well as a customizable interface.

The new releases in the Composer XL family bring Film Composer and Media Composer up to version 11. The systems include a Macintosh G4 running Mac OS 9, a Meridien video subsystem with rackmountable video/audio I/O, 3D effects module, eight-channel audio hardware, optional fibre channel adapter, two monitors and speakers and support for SCSI LVD. Some features in version 11 include:

  • Two uncompressed ITU-R 601 video streams standard
  • 2:1,3:1,10:1,and 20:1 two-field compressed image resolutions
  • 2:1,4:1,and 15:1 single-field compressed image resolutions
  • Progressive offline resolutions 14:1,28:1,35:1
  • Multicamera resolutions including 10:1m and 4:1m for interlace and 8:1 and 3:1 for progressive
  • Serial digital, analog component YUV, composite, and S-Video I/O
  • 8 channels AES/EBU digital audio I/O
  • 8 channels analog audio I/O
  • MediaLog for logging material
  • Batch digitize of video and batch re-import of graphics
  • Digitize to timeline
  • ALE support (includes Avid Log Exchange)
  • Serial deck control
  • Internal waveform monitor and vector scope for input
  • Multilevel find, sift, and sort functions
  • Frame, script, and text views
  • Unlimited number of bins
  • Two ITU-R 601 uncompressed video streams and graphics channel
  • Two-monitor setup (bin and edit monitor)
  • Separate full-screen NTSC/PAL video monitor
  • 4:3 and 16:9 support
  • 24 video tracks with 32 levels of undo/redo
  • Nine-stream real-time hardware multicamera play
  • FilmScribe adds matchback-level film capabilities, Script-based Editing, film effects
  • AutoSync
  • Support for mixable resolutions
  • Dupe detection in the timeline (tied to FilmScribe)
  • Locator to mark frames in clips
  • Match frame
  • Scrolling, scalable timeline
  • VTR play emulation
  • AutoSequence
  • Single-field step
  • Online help
  • Universal Offline Editing
  • 8 channels In, Out, and Monitoring
  • 48 kHz and 44.1 kHz
  • 24 audio tracks for editing and mixing
  • Automation Gain (external fader controller support)
  • Real-time multiband EQ (sweepable mid-range) with real-time adjustment
  • Waveform display in timeline
  • Support for Broadcast WAV
  • Downsampling on export to 22 kHz and 11 kHz
  • AIFF-C and WAV input/output
  • Audio Punch-in
  • Support for Digidesign AudioSuite plug-ins
  • Ability to convert 44.1<->48
  • Real-time dissolves, superimposition, resize, flips, flops, wipes, conceals, squeezes, masks, and picture-in-picture
  • Real-time moving mattes from imported animations
  • Real-time corner pinning and "stamp and clear"
  • Real-time customizable 3D effects, including warp, picture-in-picture, shapes, video titles
  • Peels, pushes, spins, matrix wipes
  • Shape wipes, sawtooth wipes, and diagonal wipes
  • Motion effects including slow, fast, strobe, freeze-frame, reverse, and fit-to-fill with interpolation
  • Real-time full-motion alpha keying
  • Real-time deep defocus for realistic emulation of blurry camera defocus
  • Effects window with dual split capability for before/after views
  • Unlimited keyframes to customize effects
  • Effects grid for precise placement
  • AVX plug-ins for third-party effects support
  • ExpertRender
  • Partial render
  • Real-time color effects
  • Real-time two-stream color correction with keyframes
  • Color correct white and black levels
  • Color correct based upon RGB levels
  • Control contrast, brightness and gamma
  • Tint or rotate hue
  • Real-time chroma and luma keys
  • Nondestructive compositing on unlimited layers
  • AniMatte
  • Paint
  • Downstream keyer for real-time uncompressed graphics and titles
  • Integrated real-time Title Tool
  • Real-time rolling titles
  • Software crawling titles
  • User-savable title style sheets
  • Soft-edge drop shadows
  • Optional Marquee AVX plug-in
  • Vector-based paint system
  • Shape-based and freehand drawing tools with Bezier control
  • Keyframeable control over shapes, color and other effects
  • Unlimited customizable brushes
  • Unlimited customizable organic wipes
  • Blur, mosaic, and emboss effects
  • Clone and erase effects
  • Median, unsharpen and gradient effects
  • Darken/lighten effects
  • Colorize with eyedropper or YUV slider color election
  • Add/subtract and invert color effects
  • Shape-based color effects
  • Split-screen image comparison
  • Magic Mask for creating color replacement based on chroma values inside a custom shape
  • Two-field Scratch removal from film-based frame
  • 4:3 and 16:9 input
  • 4:3, 16:9, 15:9, 14:9, letterbox output (compressed resolutions only)
  • All Pan and Scan moves are keyframeable on X, Y, and Z axis
  • Push-button export of RealMedia G2, Microsoft MediaPlayer (ASF), QuickTime 4.0,and MPEG-2
  • QuickTime Reference Movie output
  • Support for Avid NetReview Web-based services
  • Sonic Solutions' AuthorScript format embedded into the system
  • Support for Avid Unity Media Services ProEncode
  • One-click access to Terran Interactive Media Cleaner Pro encoding package
  • Total Conform of offline bins, sequences, edits, composites, audio settings, and effects for highly efficient online
  • Bi-directional bin, sequence, project, and user-setting compatibility with Media Composer v7.2 and Symphony
  • Media compatibility with Symphony systems and between Macintosh and Windows NT versions of Media Composer XL products
  • HIIP support for import/export of 25 file formats
  • Import QuickTime 4.0 movies with alpha channel with new Avid 32-bit QuickTime Codec
  • Supports logging file formats from third-party logging programs
  • EDL Manager for generating EDLs in all major formats

Starting prices for the various Media Composer and Film Composer models range from $12,000 (Media Composer Offline) to $68,000 (Media Composer 9000). Avid Xpress starts at $5,999. Software upgrades start at $1,500 for Media Composer and $500 for Xpress. For more information, visit

Contact the author: Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of several World Wide User Groups, including Synthetik Studio Artist, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion, Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; and executive producer of the Digital Media Net family of publications. You can reach him at

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