Avid Media Composer 5.5 is Faster and More Open Than Ever!
Avid Media Composer 5.5 full version with Avid Production Suite - $2,395.00
Avid Media Composer 5.5 Upgrade from Avid Media Composer 4.x or previous or Avid Xpress Pro/DV- $595.00
Avid Media Composer 5.5 Crossgrade for FCP Editors
This boxed upgrade for owners of Apple Final Cut Pro is available at this special promotion price now though June 17th , 2011 for...
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It's Official: Avid Media Composer 5.5 is here!
Last week Avid announced that they would be releasing and shipping the newest version of Media Composer on March 8th - a full month before NAB! This is very exciting news and it created a flury of tweets, blog posts and discussions in user groups and forums. At last years NAB, Avid announced Media Composer 5, and it was he hit of the show. It won numerous honors throughout the industry at NAB and throughout the year and was even named the Videoguys Top Product of 2010. It looks like the new version 5.5 is going to continue the momentum and we expect the awards to keep on coming in 2011.
What's new in Media Composer 5.5
- Capture, monitor, and output with AJA Io Express
- Edit HDCAM SR Lite footage natively
- Accelerate AVC-Intra workflows with Nitris DX AVC-Intra
- Speed up editing and mixing with the Artist Series
- Find the right clips fast with PhraseFind
- Directly tweak transitions with the Smart Tool
- Gain better search capabilities
- Capture and monitor audio using Pro Tools hardware
- Work with audio more easily and creatively
- Fuel your creativity with the Production Suite
Now here's the Videoguys' opinion on why Media Composer 5.5 is so great:
1) Avid Media Composer 5.5 is more open!
When Avid announced that Media Composer 5 would support the mighty Matrox MXO2 Mini, it sent shockwaves through the industry at last year's NAB. This was one giant step forward for Avid editors and now, with Media Composer 5.5, Avid takes another step in the right direction with support for the AJA I/O Express. The AJA Io Express gives you both HD/SD-SDI I/O and HDMI I/O as well as analog component video (SD/HD) output for monitoring.
While Avid didn't allow Matrox to turn on capture for the MXO2 Mini, they have added some new format support for MXO2 Mini with Media Composer 5.5. Matrox MX02 Mini now includes SD 23.976, 720p 23.98, 1080p 23.98, 1080p 24, 1080p 25, and 1080p 29.97 as well as the ability to select PsF or true P output in 1080p modes. Also MX02 Mini with Max acceleration has been qualified on Mac OS systems.
So now Avid gives you two great 3rd party hardware solutions to chose from, along with their existing NitrisDX and MOJODX hardware.
In Avid's own words the AJA Io Express is an excellent choice for those who don’t need the power and acceleration of a Nitris DX or Mojo DX system, Io Express gives you high-quality audio and HD/SD video capture, monitoring, and output. When you pair the Io Express with Media Composer 5.5, you get a complete capture, editing, monitoring, and output system for your laptop or desktop computer in a more cost-effective solution.
The Matrox MXO2 Mini is the perfect choice for file-based workflows that don’t require I/O. Matrox MXO2 Mini is the ideal cost-effective monitoring solution for Mac and Windows. Pair it with Media Composer 5.5 and it becomes a dedicated, high-quality monitor-only solution for file-based or workgroup production, so you can view your video work in real time without any major expense.
Like I said, it's another step in the right direction. What would have made this one a HUGE leap would have been support for the installed base of KONA cards and the inclusion of the full MXO2 family of devices. Well folks, this isn't hppening yet, but it's pretty clear this is the direction Avid is going down and it's just a matter of time before we get what we really want, full support for 3rd party hardware from Matrox, AJA and others.
Finally, Avid Media Composer Mojo DX really unleashes the power of Media Composer software by combining it with a high-performance digital video interface. Using Avid Intelligent Architecture, which squeezes the most performance out of your system, Media Composer software tightly integrates Mojo DX video hardware with your host computer's CPU and GPU, giving you a high-bandwidth effects engine that delivers without compromise—no matter what formats and codecs you use. Whether you're working with tape or going tapeless, experience faster editing—plus digital capture, monitoring, and output—with Media Composer Mojo DX.
2) More AMA support for more tapeless workflows
When Avid announced AMA support for Quicktime and DSLR files last year, it sent shockwaves through the industry. Now you could just take files from your DSLR or that you already captured into ProRes and bring them directly into Avid and onto the Media Composer timeline. No rendering or transcoding. They just worked!! This was a HUGE advancement for Media Composer and it put them ahead of the entire industry. Now with Media Composer 5.5, Avid has expanded their support to include Sony HDCAM SR Lite. Quite honestly, I did not even know what HDCAM SR Lite was before the MC 5.5 announcement, but once again, it shows how Avid is expanding AMA to include more and more worksflows.
Hopefully we'll be getting AMA support for AVCHD footage sometime in the near future. There are millions of AVCHD camcorders and mini HD Video recorders that capture into AVCHD being used everyday, all over the world. While the camcorders that record this footage may not be considered professional, Avid editors are asked to handle this footage all the time. Because they are so small and simple to use, many professional news organizations and creative filmmmakers are integrating them into there workflows, just as they have with DSLRs.
3) The Smart Tool gets Smarter
Another new feature added to Media Composer with the 5.0 release was the Smart Tool. I am a big fan of the Smart Tool, I really like how it simplifies the editing workflow for me and people like me who are more used to editing with Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere Pro. While seasoned Avid editors have mixed feelings about the Smart Tool, I love it and I'm really happy to see Avid expanding it's usefulness in MC 5.5
The new 5.5 Smart Tool allows you to manipulate transitions directly from the timeline. This will save me lots of time and extra steps. I really like how it gives you handles to easily modify the start and stop points of the transition. They also add a new transition manipulation viewer that looks pretty cool and I can't wait to start playing around with it! It's going to make fine tuning my transitions so much easier! Now editors also get more control over the Smart Tool, which should make experienced Avid editors much happier.
4) Artist Control Surface Support
Last year Avid purchased a company, Euphonix, that makes control surfaces. A few months before Avid purchased them, we started carrying their new Artist Series of products. I'm a really big fan of the Artist Series - which is now supported in Avid Media Composer 5.5, on both PC and Mac platforms! It should be noted that while I'll just be talking about MC5.5 here, the Avid Artist Series products support a bunch of software including ProTools.
Avid Artist Transport is a sophisticated jog-shuttle device with customized shortcut keys for Media Composer. I really like using a jog shuttle to move through my footage and with Artist Transport you're getting not just a heavy duty jog shuttle, but a navigation tool.
Here's what Avid has to say about it:
Get where you need to go—fast—with complete one-handed control over your projects. Gain one-touch access to software functions and change the functionality of the jog wheel and shuttle ring with the Soft Keys. Use the jog wheel and shuttle ring to move through projects, trim/move clips, adjust volumes or pans, and more. And with programmable transport keys and a numeric keypad to enter time code or move clips, you can significantly speed up your editing.
Avid Artist Control is my favorite! We're talking jog shuttle, mixing board and a customized color LCD panel that allows you to take control of the entire MC5.5 interface!
Here's what Avid has to say about it:
Speed up and enhance your entire editing experience with hands-on control from Artist Control. With its touchscreen interface and preprogrammed Soft Keys, which you can also customize to perform one-touch complex functions, you can edit video faster—with more precision and fewer keyboard keystrokes. Mix audio tracks with the touch-sensitive faders and encoders. And navigate through projects with ease using the jog/shuttle/zoom wheel and dedicated transport controls.
Avid Artist Mix is a compact 8-fader control surface that gives you fast access to a variety of Media Composer 5.5 functions right from the control surface. I've always said that a professional audio track can make every video better and now it's easier to mix that track than ever before!
Here's what Avid has to say about it:
If you're working with multiple audio tracks in your projects, editing and mixing with just a keyboard and mouse can be frustrating. With Artist Mix, you can greatly speed up your recording, editing, and mixing tasks, with full hands-on control and precision. Adjust volumes across multiple tracks with the touch-sensitive faders. Pan sounds with the touch-sensitive rotary encoders. And solo, mute, and record tracks right from the surface.
I have to admit, I have not seen or used PhraseFind, but I can see how it can save editors a tremendous amount of time. First a disclaimer: PhraseFind is not included with Avid Media Composer 5.5., it is a $495. PhraseFind allows you to locate clips and find your footage based on voice recognition. You can buy different languages packs that even take into account the region (ie. British English, North American English). For a limited time Avid is offering Media Composer 5 Owners a FREE Upgrade to Media Composer 5.5 with their PhraseFind purchase.
I'm very excited about Media Composer 5.5 and Avid's steady march towards making Media Composer an open platform for all editors. As a $149 download upgrade directly from Avid I think it's a fair price for a bunch of new features and improved performance. If you're still using an older version of Media Composer (or Avid Xpress Pro or Xpress DV) you definitely want to take advantage of this upgrade, and even more important you want to jump on it now while you still can for $695. After March 8th the cost of the upgrade for MC4 or older Avid editors goes to $895. You can save even more by taking advantage of our MC5 upgrade bundles with your choice of G-Tech G-Raid, Blu-ray Burner or Training bundles for $749.95!
As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, Avid Media Composer 5.5 has created quite a lot of excitement throughout the industry. Avid has posted a bunch of really useful videos on their website:
- Smart Tool v2 (watch the video)
- Artist Series Control Surfaces (watch the video)
- PhraseFind (watch the video)
- AMA Tapeless Workflows (watch the video)
- Mix & Match resolutions (watch the video)
We've been blogging them all, and you can follow it here using our MC5.5 TAG
Avid Media Composer 5.5 is released!
Avid Media Composer 5.5 is now availble for download purchase from the Avid website ($149 for MC5 owners). The download is for the Avid MC 5.5 application only, it does not include the 3rd party software Avid calls the Production Suite. Boxed units with Production Suite will begin shipping March 18th. The only software in the Production Suite that has been updated is the Boris Continuum AVX, which goes from ver 6 to 7. All the other 3rd party software remains the same.
Media Composer 5 owners can purchase the boxed upgrade for $395, those with MC4 or older, Avid Xpress Pro or DV can upgrade to the new MC5.5 for $895. We are taking pre-orders now and we have re-configured all our Avid bundles to include the new MC5.5 software, including bundles with the Artist Series control surfaces.
The new PhraseFind plug-in is $495 (requires MC5.5). With PhraseFind you can find the right clips fast, with highly accurate results. PhraseFind’s powerful search engine automatically analyzes clips and indexes all dialog in your project’s media phonetically, so you can quickly find clips by simply typing a word or phrase—right from within your software.
We've posted a good amount of inormation already about What's New in MC55, but we we've found some great FAQs in Avid's knowledge base that will help answer some additional questions you may have, especially regarding the new 3rd party hardware support for AJA IO Express, Avid Artist Series (formerly Euphonix) control surfaces and new added features for the Matrox MXO 2 Mini.
To wet your appetitie I've include one Q&A from each FAQ.
Media Composer 5.5.x, NewsCutter 9.5.x, and Symphony 5.5.x FAQ
Q- What if I just purchased a Media Composer system? Is there a grace period to obtain version 5.5.1?
A- New purchases of v5 or v9 or upgrades to v5 or v9 made between February 8, 2011 and March 8, 2011 are entitled to a grace period upgrade. Customers must register their v5 or v9 editing software and then upgrade their system(s) to the new v5.5.1 or v9.5.1 software by no later than March 31 via a software download. Please visit www.avid.com/protect for more information. This protection upgrade will not be available after March 31, 2011..
Q- What Avid products support the AJA Io Express?
A- The AJA Io Express is supported for use with Media Composer 5.5.1 and NewsCutter 9.5.1 and higher. For PC systems, Windows 7 is the only supported OS. For more information on supported CPUs and configurations, pleasee the System Specifcations documents for you OS Mac OSX or Windows.
Q- What new features does Media Composer release 5.5 provide for Matrox MXO2 Mini?
A- Media Composer 5.5.1 now support Matrox MXO2 Mini and Mini MAX resolutions and frame rates including 720p 23.98, 1080p 23.98, 1080p 24, 1080p 25, 1080p 29.97, and 1080p 30. There is now also the ability to select PsF or true P output in 1080p modes. The version of Matrox MXO2 Mini that includes the Matrox MAX H.264 encoding accelerator has been qualified.
Avid has also put together a chart that details the differences between a Nitris DX, a Mojo DX, a Matrox MX02 Mini, and the AJA Io Express. Avid Video Editing I/O Hardware Comparison
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