Media Composer 7.0 bolsters effects, audio – Avid Technology’s video editing software

Media Composer 7.0 bolsters effects, audio – Avid Technology’s video editing software – Product Announcement

Leander Kahney

Avid Technology Inc. next week will ship a major upgrade to its Media Composer video-editing software, adding features that editors need to complete broadcast-quality projects.

Media Composer is Avid’s line of high-end, nonlinear video-editing systems based on as many as five PCI cards. A turnkey system, including a host machine, boards and software, starts at $66,500 for Media Composer 1000 and climbs to $94,625 for Media Composer 8000.

Version 7.0 includes new intraframe editing tools for adding special effects or removing glitches from individual frames, as well as eight-channel audio, a new architecture for adding third-party special effects and audio plug-in modules, and new networking options.

The new version “gives you the ability to do everything you need to finish a show,” said Alan Miller, a partner at Moving Pictures Inc. of New York. “You no longer have to leave the system for your finishing work.”

Version 7.0’s new intraframe editing tools will let users correct mistakes or add special effects with a palette of brushes and filters. Users will be able to paint on and between individual frames, clone objects or add mattes, Avid said. Filters will include blur, sharpen, lighten, darken and scratch removal.

Avid said Version 7.0’s plug-in architecture for third-party special effects and audio modules has already gained developer support. Artel Software Inc. (creator of Boris FX), Integrated Computing Engines Inc. and Ultimatte Corp. have pledged to supply effects for the Avid Video Extensions (AVX) plug-in format.

Version 7.0 also adds support for external audio hardware, such as the FaderMaster MIDI mixer from JLCooper Electronics of El Segundo, Calif. This “makes a big difference for setting and changing audio levels on the fly,” said Steve Hullfish, senior editor and post supervisor at Del Hall Video, a post-production house in Chicago.

Other audio enhancements in Version 7.0 include improved equalization and eight-channel I/O, available as a $3,000 option.

The new version also includes real-time, uncompressed rolling and crawling titles. People have been asking for years for the capability to create rolling titles, Miller said, “and now they can.”

The upgrade now supports two streams of AVR 77 – 2-to-1 compressed video that is Avid’s standard for video at a rate of 300 Kbytes per frame.

Avid has added a grid display for aligning special effects with live action. The grid will include video and film aspect ratios and will allow objects to be snapped into position on the grid.

Version 7.0 allows workgroups with three systems to share a Fibre Channel-Arbitrated Loop drive using AVR 75, 3-to-1 compressed video.

Beta tester Hullfish praised the enhanced customization features. He said he created an array of keyboard shortcuts and customized workspaces. “It’s always been a pet love of mine on Avid systems,” he said.

Version 7.0 will work with all PCI versions of Media Composer hardware. It will be free to subscribers of Avid’s upgrade program, although Intraframe Editing will be available only as a $4,500 option. Otherwise, upgrades range from $2,000 for Avid’s MC-Offline systems to $5,000 for Media Composer 8000 systems.

Avid Technology Inc. of Tewksbury, Mass., is at (508) 640-6789 or (800) 949-2843; fax (508) 640-1366;

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