Avid Unveils New Execs, Media Composer 7 with Lower Price Tag

Avid made a sizeable splash at its annual NAB press conference on Sunday by unveiling the latest versions of two of its most recognizable products for the sports production industry – Media Composer (version 7.0) and Pro Tools (version 11). Avid also continued its push for remote file-based workflows (following the introduction of Interplay Sphere at NAB 2012) by introducing its “Avid Anywhere” strategy, which aims to allow producers to work in any production environment using a variety of Avid tools.

In addition, a few fresh faces – newly minted President/CEO Louis Hernandez Jr. and SVP of Worldwide Field Operations Jeff Rosica – took the stage following Avid’s front office shakeup in February. After a rough go over the past year, both the new products and the new faces speak to one of Avid’s key goals moving forward – new beginnings.

“The thing that intrigued me most [about becoming President/CEO] was how much the industry is changing and what an opportunity that allows for us to participate in the next phase of the industry’s growth and also Avid’s,” Hernandez said at the press conference. “We are going to have a more aggressive approach to adopting newer technologies…And we intend to look carefully at where we can compete in more of the value chain even though we have historically on the creation and editorial side.”

Media Composer 7
The biggest news of the day was surely Media Composer 7 and its new $999 USD price point (or $1499 with Interplay). The new NLE software features accelerated and simplified file-based workflows including optimized HD delivery from high-res source material and automated media operations. As part of its Avid Everywhere concept, the new release offers Interplay Sphere for Mac support for the first time.

“Avid Everywhere is a key message for us, but it’s also for everyone and that is why we brought the price point down to $999,” said Rosica. “We really have made the product accessible to everyone. This is the elite editor’s product and it’s not scaled down. It has all the file-based workflows that are so key in live sports production. We fell that there is a major opportunity there [in sports] for Media Composer with its new capabilities.”

Rather than forcing editors to transcode and resize media before getting to work, Avid says Media Composer 7 lets editors work directly in HD from the high-res source, while maintaining full creative control of image framing.

Other features includes streamlined media management for Avid Media Access (AMA) files, background file-management, FrameFlex tool and LUT support (allowing editors to ingest 2K, 4K, and 5K media and then deliver HD content), a master audio fader, and a Symphony color correction option that offers advanced capability previously found only in Avid’s Symphony product.

Media Composer 7 will be available in June 2013 and customers can now purchase Media Composer 6.5 now and receive a free upgrade to version 7 when available.

Pro Tool 11
The latest version of Avid’s Pro Tools audio workstation software features new, high-powered audio and video engines, 64-bit architecture, expanded metering, and direct HD video workflows. Pro Tools 11 and Pro Tools HD 11 will be available in Q2 2013 at a price point of $699 USD for the full version or as an upgrade from Pro Tools 10 for $299 USD.

Interplay Production 3.0
Avid also announced the lattes version of its asset management system, Interplay Production 3.0. Most notable is the fact that Avid Interplay Sphere now includes Mac support as well as workgroup capabilities.

Interplay Pulse
With the broadcast market squarely in its sights, Avid also announced a new multiplatform content distribution system, dubbed Interplay Pulse. Pulse allows broadcasters to deliver to a variety of online, mobile, and social platforms everywhere, in the right form and format for each. Pulse is now an option with Avid’s iNEWS newsroom system, as well as Interplay Production. Pulse lets news staff produce and easily distribute stories for TV, web, mobile, and social platforms everywhere by automating back-end workflow processes.

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