The Point Releases - MC 5.5, Symphony 5.5 and NewsCutter 9.5 - Include More Third-Party Hardware and Format Support

Avid is once again grabbing for a bigger share of the open-workflow editing pie. Today, the company released significant point-version upgrades of Media Composer, Symphony and NewsCutter just ten months after the release of its major Media Composer 5 overhaul last April.
Perhaps the biggest news here for Avid editors is the increased support 5.5 offers for third-party hardware, a further sign that the company continues to sprint away from its famously closed former universe. AJA Io Express now joins the Matrox MXO2 Mini monitoring option introduced with Media Composer 5.

Among the other notable new features is a phonetic search plug-in called PhraseFind that integrates with your Find dialogue box within MC 5.5, Symphony 5.5 and NewsCutter 9.5. PhraseFind apparently works just as well (and as fast?) across local and shared storage networks, so whatever your workgroup setup, one thing is certain: creating expensive and time-consuming transcripts may finally be a thing of the past. Avid has also improved the basic search functions in this release so you can now search for text-based material in fields and across bins on the network.

Avid segment marketing manager Angus Mackay, who is launching the new software at a Broadcast Video Expo event in London today, told us last Friday that the software’s beta customers have reacted with raves about the added hardware support and the new search tool. “This version, the fifth release of these products in the last two and a half years, grew directly out of user feedback, which I think we’ve responded to in a very direct and timely way,” Mackay said. “The third-party hardware support is huge, and it opens up so many more options for editors who work in both Final Cut and Avid on the same project, as so many now do. Openness, productivity and collaboration are three key themes for us in these versions-our users want it, and we want to give it to them. And I’ve had more than one tell me that PhraseFind is our coolest feature-ever.”

If you’re a fan of the new Smart Tool that arrived in MC 5 (and some are not, preferring to edit without the extra pop-up window), there’s more to like in this point version. Now you can use Smart Tool to directly control your transitions in the timeline without using transition plug-ins.

Avid has been collaborating with both Sony and Panasonic to streamline support of their popular acquisition formats. MC 5.5 supports native HDCAM SR Lite, meaning you can now move HDCAM SR tape-based material over a GB Ethernet network. That’s great news for facilities that need to free up decks and move files more efficiently through shared storage.

Those who edit P2 footage regularly will love the new Nitris DX AVC-Intra video accelerator that boosts speeds and performance during online edits. If your work is audio-intensive and you prefer to use the sliders in your former Euphonix control surfaces (recently renamed Artist Mix and Artist Control by Avid), you can now hook them up directly to the new versions of Media Composer and NewsCutter.

MediaComposer 5.5, Symphony 5.5 and NewsCutter 9.5 each come with one PhraseFind Regional Language Pack of your choice. Current packs include North American English, United Kingdom English, Latin American Spanish, Dutch, European French, German, and Russian and are available as add-ons if you work with multiple languages.

The new versions are scheduled to ship on March 8, according to Mackay. Read Avid’s full press release about the upgrades here.