Avid DX Sneak Preview

Avid offered a sneak preview of their new hardware offerings at Universal Tuesday night. To my everlasting frustration, I was unable to go, but the details are emerging. CEO Gary Greenfield and new head of the video division Kirk Arnold were there, along with Matt Feury and Michael Phillips and a host of engineers and others. The message seemed to be: “We understand you (better than the other guys). And we want your input (unlike the old Avid).” And from what I heard, the audience thought they made both points effectively.

The big announcement was new hardware across the product line. Adrenaline is gone, to be replaced by something called “Mojo DX,” a high-def, rack-mounted box that does away with the old and slow Firewire connection and replaces it with an extension to the much-faster PCI-e bus. Symphony DX will likewise get powerful new hardware. Media Composer will move to version 3 and offer some new features, including a real-time timecode burn in effect, and improved multi-stream effects capabilities. It’ll be able to intelligently address multiple CPU cores and also use the DSP power of your graphics processor and should be a lot more responsive as a result. And it will run under Leopard and Vista.

Michael Phillips demonstrated Avid’s new XML export functionality, with an architecture that allows other manufacturers to write small conversion programs (“droplets”), so that they’ll be able to import sequence and bin information (but apparently not effects descriptions).

Pricing has come down dramatically, and there will be several upgrade alternatives for current owners.

More specifics will emerge at Avid’s events at the Hard Rock in Vegas this Sunday and Monday. For more about Wednesday’s event, see these articles: Digital Production Buzz and HD Head.

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