Avid has announced new versions of Media Composer and Symphony, professional video editing programs targeted to independent video professionals, post-production houses, broadcasters, and media companies. These new versions are designed to increase performance, collaboration, and productivity.

Media Composer 6 and Symphony 6 have been rebuilt on a new 64-bit architecture that promises to boost performance and flexibility. These applications feature a sleek, new interface and include support for third-party hardware, AVCHD and RED Epic with Avid Media Access (AMA), Avid DNxHD 444 codec, and Avid Artist colour.

The new software is compatible with existing hardware and lets users add Avid editing systems to current workflow configurations with the new Avid Open I/O. This supports video and audio cards from AJA Video Systems, Blackmagic Design, Bluefish444, Matrox, and MOTU.

With Symphony, which is now available as a software-only product--users get greater flexibility for on-set and mobile editorial and colour work, the company says.

Post production enhancements

In addition, Avid has enhanced Pro Tools integration and 5.1/7.1 surround, and extensive metadata management. Users can transfer more session data from Media Composer to Pro Tools. Additional metadata is available in the AAF interchange format.

Users can preserve full colour information from HD RGB 4:4:4 sources without compromising system performance or storage via the new Avid DNxHD 444, a high-quality HD codec. Avid DNxHD 444 can enhance real-time HD production productivity with the highest colour detail. It's suitable for demanding productions, and is also an ideal archiving format, the company says.

In addition, users will get more power and flexibility in colour correction with support for the Avid Artist colour control surface within Avid editing systems. The new versions speed time to editing by eliminating transcode, re-wrap, and log and transfer processes through expanded AMA, which offers native support for AVCHD and RED Epic as well as the ability to encode Apple ProRes (Mac OS-based systems only).

Additionally, users can expedite workflows and tools with the new Avid Marketplace, which offers in-system access to stock footage from Thought Equity Motion. The Avid Marketplace also enables customers to browse available video and audio plug-ins. Plus, users can get their questions answered with a new Customer Assist Tool, which offers direct, in-app access to guides, help, and configuration information. Sorenson Squeeze 8 is included with Media Composer and Symphony.

Avid Vantage

Avid is also introducing the Avid Vantage Program, an annual membership for Media Composer and Symphony customers, which is also available to Pro Tools customers.

It provides subscribers with unlimited online technical support, and discounted expert phone support. Subscribers also gain access to a collection of NewBlueFX effects (for Media Composer or Symphony subscribers) or audio plug-ins (for Pro Tools subscribers). An Avid Store coupon, available for a limited time, can be applied to new software purchases or upgrades.

Pricing and availability

New versions of Media Composer and Symphony software will be available on November 15.

Pricing for Media Composer 6 starts at £1,799/US$2499, with upgrade pricing from £219/$299. Pricing for Symphony 6 starts at £4,299/$5,999, with upgrade pricing from £359$499.

The new Avid Vantage Program will be available during the fourth quarter of 2011 to Media Composer, Symphony, and Pro Tools users for £89/$149 per year.