Videoguys NAB2008 Report: Avid’s New Thinking

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by videoguys, Apr 24, 2008.

  1. videoguys

    videoguys Guest

    While not officially at the NAB show, Avid had a very big presence. I
    was fortunate enough to attend their dealer meeting on Saturday and
    their user event Sunday night. They also had a user event Monday night
    and hands on demos at the Hard Rock during the show. At the dealer and
    user events we had the chance to hear from the new Avid management
    team and how they were re-inventing the company and re-thinking their

    Let me tell you, MC Soft 3.0 is a MAJOR upgrade. Here are just some of
    the goodies Avid has added into the software – we’ll discuss the
    hardware afterwards.

    1) Media Composer 3.0 is a true multi-threaded application with
    support for Leopard and Vista. Under Vista 64 it will run 32 bit, but
    you will get to use huge amounts of RAM. MC 3.0 will also still run
    under XP Pro for those Windows users not yet willing to make the jump
    to Vista.

    2) CPU and GPU performance taps into all processing cores in your
    machine. Avid has designed something called Domain Management into MC
    Soft, which allows the software to identify what is the best way to
    handle the load and manage it between all the CPU cores and the GPU
    and the Avid’s new line of DX hardware. MC Soft does all the work, you
    just edit and MC Soft gets the optimal performance from your

    3) Multiple layers of HD with support for all flavors in native
    rasters. This means that HDV and DVC Pro HD thin rasters are no
    longer an issue. You simply select the format you want to edit in and
    MC Soft takes care of the rest. Multiple layers of HD footage are a
    breeze and you can even mix formats including 720p and 1080i in the
    timeline in real-time.

    4) You can drag and drop multiple layers of footage together on
    the timeline - in multiple HD formats. This was one of my favorite
    parts of the demo. Before this you would have to re-create a multi-
    layered sequence if you wanted to add a layer anywhere but the top.
    Now you can just grab a stack of clips and move them anywhere on the
    timeline. They stay perfectly synced together and you get instant real-
    time performance.

    5) The handling of Media Composer 3.0 is superb. When you hit the
    keyboard, the timeline reacts instantaneously. No delays, no waiting.
    Dead on accurate response times.

    6) How much real-time HD? Depends on the speed of the computer.
    They were running 8-core Macs and HP workstations. 6 layers of DVC Pro
    HD in real-time full resolution. I think they got up to 9 when they
    lowered the preview to 1/4 resolution. Then we saw 3 or 4 layers of
    HDV in real-time full resolution output. Even more amazing was 6+
    layers of DNxHD (up to 10+ with the Nitris DX hardware). Most
    impressive to me was when they dragged and dropped multiple layers of
    mixed HD formats while still maintaining full res, real-time playback.

    What’s the deal for upgrades?

    Upgrade for recent purchasers of MC to 3.0 will be free. The
    “unofficial” grandfather date is March 17th , so registered users who
    purchased either the full version or the upgrade after March 17th will
    be able to get a free upgrade to 3.0 when it ships via the Avid
    download center. For those who purchased prior to March 17th I have
    been assured this will be a reasonably priced upgrade. We expect this
    to be well below the continuing offer to upgrade Xpress pro to MC Soft
    for only $495. Keep an eye on for the official upgrade
    information and special upgrade bundles.

    Let’s talk hardware.
    At the show Avid unveiled a brand new architecture that goes beyond
    just the software. It also includes two exciting new hardware devices
    designed specifically for MC 3.0. MojoDX and its big brother NitrisDX
    are external devices that are PCIe based, not firewire. PCIe delivers
    20x the bandwidth of firewire 400. Both hardware solutions are
    portable and you can run them with a laptop using a laptop PCIe card.
    Avid was showing this on one of the pods. I’m not sure if Avid will be
    offering one of these laptop cards available or just certify a list of
    those compatible. The move to PCIe is a major change and it will allow
    more consistent operation and reliability. If you have laptops and
    towers you can move the hardware between machines just by unplugging
    it from one and plugging into the other.

    OK, so now for the big question – “How much will it cost?” MojoDX with
    Media Composer 3.0 software will be $9995. Do the math and the
    hardware alone is $7500. We hope to have upgrade bundles available
    with the X Pro to MC upgrade. We also requested some kind of trade in
    program for existing Mojo SDI and even Mojo owners. No word on that
    but our Avid folks liked the idea. When I have the info, I will share
    it here.

    The MojoDX hardware is for I/O. SDI (SD & HD) I/O plus HDMI out. While
    it doesn’t offer you true acceleration, there are some video related
    tasks that MC Soft will hand-off to the MojoDX allowing the CPU & GPU
    to take on more. HDMI output is HD video and surround sound. So you
    could go down to Costco or Walmart and grab the best HD flatscreen TV
    you can for around $500 with HDMI inputs, then grab one of those $500
    surround sound audio systems in a box. Hook it to MojoDX and you have
    your own HD surround studio. It’s not broadcast, but it is

    NitrisDX will be $15K w/ MC Software. Same math puts the hardware only
    at $12,500. Nitris DX includes Avid DNxHD encode/decode plus far more
    I/O. If you can afford it - GET IT! I think you can get up to 9 layers
    full res of DNxHD in real-time with the Nitris DX hardware. 12 or more
    at 1/4 res. We will not be carrying the Nitris DX. You will have to
    get NitrisDX from your local Avid Gold Premier dealer. Upgrade
    programs for Adrenaline owners are in the works.

    videoguys, Apr 24, 2008
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