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A Working Perspective on the New Avid Symphony Nitris DX Box

Interview with David Sconyers; Applications Editor with Key Code Media

 

Mike:  David, you’ve had an opportunity to get your hands on the Symphony Nitris DX Box; what’s your take on it, your overall feedback; any setbacks, good surprises, bad surprises, etc.?

 

David:  Every AVID editor will be overjoyed with what they get.

 

Mike:  Why?

 

David:  Significant speed improvements with “effects”…and, just the whole overall process…

 

Mike:  What areas of speed?

 

David:  Just the effects, that’s usually what bogs the system down-

 

Mike:  But aren’t they all driven by the CPU?

 

David:  No, its graphics and CPU, but they changed all the code with all the effects engine handles its archaic codes so now that’s new and it’s a whole different direction of how the application actually performs.

 

Mike:  So what are some examples of radical speed improvements that would make someone be overjoyed?

 

David:  Without having done benchmark testing between this system and the old version; it’s more of a feeling than anything else.  The interactive and the nature of the GUI when you’re going through everything, you open something up and snap! Its there, going through the timeline, its fine; you make an edit, its there, it just feels a lot more responsive than anything AVID has had out in the last few years.

 

Mike:  So you’re talking really about the Adrenaline?

 

David:  Yes and even the Symphony Nitris side is not the holy grail- its definitely a better system than anything that AVID has had with the exception of the DS but I don’t believe that the symphony software can take full advantage of the Nitris hardware and now with the new architecture of hardware, I think the software is blending together where it can.

 

Mike:  So the new software with the ability to leverage both the DX Box and the open GL technology is a winning combination? 

 

David:  Yes.

 

Mike:  What are some notable things you really like about using it?

 

David:  The best thing is definitely the real time sub-title tool, sub-cap; that is a DS feature; and the ability to do real-time window burns…multiple lines of information that are completely customizable so any size, any location in the frame is all real time- that alone will save most people hours of time…

 

Mike:  So where will you see clients using that?

 

David:  Once people learn about it, know that it’s there; for off-line material and laying off approval copies they’re just going to be able to drop the effect on and snap….go!  The sub-cap tool is going to be huge for international versioning, they can type a word doc or a spreadsheet and as long as it’s the right format with the correct spelling and text, time code where it should hit inside the show, that’s a time saving feature of the real-time window burn because now it’s all framed accurate.  You can sit at home with a DVD or VHS copy, type your subtitles, hand that piece of paper in and pour it into the AVID, drop it into the timeline and everything’s already there, so no more rendering.

 

Mike:  Why would someone who edits want to buy a Media Composer DX versus Final Cut with an AJA?

 

David:  The AJA architecture, Black Magic architecture with Final Cut is not bad but it doesn’t support multiple real-time streams of anything, it’s all rendering…

                                                                                                      

Mike:   So what have you experienced so far with the new Media Composer DX in just seeing multiple streams of real time?

 

David:  I haven’t really put it through the paces yet, to say that I’m definitely getting 8 streams of real time uncompressed…I haven’t benchmarked that yet.

 

Mike:  What about the ability to have multiple different codec within the timeline and how does that differ from Final Cut?

 

David:  The AVID has always been good about supporting open codex but you always flipped it into the AVID proprietary format; and so with FC they did so that you just drop something into the timeline but they don’t tell you that in the back end everything have to be transcoded.  AVID is doing that now so that you don’t have to transcode that before going out to tape.  Now, obviously nothing is perfect and there will be some limitations we haven’t discovered yet, but I think they’re taking steps in the right direction to make everything real time.

 

Mike:  What other key things have you seen from it?

 

David:  Slowly but surely they’re integrating the technology of the DS and its indexing services so they are changing how the media is indexed and it seems a lot faster and more responsive.

 

Mike:  Great.  So if you’re an AVID Meridian user and you’ve been using your machine for 8 years or 6 years, is now the time to move?

 

David:  Now is the time to move…the only thing anyone is going to complain about is, for whatever reason, AVID says that nobody wants analog audio in and out as much as they used to so if your used to eight channels of dedicated IO-analog, its all digital now.   You have it over the digital pipelines but that means your analog Mackie mixer has to go in another bay and you bring in a digital mixer…so that’s the only draw back to get that type of functionality.

 

 

Mike:  So what does the user have to do differently?  I think AVID is thinking differently or new thinking?

 

David:  New thinking is key.  They’re taking steps to make those changes, they’re outsourcing to other people to get an objective view and not just the people with a vested interest in keeping their jobs.

 

Mike:  The clients on a move-forward basis will need a digital mixer and a digital mixer can take analog sources in right?

 

David:  Yes. That is the only way to do that multiple streams, not everybody needs that, a lot of editors really don’t need that, they just grew accustomed to it. 

You really only listen in most bays to 2 stereo speakers so what is the benefit to having 8 direct out when its being listened to 2 on your sound system.  So it is just a slight change in the workflow and people will adjust.

 

 

Mike:  Thank you for your time.

 

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