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Avid Technology Announces DS 10.5 Software Only At IBC

September 11, 2010 1 comment

Just when we thought DS was dead…….  Avid Technology announces DS 10.5 at IBC 2010 today.

The announcement includes the following information:

Avid DS 10.5 offers an extensive feature-set to help customers manage their project pipeline, including but not limited to:

  • All-in-one graphics and compositing capabilities that help speed project turnaround by eliminating the need toggle between software applications to render media.
  • Full 2K playback or HD RGB 4:4:4 proxies for precise color correction and data management of effects and titles, ideal for finishing television projects.
  • REDRocket Accelerator card support to bring increased power for transcoding and the ability to render from any resolution, offering customers the real-time capabilities identical to standard video or film-based media workflows.
  • Increased access to the full creative toolset of AVX2 effects, including those from Boris FX, Sapphire and The Foundry, to streamline workflow at any stage of the editorial process.

Software DS 10.5 is priced at $9995 USD for professional licenses and each comes standard with a copy of Media Composer® 5 software.  DS 10.5 is recommended for use with the HP Z800 workstation series.

OK….so what does this really mean?   Well, since I’m only reading announcements from the web, I’ll give my best take.

1) Avid has officially moved DS off expensive low performing hardware of the Nitris BOB, not to be confused with Nitris DX.  The Nitris BOB was getting old and relatively useless.  On the 10.0 DS release, file independence and most of the other featured announcements had already been blessed, meaning resolution independence, Red Rocket, Stereoscopic workflow and the AVX 2.0 tool set.  So the big announcement is no expensive break out box.

2) Avid includes Media Composer 5.x which effectively makes the price of Software DS 10.5 at $7,495, which is half the price of Autodesk’s Smoke on a Mac.

3) Adding an AJA Kona3G (http://www.aja.com/products/kona/kona3g/)  card for $1,995 or a Bluefish Epoch (priced at around $3,495 (ballpark) (http://www.bluefish444.com/products/retail/) gives one a very powerful workstation at a turnkey price in the sub $20k range.

4) The big question that the DS faithful will want to know is where does DS fit in the roadmap of the new Avid?  DS has had multiple lives going back to the mid 90’s when Microsoft was the Corporate father.  Is DS alive and well?  That question is a lot tougher to figure out.  My take is at this price, this is the cleanest conform for Avid Media Composer systems finishing in 2K or above.  The need to use DS for 444 is no longer relevant since both the Media Composer and Symphony systems can digitize and lay back in 444 with the NitrisDX IO.  Will Avid Technology continue a development path or will they look to integrating feature sets into other product.  DS does do some cool things that have now become overlooked, primarily the use of the integration of Elastic Reality’s morphing functions (Avid purchased Elastic Reality in 1996) and the use of the old Parallax (a 1995 purchase) of Advance (Illusion) compositing tool sets including the famous node based compositor and Matador, the excellent paint program with great roto.  Of course, these technologies were cutting edge in 1996 and a lot of work has been done since in the paint environment and compositing world since then.

My personal take and perspective is that the world has changed a lot since DS was last a popular finishing tool and a good portion of Avid’s client base does not need any more than 444 which keeps them in their world of the “mediacomposer” interface.  I think, where niche projects need the advanced AAF Avid conform for 2K projects, DS will have a fit and can then pass along the files to a color grading system such as Assimilate’s Scratch or Digital Vision’s Nucoda FilmMaster.

Long term, the community will need to see the feature set advancement or integration into what has been my personal recommendation I’ve given to Avid since 1999 to integrate Symphony’s interface with DS’s toolset and resolution independence.

for the complete Avid DS 1.05 release-  http://www.avid.com/US/press-room/Avid-Introduces-Software-Only-Version-of-Avid-DS

btw   we will get our hands on this as soon as available.

Mike Cavanagh

for more information, call us at Key Code Media  818-303-3900