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Archive for February, 2011

Top New 5 Features of Avid Media Composer 5.5

February 15, 2011 3 comments

by Michael Kammes (Senior Applications Editor, Post Workflow Consultant: Key Code Media)

With Avid’s recent announcement of the relaease of Media Composer 5.5, we have compiled a list of some of what we consider to be the top new 5 features of Media Composer 5.5.

#1 Video I/O: AJA I/O Express.
Easily the biggest announcement. Avid has traditionally regulated baseband video input and output to Avid built hardware. We saw a glimpse last year of the move off this paradigm with the adoption of the
Matrox MXO2 Mini. This toe dipping in the 3rd party wading pool allowed users to output broadcast quality reference video through a sub $500 box. While some functions – like capture and deck control – were not available; it was an instant success for smaller setups (aside from some pesky frame rates; more on that later).

The AJA IO Express, unlike the Matrox MXO 2 Mini, is unrestricted by Avid to capture into Media Composer via HDSDI & HDMI, and output via HDSDI, Component, and HDMI. It sports an RS-422 com port for deck control – and yes, digital cuts are supported. Like the Matrox unit and the Avid branded I/O devices, it connects to your CPU via an included host (HBA) Card. As of the initial 5.5 release, Ancillary Data and LTC are not supported…yet.

AJA is an excellent company – partnering with the best in the industry is a fantastic move.

#2 AVC-Intra is a reality.

Brains & Beauty: one of the newer codecs – AVC-Intra – delivers excellent visual quality at lower data rates, and has been popping up more and more in prosumer and professional cameras. There is a downside, however: it’s extraordinarily CPU intensive. Avid now has a solution for you.

For $2495, you can purchase an AVC-Intra accelerator card for your Media Composer Nitris DX. This small hardware card is installed inside your Nitris DX box, and allows for AVC-Intra encoding during capture – as well as assisting during decoding: edit, monitoring, and processing. This hardware upgrade card is only available for the Nitris DX. Eye ballin’ a new Symphony Nitris DX? Another reason to pull the trigger: The AVC-Intra card comes included with a new purchase of a Symphony Nitris DX. Check out the Media Composer Nitris DX AVC-Intra here.

#3 Say What?

Don’t you constantly rely on the Search function of your OS? (I use my Apple + F search religiously.) Most of us would be unable to function without it. Avid has taken two steps to improve the effective of it’s search tools. First, the standard text search tool has been expanded to search across more metadata within your project: clips, sequences, script text, the timeline, and your monitors.

As if that were not enough, Media Composer now has an ability to search via phonetic matching, a new feature called PhraseFind. Media Composer automatically analyzes clips and indexes all dialog in your project’s media phonetically, so you can quickly find clips by simply typing a word or phrase—right from within your edit session. Plus, it works in the background so as not to tie up your editing bay. Bonus! Coupled with ScriptSync, this becomes a massively powerful tool to reduce the time lost to logging and assemblies and finding that illusive lost clip. PhraseFind, as well as ScriptSync, come at an additional cost ($495 & $995, respectively) or bundle both for only $1295.

#4 Hear That? Enhanced Audio Monitoring.

Avid has incorporated the ability to utilize Pro Tools hardware for monitoring of your Media Composer. Pro Tools HD hardware, as well as select flavors of the MBox family can be used for audio playback. The awesome sounding AIR plug-ins are also supported within Media Composer 5.5.

#5 AMA Enhancements.


AMA is probably the single greatest thing Avid has rolled out in recent history, and with 5.5, Avid continues down that path. The HDCAM SR Lite codec is now supported via AMA. First incarnations support only reading of the HDCAM SR Lite based files via AMA, however.

Those of you who insist on using Long GOP video files (you know who you are) will be thrilled to learn that Avid has beefed up Media Composer’s ability to play these in real time. While it is impossible to qualify every hardware and software configuration when dealing with AMA, v5.5 will handle your Long GOP files better than 5.0. Plus, Media Composer has also enabled Long GOP Quicktime reference exports (this last feature was quietly available not to long ago in 5.0.3 versions) In case you didn’t know, Media Composer uses your GPU – Graphics card – to during playback to take load off of your CPU. So, always consider beefing up your Graphics card to speed up your system…staying within the approved list of cards, of course.

You’ll also see a change in how AMA is installed on machines. AMA, as you may know, is a plug-in architecture. XDCAM, P2, Quicktime, GFCAM, etc., are all separate AMA plug-ins. As is the case with most plug-ins, development can continue on these separate of changes to the host application itself. Because of this, AMA plug-ins are now going to be hosted on Avid’s website for download. (Yes, they are free.) This ensures that the user can always get the most up to date plug-in ‘builds’. Media Composer 5.5 will come bundled with the Quicktime AMA plug-in only.

Miscellaneous notes:

 

  1. Media Composer 5.5 will be the last version that supports the Adrenaline hardware. It will also be the last 32bit build of Media Composer. Time to upgrade to the DX product line and a 64bit OS.
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  3. Unity MediaNet 4.x is no longer supported. Have you looked into the next generation of Avid Shared storage – the ISIS 5000 and ISIS 7000? Ethernet is the new Fibre. 

     

  4. 4GB of RAM is required for operation.
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  6. The Matrox MXO2 Mini is now able to output true Progressive (P) frame rates, and the h.264 MAX option is now supported to accelerate Matrox h.264 exports out of Media Composer. This means faster exports for web and mobile devices directly out of Media Composer.
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  8. The Avid (Euphonix) Artist Series (Artist Control, Artist Mix, and Artist Transport) controllers are supported within Media Composer 5.5.
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  10. Enchanced Smart tool: Adjust a transition’s timing within the Timeline without stepping into the effects palette.

 

    For more information and how to upgrade to the latest version of Avid Media Composer 5.5, call 818-303-3900.

     

StorageDNA Evolution News

February 15, 2011 1 comment

This week, Tridib Chakravarty, CEO of StorageDAN will be on a panel at the Hollywood Post Alliance Technical Retreat-The Seminar is titled  “New Role of LTO-5 Technologies in Media Workflows”

Moderator: George Anderson, Media Technology Market Partners

LTO-5 Technology – Ed Childers, Ultrium LTO Project

Linear Tape File System (LTFS) – Michael Richmond, IBM Almaden

LTFS vs. tar – Tom Goldberg, Cache-A

DNA Evolution – Tridib Chakravarty, StorageDNA

On March 3 and 4th, StorageDNA will be exhibiting at the Createasphere Digital Asset Management Universal City, CA   in Booth 30

They will also be speaking at the Pecha Kucha: Meet the Experts-  Meet with the presenters of Pecha Kucha – learn more about them and their offerings, exchange ideas, and network!

At NAB, StorageDNA will be exhibiting Avid MediaComposer and Apple Final Cut Pro connected to an Isis 5000 with workflows showing synchronization, nearlining and DNA Evolution. This will be midway back in the south lower hall StorageDNA SL 10310

Additionally, the LTO Ultrium group has sponsored StorageDNA to exhibit along with IBM, HP and Quantum in the LTO Ultirum booth located in the North Hall, N 6619.

The LTO Program, formed by technology provider companies HP, IBM and Quantum, develops a powerful, scalable, adaptable open tape format created to address data protection and archive in the midrange to enterprise-class server environments. The LTO Ultrium format offers users competitive sources of products, an eight generation roadmap, and state-of-the-art features including data encryption, WORM support, high capacity — up to 3TB per cartridge — and blazing performance at up to 280MB/second (LTO-5 tape at 2:1 compressed). With low energy consumption, tape technology can also provide organizations with a green alternative for the data center, delivering substantial TCO benefits and energy savings.

Recently featured Key Code Media and the Conan Show (Conan O’Brien) Production Facilities

February 4, 2011 Leave a comment

Here’s a few tidbits floating around the web about  our integration and technical services we recently were involved in with the Conan Show

from Computer Graphics World

January 25, 2011

Grass Valley, Calif. – Getting the one-hour variety show, “CONAN” to air every week is no small feat. The program is shot in front of a live studio audience in Burbank, California, and employs a variety of AJA  products including Hi5, HA5, HD10CEA, HD10C2, and HD10DA — over 90 total AJA Mini-Converters — to keep the production flowing smoothly.

While the show is pre-recorded, it’s produced and cut as if it were live since the east coast feed is transmitted one hour after taping wraps. “AJA equipment definitely allows us to work more flexibly and more quickly,” said Chris Savage who serves as the Lead Camera Utility on “CONAN”. “The needs of the show change every day — with varying requirements for monitoring, computers, new camera feeds and sometimes even video material that guests bring onto the show. AJA’s Mini-Converters provide us with the flexibility to accommodate whatever needs arise and the reliability that our quick turnaround production cycles depend upon.”

There are 13 60-inch LCD monitors mounted above the audience in the studio seating area. The stage was initially designed to run an SD signal to those monitors, but in production the feed interfered with fluorescent lighting on stage to cause a roll in the picture. The show turned to AJA Hi5 Mini-Converters to convert the HD-SDI signal to HDMI to drive an HD feed of the program onto the monitors. The Hi5s provided a quick, easy and cost-effective solution that was plug-and-play with the existing production infrastructure.

For the show’s ‘Conan Video Blog’ segments, the AJA HA5 Mini-Converter is used to pull a video signal from a laptop used in the broadcast. AJA KONA 3 and KONA LHi capture cards are also used as part of the show’s Apple Final Cut Pro editing workflow and AJA VTR Xchange software is used for remote deck control via the KONA card’s RS-422 interface.

Savage stated that the biggest benefit of using AJA Mini-Converters is their portability, “Being able to plug and unplug, and not have to go to a rack or moreover to another building to patch and down-convert or re-clock is a huge advantage,” concluded Savage.

Key Code Media in Burbank designed and installed the edit system and server, and NEP, a national outsourced tele-production services company, designed and set up a lot of the production equipment for the show.

For the full article visit: http://www.cgw.com/Press-Center/News/2011/AJA-Mini-Converters-Power-CONAN-.aspx

From Broadcast Engineering Excellence Awards Article

In the early summer of 2010, NEP Broadcasting’s Denali division was asked to build the production facilities for the new Conan O’Brien show, “Conan.” It was an exciting project to bid on, but the location for the production had not been selected beyond the West Coast. Bids were due the middle of June, the award would be announced at the end of June, and the show would debut on TBS the first week of November. That left just 120 days to design and build the new production facilities.

Fortunately, the location decision came rather quickly: the Warner Brothers Lot, Stage 15. Unfortunately, there was no space on the soundstage for the technical facilities. The solution, conceived by the show’s project manager, David Crivelli, was to build seven custom office trailers married together to create spaces for production, audio, sound effects, graphics, edit bays, music mix, video, recording and core systems. But the next big issue was that the trailers would not be manufactured, delivered and set up until after Labor Day. This left NEP less than 45 days before rehearsals began to finish the build.

Fortunately, much of the creative and technical crew had worked on O’Brien’s previous show, so issues of workflow and preferred equipment had been resolved. Crivelli made the decision to split up the various parts among three vendors: Key Code Media would handle editing and SAN storage; Paul Sandweiss at Sound Design Corporation would tackle production audio, music, sound effects and house PA; and NEP was tasked with the remainder, which consisted of production, recording, graphics, video, communications and core systems.

NEP immediately made the decision to prebuild at its systems integration facility in Pittsburgh. This would allow construction to begin before the trailers were in place. Twenty racks of equipment, consoles and the production monitor wall were assembled and wired in Pittsburgh in late August. Just after Labor Day, two 53ft tractor-trailers made the cross-country trek to Warner Brothers.

NEP began the load-in on Friday at 6 a.m., and by the end of the day Friday, all systems were in place. Only three days later, systems were wired together and ready for testing and configuration. This included pulling in all the cables to the stage via new conduits under the road between the building and trailers.

With close coordination and teamwork, the show has a new, spacious facility to rival any installation in the Los Angeles area. Once inside, you’d never know 45 days earlier it was just an empty parking lot.

To read the full article:  http://broadcastengineering.com/excellence-awards/conan-obrien-nep-broadcasting/

February 1, 2011 1 comment

Apple, Avid and Key Code Media present

An Evening Discussion of

“The Future of Non Linear Editing”

Join us for an evening discussion at the Delancey Street Foundation Screening Room

Panelists:

Casey Richards (Avid Technology, Inc: Applications Specialist)

Steven Cohen (Motion Picture Editor, Author of “Avid Agility”)

Jim Duvardo (Hoff Productions: Chief Engineer)

Tony Welch (Beyond Pix Studios: Creative Services Director)

 Moderator: Michael Kammes (Key Code Media: Senior Applications Editor & Post Workflow Consultant)

Learn how editors and producers are dealing with Avid and Final Cut Pro hybrid workflows on their projects.

As Non Linear Editorial tools have become commoditized, the process for many is still a painstaking task. Acquiring the tools may be easy but using them in a highly technical and collaborative environment can be quite difficult.

Our panel will discuss how some of these tools and workflows are being managed in real production environments, including Avid and Final Cut workflows and in open environments where both tools are present and contributors to the final production.

WHEN

Wednesday

February 16, 2011

Cocktail Reception 5:30pm-6:30pm

Panel Discussion 6:30pm-8pm

WHERE

Delancey Street Foundation Screening Room

600 The Embarcadero

(Between Brennan Street & Embarcadero)

San Francisco, CA 94107

1st (25) registrants to arrive will receive a FREE copy of Steven Cohen’s “Avid Agility”

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER