Avid Interplay tops NAB intro list

Avid Technology has unveiled Interplay, the world s first nonlinear workflow engine that fuses integrated asset management, workflow automation, and security control into a single system, delivering a business-wide workflow for postproduction and broadcast settings of any size.

Other new products include Thunder Station and Liquid Chrome 7.

Defining a new category in media production technology, the Avid Interplay system connects teams to a shared-data and media backbone and smoothly manages the flow of projects from inception to completion using security and powerful revision control.
The system offers a broad range of low-cost tools for searching, archiving, viewing, logging, automatic transcoding, dual-resolution encoding, and intelligent tracking of multi-resolution proxy files, all of which streamline collaboration between people and eliminate time-consuming production tasks.
In addition, the Avid Interplay system is open to any media production environment accommodating more than 100 different media and non-media file types and can link to production tools from virtually any other company.

The single, most significant challenge in media production today is that very few people work alone but despite that fact, very few vendors make it easy to collaborate, said Chas Smith, vice president and general manager for Avid s Video division. As we ve worked with customers to identify the roadblocks in media production, they ve told us that they need greater help finding and storing files, tracking revisions and progress, and managing signoffs and approvals.

Avid Interplay addresses these and other workflow challenges by providing open access to and interoperability between all shared assets, tasks, and connected systems in a secure environment. Everyone with production responsibilities can use Avid Interplay including producers, graphic artists, assistant editors, IT administrators, writers and storyboard artists, video and audio editors, directors, archivists, and even legal and finance departments.
“No other combination of workflow products on the market can help move projects from preproduction to final delivery and archive with greater efficiency than Avid Interplay, says Smith.

The core Avid Interplay system is a client-server engine that works with any member of the Avid Unity MediaNetwork family of shared-storage solutions to form the backbone of a completely interoperable media production environment. The engine arms individual contributors, project teams, and functional departments with a portfolio of low-cost, user-friendly software tools that automate routine production tasks, track revisions, and streamline administrative activities. It also offers a business-wide workflow that tracks all Avid projects as well as more than 100 media and non-media file types, including multi-resolution video, Microsoft Office documents, Adobe Photoshop and AfterEffects layered files, MPEGs, TIFs, spreadsheets, and more. The standard components that make this powerful workflow possible include:

Interplay Engine a PC server that connects to an Avid Unity media network to act as a central nervous system, providing powerful and secure data-driven access to active and archived media assets; and Interplay Access the user software client for the Interplay Engine, bringing powerful search, check-out/check-in, revision control and management capabilities to ordinary desktops and laptops on the network.

Customers can augment these out-of-the box components of the Avid Interplay system with a range of optional toolsets for deploying a more comprehensive workflow that delivers unprecedented productivity gains. As bandwidth demands grow, customers can add Avid Unity capacity to increase data throughput of the entire system.

The Avid Interplay system also eliminates the time-consuming process of initiating and managing media transcoding, then linking and tracking various resolutions for proxy review, offline, finish, delivery, and archive. The system allows customers to work natively on any resolution, use a background network service to transcode to different resolutions, and work with as many resolutions and formats of a clip as necessary. Because all of the Avid Interplay tools can work with any resolution, and projects maintain links to any file variations, the process of switching between resolutions is quick and easy. The options that deliver multi-resolution workflows include:

Pricing for the Avid Interplay system, with the Interplay Engine and Access toolsets, begins at $18,000. The system is expected to be available in Q3 2006. For more information about the Avid Interplay system, please visit: www.avid.com/interplay.

Thunder Station

Avid says Thunder Station is the industry’s first integrated news video and graphics production package for broadcasters operating in small and mid-sized markets.
The Thunder Station system combines Avid’s craft editing, graphics creation and management, and multi-function playout systems to deliver an efficient server-based workflow – at a price that is comparable to what broadcasters typically pay for less-capable systems from multiple vendors. With the Thunder Station system, smaller-market broadcasters can use Avid’s industry-standard NewsCutterand Deko tools with the proven Thunder production server to create and play-to-air news, promotions, and sports segments – all with supporting graphics – more cost-effectively and efficiently than with any other combination of broadcast production systems on the market.

“Broadcasters in small markets are striving to implement all-digital workflows, but budget constraints often lead these smaller stations to compromise and cobble together a workflow with an array of products that don’t provide the efficiencies or capabilities they need. With Thunder Station, Avid is changing the playing field,” said David Schleifer, vice president of Avid Broadcast and Workgroups. “For the same cost of implementing a low-budget video workflow with competitive products, Thunder Station gives smaller-market broadcasters access to a set of solutions for both news and graphics production, but in a single, integrated package. Our goal is to take the guesswork out of implementing a smooth, efficient workflow for these customers, and Thunder Station does just that – with best-of-breed systems that get the job done and deliver the greatest ROI.”

The Thunder Station system empowers smaller market broadcasters to increase productivity and enhance their stations’ on-air look, while reigning in costs and the technical complexities of news production workflows. Using a central database and connected workstation infrastructure, Thunder Station provides a flexible ingest-to-playout workflow by integrating Avid NewsCutter XP editing tools, Deko graphics production software, and Thunder live production servers into a single, cohesive system. The compact system is ideal for stations, broadcast trucks/vehicles, and bureaus or remote field locations. The system also integrates with Avid(R) iNEWS(R) and other newsroom computer systems (NRCS) so users can easily stay synchronized with the show rundown.

Liquid Chrom HD, version 7
Avid also rolled version 7 of the Avid Liquid Chrome HD family, the newest addition to the Avid Liquid line of editing software and hardware for videographers who want to work with formats that require SDI (serial digital interface) and HD-SDI capabilities.
The company says Avid Liquid Chrome HD v7 offers customers enhanced format flexibility, new effects tools, enhancements to its integrated toolset, and greater output capabilities – all within a single application. With Avid Liquid Chrome HD, users can create extremely high-quality SD and HD video productions from start to finish – and deliver completed projects on professional digital tape formats, DVD, and a range of streaming formats for the Web.

“Videographers continue to stress how important it is to have access to a single editing tool that is easy to use and allows them to work quickly to create high-quality projects on a modest budget. At the same time, many are looking for advanced features that offer greater flexibility for SD and HD work. Liquid Chrome HD is a perfect solution to address these needs,” said James Thill, senior product manager for Avid. “Avid Liquid Chrome HD is already renowned for its ability to enable customers to capture DV, HDV, MPEG, and uncompressed formats and master to tape in both SD and HD formats. With version 7, we’ve taken this to the next level by offering support for new codecs, new output capabilities, and tons of new effects options for creating stunning graphics and visuals.”

The Avid Liquid Chrome HD family of solutions integrates Avid Liquid software with a range of SDI hardware. The product line combines video, audio, DVD, and effects creation in a single application – and equips users with additional features such as enhanced secondary color correction, multicam support for up to 16 cameras, and Avid’s industry standard Open Timeline for editing and playing back different formats and resolutions in real-time. New capabilities offered in version 7 of the Avid Liquid Chrome HD family include:

Additional format flexibility – offers native support for WM9,DivX and MPEG-4 to edit and repurpose for the Web, allowing editors to make edits to existing media content (without timely transcodes), and mix this footage with other sources;

XDCAM HD support – delivers the ability to capture and edit XDCAM HD material, including proxy-based workflows, and real-time mix and match with other formats;

Increased FX power – introduces RT Timewarp, stabilize and more than 50 Commotion and Magic Bullet Movie Looks effects, allowing editors to now have more creative choices to enhance the style and quality of their work;

Enhanced integration – provides custom music creation with SmartSound, empowering editors to quickly create soundtracks from a library of musical styles and tempos. Soundtracks are now added directly to the timeline and update automatically as the length of the soundtrack is trimmed; and

Expanded output to new formats – delivers custom templates for output to next-gen formats and devices such as Flash video, Sony PlayStation Portable, and Apple iPod.

The Avid Liquid Chrome HD family includes three scalable offerings designed to meet a range of professional needs. These systems include:

Avid Liquid Chrome HD Plus – a package priced at $4,995 USMSRP for independent videographers who are looking for an integrated application with SD SDI I/O and four channels of AES/EBU audio;

Avid Liquid Chrome HD Deluxe – a more comprehensive solution priced at $7,995 USMSRP that offers all of the functionality of Liquid Chrome HD Plus and adds HD SDI I/O; and

Avid Liquid Chrome HD Elite – the most advanced system in the line priced at $11,995 USMSRP, including comprehensive SD and HD I/O in a rack-mountable broadcast chassis.

Avid iNews Command

Avid has unveiled the Avid iNEWS Command system – a new offering that integrates with any newsroom computer system (NRCS) and provides broadcasters with precise automation control over playout devices, including video servers, still stores, and character generators.
Delivering superior reliability for mission-critical operations, the Avid iNEWS Command system can be configured to eliminate single points of failure, ensuring that if any playout component becomes unavailable during a transmission, a backup system can take over automatically – without the need for manual intervention. In addition, the system can be tightly synchronized with Avid iNEWS and other third-party NRCS solutions, so as operators alter the content or the order of the rundown in the final seconds before a broadcast, the changes are immediately reflected in the iNEWS Command playlist. With comprehensive control over all of the devices, assets, and programming information used to deliver a newscast, the Avid iNEWS Command system delivers an open, cost-effective way for broadcasters to manage playout products and processes, and deliver a greater number of error-free broadcasts.

“Broadcasters face tight deadlines every day, but what viewers actually see on screen is vastly different than what is going on behind the scenes – where video clips, graphics, still photos, teleprompter scripts, and even the order of the rundown – are changing up to the last second,” said David Schleifer, vice president of Avid Broadcast and Workgroups. “The Avid iNEWS Command system enables news directors and producers to monitor and control every aspect of a broadcast transmission – and make on-the-fly changes moments before a story hits the airwaves. The system reduces the possibility for errors by integrating seamlessly with a range of products – from Avid and other vendors – and can trigger playout events based on rundowns from the Avid iNEWS NRCS, as well as MOS-enabled newsroom playlists such as ENPS. With iNEWS Command, we’re giving broadcasters the flexibility to squeeze every last second of prep time that they have, and making sure their broadcasts won’t be compromised even if a playout device goes down as a segment is going live.”

The Avid iNEWS Command system can function as an automation device for controlling both Avid playlists and playout servers within an Avid end-to-end news production environment – or within facilities that use a wide range of third-party NRCS systems In addition, the iNEWS Command system offers native control of the Avid Deko family of graphics-creation systems and the Avid Thunder line of clip- and still-store servers, providing seamless integration within an Avid broadcast workflow environment.

Pricing for Avid iNEWS Command system with software for a single control workstation, two viewing workstations, and four video and two graphics channels is $35,000 USMSRP. Additional video and graphics channels can be added for $1,000 to $3,000 USMSRP per channel. The system is expected to be available in Q3 2006.