Avid announced Media Composer 5.5, Symphony 5.5 and Newscutter 9.5 today. The new versions aren’t on the street yet — expect that prior to NAB — but the company is showing off the many new features, which include the following:
- A unified Find function that builds and maintains a project-wide database, letting you search all bin data throughout the project from a single window.
- PhraseFind, a $500 add-on that listens to your dialog, indexes it, and allows you to do phonetic searches throughout the project.
- A new Transition Tool that enables you to change dissolve lengths by dragging in the timeline.
- Support for the AJA Io Express for capture, monitoring and output.
- Modifications to the Smart Tool that make it easier to turn it off.
- A “legacy trim mode,” available if you don’t use the Smart Tool for trimming. (This was in patch builds of 5.0. See this link.)
- Support for Euphonics controllers via the EUCON protocol.
Avid’s MC 5.5 product page is here. You’ll find videos demonstrating some of the new features on this page. The press release is here. There’s an FAQ about this release here, one covering PhraseFind here and one on the Io Expresshere. And you can download a chart comparing the various Avid hardware options here. The price to upgrade from v5 to v5.5 will be just $150.
I’ve been a beta tester, and have found an awful lot to like in this new version. A host of bugs have been fixed, the Smart Tool is more usable, legacy trim mode is even more familiar, and the unified Find function is welcome and effective. The pièce de résistance, PhraseFind, is nothing short of remarkable. It’s not for everybody, but if you need to find your way through hours of dialog, you’re going to love it.