Digidesign Roundup From NAB 2006

Digidesign previewed a number of groundbreaking advances in mixing and automation, dramatically improved post workflows and exciting new technologies at NAB 2006. Digidesign showcased the forthcoming Pro Tools® HD 7.2 software upgrade, which includes enhanced mixing and automation capabilities plus improved post workflows. Digidesign presented a technology preview of Avid® HD picture support in Pro Tools|HD; introduced Pro Tools LE™ and Pro Tools M-Powered™ 7.1.1 software, which offer Intel-based Mac support; displayed the new Surround Panner Option by JL Cooper Electronics for ICON D-Command™ and Pro Tools|HD® systems; and much more.

Pro Tools HD 7.2 Software
One of the most significant software upgrades for ICON and Pro Tools|HD systems to date, Pro Tools HD 7.2 software introduces a wealth of new features and enhancements designed to give audio post professionals more speed, power, and flexibility.

Enhanced integrated video capabilities

  • Edit video as easily as audio
  • Work with multiple video clips, tracks, and playlists
  • Play QuickTime video through AVoption|V10™ or Avid Mojo®
  • Bounce edited audio and video to QuickTime format

Integrated multi-channel field audio features

Replace guide tracks with multi-channel audio from field recorders

Select alternate channel audio with automatic fade rebuilding

Browse, search, and edit iXML metadata in regions and Broadcast WAV files

New destructive punch record mode

  • Punch into mix tracks without creating additional files
  • Use third-party paddle controllers for input/output/record switching

Powerful, efficient new mixing and automation features

  • VCA-style groups
  • Pan controls grouping and plug-in parameters linking
  • Flexible new automation modes
  • Real-time graphical display of automation data being updated

New SignalTools multi-channel metering and analysis

  • Comprehensive level and phase metering up to 7.1 surround
  • Choose from multiple international metering standards
  • Full LeqA analysis

Streamlined Avid-to-Pro Tools Workflows
Thanks to enhanced export capabilities in Avid systems (currently expected in the second half of 2006), Pro Tools editors will soon be able to enjoy, among other improvements, the simplicity of importing a single "mixed-down" video file while still viewing all of the clip names and cuts from the Avid sequence for easy navigation and frame-accurate selections. Improvements include:

Import both a mixed-down video sequence and the cut information (Pro Tools HD software)

  • Updated "Send to Pro Tools" templates simplify AAF sequence exports (Avid systems)
  • Send an audio mixdown from an Avid editor along with all other audio tracks (Avid systems)
  • Consolidate media to any local or network storage location (Avid systems)
  • Use the integrated "Send via DigiDelivery™" command, which automatically includes all relevant media files with the sequences (Avid systems)

Announcing Avid HD Picture Coming to Pro Tools|HD (Technology Preview)
This upcoming solution from Digidesign will allow ICON and Pro Tools|HD system users to work with Avid HD picture without needing to render effects or perform time-consuming AAF sequence exports. Utilizing two separate workstations with bi-directional control, Pro Tools editors will be able to quickly open and play Avid sequences, including DNxHD video, while still enjoying full audio performance.

  • Synchronized playback of Avid sequences and Pro Tools sessions on separate workstations
  • Support for Avid HD resolutions, including DNxHD
  • No need for effects rendering or AAF video exports
  • Complete control from either workstation
  • Full Pro Tools audio performance

Announcing Avid Unity ISIS Push/Pull Support Coming Soon to Pro Tools|HD
A push/pull workflow with Avid Unity ISIS™ will be officially qualified for Windows XP-based Pro Tools|HD systems soon. Users of Pro Tools HD 7.1 software will be able to identify Unity ISIS volumes as transfer drives, causing Pro Tools to pull media to local drives when opening sessions off of Unity ISIS and to push media to Unity ISIS volumes through the use of session copies. Avid and Digidesign also plan to qualify Windows XP-based Pro Tools|HD systems with direct streaming playback from, and record to, Avid Unity ISIS in winter 2006/2007.

Announcing Avid Interplay Integration
In winter 2006/2007, Avid and Digidesign plan to introduce direct Pro Tools integration with the new Avid Interplay system, greatly simplifying the AAF exchange process between Pro Tools and Avid editors. By using a new software add-on and following documented, qualified workflows, Pro Tools users will be able to take advantage of the rich feature set of the Avid Interplay Access client, allowing them to interact more directly with other users within the Avid Interplay environment. Planned Interplay integration includes automated output of draft-resolution video elements to the audio editor, with seamless return to high-resolution video on check-in, streamlined AAF interchange, simplified and centrally-managed import/export options, version control of exchanged sequences, and even support for remote workstations connected via a WAN.

Surround Panner Option by JL Cooper Electronics
This Surround Panner option offers ICON D-Command and Pro Tools|HD system users a perfect solution for dedicated panning control. With an industrial design that matches D-Command, the panner features one touch-sensitive joystick with brushed aluminum handle, plus knobs and mode buttons for individual parameter control and a single, integrated MIDI/power cable to reduce clutter. Expected to ship in Q3 2006, the Surround Panner Option will retail for $1,695.

Pro Tools LE and Pro Tools M-Powered 7.1.1 Software
Expected late May 2006, this free update to Pro Tools LE and Pro Tools M-Powered software will run as a native application on Apple's new Intel-based iMac and MacBook Pro computers, making full use of the host computer's processing power.

For more information, visit their web site at www.digidesign.com.