A tour around Avid Media Composer 5.0’s interface changes

The Editblog on PVC by Scott Simmons

Veteran Avid editors will notice quite a few new things with this upgrade

With any big software upgrade there’s going to be changes. Some visible, some not so visible. Personally, I love those changes ... as long as they add new or needed functionality without getting in the way. One of the big things we often worry about with big upgrades are interface changes that might clutter up a clean design or impart on the editor additions or subtractions that might seem more like a step backwards. Of course much of this type of thing is subjective. One editor’s productivity enhancement is another editor’s unnecessary feature. With that said, here’s a look at some of the bigger interface enhancements that I noticed upon first working with Avid Media Composer 5.0.

I was lucky enough to be included in a group of editors / bloggers who got an advanced copy of the new Avid Media Composer 5.0. This made me very happy as I was able to install the new software on my home editing system without waiting for my work to purchase the upgrade. It was great to get a hands-on sneak peak at this tool that I saw demo after demo of at NAB 2010. Full disclosure, I’m currently a member of an Avid customer advisory board, a group of working editors that Avid has asked to give feedback on the current direction of a number of their products. I knew about some of the updates in Media Composer 5.0 but many I did not. I can happily say that when I finally heard about them all in detail at NAB 2010 it looked like a nice leap forward.

A new tool right there in the Timeline

The most noticeable change in Avid Media Composer 5.0 is the addition of the Smart Tool to the left side of the timeline:

The red and yellow Segment Mode arrows are gone from the bottom of the timeline and now reside within the new Smart Tool. There’s also a red Overwrite Trim roller, a yellow Ripple Trim roller as well as a Keyframe Selection toggle that lets you move audio keyframes without the use of a modifier key. Each of the icons within the Smart Tool are buttons and they can be toggled on and off. If you turn on either (or both) of the Segment Mode arrows then you’re able to grab clips in the timeline without enabling Segment Mode since the Smart Tools, combined with the new drag and drop timeline functionality, lets you essentially leave these modes turned on all the time. If both Segment Mode arrows are turned on then depending on where your cursor is hovering in a segment on the timeline (in the top half for red Lift/Overwrite, bottom half for yellow Extract/Splice-In) that cursor will change to one of the two arrows to identify what type of Segment Mode you’ll be in if you click a clip. read more...

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