Avid Media Composer 5.5

digitalfilms by Oliver Peters

Avid was first out of the gate in the run-up to NAB with its release of the Media Composer 5.5 update for this flagship NLE product line. Avid Media Composer 5.5 (and the associated Symphony and NewsCutter versions) marks a continued openness starting with the release of Media Composer 5.0 last year. That release demonstrated a major retooling, which drew mixed reviews from veteran Avid editors. The most recent version,, is very stable and has been tweaked to adjust the behavior of some of the newest features, like Smart Tool, in an effort to respond to customer input.

New hardware options

The big standout of the Media Composer 5.5 release is the addition of AJA Io Express as a capture and output solution. The other hardware choices still include the Matrox MXO2 Mini, as well as Avid’s own hardware – Avid Mojo SDI, Mojo DX and Nitris DX. The Matrox unit is ideal for simple monitoring, but the AJA Io Express extends the functionality to include SD and HD capture over SDI under Media Composer control.

The Matrox MXO2 Mini hasn’t been left out of this upgrade. It gains additional format support for SD and HD 23.98fps projects, as well as the ability to switch between 1080P and 1080PsF outputs. Both Matrox and AJA provide cost-effective, third-party alternatives to the Avid systems; however, speaking from personal experience, if your budget can justify it, the Avid Nitris DX still offers the best performance overall. The latency common with hardware/software combos used in competing NLEs is almost nonexistent with Mojo DX and Nitris DX. read more...

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