Avid Media Composer in a DSLR World

Tastes Like Chicken by Dylan Reeve

Don’t know if anyone’s noticed, but Canon made a little digital SLR camera called the Canon 5D Mark II and, apparently, it shoots HD video… It seems that some people are quite excited about the whole thing. Well if you had noticed that, you’d probably have also noticed that almost every mention of editing 5D footage is around Apple’s Final Cut Pro. It’s certainly not because other products can’t cut it, it’s probably just because of a massive commonality between those who’ve embraced the 5D and those who long ago embraced FCP.

So how do the current crop of HD DSLR cameras play with Avid’s flagship NLE? The answer is just fine now, and really well soon. As I write this Avid is shipping Media Composer 4.5, it cuts the DSLR footage fine, but there is transcoding involved and that takes time, but they’ve also recently announced Media Composer 5.0 and it will do it all straight from the files, with no waiting around.

So how does it work now, and how will that change in Media Composer 5.0?

I recently had the pleasure of shooting our 48 hour film, Professional Dancer, with the 5D and really there’s nothing like serious time pressure to help you come to terms with workflow options!

In general Media Composer likes to work with what it knows, that means usually that it will only work with Avid Media – stuff it’s either capture or transcoded itself, but it also incorporates native support for some popular file-based broadcast acquisition formats like XDCAM and P2. Anything beyond that has to be imported, which will involve Avid converting the file into it’s own codec and wrapping it in an MXF file. This will change in Media Composer 5.0, but more on that soon… read more...

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