Edit Geek Review: Media Composer 5.0

Edit Geek by Dylan Reeve

Avid’s newest version of their flagship NLE, Media Composer, hits the shelfs in June 10 and I’ve had the opportunity to give it a test drive over the last week or so. In some ways Media Composer 5 marks a very substantial change for Avid in how it deals with media, and some of it’s new features could be seen as very direct responses to long-standing criticisms by Final Cut Pro editors…

So, how does it stack up?

Given my fairly solid work committments I haven’t had the chance to use Media Composer 5 ‘in anger’ on the HP workstations I edit on daily, instead I’ve had it installed on my personal laptop, a somewhat underpowered Compaq sporting a dual Celeron 1.6GHz processor and 4GB of RAM, running Windows 7 64bit, so my review is somewhat limited in that I’ve not really been able to give MC5 the benefit of a decent workstation, but I’ve still be quite impressed by the results.

The Headline Features
When Avid announced MC5 and NAB in April the focus was really on two main features, AMA for Quicktime and R3D and The Smart Tool – these two features probably represent the most immediately noticable changes in MC5 from the last version, so what are they? How do they work? And are they worth it?

AMA for Quicktime and R3D
Avid’s AMA functionality was introduced a few versions ago, initially as a means to support MP4-wrapped XDCAM EX media. AMA, or Avid Media Access is a framework in which camera manufacturers (or Avid) can develop plugins that allow Media Composer to directly access the content of video files in a variety of formats. Rather than the traditional capture or import process creating Avid-friendly MXF-wrapped media in an Avid MediaFiles directory, AMA allows direct access to the files from wherever they are located, not unlike the file linking that will be familiar to Final Cut Pro and Premiere editors.

AmaAvidMc5Red

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