Review - AVID Media Composer 6.5

Definition Magazine by Adam Garstone

ADAM GARSTONE updates his Media Composer editor and rejoices at the correction of some annoying problems from the previous version. But is it worth the upgrade price for current version 6 holders? However If you still have version 5 this is an easy upgrade decision.

For me, Media Composer 6 was the most important release Avid had done since, er, well, the 1990s probably. Their decision, finally, to open up their products to third party hardware manufacturers was a (perhaps serendipitous) great leap forwards – removing one major barrier to entry for those who were considering leaving another manufacturer’s product, but who had an existing hardware investment. Coupling that with 64 bit performance, a cleaner user interface design, plus other bells and whistles, and it made a pretty compelling product.

There were, of course, some problems.

Probably the most annoying limitation of v6 (particularly for those working in documentary) was that the Audio Punch-In tool didn’t work with third-party hardware. That meant that you had to record ‘Commentary’ with a separate application and import the audio each time. It’s a bit slow, and very annoying (if you use FCP 7 on any Mac OS from 10.7 onwards, you have the same issue - for some reason the ‘Voice Over’ tool doesn’t work. Ho, hum). The second most annoying ‘feature’ was that MC 6 hogged the I/O hardware and wouldn’t let it go, so you couldn’t have another application running that needed the same I/O (for instance, a grading application or After Effects). You had to shut down Avid before starting the other application, then close that before you could re-open Avid – on a good day. On a bad day you had to reboot between each application.

Media Composer 6.5 solves both of these problems, and the implementation worked well with my Blackmagic Decklink card (with the latest version of Blackmagic’s Desktop Video for Mac). If you have hardware attached (either third party or Nitris DX/Mojo DX) then a hardware toggle button appears in the user interface. The button allows you to toggle between hardware and software modes. This is more useful than just releasing the hardware, as software mode gives you access to features like Full Screen Play. Even better, just switching to another application automatically releases the hardware. read more...

Check out these items featured in this post and available now at Videoguys.com.
Avid Media Composer 6.5 Crossgrade for Final Cut Editors $979.00 Avid Media Composer 6.5 Upgrade from Avid Media Composer, Xpress DV, Xpress Pro $588.00 Avid Media Composer 6.5 Upgrade from MC6 $489.00
AvidMedia composer

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