REVIEW - Avid’s Media Composer 5

PVC by Kevin P McAuliffe

The editing world has become a strange place. For professional editing applications, we have Apple and Adobe with their flagship bundles Final Cut Studio 3 and Creative Suite 5 respectively (and yes, there is Vegas, but I do not consider it to be a professional editing application as none of the major broadcasters are editing with it), and then there is Avid, with their flagship editing application, Media Composer. Avid, and Media Composer, have been around a long time. I’ve been using it since version 5.5, and with it, there is no bundle of tools for you to work with. Just an editing application, and that is it. You don’t see many schools teaching it, as everyone thinks that Final Cut Pro is the way of the future. Is it true? Well, for this review, I’ve tried to do something different. I’m not going to go over all the new features, and tell you how they work. Scott Simmons has already done that, and you can check it out here. For this review, I’ve decided to go editorial style, and give you nothing by my honest opinion about Avid and what they’ve done with Media Composer in this version, and I’m not holding anything back. Here we go!

I always get asked a very “basic” question. Are you a Final Cut Pro editor? My answer to people who ask me that question is “No, I’m an editor, and I edit with the tool that will get my job done the fastest for my client, and the smoothest for myself”. Is that Final Cut Pro? Sometimes. But, with the new release of Media Composer 5, I’ve had a chance to sit back and think about Avid, and what has been going on for the last few years, and my opinion of Avid has changed quite a bit. Here’s what I mean.

As the big player on the block, Avid has always set the bar. Argue all you want, but when a new release of Final Cut Pro, or Premiere Pro comes out, in many cases (not all cases), there are tons of new features, and everyone goes crazy and talks about how great FCP or PP because of all these new features and in many cases, they have been standard (or have had a similar features) in Media Composer for a while. For Avid editors, it really hasn’t been that big a deal when Avid releases a new version of MC, and there are only a few “main” updates, as those “main” updates are normally huge, like Script Sync, (If you haven’t seen it, I’m going to take a look at it in an upcoming video/article), or a little thing like a Stereoscopic 3D workflow. There has been one problem though, and it’s been one that has been costing Avid big, and that is that they, in my opinion, have been telling the user base what is good for them, and not listening to what the users have wanted and needed, and that has caused a lot of editors to jump ship to Final Cut Pro (and yes, Premiere Pro as well), and Avid has needed to do something drastic to try to get editors back, and they have done it with version five of Media Composer. read more...

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