Avid’s leadership was drastically changed only a couple months ago. Jeff Rosica was quick to replace Louis Hernandez Jr as Chief Executive Officer. According to blogger Brady Betzel (who I am graciously using as a source here) many feared of liquidation for Avid. But I guess things are better than okay. Betzel went ahead and tried out their new updates to Media Composer and Symphony. And I’m glad he did.
If there is anything I admire about Avid as a company, it's how they've listened to us users. So many have wondered if Media Composer would ever be as good as Avid DS, including me. From what I’ve seen and read… it’s shaping up to be just that.
Looking at Media Composer 2019 had my mouth watering. It’s new interface is what they desperately needed. NAB 2019 certainly didn’t disappoint me there. 32-bit float color pipeline WITH ACES color management? Sign me up. But that’s still a ways away. What we’ve got now is Media Composer 2018 v12 which… is pretty good. It’s what I often need as an assistant. Even colorists will find v12 a can of fresh air with its shape-based color correction tools and multicam features.
Titling has always been… a difficult thing to do with Avid. I’m looking at you Avid Title Tool. I mean it worked… but that’s about it. It’s like putting duct tape on a shoulder rig (yes I’ve done that). Sure it works, but I can’t do much with it. Fonts would work right when bouncing back and forth between my PC and the Mac used at the warehouse I used to work for.
In Avid media Composer 2018, Avid Titler works like it should… an effect instead of a silly rendered bit of media.
“This method is similar to how NewBlue or Marquee functioned. However, Avid Titler works by typing directly on the record monitor; adding a title is as easy as marking an in and out point and clicking on the T+ button on the timeline”
- Brady Betzel
Kerning, shadow, outlines, underlines, things like that can all be specified! Though Face is a bit odd. Rotating the text seems to do it for individual letters and not the word itself. Betzel reached out to Avid and they are apparently looking into making the whole word deal into the default in the mini toolbar. He told us to stay tuned and I’m looking forward to it because this is quite annoying. Luckily I don’t use it much.
Go to Next / Previous Event has also made it easy to fast forward or rewind. Finally I can jump around. But hitting “Y” doesn’t work anymore when getting back into Edit Mode. So some work needs to be done to fix those problems I mentioned. But as annoying as they are, I admit that Avid is great at fixing them. So I look forward to future patches.
Oh my. Let me play with this. Get the Symphony option. Media Composer with Symphony allows far more options like secondary color corrections (which are important). But the shape based color correction tools are fascinating. Since being swept away by Resolve and Baselight, Symphony has now made significant strides to compete.
Symphony Option lets me DRAW SHAPES! I can affect specific regions finally! Looking at how this works, it’s like Photoshop. Things are layered. You can draw, brighten things, saturate or desaturate in those specific areas set. The tools are available on the right hand side, including softening, alpha view, and a lot more!
Look for the CC Effect. Layering shapes on top of each other becomes easy. It’s not like you’re stuck with one only. So focusing on a specific area is now simple and easily enhanced so the changes made don’t affect your entire image. However if you are working fast and just need the basics, unchecking SERIAL MODE will let you work on the base alone. That can come in handy later in post production when matching shot to shot. But the downside here is that tracking can only be done in Effect Editor. So you’re constantly jumping back and forth. So make sure to use those tripods, children! Being able to track in both would greatly be appreciated here.
In the Infinity Tool look for alpha view. You can make mattes in the paint tool in the color correction tool. So easy. The Symphony Option with Media Composer is you need to do more than the basics is exactly what you need.
The last thing on the update is the multicam editing improvement on editing groups. Brady Betzel and I are in the same boat. A lot of time spent would’ve been saved if this was available before. Editing in groups is now possible just by a simple right click. THE OPTION IS RIGHT THERE! A Record Monitor will then open as a sequence. Moving, nudging, and adding cameras to previously created groups becomes so easy a caveman could do it. You can then just update the group and refresh any sequences that used said group to update it. But avoid mixing frame rates. It would be bad. An issue Avid needs to fix.
Just do the monthly subscription is you will automatically get updates. It’s tempting to buy it outright, but you’ll miss out on many plugins and patches. But this all depends on what you want. Getting everything is $49.00 a month. Just Media Composer with one add on is $19.00 per month plus $199.00 for a full year.
In the end
This update is extremely reliable supporting multiple editors in a shared network environment. Avid has kept Media Composer and Symphony easy and simple. No fancy add ons like with Premiere Pro and Final Cut X. The shakeup at Avid hasn’t seemed to slow them down whatsoever, and I’m eagerly awaiting for Media Composer 2019 to hit the market.