Videoguys Guide to Migrating From Avid Liquid to Avid Media Composer

If you are a long time Liquid user, you need to know that after several years of speculation and frustration, Avid has finally come out with the official news:

Liquid is dead. There will be no new updates or versions, nor will their be a next generation product that will give the Liquid user base a natural migration path. While Pinnacle Studio will continue to grow and get better, it will not become the mythical Liquid on steroids many were led to believe. The simple reality is that the product Liquid users should upgrade to is Avid Media Composer. See this post on the Avid forums by Kirk Arnold, Avid Executive V.P. and Chief Operating Officer, "Liquid Update - A Response from Kirk at Avid"

Avid has put together an incredible upgrade offer for their loyal Liquid users. You can upgrade to Media Composer 4, with all 3rd party plug-ins, for just $495! That is one sweet deal. The only downside to it is that Videoguys can't sell it to you, you have to purchase it directly from Avid...

Avid Media Composer 4 Tech Notes:

Like I said, this is an incredible offer and one that every Liquid owner would be crazy to let pass. One of the biggest concerns Liquid users have about upgrading to Media Composer is will their existing computer be able to handle it. That my friends is the $64,000 question and of course, your mileage may vary. We do not recommend running Media Composer on anything less then a dual core machine. For best results step up into an Intel Corei7 machine like the Videoguys DIY 7 series. While not officially certified by Avid, I can tell you that we've got users all over the world running Media Composer on this build, including some of the moderators on the Avid forums. If you follow our guide you will end up with a rock solid MC4 workstation.

Videoguys' DIY7.7 Shopping List! Intel i7 8-Core NLE Workstation

Now with Updated Windows 7 Shopping List
April 2010

We do not sell these computers or the components other than the video editing software, hardware and video storage solutions.

We built this system as a guide for you to use in building your own video editing computer. The closer you stick to our 'recipe' the better your results will be. If you have any questions about building a machine like this for yourself, feel free to give us a call at 800-323-2325

Motherboard Asus P6T Deluxe V2 $289.00
Processor Intel Core i7 930 2.8GHz $295.00
RAM Corsair Core i7 XMS3 12GB PC12800 DDR3 Desktop Memory Upgrade - 6x2048MB $285.00
Boot Drive Hitachi Deskstar 1TB Hard Drive (0A38016) - 7200rpm, 16MB Cache, SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive $85.00
Video Storage RAID 0 Qty 2 Hitachi Deskstar 1TB Hard Drive (0A38016) or
G-Tech G-SPEED eS 4TB with PCIe Card Click Here
- $1,139.00
Case Antec Nine Hundred Two Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case $119.00
Power Supply CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W $99.00
DVD Burner Pioneer BDR-205 Blu-ray Disc Burner Click Here $229.00
OS Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit OEM $139.00

NVIDIA FX 1800 by PNY Click Here


Click here to read the Videoguys full DIY7.7 Article

April 2010 Update

64-bit OS is the way to go
Videoguys does not recommend going with XP or 32 bit versions of Vista. It's a 64 bit world now and you don't want to take a step backward. 32 bit operating systems are limited on how much RAM they can utilize, and we want you to get 6GB or more. While Media Composer is not a 64-bit program, their are parts of it that are optimized for 64-bits and you will get better results.

The current version of Media Composer does not yet support Windows 7. So we recommend you go with Vista64 bit for now. Even though we are running MC4 under Win 7 64-bit ourselves, and we have reports from many users that they are running MC4 on our DIY7.7 build with Windows 7 as well, until it is officially supported by Avid, we can't give it our 100% recommendation.

Get a Quadro FX card
As a Liquid user you were one of the first to edit using GPU power for additional performance. So you know the benefits of tapping into both CPU and GPU for the best possible workflow. The Liquid GPU engine was optimized for ATI technology when it was developed, the Media Composer engine wants an NVIDIA Quadro FX card.

Most of you are wondering what will happen if you don't upgrade your graphics card. So here is the honest truth - it depends on your computer, the types of productions you create and what features in Media Composer you use. We've been an Avid dealer since they first launched Xpress DV. By far the number one tech support issue is the graphics card. With each new generation of product, from Xpress Pro to the current version of Media Composer, GPU sensitivity has remained. Not everyone who runs a non-Quadro FX card will have problems, but for over 75% of the folks who run into stability issues with Media Composer, upgrading your graphics card fixes it. In fact, the reason Videoguys began carrying Quadro FX cards was to be able to offer them to our Avid customers as a tech support fix.

With the current version of Media Composer the card we recommend you go with is the Quadro FX 1800. While Avid lists the FX580 as the minimum, we feel you're going to do better by stepping up to the FX1800. While it may seem frustrating to have to put a $500 graphics card in your computer to run Media Composer, the stability and performance you will get makes it a no brainier investment. For those editors who get into compositing and multi-layered videos you will find the added performance of the FX 3800 card a benefit. As a side note the new Adobe Mercury playback engine requires the FX3800 card or faster.

Videoguys Media Composer Starter Kits
As we said earlier - We Urge ALL Liquid owners to take advantage of Avid's $495 upgrade offer to Media Composer. It is a great deal. We just wanted to give our customers a way to make sure that you'll be able to get the very most out of your new investment, so we've put together these kits to help you get started and enjoy your new software.

Each Videoguys' Avid Media Composer 4 Starter Kit includes:

  • NVIDIA Quadro FX 1800 or 3800 Graphics card.
  • Bella EZ Keyboard with Avid Media Composer color coded-keys and built in jog shuttle controller.
  • Class On Demand Training DVD: Complete Training for Media Composer.
  • Pioneer Blu-ray bundle with Verbatim media.
  • Red Giant Magic Bullet Quick Looks for creating Hollywood style film like color grading with ease.

You'll get over $200 in savings by taking advantage of one of these bundles.

Whether you are building a new computer or upgrading your existing workstation, Videoguys Starter Kits for your Media Composer 4 Upgrade are going to be a great place to start!

Media Composer 4 workflows Liquid editors are going to love!

Blu-ray baby!
I know how hard it has been for Liquid guys to sit on the sideline and watch other NLE's add support for Blu-ray while you were stuck on DVD. While the integrated DVD authoring inside Liquid was one of the features we loved most about Liquid, it simply did not cut it in an HD world. Avid Media Composer Production Suite includes Avid DVD for both DVD and Blu-ray authoring. Avid DVD is a customized version of Sonic DVDit Pro HD that works great and allows you to produce Blu-ray (or DVD) titles with HD Menus and advanced navigation. Note: Avid DVD is Windows only.

Tapeless Workflows
One of the areas that sets Avid Media Composer apart from all other NLEs is it's media management and support for the tapeless workflows. Avid AMA (which stands for Avid Media Access Architecture) allows you to open and edit directly from supported tapeless media such as Sony XD CAM or Panasonic P2. No need for transcoding, or re-wrapping the files. Just open them up and edit. SWEET! Over time Avid has been adding AMA support for more formats and hopefully in 2010 we'll see AMA support for AVCHD and RED footage.

Avid Mix & Match allows you to use media from different sources, in different formats, and even with different frame-rates - all on the same timeline, all in real-time. No transcoding, no frame-rate conversions, no time wasted waiting for them to render. You just put it on the timeline and edit. Combined with AMA that makes Media Composer the most powerful, flexible and efficient HD editing solution for tapeless and traditional workflows.

Is Media Composer hard to learn?
No it is not. One of the biggest problems most folks have migrating from Adobe Premiere, or Apple Final Cut Pro or Avid Liquid or any other NLE to Avid Media Composer is that they try to make Media Composer work the way they did before. That was my problem the first time I sat down with Avid Xpress DV so many years ago. I was getting frustrated because the Avid software was not doing what I wanted to do. One of our sales guys is an experienced Avid editor and he walked into the demo room while I was muttering under my breath. He asked me if he could help, so I said sure. He had but one simple piece of advice. "Avid is not Premiere, so stop trying to use it like Premiere. Clear your head and pretend you have never used any editing software. Allow yourself to become an Avid editor and edit the Avid way" That was the best piece of advice I have ever received about video editing, and it is now MY #1 piece of advice for all new Avid editors!

DO NOT FIGHT THE AVID WAY! Have an open mind and start from the very beginning accepting and learning the Avid workflow. Media Composer is designed for people who edit for a living, who face impossible deadlines and even more impossible directors or producers. That's why so much emphasis is put on the media management and the workflow. To watch an experienced Avid editor at the helm is a thing of beauty. Over time you will make Media Composer your own with keyboard shortcuts and your workspace will become customized for your most important tasks. One of the coolest things about being an Avid editor is that you can save these presets and take them with you to any other Media Composer editing suite.

The #2 piece of advice I give is this:
Don't be afraid of Avid, it is not that tough or complicated. Just because it is designed to handle the highest pressure editing environments doesn't mean it's not for you. It is for everybody who wants to edit video as efficiently as possible. If you follow rule #1 above, you will find that you will take to Avid very quickly and it is actually the most logical NLE of them all. Don't try to master all aspects at once. You will be amazed how with each new editing job/project you pick up another tool or shortcut or feature that you never realized Avid had, but it had it all along. Invest some time in a good Avid training DVD, book or online course and you will find it worth every penny.

Here are some great links to help you migrate over to Media Composer:

What other Special FX, filters and editing tools are included in Media Composer?
Media Composer is the video editing software used to create the world's most acclaimed feature films and primetime television programs, including King Kong, Crash, Walk the Line, "Gray's Anatomy," and "American Idol." Media Composer is more then just the world’s best video editor, it is an integrated post production solution! Here are some of our favorite integrated plug-ins and feature included with Media Composer:

  • Real-time SpectraMatte™ keying. Chromakeying (the weatherman effect) with Spectramatte is fantastic and makes compositing so much easier. You can also isolate and pull your subject from one video to then super-impose it on another.
  • FluidFilm™ and FluidMotion™ - Create incredibly smooth slow-motion effects at every speed with FluidMotion pixel morphing technology. You can control the speed and position along the duration of a clip using intuitive curve-based keyframing.
  • Automatic Color Correction with Color Match system allows you to automatically color correct your footage and match the colors and flesh tones from multiple clips together. This can save you so much time, especially if you shoot with multiple cameras.
  • 8-point Motion Tracker system makes applying a filter or effect over a specific area, object or subject in the video accurate and easy.
  • Patented SteadyGlide™ video stabilizer / shake remover. Easily remove image shakiness while preserving your camera motions pans and tilts.
  • Scratch Removal – lets you remove unwanted imperfections like dust, smudges and smears in your video footage.
  • Multicamera Editing with Media Composer is a breeze. Multicam is available at any Avid resolution from DV to uncompressed HD.
  • ScriptSync™ for incredibly fast matching of source clips to a text script or transcript.
  • Blend Effects including Real-time 3D warp with 23 customizable parameters and Blur effect for deep defocus of images and keys with alphas.

What additional 3rd party software is included with Media Composer?
When you order Media Composer (full version $2495, Liquid Upgrade $1,495 or Upgrade $495) you also get these fantastic 3rd party software titles to make your post production workflow even stronger!

  • Avid DVD by Sonic V6 with Blu-ray Disc authoring software. Create standard definition and Blu-ray DVDs with motion menus and interactive navigation.
  • Boris Continuum Complete 6 AVX – A powerful add-on package with more than 160 filters, including: Lens Flare, Glint, Match Grain, DeInterlace, Optical Flow, Motion Blur, Wire Remover, and Witness Protection effects. Use the Extruded Text, Extruded Spline, Layer Deformer, Cartoon Look, Lightning, and other new filters to create compelling visuals.
  • Avid FX v 5.8 - Based on Boris Red this completes the full suite of Boris FX plug-in filters and effects for Avid. This latest version sports a new interface and offers new 16-bit color, clone paint tool, image brushes, motion path and key tools, vector trace, optical stabilization, subtitle generator, and more. Get started fast with 1,500 customizable templates.
  • SmartSound Sonic Fire Pro 5 with Mood Mapping - Create rich, multi-layered royalty free soundtracks for your productions. Optimize and deliver content in a create-once-publish-anywhere world. With Sorenson Squeeze 5, you can optimize content in a variety of formats (including HD, DVD, MPEG-2, MPEG-4/H.264, Flash, and 3GPP) for web or DVD delivery.
  • Sorenson Squeeze V5 - Optimize and deliver content in a create-once-publish-anywhere world. With Sorenson Squeeze 5, you can optimize content in a variety of formats (including HD, DVD, MPEG-2, MPEG-4/H.264, Flash, and 3GPP) for web or DVD delivery.

Once again, we need to point out that you can NOT purchase this Media Composer upgrade offer from Videoguys. It is only available directly from Avid. All registered Liquid users were sent an email last week explaining the details of the program. If you are a registered Liquid owner and you have not yet received your email, check to see if your SPAM filter caught it or if it has been sent to you junk folder.

This is a fantastic offer and all Liquid owners should give it serious consideration. For $495 you'll get the full Media Composer with all 3rd party software. You may need to beef up your computer hardware, but Videoguys is here to help you with that. We do not sell turnkey NLE workstations, but our DIY guides and system recommendations are here for you to research. We hope you have found this guide useful and we look forward to helping you migrate to Media Composer.

For additional info have a look at the Avid Liquid to Avid Media Composer Upgrade FAQ [351759] in the Avid Knowledge Base.

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