Avid Media Composer 6
As the pro media community has remarked online–and even Avid owned up to in its recent press conference in New York–with the release this month of Avid Media Composer 6 (MC6), the Tewksbury, Mass-based company has now embarked on a new phase of its existence: actually listening to its clients and implementing what they want as best as they are able.
That shouldn’t be so extraordinary, but it is, or has been, the case. From its early years until quite recently, Avid had a rep as a company that had all the answers a user might want in an NLE, down to what drives they might buy (of course only pricey storage arrays that they themselves sold fit the bill) and what I/O could breach its ‘black box’ architecture (at one point hackers garnered kudos for figuring out how to splice and solder the right I/O components to allow 3rd party gear to be attached to the NLE).
Okay. So it took more than 20 years since the first release of Media Composer and a few near-death experiences as the company teetered near the edge of bankruptcy. They made it.
The software is still the favorite of the vast majority of feature film editors, notwithstanding Final Cut Pro’s chewing into the lead over the past decade. Of course we all know how that ended.
But the important news for anyone who edits for a living is that the pieces have all come together, finally, and the result is real good. The app has moved to 64 bits (along with Symphony version 6, and NewsCutter version 10, which were also part of the recent announcement). That brings a lot more real-time responsiveness to scrolling, tweaking edits, and just life in general. The sleek, new UI looks much more up-to-date, while the updated color correction capability, Avid Artist Color, gets a sturdy if rather utilitarian hardware interface, courtesy of Avid’s purchase of sound mixer company Euphonix.
The new Avid Marketplace gives in-system access to stock footage from Thought Equity Motion. That’s a good idea that offers an easy-to-use solution for busy editors on deadline (you’ll also be able to purchase a number of video and audio plug-ins as well as other products). Other items of note include a new codec, DNxHD 4444 (i.e. a full 4:4:4 codec as per ProRes) and a solid 3D editing capability that really makes MC6 the only solution to consider.
Avid Symphony, for full on edit suite finishing, will now be available as a software only option. It too handles all third party capture cards.
Meanwhile, Avid’s new regime of community inclusiveness is bearing fruit. For example, now, upon the debut of MC6, important industry players are offering new MC-specific gear.
Longtime NLE effects developer Boris offers a 64-bit version of its popular Continuum Complete 8 AVX with some 200 VFX and compositing filters for MC, NewsCutter, and Symphony. Moving beyond 32-bit computation pays off for graphics-intensive production, as more RAM is addressable.
If you’re a user of Blackmagic Design gear including DeckLink, Multibridge, Intensity and UltraStudio, the Australian company’s new Desktop Video 9.0 software update enables MC6 users to take advantage of high-speed connectors on the Blackmagic devices such as Thunderbolt, USB 3.0 and PCI Express video capture and playback devices. The throughput speed reached with such setups enables work with uncompressed 10-bit YUV and RGB, Avid DNxHD, Panasonic DVCPRO HD, and Sony XDCAM.
Avid’s Open I/O SDK also enables MOTU to offer its HD/SD video capture and monitoring gear to Avid users of Media Composer 6, Symphony 6, and NewsCutter 10. Like Blackmagic Design, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company’s products—such as the HDX-SDI and HD Express–are noted for their combination of rugged builds and cost effectiveness.
Finally, ARRI added capabilities to its popular Alexa camera line by enabling in-camera support for Avid’s open standard DNxHD codec.