What are Avid doing with Media Composer 5?

Well, it turns out I was right yesterday – the Supermeet Agenda did reveal a little of Avid’s Media Composer 5 announcement: native QuickTime/H.264 workflows for Canon 5D and 7D cameras, but that was only a fraction of what was announced.

Native QuickTime media support

Anything QuickTime Player can play, Media Composer can use as a source. This includes ProRes, Cineform and the H.264 mov files that the Canon cameras produce with no transcoding, rewrapping, or logging and transferring required! That is great news for the post industry because it will simplify workflows between platforms. It will also seriously simplify moving between Final Cut Pro and Media Composer (along with Automatic Duck to convert the project).

Native RED .r3d support via AMA

The Avid Media Architecture, introduced a few years back for native access to source media, has been enhanced to give native support to RED .r3d media, without needing to process through Metafuze. Now, all media is scaled to HD size, but since few people are really working at higher than HD sizes, this won’t be a significant limitation in a Media Composer workflow. In one jump, Media Composer leaps from being the platform with the least-native RED support to one of the best.

Drag and Drop editing

So one of my (purely personal) primary objections to the Media Composer interface – the need to go into segment mode to simply drag a clip – has been eliminated. Now drag and drop audio and video files wherever you want to rearrange sequences. Ditto on grabbing the in or out point of a clip to trim it. What can I say: “At last?” But still good.

External monitoring with Matrox MXO2 Mini

No need to buy a (relatively) expensive Mojo if all you want to do is monitor! (Where was this 2 months ago when I spec’d some Media Composer systems for a client! They would have saved some $18K). Now, it’s a high quality monitor only solution (no capture with the MXO2) but it is the first time that Avid have overtly used third-party hardware for anything. (Avid OEM’s hardware from AJA for their DS systems but it’s not promoted widely)

Full 4:4:4: HD-RGB processing

Internal processing now has support for full colorpsace through color correction, keying and effects work. This will particularly appeal to those finishing in house with Media Composer. Add in a Nitris DX system and you can digitize, process, monitor and output in HD-RGB using the two HD SDI connectors needed to handle the high-bandwidth resolutions. (So, while you can work and process in Media Composer without loss due to colorspace decimation and output to file-based workflows, output to tape will, apparently, require a Nitrix DX-based system to access the dual HD-SDI connectors required for bandwidth this high.)

I’m liking this new management at Avid. Media Composer 4 was a great release and this followup – just a year later – has really set the bar higher for the industry as a whole. These are the type of features an editor will really appreciate.

That’s just Media Composer. I’ll be at the Avid Press event later today to learn more about Media Composer 5 and the new “cloud-based” editing I wrote about a couple of days ago.

Read more about the editorial features and more at http://www.avid.com/US/products/Media-Composer-Software/features

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