Avid Media Composer 5 has been shipping for several months now, and the feedback we are getting from editors all over the world is that AVID is BACK! We're hearing this from professional editors, independent filmmakers, post houses, local cable and news, event videographers and prosumers - they're all singing the praises of Avid Media Composer 5.
When Avid first announced Media Composer 5 at NAB their was a feeling of great optimism. Avid had spent the past year going around and actually talking to users and editors about what they liked best about Media Composer and what features they needed to add. While they couldn't do everything, Avid has leapfrogged the competition to reclaim it's place as the top NLE application with Media Composer 5.
We know that many Avid editors have switched over to Apple Final Cut Pro or other NLEs over the past few years as Avid struggled to find it's way. Avid is back, and even more important Avid WANTS YOU BACK! If you still have your old Avid Xpress DV, Xpress Pro or Media Composer dongle you can upgrade to the full Avid Media Composer 5 with Avid Production Suite for just $495 (price will go up to $695 on October 1st).
Here are the top 3 reasons to come back to
Avid Media Composer 5:
1) Avid AMA.
Avid AMA allows you to edit your tapeless workflows directly, without having to go through any kind of conversion process. This can save you so much time in the editing process. Even more important Avid AMA supports all the latest HD tapeless workflows including Panasonic P2, Sony XDCAM, RED and H.264 footage from DSLRs. While we don't have AMA support for AVCHD yet, I have no doubt it's coming.
Avid also added AMA support for Quicktime files including ProRes! This means you can not only import footage and files from your FCP projects, but that you can edit them instantly! No time wasted converting or importing them into other formats.
Even better, you can Mix & Match HD footage from multiple sources and formats on the timeline with ease. So you want to mix in some great shots taken with a Canon 5D Mark II with your P2 footage and some older HDV footage you shot a few years ago - no problem. Throw them up on the timeline and edit away. This is HUGE!
2) Matrox MXO2 Mini hardware support.
For years Avid editors have been begging Avid to open up Media Composer to 3rd party hardware solutions. Now, with Media Composer 5, Avid allows you to use the Matrox MXO2 Mini for full HD previews from the timeline. For under $500, you can add the MXO2 Mini to your Laptop or Desktop, PC or Mac, and get the HD output you've been craving. The Matrox MXO2 Mini even includes a color calibration tool that allows you to use any HDMI HDTV as a broadcast-quality monitor, accurate enough for color grading.
Click here to check out this video with more about the MXO2 Mini with Media Composer
While the MXO2 Mini can only be used as an output / previewing device from within the Avid timeline, Matrox has just announced a new capture utility that will allow you to use the MXO2 Mini as a stand alone capture device! This new utility is scheduled for release in October.
The Matrox MXO2 Mini is also available with Matrox Max technology for faster than realtime H.264 encoding. The MXO2 Mini with Max will work with Avid Media Composer 5 and give you the same HDMI monitoring capabilities but the MAX technology acceleration is not supported in Avid (yet). Of course, you can take advantage of the Matrox MAX technology with other encoding applications such as Compressor or Telestream Episode. Hopefully in the near future Avid & Matrox will figure out a way to enable MAX encoding directly from the MC5 timeline.
When will Avid allow even more 3rd party hardware to work with MC5? It's just a matter of time. A new SDK is in the works that will give hardware vendors the tools they need to make all of their I/O devices support Media Composer. For now the Matrox MXO2 Mini is the only game in town, and for under $500 it's a great value and solution!
3) The Smart Tool.
One of the things Avid heard as they traveled around talking to editors was that they wanted a simpler and easier way to access some of the features and tools they use most. Actually what they wanted was a more "Final Cut" feel to Avid. In Media Composer 5 Avid addressed this by adding a very cool new feature called the Smart Tool. You can use the Smart Tool to control Segment modes, trim modes and audio keyframes. With the Smart Tool your editing becomes more automated as the Smart Tool is context sensitive and puts you into the tool you want based on what your mouse is hovering over. As an example hover your mouse just before, just after, or directly over a cut between two scenes you automatically go into different trim modes. Sweet!
The Smart Tool is not without some controversy. While it is very appealing to new editors or those editors familiar with FCP or other NLEs, some seasoned Avid editors do not like it. I think this has more to do with subtle and not so subtle changes Avid has made to how some tools are controlled, then with the Smart Tool itself. Perhaps Avid will allow users to toggle between the "traditional" Avid controls they've grown so accustomed to or the Smart Tool in the future.
Steve Cohen has put together a great video that walks you through the new Smart Tools and other new keyboard shortcuts in MC5
So their you have it, the top 3 things we love about the new Avid Media Composer 5. As I mentioned at the top of the article, Avid WANTS YOU BACK! That is why they kept the upgrade price under $500 when they launched MC5. Unfortunately this was a limited time offer and Avid has in fact raised the price on the upgrade to $695, with another price increase scheduled for October. Videoguys still has plenty of stock available and we will continue to offer the upgrade for just $495 until it runs out.
This upgrade not only brings you up to Media Composer 5, the worlds most powerful and efficient NLE, it also includes all the 3rd party software called the Production bundle. You get Sorenson Squeeze, Boris Continuum Complete, Avid FX (a customized version of Boris Red), Smartsound Sonic Fire Pro soundtrack creation tool and Avid DVD for standard definition DVD and HD Blu-ray authoring (note: Avid DVD is PC only). That's well over $2000 worth of plug-ins alone.
Of course, there are many things we've always loved about Avid that haven't changed. It runs great on PC or Macs, desktops or laptops. It's media management tools have always been the best in the industry. Now with AMA it plays well with other NLEs, especially FCP. So Mac based editors can use it along with Final Cut Studio to take advantage of both solutions as part of your toolbox and workflow.
While Avid puts out a pretty stringent list of certified hardware, we have had tremendous success running Avid on our DIY machines and MC5 is no different. If you have any questions about your current computer hardware or you are looking to put together or purchase a new computer to run MC5 on, do not hesitate to call 800 323-2325 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you configure a solution that fits your needs and budget. We've also got some amazing bundle deals with MC5, MXO2 Mini, Blu-ray burners and G-Tech storage.
AVID WANTS YOU BACK! Turn that old Avid dongle you have sitting in drawer in the edit suite into gold! Use it to upgrade to Avid Media Composer 5 for under $500!! Need more reasons to come back to Avid? Check out all these great reviews and articles on MC5 on our blog