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Avid Media Composer 5 looking like a game changer

COW Blogs : walter biscardi's Blog : Avid Media Composer 5 looking like a game changer
So I haven't even seen it yet, but just reading the overview of Avid's new Media Composer 5 announced at NAB, this thing sounds like it could be a real game changer in the communication between it and Final Cut Pro. Especially when it comes to color grading projects. See right now when we get projects from Avid that need to be color graded in Apple's Color, we take the DnxHD files and use Media Manager in FCP to convert the files to Apple ProRes for Color. After the grade is done, we reverse the process to send an Avid DnxHD project back to the Avid house.

Now with native Quicktime support in Avid, we could send an Apple ProRes timeline back to Avid and they will be able to open and finish the project right from that codec.

Also, this means we could capture ProRes footage in Final Cut Pro and share the media with an Avid editor with no need to transcode the material. And vice versa, the Avid editor could capture the material in ProRes if they know the project is going to be shared with an FCP editor. So we're finally getting to the point of what I'll call "Universal Codecs" so the platform you capture with doesn't matter, we can start sharing the exact same media across multiple editing tools.

This is just awesome and for the first time since I've owned my own facility, I am seriously considering adding an Avid workstation or two. Primarily for working with Avid facilities that send us color grading project, but now I can hire either an Avid or FCP freelancer and have the tools ready for whatever they want to cut with. We'll use ProRes across all the edit systems, but if you're comfortable in Avid, then edit in Avid, if you're comfortable in FCP, then edit in FCP. I see Shane Ross talking about the trimming features in Avid being so nice to work with, I'll definitely be diving into the Avid interface myself. Funny, I always thought it would be Apple taking the first step to work more closely with Avid since it's a win win for all the editors out there, but here's Avid taking that first step. That earns a lot of respect from this owner / editor and I'm really looking forward to getting and up close and personal look at Media Composer 5.

Posted by: walter biscardi on Apr 11, 2010 at 10:38:11 pmComments (3) avid, final cut pro


Re: Avid Media Composer 5 looking like a game changer
by Steve Trevisan
While the MC 5 has finally caught up with some long overdue "fixes" (such as not losing your transitions when moving items while in segment mode), it still falls short from being the OVERHAUL I've longed for. Two things that stand out are: 1. the postage stamp window I'm forced to search for my project at launch. Really, can't we open this up so as not to scroll single column through the list of dozens of projects? 2. Still no mixing keyframe interpolations. Not every keyframe needs or should have an ease in/out. I guess they couldn't figure out how to "fix" this one so Avid just got rid of it all together. Now all keyframed moves are fixed with ease in/out.
by walter biscardi
Yes, it is absolutely possible to bring a DNxHD project into FCP, we do this all the time with Automatic Duck. The issue is you cannot output this to anything in FCP. It plays back perfectly in the Canvas but will not output to monitor or tape. So we have to convert all the media to ProRes when a project comes into FCP.

In this instance, I'm talking about an Avid complimenting our FCP facility. We would capture the material in FCP and then the Avid could edit the material and then have FCP finish the project.

Avid could not answer whether or not we would ever be able to capture ProRes in that program or not. So I don't know if that means "no" or "we're not there yet."
by Dylan Reeve
Hey Walt,

Not sure Avid will be able to create ProRes media. As I've been interpreting it the ProRes support will be provided by AMA support for Quicktime files. As there is a ProRes codec available free from Apple then it will be able to link to and decode ProRes Quicktime media. However, and it's a big however, this is a one-way street. Firstly AMA (at least in MC 4.5) is read-only - just because you can read and edit it doesn't mean you can create it. And secondly Apple has ProRes locked down - unless Avid has actually licensed the format (unlikely) then the Quicktime interface will be the only access to the media, and it is decode only with the free download. Only way to have the ability to encode ProRes it to have Final Cut Studio installed.

However I do think Media Composer 5 is a massive step - and I also believe Automatic Duck is bolstering their products for FCP/Avid interchange, so this may still be possible.

At this stage Avid's DNxHD is much closer to a universal codec. It is a codified SMPTE standard (VC.3) and with the current Quicktime codecs available from Avid it is actually possible not only to import DNxHD media into FCP, but also to render it. In theory it's actually possible to have an entirely DNxHD project in FCP.

Professional Video Editor, Producer, Creative Director, Director since 1990.

Credits include multiple Emmys, Tellys, Aurora and CableAce Awards.

Creative Director for Georgia-Pacific and GP Studios, Atlanta. Former Owner / Operator of Biscardi Creative Media. The show you knew us best for was "Good Eats" on the Food Network. I developed the HD Post workflow and we also created all the animations for the series.

Favorite pastime is cooking with pizza on the grill one of my specialties. Each Christmas Eve we serve the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a traditional Italian seafood meal with approx. 30 items on the menu.

If I wasn't in video production I would either own a restaurant or a movie theater.



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