Well, this one has been a long time coming. I have actually been working on Avid Media Composer 7 since launch. It has become my main editing platform since then. Mainly because I have been happy with Avid Media Composer since the major changes in 5.0, but even more so, since most of the edit suites I work in are Avids anyways.
First, I would like to mention that many of my readers and colleagues have reported to me several issues with Avid Media Composer 7. Mostly, I have been able to trouble shoot, as they are related to workflows. However, there seems to be some crashing issues that have come up on MacPro towers 3.1; since many of these machines are quiet old, and are running either older OS or even older graphics cards. It has not been so easy to troubleshoot. Also, I am running Avid Media Composer 7 on the latest generation of Intel machines both PC and Mac. On my installs I was not able to recreate the crashes. This causes me to deduce that older machines are having issues running this latest version. However, it’s quiet difficult for Avid to trouble shoot these issues if they are not being reported. So I always ask “ did you report this to Avid’ and it seem most of them time I get a “No”. Please help the community by reporting in your issues, so Avid can come with a solution.
Avid Media Composer 7 Brings a slew of new features over the old version. Some of these include:
- Frame Flex Controls for Hi-Res 1080p workflows
- Background Transcoding and consolidating
- Edit, Sync and share media with Interplay Sphere
- Master the overall audio mix using RTAS plug-ins on an Master Audio Fader.
- Symphony for advanced color and effects is now available as an add on feature
- New lower pricing at $999
All this sounds fantastic especially since the lower price really makes it competitive with other NLE’s. But launching Avid Media Composer 7 and running it on my SSD PC , and MacBook Pro I was really amazed at the speed of the system. This SSD’s do contribute to this and the MacPro’s are aging. But it really makes older versions I have running seem slower in every aspect. (The oldest version that I currently edit on is 5.5 on a MacPro)
Background consolidation and transcoding has become a great way for me to work. It allows me to assemble a timeline for my producer to watch a rough cut of my edit. While in the background all the multi formats such as GoPro’s and long GOP formats are being transcoded to DNxHD. This allows me to save time when going to online edit or even going to Symphony for color correction. I always feel the more consolidated your timeline is, the less likely you are to run into issues in the online or color grade.
Avid has also provided a background que window, which maintains a list of all media selected for transcoding and consolidating. This feature alone is well worth the upgrade for any Avid user.
FrameFlex is a feature at first glance seems familiar. It allows you to re-frame footage from higher resolutions such as Arri, or RED 2k , 4k and so forth to 1080p broadcast. This reminded me quickly of re-framing in my FCP7 days. After working with FrameFlex you can really see how the workflow maintains image quality, and aspect ratio. The ability to go back and re-frame further along the timeline, or even keyframe your image is invaluable. A static shot can seem to have a pan, or an unstable rough shot at 4k can be re-framed to a more stable usable shot. I can quickly see how much more flexibility this tool allows me to change the over all theme of the moment.
Avid has also now given us the ability to import raw footage which normally has a flat color space, and change them to 1D/3D LUTs for the 709 color space. For broadcaster editors this is a very nice update. However, in my workflows my colorist is in Symphony and she prefers to deal with it on her end. Therefore, I have not expanded on using this feature often enough, other than the fact that it works well.
Avid has improved the audio editing features with Media Composer 7. Previously, I would have to mix down audio levels with often not favourable results. I may have to do this a couple of times in order to get the sound I was looking for. Avid has listened to our feedback and finally given us a Master Audio Fader. This is something that has been a long time coming. As a broadcast editor, I have to do this multiple times a day on a daily basis. The Master Audio Fader means you can insert a RTAS plugin to not only tweak various tones but also optimize overall program loudness. This means no more stressing about levels for encoding / broadcast. Thank you Avid for putting this tool I need so bad into Avid Media Composer 7 !
Avid has come a long way since the initial launch of the first Media Composer. Avid Media Composer 7 is much more powerful and flexible than it ever was. It also works great with my Avid Nitrus DX making it more powerful than any other set up I am currently running. Previously, Avid would take forever to listen to community if at all and make any changes to their software. I am happy to see Avid is listing and is more in touch with community now than ever. Media Composer 7 is frankly their best version yet, and its their most powerful version. I wont hesitate to recommend Avid Media Composer 7 to any editor. ( Please keep in mind system requirements) .