Understanding Avid Media Composer 8

Understanding Avid Media Composer 8

Avid Media Composer 8.1 was recently released, which has brought with it a bevy of new improvements, which you can find out all about in this post. But if you are on an older version of Avid and still haven’t moved to one of Avid’s new licensing options to get the upgrade, is now the time to do so? These questions will be answered too.

But before we get to all that you should definitely check out the latest Avid Rough Cut with Alan Bell A.C.E. on editing the VFX heavy The Hunger Games: Catching Fire in Avid. (Though you will have to hand over your contact details for the privilege.)

Avid Webinar with Alan Bell ACE

Should I Buy Avid Media Composer 8 Subscription?

When Avid announced Media Composer version 8, it was also the start of a new era in how you can actually buy the software. Like Adobe before them, Avid have moved to a subscription model which starts at $49.99/month for an annual contract or $74.99 for a monthly rolling contract. Whether you should sign up to Avid’s new subscription model depends on a few factors.

If you already own Media Composer 6.5 or 7 and you want to keep getting the updates that will arrive in 2015, then you will want to wait to pay for the $299/year support contract till sometime in late December, that way your 1 year support contract clock will start at the last possible moment, but you do need to do it before the end of 2014!

If you don’t already own any version of Media Composer the annual subscription is the cheapest way to purchase the software at $599/year. If you buy Media Composer as a perpetual license it will be $1299 + $299 for every year you want to keep it up to date.

So after 3 years the price difference is only $98 with $1799 (3x annual subscription) Vs $1897 (perpetual+ 2 years of support). Oliver Peters’ has an excellent breakdown of the different options and scenarios which is well worth a read.

Let’s say you bought Media Composer with the Symphony option – $1299 + $749. Hypothetically, by the end of the first year, Media Composer | Software has moved up to v8.5 and then you decide not to renew. From that point on, your version is “frozen” and cannot be upgraded. A year later, Media Composer | Software v10 comes out with enough compelling features to get you back on board. You cannot renew your v8.5 software license to upgrade, but instead have to purchase the current version Media Composer and Symphony again. Now you have two licenses: MC v8.5 and MC v10. Both work, but the older one is not upgradeable while the newer one is, as long as you renew its support contract after the end of the first year from the time of purchase.

If you want to rummage through Avid’s FAQ on Media Composer 8 and the new licensing options jump here. You can even download a pdf of the different licensing options and their price comparisons. Below is a playlist of 20 How-To tutorials on all things related to the new options.

New Features in Avid Media Composer 8.1

In this 20 minute presentation Pat from VET runs through the new features in Avid Media Composer 8.1. All of which seem like very useful improvements that are aimed at speeding up your day-to-day editing, but are not standout new features that push the envelope of what’s possible. (Although this is only a .1 update) But it is a little worrying that this seems to be all Avid can muster of late (being able to disable a clip is a new feature?), but hopefully much more is in the pipeline!

In this very handy Avid blog from editor Wim Van den Broeck you can skim through a list of the new features added in Media Composer 8.1 and enjoy some nice little embedded Instagram videos too. Below are some more detailed tutorials from Pat of VET on muting clips and tracks, customising your workspaces and other user settings details.

What is Avid Everywhere?

In this informative blog post Oliver Peters explains what the differences are between Avid Everywhere, Adobe Anywhere and Media Composer | Cloud.

The simple things first – Adobe Anywhere and Media Composer | Cloud both allow for remote-access editing, with all of the storage and data crunching happening on a central (remote) server. The main difference is that Media Composer | Cloud will allow for a mix of remote and local assets where as Adobe Anywhere requires all remote assets. Oliver explains this near the bottom of his post. What is Avid Everywhere? Avid Everywhere is a completely different kettle of fish all together. It is essentially Avid’s vision of how to organise and present all of their various hardware, software and support services in an integrated and coherent way. Unless you are in the business of worrying about global post-production infrastructure, I’m not sure how much time you need to give to getting your head around it, but Oliver does a great job of explaining it, so just go read that.

Workflow Tutorials for Avid Editors

One of the bigger problems with the release of the new MC8 is the loss of both PhraseFind and ScriptSync, which were highly prized by both drama and documentary editors as a speedy way of navigating their footage based on a script or transcript. In this tutorial above documentary editor Steve Audette shares a very nifty work-around.

In a couple more short tutorials Pat from VET demonstrates how to perform background transcoding, and make the most of dynamic media folders in Avid Media Composer 7.

Avid Assistant Editor Liam Hill has a fantastic blog with tons of great tips for anyone looking to become a really useful, and employable assistant editor. I’ve previously linked to a bunch of them in this post and here are some more gems!

AS-11 File Delivery | Basic Audio Mixing | Adding a Vignette | Background Transcoding in Media Composer 7 | Multi-camera Editing | Passing QC – Aspect Ratio Tip | Bigger Text in Source/Record Window |

If you want to get a very thorough education in how to set up a multi-grouping (multicam) editing workflow in Media Composer then editor Will Blank’s blog will more than suffice.

Grading and Effects in Avid Media Composer

In this short video author Steve Hullfish talks through the basics of colour correction inside of Avid. In the following quick tip Jeff Krebs demonstrates how to use the Pan and Scan effect to instantly ‘notch’ a project delivered in a single piece of media, ready for grading shot-by-shot inside Media Composer or Symphony. (A bit like scene detection in DaVinci Resolve.) Followed by a couple more quick tips from Jeff.

Editor Shane Ross shows you how to create simple yet effective, custom transitions using the Avid Paint Effect in the tutorial below, followed by a custom effects tutorial from Genius DV.

Twitter Tips From Avid Editors


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