A loose review of an event I attended this evening focusing on the launch of Avid Media Composer 4.0, Avid’s mainstream digital video editing tool. At two thousand plus dollars it’s not for everyone. But for anyone interested in a career in video and especially feature motion picture editing, it’s the gorilla in the living-room.
A lot of technical stuff was presented but I’ve chosen to talk about a few features that I thought were particularly interesting and useful, including an open plug-in format that allows Avid to ingest media directly from AVC, P2, SxS and other solid state camera media cards without converting it to the Avid MXF file format – saving time and space on your drive.
Media Composer now allows you to store files it’s using anywhere on your computer, but there are risks involved. The tracking feature allows you to stabilize the picture on the frame and it automatically resizes the image so it completely fills the width of the frame. The remarkable thing about this stabilization tracking feature is that instead of the standard practice of using one or several bright spots in the frame as reference points for holding the image in the same location, it uses the entire screen. This is better because, depending on the footage, reference point objects, usually very bright points of lights, like reflections off shiny objects, can be blocked from view during capture. Not a problem now.
The last new feature I mention is the ability to place clips on the same timeline with different frame rates. Something Apple has been able to do for a number of years. Avid says it does the conversion in realtime, faster and with better results than Final Cut Pro. There’s certainly enough settings to adjust to make it so. Providing you have the time and money to figure it out.