Product Review: Page (1) of 2 - 07/14/08 Email this story to a friend. email article Print this page (Article printing at MyDmn.com).print page facebook

Avid Media Composer 3.0

Now available for both the Mac on the Leopard OS, and on the PC running Windows Vista By Kevin McAuliffe

Nothing gets me more excited than sitting down in front of a new editing application, or one that has recently been updated. As I have said in previous articles, no one makes a better editing application than Avid, and it is back with its new line of post production products, and leading the way is Media Composer version 3.0. Why should everyone care about this? Keep reading, and you'll find out!

Installation
For editors who are purchasing Media Composer for the first time, installation is a breeze. Simply install from your installation disc, make sure your USB dongle is attached, and you are all set to go! For current users with a valid log-in to Avid's download center, you can download version 3.0 of Media Composer, as well as the dongle updater. Once downloaded, you will need to install the Media Composer application first, then run Dongle Updater to update you dongle to version 3. Once that is done, you are all set to go.

One thing that I do want to point out that is extremely important is that editors on a Mac, who have a previous version of Media Composer (pre version 3.0) should NOT attempt to install on a system running Leopard OS. You will do major damage to your system, and will have to wipe the system clean and re-install from scratch.


Take my word for it! Also, Avid has very stringent system requirements for Media Composer. Currently, Leopard version 10.5.3 and QuickTime 7.4.5. That doesn't mean it won't work with the current 10.5.4 and QuickTime 7.5, it just means that if you need to call for technical support, Avid won't be able to help you until you downgrade. I'm writing this review using Leopard 10.5.4 and QuickTime 7.5 with no problems that I have come across.


Media Composer, say hello to Leopard and Vista
With the move ahead in operating systems for both the PC and the Mac, Avid has moved its systems forward as well, and the first major feature for the new Media Composer 3.0 is that it is available for both the Mac on the Leopard OS, and on the PC running Windows Vista.


Mix and Match video formats
You can now mix and match different video formats in the same timeline as long as the clips have the same FPS rates. This feature complements the capability to mix and match any Avid codec in a sequence, so now you can mix not only DV with 1080i, but you can also mix and match 2:1 (from a Meridian system) with DNX 145 of the current Avid editing systems. Nice!

Timecode burn-in
Another big feature update is the capability to add a real-time timecode burn effect onto your footage with the capability to not only add the timecode, but you can add up to three more lines of timecode information, a Notes track (to add information like legal), and the capability to adjust the size and position of the burn.


Create, import, export captions and subtitles  
Now here's a feature that will blow people right out of the water, and that is the capability to add and import subtitles and captions to your projects. Don't confuse this with Closed Captioning, where the captions are embedded into line 21 of your video track, and can be turned on and off on a television set. These subtitles/captions could potentially be used to get captioning language approvals from clients, or to prepare subtitles for a DVD that you are creating for your project. You can also import and export .STL caption/subtitle files directly into your timeline. To be perfectly honest, this is a feature that caught me completely by surprise, as I do a lot of subtitling work for DVD, and this is an excellent way for my clients to look at a fully "captioned" show before I output the show, and make a DVD out of it with the exported .STL file.


GPU acceleration of visual effects
With computers and their graphics cards getting faster and more powerful, Avid has given MC CPU/GPU Acceleration of Visual Effects. What does that mean? Well, the Media Composer will now decide which combination of GPU/CPU processing will give you the fastest renders and the best performance for real time playback.

More project and camera format support
With the amount of HD formats growing (by the day, it would seem), Avid is making sure that the absolute widest array of video formats and cameras are supported for the Media Composer. Editors now have the ability to capture and edit in 720p/23.976, 720p/25 and 720p50, as well as the exporting of 720p/25. Avid also now supports the JVC GY-HD250U (in 720P 23.976/25/30/50/60).


Preserve your HD closed captions
This is a feature that allows editors working on tapes that have closed captions the capability to capture the closed captioned (and ancillary data) media, edit with it, and output it back to tape via the HD-SDI output of your Adrenaline system. Note that this feature is not supported with Mojo DX or Nitris DX. 

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