Considering Avid Media Composer In The Wake Of The FCPX Release?
[July 3, 2011 - Posted by Benjamin Hershleder] – Over the past few days, in the wake of Apple's release of FCPX, I've seen a couple of posts where folks are deciding not to consider using Avid Media Composer simply based on how the company operated (or is perceived to have operated) in the past, rather than if they provide editing tools that fulfill their professional needs. It pains me, as someone who is not only entrenched in the Avid world but also aware of the system's many strengths and capabilities, to hear that folks continue to carry negative feelings toward Avid Technology. I hope Avid can eventually change people's perceptions of them from the past, and I know they're working very hard at doing just that.
What I can tell you is that the new leadership (in place for the past few years) really is working to listen to the users and be a partner with post production professionals. This Variety story, covering the award given to Avid by the American Cinema Editors (ACE) is one indication of that:
"Harry B. Miller III, an ACE board member and head of the org's technology committee, said Avid "has always had the superior product" among editing software packages, but recently the company has also gone out of its way to solicit feedback from editors and shape the product to their needs.
Apple, by contrast, has been slow to improve Final Cut Pro. Miller said, 'Apple and Final Cut Pro doesn't listen, doesn't respond, doesn't solicit our opinion.'"
And just a small bit of my own anecdotal evidence is that in the recent past top executives have also attended several gatherings here in the Los Angeles area at Alpha Dogs, and top executives will be coming to L.A. again on July 13th – details of where are yet to be announced, but the visit is mentioned in this blog post by Avid President and CEO Gary Greenfield where he reiterates Avid's commitment to professional editors' needs:
"...during the last couple of weeks.... the discussion has been both passionate and personal, because this is about your livelihood.
For Avid, making great video and audio products to serve the needs of professionals - top editors, whether for film, theatrical, television, broadcasters, major film and music studios, or independent film producers is our lifeblood. You can depend on us to be thinking about your needs first."
In addition, Avid has numerous employees listening and interacting with customers in many ways, including various email lists, the Avid Community Forums, and of course the requisite social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.
I'm also well aware that Premiere is a strong and swiftly maturing application, very similar in a lot of ways to FCP, with a great company behind it. I'm a huge fan of Photoshop & After Effects myself; and with the recent CS5.5 update I'm very interested in exploring Premiere too (when I can find the time!).
What I hope is that folks will take a look at Avid Media Composer 5.5. Additions like "Smart Tool," "Avid Media Access" (which they call "AMA"), Real Time Audio Suite (RTAS) plug-ins, and the ability to mix SD and HD of different frame rates (powered by the amazing "Fluid Motion Engine"), are just some of the many changes to the application over the years. Are changes still needed? I think so – support for more 3rd party hardware, 64 bit architecture, and background rendering are just a few examples of things I think would be mighty nice. Version 6 is right around the corner, so who knows what the future holds.
Even though I use and teach Avid, I'm one to recommend the right tool for a particular job. So, if Premiere is a viable tool for a certain job, I'm all for using it (just as I was for FCP). In the end, what I hope folks don't do is what my mom used to call "cutting off your nose to spite your face." Check out Avid Media Composer (you can even use it for free for a month) and see if it's the professional tool you were looking for or, at minimum, if it has a place in your digital toolbox.
- Avid's $995 special for FCP users from July 5 - September 30
- $995 Media Composer for FCP Users Promotion FAQ
- Information on Avid Media Composer version 5.5
- 30 Day Free Trial of Media Composer 5.5
- Free Tutorial for FCP users on using Avid Media Composer
- Free Tutorial on Avid Media Composer Basics
- Information on the private Avid training provided by Benjamin Hershleder
– Updated July 4, 2011 with screen grab, quotes and links
– SEO Terms: switch, change, replace, cross-grade, apple final cut pro, fcp, fcp7, suite, adobe, premiere, avid, media composer
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