“The tradition of Festivus begins with the Airing of Grievances. I got a lot of problems with you people! And now, you’re gonna hear about it.” ~ Frank Costanza
Back in January I gave my thoughts on the new Avid Media Composer 6, and thanks to the social media networks of the world a lot of people were able to share in that review. In my overall opinion Avid has been moving in the right direction for some time now, embracing 3rd party technologies, the AMA workflow that has made file-based acquisition post faster, and realizing that they are one of many tools in any post-production workflow. For the last 10 years or so, Avid has been my main tool for all things editing. I have used Final Cut Pro, Premiere, linear tape to tape systems and even Media 100 (that was a LONG time ago) but have always felt that Avid was the cream of the crop. In 2002 I got an internship with NAB in Vegas and was reading a review of Avid Xpress 3.0 and Final Cut Pro 3 and remembered this line – “While I would be more than happy taking Final Cut Pro on a date, I would marry Avid.”
Having said that, Avid has a lot of things they could improve on, and I only say this because one big thing Avid has been doing well is listening to their user base, so hopefully my concerns won’t fall on deaf ears.
Avid has a Pan and Zoom tool that allows the user to point to a still image to do flat art moves. It is better than importing the image and using the 3D Warp tool by keeping the same resolution of the original image. The tool has a couple problems though. First, you have to render any filter than gives you optimized results (I exclusively use the Gaussian filter by the way.) Second, there are no rotate handles so all the moves happen on the same plane. If Avid could incorporate still files (.jps, .tiffs, .pngs, etc.) through a link method like AMA and the files would come in at the same resolution of the original image (like how After Effects works), this feature I think would be met with great adulation from the user community. You can watch a quick overview of this tool work here, and as you can see it is useful, but clumsy and outdated.
Avid has two ways of creating titles, the original Title Tool or Avid’s proprietary title software Marquee. One great thing about Marquee is that it saves each title as a .mpq file and you can open them without having to go through the timeline. After that, I don’t really have many good things to say about Marquee. It is an outdated software that needs to be revamped or retired.
A few weeks ago I spent some time with Adobe Premiere. It was a simple job where I was trimming clips from AJA Ki Pro decks and posting to YouTube. If you have edited anytime over the last decade you know that you have be part compression tech. For a while now Avid has shipped with Sorenson Squeeze compression software, and having been a full time compression tech I can tell you Sorenson is a great tool. What I discovered when working with Adobe Premiere is the functionality of Adobe’s Dynamic Link. With this feature I was able to open up my Premiere sequences directly through Adobe Media Encoder and make my files for YouTube. It was fast, efficient, and an eye opener to how it can be done. My appeal to Avid is, if you have a working relationship with Sorenson, is there a way to make this kind of link between the two programs? Having the ability to open Avid sequences in Sorenson would be, well, awesome.
For now I am going to keep it at that, I know sometimes it is hard to hear constructive criticism, but it is also sometimes necessary. I also write the above letter based on version 5.5 of Avid Symphony and Media Composer, and I know Avid has made some great strides in Version 6.0.