Adrenaline Continues to Improve

On my new show, I’ve got 3 Ghz, eight-core Mac Pros running Media Composer 2.7.7 over Unity — and I have to say that Avid continues to kill bugs and make the system more usable. These machines are the fastest and most responsive Adrenalines I’ve ever used. Blip-audio scrubbing in source/record mode is much faster than in ABVB or Meridien and frankly, it’s almost too fast. And playing and stopping are much more responsive than they used to be. Waveforms draw quickly, and when I’m first-cutting, I leave them on all the time.

The system can still crash, but it’s quite rare (once in seven days, so far), and restarting is quick. Of course, I don’t have much media yet, it’s just standard def 14:1, and our project is still pretty small. A lot of problems tend to reveal themselves with longer timelines and more media.

A couple of bugs stand out, only because they seem so obvious. First, there’s still a barely perceptible one-frame jump when you press stop (only in Adrenaline systems — you don’t see it with software only). Also, when you open a bin, all clip frames in all open bins refresh. This was not true in ABVB or Meridien and if you’ve got a lot of bins open in frame view, it can feel maddening slow. Also, and equally irritating, when frame view clips get moved from one bin to another, the system wipes out any arrangement you have and aligns them to a grid.

But despite these issues, the big headline is how responsive and stable the system is. Avid has made a lot of progress in the last year or so and they deserve to be congratulated.

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6 Comments on “Adrenaline Continues to Improve”

  1. Bill Admans Says:

    Steve,

    Thanks for your very positive comments about the improved performance on Adrenaline.

    Avid’s engineering and development team has been working tirelessly to raise the quality and overall performance of the system. I hope you agree that the overall experience has become significantly better over the last year.

    We continue to work out bugs in the system and look to folks like you for feedback to guide us.

    Our goal is to make the Avid Media Composer experience better for everyone.

    Thanks,

    Bill Admans
    Market Segment Director
    Facilities and Services
    Avid Technology, Inc.

  2. Luke Pebler Says:

    I don’t mean to throw water on the fire, fellas, but should we be honestly excited about Adrenaline being “responsive and stable”, while editing 14:1, on an 8-core Mac Pro, in the year 2008?

    Don’t get me wrong – I’m happy that you’re having a positive work experience, Steve, and some progress is better than none. But the fact that Avid is still chasing what I consider to be basic functionality on a product as mature (and expensive!) as Adrenaline is a bit sad.

    Editors are artists, and deserve the best tools. Steve, it’s up to the big leaguers like you to push Avid to higher standards, since they’ve clearly given up on young upstarts like me. Demand more of them. Which, of course, you do on this blog. But keep doing it. Do it more. They’re clearly listening (Hi, Bill!).

    Keep up the good work. You’re rooted squarely in my daily read bookmarks.

  3. Mark Burton Says:

    I have a very similar feeling about the current Adrenaline as Steve. We are right at the end of a 10 month feature and have a fully loaded 14:1p PAL 24p project across two systems via Lanshare. The system is really almost as snappy in the main project as it is in a project with only a few bins.

    We started on 2.7.0 which suffered terribly with memory as the project grew. We moved up through the 2.7.x versions as the project wound on and found each one to have good performance gains over the previous.

    We still get occasional crashes, often not as a result of anything obvious, but it restarts quickly and seems to never repeat the exact same crash scenario again.

    Looking forward, I hope Avid can maintain this solid base as they look to refine and speed up workflows, enhance features and introduce useful new ones. An updated UI is still on my Christmas wish list!

    Steve, the 1 frame ‘kick back’ the Adrenaline suffers when you hit stop is not something we will ever see fixed with the current hardware, its a hardware limitation unfortunately. Its an annoying flaw to work with, but I’m sure its one Avid will never repeat again.

  4. Norman Says:

    This is all great news. We’re probably moving to DNXHD36 codecs for much of what we’re doing at USC in the near future and I can’t wait to see what that looks like and how it holds up.

    We’re all excited about moving past 14:1.

    Norman

  5. Matt Jeppsen Says:

    I was thinking the same thing as Luke…stable performance with SD media is a big deal? Seriously?
    What happens when you throw HD at the Adrenaline? It’s an honest question, having never worked on the high-end Avids.

    Matt Jeppsen
    http://www.FreshDV.com

  6. Steve Says:

    Well, you guys are absolutely right, of course. When Adreanline is working it’s a great system — the improvements over Meridien are relatively small, but they add up. The trade-off has been stability and player performance. and, as a result, a lot of people have stuck with Meridien, which has hurt Avid’s upgrade revenue. Today, Adrenaline finally works the way it should have at the beginning. For HD it seems to be another story, with many people reporting frequent crashes.

    Avid did a lot of unglamorous work on stability and player performance last year and the results have clearly paid off. For the moment, and in advance of Avid’s upcoming announcements, I’m inclined to look on the bright side.


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