Installing Media Composer 3

The deed is done. I have Media Composer version 3.0 running on my Mac laptop. The upgrade wasn’t trivial, partly because I moved from Tiger to Leopard at the same time, and I’ll attempt to explain for the uninitiated.

First, there are now two current versions of MC. Version 3.0 is for Leopard. Version 3.01 is for Tiger. Why would you want to run Tiger? Because there is a known bug in the Leopard Firewire code that makes using Adrenaline and Mojo boxes unreliable, especially for digitizing. Avid says this has to be fixed by Apple, and no fix has appeared. If you want to use your existing Adrenaline or Mojo with MC version 3, you need to stick with Tiger and use 3.01. If you’re using the newer Avid breakout boxes, namely the Mojo DX or Nitris DX, you’ll be fine in Leopard.

Here’s what I did:

  1. Uninstall Media Composer (in my case, v 2.8) and all other Avid applications. You do this using the Avid uninstaller aps. They’re here: Macintosh HD/Applications/Avid Uninstallers. There’s a separate uninstaller for every application you’ve got. I had to run the uninstaller seven times.
  2. Check out your system and back up. I started by running Disk Utility and checking my internal drive. Then I did a complete system check (including a surface scan of the drive) with TechTool Pro. And finally, I ran Cocktail to rotate the system caches and repair permissions. Then and only then did I clone the internal drive using SuperDuper. You’ll need a drive that’s at least as big as your system disk to do this. Confirm that your copy is good by booting from it.
  3. After doing all this system maintenance, I upgraded to Leopard using the standard Apple procedure (shove in the DVD and do what it says). There’s a school of opinion that says you should do an erase and install, which wipes your drive and starts over, and then use Migration Assistant to bring back all your files and applications from the SuperDuper clone. I’m told this works well, but I decided to go the easy way first. I could always do the erase later.
  4. Download and install all Apple upgrades via System Preferences/Software Update. I’m told that this is critical because if you were updating Tiger regularly some of your applications will actually get rolled back during the upgrade to Leopard. The updater will solve that.
  5. Test the Leopard installation. I used it for three days before I decided it was okay. A couple of programs had to be updated, but nearly everything worked fine, including a lot of old applications that I was worried about. I do regular speed tests using a benchmarking utility called Xbench and I was initially dismayed to see that disk speeds had gone down after the upgrade. But it appears that this was the result of Spotlight indexing the drive. As time went on, disk speeds improved.
  6. Install Media Composer 3. First, insert the Media Composer DVD, and do a regular install. Then, following directions on a yellow card that came with the upgrade, go to avid.com/upgrade, register your upgrade and request a dongle updater. This will be emailed to you or you can download it. Locate your DongleManager software (it’s not where the card tells you, it’s here: Macintosh HD/Applications/Utilities/Avid Utilities/DongleManager/DongleManager) and hit the update tab. Then open the file and update.
  7. After that, you should check that your MC runs. If it does, go ahead and do additional installations. I was eager to see Avid FX, so I installed that. I’ll also be installing EDL Manager and FilmScribe.

That’s about it. The whole process took several days, much of which involved the move to Leopard. But the Avid part of the upgrade could have been a lot easier. The company has spent many years dealing with a priesthood of certified tech people, and it needs to get better at talking directly to editors.

First, Avid badly needs a create a “Welcome to Version 3” document that clearly and simply walks you through the whole process. Instead, you get three separate sheets that are confusing and rate a zero for graphic design. (You can also go to this page for more info.) And the installer needs to get a whole lot smarter. There are way too many steps and too many opportunities to make a mistake. The installer should be responsible for the uninstalls — or at least there ought to be a single, unified uninstaller. The various elements of the suite, especially those made by Avid, ought to be installed together. The dongle should be updated automatically. And the MC, like every other modern application, ought to go out to the net and determine whether it is up to date.

In any event, I have now moved my machine into the present. I’ll talk about my impressions of version 3 after I’ve had a chance to play with it for awhile.

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4 Comments on “Installing Media Composer 3”

  1. Frank Reynolds Says:

    Just out of curiosity: if you also install Windows on your MacBook Pro with Leopard and installed a PC version of Avid 3.0, would the Adrenaline or Mojo boxes work then?

    I practically never use my Mojo with my laptop, so I’m not really worried about Leopard and 3.0 making it unreliable, but on the one-in-a-million chance I may need to use it, I just wanted to know if that was an option.

  2. Steve Says:

    Don’t know the answer to the first question, but the second one is a no-no for now, until the bug is fixed. On the other hand, I know someone who has been using a Mojo under Leopard without problems — but he hasn’t been digitizing. I’ve also heard that you get more issues — crashes, that is — with Adrenaline than with Mojo.

    Steve

  3. Frank Reynolds Says:

    Thanks…actually what I meant in my second question about “that being an option” referred back to the first question about installing the PC Avid on a Macbook Pro with Windows.

    For example: I would normally use Avid with Leopard in Mac mode, but on the slim chance I need to use my Mojo, I’d use Avid in PC mode (for digitizing the odd clip, etc.), then go back to Leopard and keep working.

    But since you didn’t know the answer to the first question, I guess I have my answer. :-)

  4. Steve Says:

    I know this subject has been broached in Avid-l (aka Avid-l2). I’m not sure of the result, but you could do a search at the Yahoo home of the group, here:
    http://movies.groups.yahoo.com/group/Avid-L2/


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