MC5 Rides Again

Media Composer 5 will be released a week from tomorrow, and without question, it represents the biggest upgrade Avid has offered in years — since the last version 5, to be exact, way back in 1994, when the modern Media Composer was born. The symmetry is the result of Avid resetting its numbering scheme in 2003. So here we are at version 5 again. Five was — and is — a very good number for Avid. I can still remember the cheering at the user group meetings. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see that same excitement this time.

This version brings timeline changes that should appeal to the Final Cut Pro crowd and that arguably go FCP one better, making it easy to grab-and-drag in the timeline without monkeying with a tool palette. That’s because Avid’s new tools are smart, and let you select a segment or a transition or a keyframe without a trip to the toolbar. You can also stay in what used to be called Segment Mode and move around without losing clip selection.

Other changes include realtime audio effects, stereo tracks and clips, advanced keyframes for most visual effects and automatic image stabilization. And, of course, Quicktime AMA, which means that you no longer have to import and transcode Quicktime materials. Not every format is equally responsive, but with the right codec and the right hardware you won’t need to import. Red (R3D) material is handled natively, too, along with Canon DSLR material.

Meanwhile, Avid has blessed a Matrox box as a low cost monitoring solution, and announced a software developer kit for other hardware manufacturers, which means that one of these days there will probably be a choice of non-native hardware offerings for Avid folk.

And, of course, there’s the student price of just $300 for the full version, with four years of free upgrades. And a 30-day downloadable free trial for everybody else.

All in all, this is an exciting time for Avid. I’ve been beta testing the new version and working full time on a new Media Composer book, titled Avid Agility.  With luck, it’ll be available on Amazon by mid-July. I hope you’ll find it essential reading.

Meanwhile, I’ll be demoing MC5 at the LA Final Cut Pro User Group, on Wednesday, June 16 at Barnsdall Park.

It’s only the 2nd of June, and already it’s shaping up as a very interesting month.

Explore posts in the same categories: Avid, Avid vs. Final Cut

7 Comments on “MC5 Rides Again”

  1. scott Says:

    I’m so excited! I can’t wait to get my hands on it (the book and the software)! Thanks, Steve!

  2. Tim Says:

    very very exciting!
    What’s AMA speed/stability been like with Canon DSLR material?

  3. Steve Says:

    Cool. I’m glad you guys are excited. I am, too. Stability with Canon files is good, I think, but I only have direct experience with a non-unibody Macbook Pro laptop, which, sadly, isn’t fast enough. I think a tower would work a lot better.

  4. Gary Bettan Says:


    Please contact me about the book. I am interested in potentially bundling it with our MC5 sales.


  5. Mike Lange Says:

    MC5 looks very interesting indeed. I’ve always preferred MC over FCP, and I can’t wait to test drive the new version.

  6. Mike Lange Says:

    MC5 looks very interesting indeed. I’ve always preferred MC over FCP, and I can’t wait to test drive the new version.

  7. Dylan Reeve Says:

    I’ve been running MC5 for the last week, and it’s probably the single best Avid upgrade I’ve used – not just the big new features, but even the small improvements.

    It’s been running on a pretty under-powered laptop, but I find quite good performance on H264 AMA material, and amazingly good performance for R3D RAW material.

    I’ve posted a handful of items about MC5 on my site (including a review, and quick demos of H.264 and R3D AMA workflows).

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