Media Composer 5.5 Goes Live

Media Composer 5.5 began shipping today. Announced three weeks ago, the new release builds upon version 5 in many important ways:

  1. A new, universal Find window has been added, allowing you to search throughout the entire project for clip information and display the results in a single window. (And as a side benefit, Find Bin, which uses the same engine, should work more consistently.)
  2. For an extra fee, you can add PhraseFind, giving you the ability to search for dialog throughout your project. The system listens to your tracks, indexes them and then searches for any text you enter. Slick. (For details, see this video.)
  3. MC now supports the AJA I/O Express box for low cost monitoring, as well as the Avid Artist (Euphonix) control surfaces for mixing and transport. See Avid’s Hardware Options page for details, this video on the controllers, or this pdf covering I/O choices.
  4. The Smart Tool now includes a Transition Tool, allowing you to adjust transition effects by dragging them.
  5. The Keyframe tool has been moved out of the Smart Tool palette so that it can be controlled independently (and left on permanently).
  6. It’s easier to turn off the rest of the Smart Tool and keep it off.
  7. “Legacy Trim Mode” is now a standard part of the application. If you leave the Smart Tool off, and enter Trim by lassoing or with the Trim Mode button, it will feel like it did in Version 4. (See this post for more.)
  8. More media types are accessible via AMA (but you now have to do a separate install for almost everything except Quicktime).
  9. You can now do source colorspace modifications on Quicktime AMA files, letting you adjust field dominance and RBG/709 status with a preview window.
  10. You can set the stereo/mono status of a file’s audio tracks when importing.

I’ve been beta testing this version, and so far, have been very happy with it. I would not hesitate to use it on a show. The changes to the Smart Tool are reason enough to upgrade, and the Find window and PhraseFind are fundamental improvements that might change the way you work. Fair warning — I’ve been using it on a small project with a software-only laptop and don’t have any experience with it in the trenches yet. Avid beta testing is more thorough than in the past, and this one went longer than most, but as with all Avid releases, there will probably be surprises when the software gets into the wild.

A software-only upgrade from 5.0 to 5.5 will run you $149. If you’ve got a support contract, it’s free. Students who bought version 5, should be able to get it for free, as well. PhraseFind costs $495. Pricing is here. For more information about 5.5 check out Avid’s Media Composer page.

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3 Comments on “Media Composer 5.5 Goes Live”

  1. Justin Mack Says:

    Nice! We may look at some of the control surface options. We have a few dozen 003’s here, but can’t use them.

  2. matti Says:

    phrase find looks great, but the find window is awful. look at the demo video, he does not stop to drag around the find findow as it is in the way of the other windows. it needs separate tabs and two different buttons for each kind of search. also you cannot save the search, clips needs to open in bins. i think avid needs some serious advice from google to end up whith what a project-wide find should be: a new superbin with a discrete find box on the top right.

    • Bill Says:

      Downloaded it today and nothing but problems…it locks up on an old project and freezes..constant crashing…not liking it so far!


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