Should you learn/use Avid Media Composer?

WHY AVID MEDIA COMPOSER?

I’m posting this article because of my upcoming Avid Media Composer Berlin Workshop.

The workshop will take place from November 5th to November 9th (Monday to Friday), 10:00 to 12:00, at my co-working space, in central Kreuzberg (Betahaus).

Classes are in English, and groups are very small (8 students maximum).

You can register here.

In this workshop we focus primarily on dealing with media and editing: the two most important aspects of learning and understanding the Avid way…

So… Should you learn Avid Media Composer?

DISCLAIMER!

I use and teach Avid Media Composer, DaVinci Resolve, Premiere Pro, and FCPX.

I offer workshops with all of them!

They’re all very good, and very profesional.

In different eras of my career as a film professor, I’ve been asked to offer more workshops with some of them. This comes and goes with time. It was a lot of Avid Media Composer many years ago. Then it was Final Cut Pro 7. Then, Premiere Pro. Then Final Cut Pro X. Then back to the Avid. And today, DaVinci Resolve is my most demanded workshop.

My students often ask me which one is the best, and I understand why they ask, but I recommend to explore a different angle on this.

The question is: which editing software is best for you, based on your needs, budget, profesional background and aspirations, actual situation, market, etc.. Or… which the best editing software for a particular project you’re working on, based again on needs, workflow, and characteristics of the production.

I do a lot of consulting, and I recommend one software or another one, after considering a number of factors.

An even better questions to ask would be: which software you actually like the most?

And I use the word ‘like” because we often forget this is also a matter of taste. Different programs look different and feel different.

As I always say, never trust someone who tells you ‘this or that software is the best, and the others are rubbish’. Those people are just too emotional!

If you’re not sure which is the right choice for you and your projects, feel free to drop me a line (flavioggarcia@gmail.com). I’m happy to help!

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REASONS TO LEARN/USE AVID MEDIA COMPOSER

Let’s have a look to some of the reasons why it could make sense for you to learn the Avid system!

ARE YOU A FULL TIME EDITOR?

If you are an editor, or wish to develop a career as a film/series editor, then the answer is very simple:

You have to know and master Avid Media Composer. And Premiere Pro. And Final Cut Pro X. And DaVinci Resolve.

All of them.

Really.

If you are already an established editor, you might be able to impose or recommend your preferred software.

If you are starting, you must be ready to use all of them, as you’re gonna find job offers requiring all of them, and you’re gonna have to adapt.

It’s true that in some areas of the marker you’re gonna find Avid more, and in others Premiere Pro more… But you absolutely don’t want to limit yourself to just one platform.

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INDUSTRY STANDARD?

Well, this is controversial…

But here’s the thing: Avid Media Composer is still the most used software at the highest level of the film industry.

This is just a fact.

Most movies and series we see are cut on the Avid.

There are obviously exceptions, but if you aim to work as an assistant editor or main editor in that sector of the market, Avid is your way.

Years ago a lot of people moved to Final Cut Pro 6/7, but after FCP X, most of them returned to Avid Media Composer.

I have hundreds of students in different countries, and I can tell you: those who work on movies and series at the highest level, they studied Avid with me, and use Avid most of the times.

avid-media-composer-color-interface

PROJECTS WITH LOTS OF MEDIA?

Avid is a beast.

It’s really rock solid, and behaves very well in projects with lots of media. It’s one of the areas where Avid shines.

If you use Premiere Pro, for example, you probably noticed how things start to slow down as the project grows. A Premiere Pro project with hundreds and hundreds of clips and sequences takes some time to open. The usual solution to this is to divided a particular movie project in different Premiere Pro projects, reel based, to keep the size of every project small enough.

In Avid, this is never an issue. An Avid project never makes things go choppier because of the amount of media and sequences.

FOCUS ONLY ON CREATIVE EDITORIAL?

Avid Media Composer is not a finishing tool.

It’s designed to do the creative editing, and then do the finishing somewhere else (for example, DaVinci Resolve).

So, if  you are an editor who likes to focus just on creative editorial, you’re gonna be just fine in Media Composer.

DaVinci Resolve, on the other side, is designed as an all-in-one solution, where you can edit, do FX, grade, do sound mixing, etc.. Some editors actually find all that distracting. They don’t want/need to care about color grading or FX.

They just build the story.

Once the edit is finished, it’s very easy to take your master sequence to Resolve, and do the finishing there.

BEST TRIMMING TOOLS

This might be just taste, but I still believe Media Composer has the best trimming tools.

It just works so well, and makes perfect sense.

Dynamic Trimming is fantastic, and a pleasure to use.

That said, you need to train yourself to master it. Some things might not be as intuitive. To understand how powerful and convenient trimming is on the Avid, you have to study it.

SOUND TO PRO TOOLS?

If you are in a workflow where you need to send your sound edit to Pro Tools for audio finishing, and need to do this very often, using Media Composer is again a very good idea.

Media Composer and Pro Tools are both owned by the same company, Avid, so of course the communication between the two programs works very well, using the AAF ex-change format.

You can send sound to Pro Tools from Premiere Pro, for example, but you don’t have as many options as in Avid, and you might find issues.

AAF’s to Pro Tools from Media Composer never fail. Well, you know, they can fail, but it’s your safest bet.

There’s a lot more reasons why Avid Media Composer could be the right choice for you and your projects.

Again, if you have questions, leave a comment below or write me: flavioggarcia@gmail.com.

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