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CS5 and MC5 – 2010 in Editing

It’s officially that time of year again. Time to take a look back before our leap forward. 2010 was quite the year for the world of video and film production professionals with new developments that have changed productions and workflows the world over. I wanted to take a little time and look back at the year that was in production technology.

NAB, as always, was a heavy hitter this year in terms of newsworthy events and releases, but I have a hard time remembering the last time we had two announcements coming from NAB as large as the big two this year: Avid Media Composer 5 and Adobe Creative Suite 5.

Adobe announced one of this years most hotly anticipated production products with CS5. There were the usual updates and upgrades, but two features really stood out for me: Avid Media Composer support and the new 64-bit versions of these applications.

Most post-production workflows involve combining footage from the edit suite with graphic treatments from the Creative Suite. Some use it more, some use it less, but most everybody uses it. Now the days of exporting to be able to reimport into the edit suite are gone. The CS5 can import OMF files directly from Avid, allowing existing sequences and media to stay in tact throughout the process.

The utilization of a 64-bit environment, however, is what really set Adobe CS5 apart. It allows the entire Creative Suite to run faster and more efficiently. The 64-bit version also allows Premiere to take full advantage of the new Mercury playback engine, allowing for faster playback and editing of HD content. These changes have really put Adobe in the game, not just as design tools, but also as a legitimate alternative for video editing.

But, in my opinion, it wasn’t Adobe that stole the show at NAB this year. That honour was reserved for the group at Avid. NAB was the culmination of Avid’s ‘New Thinking’ campaign, a campaign designed to help Avid reconnect with it’s users. Over the years, Avid had taken quite a hit from competitors like Final Cut and Premiere Pro. Other companies embraced a lot of the potential of NLE’s, while Avid seemed to lag behind while catering to a more linear style of editor.

At NAB, Avid announced Media Composer 5, the latest iteration of their workhorse editing platform. With MC5, Avid was ready to show editors everywhere why they could still be considered a heavy hitter in the world of NLE’s. Without a doubt, they hit it out of the park with MC5.

MC5 left behind the idea of Media Composer and Final Cut editors being at each others throats because of proprietary formats. Instead, Avid improved on a good, if under utilized, idea from MC4: AMA or Avid Media Access. The AMA tool allows Media Composer editors to link to almost any type of file, instead of relying lengthy imports only to find that the file is incompatible. The use of AMA would not only make Avid more compatible with other systems, but it would speed up the editing process by cutting down on time spent ingesting footage.

One of the largest complaints about MC over the years has been that it has been difficult to use and learn if you weren’t an Avid editor already. The transition from Avid to Final Cut or Premiere was far easier than vice versa. In MC5, Avid has utilized the new Smart Tool, making the Avid environment a far more friendly place for Final Cut and Premiere Pro users.

With these massive updates to both Avid and Adobe products, one of the biggest questions that remains is to the future of Final Cut. Apple has let Final Cut become stagnant, leaving much to be desired in their updates. Many experts would argue that Avid and Adobe have both become stronger editing solutions than Final Cut. Since NAB, Apple has announced a new version of Final Cut will be appearing in 2011. While this is promising, Apple has only gone so far as to say that the new Final Cut will be faster than previous versions, leaving the future of Final Cut basically a mystery.

It looks like 2010 has set up an exciting 2011 in the post-production suite, but what are your thoughts? Who stole the show in 2010: Avid, Adobe or someone else? Where is Final Cut heading in the next year? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

This blog was made possible by NewMediaWebinars.com, creators of online seminars for digital filmmakers.

Categories: Editing, Movies, Shooting
  1. December 24, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    Amen! It was a good year for NLE’s (‘cept one).

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