Description image

NAB Video: Avid & Lightworks

Here’s more for editors and post-production professionals from Avid, talking about the new Media Composer 7, the Symphony upgrade, AMA linking, working with 4K footage in the HD timeline with Frame Flex. FreshDV also talks with EditShare about Lightworks and their new price-point to compete with the other NLE giants:

Will all these new efforts from Avid win you over? What about Lightshare? So many NLEs, so little time.


We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

Description image 19 COMMENTS

  • Avid is the most reliable, fast, no BS editing system. Now with the 4K system – nobopdy wants to “really” edit in 4K the workflow will be as easy as pie. I am glad to use Avid. I have tried different NLE Lightworks, Premiere and the terrible FC X nothing compares to the steady solid performance of MComposer. Now they have lowered their prices and probably they should lower it a bit more – that was the whole strategy of FC – maybe more young editors will see its advantages.

    • … so buy Avid Media Composer now, for only 19.99, and be awesome like this guy! Call right now, and get TWO for the price of ONE! Avid Media Composer, because Jimenez uses it…

    • I would like to agree and disagree.
      I also think, that 4K is way overrated, especially in the editing process. I personally like to edit in HD resolution (rather than a downscaled offline resolution), but in an small offline codec like ProRes LT/Proxy or DNxHD 36. That way I can edit off a mobile drive, playback is always smooth and access quick.

      But I also would like to state, that Avid is a very picky and delicate piece of software. You need to be very aware of upgrading and installing third party software, or suddenly Avid won’t boot. It is prone to corrupt databases and timelines, has many many bugs in the code. The error messages are absurd, usually don’t give the user any hints at all.

      I really think that Avid should get their act together, clean up their code and get rid of all legacy in their software. There are many great features, and managed media is nice to edit with. But the software just got too complicated and obscure to work with. The interface sometimes just feels like stone age. I believe Avid needs a strong leader with a vision, to make this software state of the art again.

  • I agree with jimenez. I edited a feature on Final Cut, we had 35 days of footage, the application was crashing every hour… with its architecture avid supports full loaded projects, this makes the difference

  • Jump to 3.20 to hear what is wrong with AVID. They do not understand the filebased workflow.

    Filebased working in AVID is not nearly as effortless as it is in the other NLE’s. AMA does not work reliable, my media get off-line all the time (without me moving it mr Bob Russo). And playing and editing even DNXHD AMA files takes a serious hit in how responsive my AVID works. Maybe they solved it in MC7, but to me, it sounds more to another workaround for something that should just work. I m long past drinking the avid cool aid.

  • It’s been a while since I used Avid, and even then the production house I worked at had an EXTREMELY old system (think ver. 3 or 4)

    It just seems like, for the “work from home” editor, Avid is a bit too full on. I’m more comfortable working with products that are similar to the ones I’ve used for years (Adobe) at the moment.
    However, I do understand that to be considered for certain jobs, you need to be versatile, and i’ll jump back in and re-learn avid in a heartbeat if it means getting the job.

  • Think of AMA as Avids version of FCP Log & Transfer Tool. Avid still works best with managed media. Use AMA to view and select files, then consolidate those files to Avids managed media folder. Avids architecture is built upon managed media. Working with AMA liked files, is using unmanaged media. Thus, you work against the software and always will run into problems… at least this is my experience.

    • As someone who has never used Avid, I’m not familiar with the term “managed media”. Although I’ve long heard that Avid handles media better than any other NLE. Will you (or somebody) please explain to me like I’m five what the difference is between “managed media” and the way other NLEs work?

      • Avid traditionally stores its managed media in a folder “Avid MediaFiles” or “OMFI MediaFiles” at the root level of a hard drive. Avid lets the user only choose which drive, the managed media folder cannot be moved or renamed. It uses a database to keep track of the media and the metadata in those folders. It also rewraps media into different MXF-files, splitting up video and audio tracks (these are not standard MXF-files). Media is ingested, transcoded, deleted or copied through the Avid user interface. You should think of the managed media folders as a sort of ‘black box’, you shouldn’t go there and fiddle with the files yourself, let Avid do this.

        FCP or Adobe Premiere on the other hand work with unmanaged files. FCP X sort of does both I guess, but I’m not really familiar with this software. Unmanaged basically means, the user can interfere and organize files in his own folder structure.

      • Managed media has advantages but also disadvantages. iPhoto or iTunes for instance also work with managed media, the user doesn’t need to create a folder structure, the software does this all by itself.

        Disadvantages using managed media for instance are, that your media get duplicated during this process. You cannot use disk space as efficient. But it also takes some time to copy the media (“consolidate” basically means copy). Media that cannot be rewrapped into Avid MXF-files will need be transcoded (for instance AVCHD, h.264), this process even takes longer. So it is a good thing Avid finally will do transcoding in the background.

        Advantages of managed media are, that media doesn’t go offline by mistake so easily. Relinking and the access to metadata is super quick, due to the database managing the files in the background. It is built to handle huge amounts of media. The managed media is also optimized for performance, playback, scrubbing and jumping to cuts is usually quick and smooth.

      • You have heard wrong. The way Avid handles media is completely non transparrent. If media gets offline, the only way to get it back is to dive into your MXF-folder and manually delete the database files. Moving media and edits from one avid to another is only doable with third party programs like automatic duck media copy. Linking to media instead of importing media will have and impact on the performance of your system.

        If it comes to mediamanagment, Avid is years behind Apple and Adobe. If someone tells you different, it is because they haven’t worked with FCP or Premiere yet.

        • Moving media from one avid to another is as simple as copying the media (and a bin) from machine 1 and depositing into the an MFX folder on machine 2. Open the bin in the desired project on machine 2, and the link is there. As far as recovering offline media, yes trashing the .mdb and .pmr files (aka the media database) is the best way to recover it, but, you know, it’s not that big a deal. Just hide the software and drag them to the trash. Bob’s yer uncle. I have no experience with either Premiere Pro or FCPX, but my experience with FCP7 is that media management is pretty much non existent, and I’m pretty darn sure neither can accommodate multiple editors accessing the same material (bins, clips, sequences) simultaneously the way the Avid can in a shared server/project setup……

    • I agree, and having to log and transfer your media is a problemin todays workflows. When I get my media at 14h, and my edit has to be ready at 16h, I do not have time to log and transfer, I have to start cutting right away. You can not do that on a reliable way on Avid.

  • Avid uses managed files?

    Transporting this to the photography world, you can chose in say Aperture wether you want to import the photos INTO the aperture library, or keep them in their current location and just REFERENCE them?

    is this correct?

    • Correct. You may import them into the Avid Media Files folder structure which means that they must be transcoded to your choice of DNxHD or Pro Res, or you can have the machine “look” at them in their current location and format (with the appropriate AMA plug-in for whatever that format may be).

      Generally speaking, letting Avid own and manage the media results in better performance and no issues with output, creating cut lists, etc. and is the *only* way I can think of managing the thousands of media files that end up being worked with on something like a large feature, or an episodic TV show. I’d be very interested to know how cutting rooms on FCP features handled media management…..

  • LIghtworks rocks for being the only NLE to respect linux. I’ll pay for its pro edition.

    • And you won’t have to pay much… it’s $60/yr (presently) for the pro license. Hard to argue with that. I’m making the jump from [buggy/crash happy] Vegas 12 for my projects.

      • Yes, it seems a very good deal (even if it is now $80 a year)

        Sadly, we’re still waiting for the Mac version… but it was announced for February, so not much more.