Avid Announces Media Composer 6

Posted on by Larry

With one eye firmly on the existing Final Cut Pro 7 user base, Avid today announced Media Composer 6 using the phrase “Committed to the Professional.”

When Avid CEO Kirke Arnold opened the press conference this morning, her opening remarks included the phrase: “Not only is Avid committed to its customers, we are committed to the professional.” She also mentioned that recent sales of Media Composer have exceeded Avid’s expectations.

This is the sixth major release for Media Composer, according to Avid, in about three years.

Chris Gahagan, Senior VP of Products, then presented the new software by announcing upgrades to Media Composer, Symphony, and News Cutter. My report will focus on Media Composer.

Ship date: Nov. 15, 2011
Retail price: $2,499
Upgrade from MC5.5: $299
If you purchased Media Composer October 15 or later, the upgrade is free.

The upgrade focuses on four key areas:
1. Architecture
2. Enhanced user interface
3. Stereoscopic 3D
4. Integration with stock footage and other outside resources


All new Avid applications are now 64-bit, providing much greater speed and more scalability.

Avid now offers an SDK (Software Development Kit) – called Avid I/O – for capturing and outputting media. They also announced that, in addition to Avid, AJA, Blackmagic Design, Matrox, MOTU, and Bluefish 444 will all be providing hardware support.

Native AVCHD support.

Native encode and decode for ProRes on Macintosh.

New DNxHD 444 codec providing 444 color support.

Support for Epic R3D files.


Avid has updated the user interface, but not how the software works. Same keyboard shortcuts, same “muscle memory.” Chris made a point of saying: “We can’t disrupt our professionals.”

More deeply integrated support for Avid Color hardware, though no new color correction tools.

Two weeks ago, Avid announced ProTools 10. Today, they announced support for surround sound workflow integration between ProTools and Media Composer.


Avid’s goal was to make editing 3D as easy as editing 2D. The new version provides significant speed improvements. Tasks that “used to take days now take minutes.”

They are also provides a complete suite of tutorials and workflows that explain, for editors that are new to 3D, how to edit 3D. Training on 3D is as important, Avid says, as the tools themselves.


Avid announced Avid Marketplace, with their first partner “Thought Equity,” a stock-footage supplier.

Avid Marketplace provides a series of plug-ins that allow you to search, view, create proxies, and integrate final version stock footage directly within the Avid interface.

They are also offering two support plans to make on-going technical support more affordable.

All in all, some impressive announcements. I’m looking forward to learning more and sharing the news with you.

As always, your comments are welcome.


13 Responses to Avid Announces Media Composer 6

  1. Marcus R. Moore says:

    AVID knows their user base. Don’t change how I work. Give me the faster horse. The downside to that could be that they increasingly cater to a smaller and smaller niche of the post community. Is that a great long term business plan? I honestly don’t know.

    My feeling is that AVID will continue to scoop some of the high end from FCPX in the near-term, but that Apple will gain many more entry users, who will grow as the product does over the next year(s).

    Ultimately, it’s great to have choice in the industry- cause no one tool will work for everyone.

  2. Nivardo says:

    Larry, you’re always listening

  3. Lou Borella says:

    I’m sure the same questions I’ve been asking AVID for the last 15 years still apply:

    Will my settings work? Or do I have to start from scratch and rebuild?
    Can I import still images and retain the dimensions yet?
    Do I still have to constantly select tracks to add and manipulate audio keyframes?
    Does dupe detection work across multiple video tracks yet?
    Can I load precomputes into the source monitor yet?
    Do I still have to treat filler like a clip?
    Is the audio waveform useable yet?
    Will Quicktime that are in a timeline automatically update if they are changed or do I have to reimport or relink?
    Is there a freeze frame dialogue box or do I still have to use the pulldown menu to change settings?
    Can anyone tell me the difference between the six different Timewarp types?
    Is 3d warp anti-aliased yet?
    Can I do a soft dropshadow without buying a plugin?
    Can I link stereo audio tracks yet?
    Does the Media Creation settings box work yet?
    Does the Relink command work? (has it ever worked?)
    Do I still have to move the black clips that are before and after a dissolve to keep the dissolve?
    Can I trim a clip into a dissolve icon?

    I’ve only been asking these questions for 15 years.

  4. JK Matthews says:

    My God that’s the same list as mine! Although I think that you can trim a clip into a dissolve in version 5. Not that we’ve got past version 3.53, as Interplay upgrades are holding everything back!

    Come on FCP X get a grip It really is as if Apple doesn’t love us any more!

  5. Leo Hans says:

    @Lou Borella
    @JK Mattews
    Almost the same here.

  6. Keith Wright says:


    The answer to over half of your questions is yes. Some of the things you mention have been achievable or have worked for many years on Avid and some might be down to user error.

    The new version looks lovely and has a much better UI, Avid was always awful to use on laptops. The support for my existing Balckmagic card is an absolute bonus. A very big overhall that will clearly push FCP X out of the professional arena in my opinion.


  7. Marcus says:

    Whats wrong with you, Larry?! Your blog is dedicated to apples final cut pro, not avid media composer. I come here a few times a week hoping to learn something new and insightful about FCPX, and a month after the steve jobs death report, what do I find? A bullshit advertisement about the competition. What are you trying to do? Ditch apple and convert to something else? Or are you trying to encourage people to stick around for apple to release a proper upgrade? Which is it? Apple is trying something boldly new and unique with final cut pro x. Steve Jobs has always been about taking things to the next level and making this better, and your making it extremely hard for Steve Jobs’ vision to come to life. If I were in your shoes i would be a little more understanding and accepting of what apple is doing here, which they are clearly passionate about, which is introducing an entirely new way to edit video. Instead what you are doing is alienating apple and focusing on promoting the completion so you can continue to get hits on your website and video tutorials among video filmmakers world wide. You said it before in a previous statement, this started as a .00 release. Well it’s a .01 release now. Why have you given up hope already? Want to know how I envision things transpiring by the way your handling your blog? You are maintaining your viewer base, sure, and maintaining your income, and possibly growing. And you are doing so by appeasing to viewer complaints and converting a bunch of people to the competition, because this is the most popular route. This is what people want, because people are easily confused, and don’t like change. This makes a lot of sense now, but it isn’t going to matter once Apple regains everyones trust in 1 or 2 years when everyone who who has waited patiently has the proper version of final cut pro x, the version the final cut pro x team envisioned from the very beginning. Once all your followers realize they were silly to jump ship to the competition, the people who read your blog will soon know that it was you that influenced their decision to spend money on a program they otherwise never would have spent money on, thus leaving them with less money in their bank accounts, not to mention being left extremely reluctant to listen to another word you ever have to say on your blog or in your videos. I’m writing this comment to you to help you. Larry, Apple isn’t losing here. They aren’t losing when people jump ship. They know their old followers will return in the future. No, it is you and your readers who are losing by these silly and pointless blog posts concerning the competition. Anyway, this comment was written while I was drunk. So I apologize if there were any errors here. I had a lot of whiskey. A loooooot. But I hope you’ve found some honestly and truth to this comment, and believe it or not, I still respect your blog, and will keep reading it. The only reason I spent my time writing this, which believe me took me over a half hour, was because I care about your blog. But I hope you understand that I will quit reading if you keep up the pattern you are on. God speed.

    • Larry says:


      Thanks for taking the time to write.

      Avid releasing new software, just as when Adobe releases an update to Premiere, or Apple releases an update to Final Cut Pro, is news.

      One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that competition forces all other companies to improve their products to complete. For me, this is a good thing. Covering a news story is not the same as providing in-depth training on the products.

      This website is devoted to Final Cut Pro – FCP 7 and FCP X – and will remain so. Yet, it would be foolish for us to ignore what else is going on in the world. This is why we will keep our eyes on Avid and Adobe. Also, truthfully, many FCP editors have migrated to Adobe, so we will periodically provide training on that product as well.

      Apple realizes that they put themselves into a marketing bind with the release of FCP X. Apple needs to play catch-up to regain the trust they lost. Much though we wish it were the case, FCP X does not currently have all the features some professionals need.

      On the other hands, for the last five months, I’ve been working with FCP X and have discovered that it contains FAR more power and flexibility than was initially perceived. In fact, this last Wednesday, I finished my latest book – “Making the Transition to Final Cut Pro X” – which looks at FCP X from a power users perspective and I was continually surprised at how much was in the software.

      This weekend, I’m updating all my on-line training to illustrate how these new features work and how to take advantage of them.

      So, not to worry, I am not abandoning FCP X. But, I’m also keeping my eyes on the competition. Editing does not exist in a vacuum. It is part of a process. Tools that support that process help us get our work done. Tools that make that process unnecessarily difficult need to be examined.

      I truly appreciate your comments and the thought you put into them. We are absolutely not jumping ship — but we are watching the weather.


  8. Marcus says:

    Hi Larry I kind of want to apologize for my comment. I was angry, but I was also sort of intoxicated, so I took things a little out of proportion. It was a little bit of a rant so I am sorry. I highly respect your work, Larry, and even though those really were my real honest feelings, the comment was made out of concern because of my respect for you. Reading your response with a clear sober head now I understand your side a whole lot better, hence the reason i’m humble apologizing for the comment.

    Anyway the other Marcus who left a comment earlier is not me. It’s another Marcus, coincidentally. 🙂 Thanks for being cool, Larry.

    • Larry says:


      Apology accepted and no offense taken.

      Software we use to make a living is a subject people feel passionately about. I’m here to help — that’s been my plan all along. I don’t intend to change.


  9. Shameer M. says:

    Hi Larry,

    I enjoy reading your blog. Just recently, I read a post on Appleinsider claiming that Apple senior management are debating whether to axe the Mac Pro next year or upgrade it for one more revision? Have you heard anything or have any opinion on this?


    Thanks & keep up the good work.

    • Larry says:


      I’ve read the same rumors. If I “knew,” I’d be legally prevented from talking about it. In this case, I don’t know — Apple never shares advance knowledge of hardware with me. I can see both sides of this issue. Apple wants to make machines that sell in the millions. Tom Coughlin recently estimated that the number of high-end video editing workstations that truly need the power of a MacPro is around 350,000. This is not a large market.

      So, I can see that Apple would be reluctant to spend lots of dollars chasing it.

      Even more, now that Thunderbolt is available – though in VERY scarce supply — Thunderbolt provides sufficient through-put that almost all video applications could use Thunderbolt for both storage i/o and image capture. In which case, even the lowly Mac Mini would have the capability of moving massive amounts of data. This further reduces the business case for the MacPro.

      On the other hand, he said as he was writing this answer on his own MacPro, it is very, very nice to have a system that supports plug-in cards for those special few that need the expandability and flat-out drop dead performance that a high-end system provides.

      So, we shall just have to wait and see what Apple does – personally, I wouldn’t be surprised either way.


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