Avid Unwraps "All-New" Media Composer Editing System for Hollywood

The system was developed with input from leading Hollywood editors.
Courtesy of Avid
Avid Media Composer

With Avid CEO Jeff Rosica asserting that entertainment community "needs to be disruptors," the company unveiled what he described as an "all-new" version of the company’s Media Composer editing system, which is a de facto standard used by most Hollywood motion picture and TV editors. The news highlighted a flurry of announcements that Avid made before more than 1,500 customers Saturday, opening a two-day Avid user event tied to this year's NAB Show, which runs through Thursday in Las Vegas.

Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Rosica said this new Media Composer 2019 version is "probably the biggest redesign in more than 15 years" and was created with input from many leading Hollywood film editors, sound pros, and companies. Companies such as Netflix and many leading Avid editors are starting to test the new system, which is scheduled for release in May.

Avid reported that this editing system will include a new user interface, engine, and the ability to output select flavors of deliverables, with resolutions including 4K, 8K and even 16K; stereoscopic 3D; and IMF (Interoperable Mastering Format). According to Avid, the system at launch will support select HDR capabilities but that doesn't include Dolby Vision, which is the flavor of HDR that is required by Netflix for mastering and delivery of its original content.

Through an agreement with the Motion Picture Academy, it will also support ACES (Academy Color Encoding System) for color management, a recent development that came out of the Academy’s Science & Technology Council.

Avid got cheers when it announced distributed rendering capabilities, which could help make facilities more efficient.

Tied to Media Composer, Avid also announced new tools aimed at taking advantage of the cloud (Avid had a deal with Microsoft to use its Azure cloud as its platform). To that end, Rosica said Avid is working with Hollywood companies including studios to put more of its work, including production and archiving, in the cloud.

"The cloud is a powerful tool for solving the problems of high-end production," he said. "Production has to scale very quickly to accommodate the expansion of content creation from Netflix, Hulu … [which could be done with the cloud] without having to build a new facility.” Rosica added that it also supports remote collaboration when production teams are in different cities and countries.

Delivering his opening message at the customer event, Rosica told the crowd that Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and the like "are disruptors but they are also doing a lot to push the industry forward. We need to be disruptors. … The new normal is, we need to reinvent again and again. Because if you are not a disruptor, you are going to be disrupted."

April 7, 11:14 a.m. Updated with revised delivery features.