AUGUST 31, 2022

9-1-1 Editing with Avid Media Composer’s New Interface

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Inside the edit bay on the hit Fox drama 9-1-1, a new character's making a big splash: the latest Avid Media Composer.

We caught up with Editor Bryan Colvin and Co-Producer / Editor Ravi Subramanian to chat about their experience learning the new Media Composer UI and their advice for editors who are still wary of making the switch.

Inside the New Media Composer Interface

"The NLE has never been snappier," says Bryan. "All the great features we know and love are still there, with a lot of new small feature additions that are very welcome, like swapping audio channels on a region, new selection tools within the timeline, and mixer tool menu items being mappable. Bryon Colvin

"But mostly, I've really felt the responsiveness improvements under the hood while editing. The tool really melts away and lets me focus on the creative aspects of the edit. I am very impressed with Avid's recent commitment to vastly improving this tool we all love to use."

Ravi agrees. When asked what he likes about the new Avid Media Composer, he offers one word: "Speed."

Learning to Love the New Media Composer UI

Bryan has grown to love the panels in the new Media Composer UI, which gives him plenty of flexibility to organize his workspaces. "I love being able to group audio tools in a panel that can float on its own. The panels, plus bin tabbing, plus floating bin containers, just gives you even more options to lay out what works for you," he says. "Docking panels together in categories and being able to select them on the vertical side bar has been a really nice space saver that lets me have more tools ready to access, but slightly tucked away for screen real estate."

Ravi Ravi too has found a custom set-up that works for him. "The panels  allow me to use a 38-inch monitor at 3840x1600 as my main screen and a second display at 1080 for playback." As an added bonus, "this allows for a remote client to not push that much data from our remote stations to our client computer."

Why Upgrade? In a Word, Speed

Beyond support for new standards and hardware, Ravi and Bryan both point to speed as the main reason to take the plunge with the latest version of Media Composer—the many small improvements add up to big efficiencies when deadlines are looming.

Bryan further explains, "Editors will enjoy the snappiness of the updated NLE, with a lot of new, small features that add up to a lot for keeping us on track with the creative edit, while maintaining all the great aspects we are used to and depend on daily. AEs will absolutely enjoy the newer features, such as timeline selection tools to quickly select all muted clips to remove for turnovers. The added 'Create Sequence Based on Selection' option is such a time-saver for many situations. AEs doing a lot of temp sound work or mixes will very much enjoy the newly mappable mixer tool menu items."

Making the Switch

Ravi offers the following advice for editors who are still hesitant to get used to a new UI: "Give it a chance. I know a new UI can be off-putting, but it took me less than a day to get used to it, and now I prefer it. It's like editing. You are given new footage, and you need to adapt every day to what you get. The new UI is the same thing."

Bryan feels similarly. "The panels aren't that wild. Don't fear them," he says. "I honestly think you are missing out on one of the greatest versions of Media Composer that's existed by avoiding this update. Spend a day getting used to the new UI. The alt/option modifier is your friend when you dock panels and bins around."


Parting Thoughts

"The current creative spirit of the development team excites me greatly. When you are using Media Composer, you can sense the intention behind the software," says Bryan. "I do believe the dev team struck a balance in pushing things forward without undoing the things we love. That's no easy feat."

Ravi states, "I think editors like their workspace to be stable, without too much disruption, and they don't want to have to learn too many new things. While I agree with that, I think the new Media Composer can act like the old version but also allows one to re-think the relationship with the workspace. It can give you new inspiration, create new workflows, and force you to interact with your tool in a different way. This type of change can help you grow creatively. The new version does not get in the way of your old workflow; it just enhances it and opens up new ways of thinking."

Access the latest version of Avid Media Composer

The latest version of Avid Media Composer is now available as a free update to all current Media Composer subscribers, as well as perpetual license owners with an active Software Updates + Support Plan. Got an old Media Composer perpetual license? Check out your upgrade options here to get current. And if you don’t have Media Composer, subscribe or give it a try now!

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