This has been a very busy couple weeks for me…as you can see from my lack of posting. Often I will be dealing with 6 shows at a time…in a single day…as well as being the resident HD and FCP in house expert…I get ALL the questions.

ANYWAY…I want to start talking a bit about Avid. I am not only an FCP guy…I just started down this path when it offered HD solutions that Avid did not. And for a while those solutions were what kept me firmly in FCP. But I still use Avid and like the product. They have had some rocky times with the Adrenaline…enough to make one want to give up on Avid altogther. But I know that was just a hiccup.

Back in January, when Avid announced the huge price reduction on their Media Composer line (half price…from $5000 to $2500), I got my hands on a copy of version 2.8. And when I loaded it up on my computer I was greeted by a familiar interface. One that I felt quite at home with. I decided to edit a small personal project with it

Everything I liked and wanted was there. The Paint effect, the Animatte, the great trim mode. The ability to put locators on the timeline, and have them shift when I make changes like trims or additions. All these little things that make Avid as strong as it is.

But then I was confronted by all the things that frustrated me. Having to click on one of the Selection tools in order to grab and move a clip. The fact that I have to also click on the spaces in between the clips in order to move whole groups. If you have a small bit with ONE FRAME that isn’t highlighted…the computer beeps at you. And moving on the timeline was like walking through molasses in December.

That was the big draw to FCP…the speed in which I can manipulate footage on the timeline and zip back and forth. There were all these great features that Avid has, but these little things tended to get me down.

Then I saw a demo of Avid 3.0 at NAB, in a one on one (well, one on four…one of me, four of the Avid folk) meeting in a hotel next to the convention center. And the stuff they showed me. Yeah, they had all the technical enhancments to show off. And I was duly impressed with those. But then they showed off the small things…the thing that make the day to day editing a joy. A zippier timeline, an open selection tool (meaning you can turn on the select tool and move things around and leave it on), a new timecode filter.

That wowed me. And I was looking forward to getting my hands on that version.

And now I have. It took a while, as I moved and the package arrived at the old address, but required a signature, so I had to go to FedEx to get it. And then I installed it on the laptop and it didn’t work. Oh, wait, I needed to update the dongle. OK, got that. OH…great, I don’t have enough RAM (requires 2GB). So I finally erased one of the drives in my G5 and installed Leopard (another Avid 3.0 requirement) and installed it yesterday.

All this time I was being helped by the able staff at Avid. It took a while to get things working because, well, I was very busy (work, moving, system not hooked up) and only had a certain window I could do things, and so getting things running took a couple days. If I was on the phone with them right then and there and my system was up, then I am sure I would have gotten it figured out in a matter of minutes. This is a FAR cry from the Avid support I am familiar with from the past. HOURS on hold, or awaiting a call back. Or even days. And then staff that was less than helpful, either not as knowledgeable, or snotty. I rarely called them, relying on other editors and local Avid rental houses for support. That seems to have changed for the better.

So last night I finally got Avid 3.0 installed and running on my Powermac G5 (my MacPro is still in production). So now I can start playing with it. Capturing the type of footage I normally deal with…and can capture without a MOJO or ADRENALINE box. DVCPRO HD from tape, P2 and DV. Might be a while before I can do this, however. Next week I am flying to NJ for business, then off to Montana for a week for vacation. But, I will take the time in Montana to get some really good footage to work with. I have a documentary I have been planning on doing, and I think I will finally start shooting some footage for it.

I’ll keep you posted.