Man…what is UP with Avid lately? Three major releases of the software in just one year? And all with major feature enhancements. OH…and all with a very low upgrade cost…$350. It wasn’t 5 years ago that upgrades were 1-2 years apart, and cost thousands of dollars.

With the release of Avid Media Composer 4.0 (and Symphony 4.0, and Newscutter 8.0), Avid brings to the table something huge. Not only mixed FORMATS…but now mixed FRAME RATES on a single timeline. 59.94, 29.97, 23.98…DVCPRO HD 720p, XDCAM 1080i, DV, 1:1… all playing at once at “full quality” with no transcoding. What an UPDATE! Now with AMA (Avid Media Access) that just opens a bin and populates it with media when you add a tapeless medium, and mixed format timelines, a timecode reader that requires zero rendering…this is some MIGHTY powerful software.

– Eliminating timely transcode processes with the capability to mix and match different frame rates and resolutions in an open timeline within the same project.

– Expanding native support for file-based media with the addition of industry-leading formats such as Panasonic AVC-I and Ikegami GFCAM. GFCAM support is a result of Avid Media Access (AMA).

I wonder how it does this mixing of frame rates. Does it do it RIGHT? Adding the proper pulldown to 23.98 when in a 29.97 timeline, unlike FCPs 2:2:2:4 pulldown nonsense. And what does “full quality” mean when mixing XDCAM 1080i, DVCPRO HD 720p and DV? Does it play each format at IT’S full quality? Or does it convert it when you play back to the sequence settings, with no transcoding required? Guess that is for us to see and find out.