I like the fact that both AVID MC and FCP show this in the Viewer (Preview monitor in Avid MC) and Canvas (Program Monitor in Avid MC) when you are missing media.

FCP shows white letters against a bright RED background, which seems to scream, “Hey!  Buddy!  Your media is not here!  Something’s wrong!”

Avid just has a black background with grey letters…muted, as if to say “hmmm…something should be here, but it isn’t.”

This appears to be the theme of both applications.

You see, when your project SHOULD have media, but then it suddenly doesn’t…or rather it had media the last time you opened the application and now it isn’t there…both applications react differently.  And I have to say that I really like the way FCP handles this situation better than Avid does.

You see, when media goes missing from FCP, it flashes a big warning:

“SOME FILES WENT OFFLINE.  Some of the media your project references have either moved, changed, or gone away.”

I like that.  I like it when the application says “you’re missing something!”  Because you might not know.  Not at first, but eventually you’ll open a bin and see the media is gone, or play the timeline and hit that red bar.  Well, no.  Because FCP does ANOTHER cool thing to tell you the media is offline.  If you get that warning, and then click past it, you will see right away on the timeline where the media is missing from.  

A red render bar appears above the timeline where the media is gone from, and the clips are a different color (light grey).  And the thumbnail has that MEDIA OFFLINE red banner.

FCP does this by default.  Automatically. “Eh, oh…you’re  missing something here tough guy.  You might want to take notice.  Or not, you can click continue if you want…but it will still be missing.”

Avid Media Composer…doesn’t.  It doesn’t say a word.  Not one peep.  It just waits for you to open a bin, double click on a clip, and then it shows the muted warning, “media offline.”  Or play the timeline and hit the same black slate.  It’s as if MC says, in a bored tone, “here’s a shot, here’s another shot, and another, oh, by the way, this media is offline, here’s another clip…  Yeah, it was here just a moment ago, but now it isn’t.  Where is it? I don’t know. Shall we continue?”  The ONLY warning you have that the media is offline is that slate. Oh, and the thumbnail if your bin is in  SCRIPT view.

Sure, you can choose the clip color OFFLINE in that timeline menu, but this isn’t a default.  This is something you have to tell Avid you want it to do.  “What, now you want me to tell you when this is offline?  Well, I won’t do that, but I’ll make the clip a different color.  Is that good enough for you?”  Well, no…but, I guess…if that’s the best you can do.

I have been using Avid MC 4.0 for the past 6 weeks, and I have really enjoyed going back to it.  But then this happened today and I remembered that this was one of my pet peeves.  The one thing about FCP that I really liked.  Media management is crap next to Avid MC, yet it can tell you that something is missing, ringing bells and flashing lights, when Avid MC just sits there.

What’s up with that?