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Some thoughts on Media Composer vs. Symphony

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Bernhard Grininger
Some thoughts on Media Composer vs. Symphony
on Nov 4, 2011 at 1:31:45 pm

Hello,

since the release of FCP-X I was also considering Avid Media Composer
(I never worked with) as the new editing software to go,
but I wanted to wait for version 6.0.

The new MC seams to be an excellent choice, but one thing disturbs me:
Why isn't Symphony the new Media Composer?

I actually do know the explanation and it is very reasonable if seen isolated:
http://avid.custkb.com/avid/app/selfservice/search.jsp?DocId=366707#a62

But we live in a new era of video editing. The trend goes away from pure editing
towards the direction of finishing. FCP-X and Lightworks prove it.
We are living in an age in which we can get DaVinciLite and Lightworks for free,
and Adobe aquired Iridas to bundle a professional Grading Application.

Considering this context I do not understand why there is still a better
version of Media Composer called Symphony.
A comparison to DaVinci vs. DaVinciLite won't work here,
because the difference there is driven by physics (number of GPUs, etc.),
thus it doesn't look that artificial.

If the last 10 years of the FCP-era in which Avid suffered a lot I think
have one important legacy, than it is the democratization. And this legacy
causes me a bad feeling when working on a software which I know there is
a better version out there. This is psychology - of course. But there are
also rational arguments against the differentiation between MC and Symphony.

Adobe has a huge portfolio that becomes bigger and bigger. The apps are
well integrated but in some situations an integrated software would be beneficial.
Exactly this could be a chance for Avid with a software that unites all needed features
into one application. Combined with ProTools this could be a powerful toolset.

I would very appreciate an Avid Production Bundle consisting of
MediaComposer (actually a re-named Symphony) and ProTools
at a pricepoint of Adobe Production Premium.

But currently, PremierePro is my first choice.

These are only a few personal philosophical considerations and I would be grateful for feedback.

Best regards,
Bernhard


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Hector berrebi
Re: Some thoughts on Media Composer vs. Symphony
on Nov 4, 2011 at 2:35:51 pm

[Bernhard Grininger] "The new MC seams to be an excellent choice, but one thing disturbs me:
Why isn't Symphony the new Media Composer?"


hi Bernhard

considering you never used either one (as you mentioned) let me tell you this.
differences are so thin that if anything should happen, its symphony retiring.

maybe 10-12 years ago Symphony was worth its name and reputation, today, name and reputation is mainly whats left of it (i'm talking software)

as someone who does (and teaches) on-lining finishing and grading for a living i can tell you this

for 70% of the work (maybe more), MC color tools + a good scope, an IO card and a decent calibrated monitor is all you might ever need (add magic bullet tools if you want presets too) to deliver great results (if you know what you're doing)

for the remaining 30% (probably less), which consist of secondary work (some can be done in MC), masking, keying and vignetting, Symphony just isn't enough. its outdated, and in comparison with other tools in the market, a frustrating set of tools to work with.

you'd be better off even with Davinci lite. or, if finishing is an important part of your work, you can just buy Davinci, which isn't an expensive software (MC6 + Davinci is still cheaper than Symphony).

most of the post work is off-line, and most of the online work is primary CC.
Adobe may sell a large attractive bundle of apps but Avid MC is by far a superior editing platform.
(and i can back it up, i teach and use both)

i'm saying all this considering that you are not in the high-end finishing market for film and commercials...
if you are,
a. prices shouldn't be such an issue for you
b. there are better, more adequate, tools and apps for that market than Avid and Premiere (and FCP for all it matters) look into smoke.

so why are Avid still selling Symphony as a separate tool? in my opinion, its for legacy reasons, tradition and heritage.
and maybe because there are still clients who spent 80K$+ 10 years ago on Symphony systems that feel 5K$ is a great deal. a lot of people in decision making positions don't really know what they need or buy, when they purchase new systems.

this is all based on personal experience and opinions.

hope i didn't offend any Symphony fan.

hector

Hector Berrebi
prePost Consulting


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Bernhard Grininger
Re: Some thoughts on Media Composer vs. Symphony
on Nov 4, 2011 at 3:15:03 pm

Hello Hector,

Thank You, this is really interesting.
I think psychology is the main criterion at many decision makers.

To be honest, I believe for much of professional work FCP-X could be sufficient,
but the next generation of editors needs to (dis)prove this, since also the
general context of media production changes these days.

Psychology also caused the marked dominance of FCP – it was the
feeling to use exact the same tools like hollywood professionals
(which was also mere PR than fact).

Best regards,
Bernhard


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Scott Cumbo
Re: Some thoughts on Media Composer vs. Symphony
on Nov 5, 2011 at 12:34:07 am

As someone who uses mc, symphony and fcp. I prefer to work on a symphony, just runs smother than mc (with an adrenaline or a dx box)

But with that being said, I don't have to pay for the systems and if I did , I don't think symphony can really justify the extra money.

The only real feature difference is the secondary color correction plus the universal master (which makes tape output a lot easier sometimes)

Scott Cumbo
Editor
Broadway Video, NYC


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Bernhard Grininger
Re: Some thoughts on Media Composer vs. Symphony
on Nov 5, 2011 at 7:24:40 am

Hello Scott,

as I understood is Universal Master a feature that only works with a NitrisDX box,
and is a realtime HW tool to convert framerates during output, say 1080i/29,97 to 1080i/25 ?

Now that Avid is open to 3rd party hardware, wouldn'nd a HW-only feature not be enough differentiation?
Compared to other hardware options a NitrisDX is more expensive. Nevertheless this conversion feature would be a reason to buy; thus a much more reasonable differentiation than reducing software capabilities.

Best regards,
Bernhard


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Job ter Burg
Re: Some thoughts on Media Composer vs. Symphony
on Nov 5, 2011 at 9:32:50 am

Universal Mastering only works with Nitris DX, not Mojo DX, not any other I/O device. It means you can play out 23.976p or 24.00p projects to 23.976p, 24p, 25p, 50i, 60i. Not from 50i to 60i and so on.


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Job ter Burg
Re: Some thoughts on Media Composer vs. Symphony
on Nov 5, 2011 at 9:30:54 am

On the same type of machine and OS, Symphony and MC would run equally smooth. The core software is identical. You can boot Symphony with an MC dongle, and it will launch as MC.


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Bernhard Grininger
Re: Some thoughts on Media Composer vs. Symphony
on Nov 5, 2011 at 10:16:13 am

Hello Job,

Thank You for the clarification!
Now I'm even more confused why there is still a differentiation between MC and Symphony.
And the information with the dongle makes the differentiation even more artificial
and less understandable to me.

Best regards,
Bernhard


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