Before I begin this review it should be said this is my first time using any software from Avid so my review will be limited to my own knowledge and experience testing out the software package. This review has not been sponsored or supported by Avid and all opinions are my own.
So when I first told my friends that Avid were offering a free version of their media composer they all said the same thing...
"What is the catch?"
To be honest, that was also my first response. I was extremely skeptical when this was launched thinking this must be so scaled down and that it's more of trial run. However, that changed massively when I saw that it supported 1920 by 1080 HD rendering and the support for 4 video tracks and 8 audio tracks!
Could this be an actual solution over subscription media software?
Well looking at the first screen my first impression was everything that is needed to create a professional video is here and in the right place.
My first test was to change the size dimensions of the video project which I found out were limited, meaning for more complex projects such as a Facebook cover videos (which is required to be 820 x 462) you might get stuck and have to look for alternative ways around it. If there is a way to change the size dimensions in the free edition please let me know.
Being said, Avid Media Composer First does offer the ability to render at 720 and 1080 HD which I will get into later.
The next stage of video editing which I find important is keyboard shortcuts. For any video editor the ability to change the keyboard shortcuts to a previous order which you may be more familiar to is an actual god send. Lucky for me Avid has left this feature in the free edition and makes production time and flow so much easier.
Once all the technical details are out the way I then moved on to looking at the timeline. To be honest this did take some time getting use to as Avid has different editing modes which allow you to splice,move and expand your video footage. So going from each mode can be tricky when focusing more on your video. However, I'm sure there is a way around this by changing the shortcuts if this option is available in the keyboard panel.
When creating any kind of video content you are more than likely going to want to use some effects and transitions. This is where I expected to find a lot of restrictions but was very surprised to find a wide range from their own built in library and not to mention a lemair key effect for green screen style shooting. This feature alone makes this software crucial for anyone serious about film making.
So once I loaded some footage into my timeline using the very convenient browser panels I decided to render some footage and this is where you can find the size options, format and codecs you want to use. The fact that 1920 HD is available is amazing and really gives new users the chance to export to their full potential.
I have included some output files from some footage I captured while at Wilkestock Festival of a band called The Co-Pilots. https://www.facebook.com/thecopilotsband/
For best viewing make sure HD 1080 is selected in the quality
Avid rendered file, best quality
Orignal Video File
The output settings for this video were 'best' and I have included the original camera footage and file sizes for comparison.
In conclusion, if you are looking into getting started in video production this is the key. I really do think the decision to make this software package available to everyone is outstanding. By doing this I feel that many students and people who want to learn will actually have a good chance to become content creators. Not to mention the collaborating opportunity's are endless.