Five Things to Know About Media Composer | First

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If you’ve ever wanted to make web videos, independent film or television and want to get professional-looking results without breaking the bank, you’re in luck. If you haven’t heard the news, we’re introducing a completely free version of the legendary Media Composer software—the software the professionals use—that will put many of those same tools into your hands. The free version is called Media Composer | First. Whether you want to break into feature film or television, be a YouTube star, make independent film, or simply make movies to share with family and friends, you’ll want to check this out. It’s got everything you need to tell your story from start to finish, including sophisticated video editing, visual effects, audio and more. Media Composer | First is fully capable, yet simple enough for aspiring editors and indie filmmakers to learn.

Media Composer | First is coming in 2016. Be sure to sign up now to stay informed about its progress and be among the first to be notified as soon as it’s ready for download. In the meantime, here are five things to know about Media Composer | First.

02 17 2015 AC Top Reasons Attend One

What is Media Composer, and why should I want a free version of it?

Avid Media Composer is the world’s leading professional video editing system, used and trusted throughout the movie and television industries. In fact, it’s currently used to edit 99% of all North American primetime television. And 100% of the 2015 Oscar nominees for Best Picture and Best Film Editing used Media Composer. That’s a pretty impressive mix of quantity and quality—nearly every show on television in the prime hours, and nearly all of the best-loved and most award-winning television shows and movies.


Media Composer | First

“We’re introducing a completely free version of the legendary Media Composer software—the software the professionals use—that will put many of those same tools into your hands.”

At this level, video editing goes far beyond the basics of cutting a few shots together. A one-hour TV show might be pieced together from hundreds of hours of camera footage, plus special effects shots, plus all kinds of overlays and graphics, all with color correction and more. To get to this result, writers write a script, a director and crew and actors shoot the raw footage, graphic artists create computer-generated images, audio specialists create the music and sound effects, and much more.

But the editors are the people that put the whole thing together—the storytellers who actually create the finished product.

Sound like fun? It’s a blast. I’ve stayed up all night just playing around on Media Composer, and envy people that get to do this for a living. If you’ve never tried it, you’re in for an amazing ride. Sitting down at Media Composer puts you at the controls of an amazingly muscular, nimble, powerful machine, and I can’t wait for Media Composer | First to be available.

It’s been said that a movie is really made in the editing room. Chances are, most of your favorite movies were created on Avid systems. The best of the best use Avid Media Composer. To be sure, the full Media Composer is a serious set of power tools. Skilled editors continue to develop their craft and explore new ways of pushing their talents even further. So with Media Composer | First, we want to provide a streamlined version of Media Composer that’s simple enough for beginners to learn, yet sophisticated enough for the experienced video professionals.

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Why is Avid offering a free version of Media Composer?

Avid is committed to the success of content creators—from individual artists to creative teams and media enterprises. Media Composer | First is designed to help nurture today’s up and coming artists with new, unique voices wanting to be heard. Avid has a vision called Avid Everywhere, and part of that vision is to provide individual artists with the right tools and the right opportunities to express themselves. To help empower individual artists, Avid wants to give everyone access to many of the same tools used by top pros around the world.  The company recently launched Pro Tools | First, making it easy for anyone to start creating music, and with the addition of Media Composer | First for video creation, there are even more opportunities for new voices.


These First offerings not only provide tools to tell your stories, they give you access to the Avid Marketplace. In the Marketplace, you’ll be able to find everything else you need to make your dream a reality. You can expand your creative palette with additional content and resources, like stock footage and music, software plug-ins and applications, and additional cloud storage capacity. You can find and connect with collaborators that complement your skills and vision. And when your project is finished, you can post it on the Marketplace to share with the world.

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How does Media Composer | First compare to the full version of Media Composer?

Simply put, Media Composer | First is great for getting started with video editing, while Media Composer is ideal for more serious, professional work.

With Media Composer | First, you’ll get an easy, free entry into the world of Media Composer. You’ll learn and experience the same basic steps and workflows as the full Media Composer. And you’ll build skills that will help you grow into Media Composer, the tool the pros use.


“Media Composer | First is designed to help nurture today’s up and coming artists with new, unique voices wanting to be heard. “

One fundamental difference is the way projects are handled. With Media Composer, you can create and save as many projects as you want and save them wherever you want, including onto local hard drives. Media Composer | First saves all projects to the cloud and includes a limited number of cloud projects and cloud storage, with more project and storage capacity available on the Marketplace. That said, the media is still stored locally, largely to ensure the best possible playback performance.

Finally, while Media Composer includes a full set of highly customizable features, you can expect Media Composer | First to have fewer features that are less customizable. This is a good thing for people getting started in Media Composer, as having a manageable set of features that isn’t too complex is the perfect way to learn. As you become more advanced, you can go to the Avid Marketplace to expand your palette or even move up to Media Composer.

If you’re familiar with Media Composer, here’s some general direction on the types of limitations to expect in Media Composer | First*:

Settings—limited and simplified, offering reduced or no customization
Menus—offers a subset of the full Media Composer menus
Timeline—limited video and audio tracks, with a simplified interface
Source/Record Monitors—simplified interface
Bins—limited column support, with limited types and number of bins
Closed Captions—offers limited functionality
LUTs—limited and simplified, offering reduced or no customization
Import/Export/AMA—limited and simplified, offering reduced or no customization

Titles—basic titles with a few included templates
FX—basic effects like PIP, Dissolve, Flip/Flop, offering reduced or no customization
Buttons—No re-mapping of buttons
Keyboard—Default mapping only, offering reduced or no customization
Trim—limited and simplified, offering reduced or no customization
Interface—limited and simplified
Multicam—limited and simplified
Compatibility—Media Composer | First will not work with Interplay | Production, Interplay | MAM, MediaCentral | UX, or ISIS systems

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I don’t live near a production center like Hollywood, what does that mean for my career?

In today’s global, connected world, Hollywood is more of a concept than a physical place. Filmmaking has always been a collaborative art form—just watch the credits at the end of a TV show or movie. But now high-speed Internet has fundamentally changed the way productions work. You can live and work anywhere, and fully participate in collaborative content creation. Productions can now take advantage of a global talent pool. Remote multi-site collaboration is common. Many productions now disperse shooting, editing, audio post, effects, color correction, and mastering duties all over the globe. Media Composer editors are part of that global community and talent pool, collaborating on the world’s leading shared platform for media creation. A Media Composer artist is no longer limited to working locally, and no longer dependent upon any facility’s Media Composer systems. Individual editors can now own the means of production and connect to clients—no matter where they’re located in the world.


Media Composer | First not only introduces you to the toolset, it introduces you to the possibilities of the cloud. It saves your projects in the cloud so you can access them from anywhere. You can expect to have a variety of ways to collaborate in the cloud, starting with Media Composer | First. Once you’ve learned the ropes, you’ll be able to upgrade to Media Composer, giving you the connectivity tools to fully participate in global collaborative workflows on the Avid MediaCentral Platform.

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How can I learn more?

Media Composer | First will be available in 2016. In the meantime, there are plenty of opportunities to start building knowledge and skills now.

  • Explore great content on the Avid Blogs

> Get a feel for Media Composer by watching the Get Started Fast with Media Composer
> The Power of Filmmaking is in picture editing, read the interview with editor Mcik Audsley
> Ask the Filmmakers: Editor Martin Walsh and Supervising Sound Editor James Mather on Cinderella, read the story

  • Watch some videos

> Behind the scenes with Gravity, watch the video
> See how Bad Robot brings Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Trek and more, watch the video

  • Read customer stories

> Award-winning Sherlock editor Yan Miles unlocks the secrets of editing with Avid Everywhere, read the story
> Avid Everywhere Helps Put Sin City Back on the Map, read the story
> William Goldenberg cracks the edit room code for The Imitation Game with Avid Everywhere, read the story

I hope this gives you a better idea of the upcoming Media Composer | First. We’ll be providing updates as we get closer to availability. It’s an exciting time! Thanks for visiting Avid blogs, and please feel free to explore more blogs on Filmmaking, Music, and Newsrooms, as well as updates from Avid Connect.

* Avid expects to release Media Composer | First in 2016. Because it’s still under development, please note that the details provided are intended to outline general product direction, for informational purposes only. It is not a commitment to deliver any material, code, or functionality. Certain features may be only available as purchasable in-app options. The development, release, and timing of any features or functionality remain at the sole discretion of Avid as part of their development plan for 2016 and are subject to change without notice.


Sign Up to Get Notified

Stay informed. Sign up now and  be notified when Media Composer | First is available.

A grizzled veteran now on my second tour of duty with Avid, I write about the Pro Video Segment with a view from inside Avid HQ.
  • Matt Taylor

    Charlie – Thanks for the great write up! The First edition of Avid looks perfect for getting into video creation with my GoPro clone.

  • Grande Cristiano

    Estou aguardando o lançamento da ferramenta.

    • Alan Leitão

      O ProTools First foi uma decepção. Acho que o MC First também será.

  • Krix “Christopher” Dolph

    I want to design a graphic map highlighting locations on avid media composer 8. Does anyone have any idea?

  • Taiwan Brown

    I just found out about this…

    I have been waiting for them to make a free version since discontinuing Avid Free DV… very cool of the company to do so.