The latest version of Avid's Media Composer has a more fully featured set of tools for stereoscopic editorial and has been well received by beta customers including commercials and promo production outfit, Pointy Stick.
Avid has had stereo tools since Version 3.5 released in February 2009, principally as a way for users to view stereo footage in the edit without having to conform in a costly high-end post suite.
Version 6, which ships 15 November, goes much further. While the familiar Avid interface remains the same, Avid has now added metadata support to the stereo footage.
“Each ‘eye’ can require specific correction to match them up no matter how well prepared the rig and lens alignment is on set,” explains Angus Mackay, marketing manager. “V6 is about stereo management. Many of our customers bring a Media Composer on set and will ingest dailies as footage is generated to start to evaluate and do rough assembly so that they can make adjustments immediately.
“The product also has tools to finish directly in Media Composer,” he added. “If the piece is intended for broadcast at HD resolution all the necessary finishing tools for colour correction, alignment, effects and titling are there.”
Production company Pointy Stick was a test site and used the beta version on a recent set of short films and spots for Epson featuring Manchester United players (captain, Rio Ferdinand, pictured).
“That we were willing to risk a beta on a job of this importance shows just how improved the functionality is,” says founder and creative director Michael Lindsay. “If you are doing a 20-second ad or a three-minute promo then perhaps you don’t need stereo editorial because you have less footage to work with and more financial resource when you step to online. But if you have a longer form job where your shoot ratio is higher, then you need the editorial shot selection process.
“Since there are always issues such as interaxial adjustments that need addressing with 3D, an editorial tool that can highlight those problems and help address them before you get to online has been missing in our workflow to date. If you can get those shots fixed ahead of time it is a big deal.”
He added: “Everything we have edited in 3D has always been a bit of a workaround and quite painful. So much so that there are stereo jobs we haven’t pitched for, simply because of the hassles involved. What Avid is offering is really quite significant. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to say yes to several projects we were previously worried about.”
Lindsay feels that the biggest beneficiaries in broadcast will be documentary makers because of the relatively slim budgets and high shooting ratio.
“They need to be making the right decisions at the cheapest place, which is in the editorial space, not later on in post,” he said.
Media Composer v6 software will cost £1,714. The same suite of stereo tools will also be available in NewsCutter v10 (£1,714) and Symphony v6 (£4,115).