I've been cutting video on Avid software for much longer than ten years now. Probably closer to fourteen years...I started out on an Avid Xpress Meridien system that ran on a huge IBM Intellistation that weighed as much as the equipment desk it was anchored on!

Things have come a very long way since then. Light years, in fact. I can now do more on a laptop in my living room that I could on my old Intellistation with its Betacam SP decks.

Having renewed my annual Avid maintenance in May I only got around to loading the latest version of Media Composer, now at version 8.5, this week after setting up my new Zbook. I haven't been on 8.5 for long and there will undoubtedly be plenty of reviews out there (it's been available for a while now), but my own initial observations include that a lot has changed: I spent quite a lot of time this afternoon SEARCHING for functions and menus. However this is not a complaint, far from it. Actually it all makes a lot more sense now!

The Effect Palette has been reorganised and this does actually make a lot more sense than with previous versions. It took me a while to discover that I couldn't find Dip to Colour because I was looking under Filters instead of Transitions (I suppose I should read the release notes at some stage...) But again I like this.

Looking for Import or Link to Media? Nah, it's no longer where it used to be. Again this makes more sense than with previous versions.

Looking to mixdown that massive effects sequence you spent a week on? Yeah that's moved too...

Media Composer just keeps on getting better and better and this version is proof of that. If you're just starting out in video post production or doing video for a hobby this is overkill and way too much software for you, honestly. Media Composer has become a bit kinder than before but still assumes that you know what you're doing when you sit down in the editor's chair. And that's the way it should be. It's a no-nonsense professional tool that gets the job done and the bills paid. Please stay that way Avid!