Upgrading Avid Media Composer to version 8.3 and OSX to Yosemite

Image showing Avid 4K project selection
4K editing with Avid Media Composer

How the software updating process worked out for me as a freelance video editor

Being a freelance editor it’s important for me to stay up to date with the latest in video production technology. I wanted to make sure that I am able to edit in 4K (which Avid version 8.3 enables). I decided to update my Avid edit suite from version 7 to the latest version 8.3 and at the same time took the opportunity to upgrade my MAC operating system from Mavericks to Yosemite 10.10.1. I’ve been editing for broadcast clients on Avid since 1998 and am experienced in managing both straightforward one client and more complex multi-client system upgrades. Before I started I ensured I had scheduled some clear workdays. From past experience, I know that significant upgrades usually have at least a few problems to resolve which can take some time to fix. I think it’s definitely best to avoid upgrades when you are under pressure or have work deadlines to meet.

Upgrading

Whether to upgrade your operating system and/or Avid version is more straightforward for me compared to that for a post-production house or facility. Careful consideration needs to be given to Avid upgrades when working in a live broadcast environment with multiple clients and associated systems for example Avid Interplay and ISIS.  Avid always do release a document listing their qualified systems and compatibility. Even so, new bugs can appear that can cause a major headache to your workflow and effect deliverables. In my experience, a workaround can generally be found with most new Avid bugs but these can take extra edit time to resolve and implement.

I decided to buy into Avid perpetual licence scheme which meant I had to pay £228 for the next whole year to use Avid. I could have stuck with Avid version 7.0.3 but that would have meant I could not edit native 4k. Buying into their perpetual licence scheme means that I also get the next years Avid upgrades and their technical support for the coming year as well. As I found out it was to be very welcome technical support.

The first thing I did was to back up my Macintosh HD onto my Pegasus RAID 5. I also ran a Carbon Clone of that Raid 5 so I had protection should I have a RAID failure. This also meant that I had two copies of the Avid projects in a safe place in addition to my MAC 1TB hard drive.

Once the hard drive had been backed up I installed Yosemite which all progressed smoothly. I then paid for and downloaded the latest Avid version. I followed through the usual uninstall routine first and then installed Avid 8.3. I then launched Avid and got the error message ‘Bus Error Thread’. I reported the problem on the Avid Community Forum website to see if anyone had experienced the same situation. I then spent the next day going through the uninstall/install process and investigating the many usual fixes for Avid problems that I know of.

Avid support

After being unsuccessful with a fix I contacted Avid Support and then spent a couple of hours with their team on the phone trying various options.  I got a call back a few hours later with a suggested fix. They wanted me to check to see if creating a new MAC admin user would fix the problem. It did and fixed the Avid problem completely which was a big relief. I didn’t actually pin down the exact file that was causing the problem. I just migrated all the essential files to the new admin user account. It was great to receive such a quick and professional response from the Avid support team.

So after the big upgrade, I still had some more work to do. Carbon Clone needed a new upgrade for the Yosemite operating system. My old version of CS3 didn’t work so I’ve had to join the monthly subscription to Photoshop CC. All extra costs on top of the Avid licence.

PluralEyes also needed an upgrade to version 3.5. Prior to the upgrade for PluralEyes I had already AMA linked a set of media rushes and transcoded those in a new Avid project. When I came to sync the transcoded rushes up using PluralEyes I discovered that I needed to update the PluralEyes version. After updating the version to 3.5 it still would not sync up the AAF export of the transcoded rushes. After trying a few things with no success I deleted all transcoded and AMA linked master clips and started again re-linking the camera files via AMA and transcoding again. This time PluralEyes synced up the AAF export and I was able to copy it back into the Avid bin and edit it in the timeline.

So a couple of weeks later everything thing has settled down and is working normally. I’m now looking forward to a problem free and busy year. If you have any questions or would like advice on anything regarding your video production or post-production please do drop me a message.

Posted in

Julian Langham

Julian started his career in media in 1994; shortly after Julian was invited to join the BBC where he was quickly promoted to Editor. Julian left the BBC to develop his freelance career in 2009. Highly-practised and skilled in constructing engaging narratives, Julian’s key strength is his ability to produce strong visually-led stories. In his work, Julian shares his passion for creating powerful synergies between story content, visual rhythm and music.