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Media Composer 8.5 Review

Avid Media Composer is the professional video editing software preferred by most movie editors.

Our Verdict

Media Composer is everything you need in one application; just be prepared to put in time to realize its true potential.


  • Media Composer comes with all the tools you need to make mainstream entertainment, from movies to TV shows and commercials.


  • This is a very complicated program best used by advanced users only.

Few words describe the breadth of the array of editing tools found in Media Composer. “Everything” is the most accurate description. Animatte, time warp, color correction, stereoscopic editing, chromakey and keyframing are just a small sample of the tools in this application. And they’re all excellent – an application doesn’t achieve what Avid has by delivering substandard editing tools.

We don’t recommend this product for the amateur or prosumer; only the truly professional, properly trained should consider this software. It would simply be wasted money and effort for anyone else. If you want to use this powerful software, you should invest some time and money in learning how it works and use another program to master the basics of editing video.

However, it should be noted that there is a free version of the program called Media Composer | Free. This free version is your best bet to train on video editing if you plan to be a Hollywood professional but don’t have the time or money for paid course.

One of the best features in Media Composer is the ability to edit remotely via the cloud. This is a huge leap forward for this software because pro video editors no longer need to be at their physical stations at an editing house to perform their work. Only one other product we reviewed has this ability.

When you choose Media Composer to edit a project, it's a near certainty that you’ll be dealing with many different media types and file formats, as well as hundreds or thousands of individual bits of video footage and audio files. Avid understands this and offers several powerful tools to help you organize all your media. One of the most useful of these is what Avid calls Dynamic Media Folders. These folders allow you to automate certain aspects of the editing workflow. For example, you can create a folder that automatically transfers footage from a certain type of camera when it’s connected. Alternatively, you can program a folder to perform tasks such as transcoding files when they’re placed there. This can be a terrific timesaver when you are dealing with a project that requires you to do repetitive minutia like copying and transcoding.

When you’re done producing your project, you need to have the right options to fit the type of media you’re creating. This application allows you to export to most file types and formats – not as many as you can with some other professional video editors, but there are no omissions that would lead an editor to reject the software.

Media Composer doesn’t author optical discs like DVD and Blu-ray directly within the program. This may seem superfluous and not the purview of a professional video editor. However, more and more professional video editing programs include this feature.

Although you can install Media Composer on both Windows and Mac machines, you will probably want to buy an especially high-power computer to run it on. When we installed the program on our test machine, we noticed it was significantly slower than other industry-standard video editors like Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro X.

Avid Media Composer is a behemoth in the world of video editing software. Most mainstream movies and TV shows use Avid as their editing program. The reason it is a trusted name is it provides incredibly powerful tools and leaves professional editors wanting for nothing.

J.D. Chadwick
J.D. Chadwick joined the Top Ten Reviews team in 2008 and has been one of our most prolific content creators. Originally the head writer of the video content department, he was essential in the creation of hundreds of review videos. Additionally, he created, wrote and produced the daily tech news show Top Ten Reports throughout its 2009-2011 run. Since 2011 he has created content and articles on a wide variety of our product categories. With over a decade of service at Top Ten Reviews, he has produced thousands of articles, reviews and videos on hundreds of topics. He is currently our Multimedia and Home Improvement Editor.