When it comes to editing, I’ve always sided with Avid, no matter what. Sure, Media Composer et al can be quite a bitch in some areas and crash far too often for everyones taste, but despite all that, working with those programs just feels natural to me when in most other programs there’s always something that’s missing or put’s you off. Of course things weren’t looking all too rosy at some point because the company got stuck in the past with their products, trying to sell super-expensive turnkey systems when everybody was already doing work on normal Mac Pros with FCP, but recent releases, which Avid put out at considerable pace, have made good in many areas that were problematic. Be it the various audio enhancements or the native Quicktime exchange already made things a lot easier and now with version 6 they finally got around to what is perhaps the most relevant point of all – native 64bit for improved stability. About time that that happened, as soon enough you won’t be seeing too many workstation computers running 32bit at all anymore and most other editing programs already made that move.
The other big thing is their open I/O API finally allowing vendors to use their video hardware with Avid systems. I have slightly mixed feelings about that one, though. Since people will start using the third-party vendors’ native CoDecs eventually, this in turn will reduce interchangeability on many levels. Whether you liked it or not, the great thing about Avid‘s proprietary approach always has been that you could easily move data from system to system. Now that may not be that easy anymore – at worst you may see crashes if e.g. footage requires a Blackmagic card and it isn’t present and not be able to use projects at all, if things go better you may see longwinded conforms before being able to work. It really is a two-edged sword. It may also mean that in the long run the company will retire from the hardware business and focus on making their software the best they possibly can, only providing the necessary APIs or at best designing reference boards and letting others produce for the masses similar to what graphics chips manufacturers already do.