Getting new Avids working

By S Simmons. Filed in Editing  |  
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It’s been an interesting last few days as we installed two new Avid Media Composer software systems with Mojo SDIs at the facility. The new machines are Mac Pro dual-quad core machines; the Octo-Macs. They are screaming fast but they shipped with Mac OSX 10.4.10. This brings up an interesting predicament. As of this posting, Avid only supports OSX 10.4.9. That means to be officially supported one must downgrade the shipping operating system. Seems simple enough but you must first locate an older os install. We purchased our new systems from a local reseller who tested the machines with a set-up at their facility. When we got the systems in-house we noticed some severe popping and crackling of the audio on both machines. They were identical machines with the exception of one Mac with a second internal hard drive with a Final Cut Pro install and an AJA Kona card. We spent a whole day troubleshooting the issue with Avid support as well as our reseller. After much trial and error the reseller believed that the problem came from the way they had to “backdoor” the older os install. They had jumped through hoops and located a 10.4.8 install which was then updated to 10.4.9. When we updated to 10.4.10 the popping went away. That os isn’t supported by Avid. The problem was solved when the reseller located a true 10.4.9 install. We reinstalled everything and were up and running.

This brings up an interesting issue. How is a software manufacturer supposed certify new, faster computers when the shipping os hasn’t been certified. Avid is often criticized (by me included) that they don’t support Mac os upgrades quick enough. We always want the latest and greatest don’t we? A conversation with Avid support yielded some interesting answers. I asked how you can support a machine and not the os that ships on it … he said that is part of the game as Windows machines ship with Vista and Avid doesn’t support that yet either. It sounds like downgrading an os isn’t an unusual thing in Avid world when you want to use the latest and greatest and fastest computers. But the most striking thing the Avid tech guy said was that Apple used to supply pre-release operating system versions for Avid to certify. But they stopped when Final Cut Pro came along. Come on Apple, that’s very petty … afraid of a little competition? I wonder if they will do that with Adobe now that Premiere Pro is back on the Mac?

UPDATE: Andrew Kimpton from Avid posted a nice follow up to this article over on his blog. Thanks for going into some good detail Andrew.

8 comments to “Getting new Avids working”

  1. Comment by Phil Crawley:

    I think it’s a brave person who runs Avid on Mac nowadays!

    I think it was around v.11 Meridien (2002 – just prior to Adrenaline) that Avid stopped developing on Mac and merely cross-compile – remember the pain of the first G5 releases? We’re London’s biggest Avid reseller and it is the case that the Windows releases are more stable and faster on equivent hardware than the OS-X versions.

  2. Comment by Andrew Kimpton:

    I’ve a follow-up article and a clarification on my blog at :

  3. Comment by Alex Gollner:

    Very minor pendantic point: There’s a typo in the headline of this post. You don’t need an apostrophe in “Avid’s” as you are using the word as a plural, not possessive. Please delete this comment once you read it! (The anti-spam word on the comment form was ‘avid’!)

  4. Comment by Alex Gollner:

    Sorry about the multiple comments, but pedantic Alex in the previous post miss-spelled ‘pendantic’!

  5. Comment by editblog:

    Thanks for watching the grammar Alex. Those early morning posts sometimes don’t get proof read!

  6. Comment by J. Curtis:

    The problem of OSes moving faster than solftware developers can keep up isn’t a new one. I still hear stories about people who won’t upgrade to Vista because XP service pack 2 was the last officially sanctioned OS for their particular ap. Software companies, like Apple and Microsoft, have the resources to test their software by certain perameters but not the time, inclination or interest in testing *every* piece of software written for their platform…they leave that up to the users.

    Apple is absurdly tightlipped about product updates except where it comes to their OS. Anyone with a few bucks can join Apple’s ADC program (free accouts = access to seldom read tech notes and older developer code, ~$1000 accounts get you in the door to get Leopard pre-releases). Once you join, seeds of upcoming versions are often available….until it ships.

    Unfortunately, all that goes out the window when Apple does one of these small point updates. They, again, rely on the users to fix what they didn’t know would break.

  7. Comment by Daniel Haff:

    I just graduated from my local Community College with an associates degree in communications, and am transferring to Columbia College Hollywood this fall (majoring in film editing).  I recently upgraded my home system (HP 8000 Workstation) to Express Pro 5.7.2 and added the Mojo system.  CCH only uses Apple systems for their Avid editing, and they suggested I buy a MacBook Pro MA610LL/A and install the Windows OS (XP Pro) and Parallels 3.0, so I can run both operating systems.  My question is, can I install my current Express Pro 5.7.2 program on this new configurated Apple MacBook, and use my current dongle to run the program under either the Windows or Mac OS, or do I need to purchase a new program from Avid to use on my new laptop?  Any help you can give me would be greatfully appreciated. regards Daniel Haff

  8. Comment by editblog:

    Daniel.. I don’t know if you can do an install on both and use the same dongle. I would guess maybe you can since they include both in the same box. I would try the install and see. They included an Uninstaller with the install so removing it shouldn’t be a big deal!