macOS Catalina Support Issues With Avid Media Composer

I Know You Want That New Mac Pro Now- But Please Take This Into Consideration

An announcement from Avid at the beginning of February removed all doubt from our thinking- The “Classic” versions of Avid Media Composer– Versions 2018 and prior will NOT have any development path with macOS 10.15 (Catalina) and beyond. This means Media Composer 2020 and later will be the only Media Composer versions qualified for the macOS moving forward.

The New Media Composer 2019 Interface

With Avid Technology not supporting macOS 10.15 (Catalina) for Media Composer 2018 (and earlier), a few challenges may occur for post production professionals using Apple Mac Pro.

The 4 Potential Challenges of no macOS support for Media Composer 2018 (and earlier):

  1. The new Mac Pro 2019 will only function with Mac OS 10.15 and later. The new Mac Pro system cannot be back-rev’ed to Mojave, or other older Apple operating systems.
  2. Since only 64-bit capable applications can work in Catalina, essential applications, like Apple’s Quick Time Pro 7, will no longer load, or function on an updated macOS system. Other codecs and plug-ins may not work either.
  3. Apple no longer supports Nvidia GPU of any type. If you were hoping to move that old high-powered NVIDIA card inside your new shiny Mac Pro, it would not work with the new OS.
  4. Juggling back-and-forth repeatedly between different versions of Media Composer has historically caused corruption, resulting in lost work, time, and missed deliveries. It becomes even dicier when your media composer is using plug-ins that play nice with only one version of the software.

The New Media Composer 2019 Interface

Larger Production Facilities, More macOS Complexities

If you are operating a stand-alone system with local storage- there are fewer things to consider when deciding whether to upgrade macOS and Media Composer. However, in workgroup workflows or large facilities– there are some questions to ask before pressing that “update” button.

Things to consider before upgrading your production facility to macOS Catalina, or buying that new Mac Pro:

  • Is your storage (NAS, SAN, Nearline) platform capable of functioning in the new OS? Many systems with client-side software could be affected by changing the OS. If you currently mount your media storage using a Command-K- you should be fine.
  • Are the non-Avid plug-ins you use still going to work if you move forward? Some plug-in developers have decided to cease Mac development. Even if this is not the case, you may need to purchase the plug-in again or buy software updates. Purchasing plug-ins can be a significant re-investment.

Post Production Facilities: To Mac Pro, or not to Mac Pro, that’s a Media Composer question

So, keeping these things in mind, what are your real options here?

Option #1 – Go all in on new Mac Pro, new Media Composer, upgraded plug-ins, and storage.

Move forward- You purchase that beautiful new Mac Pro (macOS Catalina) with the latest version of Avid Media Composer 2020, and Catalina compliant storage and software.

This option is certainly viable for independent editors, but might be hard for facilities with shared workgroups.

Option #2 – Switch to PC, and have access to all versions of Media Composer 

Move to PC hardware and Windows 10. The older versions of Media Composer software will function here. You may need to install different plug-ins or storage clients. Your past projects will transfer back-and-forth correctly, and you’ll be able to keep using the Media Composer 2018 (and earlier) GUI.

There is a Windows logo in the lower-left instead of an Apple in the upper left- typically, the editorial experience is the same. If you do go this route, we recommend a certified HP-Z Workstation, available through Key Code Media.

Option #3 – Buy a new iMac, Mac or Macbook Pro with macOS Mojave.

You purchase new hardware capable of previous revisions- and continue as you have. Much of the still shipping Apple product line can be back-rev’ed to Mac OS 10.14. iMac’s, iMac Pro’s, Mac Mini- these downgrade to macOS Mojave with the older, 32-bit capable software.

Option #4 – Go all in on new Mac Pro and make the switch to Premiere Pro or Da Vinci Resolve.

You Move forward with the new Mac Pro and change to a different editorial platform. You will still need macOS Catalina compliant storage and software.  This will be a learning curve to a different UI or editing paradigm- and is not to be taken lightly.

This can be a big decision- we’ve helped many through such changes- and we can help you through a transition like this if you need. Key Code Media wrote the tech books for these other possibilities after all. 

Option #5 – Partially move your editorial team into web-based tools

You move parts of your Avid editorial investment to web-based tools, like MediaCentral | Editorial Management. Using a web browser, a majority of your team can comment, tag, and make simple edits. More sophisticated editing will still require a Media Composer license, running on one of the setups mentioned above. However, a good amount of your staff would be able to do their work in the cloud, without any need to worry about future macOS (or Windows) releases.

This choice does involve storage infrastructure and workflow changes, but it’s something the Key Code Media team can set up fairly quickly.

Option #6 – Buy a new Mac Pro, Install Windows 10

The new Macs that we’ve been talking about are too good to pass up- but you’ll want to avoid the macOS drama for the short run.

You can configure the new Mac Pro (or any new Mac Pro hardware) running Windows 10. There is an Apple-approved method, which includes installing a few GPU drivers. With this method, you also get to maintain using 32-bit software.

The Mac OS “side” merely waits until you are ready to upgrade Media Composer. Meanwhile, you get the awesome looking new Mac Pro hardware, with the classic Avid Media Composer look and feel. 2018 and older versions of Avid software will function here.

Any cross-platform storage or plug-ins may need different installers for their client-side applications- your old projects move over, and you continue with the classic Media Composer GUI that you know and love. Of course, you will need to do some installations and restarts when you finally can upgrade to the latest macOS.

Trying To Figure Out How To Update Your Production To The New Mac Pro or macOS? Our Engineering Team Is Ready To Help You.

Key Code Media feels that the best choice is the INFORMED choice. There are technical, creative, and business decisions to consider before upgrading macOS or Media Composer. Luckily, our small army of ACSR engineers are standing by to help you with these decisions. Contact us: