by Thomas Price | 8th March 2016
Avid Media Composer 8.5 was released not too long back and brought with it quite a few nice features, including HDR support, an overhauled menu, improved drag and drop within the timeline and more. This update seems aimed at improving workflow while simplifying the interface—both welcome additions by any Avid editor’s standards. Media Composer 8.5 Installation Issues Before I begin looking at the features that 8.5 has delivered, it’s probably worth noting that a few people have had difficulty with downloading the update through the Application Manager. If you’re one of those people, make sure you’re using the most recent version of Avid App Manager—if your manager is up to date and it still doesn’t work, a reinstall may be the solution (or you can go old school and install 8.5 manually). With that out of the way, it’s time for a quick look at what Media Composer 8.5 brings to the table. High Dynamic Range (HDR) Support Avid have jumped on the HDR wagon. That’s right. Media Composer users now have color spaces for HDR available for Dolby Vision, Sony S-Log3, BBC/NHK, and ACES profiles! This provides support for higher ranges of video signal, enabling automatic transformations dependent on the selected color track for a given project. Avid is recommending that HD projects use the 10 bit DNxHD444 and HQX while anything higher than HD should use the 12 bit DNxHR444 and DNxHQX. High Dynamic Range (HDR) Support—Now available in Media Composer 8.5 https://t.co/eyriZZDXvw #avid #mediacomposer pic.twitter.com/N4faeCRAQP — Avid Media Composer (@MediaComposer) January 29, 2016 High-Visibility Timeline Editing The timeline has been fired into the modern era, with clips remaining visible until they are dragged—at which point, they turn transparent so that you’ll be able to keep tabs on the overall layout of your timeline. Furthermore, if you have waveforms turned on, they’ll remain visible to ensure that clips can be lined up easier. If, for some reason, you prefer the old wireframe style then don’t despair—that can be turned back on from within Timeline Settings. High-Visibility Timeline Editing—Now available in Media Composer 8.5 https://t.co/eyriZZDXvw #avid #mediacomposer pic.twitter.com/MSafd0pryj — Avid Media Composer (@MediaComposer) January 29, 2016 Another workflow improvement is the ability to add tracks to the timeline by dragging a clip vertically. It does seem that there is a limit of adding one track at a time using this method. An audio track to match will be automatically created during this process. Adding Tracks in the Timeline—Now available in Media Composer 8.5 https://t.co/eyriZZDXvw #avid #mediacomposer pic.twitter.com/fRXMK3ZhKv — Avid Media Composer (@MediaComposer) January 29, 2016 64 Audio Tracks Gone are the days of 24 tracks of audio. Instead, Media Composer 8.5 offers 64 mono tracks—or voices. Of course, not all audio is equal and neither is the number of voices used per track per format. Mono – 1 voice Stereo – 2 voices 1 – 6 voices 1 – 8 voices Waveform Analysis Avid are a bit late to the party with this one, but still, it is nice to see that waveform analysis has been added to Media Composer 8.5. A quick look at social media shows that people are having mixed results with Avid’s answer to Waveform Syncing—for now, though, Media Composer users should be happy that it has finally been included; it’s a start and any shortcomings shouldn’t take too long to iron out. Sync Lock Trimming Media Composer 8.5 allows Sync Rollers to be enabled for Sync-Locked tracks. While this feature is set to be abundantly useful, it is going to take a while to get used to two new rollers, gray and dim yellow, have been added to the mix. Trimming with Sync Locks On—Now available in Media Composer 8.5 https://t.co/eyriZZDXvw #avid #mediacomposer pic.twitter.com/PwVHeGCUEM — Avid Media Composer (@MediaComposer) January 29, 2016 There’s also the new ‘end of trim’ indicators, which look great for helping to understand the effects that various trims will have on the timeline. Changes in Trimming Clips—Now available in Media Composer 8.5 https://t.co/eyriZZDXvw #avid #mediacomposer pic.twitter.com/C8mDetlBFu — Avid Media Composer (@MediaComposer) January 29, 2016 FrameFlex Rotation Images can be rotated or straightened at source level using a Z Rotation slider found in FrameFlex. Once any changes that you make to the source image in this way have been added to the timeline, you’ll also have the ability to animate them using the Effect Editor. Finally, these settings will be saved and available for reuse in the clip metadata. FrameFlex Rotation—Now available in Media Composer 8.5 https://t.co/eyriZZDXvw #avid #mediacomposer pic.twitter.com/ohNpLRJW59 — Avid Media Composer (@MediaComposer) January 29, 2016 Custom Columns for Bins A major improvement for organizing projects, adding custom columns to a bin in Media Composer just got a whole lot easier with the release of 8.5. Simply hit ‘Add Custom Colum’, name your new addition, and then do as you please! In the event that you choose more than one column to add to the bin, they’ll appear to the right of your selected column—and if you’ve not selected one, they’ll be sent straight to the far right. Adding Custom Columns to a Bin—Now available in Media Composer 8.5 https://t.co/eyriZZDXvw #avid #mediacomposer pic.twitter.com/OBuSwrgWCI — Avid Media Composer (@MediaComposer) January 29, 2016 Menu Simplification Much like the timeline changes, the new-look menu seems to be aimed at helping new Avid editors out a bit. Items have been shuffled around into more logical positions, including the Timeline, Composer, and Fast menus. For more information on the exact changes made, and the new locations of those menu items, check out the What’s New Guide (PDF). Menu Simplification—Now available in Media Composer 8.5 https://t.co/eyriZZDXvw #avid #mediacomposer pic.twitter.com/77a5cr5IKx — Avid Media Composer (@MediaComposer) January 29, 2016 Media Composer 8.5 also brings an update to the Effect Palette interface, making it easier to filter effects and find the items that you’re looking for. Thanks to new categories (including one for transitions!) and a search box, the process of navigation the once almost unnavigable just got a little bit better! Effect Palette Update—Now available in Media Composer 8.5 https://t.co/eyriZZDXvw #avid #mediacomposer pic.twitter.com/euDomqoZqa — Avid Media Composer (@MediaComposer) January 29, 2016 Video Memory and Video Frame Cache Media Composer 8.5 brings with it better response times, via caching any played frames (and their effects) in RAM. This allows frames to be replayed from the cache, rather than regenerated, reducing the resources required for the next run through. Furthermore, users can now increase the video memory allocated to Media Composer which should aid in reducing underrun errors. Video Memory and Video Frame Cache—Now available in Media Composer 8.5 https://t.co/eyriZZmm6W #avid #mediacomposer pic.twitter.com/cJOpih50eq — Avid Media Composer (@MediaComposer) January 29, 2016 Audio Mixer Update After years of users wondering why the Audio Mixer has been so unintuitive, Avid seem to have made a few steps towards improving it. An expand/collapse style has been added to the interface for controlling the track selector, which still leaves one question: why can’t the mixer just be resizable? Audio Mixer Tool Changes—Now available in Media Composer 8.5 https://t.co/v7BwM2iugp #avid #mediacomposer pic.twitter.com/tJkXVS7qhf — Avid Media Composer (@MediaComposer) January 29, 2016 OS Support: Windows 10 and OS X 10.11 Media Composer 8.5 brings official support for Windows 10 and OS X 10.11 (El Capitan) operating systems Media Composer 8.5’s Other Features Of course, there’s more to the update than just those listed. These include: Identifying rendered effects Opening a Settings Dialog in the Project Window Preset Project Format Management UI Customization, such as background color and Bin and Project font and font size Grouping clips by Waveform Analysis Timecode Burn-In update Applying the same text to a column for multiple items Linking and importing Broadcast Wave files Audio track Ordering Layout name change Avid Media Composer 8.5 has been out for a little over a month now and the features and updates included have tackled some issues that were a little overdue and helped Avid users improve their workflow. By Avid’s standards, 8.5 has been a fairly huge update and I’m personally looking forward to future updates to some of the new additions to the package. Keep your eyes peeled for some more in-depth, hands-on articles that’ll be coming after the Cinema5D team have had a chance to fully immerse themselves in Media Composer 8.5—for now, though, how has your experience of the update been? Let us know in the comments!Read more
by Nino Leitner | 1st March 2014
Over the years Avid has gone from being a very profitable company, to one that has been, and is still in financial trouble. Their stock has dropped rapidly, and many have lost confidence in a once viable company. Today Avid has restructured their team and the company has a whole in hopes to turn things around. The company continues to be supportive of Hollywood, but many core users have moved on to Adobe Premiere Pro or FCP, and even FCPX. Recently, Avid announced many films at British Academy Film Awards 2014, hosted by the British Academy of Film & Television Arts (BAFTA®) in London had won awards or were nominated were edited by customers using Avid Media Composer. These films at this year’s awards, including 12 Years A Slave, Gravity, American Hustle, Captain Phillips and Rush. Dan Hanley and Mike Hill, are winners of the Best Film Editing in 2014 award. They used Avid Media Composer to edit and craft Ron Howard’s Rush. Other nominees within the category who also crafted using Avid Media Composer include: Christopher Rouse for Captain Phillips, Joe Walker for 12 Years A Slave, and Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger for Gravity. Gravity, a critical success is the winner of the Best Sound in 2014 award. The film was mixed by Glenn Freemantle, Skip Lievsay, Christopher Benstead, Niv Adiri and Chris Munro. Their tools for their craft was also supported by Avid in the form of Pro Tools. Other nominees in the category who also used Pro Tools include: Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith, Chris Munro and Oliver Tarney for Captain Phillips; Danny Hambrook, Martin Steyer, Stefan Korte, Markus Stemler and Frank Kruse for Rush; and Peter F. Kurland, Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff and Paul Urmson for Inside Llewyn Davis. BAFTA Award nominee for Best Film Editing in 2014 for Captain Phillips, and long-time Avid Media Composer user Christopher Rouse, whose credits also include The Bourne Ultimatum and The Bourne Supremacy. Avid’s president and CEO Louis Hernandez, Jr said “With our passion for world-class content creation, we’re honored that these BAFTA award-winning and nominated professionals choose us as their trusted partner to push the boundaries of their craft,” “We celebrate their outstanding successes and thank them for inspiring our continual commitment to creating the industry’s most innovative solutions.” Is this a sign of Avid’s viability changing ? Are they a company that can now return from being near death at one point? It seems Avid is still supporting Hollywood mainstream, but are they listing to their core users? These are things we may find out at NAB this year. If Avid wishes to regain some lost glory, and profitability, they must continue to listen to their users for feedback. Their recent changes to Avid Media Composer to help make FCP users transition more easily was a step in the right direction. Let’s see what they have in store of us at NAB. Avid Media Composer 7 (Activation Card) – $874.99 LINK Pro Tools 11 – $575.98 LINKRead more
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