Media Composer 8.1 Updates Professional Features for Creative Editorial

By in Media Composer Updates, Video Editing

The following is a guest contribution from editor, Wim Van den Broeck. With more than a decade of Media Composer editing experience, he has a huge passion for Avid video editing, his main tool to achieve the best possible results for his clients. You can follow him as @editorbelga on Twitter.

Avid just released the first update of Media Composer | Software, since its launch, last May. If you have a Subscription, Perpetual or Floating License plan, you are entitled to this new version! Look for the update in your Application Manager. Customers with Internet connections will see notifications of an update in their Application Manager. Click “Update” in Application Manager to start the download and installation process without having to go to the Avid web site. Those without internet connections on their systems or those who wish to manually install the software can obtain the new version from their MyAvid account or the Video Download Center.

There are lots of new features in this release. We invite you to share and/or like your favorite one(s) through the attached Instagram Video links (just click the Instagram logo, followed by “View on Instagram” to view or like). As always, you can find more details about changes and features in the Media Composer | Software Documentation.

Here are some of the latest new features to boost your creativity and efficiency.

AAX Plug-in Support

The editing application now supports 64 bit AAX (Avid Audio eXtension) plug-ins. AAX plug-ins are audio effects that you apply to tracks within your sequence. These plug-ins let you process audio effects on a track in real time so that you can play them back or output them without rendering them. These are the very same AAX audio effects that Avid Pro Tools supports.

AAX plug-ins replace the RTAS plug-ins. Most of the RTAS plug-in parameters are available as AAX parameters. Therefore you can use older sequences with RTAS effects without re-tweaking the new AAX parameters. Please read the What’s New Guide to make sure which of your old RTAS plug-ins get automatically updated to AAX plug-ins.

It’s worth mentioning that Media Composer now has delay compensation, so that plug-in processing delays won’t introduce A/V sync slip.

Muting Individual Clips

You can now mute individual video and audio clips in the Timeline. Mute an audio or video clip in the Timeline by either selecting and right clicking the clip and choosing Mute clips or selecting Mute clips from the Clip menu. Muted clips play back as filler. They can be edited like non muted clips. You can select, move and trim them. The clip keeps its timing and position in the sequence. A muted clip is grayed out and the clip text appears in italics.

Disabling Video Tracks

It is now possible to disable a video track in the Timeline (just like an Audio Track before). When a video track is disabled, the entire input for that track is disabled and it appears grayed out (or a slightly darker highlight if the track has a highlight color) in the Timeline.

When a track is disabled, you cannot render any effects on that track. For example, if you disable a track and then try to render an effect on the disabled track, you will receive a “No effects to render” message.

Copying & Dragging Segments

Copying and dragging segments has been changed in this release of Media Composer | Software. Using a segment tool, click and hold the segment you want to copy and drag. Press Option (Mac) or Alt (Windows) and drag the segment. A plus sign (+) appears in the segment if you have selected it properly for a copy drag. Now just drop the copied segment in the new position in the Timeline. You can also select multiple clips and copy them all at once in the Timeline.

Fine-Tune Dragging

The following changes have been made when dragging in the User Interface:

  • Pressing Shift while dragging the Trim Roller, fine-tunes the movement
  • Pressing Shift while dragging a Segment, fine-tunes the movement.(This functionality used to be on the Alt (Windows) Option (Mac) modifiers when dragging a segment. Now, Alt (Windows) Option (Mac) is used for copy drag)

Deselecting Filler Options

A new Timeline Settings option allows you to choose whether or not you want filler to be selected when using the Segment Tools. The Select Filler with Segment Tools option appears in the Timeline Settings Edit tab. If you do not want filler selected when using the Segment Tools, make sure the Select Filler with Segment Tools option is deselected. Using the Alt key (Windows) or Option key (Macintosh) while selecting the Select Left, Select Right, or Select In/Out button will exclude filler from the selection if the Select Filler with Segment Tools option is selected and will include filler from the selection if the Select Filler with Segments Tools is deselected.

End Of Trim Indicators

With this release, on tracks that run out of room to trim, the editing application adds white brackets to the trim indicators so you can clearly identify the track or tracks that run out of “material” to trim any further. All tracks that cause the trim to stop will display these indicators.

Extend <Shift> Trim Click

Adding and removing trim rollers in “Trim Mode” is made a lot easier by NOT requiring users to click near a transition when the <shift> key is down in Trim Mode. In previous versions you had to click near a cut to add rollers. Now, you can click anywhere in an adjoining segment when the <shift> key is down. The transition affected by clicking will be the one closest to the cursor, in other words, it will change in the middle of the segment. This feature does not affect trim click behavior when close to a transition; that behavior remains the same.

Avid Image Sequencer

The Avid Image Sequencer Plug-in allows you to AMA Link to DPX files. The DPX format is an ANSI and SMPTE standard based on the Kodak Cineon file format, and is used to store a single frame of a motion picture or video data stream. The Avid Image Sequencer AMA Plug-in is automatically installed when you install the Avid editing application, so there’s no need to go and download a separate AMA DPX Plug-in.

Mixdown Multiple Audio Tracks

Media Composer | Software now allows you to generate multiple audio mixes. You can map multiple inputs into multiple output channels and create up to 24 output channels for the mix. Easily map the inputs for each output channel by clicking to enable the input buttons for each channel. Holding Shift + hovering over the inputs toggles them on and off. Alt + clicking on a column, toggles all inputs in that column. You can click the button above the Output channel to apply the Master Fader effects and gain value to this output mix. Select the type of output for each output channel by right-clicking the channel and selecting either Mono, Stereo, Dual Mono, Surround 5.1, or Surround 7.1. For more info and options about this new feature, please read the What’s New Guide.

Frame View Border Colors & Icons

You can now let the application show border colors in Frame View based on either the object type or a customized clip color. Icons can also be shown in Frame View.

Export AMA MXF OP1a

Media Composer | Software now supports AMA exporting of MXF OP1a media, with up to 16 channels of output and ancillary data. Just navigate to File > AMA File Export, or right click the Sequence in the bin and select AMA File Export. From the drop-down menu choose MXF OP 1a Export. For the moment, DNxHD (with data rate numbers according to Project Settings) and J2K Video Compressions are supported.

Place Saved Title In Timeline

While saving a title, you can now automatically place it between an In and/or Out mark in the Timeline. Make sure you have an In and/or Out mark selected in your Timeline. The tracks listed are based on the tracks available for the current sequence or choose the “topmost track”.

AMA Media Associated With Projects

AMA Clips are now associated with projects, therefore, it is now possible to filter out AMA media in the Media Tool. If you want AMA Master clips to appear in the Media Tool, make sure the AMA Master Clips option is selected. If you do not want AMA media from appearing in the Media Tool, deselect AMA Master clips. You can also choose to filter out AMA media from the Bin. Select Set Bin Display from the Bin Menu and deselect AMA Media.

More New Features in Media Composer

Color Management Support for ARRI AMIRA Camera Embedded Looks

Media Composer | Software now recognizes both ARRI LogC and Rec. 709 color spaces from the ARRI AMIRA cameras, and applies (when enabled in the color management settings) the proper transformation to Rec.709 for the LogC ones. Furthermore, if the LogC clips also include metadata about a Look (LUT and CDL), those transformations will also be applied during the conversion to Rec.709. Any applied transformations can be seen in the color encoding tab of the source settings or under the Color transformations bin column.

Merging Color-Corrected Sequences (Symphony Option)

An editor might work on one copy of a sequence while a colorist continues to make color adjustments on another copy. You can now merge the two sequences to reflect the changes made on both copies. The Merge Correction command merges any color corrections based on Source Tape, Clip Name, Master Clip, Segment, or Sub Clip relationships, or based on Program Track or Segment relationships, into the latest version of the edited sequence.

Setting Playback Quality for AMA plug-ins

In the Media Creation Settings, under the Mixdown & Transcode Tab and Render Tab there is now an AMA Source Scaling/Quality. This sets the playback quality for AMA plug-ins that support adjustable playback quality (e.g. RED, Sony HDCAM-SR, Sony RAW, AVCHD, and ARRI RAW). You can choose Full, Half (Best Quality), Half (Good Quality), Quarter, Eighth, Sixteenth.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This item is no longer applicable pending a status update from the Media Composer Team.

QuickTime AMA Live Link

Lots of QuickTime files linked via AMA could cause delays in very large projects, because they had AMA Live Link enabled by default. This AMA Live Link feature would constantly check if there were any newer version of your Quicktime file available on the system. Now, the user can improve the performance of AMA linked Quicktime files by disabling Quicktime AMA Live Link, under the AMA Settings.

Viewer Performance Improvements

Media Composer | Software will now be using Open GL/GPU for displaying video on the desktop. So you will so improved performance while starting and stopping playback, resizing windows and switching modes.

Multicam Performance Improvements

Scrubbing in Multicamera and Group Clips is now much more responsive. From now on, they will use the same Fast Scrub mode. Open I/O devices are also much more responsive when scrubbing in Multicamera Sequences. And the playback of Multicamera will now show you performance hints (red/yellow marks) in the timeline.

Cancel an Add Mark

When adding a marker in the Marker Window, selecting Cancel will remove the marker from the selected location. Other various fixes and improvements have been made to the Marker Window.

Grouping Stereoscopic Clips

Stereoscopic clips can now be used in group clips and used for multicam editing in the same manner as regular clips. You can mix both regular and stereoscopic clips in a group clip.

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I'm Social Media Manager for Avid and editor-in-chief of Avid Blogs. You can find me on Twitter at @editorbelga.