Media Composer 8.4 Introduces Projects with Custom Frame Sizes

By in Media Composer Updates, Video Editing

The Avid Pro Video team is proud to launch a new update of Media Composer (8.4) with tons of exciting new features, making it the most versatile and accessible tool for professional creative editorial. You will see this update as an Editor Patch or Full Installer in your Application Manager when connected to the Internet. If you don’t have an internet connection on your system, just go to your Master Avid Account or the Video Download Center to download the latest version.

You are entitled to this new update if you have a Subscription, Floating or Perpetual License that is under an active Upgrade & Support plan. Get more details on these features, changes and bug fixes in the “ReadMe” and “What’s New Guide” on our Media Composer Documentation page.

In this article we offer a comprehensive overview of the new features that come with this update. We are excited to share them, and we encourage you to ‘like’ your favorite ones on the Twitter videos.

Projects with Custom Frame Size

In this version of Media Composer you can set custom frame sizes for your projects. You can choose from all the current supported frame rates for these custom projects (from 23.98fps to 60fps). Enter even values in the Raster Dimension boxes (height x width) with a minimum size of 256×128, and a maximum size of 8192×8192. For stereoscopic projects, the height must be divisible by 4 and the width divisible by 8.

Save custom raster dimensions by clicking the Save Preset button. The next time you open a new project this preset will be available under the Format drop-down menu as My Presets.

XAVC-I and ProRes Native Support

Media Composer now includes native support for the Sony XAVC-I format (using the latest Sony AMA plug-in), and ProRes 2K/4K/UHD media. Link to XAVC-I UHD/4K or ProRes 2K/4K/UHD media and playback the clips in realtime.

Previewing Closed Captions

With this release, displaying of EIA-608 Closed Caption data from the 436M ANC stream of the D-Track is supported. Preview Closed Captions in the Record monitor, Source monitor, pop-up monitors, and in the Timeline D-Track. Pop-on, Roll-up and Paint-on captions are supported.

Timeline Quick Find

The new Timeline Quick Find field allows you to enter text that you can search for in the Timeline. To customize the search, use the text field drop down menu and select which text options you want to search:  Visible Timeline Text, Resolution, Clip Name, Comments, Markers, All, or a combination.

Click the Find left or right buttons to continue searching for the text in your sequence. Three menu picks have been added to the Edit menu to map these commands to your keyboard: Timeline Quick Find, Timeline Quick Find Next, Timeline Quick Find Previous.

Resizing Monitors

It’s now possible to resize the monitors in Media Composer to a much larger size than before. This is especially useful when working in Effects Mode.

Also, a menu option has been added to the Special menu to map the Show Single/Dual Monitor menu command to your keyboard for easy switching between dual and single monitors.

Adapter Display in Timeline

Clips that have source-side color, spatial and motion adapters now have these effects indicated by different icons. Temporal (motion) adapters appear with a T, spatial (FrameFlex) adapters appear with an S, and Color adapters appear with a C. Go to the Timeline fast menu (hamburger menu) to choose which adapters you want to appear in the Timeline.

AAX Factory Presets

The AAX factory-provided presets used in Pro Tools are now available in Media Composer. By accessing an Audio Suite or Audio Track Effect, you can choose the factory default Plug-in settings or a preset setting, make adjustments and select ‘Save Setting As’ to save the adjusted setting. The saved setting appears as a selectable preset when you choose that plug-in.

Alpha Support for Quicktime DNxHR

Timelines that contain alpha channels can now be exported as Quicktime DNxHR files. Using a third-party application, you can create QuickTime wrapped DNxHR movies that contain an alpha channel and Fast Import or link these files into Media Composer.

Include Inactive Audio Tracks in Export

Through the Export Settings dialog you can now choose to include inactive audio tracks. When this option is selected, inactive audio tracks will be included with the exported sequence. The option is on by default. Also note that the terminology for Use Enabled Tracks has been changed to Use Selected Tracks.

Reformatting Linked Media

Manage your default setting for linked media by choosing Letterbox/Pillarbox, Center Crop, Center Keep Size or Stretch. This setting is available in the Settings > Link > Link Options. There is also an option to set SD clips as 16:9 by default. This setting forces all SD media to be tagged as 16:9.

All references of ‘AMA’ are now referred to as ‘Link’. This will be most notable for AMA settings that now appear in the Link settings option.

Viewer Mask Options

The Gray Target Mask option has been replaced by Mix to White and Mix to Black Masks. You can change these mask colors in the Target Mask submenu of the Source and Record viewers.

Transcoding media original FPS for HD projects

In previous releases of Media Composer, you could only transcode to the media’s original frame rate when working with greater than HD projects. With this release, this also applies to SD and HD projects. When ‘Keep Source’s Frame Rate’ is selected, you will see a list of available DNxHR codecs. If you need to use the older codecs in HD/SD, you will have to select ‘Convert to project frame rate’.

More New Features in Media Composer

Link (former AMA) Improvements

There will no longer be any Scanning or Indexing dialogs occurring during the linking process. The user can continue to work within the application while the link occurs in the background without being interrupted by pop-up dialogs.

You also have the option to delete the metadata files associated with linked (former AMA) media. When deleting clips in the Media Tool, at the bottom of the dialog there is a new checkbox labeled “Linked metadata file(s)”. It does NOT delete or touch the Linked source files themselves.

Supported formats for Capture

With this release, the following formats are supported for capture: 1080p (50p, 59.94p, 60p), 2K (23.976p, 24p, 25p), 2K Full Aperture (23.976p, 24p, 25p), UHD (23.976p, 24p, 25p, 29.97p, 30p, 50p, 59.94p, 60p), and 4K DCI Full (23.976p, 24p, 25p, 29.97p, 30p, 50p, 59.94p, 60p).

Change Terminology of Color Levels

All import and export settings for scaling color levels from full range (RGB) to legal range (video) have been updated with more intuitive and consistent terminology. In the Import and Export Settings, the sections are titled Color Levels. The reference to RGB and 601/709, has been refreshed with more task-directed options for scaling of full range and legal range.

List Tool Improvements

This Media Composer update brings the following improvements to the Lists Tool: added handles to EDL events, easy access to the Preview Pane tools, Timeline blue bar interaction with EDL events, background color to the Preview Pane when in Edit Mode, Print List and Clear List.

Remove Color Adapters from Sequence

You can remove color adapters from a sequence before you sending it for color correction. Select Refresh Sequence > Remove Color Adapters to remove Color adapters at the sequence level so that you can export the sequence as an AAF. This function does not affect adapters on the master clips (as source settings).

Refresh Sequence All

The More tab of the Command Palette now has a ‘Refresh Sequence ALL’ button that can be added to your Timeline toolbar and mapped to your keyboard.

Background Support in Media Composer | Cloud

In previous releases you could not use Dynamic Media Folders, Background Render and Transcode with Media Composer | Cloud. Now the Background Render and Background Transcode work with Media Composer |Cloud.

Four Channel Audio Monitoring

The monitoring options in the Audio Mixer Tool and the Output tab of the Audio Project Settings have been updated to provide new Four Channel Audio monitoring options: 4-channel LRCLfe (Left, Right, Center, Low Frequency Effects), 4-channel LRCS (Left, Right, Center, and Surround) and 4-channel Quadraphonic (Left, Right, Left Rear, and Right Rear).

Additional GPU Support

This release of Media Composer supports the FirePro w7100 and w8100 AMD graphics cards. Also, NVIDIA Driver 347.52 is qualified for the newer Graphics cards from the Quadro FX series.

New Features in Application Manager 2.4

In this release, by logging in to Application Manager 2.4, your non-activated Media Composer license will be auto-activated. That license will be tied to the system where Application Manager ran from, but you are given the option to change that by visiting My Avid Account. There you can set the name of the computer you want that license to default to. If you have multiple licenses in your account, it will automatically pick the right one, depending on what computer name you assign to each license.

Also, Application Manager now supports Administrator versus Standard User privileges, based on the OS user. When the Application Manager administrator turns on the restriction mode, other standard users will not be able to download, install, or see updates and license info. They can only see what’s installed and the system ID.

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