- In summer 2015, Avid released Media Composer version 8.4 which contains important updates that I'd like to share with you. We're not going to be going through every single update, just those that are applicable to this essential training. Again this movie is mostly for people who are already familiar with Media Composer that just want to quickly get up to speed with the recent updates to the software. If you're brand new to the software, you can start with chapter one of this course. Alright so the first thing that I want to mention is just a change in terminology within Avid's menu options.
But it's an important once since it concerns a major function of Avid media management. And this concerns the AMA process which is short for Avid Media Access. And we cover this workflow a lot in this training. AMA is the active linking to media on your system in order to screen, organize, or edit your footage. And prior to the 8.4 release AMA was what it was called in all the menu options. So I'll just pull up some screen shots from the course here. You can see that under settings it''s called AMA, we have our AMA settings.
If I go to the file menu, you can see AMA Link is what it's called. And if I right click in a bin the contextual menu comes up and it's AMA link and relinked to AMA files. So now in 8.4 even though AMA is still a term you can use for linking to media, the menu options have mostly gone through a bit of an overhaul. If I got to settings you'll see that we no longer have AMA as a setting. Instead it's called Link. Okay so if I go to the link settings then everything in here is pretty much the same with just a few new things.
And I'll come back to that in a moment. If I go to file, instead of AMA link, it's now Link to Media. And if I right click in my bin again it's called Link to Media or relink to files instead of AMA link and relink to AMA files. Okay so the terminology in the Avid menus is changed but most of the core functionality of AMA linking remains the same. There are just a couple of small changes that I want to bring up about the linking behavior. I'm going to go back into the link menu within the settings and then I'm going to come to link options and I'm going to come down here, properties of new clips, and then I have reformatting options.
This is where I can choose how linked media behaves if it's not the same aspect ratio as your project aspect ratio. You can see that you have stretch options, pillarboxing and letterboxing options, center cropping options, and center keep size options, and then you also have the option to set SD clips as 16:9 by default. And this just forces all the SD media to be tagged as 16:9. Now I'm not going to go into how choosing each of these options is going to affect how your media looks, but definitely be aware of them because when you are bringing in media that is sized differently from you project settings you want to be deliberate about how that linked media is going to come in.
And speaking of frame sizes, I next want to mention that in this version of Media Composer you can set custom frames sizes for your projects. I'm just going to pop out to the select project window here. And if I choose new project, and then come to format, we have all these options that we recently got in the 8.3 update. But the new thing is down here I also have custom. So if I choose custom I'm able to type in my own raster dimension in the height and width boxes.
The minimum size that you can set up is 256 by 128. And the maximum size that you can set up is 8,192 by 8,192. Okay so a lot of flexibility here and within each height and width combination you can choose an associated frame rate. Additionally if you like, you can save custom raster dimensions, by clicking on the save preset button. So I can call this one AK Square 23976, and OK.
And now that's available under my presets. Okay I'm going to go back into my Hot Glass project and we'll explore a few more things. I'm going to load a sequence here because I want to take a look at a couple of things that we have in the timeline. There's a new timeline quick find option down here, and this lets you enter text that you can search for in the timeline. You can search for visible timeline text, resolution, clip name, comments, markers, all of these, or a combination of these. So if I select markers it's going to find both visible timeline text as well as any text contained in markers.
So I'm just going to type in here the word Oven because I know I have some clips of the Hot Glass oven. If I just press return it's going to go to the first instance where there's a match. You can see that this clip has the word oven in it. I can find the next one by clicking on find to the right. And there's also a find to the left button. By the way, these have been added to the Edit menu. There's timeline quick find, and then find next, and find previous. So you can map these to the keyboard for convenience. I'm going to switch to another sequence here, demo sequence, because I want to show you some additional indicators of clip characteristics that are now displayed in the timeline.
If a source clip's size and position have been manipulated either via frame flex or via the reformatting link settings we mentioned earlier, it's marked with an s, for spacial adjustment. If a source clip has undergone color encoding it's marked with a c, and if a clip has a motion adapter, which means that the frame rate is automatically being converted from its original format to match your project settings, it will have a t applied to it for a temporal adjustment. So if you see these little badges on your clips in the timeline, that's all that is.
It just means there's been a temporal, spacial, or color adjustment made to your source clips when they've been brought into this project. If you like you can customize which of these you see by going into the timeline fast menu and choosing which of these you want displayed. You can also now easily switch between dual monitor and single monitor setups thanks to a new option in the special menu. I can go to single monitor. And then once I've chosen that, I'm able to expand this to any size that I want, much larger than before.
And this can be very useful especially when working in effects mode. And I can just go back to show dual monitor, and I'm back in source record mode. Finally there is just one more thing I want to mention, a change in terminology in the export settings dialog box. So if I right click here and choose export, and then go to options, up here it says use selected tracks. This terminology has changed from use enabled tracks to use selected tracks. Still means the exact same thing though, whatever tracks you have selected in the timeline will be included in the export.
And then there's also this additional option here, include inactive audio tracks that you can select as well. Alright so just some changes in terminology and additional functions than the export settings contained within this training. Alright so that's a brief run through of some of main features in the Media Composer 8.4 update. Make sure to check back when future Media Composer updates are released to learn the latest and greatest changes in the software that are applicable to this essential training.
Note: This Avid Media Composer v. 8 Essential Training only addresses software updates up to v. 8.5. if you are using Media Composer v. 8.6 or later, please access the following courses instead:
Media Composer 8.7 Essential Training: 101
Media Composer 8.7 Essential Training: 110
- Setting up the editing environment
- Importing media
- Building a rough cut with basic editing and trimming techniques
- Navigation and customization techniques
- Editing audio
- Adding effects
- Multicam editing
- Performing color correction
- Creating titles with Avid Marquee and NewBlue Titler Pro
- Managing media
- Exporting your project
- Troubleshooting in Avid Media Composer
Skill Level Beginner
Q: This course was updated on 12/12/2014. What changed?
A: We added and revised tutorials to cover the changes to Avid Media Composer in v8.2 and v8.3. Watch the "What's new" movies for an overview of the updates.
Q: This course was updated on 8/24/2015. What changed?
A: Avid released the 8.4 version of Media Composer in June 2015. We added two new movies to this course to describe the update and covering working with high-resolution files in the newest version of the software.
Q: This course was updated on 02/25/2016. What changed?
A: We added five tutorials covering the Avid Media Composer 8.5 update, released in January 2016.