Did you know that if you already own a copy of Media Composer software prior to version 8.0, you can purchase Avid Standard Support and upgrade to Media Composer | Software version 8 for £190 before December 31 2014? After this date, Media Composer software upgrades will no longer be available to purchase – if you require a later version at a subsequent date it will be necessary to purchase a full version of the software. Also, if you have Media Composer and an existing support contract with Avid which is up for renewal prior to this date you can renew for this price too. In both cases the £190 includes access to Avid’s Customer Support organisation as well as version 8 incremental updates as they are released by Avid for a year. Higher levels of support entitlement are also available if you require increased coverage above that which Standard Support offers.
At the NAB show in April of this year (2014) Avid announced the upcoming release of Media Composer | Software version 8 along with a new Licensing and Customer Support model. Once the version 8 release was available to users, several people were somewhat mystified and perhaps not a little disappointed that Avid would go to the trouble to release a new version of the worlds most used professional video editing software that was apparently so light in the new feature department.
One of Avid’s primary goals with the release of Media Composer | Software version 8.0 was to introduce the new licensing model. This was to give users the ultimate in flexibility when it comes to deployment of the software (I went into some detail on the licensing options in my blog post here. The intention being to release the new model, along with a new release cycle to then incrementally roll out new features as their development is completed as “dot” or “point” releases.
Avid estimate that the cycle will deliver three of these point releases in 2014 following the release of v8.0. Notice also that Avid also took opportunity with the version increment to add the pipe (|) character into the name in a re-branding exercise along with many other of their products.
Avid released Media Composer | Software version 8.0 in May 2014. The roll out of the new licensing model introduced some teething problems in Avid’s back end Licensing servers which created some delays in activating the software for some new users, as well as causing some problems for customers on Avid Support Contracts when re-activating or when attempting to activate older versions of the software. In discussing this with senior Avid Customer Support staff, the flaws which were causing some of these issues have thankfully now been resolved however there are still a few remaining challenges. Activating version 8 based platforms has now been very straightforward for some time and the Avid Knowledgebase has several helpful articles to assist users with for example activating a version 7 Media Composer instance using a new version 8 license for those who need to remain at the older version in order to continue using a particular workflow in a workgroup environment take a look at this article for further detail: Using a Media Composer 8.0 Symphony Option or NewsCutter Option License to Activate a Previous Version
Another notable feature of the version 8 application is the incorporation of Media Composer’s sister product NewsCutter. The features of the Media Composer | NewsCutter Option such as integration with iNews with the NRCS Tools etc can now be purchased as add on license to Media Composer rather than as a separate product with a separate installer (in much the same way that the Symphony Option allows access to the Symphony features introduced last year). Third party manufacturers have also been releasing their AMA plug ins for this version too with Sony releasing their new versions in July. In summary, here then are the features added with Media Composer | Software v8.0:
- Subscription Options, Floating Licenses, Dongle based License
- Avid Media Composer with NewsCutter Option
- Menu, Tool, Command Palette and Settings Changes
- Application Manager
The features of the new Media Composer Licensing model are discussed in detail in this Comparison Guide
Media Composer | Software version 8.1 was then released in July 2014. This version introduced AAX (Avid Audio eXtension) 64 bit Audio Plug-ins to the Media Composer environment offering increased performance and future developmental flexibility. Also added is ARRI AMIRA camera support, the Avid Image Sequencer Plug in for working with DPX format material in the AMA environment, and the ability to export items as OP1a format material. Also over 10 new “featurettes” were added to enhance the operational flexibility of the software for editors. For more detail on these additions take a look at the “What’s New for Avid Media Composer | Software v8.1” PDF format guide which can be found on Avid’s Knowledgebase site.
Or alternatively see this page on Avid’s website which offers further details on the feature set in a web page.
Upgrading to version 8 is pretty straightforward. To make sure that you can take advantage of recent product developments with the hardware you can take a look at this article which sets out Avid’s recommendations for feature usage.
And this article sets out the specs for computer hardware which Avid has qualified for use with Media Composer:
You should be aware that AAX version plug-ins will replace the plug-ins previously supplied by Avid and these will be compatible with the previous versions. However RTAS and AudioSuite plug-ins purchased additionally for previous versions of Media Composer must be replaced by AAX format plug-ins and in some cases a direct replacement may either not be available yet or the new version may introduce some compatibility issues which require attention if accessing compositions that were authored in previous versions of the Media Composer software. Avid advises you to visit their site to learn more about AAX plug in compatibility here AAX Plugins and AAX Portal.
Regrettably Avid ran into a problem supplying licenses for Script Sync & PhraseFind for version 8 Composer deployments and so at the time of writing this article these two add on services are unavailable to version 8 users. For more information on this see this article.
It is likely that Avid will tell us what new features they plan for the two further point releases they suggested they were planning for the remainder of this year at the upcoming IBC show. Given the industry momentum behind 4K and the furore caused by the massive proliferation of new camera formats over the last 18 months, my hope is that we will see Avid address these concerns. At the last Avid Customer Association meeting again at NAB earlier in the year Senior Avid staff mentioned that they were researching mechanisms to un-tether Media Composer from restrictions placed on it by the strict Video Raster dimensions of traditional Standard Definition and High Definition formats (perhaps in the same fashion that the sadly now no longer available Avid DS was capable of) and thus making native Media Composer 2K and 4K timelines a reality. Whether we see this announced at IBC remains to be seen but it would certainly be a welcome feature which would further cement Media Composer’s position as being the most flexible of Editing platforms available. I am also holding out for a feature that allows portrait mode video on the timeline so that we can now edit our Ice Bucket Challenge videos in Composer! Ahem – I am just kidding here – no really…
If moving to Avid Media Composer | Software version 8 is of interest to you please do not hesitate to get in touch with root6 – we will be glad to answer any further questions you may have and provide quotations to meet your needs.