While there are lots of essential ingredients that go into producing an engaging, memorable, and goosebump-inflicting story, one of the key components contributing to the success of that story is, of course, editing. The art and science of editing demands an innate talent, creativity, an ability to think nowhere near the proverbial box, and Media Composer 8.5.

What is Media Composer?

Media Composer is the industry’s state-of-the-art video editing software beloved by professional editors in every segment of movie making, television, broadcast, and streaming media. Created purposefully to take on a vast number of distinctly-diverse file-based media without a hitch, Media Composer provides impressive media management, accelerated high-resolution, high-dynamic workflows, and real-time collaboration while totally eliminating all those time-consuming tasks that often get in your way of awe-inspiring storytelling. While it’s hard to top perfection, Media Composer has done it with the January 29th, 2016 release of their latest update: software v8.5. Here is a look at some (of the many) new features of Media Composer 8.5:

The menu is now reader-friendly and appealing

Perhaps the only thing worse than your favorite eatery’s menu having way too many pages, options, and information for food selections, is a menu that is just one page. The same holds true for software designed for the post-production world. In their recently-released version of Media Composer, the designers have completely reorganized and wonderfully simplified the editing application menu items by moving many of the individual items to now purposefully group them in a more logical, user-friendly location.

Linking media just got streamlined

When you select File > Input> Link to Media, the Files of Type menu defaults to the Autodetect Plug-in. So, now when you link to a file, choose the applicable plug-in from the menu. If you link to a volume, choose Autodetect. If you used to choose the AS-11 plug-in, you now will use Autodetect or the generic MXF plug-in. If you used to choose the QuickTime (WAV, AIF, AIFF) plug-ins, now with Media Composer 8.5 you will use the WaveAiff plug. For all the folder plug-ins you used previously, now you need to use the Autodetect option.

Add a Track by dragging a clip

If you want to add a Track in the Timeline, you simply click to select a clip in the Timeline, drag the clip vertically up or down the Timeline, and let go of the clip! Voila! You’ve just added a new Track!

Live Timeline Dragging

With the latest version of Media Composer, you can now clearly see segments as you drag them into the Timeline via either trim mode or segment mode. When you click and drag a clip, you can now see the transparent clip as you’re moving it into the Timeline. Further, if have Waveforms turned on, the waveform will stay with the clip while you are dragging it, which makes it super easy now to line up the clips you are editing. Want more? How about the fact you can now see the rippling effect of single roller trim while trimming! If you’re still in your old school mode and prefer not seeing the clip moving in the Timeline, no problem; simply go to the Timeline Settings and enable Wireframe Dragging.

Trimming with Sync Locks On

With Media Composer 8.5, you can now enable Sync Rollers for Sync Locked Tracks, making it a lot easier to see what’s happening in the Timeline when you perform a trim. Prior to the 8.5 version, you had to wait for the trim to end before you could see how sync was maintained. With 8.5, each track gets either a gray roller or a dimmer yellow roller when you enter single roller trim. If a gray roller appears, it indicates there is a segment directly under the selected roller; this roller breaks segments so that you can add black or start trimming to remove material. The dimmer yellow roller will appear on the left when there is filler underneath the selected roller; this roller works just like a regular trim roller. To enable this feature, you simply select the Trim setting, click the Features tab, and enable Sync Rollers for Sync Locked Tracks.

Adding a Custom Column to a Bin

While you still have the ability to use the standard column headings, with the latest version of Media Composer you can now add your own column headings. This cool feature enables you to describe the kind of shot a clip is or other pertinent information about particular clips and sequences you implement. To add your own customized column, you simply: place your cursor in any column heading while still in Text or Script view, right click, and select Add Custom Column.

Adding Multiple Columns to a Bin

In older versions of Media Composer, the columns were placed throughout the bin ~ making it frustrating to see where the added columns appeared in the bin. Today, with Media Composer 8.5 you can select multiple columns to add to the bin and then they will appear directly to the right of the selected column. To add multiple columns, simply: place your cursor in any column heading while in Text view, right click, and select Choose Columns. When the Bin Column Selection dialog appears, hit Shift + click the column headings you want, and press Enter/Return. The additional columns will appear to the right.

40 more Tracks of Audio

One of the favorite features of many Media Composer’s users is the 8.5 version’s ability to support 64 tracks of audio in a single sequence, instead of the traditional 24 Tracks in previous releases of the editing application! So, you can now have 64 mono tracks, or 10 5.1 tracks + 4 mono tracks, or 8 7.1 tracks!

While Avid offers tons of other user-friendly, awesome features on their latest 8.5 release, the best way to embrace them all is to spend time perusing and exploring each of them!

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