5 minutes wasn’t nearly enough time to truly test out LIVE TIMELINE in the new Avid Media Composer 2018.7 updated but I couldn’t let this monuments occasion pass without taking it for a spin. If you’ll remember, Avid announced the upcoming Live Timeline at NAB 2018 and was showing it on the NAB show floor. They have delivered with the 2018.7 update and according to the What’s New in Media Composer 2018.7 post on Avid Blogs: “Over the next few months and versions we’ll be adding more features to Avid’s powerful Live Timeline tool.”
Using the Timeline Fast / Hamburger Menu without playback stopping is great. Some things under the Fast Menu might stop playback but as you can see in the gif above you can change the Clip Text without stopping playback. Most things under the Fast Menu that I tried do not stop playback.
That’s great to hear but, most importantly, this first implementation adds what is the most important thing any NLE Live Timeline needs and that’s the ability to just zoom in and out and move the timeline around while playback continues. This has become second nature to editors working in Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro X and it’s quite a large limitation when you move to Media Composer.
That gif above is me zooming the timeline by keyboard shortcuts as playback happens. Notice the blue playhead keeps moving as it zooms!
Here’s my 5 minute observation on what you currently can and can’t do when it comes to interacting with the new Media Composer Live Timeline:
Playback does not stop when:
- Zooming the timeline in and out via keyboard shortcuts
- Zooming the timeline in and out via the Scale Bar at the bottom
- Moving the timeline with the Scroll Bar
- The Movement During Play timeline setting seems to work fine with the Live Timeline no matter where it is set
- Moving into and out of Media Composer as the focus app
- Moving into an open bin and removing footage
- Turning track selectors on and off via mouse clicking
- Changing source patching
- Toggling the Smart Tools or Segment arrows on and off
- Accessing a lot of the timeline Fast / Hamburger menu items like Dupe Detection, Clip Text and Audio Data to name a few
- Changing the Link Selection Toggle button
- Using the Add Edit keyboard shortcut
- Using the Segment Select To the Left, To the Right, Select In/Out button tools
Playback does seem to stop when:
- Using the Go To Previous Event / Next Event keyboard shortcuts
- Clicking any clips with Segment Arrows (which means no live Mute/Unmute of clips in the timeline)
- Performing any edits or Segment Mode trims
- Turning track selectors on and off via keyboard shortcuts
- Toggling Trim modes on and off
- Soloing and Muting audio tracks
- Clicking the Add Edit button in the timeline button bar at the top
- Going to In or Out or Markers
Interestingly, when using the Show Entire Sequence (CMD+/) shortcut to zoom the Live Timeline doesn’t stop playback it just doesn’t work and the timeline doesn’t zoom at all. Neither does the Zoom into Region (CMD+M) shortcut so my guess is that anything that requires a modifier key while the timeline is playing back currently doesn’t operation when playback is going on.
That gif above is using the timeline scroll bar to move around the timeline without stopping playback.
That’s a few observations I made this morning while playing around with the new Live Timeline in Media Composer 2018.7. That was a few more than 5 minutes but not an entire day so I’m sure there is more to discover as far as what is live and what isn’t. Overall it’s a nice first release of this new Live Timeline. I can’t fathom any reason why any Avid editor would every complain about this new feature addition but I’m sure someone will find a way.
There’s more in this new update besides the Live Timeline so check out Kevin P’s What’s New in 2018.7 for everything else. That video will walk you through many of those new features including some of this bullet point list:
- 16K Project Presets
- Activating AC3 Separately
- Support for Full Frame Stereoscopic with Avid Artist DNxIQ
- Thin Raster Support with Open I/O Hardware
- Resizable Composer window
- Working with BXF Files
- Preview Growing Sequences and Clips while Exporting to DNxHR or DNxHD
- Exporting XDCAM OP1a Media
- Performing an Insert Edit to an Exported Sequence
- Support for NewTek® NDI Video over IP
- Live Timeline
- Support for High Frame Rate Projects (100, 119.88, 120)
It’s great to see Avid delivering on their promise of frequent updates with long requested features. Coming soon will be that multicam overhaul and a better tilting tool. I won’t say that a live timeline and overall interactivity in the Media Composer interface without stopping playback is the most important feature Avid has ever added to the application (but I think it comes close) but in terms of feeling modern and being able to capture a more future-forward feel this live timeline / interface activity is one of the most important things added to Media Composer in the “modern editing era” … whenever that is. Keep ’em coming Avid!