Avid has released Media Composer 2023.8, a significant feature upgrade that adds, as its most significant feature updated, “AI-Enhanced ScriptSyne and PhraseFind.” AI is the buzzword but what this basically means is Media Composer now had built in transcriptions features so you no longer need to reply on a third party transcriptionist to get a working transcription into Avid for something like script-based editing. And that’s a good thing as anything that can speed up the editing process is nice.
A new menu item lets you create a script for a clip while PhraseFind becomes even more useful as you can “access automatic transcript creation, a new transcription management tool, and automatic multi-lingual language detection.” That multi-language support is impressive and will get a lot of use.
While the What’s New page has a ton of great details and videos, here’s the bullet point feature list:
- AI-Enhanced ScriptSync and PhraseFind (FAQ here)
- Media Composer Classic User Profile and Workspace
- Panel SDK
- Audio Punch-in Using USB Audio Devices with Video Hardware
- Batch Subclip Tool
- Display Middle Composer Button Panel
- Changing Monitor Configuration Duplicates Current Workspaces
- Apply Sequence Template to an Existing Sequence
- Keyboard Shortcuts Added to Command Button Tooltips
- Clip Gain Extended to 36 dB in Media Composer
- “LFE Only” Mono Tracks
- Track Effect Bypass
- Device Selection for Desktop Audio Output
- Multi-Mix Tool Options Added to Pro Tools Session Export Settings
- GOP Options Added to XDCAM Export to Device
- Optimized EDL with Four Audio Tracks
Extended clip gain will be another welcome addition. And in the tradition of everything old is new again, Avid continues to tweak the newish Avid Media Composer interface to make it more like the Avid of old.
They are also putting a shot across Adobe’s bow trying to make things easier for Premiere Pro editors who might be coming over.
Boost your creative intelligence—preview Avid’s new AI-powered timesavers in Media Composer 2023.8
— Avid Media Composer (@MediaComposer) August 31, 2023
While the feature updates are always what warrants a lot of discussion, a change in the Avid policy of being able to download older versions of Media Composer has led to a lot of talk and frustration online. This line near the bottom of the Media Composer 2023.8 announcement email has people talking: As of September 29, 2023, all Media Composer builds pre-dating Media Composer 2023.8 will no longer be available for download. Please archive any versions of Media Composer pre-dating 2023.8 that you have licenses for to retain access.
This is a big deal, at least on the surface, for a lot of Avid editors and facilities as Avid users are notoriously slow when it comes to upgrading with many still running Media Composer 2018. It is a major undertaking from both the financial side and the engineering side of things when you move an entire facility to a new version. While others are just stuck in their ways and don’t like change.
Not being able to download older versions of Avid can limit troubleshooting, restrict system upgrades and possibly make crash recovery difficult. While Avid hasn’t said exactly why the “hosting” of these old installers will go away, it seems just that. Avid won’t have these files on their servers any longer but they are encouraging users to download and archive any old installers that are needed.
Big changes coming to #AvidMediaComposer 2023.8 – If you want to keep older versions of #Avid (including ScriptSync and PhraseFind), you better download them by September 28, 2023 or you will lose access.https://t.co/IXlcR8Qz54
— Steve Kwant (@MediaVirusPro) August 31, 2023
For Avid editors, backward compatibility has always been looked at as a significant advantage over other NLEs. The backwards compatibility is second to none with the ability to open a bin and load a sequence in a much older version of Avid if an editor was working on a newer version. Things that aren’t backwards compatible often just wouldn’t show up. It looks like from some of the online discussion this won’t change with 2023.8. In fact, this explication of how the clip gain difference (with 2023.8 going above +12dB) will work:
If you stay below +12dB, you can freely move the sequence across versions. Clips with gain >12dB will appear to have no gain applied in older versions (aka “bypassed”). If you don’t change the gain in the older version, the clips >12dB gain will return when the sequence comes back to 2023.8. If you do change the gain in the older version, the new changed value will prevail when the sequences comes back to 2023.8.
— Damien Labbé (@DamienLabbe) August 31, 2023
That’s a great solution and I wish other NLE markers would make their versions more backwards compatible.
While we’re talking about Avid Media Composer, be sure and check out my article about Speeding up Avid Media ComposerSpeeding up Avid Media Composer if you haven’t already. Because speed is always a good thing.