The venerable editing platform Media Composer has been aggressively improving this year, especially with pricing. The new price point of fully fledged Media Composer is $20/month, and Media Composer Ultimate (which comes with the Symphony color correction tools, Phrase Find and Script Sync all in one package is $50/month. Thus, Avid has positioned Media Composer not just to remain competitive with the high-end clients who love it, but also with independent filmmakers and students who want to take advantage of its robust stability and great shared editing platforms.  

With the newest release, 2018.7, out this week, Avid has also added a feature that many have been clamoring for: the live timeline. What is a live timeline, you might ask?  Well, if you are a Final Cut Pro or Premiere user, you might have noticed that for many tasks you can leave the timeline playback running and still, for instance, add a mark.  Previously, this wasn't possible in Media Composer. Adding a mark would stop playback. Not the end of the world—you can just hit spacebar to restart playback—but kind of annoying.  Especially if, for instance, you have a group of clients in the room, and the mark is just to remind you of something but not something everyone needs to know about.  Maybe it was "double check that we have the right version of that shot," the kind of internal mark that editors make all the time but aren't worth stopping playback.  With the new live timeline from Media Composer, that feature has come to Avid.

What else can you do with the live timeline?  Now, while playing, you can open the application menus, zoom in and out of the playing timeline, add bins and markers, check tool tips, add columns to a bin, and best of all switch applications, which should allow you to click over to another app (perhaps a text edit app with a list of notes) while the timeline keeps running. Switching applications used to be completely taboo in post, but now it is almost a requirement to switch over to a Google sheet or a chat app to check against a list of notes, or to see if your post supervisor has questions. This feature alone will be a big reason for Media Composer users to upgrade.


Along with live timeline, the other big feature is support for resolutions up to 16K 120p.  This is very forward thinking on Media Composer's part, but honestly, there isn't a ton of footage in that format yet, and even if there was, there aren't going to be a lot of systems capable of playing it. But it's nice to know it will be available when we get there.

Media Composer 2018.7 is available now. Check out the Avid blog for more.

Tech Specs

  • 16K, 120P projects
  • Live Timeline
  • Export AMA with missing media
  • Resize Composer Window
  • BXF media format support