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Migrating from Final Cut Pro 7 to Avid Media Composer 5.5 is a thorough comparison of the interfaces, concepts, tools, and workflow behind each of these two programs, covering the key differences video editors need to know to master Media Composer and make the switch. The course covers the basics of editing in Avid Media Composer, including sequence creation, project organization and navigation, importing and linking media, timeline editing techniques, and how to work with audio and add transitions and effects.
In the compositing bin, I have an example sequence called composite_example_complete. If you load that up, you would be able to see a completed version of the effect that we are just about to create. You can see that we have got two layers; we have the tilt up on the swing dance poster and the slow motion of that guy here in the foreground. So let's go back to the Bin and load up composit_example. This is the same clips before we've actually added the effects to them. You can see that we have the gentleman here on V2 and then on V1.
We have the tilt up of the poster and at the moment both of them have motion effects on them. The clip on V2 has a constant motion effect, a slow motion, and then the clip on V1 actually has a ramp. Now what we are going to do is add a Flop effect to the guy in the foreground here. So back to the Effects palette and to the Flop effect. Let's drag and drop that onto our clip here, like so. Now he is on the other side of the screen which gives room for the text that we want in the background.
Now I am going to the Key category and you can see in here we have various different types of keyers, Chroma Keys, Luma Keys, RGB Key and Avid's own SpectraMatte Key. What I am going to choose is the AniMatte effect. So grab it, drag it, and drop into our clip. Oops! What went wrong? Well, in this particular case because now we are adding a second segment based effect over top of the motion effect, I need to hold down a modifier as I drag and drop the effect onto my clip.
So hold down Option and drag AniMatte and now you can apply it over top. Holding down on the Option Key auto-nests the existing effect inside the one that we just added. So if I wanted to see that other effect now, I would have to step in on my clip. There is the Flop effect and if I step in again, we can now see the original Motion effect there on the bottom level. We are on N2, so let's step up one level to N1 and step up one level again and we are back in the main timeline.
Now in order to cut this space out so we can see the clip that's underneath, I'm going to use the AniMatte effect to draw a custom matte. So to edit an effect, we park on the clip, make sure the track is active ,and enter Effects mode. Now in this particular case, since I've already added all the clips I need to my sequence and I don't really need the Source viewer anymore, what I could do is switch to Effects Editing mode. This time I have got a bit more screen real estate to play with my effects.
I have got a slightly larger viewer and if I have an effect in here that has the Keyframe Expand button, I can click on that and expand my keyframe out of this space here. To get working, what I am going to do is park on the first frame of my effect and I usually like to select all of my keyframes if I'm going to be adding something across the entire segment. Now, I want to go to my Poly tool. Come back over here, zoom out a little bit so I can see around the edges of my clip, and I am just going to start drawing.
Now if I just click point-to-point like so, I will get a straight line, but if I drag as I land, I will get curved points. Basically all I am doing here is adding control points that I can come and readjust again in just a moment. So having drawn around my shape now, you can see that I can look through to the layer below. Let's do a little bit more work though on the shape that we've created. Let's zoom in a little bit like so, so we can see the edges very clearly.
If I need to move around while I am fully zoomed in like this, then Option+Command will give me the hand and I can pan around inside my clip and get very nice and close up to my control points. If I want to reedit my control points, then I'd need to use this button here, the Reshape tool. That makes the control points active so I can grab hold of them and move them if I like. If I want to change a control point to a Bezier curve then hold down Option and click and now I get my Bezier handles.
If I want to break the handles, then Alt+click on one side and now I have got individual control off of just one side. And if I wanted to get rid of the Bezier altogether, Alt+click once more and I've removed it and it's gone back to a linear point. Let's zoom out a little bit and I can show you that by using the Selection tool, I can also move the entire shape like so or even stretch the shape if I need to do so. Going back to control points for a moment, I am going to highlight this one here that's sticking out and just hit the Delete key on my keyboard to remove it and now it's gone.
The next thing I'd like to do is move over here and add some feathering. So I am going to increase the Feathering amount and you can see that's adding softness now to the side of the mask, but the softness is eating into my mask. So what I'd like to do is alter the Bias now and push one way or the other until I get the kind of result I am looking for. I think that will do me right there. Okay that's working out pretty well. So now what I would like to do is start working on my background, blend that in a little bit more. So I am going to go back to my Effects palette and I am going to go to the Image category.
I am going to choose Resize. Take that and drag that onto the clip on V1. I can see that that's now the effect that's active in the Effect Editor. Now what I would like to do is start to reposition and rescale the tilt in the background so that I can see the information on the right-hand side of the screen. So first I am going to go to the Scaling and I am going to squeeze the image horizontally, like so. Now I am going to move the image over to the right here. So that's starting to work out okay, but now I need to flip back to my AniMatte effect and maybe take down some of the softness here because it's spilling over into my other image.
So to reedit my effect, I am just going to pop back on my keyframe here. Select all keyframes. And I am going to come over here and affect the softness. But at the moment, nothing is displayed and that's because I haven't selected the shape. Obviously, on an AniMatte effect, I can have multiple shapes so I need to define which shape it is that I would like to affect back here in the Effect Editor. Now what I am going to do is just drop down the Feathering a little bit here like so and I could even come back in and alter my effect points if necessary in order to smooth out this effect. There we go.
That's looking much better. So let's exit Effects mode and start to scrub through our sequence and we can see there is probably a little bit more work still to be done on this effect, but we are starting to composite really well. We have got a hand-drawn matte with feathering on it, over top of the Flop effect, over top of the Motion effect, and then on the other side we have got a motion-affected clip that's also got a Resize on it. Use the completed version of this in your bin as guidance as you are building this effect.
I am going to take this one step further though. Now what I would like to do is add a Defocus effect on the beginning and the end of this composite. I am going to use Ctrl+Y to add a new video track to my sequence. I am going to disengage V1 and V2 and now I am going to come back to the Effects palette and from Blend, I am going to choose our friend the 3D Warp effect. But this time I am not going to drag and drop it onto a clip. I am going to drag and drop it onto an empty track at the top of my timeline.
This is a different way to stack effects. Rather than nesting them, you can apply effects to empty space above other clips or clips with effects on them in the timeline. So to go into the 3D Warp now and keyframe above or defocus at the beginning and end, what we are going to do is reenter Effects mode, like so. This time because I have got an affect that has a keyframe window, I am going to see it displayed here on the right-hand side of my Effect Editor. I would like to show you a couple of things about keyframing.
First off, let's move to the beginning of our effect. Let's add a keyframe there and move through to where we would like the Blur effect to finish and add a new keyframe. Now move back to the original keyframe and let's go to the category where our Defocus is. Here it is. Switch it on and now increase the value on X and on Y, like so. So it starts soft and then as we progress through to the next keyframe, we are going to animate this down to 0, like so.
So now we get a Defocus effect at the beginning of the sequence and you can see this button here called Play Preview will allow us to play through an effect a frame at a time. Okay, now let's move to the end and do the same thing on the way out. But instead of using Add Keyframe button here this time, I'm going to move over and add the keyframe directly inside the Effect Editor. Now the reason for this is I want to show you two different models for keyframing. The keyframing model here in this ribbon is top down.
In other words if I apply a keyframe at this level, it's going to get applied to every single parameter within my effect. This time what I would like to do is open up the Defocus effect itself and you can see the animation we already made there at the start and instead I am going to right-click directly inside the parameter itself and say Add Keyframe. I am going to do the same on the vertical as well. Now when I move to the end, I am going to repeat that action, add a keyframe to both parameters, and now I can animate directly here inside the Keyframe Editor itself like so. And I've done pretty much the same thing, but let me show you this.
Let's close these parameters down and just look at the Keyframe Graph. On the end because we started at the bottom level, we only applied keyframes where we needed them, whereas at the beginning of the effect, because we started at the top level, we applied keyframes across all parameters. Sometimes it's a good reason to want to do that; other times that's going to be a waste of keyframe information. If you find yourself in that situation, no problem. Right-click at the top of the effect, and choose to Remove Redundant Keyframes, and now we are left with just the keyframes we need to support the effect we want to create.
Close the Effect Editor to return to regular editing mode or indeed click on the Source Record Editing mode button to return to that toolset. In the final part of this chapter, we will start working with graphics, titles and credits.
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