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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.
When you learn to ride a bicycle, or you take your first trip down the ski slope, there comes a moment where if you are going to succeed, you must stop looking all the reasons this endeavor is going to fail and start concentrating only on that which will enable you. I am going to ask you to do the same thing right now with me. We are going to dive straight into Media Composer and start looking around. Now, if you're anything like me, over the course of chapter one your inquisitive mind will cry out, "but why?" or "how come?" or "what's that?" in response to the things that you may see or hear, but I want you to ignore the impulse.
Instead I want you to come along for the ride, just absorb. Confident that the path that you are taking is designed to answer those questions as rapidly and efficiently as possible. By comparing the Media Composer interface and as many basic controls as possible with that of Final Cut Pro, we'll see plenty of similarity between the two environments, plus this first chapter will create common ground for us, upon which we can stand as we take in the differences. One note I should make is though Media Composer will run great on either a Mac or PC, since we are migrating our knowledge from Final Cut Pro, I will focus on Mac commands during this course.
Now I can't know exactly what environment you're using as you go through the course. Some of you may be working on a laptop, others may be working on a workstation, or you might be at a school or facility where there is external hardware attached to the Media Composer workstation such as an inbox, an MXO2 Mini, a Mojo DX or a Nitris DX. Furthermore you may be attached to a fast local storage array or a large shared storage pool. Suffice to say then that as with any audio/video workstation, please power up all external devices before switching on your laptop or workstation, wait for your computer and operating system to power up completely, and wait for all drivers and extensions to finish loading before launching the software.
In my case, I am running Media Composer on a Mac workstation. I don't have any external hardware connected. So I am running in a software-only configuration. As for media, I am using the same course materials that you are and I have them on an external hard drive called Media Drive. Here it is attached by FireWire 800, mounted on my Desktop. Before we launch Media Composer, let's use Final Cut Pro as a launching pad for discussing some fundamental similarities and differences. First, Final Cut Pro can be set to launch directly into the application using the easy setup defaults.
Once inside the application, it's possible to open and create multiple projects directly within the interface, begin work, and then save and name the project afterwards. In addition, user preferences are accessed from the Final Cut Pro menu, but that privilege is always tied to your OS login and thus they just called User Preferences. So turning to Media Composer, we'll launch from the dock just as you would with Final Cut Pro and after a minute or so, you'll arrive at the Select Project dialog.
So here is the first major difference between Media Composer and Final Cut Pro. Before we can even gain access to the software, we need to either choose an existing project to work with or set up a new project name, project location, plus frame rate and format. And then once we enter Media Composer, we'll see that only a single project can be open at any given time. Now don't worry. It's not nearly as strange as it sounds and it's my intention to show you the why behind these differences over the next few chapters, but since you are going to have to use this dialog every time you want to open or create a project, let's make friends with it right now.
At the top of the Select Project dialog, we find the user name displayed. Unlike in Final Cut Pro, multiple user settings could be created under a single OS login. Currently, my user profile has been inherited from my OS logon and maybe that's what yours says too. If, for example, you just downloaded and installed the free Media Composer trial. Or if you are working on a system in a facility or school, then it might say something completely different. Whatever the case, it would be best now if we were to create your own fresh user settings. That way we can know that Media Composer is reset to factory defaults, and that we are not messing with someone else's settings.
We'll be looking at user settings in detail in Chapter 3. So for now let's go ahead and import some user settings which have been supplied with the course materials that you're already copied to the root of your media drive or perhaps to the root of the your Mac hard drive. Now if you don't have access to the course materials, then you may need to check out Chapter 3 where we cover user settings in greater detail. So click on the User Profile dropdown and choose Import User or User Profile. On our media drive in the catalyst_ CONTAINER, we have a folder called 1280_800 because this is the resolution at which these settings were created.
I want you to go ahead and import the settings called lynda. lynda is the user profile that we'll be using. Now of course, you'll probably be working at a different resolution on your computer. You may need to adjust the window positions when we get into the application in the next video. So now here, in the same section of the dialog box, we have the most recent path accessed by Media Composer. The simplest way to adjust this path is by using the radio buttons down here on the right-hand side.
At the moment, I am selected on Private. As you can see, this directs Media Composer to look on the Mac hard drive under Users, under my user name, under Documents and under Avid Projects. If I click on the Browse button here, you could see I am taken directly to that location. At the moment, there's only one project in there called New Project. So when I choose that, you could see that that project is displayed here on the left. If I go to the next radio button, called Shared, you could see that this is in different location, Mac hard drive Users/Shared/AvidMediaComposer/Shared Avid Projects.
If I choose the Browse button, I'll be taken directly to this location. Since there are no projects in this location, you can see there are no projects displayed in the Select Project dialog. Private and Shared work just fine,]. However, since we are going to be using a container model where all of the assets to do with our project are being kept in a single folder, we'll be using the External radio button throughout this course. The External button displays projects in any other locations that have been recently accessed.
This is often the choice in a large facility where projects are stored centrally, or if you're in a school, often the faculty will have you store your projects on your own portable hard drive. Having set External with the radio button, now let's go ahead and browse to the location of our Avid projects that we want to open up for the course. I want to go to media drive and again to the catalyst_CONTAINER and you can see in here, we have Catalyst_Avid_Projects.
Inside there, we have two projects, catalyst_23976 and catalyst_5994. Let's choose catalyst_5994 and finally we are inside the Media Composer interface. In the next video, we'll start comparing the interface with Final Cut Pro. So in conclusion, notice that only now that we have chosen our user settings and the project we wish to work within, are we allowed into the Media Composer application. Media Composer tends to front-load tasks like this, whereas Final Cut Pro is more flexible about your starting work and then labeling and saving your project data afterwards.
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