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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.
For those following along, I am back in the catalyst_5994 project. We know by this stage that when we want to adjust settings in Media Composer the best place to start is in the project window itself, under the Settings tab. Now in Final Cut Pro, there are three main types of settings: Audio-Video settings, System settings and user preferences, all available under the FCP menu. Here in Media Composer, I am going to expand out my project window a little bit here, so we can see more clearly that are also three types of settings.
There are User settings, Project settings and Site settings. If I scroll up the project window, you can see that in some cases there are more than one option for a setting, and these may even be labeled individually like so in the central column here. If I scroll up a bit further, you can see there a lot of different Export settings. If we want to filter this list, we can actually click at the top here and filter the list by looking at only Export settings, for example, or maybe only Import settings or All settings.
First off, Project settings are specific to the actual project that you are working on. Changing these won't affect other projects you may create or open. The Project settings are also the same, regardless of which user is selected, and indeed which Media Composer station the project is currently loaded on to. Some examples of Project settings are Audio Project. Let's double-click and go in there. Here on the Main tab, we can set up fundamentals, like Sample Rate, which could be set to either 48, 44.1, or 32.
If you have external hardware connected to your system, you can also take this up to 96 kHz. And then we have Sample Bit Depth, either 16 or 24. On the Input tab, we can adjust the Input Source. Again, since I am on a software-only system, we can only affect the inputs which are directly built into the machine that I am on, or affect FireWire signals. On the Output tab, I have got the choice of going out Mono or Stereo. If I had additional hardware connected, I could also choose to go out direct.
On the Hardware tab, we could also set the sync for any external hardware or choose Internal Reference. On Effects, we can actually come in here and bypass all of the effects that we may have added to our audio tracks and clips in the timeline-- let's say, for example, if we wanted to do a clean layoff for somebody else to go ahead and do an audio mix on a different system. Some of these same controls could be found in FCP under the FCP menu, User Preferences and Audio Outputs. Others can be found in the Audio-Video Settings, under Sequence Presets.
If we move down the list to the General settings and bring those up, we will see that we went here earlier to talk about setting the default start time code for any sequences that we create. Another example of a Project setting is Media Creation, which we also covered. That's why it's so important that when you create a new project, you immediately come into the Media Creation settings and make them correct for that specific project that you are working on. And then the next category is Site settings.
Site settings are system based and so remain set, regardless of which user or project is active on a particular system. Site Settings are really only a minority of the settings, and are mostly to do with things like machine control and talking to servers. Some examples of Site settings are Deck Configuration, for example. If I go up to the Ds and bring up Deck Configuration, this is where I would specify the make and model of machine that I'm using to capture from, or lay off to.
Another example of Site settings would be Interplay Server. And as you can see, in cases without the necessary components or infrastructure, these settings remain either grayed out, or somewhat meaningless. So let's move on to third category, which is User settings. An example of User settings might be Render, for example. Under the Render Settings, we can set the quality of Effect Rendering to High, Medium, or Low and the same for Time Warps versus Motion Effects. This same control in FCP is found under the FCP menu, User Preferences, Render Control tab.
Another example is Grid. This allows us to control the onscreen grid display for things like Safe Action, Safe Title, and here we can also select various Scale modes. Another User Setting would be Composer. And we visited this setting before now when we set the behavior for the Fast Forward and Rewind buttons in our interface, but we also have settings here for things like MultiCam behavior, Editing behavior, and Window behavior.
And it's here that I would switch on and off this second row of buttons underneath both of the viewers. And of course, we also have the Bin settings. The Bin settings is where we set up our Super Bin and also the Auto-Save Intervals that we looked at in the last chapter. Now, I want to show you a really easy way to manage these settings. First, we will switch back to display just the Export settings. As you can see, there are a number of really handy pre-made settings here, like settings to make outputs for Pro Tools, setting material out to Sorenson Squeeze, or to a QuickTime movie, or even a QuickTime Reference.
If we open up the QuickTime Reference settings by double-clicking on it, we have got all of the different parameters laid out here for us. Let's say I wanted to create an RGB version of these settings. So the way to do that would be to come over here to the QuickTime Reference Setting, then use Command+D to duplicate the setting. Give this a name that's meaningful RGB, and now go into those settings, switch, and that should be good. So that's one way to manage our settings directly within the Settings tab of the Media Composer project window.
Now, I am going to right-click at the top, choose to see All Settings again, so I can see everything back in context. Before we wrap up the topic, there is another aspect to the relationship between Site settings and the other two settings categories that you want to be able to use. Come to the Special menu and open up the Site Settings window. Now we can drag either User or Project settings that we want to keep into the Site Setting window. By doing this, we make these settings, these Project and User settings, part of the Site settings on this particular machine.
In turn, that means if you're running a facility, you can more easily manage workflow across multiple editors and multiple machines because you can make items such as Capture Resolution, Default Start Time Code, Bin, and Timeline views common across all users and projects. Having said that, I use this feature very much like a project template, even when working by myself. So, in conclusion, just like in FCP, there are three main categories of settings inside of Avid Media Composer: User settings, Project settings, and site Settings.
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