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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.
There are a great variety of ways to manage audio into Media Composer and this is obviously a good thing because every project has different sources which need to be corralled together into the master sequence, mixed, and then output according to the final delivery specifications. The main ways to get audio into Media Composer? First of all as a signal, second of all as an AMA linked file, and thirdly, as an imported file. So first, let's consider signal-based input. If I go to the tools menu and choose the Capture tool, Command+7, you can see here that we've got our ability to choose what audio input that we're currently using, and also which tracks we'd like to capture or input.
We can also choose to group mono tracks together as stereo tracks on capture. Now, at the moment I don't have any hardware attached to my system, so my only choice is to use the Host- 1394 port for DV-based capture. But if I had some hardware attached to my system that could accept bass band signals, they would show up here too, and I would be able to choose which signal I'd like to record. For example, iDapt, IES, or SDI. Okay, let's go ahead and close the Capture tool, because I'd like to show you another tool that's used for getting audio signals into the system.
I am going to return to the Tools menu and this time choose Audio Punch-In. Now, this is very much the same as the Voiceover tool in Final Cut Pro. You can see here that I could choose to record either to a new track or a co-track in my sequence. Again, I have got my input source available to me and in this case it could be the built-in line in or the built-in microphone, choose the correct drive, hit Record, and then I can record directly onto this track in my timeline in context as I listen back to the other audio that's playing back in the sequence.
If you're following along with the course materials, have a go in Audio Punch-In now using the Voiceover Sequence here. Okay, I am going to go ahead and close the Audio Punch-In tool. Now to support the endeavor of bringing audio signals into the project correctly and efficiently, we need to pay attention to the Project Settings. So up here into the Project window under the Settings tab we've got the Audio settings that we looked at earlier in this chapter, and then we also have Audio Project. Double-click on that and let's open it up and have a look.
Here on the main tab, we can set up fundamentals like the Sample Right, the Audio File Format, the Sample Bit Depth, and then on the Input tab we can choose our Input Source. On the Output tab, we can actually affect the overall gain of the system. So in Final Cut Pro where we have the master slider in our Mixer, this would be the equivalent to that in Media Composer. And if I have appropriate hardware connected I should also be able to switch this not just from Mono to Stereo but also to Direct out as well.
On the Hardware tab we can control which audio device is being used, should there be a choice, and whether the Sync mode is internal, meaning software driven, or external, meaning hardware driven? And finally on the Effects tab, it's possible here to selectively switch off certain effects and level changes across your entire project. Perhaps, for example, we are using the editor's mix as a guide for the Audio Mixer, but supplying him or her with the media as it came from the camera or the source. Plus there is also control for sample rate conversion and the Dissolve Midpoint Attenuation, which is really required to stop two or more overlapping audio streams being extremely loud.
Some of the same controls could be found in Final Cut Pro under the FCP menu, User Preferences, Audio Outputs, and also under the FCP menu Audio\Video Settings and in the sequence presets. Okay, let's close the Audio Project window and let's turn away from signal based input now and start considering the other ways that we can bring audio media into our project. When we're dealing with AMA linked media, for example, there are no hardware requirements for I/O, but there are still multiple channels of audio to be managed.
Plus there may be requirements for some kind of external monitoring hardware. In the case of AMA media or imported media, for example, there are no hardware requirements for I/O, but there are still multiple channels of audio to be managed and other settings. So let's have a look at that. So back in the Settings tab, under AMA, and on the Link Options tab, it's here that we can edit our multi-channel audio choices. This sets how we'd like to bring material in when we link to AMA media.
Now, for media that we're actually going to import into the system, that is not just linked to it, but actually read it and write a new copy into the avid media files folder. We need to go to the Import Settings. If I click on the Import Settings, it's here on the Audio tab that I can make those decisions. Again, I have got the ability to choose how I handle mono or stereo sources, and then I have other settings. For example, convert source sample rate to project sample rate. This controls sample rate conversion during audio input.
When it's selected and it usually is by default, Media Composer will convert all of the incoming media to the sample rate of the current project. We can also affect the sample bit depth in the same way, and then we have choices about attenuating audio on the way into the system. Often times material that we import from CD, for example, or other sources is extremely hot when we bring it in. So to avoid having to keep on adjusting audio levels, we can set an audio level here that applies, for example, to CD imports.
Finally, we can automatically center monophonic clips and autodetect broadcast wave monophonic groups. In this case, if we have eight tracks that we will label sequentially then the whole group could be brought in as a single eight channel clip. So when we want to bring audio into our system, we need to not only be familiar with the tools that are used to do that but also make sure that we go through all of the settings associated with those tools to make sure that we're bringing the audio in exactly how we needed for our project.
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