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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.
Whatever stage of production we're at, its useful to keep checking back in with the original mission. What exactly are we trying to deliver, what format, what frame rate, what part is our cut playing in the process? Are we cutting and delivering the actual media or are we editing with a proxy, and then we are going to supply the sequence information only and the final master will be conformed elsewhere? First, a reminder on frame rate. If you are working with multiple frame rates, then Media Composer it's best to ingest each frame rate into its own separate Avid project at the native frame rate for that material.
In essence you're creating a small part of Avid projects to house the various frame rates of material. Then we'll pick the project that's at the frame rate of the master deliverable and do our editing in that project, pulling in all the various other frame rates via the Open Bin dialog. So we've contextualized the idea that we're working with the sequence reflecting our highest order master i.e. the frame rate and the resolution which will serve the greatest number of deliverables. So from that understanding how can we best breakdown the various different output types into meaningful categories.
Well, first, there is metadata. We can output the results of our work in the sequence here as a description that we can pass off to various of the facilities or other software packages. With my sequence selected in the bin, if I go to the Output menu, I've got FilmScribe and EDL. We can output standard EDL as using EDL manager, or we can output XML lists using FilmScribe. Another Metadata example would be if we were to right-click on the sequence in the bin and choose Sequence Reports.
Here we can choose to rename. We can also choose options about what's generated in the report and if we are happy, go ahead and generate the report. In this case I am going to go to the castle catalyst_CONTAINER, to catalyst_Outputs, and save it in there. And as you can see the report opens up and there is a lot of information in here. A summary of effects, what types they are, if there are any plug-ins in the sequence, and then down below that we've actually got source information.
It's telling us there were no tape- based sources found in this sequence, but there are a number of imported solstice and we get to see both the import path and the individual farmland being referenced either via AMA or for importing media. An alternative to generating information that way might be to use a third-party application such Automatic Duck. Automatic Duck will allow us to convert Final Cut Pro sequences into Media Composer sequences and vice versa and since Media Composer can either link to or import ProRes media, that's probably a pretty good workflow for some facilities.
Apart from outputting metadata I could also output a mixture of metadata and media. The way I would do that is I would select my sequence and choose either Send To > Avid DS or Export and from the Export dialog, I could choose the preset for Avid DS, or I could choose Untitled, go to Options, AAF, and create a new AAF export setting myself.
Here I can choose to either linked to or else consolidate or copy the media or else mix it down and I have similar choices for my audio. Creating an AAF would allow me to send a combination of sequence data and media to an application such as Avid DS or maybe Adobe Premiere. I am going to close this dialog because I'd like to also talk about now how we output this sequence as just media.
But before we do that I'd like to just quickly run through my little checklist of things that I'd like to keep an eye on before I master anything out of the system. First off, what status is the Format tab in and what is the Raster Dimension set to. If this is in HD and I am set to 1920x1080, that's good. Now I'd like to go to my Media Creation Settings. So under the Tool menu > Media Creation, here I can double check that any renders I do are going to be rendered at a quality necessary to support the material in my sequence.
And of course I can double check which drive it's being rendered to. The next thing I like to do is come back down to my sequence, select the whole thing from in to out, and then I can right-click and Choose Clear Renders In/Out. What this does is it purges all of the renders in my sequence. I can go back to the Clip menu and choose Render In/Out or ExpertRender In/Out. Either of these choices will now re- render all necessary effects in this sequence and again I get a conformation dialog of where I'd like to render it to and off I go.
Once I am finished re-rendering all of my effects at full quality, the final thing I am going to do before I do a signal-based output is come down here to the bottom of the timeline on make sure my Video Quality menu is set to full green or full green 10 bit. Now I'm ready to roll this sequence out as either as a signal, a stream, or a file. If I wanted to output it as a signal then obviously I'd come to the Output menu I would choose Digital Cut.
This is where we can interface with Professional VTR and lay the material out frame accurately. Alternatively, we are actually connected by 1394 our VTR and so in this case rather than laying at a baseband signal, I'll be letting out a stream, either a DV or an HDV stream. Additional to the Digital Cut tool under the Output menu, we also have Export to Device, so we could export for an HDV, XD cam or P2 device.
Finally, we could actually export the entire sequence as a file. If I right-click and choose the export dialog, we've seen this plenty of times before. We know that we can choose a destination. I am going to go the catalyst_ CONTAINER to catalyst_Outputs and Outputs_5994 because it's the frame rate that I am outputting at. And then I could come down to my export settings. I am going to go to Options and you could see here that I could choose to create a QuickTime movie, maybe I'd want to output an h264 movie, or in our case I am going to choose to create a QuickTime reference movie.
I am going to use the marks and the enabled tracks because I have everything selected down here in the timeline area. I am going to use defaults for digital mastering. My Aspect Ratio is 16:9, Audio Format could be WAVE or AIFF-C, choose Avid Codecs, and in this case my COLOR LEVELS should be 601/709, because all of the material came from the YUV color space. Now I could save that as QTref_1080i _601709 and I can use that again in the future.
So now I could go ahead and export the entire sequence as a file. In some cases if you have AMA linked media in your sequence, then you are best off either mixing down the entire sequence if it's a short sequence or transcoding the individual clips that are used in the sequence. In this case I know that this is an AMA clip here, but I may have others in my sequence as well. So I am going to add a video track and I am going to choose to mix down the video across the entire sequence and I am going to put it on video track four.
Special menu > Video Mixdown, choose the correct drive, choose the bin, and in this case we'll choose DNxHD145, click OK. Okay, once the Mixdown is done we can load it into the Source viewer and add it to our current sequence. What I am actually going to do is I am going to take my sequence and use Command+D to duplicate it and create an output version of my sequence. Now load that into the Record Viewer and deselect all of the audio tracks because that won't do anything to them.
What I'd like to do though is replace what's in my video tracks with the Video Mixdown here. So I am going to record over the entire sequence like that. Now I no longer need tracks 4, 3 and 2 so I am going to delete those and now I have a very clean timeline to output as a file. In/Out time in will mark up the entire sequence, get all of the tracks active, and now I am going to take the SwingDance_ output, right-click on it, and choose Export.
I am going to choose the catalyst _CONTAINER, catalyst_Outputs, catalyst_Outputs_5994 and now through the options dialog I could choose to output a QuickTime movie, maybe with an h264 codec, or in this case I am going to choose a QuickTime reference movie. Make sure that I am on 601/709 color and Save. And straightaway over here in my catalyst_Output folder I've got access to my QuickTime reference movie.
As you can see here, the entire sequence is now available as a QuickTime reference file. I could now take this file and drop into a third-party application such as Sorenson Squeeze or maybe compress it and generate all of the various different deliverables that are required for this project.
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