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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.
Now we are going to switch gears and dive into the area of project data, sometimes referred to as metadata. To set this topic in motion, we will be creating a new project. Before we do that though, let's refresh some concepts about how the hierarchy of projects, bins, and clips work for an editor. Film or videos are made up of a certain number of frames per second, but having to edit with individual frames would be hugely cumbersome. As such, we use clips to keep frames in meaningful collections and then we use bins to keep clips in meaningful collections, and ultimately projects help us keep all of that in a meaningful collection.
The idea behind any of these organizational structures is to allow the editor to organize and access material from any project on the system and then use those clips or sequences in any project or sequence they are currently working on. The engineering teams behind Final Cut Pro and Media Composer took different approaches to solving this need. In Final Cut Pro, the browser can open multiple projects alongside other projects. I can also go ahead and pull off one of my projects and then move assets between projects, like so.
This makes moving material between different projects very easy indeed. If we go to the Audio/Video Settings in Final Cut Pro and then we move to the Sequence Presets, we are presented with a huge number of different choices about how we might set up new sequences that we create. If I wanted to create a DV Sequence then I might choose DV NTSC, or if I wanted to credit 720 HD project then I might choose DVCPRO HD.
If I am working with 1080 material, then I might choose to work with Apple ProRes at 1920x1080, for example. If I return to the Summary dialog, it's actually here that I can Create an Easy Setup and I would say that crediting an Easy Setup in Final Cut Pro is most similar to creating a new project in Media Composer, since that's where all the choice is about frame size and frame rate need to be made and it's what sets the standard for all new sequences that are created. One very important difference to note however is that in Final Cut Pro, we pay much more attention to codec, whereas in Media Composer we are going to paying much more attention to frame rate.
Here in the catalyst_5994 project inside the 02_01 subfolder is bin called hierarchy. Single click to open it up. In Media Composer we are not able to open up projects alongside each other and move bins and clips that way, but as we saw in Chapter 1, if we need to access material from other projects, we can use the Open Bin command from the project Fast menu. A helpful way to think of this might be to see the Media Composer Project window as the browser and project windows combined and then mentally adjust to accessing other media and clips via the Open Bin command.
Media Composer places a big emphasis on the bin as a way of exchanging data, whereas Final Cut Pro relies on the project in that role. We will return to this difference in emphasis on project versus bin when we cover backing up project data later. But for now, let's get into some project basics. In order to create a new project, we need to return to the Project Selection window. Before we do that, let's just contextualize a few things about how Media Composer handles different frame sizes and frame rates.
When we go to the Project Selection dialog and choose a new project, we will be presented with a list of project types and I have some graphics which represent the size and shape of each format, as compared with the HD 1080 frame size. The first group of projects we see presented off a material shot from standard definition cameras in North America, parts of South America, Japan, and South Korea. The second group of projects is for material shot on standard definition cameras in Europe, Africa, Australia, parts of Asia and the UK.
The third group is for material shot on 720 cameras worldwide and then the final group is for material shot on HD 1080 cameras worldwide. If I switch to Script view in the bin, you can see each of these graphics represents an increase in frame size from SD, NTSC, and PAL up to HD 720 frame sizes, and then finally to HD 1080 frame sizes. As part of the project creation dialog, we will also have to decide on the frame rate of the projects we are creating.
Here I have some graphics which represent the frame rates, indicating where and how they're used in the world. Just think of it this way. Create the project type that best serves the master you finally need to deliver. For example, chose 23.976 or 24.00 frames per second for film projects or anything going directly to progressive formats such as web or Blu-Ray DVD. You can use 25p for progressive HD out of Europe, Africa, Australia or parts of Asia and the UK. 25i and 50i for interlaced TV and video out of the same region.
Choose 29.97 or 30p for progressive HD out of North America, parts of South America, Japan, and South Korea. 30i or 59.94i for interlaced TV or video out of that same region. Now if you have a project that has multiple sources of different frame rates, then create a separate project for each frame rate and ingest all of the material natively into the appropriate project type. Essentially, you'll be creating a pod of Avid projects to get all the material into your system. Then after the pod of projects, we will pick the project that is the best frame rate for the master deliverable and do our editing in that project, pulling in all of the various frame rates via the Open Bin dialog.
The only exception to this logic would be when you have multiple frame rate deliverables too, i.e. you're delivering international versions. In this case, hopefully you have shot the bulk of your material at 23.976, as mastering in this project type would allow for the best and mathematically easiest standards conversions. Another way to think of it is that you can pretty much always add fields, but taking them out can be a whole something else. So we are trying to contextualize the idea that we want to work in the project type, i.e. the frame rate and resolution, which will serve the greatest number of deliverables.
So how do we create a project? Well, first, we need to close the project window to return to the Select Project dialog. So the first thing I would like to call out is where I am pointed to. You can see the path here and we can see that I am selected on External and so I am still pointing to the same place that we accessed our course materials from earlier. This is where we are going to create our new example project now. Make sure you pointed to this location. Now let's move to the New Project button and in the New Project dialog the first thing we need to do is give our project a name.
You simply must do this now. You cannot change the name of an Avid project later on. Okay, with the name set, now let's have a look at Format dropdown. We can see the different frame sizes we covered earlier. Here are the NTSC frame sizes, these are the PAL frame sizes, and then we have our 720 and then 1080 and you can see that each one is split into different frame rates. If I wanted to create 1080p/23.976 project, I would choose this setting right here.
Then there is also a Raster Dimension dropdown. You don't need to worry about this too much because we can always change this later on. Basically, what I have got here is full raster or thin raster. Choose OK and now that new project is available in the list of other projects in the location that we specified. Now, we can go ahead and open that new project up. I should point out that 23.976 is the most common form of 24p available on most affordable HD cameras out there.
It's often referred to as 24p, but it's really 23.976. So now I am in my new project. Obviously, there is nothing in here yet. Really all I wanted to do is come in here and have a look at the Format tab. Here under the Format tab I can now change the frame size from 1080 to 720 to NTSC. So this is what allows me to input and output materials at different frame size at this frame rate.
Let's go ahead and close this project now and create another new project. This time example_5994 and I am going to choose 1080i/59.94. There are more raster choices available, but again we will look at those once we get into the project so select OK and now that the project is in our list, click OK to launch into that project. Same thing again. If I come to the Format tab, you can see that I can switch my project between different frame sizes, depending upon what I need to ingest for output.
The Raster Dimension is really an efficiency thing. Basically, if I am working with a lot of material that is 1440x1080 wide, i.e. XDCAM HD, HDV or AVC intra 50, then this Raster dimension will give the best performance for real-time effects. I could switch to 1280x1080 and this would be the best raster to work out for DVCPro HD material. The full raster, 1920x1080, will also support Standard, which means a baseband capture, or AVC intro 100, XDCAM HD 50 or XDCAM EX.
Okay, let's go ahead and close out of this project too now and return back to the Select Project dialog. So now what we have seen is that we can create projects at different frame rates and then within the project itself using the Format dropdown we can change the frame size of the material that we are going to bring in, output, or render. So that's really it. That's the way to create a pod of projects inside of Avid Media Composer, bringing the different frame rates, and then using the Open Bin dialog that we looked at earlier, we can now access that material in whichever project we choose to master in.
I think I should point out that 5994 is also sometimes referred to as 60i for shot. That's fine, but just don't get it mixed up with 60p, which is a higher-end progressive format running at 60 frames per second. That was a lot of information. Let's take a moment to understand what just happened. Media Composer simply asked us to give it the project location, name, and information up-front and we saw that that Format tab inside Media Composer allows us to switch the frame size being imported, exported, or displayed.
That really isn't that different to FCP because in Final Cut, we are still required to make the same selections for the audio or video settings. It's just that we provide the information and enter it in a different way.
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