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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.
Let's return now to our exploration of the essential timeline tools and features. Coming back down to the bottom of the timeline area and to the right of the Source Record toggle that we've been using, we have the Video Quality menu. We already know that this helps the system play back demanding codecs or more complex sequences with real-time effects. As a reminder, best performance is the yellow mode, and this is showing us 1/16th of the resolution of the images, and this gives us maximum performance with the softest picture quality.
If we click on it and we go up to half yellow/ half green mode, we are now in draft quality. That's using a quarter resolution and again gives us increased performance. If I click again and I go up to full quality, now I am looking at the full quality of the images, which is how I'm going to be wanting to work as I get towards finishing my project. And on systems that have hardware attached, in some cases there is an additional mode, which is green with the number 10 inside. This is full quality at 10-bit mode, and as I say, is available with various different hardware configurations.
Continuing with our tool, these two buttons here are Step In and Step Out, and they are used for entering into effects nests, which we'll be covering later. Next to that, we have our dropdown for the timeline and we've already dealt with this extensively in Chapter 3, and then of course we have our Scale and our Pan bar here, so if I zoom in then I can pan around in the timeline. I can also use Command+Right Bracket to zoom in or zoom out.
In addition, I can use Command+N to generate this special cursor, and then I can do a custom zoom over a particular part of the timeline that I am interested in. Finally, there is actually, down here to the left of the Source Record toggle, is a button called Focus. If I zoom all the way back out, you can see that the Focus button will actually take me back into a pre-zoomed level. If I click it again, it'll take me back out to a full view of the timeline. Moving to the left of that, we have the Timeline Fast menu, which we've already started to explore in some detail.
Above that, we actually have the Timeline palette. The first section here is all about the different modes that are available in Media Composer. So we've got Source/Record mode, we've got Trim mode, we've got Effects mode, and we've got Color Correction mode. We've also got a handy button to allow us to quickly open the Motion Effect Editor as well. If, by the way, you accidentally click on a mode button, for example Trim mode like that, and you get these pink rollers, you are not sure what to do, don't worry--just click back on Source/Record mode button and they will go away, and now you are back to regular editing.
Above that, we have the Smart palette. This contains tools for editing directly in the Timeline. We have Segment Select tools for Overwrite mode, for Ripple mode. We have Trim tools for Overwrite Trim and Ripple Trim, and then we've also got a Transition Manipulation tool. This allows us to change the length and position of effects. We will be using this in conjunction with this button down at the bottom, which is called the Keyframe button. At the top of the Timeline palette, we have the Link Selection toggle.
If this is on then when I select a clip in my timeline--let's activate the red selection arrow--then I'll also grab the audio with my clip at the same time. If the Link Selection toggle is off and I grab a clip then I am moving just the segment that I grabbed; in this case, now the video and audio are out of sync with each other. Then above that we have our Master Sequence Timecode Reader. Next to this, we have the black Disclosure triangle that allows us to open the Track Control panel.
If I open the Track Control panel now, we have less sequence real estate, but we have more control options. We can switch on or off individual waveforms, but only if the global waveforms are switched off. So let's go down to the Fast menu, let's go to Audio Data, and switch off global waveforms. Now you can see that I can individually active and deactivate waveforms on my tracks. These buttons here are the on/off buttons for the tracks themselves.
So I can actually switch off a track completely and then re-enable the track. Incidentally, Media Composer can monitor up to 16 tracks of audio in real time, given the proper system resources. Now if the system resources aren't available then you can guarantee playback of two of the most important tracks, and they are the ones that are going to have this black line around the On/Off button. If I use Option+Click then I can change which two tracks are guaranteed for playback.
Here in the center between the On/Off buttons and the Audio Waveform buttons, we have this Keyframe button. If I click on that, you can see that I can go in and switch on various different modes for audio editing. If I take my tracks, select them all, and then use Command+L to make them a little bit bigger, you could see that underneath this area, we also have five buckets. These buckets are available for real-time audio effects, and we'll be covering that in Chapter 8.
If I close the Track panel, we're just looking at the tracks themselves, and obviously, this big button here, that's the activeness of the track itself. On the far right, we've got the monitor. So at the moment, I am looking at video on V2. If I switch that off altogether, I am not going to see anything, so I need to have at least one video monitor on on one of my tracks. Below that, on the audio tracks, I've got the ability to either solo a track, which is going to turn this color track green and light orange is going to be applied to the other tracks to indicate they are muted, or of course I can mute this track and that's going to be a bright orange color instead. And I can mute or solo different combinations of tracks if that's what I need to do.
And then finally, in between the track activeness, on the monitor strip, we have another strip, and if I engage these buttons here, they look like a forward slash. These are called Sync Locks and we'll be covering these in Chapter 7. In the timeline area itself--let me just shrink these tracks back down a little bit-- we've got the clip representations and there is information available on the clips themselves, and we've got our video tracks--these are the sort of green- colored clips here and our audio tracks which are the blue-colored clips here.
And then we also have our timecode track, which is represented at the bottom of the sequence and then also at the top of the sequence. For those of you who like to separate your audio and video tracks, you can do so by holding down Option and then selecting the timecode track, and now you can drag it and drop it up there between video and audio, like so. We've already used Command+L to make tracks larger and Command+K to make tracks smaller. I want to remind you that you can also use a different keyboard combination to make the audio waveforms within the tracks bigger and smaller as well.
Option+Command+L will make the waveforms bigger, and Option+Command+K will make the waveforms smaller. I am not changing the volume, I'm just changing the way that I am looking at the audio. Now, let's look at the toolbar at the top of the Timeline menu here. Now this may vary in the amount of buttons it can show depending upon your screen resolution, plus we also remapped some of these buttons earlier because the first four buttons here are duplicated in other parts of the display.
Remember, we mapped Source/Record Editing, Audio Editing, Effects Editing, and Color Correction to these first four buttons. Next to that, we have the Quick Transition button, the Render button, the Collapse Effect button, and the Remove Effect button, and then we also have our Mark IN buttons here as well. Next to that, we have the audio meters themselves. We can mute the audio, directly there, and then as we play back-- (Female speaker: When I was--) we'll obviously see our audio levels in here as well. And then finally, moving over to the right, we have a button that says 1394.
If you're on a system that has some hardware attached, you might see something different in there. It might say DNA, or it might not be present at all if your system isn't capable of ejecting its hardware to work in DV mode. Essentially, what's going to happen on a system that has the choice is you can toggle backwards and forwards between 1394 and the hardware attached. What this does is it means that your system is moving from the mode where it's going to be using external hardware to do a baseband input or output to moving to not using the hardware and instead using FireWire for its input and output.
On a system such as this one where there is no hardware attached, I don't have the choice. I am going to be stuck in 1394 mode, unless I add some hardware to my system. So we've gone through all of the timeline tools and functionality in some fair detail there. I think we're ready to dive in and start doing some editing.
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