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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.
Okay, let's turn our attention to audio mixing. There are a couple of different ways of achieving your audio mix in Media Composer. We'll go through those right now. I've got the advanced_audio_pass sequence open, and that's the one I am going to be working with here. Now the first thing I'd like to look at is the Audio Mix tool. So I am going to go to the Tools menu and open up the Audio Mixer. Let's put it up over here. Now this should look very familiar. It is very similar indeed to the Audio Mixer in Final Cut Pro.
The only difference is that in Media Composer there isn't a master fader in the Audio Mixer itself. So we are just going to be controlling the individual levels of tracks in the timeline. The first thing is I want to be able to see the tracks that I'm working on. Now with reduced real estate, you'll probably want to keep to four tracks, but you can see here that you can open it up to eight or even 16 if you got the room on your desktop. Let's go back to four. When you are working with four and you've got more than four tracks then in that case you could just go through the groups here to display the other tracks in the timeline.
Other than that, the controls are very similar. You can see here that I can adjust my levels. One difference with Final Cut Pro is that if I'm dealing with dual mono tracks in Media Composer and I want to change the level, I need to gang the two sides together so that they change together, like so. So first off, let's play back and see what we've got. (Female speaker: Swing dancing brings you together. It brings you to a simple time.) That's a pretty good level. Let's just see what else we've got down here in the timeline. (Female speaker: A clothing store.) Now that clip might be a little low.
So if it is, I can just go ahead and adjust the level, like so, (Female speaker: The '30s 40's and '50s.) and then keep moving down my timeline. As you can see, when I park over a clip, I get a readout of the current level, and it looks to me like all of these levels here are just maybe a little low. So if I want to adjust more than one clip in one go, the way to do that would be to select all of the clips that I want to involve in my audio adjustment, and then I am going to park on the first clip here.
And I've got two different methods I can use. The first is I could set this to a new level, let's say 0--and by the way, Option+Clicking on the level will return it 0 as well. And if I wanted to set all of the clips now on this track to that level, come to the Fast menu, and I could say Set Level on Track - In/Out, and now all of the clips are set in/out at 0. Alternatively, if I just wanted to make an adjustment, if I had a whole bunch of different audio levels across a track but I felt that they were all just a little low, then I could do a similar thing: go over to Fast menu, but instead of saying Set Level In/Out, I could say Adjust Level In/Out. And you can see I've got the same functionality available for Pan as well.
And panning here in the mixer tool is simply done here at the bottom. I can pan left on the left track, pan right on the right track, if that's what I want to do. Or again, I can use my Option key, click in there, and it will return to the default value. Okay, now let's turn our attention to audio tracks 5 and 6 down here. What I am going to do is I am going to mute 1 and 2 so that they don't interfere with what I am doing, and let's see what we've got. Huh! Now, I am not hearing anything.
So let's see what's going on in the sequence here. If I open up the Track Control panel, you are going to see that these tracks are being switched off. So in order to hear them, I am going to have to switch them back on. Now let's see what we've got. (music playing) Okay, that's a really loud level and in fact if we play back with the sync dialog, (music playing) it's just completely drowning it out. So we are going to need to drop that level. Another thing that I'd like to do as well is I'd like to actually drop the size of the audio waveforms here, so I can see more description of what's actually going on.
So first of all, I am just going to highlight those tracks and then Command+Option+K will allow me to reduce the audio waveform. It looks like I've got the same problem on 3 and 4 so in anticipation of working with that track as well, same thing. Let's just reduce it so we can see more clearly what we're using. Okay, so back to 5 and 6. Another method that we can use to adjust audio levels directly in the timeline are audio keyframes. In Media Composer, the way that I switch these on is I would go to the keyframe button here in the Track Control panel and activate Auto Gain.
I am going to do this on both tracks. Now, Auto Gain is very similar to Toggle Clip Overlays in Final Cut Pro. We know that in Final Cut now we get a line across our clip and we better actually just drag that line up or down. The difference with Media Composer is if you want to work that way, the first thing that you are going to need to do is actually add a keyframe. I am going to enlarge in these tracks slightly so that we can see more clearly what we're doing here, because as you can see, when we're in this mode, Media Composer actually puts a scale as well on the tracks that helps us figure out roughly where we are in the audio level.
So first off, I am going to go ahead and add a keyframe. I am going to use the Add Keyframe button here from our customized tool palette. You see that the keyframe has now have been added and now just like in Final Cut, I could adjust the level upwards or adjust the level downwards, like so. And if you look just below here as I'm adjusting, you'll see that I am getting a little readout which is telling me what the value I'm currently at, -7 in this case. Let's play that back. (music playing) might need to drop it down.
So to do that with audio keyframes, we need to place one keyframe there and then another where we want the fade to end. And now we can drop our level down like so and when she comes in, we'll be able to hear her. (music playing) (Female speaker: Swing dancing brings you together.) So that's a very simple way to create audio keyframing in the Media Composer timeline. I should tell you that the Audio Mixer also has other modes. There is an Automation mode, which is very similar to Record Audio keyframes in Final Cut Pro, and then there is also a Live mode for using external control surfaces--again very similar to the way that Final Cut Pro works.
What I would like to show you though up here on audio tracks 3 and 4 is another method for creating animations in the audio level. Here I've got a clip that I think is probably a little loud again. Let's switch that track on. (music playing) Okay, so the first thing I am going to do on 3 and 4 is just drop the level down a bit, so we can actually here the dialog, or the sync audio, at the same time. (music playing) (Female speaker: You also need to be comfortable enough.) Okay, so that's probably a little loud. Just take it down a bit more. But it's right here there is a moment in time where I'd like to have the audio come back up to fill this gap.
Now earlier we use a keyframing method. Here what I'll do is I am actually going to use the Add Edit button, which is very similar to the Razor in Final Cut Pro. So I am going to add an edit point there on my audio track. If I zoom in, you'll be able to see that more clearly. And I am going to add another edit point just after the gap there. There we go. Now I can drop the audio level back up during the gap, and we'll hear that change. (music playing) (Female speaker: And can this dress hold up?) (music playing) (Female speaker: Swing dancing is bigger--) Now that's great, but I can also smooth it out if I mark the range like so, and now we go to our Quick Transition dialog, just here.
We can choose a dissolve, centered on the cut. I'll probably make it 20 frames long and Add. But before I add, let's click Apply to All Transitions (IN - > OUT). So now when we add, it gets added to both sides of the transition. (music playing) (Female speaker: And can this dress hold up?) (music playing) (Female speaker: Swing dancing is--) So there we have it, some basic tools for getting around the audio mix in Media Composer. We can use keyframes, we can use the Audio Mixer, and we can use audio transitions all together to achieve our desired results.
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