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In Avid Media Composer 5 Getting Started, author Steve Holyhead explores the tools and techniques in Media Composer for producing great looking video, as well as the basics of high definition media formats. This course walks through the video production workflow from input to editing to output, covers key information such as trim concepts and frame rates, and introduces techniques such as color correction, footage stabilization, and real-time audio effects. Exercise files accompany the course.
Using keyframes allows us to alter the attributes of our effects over time. The keyframes themselves hold values at certain points in time. We can input those values numerically using Value sliders or else by directly manipulating handles on the effect or image. Now there are two models of Keyframing inside of Media Composer: Simple and Advanced. We're going to look at an example of each. First off, the Blur Effect is an example of simple keyframing.
If I come up here to the Effects, palette under the Image category, I've got the Blur Effect right here. If I drag and drop this effect onto the valley clip and let go, we don't see any immediate change in the image. What this indicates is that we'll need to go into Effects mode in order to edit this effect. I can choose to go into Effects mode here; there is also an Effect mode button here. This opens up the Effect Editor. You can see the icon and the name of the effect here, and then the attributes of the effect that we can animate over time.
Now one thing that may not initially be obvious about the Blur Effect is that we're going to have to create a shape to put the blur into, in order to see the Blur tool. If I choose a square, and now I've come onto my Image area, I can click down and draw. Now we can see the blur. If I make this the full size of the frame, it will blur the entire clip. That's not what I want to do, so I'm just going to undo that using Command+Z or Ctrl+Z, and instead, I'm going to come down here to the Oval tool, and I'm going to draw an oval instead.
This time the blur is contained within the oval. You can see here that I can affect the amount of blur, and I can also affect the feathering of the blur, which smoothes out the line between the shape and the surroundings. That's all very well, if I want a static effect, but what if I want to animate the attributes of this effect over time? That's when we start to use keyframes.
Now at the moment you can see this effect has a keyframe at the end and a keyframe at the beginning. Now since they are both lit up, that means that whatever I do in the Effect Editor is going to affect both sets of keyframes. In other words, there will be no change from the beginning to the end of the clip. If I want to affect a change, what I'm going to need to do is to select one of the keyframes, which now deselects the other. This means that the values here will now no longer be affected once I go back to the interface and start to make changes.
Perhaps what I'd like to do at the beginning of the effect is have no blur at all. Then, as we scrub through the effect, the blur increases over time. Now I'm going to select the end keyframe. Notice I've decide deselected the beginning keyframe, and perhaps at this stage, I'd like to grow the size of the circle. Notice that I'm able to work with a combination of numerical entries, as well as sliders, as well as direct manipulation handles.
If I wanted to affect the feathering slightly, if I highlight that value and type in 30 on my keypad, I've now set that numerically. I can even affect the shape of the blur over time. If I come to this handle here, I can click down and start to change the way the actual shape looks and behaves. So now I've created an animation over time. If I close the Effect Editor, I can play that back.
(Clip playing.) There we go. If I scrub through it, you can see all of the detail. Great! So that's an example of using simple keyframing. Let's have a look at another example, this time using advanced keyframing. Here, I have the Resize Effect. It's also in the Image category. If I click on that, drag it, and drop it on my Sunset clip here, again, there is no immediate change to the image, which indicates that we'll need to edit it in order to create an effect.
Let's go to Effects mode, back into the Effect Editor. So this time what I'm going to do is I'm going to affect scaling. I'm going to click on Fixed Aspect, scale the image down slightly, like so. Now I'm going to come to Position, and I'm going to reposition the effect off on the left-hand side of the screen. Now we're going to using the Advanced Keyframe model here. How can I tell? Well, number one: notice that there are no keyframes currently present underneath the picture area.
Number two, I've this icon down here which says: ShowHide Keyframe Graphs. If I click on that, I expand my Effects Editor window, and I can now start to see, by folding down these triangles, graphs that describe the effect changes over time. At the moment, what I've got is I've got my clip offscreen, so what I'm going to do is I'm going to add a keyframe now which pins that in place at the beginning of the clip. Now I'm going to move through, and I can move through here as well as here, and now I'm going to add another keyframe.
I could also do that from inside the Effect Editor itself. If I right-click on Position and Add Keyframe, now I've added keyframes just to the Position category, not to anything else. So now I could choose to move the effect back into the picture area over the course of the clip. If I close the Effect Editor, I can now play back the result. (Clip playing.) So we've just seen an example of using Media Composer's Simple Keyframe Effects model and then using Media Composer's Advanced Keyframing model.
Before I finish up, I just like to show you, like any effect, if I go back into Effects mode, and I grab hold of the Effect icon itself, I'll be able to copy this effect to my bin. Many different types of software use numerical entry, keyframe sliders, and direct manipulation handles to give you control over aspects of your work. Once you have mastered these concepts here, you'll also be able to apply your knowledge in other applications, too.
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