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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.
Once you start getting up to speed, you'll find editing is a very fluid task. Your mind is engaged in a multitude of connections and cross-references. There will be a positive feedback loop between what you experience in the Timeline and what you then look for next in the bin, back to bin, back to Timeline in an upward spiral of progress, as the ideas you're playing with take shape. Depending on your progress in a project, or the material you're working with, different editing techniques will be more or less relevant to the task at hand.
One very powerful and rapid way to add material to your sequence is Three-Point Editing. Three-Point Editing simply refers to using three marks to define the bounds of your edit. Let me show you want I mean. Here, I have got this clip in my Source Viewer. If I make an in point, play, stop, make an out point, I have made two marks here. Now before I go any further, what I am going to show you is a quick shortcut. If I right-click in the Composer window and go to Composer Settings, here I have control over what information is displayed above my Source and Record monitors.
I am going to click on Center Duration. Click OK. Things shuffle around a bit now, but you can see that I've added the center box, which allows us to the display the lengths of the currently marked segment in the Timeline. So now we've got a duration of 2 seconds and 3 frames marked in my Source viewer. That's two marks. All I need is a third mark in my Timeline. Let's step forward a frame at a time. I can do this with the arrows on my keyboard, or else with the Frame Advance and Frame Backwards buttons here.
What I want to do is mark specifically here on the joint between the previous clip and the next clip. This little L shape here tells me I am on the first frame of this clip. So now if I make an in point in my Timeline, I have got one, two, three, points. So now what I can do is I can use either the Splice-in or Overwrite arrows here to add this material to my sequence. First, let's use Splice-in. If I use the Splice-in command now, you can see what happens is the rushing water clip from here has been inserted into my sequence, and all the other clips have been shuffled down to make room.
If I use Command+Z on the Mac, or Ctrl+Z on a Windows machine to undo that, I can show you what happens if I used overwrite. This time as I click it, I am actually overwriting the clip that was there in the sequence already and preserving the length of my sequence. I haven't shuffled any clips down; I've just overwritten what was already there. As long as we are editing with two points in the Source viewer, then it is the length of the source clip, in this case 2 seconds and 15 frames, that determine what happens to the sequence.
The sequence has to be receptive to the commands issued from the source side. We use this technique when we have a clip of a definite length to add to our sequence, like a sound bite or a line of dialog, for example. If we swap things around and instead have a single point in the Source viewer - let's remove our marks here. Let's just make a single point just as the flower is coming into focus there. Instead, we had two points in the Timeline - then it is the Timeline which is now dominant, and the source clip is simply being used from that point forward for however long it is required.
We will use this technique when we have a gap in a sequence that needs to be filled with a cutaway or B roll. Let's do that. Let's take this section here, and I am going to use my Mark Clip button. Mark Click will work just as effectively on a gap in the Timeline as it will a clip in the Timeline. So now we've defined a duration of 20 frames here in the Timeline. We have two marks and a single mark in the Source viewer. So this time when I use the Overwrite arrow, all I do is fill out the gap from here forwards for as long as the Timeline required.
It's really important to understand that this will only work with an overwrite command. In other words, when we have a single point in the Source viewer and two points in the Timeline area, then we can only use the overwrite command to achieve this result. Let me undo and show you what I mean. So I have undone that edit, and here I have my clip marked again in the Timeline with a single in point on the flower clip. Now if I use the Splice-in command, look what happens. It seems odd, but it's actually quite logical.
The Splice-in command always affects the length of your sequence. So it took the length that was marked, added the flower clip for that length, but then preserved the gap afterwards. Film was a nonlinear method to put sequences together way before tape was even invented. Tape systems came up with some really innovative ways to manipulate clips. Media Composer takes the best of both worlds and provides a variety of tools and techniques to help bring your imagination to life.
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