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In Avid Media Composer 5 Essential Training, author Ashley Kennedy demonstrates basic and intermediate editing techniques in Media Composer, one of the most widely used nonlinear, video editing systems. This course covers how to build sequences, mix audio, color correct footage, apply effects, and troubleshoot common post-production issues in Media Composer. Exercise files accompany the course.
Once you've launched Media Composer, you'll see a number of windows in front of you. In this movie, we'll focus on the Project window located here in the lower left-hand corner of the screen. The Project window is the central repository of everything inside your project. Across the top are six tabs: Bins, Settings, Effect palette, Format, Usage, and Info. In this movie, we'll focus primarily on Bins and touch on Settings.
So, Bins are where our clips live. As you remember, clips are half the equation of editing. So to open the Bins and look inside, you just double-click on the Bin icon. Note that I cannot double-click in the bin text. If I do that, it's just asking me to rename the bin. You have to double-click on the Bin icon. To close a bin, I simply close the red X in the right-hand corner. On a Mac, it'll be in the left-hand corner. To create a new bin, I simply click on New Bin or Ctrl+N, and immediately name your bin.
Don't name it named a generic name. I'm going to create a Sequences bin. I usually like to put an underscore before Sequences, because as you see, it sends it to the top, because bins are ordered alphanumerically. Usually, I like to have instant access to my sequences. Go ahead and close this for now. I can also organize bins inside of folders. I just come up here to this menu called a Fast Menu.
It pulls down a series of choices. I'll go ahead and click New Folder, and type Selects, because I'll have my Magician Selects and Montage Selects live in this folder. I just click-and-drag my bins inside the folder. To see my folder content, I just click on the triangle to the left. There they are. To drag Bins outside of folders, I simply click on the bin icon, drag to an empty space in the Project window, and release.
To delete a bin or a folder, I simply click on the bin or folder icon, and press Delete on my keyboard. It creates a Trash folder. To view the Trash contents, I click on the triangle to the left. Note that I cannot open anything in the Trash. It says I need to move them out first. So again, I just click-and-drag outside into an open area of the Project window, and then I can open it. Keep in mind that most editors leave the Trash alone and don't empty it until the end of the project.
However, when you do want to empty it, you simply come back up to the Fast Menu, and choose Empty Trash. It'll ask me if I'm sure. Yes, I am. It's gone. Coming over here to the Settings tab, I have all of the settings that I can customize for my User, Project, and Site settings. I can see exactly what each of the settings is associated with, either a User setting, a Project setting, or a Site setting. Now the vast majority of these settings are User settings, which are the settings that you changed to create your user profile.
By the way, the user profile can be changed, or created, or imported via this pull-down menu here as well. User settings follow you, the user, no matter what project or system you're working on. Therefore, the settings in this category are completely specific to the editing experience, not the physical setup of the project or the system. Common User setting is something like my keyboard setup. If I want to jump to my keyboard settings, I simply type K and it'll jump alphabetically to the list.
If I want to open these settings, I just double-click and it brings up my Keyboard settings. I can change it accordingly. Now Project settings are project-specific. The settings in this category are specific to the setup of each individual project, rather than to the editor or system. Common Project settings are things like Audio Project or Media Creation, the type, format, and resolution of the media you're creating in your project.
Finally, Site settings are site or system-specific. Site settings are specific to the way in which Media Composer interfaces with this computer and this general editing environment. A common Site setting is something like Deck Configuration, which is the way that Media Composer interfaces with any deck or camera connected to it. One last thing to know about the Project window is that it must always stay open for this project to be active. The moment I close it, I close the project and it sends me back to the Select Project window.
Here I can select a new project and then open it, or I can quit out of Media Composer altogether. In many ways, the Project window is one of the most important parts of the entire Media Composer interface, because it contains almost everything you'll need to build your project. It's important to get familiar with where everything lives and how everything works, because as we go forward, we'll begin slowly adding to this information until you set up an efficient, comfortable editing workspace.
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