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All filmmakers and television producers (budding and experienced alike) will probably use an Avid product at some point in their careers. Avid Xpress Pro 5.5 Essential Editing covers the latest version of this high-end editing application, from the basics of using its interface to the ins and outs of rendering, creating titles and credits, and importing and exporting footage. Chris also demonstrates a range of hands-on editing techniques. Exercise files accompany this training.
Right. So I have prepared my sequence now, ready for laying off into tape. Let's actually put the tape into the machine, make sure the VTR or the camcorder is connected to your computer with a FireWire cable. Hopefully they will be talking to each other very nicely. And now we are ready to go to our Digital Cut tool and actually have a look at how we'd start laying this off onto tape. I will go up to my Clip menu, Digital Cut, on my Digital Cut tool will open. Let's go through these various bits and pieces first of all. You need to make sure on the left here that all the tracks that I want to lay off into tape are selected. If I have more than one video track, I want to make sure that they all are going off into tape, I need to make sure that the topmost track is selected on here. These are the important buttons that we'll come into later on.
This is actually when we start laying off into tape, we will come to those in a moment. Device IEEE 1394, so we are connected via FireWire and output mode is correct, Real Time DV25. Now if we want to lay off the entire sequence, the entire timeline as it is, and in most cases I would imagine we probably would, we just make sure that Entire Sequence is checked. If for any reason, we only want to lay off a portion of a timeline, then if I mark In and an Out points on my timeline and uncheck this, then Avid would only layoff that part of the sequence, so that may be useful for some situations.
Video Effects Safe Mode. If I have any effects, both video or audio effects in my sequence, I can check this and Avid will make sure that anything that needs to be rendered will be rendered before we start laying off into tape. Generally I would leave that on. It's always good to make sure that you are nicely rendered before we start laying off. If there are any problems during recording, if for any reason the machine drops frames, if you check this box, then Avid would stop and tell you that. It's always again wise to leave that on. There's nothing worse in laying the program off and only later realizing that there was a problem. You have actually dropped frames. Once the sequence is finished laying off into tape, I can actually ask Avid to add some black at the tail, so you could have your program and then decide, for example, "Well, I want 30 seconds of black at the end." That's useful if you have got something on tape already. You want to make sure that they don't see that accidentally. Quiet honestly, it's just a good practice to have that on there anyways. It means that when your program finishes and then it's not just an abrupt stop, you know. You have got to make sure that the program finishes and then some nice clear video at the end.
So you may want to put, say, 30 seconds of Black on there. Now we want to be controlling the deck in most cases, so I'm going to leave this on Remote. That means the Avid is going to control the deck during the digital cut and the two kind of main options here are Sequence Time, which means the Avid is going to try and locate the same timecode on the tape as it is on your sequence. So, in this particular case, it's going to look for 9 hours, 58 minutes, 30 seconds at the beginning of our sequence when it starts to lay off, which is good when we want the tape and our sequences to match. Or we could say Record Deck Time, which just basically means the Avid would start recording wherever the tape is currently parked. So if you haven't been able to set up your timecode in your hardware, then you might want to want to choose Record Deck Time instead then it's just going to stop recording at wherever the tape is currently parked.
Let's go back to Sequence Time. If for any reason we can't control the deck or don't want to control the deck, I can switch to Local mode here and then all I'm going to do in that situation is press Record and Play on my camcorder or VTR, give it a bit of a pre-roll, bit of a runup and then when I am ready, I can just click the big red button here to start to laying off the sequences, a very kind of like a very basic way of doing it, but you know, if that's the way you can work, that's perfectly fine, nothing wrong with that. Let's switch back to Remote mode. Just before we start laying off onto tape, it might be useful just to make sure that the template for our deck is selected here. You might find it says Generic template and in most cases that can be okay. You might encounter some problems with it not quite going in to Record mode properly or anything like that, so if you can find your deck specifically, if you go to Adjust Deck, if you can locate your specific make and model here, it's always good to do that and then what Avid will do is set things up, like the pre-roll and stuff like that to best optimize the settings for that deck. So if you can find it in there, it's worth having a look. I am setting those.
Okay, so I am going to put a tape in my recorder now. So, the Avid has given a default name of Digital Cut Tape which in most cases would probably be okay. But if I am not happy with that, I can give it either an existing tape name from here or a new tape name. Let's call it New Program Layoff. I'll click OK. Now because I am using a DV device here, the only option I have is a Crash Record. What that means is that the Avid is going to pre-roll and if I've select Sequence Time, it's going to go to 9 hours, 58 minutes, 30 seconds, and start recording and just kind of record everything, timecode, control track, video and audio in one lump and at the end it's just going to stop.
It's going to overwrite the tape as it goes basically. Because we are connected with a FireWire device, we have Crash Record as the only option here. That basically means that as it is recording, it's going to be erasing the tape as it goes. So okay, that's fine. So our tape is in the machine, we have set our sequence up correctly. We know that everything is connected, our FireWire device is connected, we can see the device. Now, once I am happy that everything is ready, I could either just go ahead and press Record and let Avid take over and it's just going to start recording to tape or I can push the Preview button which means that everything is going to happen except the actual recording. So it's going to give me a preview of the actual laying off of the tape so it's like it will test to make sure how everything is working before I actually to commit to recording anything.
But if I am happy, I will just go and click the big red Digital Cut Record button. Once the Digital Cut is completed, obviously makes sense to watch your tape back to make sure that everything is actually stuck the way it should have done. There is nothing more embarrassing than sending out a blank tape to your client I find. So have a good look to make sure that all is correct and especially when you watching DV tapes back, have a good look to make sure that there is no sort of any distortion on there or anything like that. I will give it a good watch through -- I will give it a good check to make sure that you are happy with that. And then bundle it in an envelope and send it off.
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