Building multitrack sequences

show more Building multitrack sequences provides you with in-depth training on Video. Taught by Steve Holyhead as part of the Avid Media Composer 5 Getting Started show less
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Building multitrack sequences

As our project progresses, we may need to start layering clips in the sequence across multiple tracks of audio and video. When we start dealing with multiple tracks, we need to have a method for directing a source clip to a specific track in the Timeline. This is known as patching tracks. So far, we have limited ourselves to sequences with two to four audio tracks and a single video track. Here I've got one such sequence, where the video clips have sync sound on A1 and A2.

I want to add some music from the beginning of this sequence, but I also want to keep the sync audio on A1 and A2. To do this, we need to add more audio tracks. There are a couple of ways to do this. If I right-click in the Timeline area, I get the option to add a New Audio Track. We're going to be doing Mono tracks here. A3 has now been added to the Timeline. I'm going to add another track now, but this time, I'm going to use a keyboard command; Command+U or Ctrl+U on a Windows machine will add another audio track.

Now, I've got A3 and A4. I've got some music in my bin up here. I'm going to select it, hold down, drag and drop it to my Timeline area. I've got the ability to patch my tracks visually. If I hold down Command on a Mac or Ctrl on Windows machine, and pull to the left, I can snap my audio to the very beginning of the Timeline. If I let go, I've added music on audio tracks 3 and 4. (Music playing.) There we go.

What if I want to add yet more audio layers to my sequence? Well, I'm going to go ahead and add two more audio tracks to the sequence, like so. Here, I've got a sound effect in my bin. This time though, I'm not going to drag and drop into the Timeline; I'm going to load the sound effect into my Source viewer. Let's see what we've got. (Audio playing.) Okay, that's pretty good. I might just start the in point a little earlier, and maybe come out a little earlier, too.

So, I've adjusted my in points and out points, and now I want to add this material into the Timeline. Well, of course, I could drag and drop it, but what if I want to use Splice-in or Overwrite instead? Well, in that case, I would need to be aware of the track patching. A1 is currently adjacent to A1, and A2 on the source side is currently adjacent to A2 on the record side. If I park to the beginning of my Timeline, and I were to go ahead and edit this clip in now - let's deactivate the other tracks that we don't need - and use the Overwrite command, you can see what happens is that the sound effect actually gets patched, and recorded on to A1 and A2 instead.

This has overwritten the sync sound for the sky and flower clip. Let's undo that. Instead, I'm going to hold down on the A1 track, and pull an arrow down to A5, like so. Let's do that with A2. Let's hold down and drag an arrow to A6. Now, I've patched A1 to A5, and A2 on the Source side to A6 on the Record side. Now, when we overwrite into our sequence, we've added the sound effect alongside the sync audio and the music.

(Music playing.) Before I did that edit, you probably noticed that I deactivated the tracks that I didn't want to edit onto. Let me undo that one more time, and this time show you what would've happened if I had left all of my tracks engaged. Whilst I've added the sound effect, I've overwritten the other material that was on video track 1 and A1-A4.

The logic of this is as follows: If I'm using Splice-in, or Overwrite, then if I've got material adjacent to a track, it'll be added, but if I've got nothing, then nothing will be added, i.e. black or zero audio for the length of the edit that we just did. So, it's very important to make sure when you're adding material across multiple tracks that you not only know where you've patched the track, but also whether the tracks need to be active for the particular result you're looking for.

That's multi-track audio. What about multi-track video? Well here, I've got a multi-track video sequence. I'm going to be monitoring on video track 1. As I drag through the sequence, you can see at the moment, all we can see is the material on video track 1, the sunset clip. If I go up to video track 2, even though there's black here, we see through the black to what's on video track 1. If there's nothing in the way on video track 2, then we'll see what's on video track 1. However, now with monitoring enabled on video track 2, as I scrub across the next clip, forest floor, you see that it obscures the sunset clip, until I get all the way to the end here, and now we just have the sunset clip again.

If I engage monitoring on video track 3, and scrub back this time, you see that we finally get to see the sky clip on video track 3. Let's go ahead and add one more clip to this Timeline. I've got my rushing water clip here. Now if I wanted to drag this into my Timeline, no problem; just drag the clip in, drop it, and now I've patched it to V4. Alternatively - let's undo that - if I wanted to use my Splice-in or Overwrite arrows instead, I would need to make sure that I patched V1 to V4, just like we did with the audio clips.

Let's deactivate the audio tracks too, and now when I add this clip to my Timeline, I've patched from V1 to V4, source side V1 to record side V4. As I scrub backwards and forwards in my Timeline now, I can indeed see that clip over top of the sky. The way I like to describe this is you can almost think of the Timeline like a fish tank or aquarium, and the monitoring logic is as if we're looking in through the top of the fish tank.

If there's a fish swimming above the other fish, then we'll see this one. If not, then we'll see the one below, and so on. In some cases, drag and drop using the Segment tool is the best approach; in other cases, using track activeness and track patching will be more efficient.

Building multitrack sequences
Video duration: 6m 45s 3h 10m Beginner


Building multitrack sequences provides you with in-depth training on Video. Taught by Steve Holyhead as part of the Avid Media Composer 5 Getting Started

Media Composer
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