Join Maxim Jago for an in-depth discussion in this video Overview of the Media Composer interface, part of Media Composer 8.7 Essential Training: 101.
- [Instructor] When you get into Media Composer, there are four main areas of the interface that you'll want to be familiar with. Now, yes, there's a lot more to the application, but these are the core areas that you're going to be working with day in and day out. The first is this one here. This is the project window. Then we've got bins. Well, this is one bin, but you can have as many as you want. We've got the composer window, and down underneath it, we've got the timeline window. Now obviously, you can move these around and position them anywhere you want.
I'm just showing them to you now in the default layout. The project window is really the heart of your project. I've actually got a series of different windows here inside of the project panel. Bins is just a list of the bins in your project, more on those in a moment. Volumes is, I suppose, for creating a particular kind of archive or a package of media. More about that perhaps in our advanced lessons. Settings is a full list of all of the settings that you might want to change in the application.
Here we've got all of our effects. This includes segment effects, we can ply two clips in a sequence, but also transition effects, we've got specific audio effects, and audio clip effects. Notice these are separate. We've got to option to add effects to tracks, and also to individual clips. The format display allows me to change the format for my project, usage gives me information about this system, in fact so does the info area of this window.
Just going to go back to bins for now. You'll notice I've got two bins listed. There are just two in this project. Sequences, which is open, that's got a lighter icon, and the rock climber bin, which is closed. I'm just going to double click to open this up. Bins are, if you like, well I suppose they're a bit like folders. They're where you put every single item you intend to use in your project. So you can add video clips, audio clips, graphics, titles, voiceover, music, whatever it is that you need.
Now of course you may not use every single item, so you can use the bins to organize the content either by scene or into selects and rejects and so on and so on. I can view items here as a list or as thumbnails or in fact in a script view that allows me to add some notes. And this is really just to help you stay organized in the project. If I double click on one of these items in the bin, it'll open in the player monitor. That's part of the composer window. The player monitor allows me to view contents.
I'll just play this back. Well, it's a pretty slow moving clip, but you can see there's something going on there. And I can also use this window to select the parts of the clips that I intend to use in my sequences. The program monitor in the composer window allows me to see the current sequence that I'm working on in the timeline window. Down here, I've got a number of clips, and I'll just zoom in a little here and perhaps while I'm at it, I'll use a keyboard shortcut to make these tracks a little bit taller so we can see their thumbnails better.
In fact, while we're here, why don't we resize this panel quite a way so we can see the timeline more clearly. The blue line on the timeline window represents the current frame. That's the specific moment in time that we're seeing in the composer window. And you'll notice there's blue line here, too. If I click and drag this, it'll update the one on the timeline. They really are linked together. The timeline panel has number of tracks. In fact, there's just three right now.
We've got video one, audio one, and audio two. And this is where you're going to place your clips, one after another in time from left to right and build your programs. There are a number of buttons over here in the so-called track headers that allow us to do specific things with the contents of those tracks, and we'll get into those a little bit later. And you'll notice along the top of the timeline window there are a number of buttons, just as there are under the composer monitors. These will make a lot more sense to you as we work through the contents of these lessons.
Now, if I like this layout with my timeline stretched over this way, I can save the layout as a workspace. But for now, I'm going to go to my windows menu. I'm going to go to workspaces, and I'm going to choose to restore the current to default. This is source record editing workspace, which is nothing more than a specific layout for the windows in a way that's useful for source record editing. I'll just click to restore this and say OK, and I'm back to the default layout.
Except something new's appeared, which is the source browser. And this is a fairly new feature in Media Composer. It's a tool that allows you to browse the contents of your storage drives, identify clips that you want to import into your current project, and do just that. We'll get into the source browser a little bit later, but it's an important new component in Media Composer. Let's just close that now. You'll notice under the tools menu, there are a lot of additional tools. You'll be working mostly in the tools you can see on screen right now, but you'll dip in and out of these tools from time to time.
For example, you might go into the audio mixer to make adjustments to the audio level on clips or to work with special effects. We'll come back to that later on. It's worth noting that Media Composer is a feature-rich nonlinear editing application, and that means there's a lot of options in menus, and, for that matter, quite a lot of different kinds of menu. We've got buttons to achieve certain results inside particular windows, but you'll notice here, for example, if I right click in the source or player monitor, I've got a whole list of options that relate to this window.
I've also got options inside the bins, or if I click on a particular item in a bin, lots of options in here. In fact, I've kind of ran out of space for the right click menus, and so you'll notice very often, you're going to find these so-called fast menus as well. There's quite a bit of doubling up in these menus, but the fast menu gives you access to options that are specific to the particular window you're clicking on. So we've got file and edit, bin and so on and so on. And we've got our right click menus and we've got our fast menus.
And the keyboard is used a great deal as well. And in particular, the alt modify key. You're going to find this comes up again and again and again. One last thing of note is you can close any bin you like. Here I'm closing the sequences bin. But when you do, you'll lose access to anything contained in it. In this case, I've lost access to the sequence in the bin. And that's because bins are actually files on your hard drive, and if the file is closed, you can't modify it. It's actually incredibly reassuring when you're working to know that a bin is closed and therefore safe.
And speaking of closing, if you close the project panel, you'll notice that the project saves automatically and you're back to the select project window. This means that you can't not choose to save, and so be a little bit careful about deciding whether or not you want to quit a project.
- Setting up the editing environment
- Creating a new project
- Importing media
- Finding, organizing, and linking clips
- Building a sequence
- Editing and trimming
- Adding transitions
- Applying segment effects
- Combining effects
- Applying freeze frame and motion effects
- Creating titles
- Exporting video projects