Join Maxim Jago for an in-depth discussion in this video Work with timecode, part of Media Composer 8.7 Essential Training: 101.
- [Narrator] This is a good moment for us to just pause and have a run through of the features in Media Composer for dealing with time code. Just to clarify, time code is a measurement of time used, particularly for video, but actually for a lot of different media types, and engineering systems. The time code support in Media Composer is pretty spectacular, and I want to run through each of the main areas in which you're going to encounter it, particularly for video editing and the timeline.
Here in the climbing media bin, I'll just stretch this out a little bit, you can see that we've got start and end time code information for each of the clips. This time code information might not exist, of course, if you're working with an animation file that's come in as a series of still frames, it just might not be there. The duration is the distance between the two, and it's possible that you'll have other forms of time code associated with the media as well. You can always right-click on these headings and go into choose columns, and choose, for example, up to five different auxiliary time code tracks.
Still, what I really want to focus on in this lesson is the time code information we see in the timeline window, and also in the composer window. Let's start with the top of the composer. First of all, you'll notice up here, we've got a menu, it's pretty subtle, but the little triangle indicates it's a menu, from which I can choose all of the various time code sources, in this case, of course, we've just got video and audio, and they both have the same time code. I can choose a number of logical types of time information, so I've got the total duration for this clip, I've got the in to out duration.
Notice the little difference there, is because our play head isn't quite at the beginning of the clip, the play head is used as an in mark if we don't have one. The absolute position is how many frames, or seconds, minutes, and so on, we are from the beginning of the clip, and remain, obviously, is the amount of time left in the clip. Personally, when I'm editing, I find the in to out duration to be the most functional, I find it the most useful, unless I'm hunting for a particular part of a clip, based on some logs from a shoot.
So I generally have this set to, in to out, in the source monitor. Up at the top, we've got another menu where we can specify other kinds of information for each of the sources. Here, for example, we can also choose the clip name and just have that displayed at the top. In between the two composer monitors, there's another little menu, it's not really a menu, it's a toggle, if you click on this, you can toggle between seeing the distance between your in and out marks, and the distance between your in and out marks as a frame count.
Here, for example, if I add an in and an out in this source clip, I've got 102 frames. It's pretty rare though, for people to operate using frame counts, it does happen if you're working on animation or motion graphics projects, but that's less common in Media Composer, it's primarily a cutting system. So most of the time you'll want this displayed as time code. Of course, we're just getting the end of the time code here, this is the seconds and frames for this project. We're in a 23.976 frames per second project, which effectively translates to 24 frames per second, and so that's the way the frame count works here.
If I switch over to the program monitor, or down to the timeline, this sends a display update. So here, I can mark in and out, and now I'm getting the duration between my marks for my sequence. The time code option on the right here, is just a repeat of the options we've got for the source monitor. Although, of course, we've got a lot more tracks to choose between, most of these tracks are empty, so there's not a lot going on there. But, if we were working with multiple layers of media, you'd see some different numbers coming up here.
This is also a great moment to mention how helpful it is having a numerical keypad on your keyboard. Here on the timeline, for example, if I wanted to go to, say, 15 seconds exactly, I can just type in 1500 using my numerical keypad, press the enter key, and that's exactly where we go. This is something you can't do with the numbers along the top of the keyboard, because of course, three and four, is one frame forwards, one frame backwards, one and two, is giving me eight frames, and so on.
So, having that numerical keypad really makes a difference. Once you get used to using a numerical keypad, you can use it without really looking, so it's much faster than using the rest of the keyboard anyway. Coincidentally, you don't need to add all of the leading digits, in fact, you'll notice that this timeline begins at one hour, and that's pretty common, it's so common that it's the default setting in Media Composer. A lot of editors like to have their timelines begin at one hour, and it's often used for distribution purposes, on transmission servers.
Television stations often like the media to be delivered at what's referred to as one double-oh, double-oh, one hour, no minutes, and no seconds. You can change the default start time code as well. If you go to your general settings, just down here, we've got the default starting time code for sequences, and if you're looking at a sequence that you've got open already, and you want to change the start time code for it, you can right-click inside the program monitor in the composer window, and you can choose sequence report, and in here, you can actually click and change the start time code.
Let's change this to zeroes all the way. I'll apply. I'm not going to generate a report. As you can see from this, it generates information about the sequence that you're working on. I'll cancel this, and you can see our time code has updated. This won't affect future sequences, just the one we're working on right now. Coincidentally, also, if you want to, you can have a second layer of information up at the top of the composer monitor. If I double-click here, you can see we've got the option to specify always displaying two rows of data.
This is the composer settings in the project window. If I choose this option, and click okay, you really just get two menus. It's pretty useful, but, I have to say, unless I'm hunting for content in my source clips and I'm working with multiple layers of media I want to search out in my sequence, I generally don't need the second layer. So, I'm going to turn this off, and put it back to one. And one last thing to add here, is of course, the timeline. If we look on our timeline, we've got a time code ruler, a little time bar along the top here, where you can see specific moments in time, and at the bottom of the timeline, it's actually repeated, because we've got our time code one track, and we've got an edge code track added here as well.
The edge code track, as I mentioned before, is based on edge numbers, or rubber numbers for film stocks, that we probably don't need but it does make the time code track a bit taller, and that makes it easier to click on. If you look in the fast menu for the timeline window, you'll notice that, in the show track options, we've got a whole bunch of additional tracks that we can turn on here. I'll just scroll down, so we can see this. Now we're getting our 30 frames per second drop frame time code measurement as well.
And there it is revealed, there's the drop frame time code measurement, two frames extra when we get to the end of the first minute. I'm going to turn this off, but it's good to know the option is there. So those are the main time code options when working in sequences in Avid Media Composer.
- 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