Book Image

Avid Media Composer 6.x Cookbook

By : Benjamin Hershleder
Book Image

Avid Media Composer 6.x Cookbook

By: Benjamin Hershleder

Overview of this book

Avid Media Composer has become the tool of choice by editing professionals worldwide. Whether your project involves editing television programming, independent films, corporate industrials or commercials, this cookbook shows you exactly how to do so in a step-by-step and practical manner, and get the most out of Avid Media Composer editing. "Avid Media Composer 6.x Cookbook" is an expert, clear and logically-sequenced resource with highly effective recipes for learning Avid Media Composer essentials and beyond. It's task-based approach will help users at all experience levels gain a deeper, more thorough understanding of the software. It will help you master the essential, core editing features as well as reveal numerous tips and tricks that editors can benefit from immediately. Just some of the topics include understanding Import settings, mixing frame rates and understanding AMA (Avid Media Access), along with thorough explanations of Trim Mode, Segment Mode, and the Smart Tool. You will learn to customize your work environment with Workspaces, Bin Layouts, Timeline Views, Bin Views, Keyboard Mapping, and much more. The recipes inside are packed with practical examples, time-saving tools and methods to get you working faster and more confidently so that you can spend less time dealing with technical and operational issues and instead focusing on being creative.
Table of Contents (20 chapters)
Avid Media Composer 6.x Cookbook
Credits
About the Author
Acknowledgement
About the Reviewers
www.PacktPub.com
Preface
Index

Moving around: Methods and tips


Media Composer provides a variety of methods to help you move around Clips and Sequences, as well as to locate specific Timecode points. Reading the Understanding Track Sensitivity and Snapping actions for the Position Indicator line and in Segment Mode recipes in Chapter 3, Polishing Gems will also be helpful along with this information.

Play Reverse, Pause, and Play Forward (also known as JKL or Three-Button Play)

By default these functions are placed on the J, K, and L keys. The Play Reverse, Pause, and Play Forward functions can be used not only while editing, but when trimming too. When you become accustomed to using them while trimming, you'll find yourself working even faster and more intuitively. So, I highly encourage you to give them a try when trimming and to also check out the section titled Keyboard mapping ideas in the Mapping buttons and menu selections recipe in Chapter 2, Customizing Your Work Environment for a discussion on a particularly popular remapping choice for these.

It's also helpful to be aware that when you're capturing from tape, and the Capture Tool is active, you can use these functions to control the tape deck. This not only makes the process easier but, since you're not using the Capture Tool's deck shuttle control, it's healthier for your wrist too.

Here are all the things you can do when editing or trimming with Play Reverse, Pause, and Play Forward. Note that Capture Tool will not go one frame at a time as described later. Instead you could use the Step Forward One Frame button.

  • Press Play Forward or Play Reverse:

    • One time – plays/trims at the frame rate of your project (for example, 25 fps or 30 fps).

    • Two times in quick succession (for example, tap, tap) – plays/trims at two times (2x) the frame rate of your project (for example, 50 fps or 60 fps).

    • Three times in quick succession – plays/trims at three times (3x) the frame rate of your project.

    • Four times in quick succession – audio is intentionally muted. It plays/trims at five times (5x) the frame rate of your project.

    • Five times in quick succession – audio is intentionally muted. It plays/trims at eight times (8x) the frame rate of your project.

  • Press Pause at the same time as pressing either Play Forward or Play Reverse. If you're using these functions in their default positions, then you would be holding down both the K and J keys or both the K and L keys. This will play back or trim at 8 fps in NTSC projects, 6 fps in PAL projects, and 6 fps in 24-p projects. The sound will have a quality similar to when analogue audio tape is scrubbed across a play head.

  • One Frame at a time – first, press and hold down the Pause button. Then quickly tap either the Play Reverse key or the Play Forward key. If you're using these functions in their default positions, then you would be holding down the K key and quickly tapping either the J key or the L key.

Fast Forward and Rewind

When you're editing, these functions are programmed to take you from one edit point (transition) to another. See the Understanding Track Sensitivity recipe in Chapter 3, Polishing Gems for important information about how this function is programmed and how to control its behavior.

  • Fast Forward and Rewind will jump you from one key frame to the next when you're in Effect Mode, and either the Effect Editor window or the Key Frame Position Bar below the Effect Monitor (also known as the Record Monitor) is active.

  • Stops at the Head Frame (first frame) of a clip by default. You can adjust this behavior by going to: Project Window | Settings tab | Composer | FF/REW.

  • Will stop at Markers if this behavior is enabled. Enable this by going to: Project Window | Settings tab | Composer | FF/REW.

Go to Previous/Next Edit

These functions are placed on the A and S keys by default. They are designed to take you from one edit point (transition) to the next and to also place you into Trim Mode. See the Understanding Track Sensitivity recipe in Chapter 3, Polishing Gems for important information on how this function is programmed and how to control its behavior.

Home and End (also known as Go To Start and Go To End)

You'll find these functions on your extended keyboard above the arrow keys. Further, if you're on a Mac, then they're just to the right of the Delete key, and if you're on a PC then they're just to the right of te Backspace key.

These functions are mentioned not so much because they will quickly take you to the beginning or end of whatever is loaded in your Source Window or Timeline, but because they can be mapped wherever you want. Being able to map them is especially helpful for anyone without an extended keyboard, like those editing on a laptop in the field. You can find these functions here: Tools menu | Command Palette | Move tab. More information about mapping can be found in the Mapping buttons and menu selections recipe in Chapter 2, Customizing Your Work Environment.

Frame Offset – Jumping Forward or Backward by Typing

A Frame Offset is simply a way to tell Media Composer to move the Position Indicator (the blue line) a specific number of minutes, seconds, and/or frames forward (later in time) or backward (earlier in time).

First, let's get familiar with entering numeric values:

  • In order for this feature to work properly, it is important to make sure that timecode is displayed in the Tracking Information Menu above the Source and Record Monitors. Further, if you have both Tracking Information Menus displayed above each monitor (enabled in Project Window | Settings tab | Composer Settings | Window Tab | Always Display Two Rows of Data), make sure that the menu on top is displaying timecode.

  • When using the numeric keypad on an extended keyboard, the moment you begin typing a white entry box will appear in whichever window is active (Source or Record). For emphasis, you don't have to do anything other than begin entering numbers on the numeric keypad. When you're finished typing, press the Enter key on the numeric keypad.

  • When using a laptop (which doesn't have a numeric keypad) you first tap the Ctrl key two times in quick succession (tap, tap) in order to make the white entry box appear. When you're finished typing, press the Return key (Mac)/Enter key (PC).

  • You must type either a minus or a plus symbol before any numbers, otherwise Media Composer thinks you are entering a Timecode value (entering a timecode number is discussed in the section immediately following this one).

  • Type a minus symbol before any numbers to move the Blue Line to the left of its current position (moving it to an earlier point in time).

  • Type a plus symbol before any numbers to move the Blue Line to the right of its current position (moving it to a later point in time).

  • You do not have to type a colon between the numbers. Media Composer will add them for you automatically as you type.

Now, let's focus on performing the Frame Offset:

  • The way you type is identical to the format for timecode. In other words, Hours:Minutes:Seconds:Frames. For example, to move the Position Indicator forward by 2 seconds and 15 frames in a NTSC 30-fps project, you would type +215. Then you'd press the Enter key. Another example is to move the Position Indicator backward by 20 frames, you would type -20, and then press the Enter key.

  • To make Media Composer always calculate in terms of frames (for values over 99 frames), rather than seconds and frames, type a lower case letter f. For emphasis, do not type a capital letter F or it won't work. For example, if you were in a NTSC 30-fps project and wanted to move forward 200 frames, you would type in +200f. If you didn't type the lower case letter f, then you would only go forward by 2 seconds (only 60 frames).

  • When Marking In and Out – when you use this feature along with marking in and out, be aware that the first frame you are parked on is included in your selection. For example, when you place your Mark In, this tells Media Composer that you want that frame as part of your selection. Then you type +20, enter (moving forward 20 frames), and then you place the Mark Out. The result is that you have told Media Composer you wanted the first frame and then to add 20 more. If you look at your Center Duration display, you'll see that the total selection you've made is 21 frames. If, in the previous example, you wanted to select exactly 20 frames, you could have either made the adjustment when typing by entering +19, or before placing your Mark Out you could have used the Step Backward 1 Frame function to move back one frame.

  • Numeric Keypad Memory – a nice feature is that the numeric keypad remembers whatever value you've typed in until a new value is entered. For example, let's say you wanted to place shots exactly 2 seconds apart. First, type in +200 and hit the Enter key. When you want to move forward again by 2 seconds, simply hit the Enter key.

Timecode

You can make the Position Indicator jump to a specific timecode point in either the Source Window or Record Window/Timeline. If the timecode number exists, the Position Indicator will jump to it. If it does not exist, then the Position Indicator will not move and you may hear an alert sound from your computer (for example, bonk).

If you're not familiar with entering numeric values, please see the section above titled Frame Offset – Jumping Forward or Backward by Typing which includes a helpful overview of how to enter numeric values.

Type fewer numbers tips – for this example, let's say you have loaded a very long Master Clip into the Source Window. First, you glance at the Tracking Information Menu above the Source Window and you see that you are currently parked in the Master Clip at 02:01:11:18. Then, you look at your script notes and see that the producer has indicated that the shot she wants is at 02:09:00:00. Rather than having to type all those numbers, you could reduce it to presing just three keys:

  • You do not need to type the 02 value for the hours since you're already parked in that timecode region.

  • Since the minutes value begins with a zero, you can ignore it and type just a 9 value.

  • You do not need to type two zeroes for the seconds value. Instead, you can press once on the decimal key on the numeric keypad or the period key on the main keyboard. When you do this, you will be given two zeroes with just the one-button push.

  • Press the decimal key or the period key a second time to type two more zeroes for the frames value.

  • Pressing Enter would be button press number 4.

Step Forward and Step Backward by Frames

These functions will move you forward or backward by a set number of frames. By default, these functions are found in these locations and work as follows:

  • 1 key and 2 key in the top-left of the main keyboard – moves 1/3rd the number of frames of the frame rate of your project. Specifically, in a 24-fps project, you'll move eight frames, while in a 30-fps project, you'll move 10 frames.

  • 3 key and 4 key – moves one frame at a time.

  • Left Arrow key and Right Arrow key – Moves one frame at a time.

Step Forward and Step Backward by Fields

When you are stepping through interlaced video, Media Composer only shows you Field 1. However, when you play the video and watch it on your NTSC or PAL broadcast monitor (which displays both fields), you may see a dropout (a flaw) in the image every now and then. So, how do you verify there is a dropout on Field 2 if you can only see Field 1 when using the Step Forward/Backward by Frames function? Well, Media Composer does allow you to step through the video one field at a time.

You can find these functions here: Tools menu | Command Palette | Move tab.

  • Since the function pertains to fields in interlaced video, this feature is not available if your video format is progressive.

  • It is very helpful to make sure that timecode is displayed in the Tracking Information Menu above the Source or Record Monitors. As you step forward or backward by one field, watch the Frames region of the timecode. You'll notice that the value changes every two clicks of the Step Forward/Backward by Fields function. When you see the number change, you are on Field #1 and when the number does not change, you are on Field #2.

  • You should see a small, white number 2 in the top-right corner of the image area in the Source or Record window when you are on Field 2. My current experience is that this number only appears intermittently, which is most likely a small bug (error) in the programming that will be fixed in later releases.

  • Make sure that you have returned to viewing Field 1 before going back to editing, otherwise as you navigate, you will be viewing Field 2 when you move the Position Indicator (blue line) forward or backward.

  • When you are in Effect Mode and are using interlaced video the Step Forward/Backward by Frames function will actually move you by Fields.