Get Started Fast with Avid Media Composer—Episode 1



hello everyone and welcome to get started fast with avid media composer 7 presented by avid blogs my name is Kevin P McAuliffe and I'm a three-time North American Pro max award-winning editor and a media composer editor for over 15 years as well as being one of the senior editors at my Joe in Toronto and you can always find me in the avid community forums in the media composer and Symphony getting started fast forum and in this five-part tutorial series we're going to take you through everything you need to know to get started with media composer 7 as quickly and as efficiently as possible okay let's get started let's command and tab into avid media composer and we are greeted by the project selection window now there's a few important things we're going to want to note before we actually get in and start editing the first thing right at the very top here is the user profile now you'll see right now the user is set to be me now something that's important to keep in mind is that anyone coming from Final Cut 7 will know that the user inside of Final Cut is based on whoever is logged into the computer that's not the case inside a media composer a media composer you can have multiple editors working on one login obviously this is the same for both Mac and Windows so something important to keep in mind in this case because I'm the only editor on this system there is only me but conceivably you could have 10 15 20 30 different editors all working on the system obviously with the unique settings that we're going to get to in just a minute okay let's move on let's talk about the different types of projects that you can have you'll see right now that my project type is set to be external meaning I'm saving this project onto an external hard drive obviously the advantage to that is by having the projects and the media on an external drive at any point a client could call me I could simply unplug that drive pack it into my bag drive on over to my clients location plug back in and I'll be up and running literally in minutes now depending on how you need to work you can set your project up as private now the difference between a private project and an external project as you can see right up here by the folder that the projects going into right now in my Mac it's going into users Kevan P McAuliffe documents avid projects meaning that only me when I'm logged in will be able to see this project nobody else that has a login on this computer will have access to it obviously moving down you'll see that I can also create a shared project the shared project goes to a slightly different location basically now meaning that this project can be shared across users it doesn't matter who the logged in user happens to be now obviously this is the same for all of you Windows users as well what I'm going to do is just select an external project and let's come down now and let's create a new project and let me show you how this is going to work now as soon as I click on the new project button you'll see that we are now greeted by of course the new project window so let's call our new project MC getting started now if I come over here to the format you'll see that I can click on the format drop-down and I'm now greeted by all the different formats that I'm going to have access to inside of Media Composer now what's important to keep in mind is that this window the format is really going to determine four things in your workflow how you import media how you digitize media the type of sequence that Media Composer creates for you and to a certain extent how you're going to export clips now that doesn't mean that you can't import any type of file size any frame rate any resolution and work with it in your timeline because you can what's important to keep in mind is that by creating a 720p 23 976 timeline everything at the end of the day will conform to that frame rate now what's also important to keep in mind is that you can work in like frame rates inside of a project meaning that once I create a 720p 23 976 project I'm also in that project and I have access to being able to work in 23 976 p ntsc as well as 1080p 23 976 now obviously coincidentally if you happen to be working in an NTSC 30 I project 30 frames per second or 2997 frames per second you'll have access to not only that resolution which also have access to 720p 2997 as well as 59.94 ISO something important to keep in mind when you're working now in this case I'm just going to select 720p 23 976 I'm simply going to say ok and let's simply say ok to launch this project and Media Composer is now going to launch my newly created project and it's going to open a bin for me to start working with now for the purpose of what we're doing right now I don't have any meat in this bin so I'm just going to close this bin I'm simply going to select it right click on it and we're going to delete it because I'm going to open a bin from a different project okay now before we get in and we open a bin that has some media in it I want to talk about the three windows that we now have access to inside of our project the first window is located right over here on the left hand side and it's appropriately enough the project window and the first tab that we're inside of the project window is the bins tab obviously this is we're going to have all the bins that will contain all of the media that we need to finish our edit the next tab right beside it is the volumes tab where we can get in and create new volumes we have the ability to get in and adjust our settings which we're going to talk about coming up next I can also get in and add filters right here from within the project window if I want to but there's an alternate way to do it which are probably going to use that we'll talk about in a later lesson next we have the format tab where we can get in and as I mentioned in the intro we can get in and adjust to like frame rates as well as getting in and adjusting the raster dimension as well as stereoscopic options right here from within the project window we could get in and take a look at some general usage and some general info about the project and system we happen to be working on now the next window that you're going to see immediately to the right over here is the composer window the composer window is where you're basically going to make all of the decisions that you're going to make as far as what parts of Clips to edit into your timeline we have the preview window located right here as well as the sequence window right here that reflects what's going on right down here in your timeline window timeline window is obviously where you're actually going to take the clips and drop them into order and do your effects work as well as audio mixing to get your project done as quickly and efficiently as possible okay so let's talk about some settings that we're going to want to adjust before we start editing I'm going to navigate over here to the Settings tab and the first one that I always like to get in and adjust is my bin settings why well because inside of my bin settings is the autosave interval basically how often is Media Composer going to save any open bins in your project now for me I normally have this set to be something low somewhere around you know about 10 minutes obviously this is a personal preference and you can set this to be whatever you like I'm just going to say okay now the next setting that I like to get in and adjust just going to scroll down a little bit here is the composer settings the composer settings are obviously for this window up here the composer window and in most cases what I like to do is I like to have two rows of data because you can never have too much information when you're editing and for me personally because I normally use all my shortcuts on the keyboard I normally only like to have one row here I don't need to have two rows because like I said I'm a keyboard editor and I always like to have the center duration selected meaning that if I mark an in-point and an out point in my timeline or in a clip it's always going to show me the duration right up here right at the top of the composer window okay what I'm going to do is simply say okay and because I now have a one row of button selected you're going to see one row disappear there we go now the next setting that I like to get in and adjust is the general setting right here why the general setting because this is where I can get in and set the default timecode for any sequence that I happen to create for any project that I'm working on now in most cases because I put bars and tone and slate at the beginning of all of my pieces I normally have this set to be fifty nine zero zero zero zero now another shortcut I want to mention to you is that you're going to notice that when I was punching in fifty nine zero zero zero zero the two zeros appeared together it supposed to be going like this zero zero zero zero well if you use the period at the bottom of the numeric pad it's actually going to put in two zeros for you a very handy shortcut to keep in mind when you're editing what I'm going to do now is just punch back in 5900 I'm going to say ok and the next setting that I want to talk about is right down here and it's called the media creation setting I'm going to double click on media creation now the first tab inside of media creation is the drive filtering and indexing because when I'm working I don't want to accidentally capture or import or render anything to my system or my launch drive so I'm just going to filter both of those drives out now the media creation setting also lets you get in and tell Media Composer where you want to send your captures titles imports mix downs and transcodes motion effects and renders too so if you have multiple different drives and let's say you want to send the captures to one Drive in the titles to a different Drive you can simply just come into each one of these tabs and assign the drive that you want to have that particular parameters sent to now in this case I only have one drive so everything is going to be going to my Mac Drive but just having the ability to get in and sending all these different things to different drives based on obviously how full your drives are is a very handy feature to have okay so I'm just simply going to say okay and the next setting and probably the most important one other than your autosave is your keyboard settings let's talk about keyboard settings right now what I'm going to do is I'm just going to navigate up and you'll see keyboard setting is located right here I'm simply going to double click on it and once I double click on it you're going to see my keyboard settings and you're going to see that I've added some additional features here for the F keys now this is always an interesting situation the keyboard settings because I know a lot of editors who like to get in and literally change every key on the keyboard and I always tell editors that are starting out to never do that now you might be wondering why well there's actually a very simple reason I mean if you are an editor that only edits at one location let's say on your own edit system you know what get in and change the keyboard settings as much as you want but if you're a freelance editor and you're going from location to location to location let's say you have your settings on a USB stick that you take with you what's going to happen the one day that you forget your settings normally take the settings you stick them in you're going to open them boom you're up and running in two seconds the problem is that if you've gotten in and adjusted the keyboard let's just say every key is different and you forgotten that USB key at home guess what you're now going to have to rebuild that entire keyboard whereas for me because I only adjust the F keys at the top guess what it's going to take me probably about a minute to rebuild these settings now one thing that you don't see in here that you do have the ability to do is that if I hold down the shift key I do have the ability to toggle the shift key and add a whole bunch more shortcuts in here so I can have a shift R or a shift D or a shift and function keys functionality to add as many shortcuts as I might want now I know you're probably thinking yourself well keV you have all of your settings here but how do you get in and add more and I'm just going to use the f11 key as an example here so how do we get in and add more settings to this keyboard well there's actually two tools that you need to get in and make keyboard adjustments we obviously need our keyboard settings but we need one more and I'm going to navigate up to tools and I'm going to come down to the command palette once I open the command palette you're going to see that it is just what it sounds like this is basically a palette where every command that you might want to need is stored for you to basically take and let's just use I'm just going to use the step forward one frame shortcut you're going to see right now I'm on a button to button reassignment I can now simply take that and drag it down to f11 and let it go and that shortcut has now been added to my keyboard now for me what I'm going to do is I'm just going to come down to the other settings and I'm just going to put that back as being blank because I obviously don't want that on my settings now I did say that this is where you can find most of the shortcuts that you're going to want to use but not all of them what did I mean by that well inside of Media Composer you also have the ability to map anything from a menu to a button as well and let me show you how simple that is to do I'm going to come down to menu to button reassignment I'm now going to come down and I'm going to click on that f11 and let's say I wanted to assign the command palette to f11 I'm going to navigate back up to tools I'm going to come down to command palette and you're going to see the command palette is now appeared at f11 let's close the command palette let's close our keyboard settings and now if I hit f11 on my keyboard you're going to see there is the command palette what's also cool about the command palette is I do have the ability if I happen to have multiple monitors to leave the command palette open so now what this basically means is by selecting the active talent I can use any of these as commands not necessarily as a drag and assign to buttons but if I want it to collapse something in my timeline I could simply click on it here without mapping it to anything on my keyboard or in my composer window and that command will function as a command and collapse the layers in my timeline okay I'm just going to close the command palette let's come back to our bins and let's open a bin that has some media in it so I can show you how bins work I'm just simply going to hit command + o on the keyboard on the Mac ctrl + o on Windows I'm just going to navigate to my stock footage folder here and I'm going to come into my motocross bin right here I'm simply going to say open and you'll see now I can double-click on any one of these clips we now have access to all of the media here now I'm just going to bring the bin right over here into the middle of the window and I'm just going to extend it out because I want to show you all of the information that I can see inside of this bin the only promises there's a lot of information in here that I don't need and there's some information that I do want that is not in here so how do I get in and make adjustments to the different columns that I have well it's very simple we're going to navigate right down here to our fast menu I'm simply going to click on it and I'm going to navigate right up here to choose columns you'll see now that you have an absolutely staggering amount of information that you can take a look at inside of any given bin now what I normally like to do is I like to select everything and then select nothing because I like to set up a standard bin all of the time and I'm going to come right down here and what I normally like to have set up is the drive the duration the end and the start I'm just going to come all the way down here to start there it is right there and I'm simply going to say okay you know what maybe I'll select tape as well I'll say okay and you'll see now that we now have the name of the clip the duration the drive the start the tape and the analyst that's kind of not really how I would want this organized I'd actually rather have the name the start the end the duration the drive and then the tape so it can't just be as easy as dragging the columns is it well it actually is take a look at this I can now simply just drag the columns wherever I want and when I have things laid out exactly as I need them I can navigate right down here and simply say save as we'll call this Kevin's standard view and now because I've created a new bin view what I can do is simply navigate right back up to my settings tab if I scroll all the way up to the top you're going to see there it is right there and if I don't want any of these other ones I can simply select them by holding command on the Mac ctrl on Windows and then just deleting them there we go and you'll see they will not appear now in the bin View menu now you can obviously get in and create as many bin views as you like and you can even share them across users okay now one other thing I want to point out in bins quickly is the fact that right now I'm looking at everything in text view it's obviously giving me the name of the clip it's give me the star at the end and really it's sort of an informational view that I'm looking at but what if I'm more of a visual editor and I actually want to see the starting frame of each one of these shots how would I get in and see that well right down here at the bottom you're going to see that I can come down and I do have three different bin views that I can adjust between I one right over here on the right that's called storyboard mode I can get in and actually make detailed notes about each one of these shots you know if I happen to be a producer maybe I'm making notes for an editor this is a great way to get in and leave tons of information about each one of these shots but the view that I really want to show you is located right here and that is of course frame view a very cool way to get in and have a visual representation of the first frame of each one of these shots now how would I get in and adjust the size of these maybe these are too big or too small well it's actually very easy what I'm going to do is hold command on the Mac control in Windows and I'm going to use the L key and I'm going to use the K key L to make the frames larger K to make the frame smaller and what I can also do is let's say you know I want them to be very small about that size and I wanted them to fill the entire window most people start going like this they start going okay I'm just going to move all these over here like this and kind of do that and it's already way too much work when all you really need to do is navigate up to your bin drop down and come down and say fill window and you'll see now that the frames extend all the way across the bin as far as they'll go and then continue down on the next row but what I want to do is I want to increase the size of these again as large as I can make them because I want to show you one other cool feature of working in this mode i'm and navigate back up to bin come down to fill window of course we can always set that as a keyboard shortcut if we wanted to what I want to do is in most cases people would say okay well I you know I can see the first frame of each one of these shots but I can't see what's going on in the shot so I'm just going to double click on this one and I'm going to play it okay well this isn't exactly what I want so I'm going to double click on this one and I'm going to play it okay and I'm gonna double click on and you can see how this can become a very time intensive process I really wish there was a way just to select a clip inside of a bin press the L key which corresponds to play and play that clip right from within the bin well guess what I've now selected the clip I've hit play on the keyboard and I can now actually watch the clip right from within my bin so this way I'll know before I even double click on it to take a look at it in the composer whether this is a shot that I would even want to use and another cool feature is the fact that I can actually press the L key multiple times to take a look at any one of these Clips faster than real time let's take a look at this one I want to simply hit play the shot is super slowed down so I'm just gonna hit L a couple more times and take a look I can now see this much much faster another fantastic feature built right into your bins okay now before I wrap up this lesson I want to talk a little bit about organization because organization is obviously key to any edit normally how I like to break down my work flows into four main categories sequences audio clips and graphics now I'm not telling you to have four bins but I'm telling you to use this as a guideline what I normally like to do and I'm just going to create a few bins here I'll just create let's say five bins and I'm going to call one bin voiceovers and I'm going to call one bin location sound and I'm going to call one bin sequences and I'm going to call one bin imported clips and I'm going to call the last bin location clips now this is pretty organized with only five bins but I've seen edits that will have 20 30 40 50 different bins and going in it just becomes a big mess attempting to find anything when you can really be very simply organized by using folders what we're going to do is navigate up to the fast menu and I'm going to come down and simply create a new folder and I'm actually going to create four new folders and you're going to see why in just a second what I'm going to do is I'm going to call the first one audio I'm going to call the second one clips I'm going to call the third one graphics and of course I'm going to call the last one sequences and what we're going to do now simply take our sequences and put in that sequences folder we're going to take our audio bins and we're going to put them in the audio folder we're going to take our Clips bins and we're going to stick them in the clips folder and take a look at what we have now a very very organized project with no confusion as to what's what if I need to find the sequences I can simply come into the sequences folder I need to find all my clips bins I can simply come into the clips folder so obviously keeping organized is exceptionally important and using this technique is a simple way to keep organized by still giving you the flexibility of having as many bins as you want okay so that wraps up lesson one in lesson two we're going to talk about acquisition included importing and capturing so if you want to get post-production workflow tutorials and industry insight that you need to bring great stories to life head on over to avid blogs comm slash post

33 thoughts on “Get Started Fast with Avid Media Composer—Episode 1

  1. Hi… Avid team, can avid mc make transition zoom like seamlees transition preset like sam kolder in premier pro? I want make transition like that in avid mc.

  2. I NEED A HEEP PLEASE……
    PLEASE CAN YOU MAKE A TUTORIAL FOR CONFIGURATE DRIVES INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL IN AVID FOR WORK FLUID AND FAST IN AVID MEDIA COMPOSER

  3. I need help. I have a laptop with DOS SSD, S INTERNAL
    THE FIRST SSD IS FOR …… SO AND APLICATIONS.
    THE SECOND INTERNAL SSD I USE IT FOR CACHE AVID
    AND THIRD EXTERNAL USB SSD 3.1 FOR MEDIA AND AVIDmediaFiles
    THIS SETTING IS OK TO WORK FAST AND FLUID IN AVID MEDIA COMPOSER. IF NO IS THE THAT THE BEST CONFIGURATION… HOW I CAN HAVE TO BEST CONFIGURE IN MY 3 SSD DISCS (TWO INTERNAL AND ONE EXTERNAL BY USB) TO WORK FLUID AND FAST IN AVID

    Opciones : Historia : Feedback : Donate

  4. Yes thank-you! There isn't a big online community with avid like there is with Adobe Suite and for the first time I didn't fall asleep watching an Avid tutorial lol. Appreciate it <3

  5. Sir , firstly Thanks for such a beautiful and informational video. I have a question, is this Avid software is available for Ios?

  6. I searched some alternative from Premiere and FCP. Wanted to try Avid. This is a nightmare and such safisticaded software, even setting up Keyboard take a long time compared to FCP ar Premiere. Ok, this is smallest. But anyway Avid is so oldscool and so many video formats not supported, that i left in in trash….

  7. I STILL DON`T KNOW HOW TO IMPORT I`VE BEN TRYING FOR HOURS AND HE JUST MAGICALLY HAS BINS I WANT TO KNOW HOW HE DID THAT!

  8. Ok, I played a drinking game where I took a shot of whisky for each time he said “ok”. 13 minutes in I was so tanked I ended up watching videos of girls on trampolines and forgot all about editing.

  9. i need help. up until now all transitions i made worked but suddenly when i put transition between two specific clips i can't see the transition. it's shown on the timeline but when i try to watch it on record monitor i don't see a transition. does it has to do anything with the fact that the second clip in the transition suppose to come after the first clip in the original footage?

  10. perfect memory jogger for someone who hasn't open mc in a while and needs a reminder and refresher. Thank you!

  11. NOBODY USE AVID. LET'S MAKE THIS PIECE OF SHIT OBSOLETE LIKE IT ALREADY IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't understand why my job uses this garbage. I can do everything that it can do in Edius in 1/10th the time. Shit. I'd rather edit on FCP X. ….Hell. I'd rather edit on iMovie. Shit…. I'd even rather edit on some shitty ass watermarked app on my phone than this bullshit.

  12. But this video skips one important moment – the bins! On 13:05 you just open your bins with video files inside. How did you get that?

  13. Rightly said Girish,same here, I work on FCP/Premier but never used Avid and found production houses are looking for experience in Avid too,hence its important (y)

  14. бате супер много говориш, наду ми главата 🙂

  15. Can someone help me please? Whenever I important a video file into avid media 8 the files sizes are MASSIVE!. I important a mp4 file which is 220mb and after importing the file size is 20GB. I cant get anything done argghhh

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