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Cutting quick montages in Avid's Media Composer

By Kevin McAuliffe

As an editor, the one thing you are probably asked to do more than anything, is to cut music montages. These can be extremely time consuming, but they really don't have to be. Let's take a look at how to cut a music montage in Avid's Media Composer in no time flat. This tutorial will work in XpressPro and XpressDV as well.

One tool that I detest more than any, and almost every editing application seems to have it, is the "Razor" tool, and we all know what it does very well. If you want to take a clip in your timeline, and add an edit to it to make it two clips, simply select the Razor tool, move it over to where you want your edit to be, and click on the timeline. One clip is now two clips. All you Media Composer editors out there have a much better tool to use, and it's called "Add Edit," and this tool will be your best friend when cutting montages. Why? I'll show you.

One thing I always tell editors when setting up their keyboards is to leave the keyboard layout on it's defaults, and add your "special" configuration to the "F" Keys. Here is how I normally have my keyboard setup.

F2 - Batch Digitize
F3 - Audio Mix
F4 - Add Locator
F5 - Remove Effect
F6 - Add Edit
F7 - Match Frame
F8 - Find Bin
F9 - Collapse
F10 - Modify

For me as an editor, that's pretty much all I need. The important key for this tutorial is F6 which is my "Add Edit" shortcut. Want to make one clip into two clips? Simply select the track you want to manipulate, move your timeline bar over the clip you want to break up, press F6, and now one clip is two! Pretty standard fare, but here is the great part about this tool. If your timeline has audio on it, but no video, you can add edits to the blank video track simply by pressing F6 wherever you want a edit point to be.

O.K., alot of editors might not know that trick, but here is another great feature of "Add Edit." You can do it on the fly! Want to edit your montage without any footage? Simply play your timeline, listen to the music, and press the F6 key every time you want to have an edit start. My normal process is to listen to the music once to get the feeling for it, and then listen to it again, and press F6 every time I want a new edit. You can "empty" cut your montage in the time it takes to play the track though twice.

As you can see from the above image, all I now have to do is drop footage into the "empty" edits, and all my cuts, wipes and dissolves will happen to the beat of the music. Assuming my footage is organized, I could easily cut a 3 minute montage in no time flat, and now you can too!

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Kevin P McAuliffe is currently a Senior Video Editor working in HD post production in Toronto, Canada. He has been in the television industry for 12 years, and spends his days onlining on a Final Cut Pro HD. Kevin's high definition onlining credit list includes concerts for Coldplay, Sarah McLachlan, Barenaked Ladies, Snow Patrol, Sum41, Paul Anka, Il Divo and Pussycat Dolls, to name a few. Also, Kevin is an instructor of Advanced Final Cut Studio 2 at the Toronto Film College. If you have any questions or comments, you can drop him a line at kevinpmcauliffe@gmail.com

Related Keywords:NLE, video editing,

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