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Five Quick Tips For Media Composer Editors

These tips are not only good for the current version, but would be good for users all the way back to v. 5.5 By Kevin McAuliffe

 Since I wrote a review of the new Media Composer (MC) v. 3.0 software, I thought I would take a look at five good, quick tips for all you seasoned and new editors to the software. These tips are not only good for the current version, but would be good for users all the way back to v. 5.5 of the original MC (and yes, I've been editing with MC for that long).


This tip is a great one for all you editors who work in post houses where multiple editors share one system. One of my major pet peeves is when editors are working with hundreds of bins, they quit their projects, and leave all their bins open. Very annoying! This is not a big deal for current users as bins can open (relatively) quickly with faster systems, but users of older systems will share my frustration. To get around this, simply hold Option (on the Mac) or Alt (on Windows) when opening your project, and MC will open your project with all the bins closed!

2. "P" versus "T"

Most people might wonder what I'm referring to by "P vs T", and I'm referring to percentage versus time. When you are rendering or importing, MC always shows you the percentage complete. Well, this doesn't really tell you if you have time to grab a coffee, so simply press the "T" key (on Windows or Mac), and MC will show you the time to completion, as opposed to the percentage done.


Let's say that there is an editor who has a cool bin setup that you want in your settings. How do you get it over to your settings? Simple, select the "Settings" tab at the top of the project window, and now press CMD+O (or CNTL+O on Windows), and instead of opening a bin from another project, you are prompted to open another user's settings. Once you select the user, their settings window will open, and you can quickly drag and drop any setting you like from their settings to yours!


Did you know that you can actually control your clips and edit from "Frame" view? Well, you can. Simply switch to "Frame" view, use the "L" key to play your clip, and the "I" and "O" key to mark your in and out points. Then, once you have the clips you want, simply drag it into your timeline! This is great for new users to MC, or producers who just want to create rough timelines.


Did you know that you can step in and out of your titles and mattes the same way you step into your collapsed video layers? Simply create a title using the standard title tool (or animated matte from After Effects), and drop it into your timeline. Once there, select your "V1" layer only, and press the "Step In" button at the bottom of the timeline. Now you can see two layers. One represents the matte, and the other represents the fill. You can take any clip, even moving video, and drop it into the "Fill" layer. Doing this creates a cool "ROCKY" movie effect, and even though MC tells you otherwise, you are not limited to one layer inside the matte. To create more layers, simply collapse "V2" inside the matte, and then you can step in and add as many layers as you like. Remember, you can do this with any MC title or Photoshop/After Effects matte, and it's a great way to achieve some pretty cool looks without having to leave the MC interface.

Avid's Media Composer 3.0 software is the best editing application on the market, and knowing all the cool "hidden" features will help you wow your clients and get your jobs done quicker and easier. For more information on Avid's Media Composer software, you can check them out at www.avid.com.

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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 [email protected]

Related Keywords:avid editing, video editing, NLE, video editors, video editing tips


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