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Why Media Composer editors should not overlook Final Cut Studio 2

Part 1: How MC users can take advantage of FCS tools By Kevin McAuliffe

There's a big dilemma for Media Composer editors these days. They don't want to switch to Final Cut Studio 2 for editing, but they like all the other applications in the Studio 2 bundle. I am definitely of the opinion that Media Composer editors should not overlook the power of Final Cut Studio 2, even if they don't want to use it for editing. For this three part series I will take a look at something a little different, and that is how Media Composer editors can take advantage of the power of some of the other applications in Final Cut Studio 2.

The workflows I'm going to discuss in this series of articles will work perfectly for post houses that have both Media Composers and Final Cut Studio systems working together. To begin, let's look at how Apple's Motion can work with Avid's Media Composer to enhance your workflow.

Most of the set-up for this workflow is done from within Media Composer (MC), so let's take a look there first. Much like Final Cut Pro, MC has been given a "Send To" function to make it easier for editors to move back and forth to and from MC. What we are going to do is set up a "Send To" template for Motion, for our DV timeline that we are working with. The same idea and process works for any other type of project you are working on as well, so feel free to modify as needed. To activate the "Send To" menu, you need to have a clip or sequence selected in one of your bins. Next, navigate to FILE>SEND TO, and then select MAKE NEW. You are now greeted by your "SEND TO" template, where you can create presets as you need them. Let's create one for Motion 3 that will suit our needs.

One thing that is important to keep in mind is that Motion will not auto load any exported files from MC, so make sure you have "Reveal Exported File(s)" selected.

As you can see from the above images, I have Motion selected as the Auto Launch application, so we are set to go. Simply select "Save As Template" at the bottom, name it what you like, and you will now see it in the "SEND TO" drop down menu.

Once you click OK in the "SEND TO" window, Motion will immediately load, and a finder window will open to show you where your exported file is, so you can quickly and easily drag and drop it into your Motion composition, and start working.

Now, this is not the only benefit of using Motion with MC. Here is another one that most people will easily overlook. Avid, with all its codecs (including its DV codec), includes the capability to have alpha channels embedded within the rendered QuickTime file, which is something that cannot be done with regular DV QuickTimes. How does this help you, you ask? Well, you can create extensive animations with mattes in Motion, render out using the Avid DV codec with Alpha (or any other codec you happen to be working with), and import into MC to be played back in real time. Here is a very basic animation that I created in Motion.

Now, since I rendered it out with "NONE" as my compression setting, I am able to add an alpha, and embed it into the QuickTime file.  The big problem with rendering this way is that the file size is massive.  If I had rendered out using the standard DV codec, the file size would be small, but no alpha channel.  On the flip side, check out the settings for Avid's 2:1 codec.


Now, not only can I render out this animation with an Alpha Channel, but it is also a very, very small size as well.

The two main advantages to working this way is that you now have the ability to embed Alpha Channels in many of your Avid QuickTime files, and your renders will be very small, which is advantageous on larger projects, as it keeps your drive free for more footage.  Coming up in the second part of my three part series is a look at audio mixing with Soundtrack Pro 2 and Avid's Media Composer.  For more information on Media Composer, you can check it out at www.avid.com, and for more information on Final Cut Studio 2, you can check it out at www.apple.com/finalcutstudio.

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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:video editing, non linear editing, NLE, video suite, motion graphics


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