FCP to AVID Switch Issues
Hello all. I wrote recently about trying to learn AVID from being a life long FCP user and I already have hit a couple snags just trying to break down my footage. I just started a project to mess with and practice all the simple things for now to get started.
But I can't figure out how to:
- Mark parts of a clip. NOT mark in/out, but put a mark on a frame. I do this when I put clips into a sequence for visual selects or when I'm marking parts of songs.
- How to see just the audio when I put a clip into the source/record area
As is pretty normal, things that seem so simple to me in FCP I can't seem to find easily in Avid.
Also, if there is a specific forum or site anyone knows of that deals with FCP to Avid switching issues, I would love to know and not waste people's time in the wrong place.
[Danielle Warren] "- Mark parts of a clip. NOT mark in/out, but put a mark on a frame. I do this when I put clips into a sequence for visual selects or when I'm marking parts of songs."
Look up Locators in the help. You can map different colored locators to your keyboard, or add them to your toolbar on your timeline. If you have them on your keyboard I believe you can add them while Avid plays and playback won't be stopped. Then you can use the Locator window to add notes and go directly to them.
[Danielle Warren] "- How to see just the audio when I put a clip into the source/record area"
You want to see just the audio on your timeline? Select the video tracks then go to your Fast Menu in the lower left of your timeline and hide the video video tracks. In your source monitor? There's a button at the bottom of your timeline that will switch the timeline from showing your sequence to showing your source. You view your audio there - you can turn on waveforms, make the tracks bigger, etc... Then you can switch the view back to the record side and cut it in. Very, very useful and the switch can be mapped to your keyboard.
This is a great forum for when you have questions, and Avid has tutorials you can watch on their forums and a forum specifically for people new to Avid. http://community.avid.com/forums/299.aspx
It can take a little time to update the audio detail in the timeline with all audio tracks viewed.
If there is just one track you need to view ( voice over for instance) there is a small arrow at the top left of the time line just to the right of the time code window and the track selectors.
If you click on this an extra audio column opens ( in MC5 and 6) where you can enable the audio data view just for selected tracks, you can also mute/solo and add RTAS here.
Thanks for the responses Michael and Steve. But the answers are not really what I was looking for.
When you say locaters, is that the same as 'markers' in FCP? Or is it the equivalent? I just want something easy to mark frames as I go along watching the footage that I can then easily jump to later as I am scanning for visuals. Does that make sense?
And it's not the audio on the timeline I want to see, but in the source monitor so I can play it and cut it as needed, then add it to the timeline. For example, when FCP has footage in the viewer window, there are tabs at the top to switch from video to audio, as well as filters and motion. You can easily tap the audio tab and see the audio of the clip that's in there. Does that make sense?
Also, while I'm at it, another question popped up. When I'm going through the cut in my timeline in FCP and I need to jump back to the original footage (or audio) that's there, I use the shortcut command option+command+F and it brings up whatever clip is highlighted into the viewer as it's original source clip. How is that done in Avid? Thanks so much for the help. This is a struggle trying to figure out how I do everything in FCP in Avid so any help is appreciated!
[Danielle Warren] "When you say locaters, is that the same as 'markers' in FCP? Or is it the equivalent? I just want something easy to mark frames as I go along watching the footage that I can then easily jump to later as I am scanning for visuals. Does that make sense?"
Locators are the markers of Avid. Use them to put little yellow or green or red or whatever color dots on your video or audio tracks as you watch it so you can mark important bits. You can add notes to them like you do with markers, and even export the list of locators. So yes, locators = markers for the most part.
[Danielle Warren] "And it's not the audio on the timeline I want to see, but in the source monitor so I can play it and cut it as needed, then add it to the timeline. For example, when FCP has footage in the viewer window, there are tabs at the top to switch from video to audio, as well as filters and motion. You can easily tap the audio tab and see the audio of the clip that's in there. Does that make sense?"
Read my answer again - there's a toggle switch on your timeline that switches from showing your sequence to showing a timeline type view of your source. You switch it to source, enable waveforms, and find the bit of audio you need. Mark In/Out or both, toggle back to the record side view and cut it in. It's different from FCP but accomplishes the same goal. I prefer Avid's method because it's much, much easier to navigate a long clip when it's presented as a timeline than forcing it fit it into the source monitor window.
[Danielle Warren] "Also, while I'm at it, another question popped up. When I'm going through the cut in my timeline in FCP and I need to jump back to the original footage (or audio) that's there, I use the shortcut command option+command+F and it brings up whatever clip is highlighted into the viewer as it's original source clip. How is that done in Avid? "
Match frame. Map it to your keyboard to add it to your button bar in the timeline. It will load the footage on the highest activated track in the source monitior. If it's a subclip, hit matchframe again and it matches back to the original clip. If you want to find the bin it's in map Find Bin (I think that's what it's called) to your keyboard or add it to your tool button bar in your source monitor.
Also, I read that you can right clip the track number and chose Match Frame from there to avoid having to deactivate tracks (since Avid will match frame the first activated track with media under your playhead).
That's perfect! Thanks Michael!
Something for the back burner: as you become comfortable with Avid commands and icons, start exploring what happens when you combine them with the option key. You were discussing match frame, which I use frequently (and the suggestion to map it to a function key with "find bin" right next to it is an excellent one ). When you click the match frame icon it loads the source clip into the source monitor AND puts an in mark on the matched frame. There are, times, however, when I want to put my own in mark on the source clip and leave it there while still finding a matching frame in my cut. If you select match frame while holding down the option key, it matches without adding the in point. Existing in and out points are left in place. Perhaps you won't see why that matters because there is nothing like this ability in FCP -- and when I've used FCP I found that to be a source of frustration -- but I use option match quite a bit. There are other option key secrets I use often but won't overwhelm you right off the bat. I can say, however, that I've been using Avid for going on 20 years and on those occasions when I have used FCP I've often been stymied by what I no longer could do. So I know how you're feeling. (And yes, FCP does a few things better than Avid.) BTW I understand in the newest release of Avid, locators have been given a new name. Apparently they are now called markers.
Thank you for the great post Stephen! As you mentioned, I'm not quite ready for ALL the keyboard tips and tricks, but I'll get there. There was so much to learn for FCP, that I'm sure it will take a while to get all of them down on here too. Plus, I've remapped certain keys to match what I'm familiar with to at least make the transition more seamless. In starting to break down footage as is always my first step with a new project, it's gone quite well and quick because I've managed to make it very close to FCP. The actual editing will be more of a challenge!
And yes, I went to an Avid 6 event last night and did discover that they are indeed now called markers. Fancy that!
I don't know if it helps or not, but if you're a history buff you might keep this in mind: Avid was designed for professional editors working in a traditional motion picture workflow at a time we were transitioning away from film editing. It is therefore an extraordinarily powerful editing tool. But at first none of its designers envisioned it as a finishing tool. VFX and titling modules were long seen as handy gimmicks for temp vfx mock-ups to be used as guides for dedicated visual effects artists to follow. The ability to mix more than one track was -- if you were coming from a film background -- a mind-boggling advance. But no one then ever thought the temporary sound effects you could rubber band into your cut were going to appear in the final mix. Final Cut Pro, of course, chipped into the professional market by pitching itself as a finishing tool. What you output from the computer was the done deal, color corrected, visual effected, and even -- in what I thought was one of the silliest marketing pitches ever -- music composed (with Soundtrack Pro). Perhaps that last exemplifies the different philosophies pointing to the real strengths and weaknesses of each program. Very few professional editors are also composers (although there are a couple). But even those who are hardly need their editing program to provide them with composing software. Yet this one-man-band marketing approach coupled with FCP's amazingly low price point injected it into the editing world and pushed Avid to emulate some of FCP's features. Yay for free market competition -- except in the case of Avid, already quite a complex program, competition tended to make it buggier. I've yet to see a more reliable computer editing system than Avid's Meridian version 5.5 operating on Mac OS 9 with a network server in the late 1990s. Since for me stability is the number one issue, I've welcomed all these new features with a bit of ambivalence. So my guess is that the more you EDIT with Avid, the more impressed you'll be. The more you want to wear all the hats -- be the colorist, vfx artist, sound designer, composer -- each of which in my opinion is a lifetime career taking perhaps a lifetime's practice -- the more you may pine for FCP features. Avid is changing, however, so who knows...
To be honest, I never saw FCP the way you are describing it. And what I get frustrated with with clients I've found in NY is they want you to be not just an editor, but a colorist, a VFX artist, a graphic designer, etc all in one. But I'm not any of those things, nor ever wanted to be which is why I am an editor and call myself an editor. I don't understand when things started to shift to that area of , "oh, you're the editor so of course you'll also do the color correcting and the graphics, because it's not as if those two things aren't intense skills in their own right." I hate this attitude, and I never used FCP for anything but editing, and the occasional small color correction and temp white on black graphics until the real ones were made, by the real graphic designers. I most certainly do not want to wear all the hats as it were and I extremely dislike the fact that I feel I have to start mastering After Effects, Photoshop, Motion, Color, etc. just to get jobs as an editor! It's a joke to me. When did editors become jack of all trades and stop being editors. It's such an advanced skill, that as you say takes years to hone and perfect, so why take that away and expect them to do so much more.
From where I come from and my background, editors edit. Period. There are separate graphics people and departments, and the reason FCP is so widely used is because it's an industry that works completely offline. There is no need for something as robust and extensive as Avid. You're not doing any finishing work. And when so much media is now for the Internet, there's even less of a reason to use Avid because again, it's not anything that needs finishing to the extent of a film or broadcast TV show.
BTW, if this post sounds at all angry, it is of course not aimed at you. I'm simply venting my frustrations and explaining where I'm coming from. I never cared to learn Avid because it was never necessary and all the features that everyone raves about that I will apparently love, were things I never used in FCP anyway because it's not the kind of editing I do. I'm still excited to find out what all the fuss is about, and I'm very willing to learn and try and master Avid just to have another tool in the arsenal.
As perhaps you surmised, I agree with your dismay at some of the expectations being placed on some editors (at least in the lower budget world) both because they're unrealistic and because they signal a willingness to accept lower quality work. It just isn't possible for one to be a virtuoso on the violin and dash over to do the piccolo solos, too. There aren't enough hours in a life to achieve that level of excellence. But to be clear, I wasn't expressing an opinion about how I see FCP, I was outlining the historical events around the development of the two programs. But -- and now this is my personal perception -- much as I love Apple I have to say I believe the answer to your question about "when things started to shift" is pretty much the time Apple began selling FCP and especially FC Studio as the tool to allow one person to do all those things. (And next thing we knew folks were discovering that where FCP wasn't really the whole answer, well then you'd better learn Adobe tools as well. If Nuke and Maya were less expensive, I imagine those would also be on the list.) Producers bought into that because Apple led them to believe they'd be saving money. I do think that when you keep the discussion to editing alone, FCP can get you there. (The first thing I ever cut with FCP -- version 1, I think -- was a nightmare for me, but it got an Academy Award nomination in the short doc category.) What I do see as "evil" is the original marketing pitch of FCP and to some extent the way it is taught. I recall that when FCP was first introduced, I came across an ad for it in Wired magazine that hyped "no more annoying editors." I guess that was aimed at filmmakers who had swallowed the auteur theory hook, line, and sinker. I didn't renew my Wired subscription.
Ha, that is a funny story about your Wired subscription. I suppose at the end of the day, any campaign for anything won't please anyone. They were definitely targeting an audience, and it worked because FCP became such a standard for a lot of post houses in the last number of years.
And you're so right about there just aren't enough hours in the day to learn and master, really master all these different pieces of software. I kept looking around at posts for jobs asking for editors to be proficient in both FCP and After Effects/Photoshop etc. and thought, "Am I the only one that doesn't know all of those and doesn't have the time to master them? I've sat down and tried to learn some basics in After Effects, but it would literally take me months to become anywhere near proficient enough to do what clients ask for. It's a joke in my opinion and I don't understand how they find people that are THAT good at both. Your analogy of the music virtuoso is a good one. I wish producers, post houses, directors et al would think about that when they hire editors and realize it's a craft, and not one that is just bundled together with graphics, coloring, and finishing work.
Thanks for your stories. I was too young when FCP first started so I never knew how it was marketed. I came in at FCP 3 and have progressed from there. And I was able to buy 3 because of the student discount, making an already semi affordable software even more affordable for students.
The other big lie is that it's necessary to master all that software. It is necessary to master the craft and art of engaging an audience. Software and hardware change all the time but creating compelling stories is still about pinging the same emotional responses humans have had since hunter gatherer days. That's where you hit the steep learning curve. If you know what you want to achieve, figuring out a new piece of software shouldn't take more than a few weeks. (And you don't need to know everything a program can do before you start using it. Just learn what you need to do what you are doing today. Learn the rest tomorrow. If a potential employer wants to know if you can work with this or that program, the answer is always yes. Then run out and get a book or watch online tutorials.)
"When did editors become jack of all trades and stop being editors."
Proliferation of media outlets hasn't helped IMO. The advertising dollar pie hasn't grown that much, but it's being sliced into thinner and thinner pieces, resulting in lower and lower budgets. Bean counters are always on the lookout for ways to cut costs, so if FCP claims to do so...
I'd also throw in that I think FCP was easier for kids to acquire cracked versions of and learn on than Avid, though acquiring legal student versions of Media Composer has become much easier and cheaper in recent years, leading schools to begin reintroducing Avid to their classrooms.
[Steve Pankow] ""When did editors become jack of all trades and stop being editors.""
a long time ago...
I remember editing in the late 70's on 2 inch quad tape, we were then expected to technically line up the machine ( in those days editors were engineers), often record, edit ( simple editing was a "machine to machine" dub), audio mix (originally lifting the audio off to 1/4 and back) then add/fix graphics, and finally transmit the show.
It was usual for no one else to "touch" the programme between record and transmission.
Time-code editing then arrived with edit suites with 3 vtr machines or more, costing many hundreds of thousands of pounds.
As we moved from 2' to 1" to beta with many more digital devices, vision switchers, audio mixers, DVE's came out, all of which we were expected to be able to"drive" at some level.
Non-linear then arrived with many of the editors "tools" in one box, firstly at non-broadcast then broadcast resolutions.
Decades ago at least we could learn and update or knowledge a little at a time as new devices/ techniques appeared, not just be thrown in at the deep end and be expected to know "everything" at day one.
Editing is editing at any level, you know what you or the director wants, then you use the tools available to tell the story.