Does Avid hate me?
So I"ve been a week in the trial of MC7, and I'm about to pull my hair out. I'm used to FCP but have decided to make the switch rather than go to fcpx.
After getting past the initial media import issues, I still can barely get around in it at all. Then for some reason the timeline woudln't take any video at all, which held me up forever, but when I reset it, things were fine. Currently I'm trying to figure out how to add markers and just learn where things are.
I'll figure it out, I'll learn the program, but can someone here encourage me that this is worth pursuing? Because granted my schedule has allowed limited time in Avid this week, but my first impressions are that it's clunky, unintuitive, and simply hard to get around in or figure out how to do anything at all.
I've always wanted to learn Avid and am disappointed, because I expected to just fly right in and get rolling, since I took to FCP like a duck to water.
I never expected to hate it and now I find myself dreading it a bit...having daydreams of how much easier Premiere won't make me an Avid editor. I'm noticing more and more time spent stalling before going back in. Did I mention there are some very cute videos of cats falling asleep on YouTube?
Just venting, thanks...
If you want fcp7 again, get premiere, or even fcpx. If you want to work in the post business and collaborate with other professionals, learn avid. Now. There are like 85 free tutorials on v6 here on the cow by Kevin mcauliffe. For free. Watch them. Only a few new things in v7, so it's all still valid training.
If you are just doing personal or self contained projects, premiere and fcpx are really great.
But yeah, learning avid can be a bear, but it's actually pretty freaking cool once you get it.
http://www.4Kfinish.com | owner-colorist | Hollywood, CA
Another suggestion if I may... Find a friend who knows Avid and is willing to give you a few hours or a couple of days to walk you through the basics, show you all the settings windows, teach you about master clips vs media files, AMA vs native files, and all the other things that make Avid unique. Once you break the ice, learning all the details will be a lot easier. Avid is indeed a complicated program with lots of details, but and you'll never know what you don't known, but having someone walk you through it certainly makes it easier.
M. Scott Cole
Senior Post Production Editor
CBS News, NYC
I wish I knew someone who works in Avid. Unfortunately right now I don't, but point taken, it might make sense to sign up for some Avid training once I am able to - just to get that perspective from someone who knows it well.
In addition to Kevin's tutorials there are 200 tuts by Douglas here
They are free to watch (best viewed using a Firfox browser). Douglas also offers them on a USB Flash Drive here
They are excellent, and have helped many newcomers to MC. Here is the main site:
Thank you everyone,
I"lll be back at it today.
I originally wanted to learn Avid at the beginning, and went to FCP reluctantly since that's what was available.
It's just very different from my expectations. Never have I spent so much time fumbling around an interface, getting so little done, even in a new program. It's not FCP and I need to throw that expectation out of the window and start from scratch and learn the way Avid thinks. It's very different from the way I would think, where I would expect things to be - so....
Hopefully once past the hurdles, I'll love it. Everyone else seems to so it must just require persistence.
When I switched to Avid about 4 years ago, my experience was similar to yours. Now I love using it.
What helped me was to just forget everything about how my previous editing program worked and just start fresh. Avid uses a completely different approach, so I had to think different (and I've never owned a Mac, pun intended).
I've started into the Douglas tutorials and they are proving to be very helpful. I did some of the Kevin tutorials the other day and really liked them as well.
Finally am starting to make some progress.....
If you really wanna blow your mind, try FCPX and Lightworks next.
Also very different than FCP7.
You really need to forget what you think you know from FCP legacy and immerse yourself in whatever new tool you decide to go with...if you want to achieve proficiency. Even Premiere Pro has enough differences to get you into unexpected trouble.
LOL sometimes I even find imovie confusing - but have not cared enough to spend more than five minutes in it, so maybe that's why. =)
As for Avid...
LOVING the filmstrip track and the B key. and love the keyboard-focused approach.
The tutorials address a different method of editing than I am used to - I am used to dragging a clip into the timeline, cutting it up, and making my choices from there. It's an easy way to get rid of the garbage by just dragging it to the end of the timeline, or deleting the clips.
Not sure how I would keep all my clips/scenes arranged any other way but am open to new methods/suggestions. I guess with markers in the source clip, once I figure out how to add them in Avid, and maybe could just color code the markers for the good scenes?
It's probably just as easy to timeline edit in Avid but I am open to whatever methods are efficient.
[Kell Smith] "I am used to dragging a clip into the timeline, cutting it up, and making my choices from there. It's an easy way to get rid of the garbage by just dragging it to the end of the timeline, or deleting the clips"
I don't do this personally, but you can do this in Avid with a little trick. Just drop a garbage clip or a title at the end of your sequence and insert a bunch of filler, way more than your intended sequence length (source monitor menu) before it. Now you have a lot of empty space to play with.
Like John (and many others I'm sure) I don't edit that way either and seriously never thought anyone would. I have a friend that cuts on FCP and went to his office one day and his timeline was zoomed all the way out (over an hours worth) and he had gaps everywhere, plus sync issues (other than the first few minutes) and I had to inquire what that was all about :D
Source monitor, make I/O marks, lay it in sequence, etc. seems to be the norm
I hope the drifting of the topic is okay here.. let me ask a workflow question.
What's a good method for keeping your scenes organized that way? Do you use markers in the source footage? Subclips?
Let's say you have say, 75 different takes of things on one clip. Some are good, some are alternates, some are garbage. It's AVCHD imported footage, so let's say you have 15 source clips imported in for that particular card.
Editing in the timeline, I would create separate timelines for each segment of the event, i.e. establishing, introduction, etc.
Drag the footage in, cut it up, remove the garbage, and edit with the remaining usable clips. Sometimes dragging the alternates to the end or to a turned-off track, using slugs to separate the stuff at the end visually from my editing area.
If there was, say, an establishing shot done in the middle of the event for some reason, I would remove the clip from the event sequence, and put it in the "establishing shots' sequence.
If it all remains in the source clips, and is just delineated by markers, what's the best way to handle that and stay organized? I guess coloring the markers might work, but it's still sort of disorganized and you can't see the clips together. Subclips might work but that seems like an extra step, along with issues of handles. Naming your markers could work, but that presents organizational/sequencing problems of its own.
Open to suggestions on methods that work for you guys.
I'm not entirely sure if this is what you're meaning but here's my answer to what I think you mean...
If I have a 20 minute clip with multiple takes and multiple scenes on it - one approach is to go through it in the source viewer, mark in's and out's for each piece you identify, then create subclips - either into individual bins - naming each clip accordingly, and whether you like it or not - or just into a master bin, named and liked accordingly. Set the clip-colour too, this translates onto the timeline (as long as you have 'source' picked in the clip-colour hamburger menu on your timeline) and you'll have a visual guide (everything purple is an establisher, everything green is a GV etc etc).
If, however, you'd rather throw things around the timeline - use the 'Add edit' button to chop up the clip. You'll need to edit the entire clip onto a new sequence, but once it's there - use the add edit at the start of a take (making sure to select V1 and all audio channels) and then again at the end of the take.
This then splits the take - ready for you to move it to a preferred point on the timeline.
Now, you can either throw it to the start - add loads of filler and shove it down to the end as others have suggested, or mark an in/out on this chunk - then hit 'alt/c' to copy it into the source monitor.
Then if this is an establisher clip, create a new sequence (called establishers) and edit it onto there.
Why don't you just edit directly from the long source clip I hear you ask? Well, good question actually, but I like to retain a 'master' split clip sequence, so if I need to trace my movements, I've got my original work.
There's many ways to skin a cat (even if it's sleeping) - these are just a couple of thoughts I had about what I thought you meant.
Stick with Avid. The best advice i can give is what someone said to me when I was moaning about FCP the first time I used it. "If you want to use Avid, just stay on Avid. If you want to use FCP, learn FCP." (swap programs in your case)
Avid is key/menu based mostly - whereas FCP is based a lot around mouse clicks and drags. What I didn't like about FCP is that there was 5 ways to do everything, which invariably meant you'd do the wrong thing 20% of the time. The good thing about Avid is that there's only ever 1 or 2 ways to do something - it's just that you have to find what key/menu to go to do it!
Good luck with it - as an editor, Avid just can't be beat for speed once you know it.
Senior Editor, BBC Scotland
"Success is merely a failure to imagine more..."
2.26 Dual Quad Nehalem Mac Pro (11Gb Ram) / 2 x 23inch Apple Displays / FCP 6.05 / Decklink HD Extreme 3 + Multibridge / JVC HD Monitor / Atto Celerity Fibre Channel with Infortrend 6.5tb Raid 5 Storage / And a smile.
Thanks very much,
The basics are coming along and now I'm going to start working on this. Will post back.
Have you seen this set of free lessons?? http://www.promax.com/s-130-edit-to-the-future.aspx
Steve Holyhead is clear and has a great deal of experience sequencing Avid concepts for FCP-refugees.
It us worth it- like everything in life that is eorth achieving it takes perseverance .
That said I'm surprised you think it's so different.
We use CFO 7 at work and I long fir avid which in my opinion is much better, but they really are soon similar the differences are slight.
Post Production Dubbing Mixer
I would not dismiss Premiere or more accurately the Adobe suite in Post so quickly anymore. There is quite an exodus from both FCP and Avid to Adobe at this point and FCP users find Premiere very easy to pickup. I would try both and see what works best for your workflow since both have their advantages. I have quite a few clients who use both Premiere and Avid and I can promise you many Avid users also use Vegas because of the advantages Vegas has over Avid especially with Audio ie surround sound mixing.
I switched from FCP to Avid several years back. I decided without ever having fired it up to cut a feature on it and did so successfully. Reason was I had Steve Cohen's "Avid Agility" at my side the whole way. I've since done pro certification with Avid, but that book gave me everything I needed to competently edit and then some.
The trimming in Avid so far advanced over FCP 7 or X (both of which I've used extensively) that you will not want to go back after you get the hang. It would be worth paying someone who's used both to sit with you a couple of days and have them show you the differences. The importing and file handling differences are probably the biggest hurdle. The feature set is very deep in Avid and but you can get the basics down rather quickly.
I will persevere and learn this program because i want the skill, and because of its reputation, and because the people in this thread swear by it so it must be worth it. And because easy makes one lazy, and I suspect I've begun to fall into that trap.
It shouldn't be this difficult. Not for me, anyway - I'm usually very good at this and have no fear of jumping in and teaching myself anything.
>Long ,angry rant edited<
This is so disappointing, I have thought for years that I would immediately fall in love with Avid. Well, third date, not going so well. Not ready to kick Avid to the curb yet, but five more minutes I may be - so I'll come back to it later.
Honestly, all the "problems" you've mentioned are very simple things. If you'd spend $60 and buy avid media composer essentials book and about 3 hours to read it, it would save you all your headaches. I'll spoon feed you one. Adding markers from the keyboard.
I have a completely custom keyboard so I can't remember if there is a stock command. Hit "command 3" this will show you where everything is mapped. Now go to "settings" tab where your main bin is, press "K" double click keyboard, click "button to button reassignment" you'll find markers (previously called locators) under the last tab I believe. Drag it to the button of your choice. Hit "shift" to learn whats mapped under the modifier or to to map it to a modified command.
make sure you don't leave the Command pallet open, it will cause playback problems.
I will mention that the command modified stuff is not show unfortunately. In this regard fcp has better functionality. But most strokes don't use "command" in avid thanks to modes, which makes for a better experience. You can easily change the font bg color etc in the interface. Avid's interface is far more customizable than fcp's especially with the workspaces, which you'll have to do some reading on.
Thank you David,
I'll do those tomorrow morning.
Took a break and am editing my rant.
Will start fresh in the morning and with a better attitude.
Read your rant about "one keystroke markers" which you seem to have edited out. If you indeed want Avid to just drop in a marker (or locator as they used to be called) without the window popping up to type marker info in, that's doable as well. But first, I believe that F3 is the normal keystroke for adding markers. I know it's mine and I'm 99% sure it's the default. As David tells you above, you can verify it's location by opening up the Keyboard settings in the Settings Tab of the Project Window. I'm not at an avid at the moment so I can't verify that F3 is indeed the norm.
So, go to the settings tab of the project window and go down to Markers. Click on that and an options window will open up which will allow you to tick on or off the option for a text window to come up when you add markers.
My observation about Avid, everyone wants it to work they way they want it to work, therefor the interface is incredibly customizable. This has its pros and cons. When one edited 2" tape, not counting the knobs to set up the VTRs, you really only had less then 10 buttons to worry about: Stop, Play, FF, REW, Record, Edit, and a knob for Video, Audio or Both. CMX, the mother of all linear editing devices had a full QWERTY keyboard, with all it's functions labeled, but you could not customize the keyboard at all. This was a good thing. It meant I could walk into any edit suite and start editing once the tapes were mounted and set up. No loading my settings and keyboard, etc. Just edit. Other linear editors allowed some customization and that became more difficult. Avid is totally customizable and is often shipped without a marked up keyboard. I still prefer a marked up keyboard, and most of my keys are as marked (okay I'm old, and I don't want to commit a lot of functions to my slowly failing rote memory). On the other hand, I've added a whole lot of shortcuts to my keyboard where they make sense for me. I work in a building with dozens of other Avid editors and everyone of us edits differently, and we all learn from each other. Keep at it and you'll eventually love it.
M. Scott Cole
Senior Post Production Editor
CBS News, NYC
Thanks Scott. =)
Not a pretty rant... sorry guys.
Took a break today and am going to go back and start over.
I WILL conquer Avid. LOL It will NOT win.
I won't respect myself if I back out just because something else is easier or less trouble.
But first - an egg and cheese burrito with green chile...
Sustenance, you know. Gotta be prepared for the long haul.
Thank you so much everyone,
I somehow managed to miss a few posts from you guys further back so I'm going back through them.
I'm still working on getting the basics down, and am going to put the specific sections into practice next.
Thank you all for your encouragement. I intend to master this program one way or another.
I'm noticing a lazy streak during this that didn't used to be there, and I don't like it. I think I've gotten used to the comfort zone without realizing it. I've always been one who was willing to dive into the manual or do what needed to be done. The expectation was that, having become familiar with FCP, I would just glide into Avid, and I seem to have forgotten the effort that went into starting from scratch way back when. The learning curve isn't easy, and I have found Avid to be particularly frustrating, totally non-intuitive, and since it also involves learning a new approach to editing on my part, it's also going to require a new approach to organization.
So really, starting from scratch.
That said, it's starting to move along.
I'll check in and update with progress/questions/concerns.
Everyone has already given some great insight.
I guess I was in a similar position to you in that the only thing I had ever cut on professionally was FCP. I was (am) incredibly agile with it, and a couple years or so into using it I got to that awesome place where the software itself seemed to melt away, it really became irrelevant, everything was so fluid that it was just about the actual task of EDITING.
On first trying out Avid, like you, I was incredibly frustrated. Why does the timeline not operate in the way I'm used to? Why are empty spaces in the timeline acting as "clips" and not empty spaces? Why do I need to go into different modes to carry out certain tasks? etc. And for an embarrassingly long time I was stumped by the opening dialogue boxes and project settings.
But stick with it. I guarantee, that when it starts to click into place, there will be lots about Avid that you love. For me, it's the dynamic trimming which really stands out at the feature I just absolutely love. When I do a project in FCP now, it's the first thing I miss! Add to that the robust stability (something that I felt sorely lacking from PP, one of several reasons I decided that it wasn't going to be the replacement for FCP I wanted) and also the way you can work with audio, and you have an outstanding tool.
The other thing, which I believe has been noted by others, is that the sky is really the limit for you career-wise if you are comfortable working with Avid. For me, this was a big part of wanting to continue through the pain and get to grips with it. The sense that whatever job might come along, I would be ready for it. With FCP going the way of the dodo, knowing your stuff in Avid is more important than ever. I am still very sceptical about whether or not Premiere is going to become as ubiquitous as FCP became, so it seems foolish not to really get comfortable with Avid.
On the downside, the aspect of FCP that I really loved was what a diverse tool it was in that I could create great looking effects, and some pretty solid graded "looks", and even some simple composites. I have yet to get to grips with these aspects of Avid (I can do a bit of simple colour work now, but that's about it) and I don't think it's ever going to be the same kind of tool for these tasks as FCP was. But the interchange with After Effects is pretty great with Automatic Duck plugins, so even that isn't too much of a downer.
I still have a huge amount to learn. Frustrations still occur quite frequently. But I'm getting there. It's great to be getting more comfortable with a tool that you feel like you're going to be using for years to come.