So when I make a matte that's static, is there a way to DVE it in the timeline or do I have to make an animated matte when I want to do that? I thought this was the ultimate compositing system? Please somebody tell me that I can work with matte's in this thing. Am I going to end up using after effects for everything?
What I'd do is make the static matte. Then I'd make a color clip (white may be best) above the video that I want to effect, and drag the static matte (the little black line at the bottom of the clip-icon on the timeline) onto the color clip you just made. Then I'd delete the static matte from the video layer so it no longer has a matte.
Now you can animate the colored layer, with the embedded matte exactly as if you were animating the matte (you are, in a way, just with the added "benefit" of a color clip too).
Once the motion of the matte is acceptable, put it on the timeline somewhere by itself, set in, out-points for that color clip, and export as a self-contained movie, being sure to select RANGE instead of program.
Once exported, you can then import JUST the matte that was automatically exported. It will be the name of the clip you exported with an "-M" on the end ("m" is for matte, as I'm sure you've guessed.)
Once the matte is imported (again, takes very little time), drag it onto the lower third of the video icon in the timeline, and the matte will drop right in, with all the motion you had designed -- no fuss, no muss.
Ultimate compositing package? I think that was the intent.
Quirky? There's nothing else like it.
Confusing? You bet.
Tear-your-hair-out-frustration? In some areas (regrettably).
But still an amazing system once you get to know it. It just doesn't think or talk like an Avid.
Another way is to use the 2 channel DVE in the Video(built in) plug directory.
It has a one pass render and you can keyframe the alpha just as you would normally in geometrics. I find this way a bit quicker when you have to change things regularly.