April 2008

Media Composer’s “Group Clips” feature is best suited for very simple multicamera shoots. As long as all of the cameras start and stop around the same time with no drop-outs in between, and as long as the timecode was shot time-of-day and jam-synced between cameras right before the shoot, you can easily make groups in a matter of seconds. In practice, however, it is rarely this simple. Cameramen with itchy trigger fingers start and stop recording every few seconds, independently of the other cameramen. This can cause the shots in a group to cycle through all of the available window positions in the four-frame display and force you to use the nine-frame view with smaller thumbnails. Maybe both cameras stopped shooting for a period of time, but you want to include footage after the break in your group. Sometimes production jam-syncs the cameras once in the morning, and by the afternoon they have drifted several frames out of sync. Luckily, there is a way to work around all of these issues and create convenient multigroups that contain all of your footage for a given scene and are perfectly in sync. Each camera can drop in and out, and the multigroup will automatically adjust and play smoothly throughout the duration of the footage. Put your thinking caps on – this tutorial is not for the faint of heart. (more…)


Avid\'s \

In recent weeks, Avid has announced a change in their company philosophy, dubbed “New Thinking.” In March, they announced the end of the Xpress Pro line of software and aggressive price reductions on their Media Composer software. Perhaps more significant was the implementation of a stronger online resource base of tips, tutorials, and forums, which had always been an advantage of Final Cut Pro.

This week, Avid generated some spirited discussion on their message boards after an event in Universal City that gave a sneak preview of their newest hardware products (the official announcement, including pricing, should come early next week). The jury is still out as to whether phasing out an expensive line of hardware that is only 5 years old (Adrenaline) was a good decision, but it’s not hard to get excited about lower prices and faster, more powerful equipment (the new DX boxes will attach via PCI-e bus, which is vastly superior to Adrenaline’s current FireWire connection). (more…)