A quick intro here, as this post is being read by a more general interest crowd than I expected. I’m a video editor, I’ve worked on many shows for PBS, including an episode of FRONTLINE about rebuilding in New Orleans. More recently, I’ve edited episodes of HARD TIME for National Geographic, and I just finished editing several episodes of DOG the Bounty Hunter’s latest season. I use Final Cut Pro and Avid Media Composer to do most of my work, but the job of an editor is often to distill a story from a whole lot of source material. So this blog has been about some of the ways I organize to help me do that.
KEEPING IT TOGETHER IN POST: NOTEBOOKS
The problem: post production generates a lot of papers. Excel files containing tape lists, tape logs, interview transcripts, scripts from producers, story sheets, schedules, screening notes. Many of these documents are referenced frequently, and updated frequently. Sometimes I’m horrified at the amount of paper generated on my behalf during a production.
Part one of this post addressed using an off-the-shelf solution to provide a tactile mixing board for Final Cut Pro 7. Here, I’ll walk you through using two apps, slightly less off the shelf, to control the audio in Avid Media Composer.
UPDATE/NOTE: At the end of this article I speculate about using the Liine Lemur app instead of the tools discussed here. I have worked that out, and written it up here. This article remains the most detailed regarding setting everything up, though.
iPad Control Surface with Media Composer
Now, Avid being Avid, the situation on Media Composer hasn’t been so easy. It was kind of driving me crazy as I spent much of the past year cutting on Avid again after a long time doing FCP job after FCP job. Every few weeks I’d troll the internet again looking for a way to do this; I’d re-read the Avid manuals and stare at all the menu options again and again to see what I’d missed. Media Composer 5.5 supports a few control surfaces – the Command | 8 , Euphonix Artist series, another Digidesign surface, and the ProMix 01 – but I’d failed to get my AC-7 app to connect successfully.
Then, a few months ago, I stumbled on a message board thread, which lead me to another editor, located in London.
For editors who have experience working in audio studios, one of the most painful things about working with NLEs is the audio. Even the best audio subsystem within any video editing system I’ve seen leaves plenty of room for more accurate, less frustrating, and more capable software.
But even when the budget allows sending a show to a mixer who’s got better ears, better software and a quieter room, you still need to make your project sound good along the way. We do this is by a combination of clicking on the mixer windows, or dragging volume level automation up and down in our timelines. This is clearly a sucker’s approach, and extremely frustrating.