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The only thing you need to succeed in 2019

(Sorry for the clickbait-y title… I’m rusty at writing good, catchy titles)

It’s early in 2019. The confetti is still falling. Most of us are back to the office. Ready or not it’s time to begin another year in our careers. Another year of our lives.

Looking back at 2018 maybe there was something you didn’t do. Something you didn’t learn. Or something you didn’t accomplish. A project, a habit, a new NLE to master, a documentary to edit. So we look to 2019 as our saving grace. We have a whole fresh calendar for us to get X done. And that fills us with a glimmer of hope. That we can make that change this year. Heck, we have 12 whole months.

As the confetti is swept up and the hangovers from NYE are cured, we head back to the edit bay or cubical or home office. We got this in 2019. Then…we check our email.

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The most difficult part about mastering a skill

Time for a little free writing session…

There are an infinite amount of projects one can work on. New project after new project pop into our heads and we want to pursue each one. So we start down a path hoping to make this one great thing. But then a new idea pops in our heads for something completely different. Ahead, the path we’re currently on seems shrouded in mystery and overgrown with bushes and thrones. So we backtrack and start down a new path.

Path through the woods

Photo by Zack Silver courtesy of Unsplash

We get far enough down this new path when the same thing happens. Maybe we go a little further this time before starting something new. Maybe we stop at the first bend in the road or rain cloud in the sky. Time for a new path.

The hardest thing about accomplishing a project or completing a goal or mastering a skill is staying on that same path regardless of obstacles.

A path I recently vacated was learning Vietnamese. I reached a point in my Mango lessons where it was too difficult to retain the information in the time I was allowing myself to focus on the mission. My willpower was gone and I have zero guidance. I quit. I gave up. It got too hard. The thrones were too much to take. Read more

Batch Exporting in Avid Media Composer

This article details how to perform batch exporting in Avid Media Composer.

The other day I had to export nine different parts of a training course I was editing in Avid Media Composer for one of my clients. Media Composer isn’t like Premiere where I can add a bunch of videos or sequences to a Queue in Adobe Media Encoder. From inside a sequence you have to export them one at a time. This isn’t convenient for anyone. In this project in particular I’d have to go back and check every 20-30 minutes and then go and export the next video. However there’s a trick you can do to batch export out of Media Composer and I’m going to explain that in this post. In fact, this trick is allowing me to write this blog post then go take lunch outside at a park next to the Potomac River.

Getting Started with Batch Exporting

Let’s jump right in. What is batch exporting in Avid Media Composer? How do you do it? Instead of exporting from a sequence we’re going to export from a bin. And to export from a bin we need to create copies of our master sequence(s) that we want to export.

To begin create a new bin. Label it something like, “For Export Only”. Take your master sequence, set in and out points and select just the tracks you want to export. If it’s all tracks, select every track (Hit Cmd/Ctrl+A to quickly do this).

Next duplicate your master sequence. Highlight it in the bid and hit Cmd/Ctrl+D to do this. Move the duplicated version into your For Export Only bin. Rename the duplicated version of your master sequence to the filename you want it to have upon export (i.e. abc-course-part1-v01-170418) but without the file extension. Go back to your master sequence(s) and repeat as needed until you have a bin full of sequences you want to export; each with their in and out points set and tracks selected.

Almost Ready to Export

Close out of every bin expect your For Export Only bin. You don’t have to do this but I’m OCD about screen real estate and digital clutter. Then select all the sequences in your For Export Only bin. Right-click on the sequence icon for any of them (it’s the little film stripe next to the name of the sequence).

In the menu that pops up find Export (pre V8.5ish) or Output (post V8.5ish; the name changed somewhere around MC v8.5). If you’re on an older version of MC it’ll open a dialogue box up immediately. If you’re on a newer version you will have to go into a sub-menu in Output then you choose Export to File… Once you do this the same dialogue box will pop up as in the older versions of MC.

Export... Menu in Avid Media Composer

Pre Version 8.5(ish)

Export to File... Menu in Avid Media Composer

Post Version 8.5(ish)

Export As... Window in Avid Media Composer

This is the box that’ll open after selecting Export or Export to File…

Ready to Batch Export!

Navigate to where you want to files to go like a watch folder or an exports folder or just somewhere on your hard drive. Then go to your export settings at the bottom of the box. Set your export preset to a QuickTime Movie or whatever you want to export it as for you to then compress in Adobe Media Encoder or Sorenson Squeeze or another compression software. Go into it’s options (click the Options… button) and make sure Use Marks and Use Selected Tracks are checked (this might say “Use Enabled Tracks” in newer versions of MC…I’m still on 8.4.4!). Doing this means that you are MC to export the enabled tracks and in and out points you set for each sequence.

QuickTime Movie Export Settings in Avid Media Composer

Make sure Use Marks and Use Selected Tracks are checked.

Click Save in the export settings then Save again in the Export As… dialogue box to begin batch exporting in Avid Media Composer.

Next go to your favorite local lunch spot and relax while Media Composer does it’s thing. Where am I going? Perfect Pita 🙂

I hope you found this quick tutorial helpful. If you have any questions please leave them in the comments below or shoot me a message here.

Cheers,
Josh

P.S. If you’re new around here and want to know more about EVF and learn more helpful tips and tricks on being a faster video editor go to this page to begin your journey. And please never be shy if you have a question or just want to chat about editing (or baseball!).

Recommended Reading:

Stepping Away from Edit Video Faster

As I write this it’s 4:39am. I’ve been up since 4:00am fighting heartburn. Is it from dinner? Is it from last night’s whiskey? Is it because I’m turning 30 tomorrow and this is what getting older feels like?

I’ve been attempting to write this post for months but haven’t been able to find the words. I can’t think of a better time than the present to try though.

Over the past two and two thirds years I’ve spent several thousand hours of my life dedicated to Edit Video Faster. Check out this massive archive page I recently build as proof. This site or business, whatever you’d call it, is a very large part of me and who I am. I love it dearly and want to see it grow into something much greater than what it is now. However I’ve reached a point in my life and in my career that the hours I spend on EVF and the many more hours I spend stressing about the never-ending to-do list I’ve created for myself around EVF are not in alignment with where I’m trying to take said life and career.

All the stress around what I want to build and actually building it are taking a toll on me. I feel it every morning when I write out my most important tasks of the day. I feel it all day as I work on and for my freelance business. I feel it every evening when I’m trying to spend time with my wife and dog. I feel it every night lying in bed realizing I didn’t get this or that project moved forward at all today. And it hurts. It hurts so bad and it’s my fault.

Regardless of blame or why, I’m incredibly sorry. I feel that I need to step away, temporarily but indefinitely, from Edit Video Faster to regain the perspective and motivation I need to continue to build EVF into the honest, thorough resource for video editors that I want it to be and that you deserve.

What does that mean? Well, not a whole lot since I can’t seem to finish any project for EVF anyway!! (Just kidding, but a little self-deprecating humor felt needed)

But for real, what does that mean?

Some, but a lot less content. One of my priorities for this break is to take the pressure to create wayyyyyy down. No deadlines. No broken promises. I want to create how I used to create for EVF…organically and about whatever was inspiring me at that time instead of creating based on some arbitrary content schedule I set up for myself months prior. That’s the system I’m currently working under that is not working.

My plan is still to continue to write blog posts, send out newsletters and create video tutorials but when the mood strikes. I don’t want to publish a newsletter because I publish a newsletter every week. I want to publish a newsletter because there’s news that you should know about!

The video editing podcast I co-host, the Command+Edit Podcast, will not be affected. My daily blog, Short On Beer, will not be affected. EVF’s coaching services will still remain running but on a more limited schedule.

There’s a 100-mile long backlog of projects, tasks and to-dos I need to carefully inventory. Taking this time off, whether it’s for a few weeks or a few months, will hopefully allow me the time and perspective to reorganize them in a way that will be the most meaningful for you and in a way that’ll allow me to actually complete them.

At the end of the day (btw, I hate the phrase) I want to be able to create more and better stuff for you, focused around your growth as an editor. The current state of how I’m doing this is not working. If you’re ever in need, have questions or just need someone to talk post (or baseball) with I’ll still and will always be here for you. Just shoot me a message here.

Cheers,
Josh

PS: I’ll still be active on Twitter and Snapchat. Please say hi to me there if you haven’t before!

Straight Up Hard Work

I had to fire up my 11-year-old PowerBook G4 laptop in order to find this picture. Can’t believe that thing still works.

I had just turned 18. I was covered in a cold sweat from the February gymnasium air. I had my red, white and blue wrestling singlet on. My black Nike mesh shorts. My Asics black and white wrestling shoes tied way too tight like always. My headgear laid on the floor next to me as my head laid even lower.

A few minutes before I had lost my second match in the Virginia AA Wrestling Regionals. That meant I was out of the tournament and my four years of varsity wrestling was over. My 119lb body, which was north of 140lbs back in November, that could run 7 miles without being winded suddenly felt worn out.

As I sat on that floor so many emotions and memories ran through me. Anyone who has every knowingly competed in a sport for their final time can relate. When you are that deep into something you feel complete.

The amount of effort I put into wrestling was astronomical. Running literally an uncountable amount of laps in the hallways before practice. Up-downs. Monkey rolls. That stupid circle from Vision Quest where you got up and ran around all the guys laying down then the next guy got up where in my junior year one of the seniors accidently stepped on my ankle which was the only time I ever had to go to the trainer but I sucked it up and wrestled the rest of the season on it even though it was probably severely sprained or worse.

At that moment as I sat on that hard gym floor, my back against the cinder brick wall, I told myself I’d never do something like that to myself again. It felt like I was the most tired 18-year-old on the planet.

Sitting there felt like an eternity when it was probably less than a minute before my dad walked over. He nudged me with his foot. I looked up. “Want some pizza?” he asked.

I bit into my second slice of lukewarm Papa Johns off of the white paper plate we got at the concession stand in the hallway of a high school in Orange, VA. Never again I told myself.

Fast-forward, jump cut, wipe or cross-dissolve your way 12 years into the future. At almost 30 I consider myself successful. I’m college educated. I run a steady self-employed company. I write on multiple websites, podcast, have a fledgling YouTube channel, have the best wife and dog in the world, travel the world on occasion, get to see friends and family whenever I want, have no health concerns and overall a pretty happy guy.

Why does it feel like there’s constantly something missing?

I could be wrong. I could be 100% wrong about this whole thing. But I think I know what’s missing and it’s on that gym floor in the middle of Nowhere, Virginia lying next to my wrestling headgear.

It’s not the wrestling mat. It’s not sprawls or takedown drills or pushups (even though I still do at least 50 a day). It’s that all-in dedication to doing straight up hard work.

No one, at least no one I can imagine, vomits in the hallway trashcan after writing a blog post or recording a podcast. This stuff is still straight up hard work but of another kind.

Anyone can find 15 a day to write a blog post and publish it everyday for a year and a half like I have on my other site. That’s difficult and takes a hell of a lot of dedication. But it’s not like the straight up hard work that went into wrestling.

Anyone can find an hour or two a week to write a newsletter and cut a quick tutorial. It’s scary to put yourself out there to the world like that. But it’s not like the straight up hard work that went into wrestling.

What’s like wrestling is completing this massive list of unfinished projects or projects I haven’t even begun that I stare at everyday.

I haven’t been doing straight up hard work for you and I’m sorry. I can blame those early mornings before school sitting in the sauna at the community center a county over in order to cut weight. I can blame those offseason bleacher runs. I can blame any number of things or memories or the residual pain left in my right shoulder from this one match that took everything out of me but I won 2-1 in overtime, securing a tournament win for my team.

I haven’t been doing straight up hard work for you and I’m sorry.

I have no action plan. I have no idea where to begin. Outside of completing the above massive list of projects I don’t know what straight up hard work for Edit Video Faster even looks like. But I know it’s something that I have to do in order to feel whole, to feel complete again.

I’d love for you to stick around for this journey. If you’re new around here I recommend starting here.

If you have any thoughts to share or old wrestling stories leave them in the comments below or send me a private message here.

– Josh

Written Saturday January 7th, 2017 at 2:10am.

Okay, one more picture. I can’t help myself.

Mastering Avid Media Composer’s Keyboard Shortcuts – Lesson 3: Moving

Mastering Media Composers Keyboard Shortcuts – Lesson 3 on Moving

This is the third lesson in a series on mastering Avid Media Composer’s keyboard shortcuts and it’s on moving inside of Media Composer. Each lesson tackles a handful of shortcuts. Those shortcuts should be practiced until the next lesson in a few days. By the end of the lessons you should be flying through your editing sessions.

This isn’t just any old list of keyboard shortcuts in Avid. For many of them I explain how they work and how I use them everyday as a professional editor.

If you’re just getting started, no worries. You can take this lesson and circle back to the previous lessons. You can find all the lessons here.

This lesson focuses on the moving keyboard shortcuts in Avid. By moving I mean having the Time Position Indicator (the blue bar in the timeline) go from one frame to another frame. There are a bunch of different keyboard shortcuts that do this for us faster and more accurately than clicking the mouse around the screen. Let’s get started!

Lesson 3 Keyboard Shortcuts - Moving in Avid
Lesson 3 Shortcuts – Moving
Number pad with keys highlighted that are used for moving in Avid
Like my coffee-stained number pad?
Time Position Indicator...this is what we're moving in Avid
Time Position Indicator…this is what we’re moving
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Mastering Avid Media Composer’s Keyboard Shortcuts – Lesson 2: Marking and Playing

Mastering Media Composers Keyboard Shortcuts – Lesson 2 on Marking and Playing

This is the second lesson in a series on mastering Avid Media Composer’s keyboard shortcuts and the topic is Marking and Playing. In each lesson we tackle a handful of shortcuts that should be learned and practiced until the next lesson in a few days. This isn’t just any list of shortcuts. For many of them I’ll explain how they work and how I use them everyday as an editor.

Lesson 1 was on Media Composer’s Tools. This lesson is on the keyboard shortcuts in Avid for Marking and Playing. These are some of the most primary shortcuts I think you should learn. Some other shortcuts (Z, X, V, B, etc.) you can do damage to your timeline by accidentally doing something you weren’t expecting. With these shortcuts the worst thing you can do is clear an In or Out Point. Let’s get started!

Lesson 2 Keyboard Shortcuts - Marking and Playing in Avid
Lesson 2 Shortcuts – Marking and Playing

Marking Keyboard Shortcuts in Avid

Mark In Point

Mark In Point Keyboard Shortcuts in Avid
Mark In Point

Shortcut: E or I

Marking an In Point is one of the must learn keyboard shortcuts. Media Composer works on three-point editing. Basically you need two In Points and an Out Point or vice versa. Put an In and Out Point on the clip in the Source Monitor then an In Point on the Timeline then hit Splice-In or Overwrite Edit and the clip from the Source Monitor gets edited onto the Timeline. Kind of make sense? There’s a bit of a hierarchy when it comes to In and Out Points and three-point editing but that’s for another lesson.

Even though I stand up here on my soapbox preaching about how important keyboard shortcuts are you will still use the mouse. It’s inevitable. So if you’re right-handed you will generally have your left hand on the keyboard. If so you’ll find you use “E” way more than “I” to mark an In Point. I however am I lefty so my right hand is always on the keyboard. That means I use the “I” key to mark an In Point more often. The same goes with our next shortcut.

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Mastering Avid Media Composer’s Keyboard Shortcuts – Lesson 1: Tools

Hey! This is the first lesson in a series on mastering Avid Media Composer’s keyboard shortcuts and it’s on Tools. We’ll go through pretty much every keyboard shortcut in Media Composer in this series.

If you’ve taken either of my quizzes (Quiz 1 and Quiz 2) and/or you are interested in becoming a faster, more efficient editor than this series is for you. Each lesson we’ll tackle a handful of shortcuts. We’ll go through what the shortcut is and for some I’ll comment on the tool, function or whatever the keyboard shortcut does based on my experience using Avid Media Composer hour after hour over the past decade.

Okay, enough talking. Let’s get into our first lesson!

Avid Media Composer Keyboard Shortcuts for Tools Recap

There are a bunch of tools in Media Composer. There’s the Audio Mixer, Audio EQ, Composer, Effect Editor, Media Tool and more. Ten (10!) of them have simple shortcuts. In this lesson we’ll cover them.

Audio Tool

Audio Tool in Avid
Audio Tool

Cmd+1 (Mac) | Ctrl+1 (PC)

The Audio Tool shows the audio levels (how loud or soft it is) in visual form. Once you hit play the Audio Tool goes up and down based on the audio that’s being played at that frame. There’s a small sideways Audio Tool at the top of the Timeline. However the normal Audio Tool makes it much easier to see. I tend to always have this tool open.

Calculator Tool

Calculator in Avid
Calculator

Cmd+2 (Mac) | Ctrl+2 (PC)

Did you know Media Composer had a calculator? This isn’t your ordinary calculator either. This calculator counts timecode!

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