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Avid Media Composer Settings

List of Recommend Avid Media Composer 7.0 Settings

There are many settings within Avid Media Composer.  Here’s a list of some critical settings that you may want to pay attention to.  It’s not a comprehensive list, but I think you’ll find my recommendations will help improve your editing workflow.  I've marked the settings that I consider the most critical in red.  Over time, I will be linking video tutorials to some of the headings in this article.

If you are a seasoned user, and you are reading this article, please share your thoughts on critical settings that I have not mentioned that help your own workflow.

Avid Settings.pngWhen I talk about settings, I'm referring to the settings tab within the Avid Project window.   It's important to note that there are three setting types.

User Settings - Specific to each Avid User.
Project Settings - Specific to each project
Site Settings - Specific to each computer (the site).

Within the settings tab, double click on the setting that you want to adjust. I'll start by referring to important settings that are listed from top to bottom.

AMA Settings (Bins Tab)  - Set AMA to ‘Use active bin. This way you can create a bin ahead of time, before linking to clips.  I find it’s best to name your bin ahead of time before linking to your clips.

Use Active AMA bin.pngAMA Link Settings (Volume Mounting Tab) - Un-check the option ‘Automatically AMA-link to volumes’.

AMA Auto Link.pngFor those who are new to Avid Media Composer, AMA stands for 'Avid Media Access'.  It's a fancy term for referencing media directly instead of importing them into the traditional Avid MediaFiles folder.

If you don't turn off the Automatic-link to volumes option, when you insert a valid media card the Avid will automatically begin linking to the media, and it will place linked clips within a bin window. This is annoying especially if a media card has been left in a card reader when you create a new project.  The Avid will automatically begin linking to the media. This means you may have media linked a project that is not relevant to what you are working on.

Audio Settings - Set the ‘Default pan for mono tracks’ to Mono. I find many Avid editors who double their audio tracks in order to get ‘voice-over’ or ‘mono’ tracks to come out of both L/R speakers. 

Centered Mono Tracks.pngThere is no reason create two tracks of audio for mono audio!  *In Media Composer 7.x  'centered' is the default option.  Take notice from the screenshot below that a single soloed audio track produces L/R output.

Mono Audio Settings.pngBin Views - Delete ,configure, or add your own customized bin views.

You can save different bin views for displaying different column data.  In particular, I like the ability to display the color, and frame view columns when viewing clips in text mode.

bin view.pngRight click on a column heading to configure your different bin views before saving them as a setting.

bin view settings.pngSaved Bin Views will appear within your settings.  From here you can delete and/or rename your various bin views.

Capture Settings - If you are still capturing from physical tape, pay close attention to these settings.  Especially pay attention to the general tab setting for ‘stopping capture if a bad frame is detected’.  This may be important if you are capturing for extended periods of time that are unmonitored.  Otherwise, the capture process will be aborted if a single bad frame is detected.

bad frame detection.pngWhile ignoring timecode breaks and bad frames may sound counter intuitive, you may not have an option in order to capture the rest of the footage without the capture process being constantly aborted.

DV / HDV Scene Detection - Under the DV&HDV options, you may want to enable DV & HDV Scene detection, which will save you time from have to create subclips from long scenes.  You can also create markers at each scene change.  Therefore, I recommend that you select the option that says both.

Scene Detection.pngBin Settings - This is where you configure the auto-save parameters within Avid Media Composer.

bin settings.pngIt's also where you can turn on ‘Enable edit from bin (Splice, Overwrite)’ This feature provides extra functionality where you can edit directly to an Avid sequence from ‘frame view’ within a bin. When enabled you can press ‘B – Overwrite’, or ‘V – Splice’ when you have a clip selected within a Bin Window.  This means there is no need to load the clip into the source window.  This is a great feature when you are working with still images and you need to create a quick montage.

Bin View Settings - This is a great way to configure individual bin columns based on your editing workflow. 

bin view.png

The bin view settings will not be visible until you configure an actual bin view. From here you can rename, or delete saved bin views.

bin view settings.pngComposer Settings (Window Tab)
Set Data display at Top: to Always display Two Rows of Data.  This allows you to view additional time code information within your source and record window. 

enable two rows of data.pngFor example, you can show the ‘remaining time’ or a clip along with the distance between your ‘in-out’ points at the top of the window. This setting must also be enabled if you need to cut both audio and video together when in multi-camera mode.

Composer 2 rows of data.pngComposer Settings (Edit Tab)
Auto-create New Tracks. - This will prevent Avid Media Composer from automatically creating new tracks within a sequence if you have a source clip that contains more tracks than your sequence contains. 

Auto enable Source Tracks - If you decide to turn off a source video or source audio track, this will prevent Avid Media Composer from automatically turning it back one when you re-load the clip into the source window.

auto enable tracks.png

Composer Settings (FF/REW tab)
Turn on ‘Stop at Markers’ and ‘Ignore Track Selectors’.  Learn how to use this setting to re-configure the (A - S keys) within Avid Media Composer so they go to/from each edit point within a sequence.FW-REW Settings.pngEmail Settings - Configure Avid to send you an email when long renders, exports, or transcoding is completed.

Export Settings - Delete, configure, or add your own export settings.  The setting that is checked within your user settings will become the default setting.

Export Settings.png
You can choose one of these export settings each time you export your sequence.

export_options.pngTo configure additional export options, click on the options button at the bottom of the 'Export' window.

General Settings - Allows you to set a new default time code value for new sequences.  Note:  This is a good setting to place within the site settings window. In doing so, Avid will automatically use the site settings as ‘defaults’ when creating a new user or projects.  Traditionally, it's been practical to start the sequence timecode value at 1 hr.  However, some editors may prefer a value of 00:00:00:00 as the starting value for new sequences.

general settings.pngImport Settings (Image tab)
Image Size Adjustment -
I’ve found the most useful option is to set this option to ‘do not resize smaller images’. This will prevent smaller images from being scaled and/or stretched to fit the ‘raster’ of the project settings.  With this setting enabled, images larger than the project raster will be scaled to fit the screen.

File Pixel To Video Mapping - Pay special attention to the pixel mapping of images/video that you are importing.  RGB is the common format for still image cameras.  701 SD or 709 HD (16-235) represents the contrast range for video images.  Choosing the wrong import setting will alter the image contrast when compared to the original source file.

Sequentially-Numbered Files - In some earlier versions of Media Composer, this option is checked by default.  By leaving this option ‘checked’  Avid Media Composer will automatically combine sequentially numbered still images into a single clip.  Under normal circumstances, you want this option turned off.

Frame Import Options -This is also where you can set the duration for importing still image files.

Alpha Channel - In most cases, you will want to set to ‘Invert on Import (white = opaque), which is reverse of most other non-linear video editing systems.  This will ensure that images that contain an alpha channel will be imported correctly with a transparent background.  Hint:  It’s best to always import images using the .png format for Avid Media Composer.

import settings.pngKeyboard Settings - Hint:  You can select and right click on a keyboard setting to create a duplicate. 

keyboard settings.pngThis means you have to two different keyboards!  Whichever keyboard is checked becomes the default keyboard.  You can also assign each keyboard a name which can be linked to a workspace.  If you double click on a keyboard setting, you can map keyboard commands from the Command Palette.  The command palette is located under the tools menu.

keyboard mapping.pngMedia Creation Settings (Drive Filtering & Indexing) - If you have external storage connected to your system, I highly recommend that you configure the media creation settings to filter out your system drive, and launch drive.  This will prevent you from accidentally storing media on the internal (system drive).

Drive Filtering.pngI also recommend that you adjust the resolution within the Capture, Titles, and Import tabs.  I've found this is especially import when creating titles and importing graphics.  I recommend that you set the video resolution for titles and imported graphics to 1:1 uncompressed.

Media Creation Titles.pngMouse Settings - This is a relatively new function within Avid Media Composer.  You can now map functions from the command palette onto alternate mouse button, meaning – (mouse buttons 3, 4, 5).  I’ve found mapping the red segment arrow to mouse button three provides time saving functionality when moving a clip segment within a sequence.

mouse settings.png

Render Settings - I recommend configuring the default setting for image interpolation, timewarps, and motion effects to use interpolated field.  Otherwise you risk accidentally rendering an effect as (duplicate or  both fields. You can also configure a render sound so you know when a long render is completed.

render settings.pngIn general,  you want your motion effect(s) to have three black tick marks within the effect icon.  This eans the effect was rendered using interpolated fields.  If you see only one tick mark within a motion effect, it means it's only using 1 field.

Motion Effect.pngTimeline Views - Configuring your timeline views can be a huge time saver!  In the lower left corner of the timeline window, click on the timeline view pull-down menu to save different configurations.  You can also link timeline views to saved Media Composer workspaces.  Click on the link for an example of how to configure an audio workspace linked to a specific timeline view setting.

timeline view.pngEach time you save a different timeline view, the views will appear within the project window under the settings tab.  Within the project settings, you can rename or remove unnecessary views based on your workflow.

timeline views project window.pngTimeline Settings (edit tab) – I recommend turning off auto Patching, and auto monitoring. I recommend turning on ‘segment drag sync locks’. 

timeline settings_01.pngAuto Patching - This setting refers to having the source track automatically patching itself to the top most activated sequence (record) track.  For a novice user, this can be a bit confusing.  Therefore, you may want to disable the auto patching option.

Auto Monitoring - I highly recommend that you set the auto monitoring feature to OFF. 

Video Monitor Icon.pngThis will prevent the video monitor function from moving within your sequence. Within most editing workflows, you normally want the video monitoring icon located at the top most track so you can view all of your video layers as a complete composite.

Check the option for Enable only one segment Tool at a TimeThis will prevent you from accidentally using the wrong segment tool when moving clips within a sequence.  I also recommend that you learn the keyboard shortcuts for enabling or disabling each segment tool.

Shift A – Toggles on/off the red segment arrow
Shift S – Toggles on/off the yellow segment arrow.

Default Segment Tool – For most of us, make sure you set the default segment tool to ‘Segment Overwrite’  This will allow you to freely drag and drop clips to an Avid sequence without having to worry about splicing a clip into your sequence and accidentally changing its duration.  With segment overwrite enabled, the clip will drop exactly where you place it without moving other clips within a sequence.

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Avid Media Composer NewBlue Title Tool was the previous entry in this blog.

Animated Titles in Final Cut Pro X is the next entry in this blog.

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