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Avid Xpress Creating a Moving Film Strip

Here is an excellent tutorial that will teach you many of the basic compositing techniques available in Avid Xpress or Media Composer. Once you've mastered this technique, you can use the same skills to build moving walls, spinning 3D worlds, story-books, and a variety of other effects. *Don't Worry if your a Final Cut Pro user, you can find the same steps for building a moving filmstrip with Final Cut Pro. Here is what the finished sequence should look like when you are finished with this tutorial.
The first step to creating a moving filmstrip with Avid Xpress is to find at least 6 clips and set a duration of 3 seconds for each of them. To do this, double click on each clip within the Avid Xpress bin window and mark IN and OUT points for each clip so the duration of each clip is exactly 3 seconds. avid_bin_window.gif You may want to use the hidden source pull down menu and set the timecode display to I/O. This will help you when marking IN and OUT points for the clip so you have a visual reference. It is very important that each clip is exactly 3 seconds long. source_window Within the Avid Xpress bin window, verify that all of your clips are exactly three seconds long. You can verify this by pulling down the fast menu in the lower left corner of the bin window and selecting headings. Make sure you have the text tab selected at the top of the Avid Xpress bin window. Otherwise, you will not be able to access the headings selection within the fast menu. avid_bin_headings Next, select the IN-OUT heading within the Avid bin column section box. You may want to click on the All / None button to deselect all the other unnecessary headings. Verify that all of your clips have an IN-OUT value of exactly 3 seconds each. in-out_column_heading The next step is to edit each of your clips to the timeline window. You can save some steps by selecting all of the clips by using (control + A) on a PC or (command + A) on a MAC. select_source_clips After all of the clips are selected, you can drag all of them together directly to the Avid Xpress timeline window. drag_to_timeline.gif You may want to pull down the timeline (fast menu) and select (clip-durations) to verify that all of your clip segments are exactly three seconds in duration. clip_durations_menu.gif Next, you will want to delete all the audio tracks. This is because they will get in the way when building your final composite. To do this, deselect the video track, and highlight all of the audio tracks. select_audio_tracks.gif Then press the delete key on your keyboard. Click on the OK button to delete all of the Avid Xpress audio tracks within the timeline window. delete_audio_tracks.gif The next step is to add two additional video tracks. To do this, navigate to the clip menu, and select New Video Track. Repeat this process until you have a total of 3 video tracks. new_video_track.gif Within the Avid Xpress project window, select the effects tab. Within the effects tab, find the PIP effect. Drag the PIP effect to the first segment within the timeline as shown below. apply_pip_effect.gif After you drop the PIP effect onto the first segment, you need to enter into effects mode. Park the blue timeline position indicator over your first segment and push the segment mode button. The segment mode button looks like a pair of (seatbelts) and it is located in the upper left corner of the timeline window. After you click on the effects editor button, the Avid Xpress effects editor window will appear. avid_effects_mode.gif The Avid Xpress editor window is where you can adjust the parameters for any particular effect. For now, leave all of the adjustments at their default positions. avid_effects_editor.gif While the effects editor is open, the composer window will change to 'Effects Mode' You should see a wireframe edge around your picture-in-picture effect. composer_window_effects_mode.gif While in 'Effects Mode' click on the reduce image icon. It is a magnifying glass with a minus sign. Click on this icon twice. You will now be able to see the edge of the screen. zoom_out_composer_window.gif Click on the first keyframe within the Avid Xpress composer window. The keyframe will turn pink. Then, drag the wireframe image to the right of the visible screen area. set_first_keyframe.gif Next, click on the last keyframe within the Avid Xpress composer window. Then drag the wireframe image to the left of visible picture area. *When dragging your wireframe image, DO NOT grab the image from the white dot in the middle. This white dot in the middle of the wireframe image represents the starting keyframe. You animation will then move backwards if you grab the image from the middle dot. If you press the play button while in 'effects mode' you wireframe image should move from the right side of the screen to the left side of the screen. set_second_keyframe.gif Once you have built the first picture-in-picture effect, you need to copy the same effect to all the other segements. You do this by draggin the effect from the Avid Xpress effects editor window, and copying it to all the other segments. If you have six segments, you will have to repeat this process 5 times until each of your segments has the same picture-in-picture effect applied to it. After you are done, close the effects editor window. clip_pip.gif Now, you need to move the blue position indicator forward exactly one second from the start of the sequence. Turn on the red segment arrow drag the next segment up onto V2 and snap it to the blue position indicator. *if you are using Avid Xpress Pro, hold down the control key to snap the segment to the head of the blue position indicator. After you are done, move the position indicator forward 1 more second, and drag the third segment up onto V3 and snap to the position indicator. stack_segments.gif When you are finished, your sequence should look like the example shown below. Make sure you move the (monitor) icon to the top most track so you can see all of the layers below it. monitor_track.gif That's it! Now back up and play the sequence. You should have a moving filmstrip that moves across the screen. Depending on how fast your machine is, you may need to render your sequence to play the sequence. finished_filmstrip.gif
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Photoshop for Video with Avid or FCP was the previous entry in this blog.

Using Specialized Characters in FCP is the next entry in this blog.

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