Within the past few sessions, we’ve been working on an introduction to editing – in particular, editing within Avid.

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Edit Suites (Catapult Studios, No date)

To start off with, in this session we were taught about various different techniques that we should know to make our lives a lot easier when it comes to using Avid. We were given a piece of paper (Avid Media Composer Keyboard Shortcuts) which showed us the majority of the different keyboard shortcuts to do with Avid.

Within the session we were introduced to editing, and supplied with various different clips (both audio and video) to do with editing. We were supplied with 13 different video clips to do with surfing, as well as being supplied with 1 audio track (Into the Blue).


What did I do?

Upon starting Avid, I was prompted with selecting a project, or creating a new one. Private means that it has to be the selected user logged in to be able to edit. Shared means that multiple users can edit it, and External means that it’s using an external drive for the actual clips and edits.

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As the footage that we were supplied with was in 480p (so not HD) we had to create a new project with specific settings based on what we wanted to edit in. Upon clicking “New Project” after clicking “External” I was prompted by this “New Project” window, where I could change the format, aspect ratio etc. For the format, I selected 25p PAL as this means it’ll be 25 frames per second and in PAL (Phase Alternating Line) which is used in Europe, Australia and parts of Asia. There were other options with different frame rates, and as this wasn’t HD I didn’t go above the 25p PAL setting. You also have NTSC (National Television Standards Committee) which is used within North America, some Southern American countries and Japan. These are exported in 30 frames per second or 60 frames per second. Fun fact: Did you know that films are actually rendered in 24 frames per second? The main difference between NTSC and PAL is the size, colour and speed. NTSC is usually a bit smoother as there are more frames per second, whereas PAL has less frames per second so isn’t as smooth.

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Once we got into the program itself, on the left hand monitor it was fairly simple and had one location known as “Intro to Editing Bin”. Within this bin is where the sequences and the exported sequences will be placed, however, to keep it simple for ourselves, rather than importing everything into there, I created two new bins known as “Audio” and “Video”. I then imported the Video clips that we were supplied with into the “Video” bin and the audio clip into the “Audio” bin.

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Selecting the “Settings” tab as you can see to the left of the screenshot above, I scrolled down to the Interface to make it darker as it puts less strain on my eyes and I prefer the colouring of it, as well as went into the “Media Creation” tab to make sure the files were being used in the external drive rather than being saved to the C: drive.

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The first thing that I did to start editing was listen to the actual audio track itself to see what it included within it, and what it sounded like to get an idea of the clips to use to go alongside the music itself. I also watched the video clips to get an idea of what I had to work with, and how long the clips would actually be.

At the start I wanted to music to fade into the clip itself, so upon double clicking the music, it opened up a new sequence and gave me a sequence to actually work with. Firstly though, talking about the video clips, I selected the clip that I wanted to use to start with, double clicked it and it opened it up in the editing window. With the parts that I wanted to use, I started by marking a point using the “I” key on the keyboard to show the start of what I wanted to use, and kept the clip going along and then where I wanted to stop using that clip I selected “O” which marks out. After this, I pressed “V” on the keyboard which inserted the specific part that I’d selected into the timeline. This is the same for all of the clips that I used, however some were varied on how I used them as I didn’t have the exact amount I wanted, but dragging one side of the clips allowed me to extend the clip or remove part of the clip depending on the way that I dragged the beginning or end of the clips.

To the left of the screenshot is the selected clip that you want to take a snippet from, and to the right is the final outcome of your project. As you can see on the left there are white marks which are the mark ins and outs of the clips as well as play/pause/rewind/fast forward buttons to be able to find the parts that you want. There are also step 1 and step 10 frames either forwards or backwards within the selected clip. As you can see to the right as well, there are various different buttons that are similar, however this is your full edit of the sequence that you have selected.

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Moving onwards, within Avid there’s a button that I was able to press to be able to add a fade in effect to the audio and the video itself. I selected where I wanted to clip to fade into full volume and clicked the “Fade in” button which is located around the middle of the timeline as shown in the screenshot below, and you can see where I selected the audio to fade in (around halfway of the first video clip), in comparison to where I selected the video to fade in (towards the start).

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From the screenshot above you can also see that I applied a transition to the clips which allowed me to create a way of moving from one clip to another without just jumping to it. As you can also see in the screenshot above, I added another video track to be able to add something over the top of the original clips in places and make it a bit easier to see some certain parts for myself as this is what I’ve done in Premiere a lot of the time. I took advantage of the fading option to make it so that a clip faded into another one rather than using a transition, and it allowed me to make it seem smoother as shown in the screenshot below from the final outcome.

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I also took advantage of the reverse clip motion effect to be able to use one of the clips in a different way to go along with the music better. Upon opening the effects editor, it allowed me to understand how to key frame within the Avid to make some things better, which I showed within this clip to make the wave move across the water.

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Before exporting the clip, you have to render the clips, to do this you have to select the whole project by clicking “CTRL + A” and then there’s a button on the timeline which you can see just above 00:00 which says “Render Effects”. This will render all the effects and make it so they can be exported. Finally, as shown below is my screenshot of the actual timeline itself to show how it ended up looking.

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Moving onwards, it came to exporting. I firstly used the mark in and out tool on the editing side and put it to the positions I wanted it to be exported. I then went up to File -> Export and we wanted to make a new preset, so we clicked “Options” and then used the following settings for a 720p upload onto YouTube:

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The following was for a QuickTime Movie to be exported with a width of 1280 x 720 (which is 720p) and kept the Native Dimensions as they are the ones that are used within the project itself. BEFORE clicking “Save As”, we wanted to change some of the actual export settings as well and compression for the video. For this, the button that says “Format Options” in the screenshot above are to help, and we changed them to these to make them best for uploading as they are most compatible:

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H.264 is good for compression as it is made to be compatible with various different softwares. The frame rate was set to 25 frames per second as that’s what the sequence was made in. The Compressor was set to “High” as that is what it is default set to, and this was just a introduction to editing. Finally, encoding was set to “Best Quality (Multi-pass)” as it allowed it to produce the best quality possible.

Now you can press “Save as” and save the preset to the computer: for me I named it “720p 25fps”.

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Then we can export the file and it will come out how we exported it with our specific export settings. If I wanted to export in 1080p, it would be 1920 x 1080 rather than 1280 x 720 for the video.

Finally, this is the outcome of the actual video itself as shown below, so please, sit back, relax and enjoy!

 


A Few Tips for Avid

There are various things that you may need to know about using Avid and how to use the majority of it. Below is some screenshots as well as some text following onwards about each part.

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This is the screen you are greeted by upon launching Avid. To the right is the editing side of it, and to the left is the project settings as well as location. I’ve already wrote about which each of these options and everything to do with this part include.

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There are various different Shortcuts within Avid, hanging up in our classroom is this poster with all of the shortcuts on them. This is here as a reminder to anyone that may need to use them in the future to make life a lot easier within the program itself!


The Clapperboard Exercise // Slating

Today’s session was mainly focused on the clapperboard and slating. We learnt various different ways that the clapperboard was used, and we learnt what each part of the clapperboard itself meant and how to use it effectively.

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Big Clapperboard (SillyJokes, No date)

The Clapperboard has various different aspects within it:

  • Prod .No. is the name of the production that is taking place, so for example ours was “Head Slate Task”.
  • Scene is what scene you are currently in, for example, 4. If the shot changes, for each of the shots you use a letter afterwards such as “4A” etc. You only use 24 rather than 26 letters of the alphabet due to “O” and “I” looking similar to “0” and “1”. Once you have got through all 24 letters, you then move onto “4AA, 4AB” etc. Sometimes whilst speaking it’s worth saying “4 Alpha” rather than 4A as “A” can sound like “8” sometimes, and helps distinguish what you’re actually on.
  • Take is the take that you are on, something might not have gone right the first time, so it moves to take 2 etc.
  • Roll isn’t used as much anymore, however it can be used mainly nowadays for Memory Card 1 for example, but it was for when tapes used to be used instead.
  • Sound you have two different options: you can either put “Sync” meaning the sound is being recorded on an external device, or “MOS” meaning No sound is recorded.
  • Director is who is directing
  • Cameraman is who is working on the camera at the time.

To start with, we worked on slating. “What is slating?” you may ask: Slating is the introduction or even the final part of the recorded footage for both video and audio.

Within Slating, there are two different ways to slate:

  • Head Slating – This is at the beginning of the scene, where you say the Production Name, the Scene followed by the Take and then you clap the clapperboard to mark the video and audio together.
  • Tail Slating – This is when you hold the clapperboard upside down at the end of the scene in case you didn’t mark it up at the beginning, and you then say the Production Name, the Scene followed by the Take and then clap the clapperboard to mark the video and audio together, however, this time at the end of the shoot.

Upon using the clapperboard, you must hold it open to show that it hasn’t yet been marked. The camera needs to be in focus on the clapperboard, which you can physically practice and make sure and work out the exact position you need to be in prior to recording. As soon as the slate is closed, that is when you know when you need to mark it up, as you would hear the “click” sound effect. We practiced this exercise ourselves, and within it we worked on a head slate shot, a different shot for the same scene, a tail slate shot and a scene that has no sound included. You can see these as shown from below:

Head Slate Shot

Tail Slate Shot

No Sound Shot

Different Angle Shot

As you can see within all of the clips, the main problem we encountered was the audio. This could’ve been because of the placement of the microphone itself compared to everyone else as well as the levels of the microphone. From what I remember they were quite low and we didn’t get it high enough. To resolve this issue in the future we can make sure the levels are fine by wearing headphones whilst on the audio job as well.

How they were completed and synced:

The way that this task was completed to work effectively was by recording the audio and video separately. Even though the audio isn’t brilliant as we didn’t have the right settings on, we can still see where to sync the audio and video up due to the clapperboards “click” sound which we can use in Avid, below is a tutorial on how we completed the task to sync them together.

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If you are like me and have various different takes, you will need to find the exact audio and video that need to be synced together. For me, I prefer using this window layout which you can choose from the bottom menu to be able to organise what I need to find and can add a note to it to make it easier for myself.

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Moving forward, after importing both the audio and video files into an Avid bin, we open up the video footage within the Avid editor, this allows us to search for where the clapperboard clips, and by using the arrow keys, we can move frame by frame to find the exact point of where the clapperboard hits. Then we mark an inpoint by clicking “I” on the keyboard, and that is where we now look for the audio.

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We do the same method for the audio, moving frame by frame to be able to find the peak point, this time by using J and K to find the exact point within the timeline on where the clapperboard “clicks”, and we insert another inpoint.

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From here, we press CTRL and click on both the audio and video clips, and they are ready to be synced. Now to do this, we click on this icon in the bottom left of the bin and select “AutoSync” within the menu.

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As shown above, this menu appears upon clicking “AutoSync”. Selecting “Inpoints” is the right option for this task in particular, as it allows the audio and video to be synced from where we marked them to be using the inpoints. Alternatively, you can mark by using outpoints and select “Outpoints” instead, however personally I prefer to use Inpoints.

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Afterwards, we have our file ready to be exported, and upon dragging the new file that we have created (you can see it’s synced from the icon within the bin as well as the name now including “.sync”) we can drag it into the sequence and export our synced clip.

I feel this exercise went rather well to start off with, however, after looking at our original footage we realised we had a few problems and we ended up re-recording it a few days later. Our first problems we encountered included that we didn’t rehearse enough to find the position we had to be in for the clapperboard to be in focus and fully in shot, as well as we didn’t hold it in place for long enough to see what was on the clapperboard and the sound was an issue and stayed that way afterwards sadly, however it did sound a lot better than the original sound recordings we did on the first day! After re-trying, we ended up with the clips above where you can see they are more in focus, you can see the majority of the clapperboard in the shots as well as finally being able to see what was on the boards for long enough.


Lighting Exercise

Within this week as well, we re-visited some lighting tasks. Back in Week 2, we focused heavily on lighting, and we learnt a lot to do with lighting itself (key lighting, fill lighting and back lighting).

Within this exercise in particular, we focused on how lighting can be important towards a shot. For these in particular we took still images rather than shooting videos, and it allowed us to see some effectiveness by using the lighting techniques. To start with, we only had two small handheld LED lights, and we also had a reflector. Moving further on into the exercise we traded our handheld LED lighting for a larger scaled LED light, and this is where we were able to have some better shots involved. We also used gels within this session to be able to have a look at the different lighting effects that we could create with red and blue colouring, possibly to reflect mood into our work. Shown below are some of my favourite photos that we took within the day from the shoot that really prove the lighting effects within them.

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Within the image shown above, I was in control of the backlight. As you can see it only slightly worked within this shot, however it didn’t work effectively like the one shown below. However, in the one shown above, what did work well was the key light and the fill light, as you can see one side of the face is lit up and using the gold reflector we were able to receive a nice effect to remove some shadowing.

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WIthin the shot above, I feel it was probably one of the most effective shots that we managed to get by using the three point lighting technique. As you can see, the backlight works effectively and brings a rim around Kyle, the key light we can see is working fairly well. As well as this, we did attach a lighter blue tone gel onto the key light to be able to produce a different lighting effect. The reflector also worked well as we can see some of the shadows have been taken down to a minimal.

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As shown above, this one in particular didn’t work too well, as the backlight within the shot itself was clearly visible and didn’t work effectively. Luckily the key light worked well within this shot as well as the fill light as we can see some of the shadow is missing and there is a bit of a golden tone to the right side of her face.

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As shown above, the image that we have here, we removed using the back light and began to focus on using the Key light and the Fill lighting only. We also decided to use the same gel within this one as used in the previous photo, however, this time we folded it over a few times to be able to create a darker blue as at the time we couldn’t find one. The reflector we kept to a gold colour, however, it could’ve been a lot more effective if we used a white colour most likely as it would’ve made the side more of a blue colour as well, rather than the gold colour you can see.

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Within this shot, we also focused on mainly using the Key and Fill lighting, and we rotated the colour around within this one to create a white reflector. The key light (being to the left) clearly lights up my face, and as well as this we can clearly see that a lot of the shadows are dimmed more to seem softer.

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I really like the shot above, as this is when we changed from using the smaller LED lights to using the larger LED light. You can see it has a vast difference, and as we can clearly see the key light is a lot more effective within this shot. I feel the fill light within this shot isn’t great, however, you can see that some of the shadows have been lightened to create a more dim effect showing it is still working.

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Finally, I really like this shot. This is when we received a darker blue gel to use on the key light, and we were able to experiment various different times on how to create a great effect whilst using it. You can see the key light is intense within this shot, and the fill light works very well as the shadows have been removed to a minimum. I feel this would probably be one of my favorites out of all of the shots that we took within this session.

From this weeks tasks, I really enjoyed them as it allowed us to be creative and physically try out using the lighting techniques and learn more about the actual clapperboard itself. I feel that if we could do one thing differently next time, it would be working on the positioning for the clapperboard, and for the lighting to work on the positioning of the lighting before taking the shots.


Sources

Catapult Studios (No date), Edit Suites. Available at: http://catapult-studios.com/?page_id=1233 (Accessed: 2 November 2016)
SillyJokes (No date), Big Clapperboard. Available at: http://www.sillyjokes.co.uk/big-clapperboard (Accessed: 13 November 2016)
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