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  • Tue, Mar 31 2009 4:47 PM

    Module 1, Lesson 4 - Project Differences - Avid for Final Cut Pro Users


    Now that we've launched the Tempest project, I want to talk to you a little bit about the differences between Final Cut Pro projects and Avid projects and the biggest difference is in the structure of the project window.


    In Final Cut Pro, when you start the program you're given an empty sequence ready to edit into. Both the sequence and any clips can live out at the browser level or you can choose to move them into bins which are represented by folder icons. But if you look at your project on the desktop all you'll see is just a single project icon and you can't actually see all the individual components. In the Avid, things work a little differently. When you launch the program you're given a blank open bin. A bin is a file, not a folder and you can store clips, sequences, titles and effects inside it. On the Avid you can't have clips and sequences open at the project level. You have to make a bin first. To create a bin, click the New Bin button. By default it comes up with the name of the project followed by the word "Bin." If you've done this more than once, each new bin will have an incremental number. To rename a bin, just highlight its name and type the new name and press return. You'll see the new name reflected in the title bar of the window for the bin, except that there's a little diamond to the left of it, indicating its not yet been saved. So go to the file menu and choose Save Bin and that bin will be saved. You can organize your bins into folders by going to the Fast Menu and selecting New Folder. If you don't see the New Folder option, it's because you're in flat view. Go back to the Fast Menu, scroll down to the bottom, and select flat view to turn it off, then try again. You can rename a folder just like you do a bin. You can move bins in and out of folders the same way you move files in and out of folders on your computer. Just select a bin and drag it.


    The Avid Project window is true WYSISYG. What you see is what you get. Everything you see in the project window is exactly mirrored on the desktop level. It's not just one anonymous icon whose contents you can't discern. If you open up the shared Avid projects folder you will see that the files inside the "Tempest" project folder are exactly the same files that we see in the project window. With the addition of two extra files which represent the project itself and the project settings. You can name your bin, rename your bin delete your bin, create a new bin. You can also make a folder, name a folder, move your bins into folders, rename folders, and nest folders. Everything that we do in the project window you can also see happening inside the project at the desktop level. For example, highlight the icon to the left of a bin name in the project window and press the delete key on your keyboard. Or, go to the Fast Menu and choose Delete Selected Bins. This creates a little trash icon into which the tape bin has been moved. And in fact if I look over here at the computer level, there's a trash folder with the tape bin in the trash folder. If I want to delete it, I go up here to the Fast Menu and choose Empty Trash and answer yes to the question. When you delete a bin, it deletes all of the clips and sequences inside, but it doesn't delete the associated media. Once you've deleted a bin, you will see it disappear from both the project window and also the computer. The flexibility of Avid software, allows you not only to see the individual files that make up your project but also to move them one at a time if necessary. And the advantage to this is that you can move individual files between Avid systems, you do not need to take the entire project. So, if your assistant is logging a new tape, they don't have to create a new project. They can work in the same project everybody else is working in and just make a new bin and then bring you that bin. Or, if you're going to an online facility, you can take just the latest version of the sequence in its own bin, without having to take the entire project.


    Let's switch to another project. To close the "Tempest," either click a close button in the title bar or go to the Fast Menu and select Close Project. If you don't see the Close Project option in the Fast Menu it's because something else is selected in the project window. Deselect it and try again. I've created another project here called "Merry Wives" to give you an example of how a project might be organized in the Avid. For example, there's separate bins for titles whether they're scratch or final and they live in a titles folder. There's a separate bin for each tape that we log in and digitize that lives in the tape folder. Separate bins for each scene of footage that lives in the scenes folder. Separate bins for each version of the cut that we laid off to tape. In Avid, an output is called a Digital Cut and it's very important that you save the sequences you lay off so that you can refer back to them later. There are also all the various versions of our cut that live inside the cut folder and all the different types of audio we might be keeping inside an audio folder. So this is one example of how you might want to structure your bins and folders in the Avid.


    If we go back to the "Tempest" project, I want to mention one thing about multiple projects. Because the only way to view the contents of an individual project in Final Cut Pro is to open the project, they allow you the ability to open more than one project at a time. In the Avid, you can view the contents of individual projects by browsing them at the computer level so you don't need to open multiple projects at a time. However, if you'd like to bring into your current project clips and sequences from another project you can do that as long as both are playing at the same frame rate and both are either progressive or interlaced. If the outside bin is compatible with your project, go to the File Menu, and choose Open Bin. Then navigate to the bin and select it to open it. The Avid brings it into your project, but puts it into another folder labeled Other Bins. You can see the word "other bins" is in italics as is the name of the bin you just opened. This is to remind us this bin does not belong to our project. And in fact, if we scroll over here to the right you can see that this particular bin belongs to the "Merry Wives Project." While you have the bin from the other project open inside your project, you can open the sequence and clips in that bin, you can play them, you can change them, you can copy information over from your sequence. You could accidentally delete something in the bin, so be careful. The one thing you can't do though is delete the actual bin itself because the bin belongs to another project. When you're through looking at it just select the bin in the project window and press the delete key. It will disappear from your project but it still exists in its original location. If it's the only bin in the other bin's folder...the other bin's folder disappears as well. So, you have a great deal of flexibility in the Avid, in looking at items from other projects, in creating bins and folders and moving things around and carrying items from one Avid to another.


    So that's the main structural difference between Avid and Final Cut Pro when it comes to the project window. We hope you'll enjoy taking advantage of these features. This brings us to the end of our first module, "Introduction to Projects" in our series on "Avid for Final Cut Pro Users." I covered all the steps necessary to start a new project and create a new user. I've shown you where the files are stored on the computer's hard drive, which ones to back up. And how to access your personal settings to take them from one job to another. I've also given you a quick tour of the Project window and how it's organized. Finally I highlighted some of the main differences between Avid and Final Cut Pro. Notably, Avid's ease of use with multiple users and flexibility with the set up and organization of the Project Window. In Module Two, I'll introduce you to logging and digitizing.

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