Learn Avid Media Composer
4.3 (338 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
1,616 students enrolled

Learn Avid Media Composer

Learn the critical fundamentals of Avid Media Composer. Improve your skills with these simple techniques.
4.3 (338 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
1,615 students enrolled
Created by John Lynn
Last updated 4/2020
English [Auto]
Current price: $31.99 Original price: $49.99 Discount: 36% off
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This course includes
  • 4.5 hours on-demand video
  • 1 article
  • 9 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • By the end of this course, you should be able to complete an entire project from beginning to end.
  • A licensed copy of Avid Media Composer (version 7.0 or higher is preferred)
  • Optional: A licensed copy of Photoshop
  • Optional: A licensed copy of Avid FX and Boris Continuum

This  training class provides the critical fundamentals of learning Avid Media Composer from the ground-up.

PLEASE NOTE: The Main Avid Media Composer interface has been been recently updated!  This training series is based on the 'older' version that is still being used by Hollywood, and 90% of most Avid users. 

There are some additional videos that I will continue to upload to explain the interface change(s).  I estimate it will take a year to two for the industry to slowly adapt to the new interface.

It is recommended that you have a recent version of Avid Media Composer installed before taking this course.  Avid offers a  30 day fully functional trial if you do not own an active license.

  This training represents a culmination of 25 years experience of using Avid Media Composer.  Each lesson has been methodically scripted and presents specific concepts at an easy to learn pace. 

  • Practice media is provided so you can follow along.

  • Special rights to use REAL movie footage from the short-film Legacy.

  • Support is provided via 'Udemy's' Question/Answer forum.

  • Quizzes after each section to help you review critical concepts.

  • Special lecture descriptions are available for each lesson to enhance the instruction.

  • Extra bonus lessons on specific Media Composer effects are available.

  * Please note:  There are a few bonus lessons that require Avid FX, and Boris Continuum.  Depending on the version of Avid Media Composer that you are running you may not have these third party plug-ins.  This online training does not require these plug-ins, but if you have access to them, please enjoy the free bonus lessons. 

This course is designed to help you get started with Avid Media Composer.

We also offer an option to become an Avid Media Composer Certified User.  Please contact me if your are interested in becoming Avid Certified.

You can always contact us 24/7 at 866-566-1881, and we will return your call. 

Who this course is for:
  • This training focuses on editing techniques from the ground up. It is intended for those who are new to Avid Media Composer.
  • Intermediate to Advanced users may find some lessons that will enhance their current workflows and save them time.
Course content
Expand all 94 lectures 04:51:19
+ Preparing for Avid Media Composer Training
1 lecture 01:30
Read Me First - Download the Media Files here
+ Recent Changes to Media Composer Version 2019
2 lectures 06:02

Welcome to Avid Media Composer 2019.  The short lesson will walk you through the new Media Composer Interface (Version 2019.X)

Preview 03:31

Learn how the new Bin Container works within Media Composer 2019.X

Bin Containers (Media Composer Version 2019.X)
+ Avid Media Composer Interface Windows
4 lectures 09:35

Author Notes:

When you start a new project, you have three choices. 

  • Private: (Use this is you need to hide your projects from other users using a different PC account)
  • Shared (Use this, if you need a common place for everyone's project(s).
  • External (Use external, if you would like to manage the location of your projects manually)

The first two choices are fixed directories, and the third choice 'external' allows you to specify your own directory path.

Also, it's very important that you choose the correct project format before ingesting media.  In particular, pay special attention to the different frame rates available.  Make sure the project format matches the majority of your content to avoid lengthy render and transcode times.

Preview 03:17
Author Notes:

This lesson focuses on the three main interface windows, which are:

  • The Project window
  • The Composer Window
  • The Timeline

The project window is the heart of Avid Media Composer, and it must always remain open.  The project window contains a list of all your bins, settings, and effects.

Interface Windows
Author Notes:

It's very important that you learn to keep things organized in Avid Media Composer.  Most importantly, I recommend that you always rename your first bin to 'sequences'. 

It is critical that you remember where 'sequences' are stored.  Therefore it makes sense to put your sequences inside a bin named that is also named sequences.

Then you may want to create additional bins for your media, graphics, titles, effects, etc.
Bin Windows
Author Notes:

This video lesson focuses on using bin window tabs. 

Make sure you are comfortable with opening, closing, and attaching bin windows together before moving onto the next lesson.
Using Bin Tabs
Interface Windows
4 questions
+ Working with Media
6 lectures 23:32
Author Notes:

This lesson is extremely important, because it explains the traditional method of importing content into Avid Media Composer. This lesson focuses on importing media, which creates new files wrapped within an .mxf file extension.

Avid Media Composer has maintained a stronghold in longer format projects, due to it's unique media management capabilities.  It's important to understand the differences between importing media and linking to media.

Avid Media Composers unique method of importing media, prevents users from having to relink media.

Each media drive will always have an Avid MediaFiles Folder, and media will be placed in the following path.

Media Drive / Avid MediaFiles / MXF / 1 / mediafilename.mxf
Import File Options
Author Notes:

The capture tool is only necessary if you are capturing from a tape-based format.

Please note: If you are running a software only version of Avid Media Composer, the easiest way to ingest from a tape based format is to connect your camera to your computer via a 'firewire' cable. 

If your camera and/or tape machine does not have an output for firewire, then you will need a hardware converter. I recommend a company Grass Valley  that sells high quality analog to digital convertors.  They key is too make sure your you purchase a convertor with a frame synchronizer.  This is because most consumer based VHS machines do not have a built in time based corrector, which makes it difficult to get a good quality transfer into Avid.
If you are trying to ingest content from a DVD disk, then you can purchase a less expensive convertor (without a frame synchronizer) n order to get your video content in Avid.

For some of you, if you have a qualified hardware option for Avid Media Composer , then you will not have to worry about purchasing an analog to firewire converter.  This is the preferred method of ingesting content from tape that is HD, or SD, but there can be considerable costs in purchasing the required hardware.
Capture Tool
AMA - Avid Media Access
Author Notes:

The best way to manage your media within Avid Media Composer is to import it.  Here are the important concepts to remember if you choose to import media.

  • Importing Media takes up additional space, because Media Composer re-wraps the media within an .mxf extension.
  • Importing Media takes time to import.
  • Importing Media makes it easy to manage your media using the media tool.
  • Importing your media creates meta-data that provides critical information for archiving a project.

I recommend that you spend the extra time and storage requirements to import your media into Avid Media Composer for larger projects.

Also, there are two third party products that will help you archive media that has been imported into Avid. You can read about them by clicking on the link.

Using the Media Tool
Author Notes:

This is a critical lesson if you are you working with Media Volumes which come from Solid State Cameras.

Examples of Popular Media Volumes include:
  • P2 Cards (Panasonic)
  • XDCAM (Sony)
  • EX Cards Media (Sony)
  • SD Cards (from a variety of manufacturers)

It is possible to edit directly from Media Volumes when using the Link to AMA function. However, it's important to note that playback performance will be reduced based on the number of edits in your project.

Therefore, it's important to understand the consolidation process, in which a volume is converted into .mxf media.  This will improve performance if you have the time and/or storage to create .mxf files.

Consolidating Media

Author Notes:

Watch this short tutorial if you are using 4K media within Avid Media Composer. Please note, you will need Media Composer version 8.3 or higher to work within a 4K project.

Working with 4K Media
Working with Media
6 questions
+ Bins
3 lectures 11:22
Author Notes:

This video contains some critical fundamentals within this video lesson that you should master before moving forward.  This includes:

Each bin window has three different views.  These are:

  • Text View
  • Frame View
  • Script View

When working in Frame View or Text View, make sure you memorize the following keyboard shortcuts.

Command L - makes clip thumbnails larger
Command K - makes clip thumbnails smaller

Working with Bins
Author Notes:

This lesson focuses on several key concepts, which are:

  • Creating a New Sequence
  • Naming a Sequence
  • Loading a clip into the source window
  • Using the Recent Clips Menu
  • Understanding source / sequence tracks
  • Editing a Clip to the timeline
Make sure you make a habit of always creating a bin for your sequences.  This is a critical strategy for staying organizing within Avid Media Composer.

Also, it's very important that give each sequence it's own unique name.  Do not leave your sequences 'untitled', because this will create problems later.
Creating a Sequence
Author Notes:

The important concept in this lesson covers Avid Media Composer's autosave feature.

Remember, the Auto-save feature is saving bins, and not projects.  That's why it is so important that you place your sequence(s) within a sequence bin so that you'll be able find your work if you encounter a problem.

The critical concepts behind the auto-save function are:

  • The saved bins are always placed in a folder called the Avid Attic
  • Bins must be moved out of the Avid Attic folder, before you can open them.
  • Make sure all your other bins are closed when opening a previous bin, you cannot have two of the same bin(s) open at the same time.
  • On a PC, you may want to add the extension .avb (avid video bin), so any bins that you have copied out of the attic will open directly into Avid Media Composer.

If you need to find the Attic, it's best to a simple search on your internal hard drive for it.  With that being said, if you are running the current version of Avid Media Composer, here are the current locations of the Avid Attic  folder.

On a PC: c: / public / public documents / Avid Media Composer / Avid Attic

On a MAC: Mac HD / Users / Shared / AvidMediaComposer / Avid Attic

The location of the Avid Attic cannot be changed.  Therefore, it may be wise to store your projects somewhere other than the internal hard drive.  This way, you will have have back up copies of all your bins if the internal hard drive were to fail.

Auto Saving Bins
7 questions
+ Smart Tools
5 lectures 21:35
Author Notes:

This video lesson covers the yellow Segment Mode (Extract-Splice-in) Smart Tool. 

If you are new to Avid Media Composer, I recommend that you turn off all the smart tools, and only activate one smart tool at a time as you need them.

It's important to note, that if you have ALL the smart tools turned on, the default tool is the yellow segment arrow. 

This means, if you drag a clip directly to a sequence, it will always default to a splice-in function unless a different smart tool is turned on.
Yellow Segment Mode
Author Notes:

This video lesson covers the basics of using the red Segment Mode (Lift/Overwrite) smart tool function.

For most types of projects, the red segment is a very practical tool.  The red segment smart tool allows you to easily move clips around in a sequence.  It will makes it easy to replace existing content.

If you are comfortable with how the red segment smart tool functions, you may want to leave it turned on, with all the other smart tools turned off.

You can also use the keyboard shortcut Shift A to toggle the red segment mode on/off.

Please note:  In terms of a good editing workflow, I do not recommend trying to edit exclusively with the smart tools.  However, it's important to understand how each tool function.
Red Segment Mode
Author Notes:

This video lesson covers the basics of using the ripple trim smart tool function.

The key thing to remember about the ripple trim function, is that it will change the duration of your sequence.  Therefore, be very careful when using the ripple trim, and insure you have the correct tracks indicators turned on when performing a trim. Otherwise, you risk moving clip segments out of sync from their associated audio elements.

When preforming a ripple trim, pay special attention to the 'link selection toggle' icon. By leaving this icon turned on, it less likely you will move segments out of sync when performing a ripple trim edit.

Ripple Trim
Author Notes:

The video lesson covers the basics of using the red overwrite trim tool.

The red overwrite trim tool is a very practical tool learn master.

When using the overwrite trim function, you will never have to worry about accidentally trimming something out of sync.

One important thing that the video lesson doesn't mention, is  you can use the keyboard shortcut Shift D to toggle the overwrite trim function on/off.

Overwrite Trim
Author Notes:

This lesson focuses on using the smart editing tools if they are all turned on.

It's important to note that if these smart tools are all turned on, the placement of the mouse cursor plays a critical role when moving or trimming clips.  Again, I recommend that you only turn on the individual smart tools when you need them.

With the being said, pay special attention to this lesson if you choose to leave all the smart tools enabled while editing.

There is a critical setting within Avid Media Composer that allows you to configure the default smart tool when you drag and drop clips into a sequence.  I highly recommend that you change the default timeline settings so the Segment Overwrite Smart Tool becomes the default smart tool.

Smart Tool Settings
Editing (Smart Tools)
9 questions
+ Trim Mode
3 lectures 08:51
Author Notes:

This video lesson focuses on the basics of using the rolling trim function.

Critical fundamentals in this lesson include:
  • Learning the difference between a rolling trim, and the smart trim tools
  • How to create a split edit

You can press the U key to enter directly into rolling trim mode.

Rolling Trim
Author Notes:

This lesson covers the fundamentals of using the slip trim function.

Slipping a clip is a very important editing technique.  It allows you to change the starting and ending point of a clip segment without affecting it's placement or duration within a sequence.

There are several ways to enter into slip mode.  These are:
  • Highlight a clip using the red segment arrow, and then press the trim button (or the U key)
  • Hold down the ALT key and draw a reverse lasso around the entire clip segment
  • Drag a reverse lasso from within the upper empty grey area above the sequence around the entire clip segment
  • Enter into trim mode, and hold down the shift key to select outgoing and incoming edges of the clip segment.
Slip Mode
Author Notes:

This video lesson covers the basic fundamentals of sliding a clip in trim mode.

Sliding a clip is similar to moving a clip with the red segment smart tool.  However, when you slide a clip using trim mode, it will not leave filler.  It will extend the media from the clip on the left to fill the gap.

In my experience sliding a clip using trim mode isn't a common editing function, but it's important to understand how it works.
Slide Mode
Trim Modes
3 questions
+ Editing
6 lectures 20:09
Author Notes:

This lesson covers the basic fundamentals of using the overwrite edit function within Avid Media composer.

The overwrite edit function is one of the most widely used editing tools within Avid Media Composer.  It is critical that you master the concept of performing an overwrite edit.

The keyboard shortcut for the overwrite edit is the B key. Using the overwrite edit function is one of the most efficient methods of editing within Avid Media Composer.

Overwrite Edit
Author Notes:

This lesson covers the basic fundamentals of using the splice edit function.

The splice edit function is a commonly used editing tool for narrative style video editing.  Be careful when using the splice-edit function, because it will always change the duration of your sequence.

It's critical that you pay special attention to the sync relationship of video and audio segments when using the splice edit function.  Using the splice edit function can move items out of sync if you are not mindful of the tracks that are selected within the timeline window.
Splice Edit
Author Notes:

The lesson focuses on the fundamentals of using the replace edit function. 

The Replace Edit function is one of this hidden gems within Avid Media Composer.  It's similar to the overwrite edit, but provides additional functionality that is a must-have for professionals.

The replace edit function, allow you to easily replace content within a sequence without having to mark in-out points.  It also allows you to edit your content based on a sync point, which makes it easy to pin point where specific action within a clip takes place.

I urge you to become efficient in using the replace edit tool.  The replace edit tool is hidden, and I recommend that you map it to your keyboard to use as a shortcut.

Note: If you do have in/out points with a timeline, the replace edit will obey those in/out points instead of replacing the clip segment based on the position of the playhead indicator.

Replace Edit
 Author Notes:

This lesson focuses on adjusting user settings to configure Avid Media Composer so you can easily jump between edit points using keyboard shortcuts.

Depending on the Version of Avid Media Composer you are using, you may need to re-configure the keyboard so you can easily jump between edit points without having to use the mouse.

The default keyboard layout defines the A and S keys, as the ability to jump between edit point (forward or backward).  These keys must be configured so they do not automatically enter into trim mode.
A-S Keys
Author Notes:

This lesson focuses on the fundamentals of using Multi-Camera Mode with Avid Media Composer.

Key concepts in this lesson include:
  • Options for creating a grouped clip
  • Switching Cameras in real-time
  • Replacing clip segments after a Multicam edit
  • Trimming Clip Segments
  • Adjusting Composer Window Settings
The maximum number of clips that can be grouped together is 9.
Multicam Editing
Author Notes:

This lesson focuses on how to export a sequence.

Key concepts in this lesson include:
  • The importance of the video output quality button
  • How to export to a tape device
  • How to add filler to the beginning of a sequence
  • Creating an export file template
  • Exporting a customized movie file
Exporting a Sequence
6 questions
+ Title Tool
5 lectures 17:30
Author Notes:

This lesson focuses on the basic fundamentals of creating a lower third title using the standard title tool within Avid Media Composer.

Key concepts covered in this lesson include:
  • Using the text tool to create a title
  • Adding an edge to a title
  • Adjusting the kerning between individual letters
  • Adding a drop shadow to a title
Creating a Basic Title
Author Notes:

The video lesson covers the fundamentals of adjusting the color of a text object.

Key concepts covered in this video lesson include:
  • Moving layered text objects forward or backward within the canvas area.
  • Creating a color blend
  • Adjusting the transparency of a text object
  • Saving a title to a bin

Note: A title object can contain a single color or a blend of colors.  However, you cannot change the color of each glyph within a title object. 

The following rules apply to title objects.

  • Each character (or glyph) within an object can be it's own font size
  • Each character can be a different font
  • Each character can not contain it's own unique color. Adjusting the color of one character will change the color of all the other characters.

The work around would be to create a separate object for each character and then group them together into a single object.

Changing Text Object Colors
Author Notes:

The lesson focuses on editing a title to a sequence.

Important concepts covered in this lesson include:
  • Editing a title to a sequence
  • Auto Patching source tracks to edit a title to V2
  • Adding a fade in/out to a title
  • Making a change to a title that's already in a sequence
  • Adjusting the settings for the video monitor icon
Editing Titles to the Timeline

Author Notes:

A new title tool is available for those who own Media Composer 7.X. It's called NewBlue Titler Pro.

It's located within the effects palette under the NewBlue Titler category within the effects palette.

NewBlue Title Tool - MC7 only

Author Notes:

Avid FX is a plug-in that now ships with Avid Media Composer. If you have a current version of Avid Media Composer, you can download Avid FX from Avid's Download Center.

Avid FX is essentially the same thing as 'Boris FX' which is licensed to be used with Avid Media Composer.

Avid FX - 3D Title
Title Tool
6 questions
+ Sound Mixing
6 lectures 24:58
Author Notes:

This video lesson focuses on configuring an audio workspace so you can easily work with audio within Avid Media Composer.

Key fundamentals in this lesson include:
  • Creating new audio tracks (Command U will add a new audio track.)
  • Configuring the audio workspace
  • Adjusting the size of Audio Tracks
  • Turning on the audio gain displays within a sequence
  • Saving a timeline view
  • Linking an audio workspace to a timeline view
Audio Workspace
Author Notes:

This video lesson covers the basic fundamentals of using the audio mixer tool to adjust audio levels within Avid Media Composer.

Key concepts in this lesson include:
  • Adjusting audio levels within the Audio Mixer Tool
  • Linking audio mixer channels together
  • Copying level adjustments to other clip segments
  • Ramping up/down audio levels
  • Adding multiple audio cross fades between clip segments
Audio Mixer

Author Notes:

You must have a minimum of Media Composer Version 7 in order to adjust volume sliders directly within a clip segment.

This lesson will also demonstrate how to much a menu function to a shortcut key. So for example, you could map the Audio Waveform functional to 'Shift W'.

Audio Mixing Shortcuts
Author Notes:

The video lesson focuses on using audio keyframes within Avid Media Composer.

Key concepts covered in this video lesson are:
  • Adding keyframes to adjust audio levels
  • Adjusting the position of keyframes

If you don't have one of those fancy Avid Video Editing Keyboards , the keyframe button is mapped to the comma key.

Otherwise, I recommend that you map the add-keyframe button to an empty tool palette location by using the command palette.

Please note:  If you have a version of Media Composer that is earlier than 6.5, this lesson may not be relevant.

If you have a previous version of Avid Media Composer please note:

  • You cannot move multiple keyframes (left/right). You can only move one keyframe at a time.
  • When deleting a keyframe, you do not need to select it, just make sure the sequence  track indicator is turned on, and make sure the position indicator is parked over the audio keyframe.  Then press the delete key.
  • To delete multiple keyframes - mark in-out points around the keyframes you want to delete.  Make sure the sequence track indicators are turned on for those tracks.  Then press the delete key.
  • To move a section of keyframes up/down, mark in-out points around the keyframes you want to delete. Make sure the sequence track indicators are turned on for those tracks.  Then press the delete key.
Audio Keyframing

Author  Notes: 

The video lesson covers the basic fundamentals of using the RTAS (Real Time Audio Suite) filters within Avid Media Composer.

Key concepts covered in this lesson include:

  • Using the Solo / Mute buttons within audio tracks
  • Applying a RTAS filter to a track
  • Looping an area of the timeline while adjusting a RTAS filter
  • Inserting an additional audio track

Note: It's important to remember that when using a RTAS filter, the audio filter will affect the entire track.  If you need to apply a filter to an individual clip segment you have two options.

  1. Create a separate track for a single clip segment.
  2. Use a standard Audio Suite Filter (covered in the next video lesson)
RTAS Filters
Author Notes:

This video lesson incorporates a couple of concepts in order to demonstrate how you would use an Audio Suite filter.

Key concepts in this lesson include:

  • Using the Timewarp - Trim to Fill effect
  • Applying an Audio Suite Filter - Time Shift effect to a clip segment

It's important to note a few limitations of using audiosuiite filters:

  • You can only apply 1 audio suite filter per clip segment. 
  • You cannot preview a video clip in real-time while adjusting an audiosuite filter
  • Audio Suite Filters must always be rendered to hear the final result
Audio Suite Plugins - Speed Ramp Motion Effect
Audio Editing
8 questions