• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint
Share this Page URL



The year was 1990. My boss and I were invited into a small room at a hotel in Farmington Hills, Michigan, to see the newest and coolest media-editing system that everyone was talking about. The young man rented a room at the hotel and pushed aside the queen size bed to perform a demonstration on a new editing system called Avid. Quite frankly, the images looked terrible. The system chugged through clips that were so fragmented I could barely see the actor’s lips move. I was not very impressed. Not until I understood that the media I was watching was being played back from a hard drive, not a VTR. Similar systems, like D-Vision, were attempting to do the same thing, but Avid’s layout just seemed so inviting. The terms and menu items came straight from an editor’s world. I was convinced that Avid was the future. I was right! That first Avid system I convinced my boss to buy cost more than what I made in an entire year, actually several years. That was then; this is now. Now, software and hardware is faster and cheaper. Anyone can buy the tools necessary to edit right in their own home. And now is a great time to learn how to edit.

One of Avid’s first slogans was “Tools for Storytellers.” That’s exactly what Avid Xpress Pro is— a great tool to tell stories. Whether it’s the story of your son’s first soapbox derby race, a commercial for your local hardware store, or a feature film. Editing is about rhythm, pace, and timing. The stories you choose to edit may start with a musical montage, contain interviews and several graphics and effects or none at all. Here’s your chance to tell a story. A story using sound, pictures, colors, and graphics. But before you begin to tell your story, you must learn the editing techniques. That’s why I wrote this book.

This is not a technical book. I’m more interested in sharing editing techniques and shortcuts. Not only do I want to share how a function works, but also why you would use that particular function. You’ll also notice that this book does not include a companion CD or DVD. I wanted this book itself to be a companion to your edit suite. I want you to use the techniques I cover with your own footage. I have, however, posted several useful tools, tips, and information on a companion website. Feel free to visit this companion website at www.courseptr.com. At the end of each chapter, I have also included a short review I hope you’ll find handy.

As an editor and Avid Certified Instructor, I’ve had the pleasure of working with and training some of the best editors in the world. When I work on a project as an editor, I love the challenge of assembling the “puzzle,” and when I’m teaching I enjoy watching the expression on a student’s face when I remove the mystery around the techniques of editing. I tried to cover every aspect I consider important inside this book. I’ve even included an entire chapter dedicated solely to shortcuts and tips.

As with any software, the more you work with your Avid Xpress Pro, the more you’ll begin to understand how powerful a tool it is. You’ll begin to understand the subtleties of editing, how shots relate to each other, and finally the art and power of storytelling.

Who This Book Is For

Avid Xpress Pro is a software program anyone can learn and, with this book, can even master. Although editors in the past practically had to be engineers to perform an edit, users new to Avid Xpress Pro can be up and editing in no time at all. I wrote this book for a variety of reasons and for a variety of readers. My first goal is to demystify the craft of editing. The process is straightforward but does take practice to understand, so if you’re new to editing, be prepared to learn and experiment. If you’ve played around with nonlinear digital editing in the past, this book is also for you. The menus I cover and the techniques I explain are proven methods any editor can use. I even reveal shortcuts I use on a daily basis. The last group of readers I wrote this book for are the seasoned editors. If you’ve worked on Avid Xpress DV in the past you’ll be pleasantly surprised as I explain features many editors don’t even know exist.

This is a hands-on book written by an editor first and an instructor second. I’m going to assume that Avid Xpress Pro is installed on your computer, you have the appropriate dongle, and that you know how to launch your computer. Always consider Avid’s home page at www.avid.com if you’re having any difficulties installing the software.

One of Avid Xpress Pro’s greatest features is its capability to run on Windows and Macintosh. Although the platforms certainly have their differences, the software runs practically identical regardless of which platform you edit on. You’ll see that most of the screen shots in this book are from a Macintosh computer simply due to my preference of computers. Any time there is a specific difference between the platforms, I point it out.

How This Book Is Organized

One of the most difficult tasks in writing this book was to decide which topics should be covered and in what order. You’ll find that I decided to follow the same order you would follow to create a film or video project, starting with capturing footage and ending with outputting your finished project.

Chapter 1, “Getting Started,” explains the basic workflow of Avid Xpress Pro. This chapter covers some basic Avid Xpress Pro terms and the all-important file structure. It is crucial that as an editor you begin to understand how files are created and how they relate to each other. I also cover basic bin views and bin management options, which will aid you when it comes time to start editing.

Chapter 2, “Capturing and Importing,” shows you how to input your footage into the system. You’ll learn how to configure your camera or deck and determine which resolution option best fits your needs. I cover the three methods of capturing and explain how to use one of Avid Xpress Pro’s greatest features, DV Scene Extraction. I decided to include importing in this chapter and even discuss the method of importing audio from a CD. This chapter is pretty advanced, so you should refer back to it as you continue in later chapters. Although capturing video or importing graphics isn’t the “sexiest” part of editing, it certainly is one of the most important parts.

Chapter 3, “Basic Editing Techniques,” shows you the basic techniques you’ll use on a regular basis as you edit on Avid Xpress Pro. These are the fundamentals that need to be completely understood before ever attempting to edit together a program or film. You’ll learn about the two standard edits, overwrite and splice-in, as well as learn how to perform a three-point edit. This chapter also covers methods of removing footage from a sequence and the almighty undo and redo features in Avid Xpress Pro.

Chapter 4, “Trimming,” covers the strongest feature of nonlinear editing, trimming an edit. Although understanding all the trimming features available to you will take some time, I’ve dedicated this entire chapter to trimming to help you understand the process and the power of Avid Xpress Pro’s Trim mode. If there is one topic users new to nonlinear editing have difficulty with, it’s trimming. By breaking down the methods of trimming, this chapter will have you using the power of the Trim mode in no time. I’ll show you methods of entering and exiting the Trim mode, how to adjust your trim settings, the actual techniques of trimming an edit, and even how to perform a split edit.

Chapter 5, “Working in the Timeline,” and Chapter 6, “Additional Editing Tools,” describe some very important navigating features, the slip and slide mode, segment mode keys, and how to use locators. The tools and shortcuts in these chapters begin to take you from a beginner to a pro. Although it’s possible to edit a program together without using some of these tools, they certainly will improve how your finished program looks.

Chapter 7, “Working with Audio,” is one of my favorite chapters. Avid Xpress Pro has so many audio features that you’ll wonder how you ever edited audio in the past. The tools included with the software make editing audio easy, quick, and productive. If you’ve ever wanted to edit the perfect soundtrack, here’s your chance. Avid Xpress Pro offers 24 tracks of audio, all available for you to mix, EQ, and sweeten. You’ll learn how to use the Audio Mix tool, add and subtract keyframes, and even how to “punch-in” an audio track.

Chapter 8, “ Introduction to Effects,” Chapter 9, “Advanced Effects,” and Chapter 10, “Adding Titles and Using Keys,” jump into most of the effect capabilities of Avid Xpress Pro. You’ll first learn the basics of applying simple transitions and then move into more complex effects like picture-in-picture. Not only do I show how to manipulate effect keyframes but I also explain advanced keyframes. Render techniques, motion effects, color correcting, title creation, and even keys are covered in these chapters. After you read these chapters, you’ll be adding effects like a pro.

Chapter 11, “Nesting Effects,” dives into a very powerful but often misunderstood feature of Avid Xpress Pro called nesting. By studying several examples in this chapter, you’ll begin to understand the power of nesting. In no time, you’ll have your friends, family, and colleagues asking, “How did you do that?”

In Chapter 12, “Advanced Settings,” you’ll learn all of the advantages of setting up and designing the software to operate in a certain way that you prefer. The settings and toolset options in Avid Xpress Pro are some of the best in the industry. I recommend you read through this chapter first and then decide on how you want to change the settings as you continue to edit.

Chapter 13, “Saving Your Work,” and Chapter 14, “Media Management,” cover some of the most important aspects of editing with Avid Xpress Pro. Obviously, it is very important to learn how to save your work at the end of the day, but these chapters even go deeper than that. You’ll learn how to modify a clip’s data, unlink a clip, consolidate a sequence, and most importantly, how to delete the files you don’t need and save the files you want to keep.

Chapter 15, “Outputting Your Sequences,” explores the options of outputting your sequence back to tape or DVD. Learning the correct method to output a sequence is crucial; after all, don’t you want to share your masterpiece with your fans?

Chapter 16, “Power Editing Tips,” highlights some of my most useful tips and tricks I use on a daily basis. This chapter alone will make you stand out of the bunch. I also threw in some additional bonus tips that only power users know. Use these tips carefully; although some might seem easy, you’ll see how powerful they really are the more you use Avid Xpress Pro.

Appendix A, “Working with Boris FX for Compositing”, and Appendix B, “Working with Boris FX Titles,” explore one of the best plug-ins that you can add to an Avid Xpress Pro, Boris FX. Although Avid is great at creating layers of video, Boris FX takes up another notch with its 3D capabilities and the 64,000 video tracks you can edit on. Some of the text options in Boris FX will greatly improve your finished program. You’ll learn how the two software programs work together almost seamlessly and how navigating between each has never been easier.

Appendix C, “Creating Graphics with Adobe Photoshop,” covers some of the basic functions you can use if you have Photoshop installed on your system. Photoshop is the greatest piece of graphic software ever created and when it’s used in conjunction with an Avid system, the ideas, creativity, and possibilities are endless.

Appendix D, “Some Great Websites,” lists many websites that can help answer your questions as you’re editing. I also included a list of third-party plug-ins that will assist you when you want to take your editing skills just a little bit further than the next guy.

It’s all here, in this one book! I hope you enjoy reading this book, and I hope it teaches you the ins and outs of one of the best editing software programs available: Avid Xpress Pro. Have fun and never stop learning.

  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint