Quicktime Pro

Avid has done a pretty good job of making OMF the professional standard for sound turnover, but for picture, Quicktime is king. I’m finishing up a show now that used no tape in our turnover process — none for the DI, none for sound effects and music, none for mixing. The only videotapes we generated were for overseas looping where the facility insisted on it. This kind of workflow has held sway on shorter projects for some time now, but for major features, a fully-digital, quicktime-based workflow is relatively new. The advantages are many: better accuracy, better quality, lower cost and the ability to send material around via the net. On a good projector, Quicktime can look better than tape.

I suspect that this represents a competitive advantage for Final Cut over Avid, since FCP is Quicktime-native. But with the use of the Avid Quicktime plug-in, the Media Composer can function pretty well in a Quicktime world.

One essential tool for Avid folk is Quicktime Pro. It’s an upgrade to the Quicktime Player that opens up important additional functionality, namely the ability to do limited editing and make conversions from one format to another.

As an example, I recently needed to create a DVD with a new temp-mix audio track. Since we already had a locked QT picture for each reel the easiest way to do this was to use QT Pro and combine the existing picture with the new sound. The procedure is this: open the picture in Quicktime Pro and use the Properties window (command-j) to delete any sound tracks it contains; then open the audio files and use the “Add to Movie” command (command-option-v) to lay them under the existing picture. In our case, we had two mono tracks, so, again using the properties window, we identified them as left and right. We then saved the whole thing as a new Quicktime. That was much easier and faster than importing, editing and exporting with the Media Composer, and it was safer, too.

In short, Quicktime Pro belongs in every digital editor’s toolkit. At $30, it’s a bargain.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Avid Technical Tips, Avid vs. Final Cut

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