Fixing the Title Tool

Avid needs to start building a suite to compete with Apple and Adobe. It’s got the best video ap, and it’s got the best audio ap (except that it won’t work software-only). That’s a pretty good start. Avid certainly needs a DVD tool and a compression utility. But, for my money, the first order of business is a title animation tool to compete with Motion.

Titling is now part of the responsibility of most editors on all kinds of shows. These days, I help create the main title on every show I work on. And I’d do more if the tools were better. But the Avid tools are antiquated. You can’t create a modern, nuanced title with the Title Tool and it takes way, way too much work to do it with Marquee.

Avid can look at this as a problem or as an opportunity. The opportunity is to start with a clean slate and create something better than what the other guy is offering.

Here what I’d like to see:

  1. Don’t make a separate title application — build this functionality into the MC. I have no interest in creating a separate title project to go along with my MC project. I don’t want to manage both, archive both and move back and forth between them. I want the whole thing integrated into one environment.
  2. It should be as live as possible. The editor should design based on moving video.
  3. It should work with organic actions, like Motion does — or with keyframes. The editor should be able to move back and forth between these approaches as needed.
  4. It should support the use of a tablet or touch pad to create complex movements by showing the system what you want.
  5. It should be vector-based. No rendering. Simple scaling. Easy changes.
  6. It should offer title styles. Create your style, then create titles based on it. Want to make a change to all of them, say a different font or font size? Just change the style and all titles update automatically.
  7. It should export digital mattes at any resolution you want. That’s how you get your work out of the MC and into the finishing system of your choice. And it should do intelligent aspect ratio conversions, so you can work at letter-boxed standard def and still create useful mattes for HD or film.

Now wouldn’t that be cool? Wouldn’t you do a lot more slick title work if you had a tool like that?

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4 Comments on “Fixing the Title Tool”

  1. Grant Says:

    Hi Steve,

    I’ve had a good look through the feature requests forum on Avid and there are dozens of entries relating to the Title Tool & Marquee, some related to our “bugbears” and other ones I hadn’t thought of.

    I’ve also sent an email to a contact at Avid to see what the best avenue is for providing some constructive criticism and some feature requests, and if there is any indication of new features appearing in future releases. I’ll update you when I hear back.

    One thing that occurs to me is that hosting a comment thread on your blog and mine, giving people a chance to add their own feature requests might be a way to formalize a submission to Avid and convince them that this is an area of the application that really needs attention.

    I won’t make a move on this until I get some clarification from Avid – but thought I’d put it out there as an idea.

  2. Grant Says:

    Well, it seems as if the gods are smiling and Avid will at least take a look at our Title Tool / Marquee issues – so I’m going to start the ball rolling with a post at my blog with my ideas for improvements, and also an invitation for any readers to submit their comments. With your substantially larger readership, I was wondering if you might do the same – either start your own post, or point to mine.

    After a couple of weeks I plan to collate the comments and forward them on to Avid. What happens after that is anyone’s guess, but at least they’ve indicated they’ll listen.

  3. VinCent Says:

    A new title tool would be great.
    I have one more feature I would like to add. An easy subtitling tool integrated in the title tool.
    I’ve edited both features and documentaries in languages I don’t speak or understand.
    And the best way to do this is to subtitle either all of the material or the first assemble. The Avid is very difficult to do this in. And if you do it in a different program and import it in to the Avid you can’t change the subtitles when you need to, and you’re going to do a lot of changes, as you shorten scenes.
    So and easy subtitle template that might even be able to copy from a text file would be very nice.

    Thanks for a good blog.
    Vincent

  4. Edit Says:

    I personally know that before Tim Wilson left Avid he was seeking out users of Marquee so as to generate tutorial materials and get folks hot for that tool again.

    I think he realized that many people had already jumped ship in favor of things like Boris Red because Marquee is such a PITA. Pity, because it really was pretty advanced for its day. Tim said the original Marquee programming team had left years ago because they didn’t like Avid’s management style, whatever that means.


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