Techniques and Tips Book Redux

As some of you know, I’ve commenced work on an update to my venerable “Avid Media Composer Techniques and Tips” book. The original version began life way back in the mid-90s, when I was working closely with the Avid engineers, helping them design an interface and feature set that would work for people like me. The software was changing very rapidly, and much of what we were doing wasn’t getting documented. So I put together a short, one-page cheat-sheet of hidden Avid commands for my friends. That list eventually grew to over 100 pages, with screen shots for everything. Assuming that I couldn’t interest a publisher back then, I published it myself, and ended up selling thousands of copies to people all over the world. Many editors have told me that it fundamentally changed the way they work.

The Media Composer has evolved a lot in the intervening years and so, prodded by friends, I’ve decided to update the book. The project has turned out to be much bigger than I’d imagined (among other things, all 350 illustrations had to be redone), but I’m well on my way to finishing. All kinds of new material has been included, and it’s now about twice as long as the original. A few friends have been reading it and I’ve been surprised and gratified by how much they’re getting out of it. It’s now tentatively called “Avid Agility.”

Stay tuned — I hope to make it available to you all soon.

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8 Comments on “Techniques and Tips Book Redux”


  1. Probably a good time for this book Steve. Seems to be growing frustration over the lack of FCP updates so might be a good time to pounce. I hope Avid takes the opportunity to pounce as well.

  2. Scott Pellet Says:

    I’m Stoked! I can’t wait, Steve!

  3. Nathan Says:

    This is great to hear! Your book helped me tremendously when I first started editing on Avid.

  4. Alex Says:

    Hi Steve. Shalom from Israel.
    I wonder if there a way to create custom button in MC3.5?
    I’m looking for one particular function: in-out add-edit. you can call me lazy, but really, its a good function. let say i got many clips on V1 and one long filler with CC effect above them. But one of the clips on V1 doesn’t match color palete of the entire sequence . i’ve got to change it. so i go to the clip which is different, marking IN-OUT, selecting the track with the filler, go to IN, add-edit, go to OUT, moving 1 frame right, add edit. and now i have a new filler that i can change. LONG WAY.
    but if I had this “IN-OUT Add-edit” button, i could do the same thing much quicker. with only two clicks.
    many thanks for a goooood Avid Tips.

    • Rainer Says:

      Alex, you might want to look into Quickeys from Startly. It’s a macro maker that lets you program sequences of keystrokes. That might just do what you want. When you start programming those macros you should try to stick with using keystrockes and menu choices, rather than mouseclicks. If something works only intermittently you should try inserting pauses so that the GUI can catch up.

      Good luck!

      • Alex Says:

        Thanks, Rainer, i didn’t knew there is a Quickeys version for PC. Going to check it out!

  5. Steve Says:

    Shalom back at you, Alex. You can create custom buttons, but only for a single action, not a sequence of actions. I can’t think of a way to do what you want in one step, but you could simplify it a bit using Fast Forward and Rewind. Go to Composer settings, select the FF/REW tab and configure the buttons to just stop on head frames. Then park before the shot, hit the button once, hit Add Edit, hit FF again and hit Add Edit again. Or just drag to the two locations with the command key held down. That’ll snap you to head frames only.

    • Alex Says:

      Many thanks, Steve!
      Do you know where can i get more information about advanced Console programming. A specially “IF” commands. I’m more technician than editor and there are not so many technical articles about “inside of Avid” for guys like me. I’m dealing with Avid on the everyday basis as the tech-support at Post Production studio.
      Once again, Thank you for your Help and care!


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