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Avid Film Composer

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Avid's Film Composer -- winner of a 1994 Scientific and Engineering Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences -- is the first digital film editing system that lets you digitize, edit and play back material at a true 24 frames-per-second (fps). It combines the conventions of traditional film editing with the creative freedom of working in an all-digital environment.

Film Composer gives you powerful picture and audio editing tools accessible through a customizable, easy-to-use interface. Four picture tracks let you create and pre-visualize a wide range of optical effects and titles during the editing stage. You canprepare for the final audio mix using 24 tracks of 8-channel monitor via 4-channel, 44.1/48 kHz audio with direct digital I/O.

Film Composer is at the heart of Avid's family of products to streamline the film post-production process -- from logging and direct-to-disk capture during telecine, through film editing and special effects creation, straight through audio editing and processing.

Editing is all about organization, and Film Composer's powerful database features make it easy to locate what you need. Your digitized material is stored in bins -- like film bins, except that these bins contain digitized clips as opposed to strips of film. Clips can be displayed in frame, text or script view, and customized with as many comments as you like.

Film Composer's timeline provides a visual representation of your sequence and lets you quickly and easily modify clips, transitions and effects and perform frame-accurate trimming. Full-screen editing and playback give you instant feedback on your edits, and 32 levels of undo/redo provide the freedom to more fully experiment. You can sort and sift material based on multiple criteria, and create storyboards in a matter of seconds by simply dragging selected clips into the timeline.

Film Composer comes standard with film-style dissolves, wipes, anti-aliased graphic keying, flips, flops, blow-ups and motion effects, allowing you to better realize your final project during editing. Titles, wipes, dissolves, superimpositions, film masks, chroma keys, luma keys and color effects can all be generated and played back in real-time. All effects created from the system are contained within your negative cut list.

You can add Avid's Real-Time Multicamera Play Option to Film Composer, which lets you edit at sound speed while simultaneously playing back four camera sources. This option includes Avid's Grouping software, which saves hours of manual organization by allowing you to select and instantly organize material from multiple takes.

Film Composer lets you work with a range of high-quality image resolutions, which means you can select between maximizing storage or image quality on a project-by-project basis. Avid's advanced storage solutions let you work with up to 250 GB of storage on a single system. Avid also offers MediaShare™, an innovative workgroup editing solution that lets you connect up to four Avid systems to shared storage devices, eliminating the need to physically transfer disks between systems.

When you finish, Film Composer lets you generate an accurate, dependable negative cut list (based on key numbers, ink numbers and preview codes), change list, optical list or 30 fps EDL -- or use Avid's Media Reader™ option to burn-in master record timecode or footage count onto a digital cut.

Features + Specifications

Image Resolutions/Frame Rates

  • 720x486 images (NTSC) or 720x576 images (PAL)
  • True 24/25 fps film editing
  • Supports NTSC (30 fps) or PAL (25 fps) video
  • AVR 2s, 2m, 3s, 3m, 4s, 4m, 6s and 6m single-field offline images
  • Optional AVR 8s and 9s single-field online images

Digitizing + Logging

  • Component and composite I/O or serial digital I/O
  • Supports timecoded and non-timecoded input
  • Supports drop-frame or non-drop-frame timecode
  • Continuous timecode display
  • Serial deck control
  • Internal waveform monitor and vectorscope
  • Sub-clip during digitize
  • Includes MediaLog™ logging software

Bins + Project Management

  • Multi-level find, sift and sort functions
  • Frame, script and text views
  • Unlimited number of bins
  • Media consolidate feature
  • Save bin views
  • Unlimited clip annotation length
  • Ability to lock items in a bin

Editing Features

  • Script-based editing
  • Support for mixable resolutions within the same image family
  • Support for a dedicated video monitor for full-screen editing and playback
  • Interactive timeline editing with customizable timeline views
  • Dupe detection in the timeline
  • Trim mode editing with slip and slide
  • Storyboarding
  • Locators to mark frames in clips
  • Go to timecode using keypad
  • Go to film feet frames using keypad
  • Slip-sync and sync-locking
  • Splice, overwrite, extract, lift and split edits
  • Customizable interface settings
  • Source and record monitors
  • 32 levels of undo/redo
  • Feet/frame display
  • Match frame
  • Variable speed forward/reverse shuttle control
  • Multicamera Grouping and AutoSync™
  • Audio punch-in
  • VTR play emulation
  • Optional Real-Time Multicamera Play

Digital Effects

  • 4 picture tracks for layering
  • Real-time film-style dissolves and superimpositions
  • Real-time wipes: horizontal, vertical and box
  • Real-time, integrated titling tool
  • Real-time masks and film masks
  • Real-time chroma and luma keys
  • Real-time flips, flops and blowups
  • Matte key
  • Real-time color effects
  • Real-time dip to color
  • Real-time fade to/from color
  • Real-time anti-aliased graphic keying
  • Motion effects including slow, fast, freeze-frame and reverse
  • Diagonal, matrix, sawtooth and shape wipes
  • Integrated QuickTime codec
  • Optional real-time picture-in-picture, peels, pushes, spins, conceals, L-conceals and squeezes and customizable 3D effects

Audio Features

  • 44.1 & 48 kHz audio
  • Direct AES/EBU digital input or output
  • 4 audio channels with 8-track monitoring
  • 24 tracks for editing
  • Real-time, 3-band EQ
  • Real-time rubberband gain adjustments
  • Scrubbing with pitch change
  • Track/global pan settings
  • Level settings with gain
  • Waveform display in the timeline
  • Single-track crossfades
  • Mixdown


  • Includes EDL Manager for EDL import and generating EDLs in all major formats with pre-read
  • Import/export anti-aliased PICTs and PICT sequences, QuickTime and OMF Interchange files
  • Import PICS files and QuickTime with alpha channel
  • Downsample audio to 22 kHz and 11 kHz
  • Imports Evertz Keylog, Aatonbase and FLEx files
  • Outputs 100% accurate negative cut, change and optical lists as well as EDLs
  • Burn-in on output of master record timecode or footage count (with Avid Media Reader™ option)
  • VITC/LTC decode
  • AvidNet™ peer-to-peer networking software

System Includes:

  • Power Macintosh® 9500/9600 with 2 GB hard drive, 128 MB RAM, 2 MB VRAM and CD-ROM
  • Two 21-inch color multisync monitors
  • Avid Broadcast Video Board
  • Advanced JPEG compression hardware
  • Avid Real-time 2D Effects Module
  • 4-channel audio I/O
  • Audio A/D and D/A converter
  • Fast, wide single-channel SCSI accelerator board
  • Video slave driver
  • Two self-powered speakers
  • Avid Steenbeck controller
  • Black burst generator
  • Modem
  • Colored key caps and labels
  • 90-day software warranty
  • One-year hardware warranty
  • Documentation, tutorial and training tools

Storage Options

  • 4, 8 or 9 GB Avid fixed hard drives
  • 4 or 9 GB Avid removable hard drives
  • Avid Storage Expander™
  • AVIDdrive™ Tower 60e
  • Avid DLT
  • Avid MediaShare™
  • Avid MediaDock™

See Also