For the past month, I've been attending my university's Interterm session where a semester long course is compressed into an intensive four weeks. This year, I decided to enroll in Avid Certification Prep, a course that would allow me to become an AVID Media Composer 8 Certified User.
The first half of the class focused on AVID's hotkeys and audio mixing features, with the second on visual effects and compositing. What was probably the most interesting aspect of the class for me was getting exposed to AVID's AMA linking, as I had never truly understood or used this feature. Basically, AMA linking allows someone to edit footage of a file type other than AVID's DNxHD codec without having to import it into AVID. One can simply point to the footage they wish to use on their drive, and voila, it appears as usable media in AVID. The downside is that AMA linking only works if the drive with the footage remains connected. Otherwise, the dreaded "Media Offline" title plasters itself on the screen. Also, cutting this "foreign" footage can put a strain on the system, causing frames to be dropped, and slow scrubbing. It could be useful if someone needed to quickly cut a short string of clips together, but a whole film this way would be painstaking and ill advised.
While taking the course, I was relieved to find that I was not as stressed or overwhelmed as I thought I'd be. Even though I was being fed a large amount of information, I realized that over the course of my time at Dodge College and at Pixar, I had come to discover the hidden gems AVID had to offer, either through cutting shorts or mentorship. I had been wanting to take AVID Certification for quite some time since I was a Freshman, but in hindsight, I'm actually glad that I waited until now to do so. Getting to first learn and see AVID's features be used in a practical way allowed me to gain an appreciation and understanding of why certain aspects were added to the software and how they were helpful to editors and their assistants. For instance, Markers were included to organize notes as well as indicate where a new scene begins.
Now officially certified, I want to go back through the books that I used for this class and try to determine why each feature was designed and how I can adapt them to my own workflow. The pursuit of learning never ends!