Adventures In Audio
Avid AudioVision Sound to Picture Editor (part 4)

David Mellor

David Mellor is CEO and Course Director of Audio Masterclass. David has designed courses in audio education and training since 1986 and is the publisher and principal writer of Adventures In Audio.

Thursday January 1, 2004


Almost all manufacturers of hard disk systems have some sort of scrolling track
display, and they all give it a different name. Perhaps some charitable person
could organise a poll of users and find what terminology they would prefer for
all the elements and concepts found in hard disk editing systems and then we
might have the consistency that many of us long for. Avid call their track display
the Timeline and it works pretty much in the way you would expect. I’ll
have to mention one disappointment now - the scrolling of the display is very
slow. There is an obvious reason for this since the Mac is already working hard
displaying the moving picture, it can only do so much in the time available
to it. Compared to DAR’s Sabre which runs perfectly smoothly and is locked
tight to the audio, Avid’s display positively staggers along. I don’t
see what Avid can do to remedy this except to wait for for the next generation
of Apple computers which promise to be very much faster than the current state
of the art. I would say however, that although I think it is important to hear
a sound and see its corresponding graphic pass beneath the cursor at exactly
the same time, the provision of the moving picture probably means that you’ll
spend more time looking at that and less at the other parts of the display.
Perhaps you’ll only look at the Timeline when the audio isn’t playing.
I think you should try it yourself and see what you think. One good point (of
many) is that the segments move from right to left so that the text shown on
them reads in the correct order from one segment to the next.


The first thing you will want to do with your new AudioVision is ‘capture’
some audio and video, as Avid put it, as if they are some new species of wild
animals. Using conventional equipment the video may be handled simply by putting
the Beta SP tape into the machine and transferring the audio across to the hard
disk. At first thought it may seem like an extra process to have to transfer
video onto AudioVision’s disk, but you can in fact copy the audio tracks
and the video at the same time. You would only lose time in the transfer if
there was no audio material on the video tape that you intended to use, and
you would save that many times over later on because you don’t have to
shuttle tape any more. Once you have some audio in the system then you may want
to edit the cues before laying them up. Figure 3 shows the cue editing tool
which to me looks neat and friendly. The three scrubable markers you can see
show the beginning and end of the cue, and also a sync point. Of course when
you edit the cue you are able to leave the original audio intact on the hard
disk so you can change the position of these points later if you wish. Looking
back at Figure 2 you can see something of the way sounds are organised within
AudioVision, which thankfully is rather more clever and task-adapted than the
Mac’s standard file handling system. As you can see in the window on the
right, all the sounds have icons which, rather quaintly, look like frames of
film. The wide single frame is a master clip which is a piece of unedited audio.
When you split that into cues then you’ll get the smaller single frames,
which allow you to handle these sections separately even though they are simply
reference points for the computer to pick out the cue from the original recording
on the disk. When you have assembled a sequence, which may be on several tracks,
then the icon is three adjacent frames. You don’t really have to think
very hard to see how this works, do you? It’s simple and I like it.

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