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Avid Agility: Working Faster and More Intuitively with Avid Media Composer, Third Edition

Avid Agility: Working Faster and More Intuitively with Avid Media Composer, Third Edition [Kindle Edition]

Steven Cohen

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Product Description

Product Description

THE ULTIMATE BOOK ON HARNESSING THE POWER OF AVID MEDIA COMPOSER. Filled with hundreds of techniques and profusely illustrated in color, it will help you discover new ways to use the system and do things you didn't know were possible. For advanced editors, it contains in-depth, easy-to-read material on critical subjects that are often glossed over; for those just getting started, it offers clear, well-illustrated explanations of basic concepts. Written by one of the pioneers of the digital editing revolution, this third edition has been extensively rewritten with over 45 pages of new material, and focuses on Media Composer 6.

SUBJECTS COVERED INCLUDE: Interface Fundamentals; Advanced Editing & Trimming; The Smart Tool; Find & PhraseFind; Visual Effects & Advanced Keyframes; Color Correction & Titles; Mixing, RTAS & Surround Audio; Multi-camera Editing; Workspaces & Bin Layouts; Script Integration & ScriptSync, AMA & Media Management; Film & 24p Video; and much more.

REVIEWS (for more customer reviews, see the first and second editions):
"The most ambitious and comprehensive book on Avid Media Composer I've read. This is much more than an operating manual or how-to -- it's like having a seasoned pro sitting next to you, revealing his trade secrets. If you're a Media Composer editor, rookie or old pro, Avid Agility will make you a better editor, guaranteed."
-- Jonathan Moser, Post Magazine

"The quickest path to becoming a Media Composer Jedi Master. Editor and teacher Steve Cohen has written a clear, comprehensively-illustrated and easy-to-understand guide -- a bible on advanced editing with Avid Media Composer. For anyone who works regularly on an Avid and has a desire to take their skills to the next level, this book is essential reading."
-- Lawrence Jordan, founder, &

"A definitive book about the Media Composer environment. May well be the ultimate book on customizing Avid's unique capabilities for individual creative editing."
-- Ray Zone, Editors Guild Magazine

"An easy read, logically laid out, and useful to novice and experienced editor alike. I highly recommend this book."
-- Frank Capria, Consulting Designer, Media Composer, Avid Technology

"Cohen's book will guide you to the next exciting level of the art of editing."
-- Edgar Burcksen, CinemaEditor Magazine

"An amazing work -- for both new and old Media Composer users. I'd recommend that each and every one of you who are editors order the book."
-- Norman Hollyn, Head of the Editing Track & Professor, USC School of Cinematic Arts

"Steve Cohen has taken his decades of experience editing on Avid and distilled them into a very readable, incredibly illustrated book. Consistently delivers magical little tricks that make you say, 'I wish I'd known that yesterday!'"
-- Steve Hullfish, Avid Master Editor, colorist, author of five books.

"Celebrates new capabilities, teases out jewels in the crown, and boldly goes into advanced features. Avid Agility is a superb gift for any Avid editor, student or pro."
-- Loren Miller, Boston Creative Pro User Group. Editor, Teacher, and Creator of KeyGuide Keyboard Shortcut Pages.

About the Author

Steven Cohen has worked with both Montage and Avid, helping them create user interfaces for professional editing. He edited "Lost in Yonkers," the first studio feature to use Media Composer, and "Teamster Boss," one of the first Avid television movies. He subsequently demonstrated the system to the technical wing of the Motion Picture Academy, which led to Avid's Academy Award. His credits include "Before the Rains," "Material Girls," "The Prince and Me," "15 Minutes," "Blood and Wine," "Three Wishes," "Angie," "Rambling Rose" and "No Man's Land," as well as many pilots and TV movies, including several in the Jesse Stone series. He received an Emmy for "LBJ: The Early Years," an American Cinema Editors Eddie for "Don King: Only in America," and A.C.E.'s distinguished Robert Wise Award for writing about editing. He taught editing at the American Film Institute for nine years and was the first chairman of the editing department there. He also helped create, and was the first publisher of, the Editors Guild Magazine. He recently cofounded the Avid Editors Advisory Committee, a group of prominent editors that advises Avid about software features. He blogs at

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 13991 KB
  • Print Length: 362 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008PGMA9K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #304,098 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.9 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Avid Agility, third edition 7 Aug 2012
By Darryl - Published on
Steve Cohen's Avid Agility is first and foremost a comprehensive and practical Avid guide written from a working, professional editor's point of view. It's not a beginners guide that bores professional editors, and it's not a book on transitioning from Final Cut Pro to the Avid (although both of those groups will find lots of great material in here). It's also not a 400 page user's manual that sits on your shelf and is too long and dry to be of any help. This is a book that sits right next to your Avid, and very quickly becomes dog-eared from repeated use.

No matter how much time you've spent on the Avid, I guarantee that Steve will teach you something. That's because Avid Agility is focused on both the Avid software itself and, perhaps more importantly, Steve's own techniques and secrets. In the end, what you'll appreciate about Avid Agility is that is a very personal work, easy to read and follow. Steve is very good at distilling complex topics, and he only tells you what you need to know. The third edition is even better, with a lot of new material on Media Composer version 6, and an added chapter on using the electronic script within Avid.

I first bought Avid Agility for an editor friend who wasn't as technically saavy as me. As an Avid editor with 20+ years of experience, I was convinced that *I* couldn't learn anything new from a book. When I received my copy of Avid Agility and looked through it, I immediately ordered one for myself. Now my own copy sits right next to my Avid and is filled with Post-It notes, a testament both to Steve's deep knowledge of the Avid, and his focus on simply getting things done. I've learned a lot, and perhaps most importantly, I've saved myself hours and hours of time by learning to work more quickly and efficiently. This book is worth every penny.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book Review: 'Avid Agility' as published in POST 7 Aug 2012
By flashcutter - Published on
Book Review: 'Avid Agility'
By: Jonathan Moser

By Steven Cohen, ACE

Working Faster and More Intuitively with Avid Media Composer

(This is a reprint of the existing review for the first edition--a newer review updating things is in progress)

I haven't met Steven Cohen, but after reading his book, Avid Agility ($36.88), I feel like I have. Cohen was a pioneer in nonlinear editing, cutting the first studio feature to use Avid (Lost in Yonkers). He's taught at the AFI, was publisher of the Editor's Guild magazine and co-founded the Avid Editor's Advisory Committee. And, now, he's published the most ambitious and comprehensive book on Avid Media Composer I've read. (Avid should include this with every Composer system sold).

This book could have had a number of other titles: "Avid Demystified," "Avid Revealed," or "Flying with Avid." I can promise you one thing... should you get this book, and I highly advise you do if you're a Media Composer editor, rookie or old pro, "Avid Agility" will make you a better editor, guaranteed.

This is much more than a operating manual or how-to -- it's like having a seasoned pro sitting next to you, revealing his trade secrets, explaining and enlightening you, all for the cost of a book.

In 236 jam-packed pages, Cohen has managed to take us on a very personalized trip through an admittedly complex and often baffling tool that has had its share of supporters and detractors. He shows us tips and tricks, shortcuts and gotchas, and reveals secrets that explain in concise and colorful prose and illustrations the versatile ways Media Composer can and should be used. He explains it in a straightforward manner that doesn't talk down or overcomplicate understanding.

Frankly, it's no secret that we editors are often stingy with our secrets and methods... admittedly, it's one of our worst traits, mea culpa. So for Cohen to have opened up decades of know-how and tips and tricks to advance our skill set is fantastic, and it only benefits us to take advantage of the opportunity.

"Avid Agility" is up-to-date with Media Composer 5, and covers just about all new aspects and features. Every page has some new shortcut or feature that you previously may have bypassed or neglected. Editing, speed and keyboard shortcuts can make the difference between you or another editor getting the job or not. With Cohen's vast array of shift, control and command shortcuts, methodology and approach, new levels of speed and versatility can be achieved.

I started learning new things almost immediately about the ins and outs of Media Composer that I didn't know (or ignored) after almost 21 years of cutting on it. The breadth of coverage is huge. From an in-depth look at Media Composer's interface, through the Smart Tool, new approaches of media management, color correction, audio mixing, toolsets and workspaces, to explaining Composer's new complex but powerful advanced keyframing model -- his concise explanations detail not only how to use it, but why it beats the old keyframing model.

Cohen uses detailed graphics to show us highlights in the keyboard or user interface that match precisely what he's explaining in text. Rather than just tell us,"This is how it's done," Cohen shows us why he does things the way he does. Much of his methodology is outside the box -- bypassing Avid's conventional wisdom.

For example, Cohen shows us a much more efficient and precise way to consolidate media in order to copy media over from one system to another that works better than Avid's own consolidate function. He explains things that aren't found in Avid's manuals or online help centers -- problems and solutions that are garnered from years of his own experience. His customization tips alone are worth the price of the book: things that may seem obvious, but that we've never done, like programming the mouse to enable functions that took multiple keystrokes, or that additional functions can be mapped to the keyboard that aren't listed in the manual or command palette.

There's no stone left unturned. It's hard to understand how he got so much into this book. There are literally hundreds of tips to be found in these pages.

In great detail Cohen even covers Media Composer's film tools and methodology, giving newbies a primer in pulldown, how Filmscribe works, examining change, optical and cut lists, giving us potential problems to watch out for.

Cohen's personal philosophy of editing is as much an ingredient of the book as these concise explorations of the editing system. In explaining a wonderful section on how he personally sets up his system (and why), he explains, "The more you can free yourself from thinking about the machine, the more your focus will be on the material you're editing... every time you look down, you slow down."


As I went through the book, I realized the disparity we as editors, have in just how we get educated on the use of our systems. Some of us have the luxury of one-on-one professional editing tutors or classes, others go up through the ranks at facilities or organizations, but so many others are in the boondocks, isolated and far from schools or others who might impart their experience and wisdom. With the cost of the technology now so low and multiplying daily, it's to these isolated and geographically scattered editors that this book might be even more valuable... even though there is so much great info here that even the most experienced pro can benefit.

An unexpected benefit of this book is a new look of Media Composer as the highly developed, complex and innately flexible system it is.
5.0 out of 5 stars My Avid Agility 24 Feb 2014
By Lenny B. - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Arrived on time in Great condition.
All inspiring editors using Avid editing software should own this book.
Will recommend to co-workers.
5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful! 17 Jan 2014
By Brittany Cheyenne Hibdon - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a great book for editors. Even seasoned editors could learn a new trick or two from reading this.
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be required reading 24 Jan 2013
By Dana Shockley - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
For the novice to professional editor, this book is easy to follow and well illustrated. Much easier than reading a manual.
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