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Part 1: Setting up your Script for ScriptSync in Avid Media Composer

Ashley Kennedy

Get set up for ScriptSync, the amazing time-saver for any type of scripted project!

In Part 1 of this tutorial series, you will learn how to set up your script for ScriptSync.  In Part 2, you’ll learn how to use ScriptSync.

Scriptsync, an Avid Media Composer plug-in powered by Nexidia, is a terrific tool for scripted projects of any type—narrative, documentary, reality—basically anything that uses either a pre-planned script or an after-the-fact transcription.   ScriptSync allows you to effortlessly and instantly sync all of your master clips to each line of your script.  Think about it—this means that for narrative editing, you can review all performances of a given line in rapid succession to determine the best take.  For documentary editing, you can map your master clips to transcribed interviews for easy access to specific sound bites, thereby reducing the time spent hunting and pecking for “the perfect bite.”

Setting up your script in Microsoft Word

You need to format your script in a specific way for Avid Media Composer to be able to use it.  If your script originated as a Word document, you should follow these steps.  (If your script originated within another word processing or scripting program, you just need to make sure to format the script in a similar manner: .txt, ASCII, line breaks.)

  1. For the most accurate synchronization of your clips, it’s a good idea for your script to have relatively wide margins.  This is because the master clips sync to the first word of each line, so it’s beneficial to produce as many “first words” as possible.  Thus, we make large margins—I’d recommend at least 2” margins on each side.
  2. Next, you need to save the document in Plain Text format (.txt).
  3. When you click “Save,” another dialog box will appear.  Here, you need to change the encoding to the “Western (ASCII)” text format, and choose “Insert line breaks.”  This will correctly format your script for import.
  4. Press OK.Your script is ready to be imported into Avid Media Composer.

Bringing your script into Avid Media Composer

The first thing you’ve got to go before executing ScriptSync is to import the script(s) into Avid Media Composer.

To import your Script(s) into Avid Media Composer:

  1. For organization purposes, it’s a good idea to make a folder (not a bin) for your scripts.
  2. Click in the Project window, and choose File > New Script. Navigate to your script’s .txt file.
  3. Click Open. The script is imported into the Project Window.  Move it into your Scripts folder.  If you open it, the formatting should look like your original script.

Once you’ve brought your script into Avid Media Composer, you’re ready to sync your master clips to the script, and then use ScriptSync to automatically add script marks so that you may associate exact words from the clip with exact words in the script.   It’s truly an incredible feature.  Check out Part 2 of this tutorial series to learn how to use ScriptSync!

Note: ScriptSync, which, for many years, was automatically included with Avid Media Composer, is now an optional component and must be purchased ($995) and installed separately (as of 5.5.1). Here’s Avid, explaining why: 

“…Avid partners with a third-party company and licenses the underlying technology. Recently, our contract was renewed and due to increased licensing costs, we decided to offer ScriptSync as an option rather than pass the cost on to all of our customers. And it allows those who do take advantage of this technology to continue using it for an exceptional price.”

If you’d like to try a 30-day free trial of ScriptSync, you can!