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Building Leaders


Before you finish your project, you should build an appropriate leader. The leader does several important things:

  • Provides Bars & Tone so that equipment can be calibrated to your tape
  • Provides a slate to identify the tape’s content
  • Provides a countdown to the 1st frame of your film
  • Provide a sync point if you are using split system audio (for example: in a final audio mix)


Your finished leader will look like this:

Check Avid Settings

  • Click on the Settings Tab in your Project Browser
  • Double-click on Import

  • In the Import Settings window, set the Single Frame Import Duration to 60 seconds. Hit Ok.Close the Import Settings window

Import Countdown Elements

  • Click on the bin you’d like to import the countdown elements into.
  • Click File > Import
  • Navigate to: Class_Folders> Stock > Countdowns > Avid DV Xpress
  • Select the elements you’d like to import. You should select these files: a)     1kHz Tone --12db 48.aif
    b)    SMPTE_Bars.pct
    c)     One of the available countdowns (see below)
  • You can select multiple items by holding the apple key.
  • Select the disk you’d like the element so be stored on. This will either be the Scratch Disk or your Firewire Drive.
  • Click “open”The elements you’ve selected to import will appear in your bin. If it asks you to convert the audio sample rate, click “yes”


Build Your Leader

Edit the leader so that it looks like this:

  • To load black, click just above the Souce window and click on Load Filler. This will load black filler into your source window.
  • Be sure that if you use “Splice In edits”, that you have all tracks highlighted. Otherwise, your tracks can get out of sync.
  • To Make a slate, click Tools > Title Tool. After you’ve made your slate, click File > Save Title. It will ask which bin to save it to and which drive to save to. Typically, you can select any bin you please and you will use the Scratch Disk or your Firewire Drive as a render destination.


What do the various Avid countdowns look like?