Step 1: Import Your Script
Avid’s script-based editing feature lets you edit directly from the script, and ScriptSync automates the process of matching text and media for you. To start, import the script- Final Draft or other ASCII text file- by selecting File and New Script in the project window. Locate the script file and double click to open. The script then appears in the bin list in the project window.
Step 2: Highlight the Dialog You Want to Match with Media
Select the span of dialog in the script that you want to sync with media. Do this by dragging or clicking on the mouse and scrolling to the end of the dialog you want.
Step 3: Drag and Drop Your Media Onto the Script
Find the media files and bins that coincide with the scenes in the script, then drag and drop them on the highlighted dialog. I cross-reference this from the script supervisor’s script. You can handle Group Clips for cross coverage the same way.
Step 4: Line the Script with Scriptsync
Under the Script menu, select ScriptSync. A dialog window with several options will open. Choose North American English, check dialog track (A1), then check the boxes for: skip lines that only contain Capital Letters, skip text in parentheses "()" or brackets "{}," skip text before colon ":," and skip lines indented less than dialog. Set the Dialog indent (characters) to 25 (Final Draft’s default for start of dialog). Do not check the box that says overwrite existing marks. (We use this feature if there is an added line or new line not in the script.) Check the last box and sync between first and last marks. At the bottom of the ScriptSync dialog window select OK.
ScriptSync now "listens" to the takes and syncs the phonetics of the audio to the written words in the script. When ScriptSync is finished, you’ll have location markers on every line of dialog where ScriptSync’s phonetic indexing engine matched the script dialog.
Step 5: Clean Up the Lined Script
You don’t need every mark on every line of dialogue in a speech, so "lasso" the extraneous marks and delete them. Leave only the key markers, at the beginning of a line of dialog and also in the middle when there’s a longer speech of dialog.
Step 6: Test the Sync
Double click on the first line of dialog in a take, then the middle, and finally on the end of a take to double-check that it’s matched correctly. If a mark is wrong you can fix it by clicking on a line before or after the erroneous mark, playing down to that line and then manually adding a correcting script mark.
Step 7: Edit with the Script
Begin watching all the takes. You can mark performances that you like by choosing a color and Applying it to a take in the area of the script that it relates to. I usually color two or three performances that I like. Now that you can quickly access the takes, you can focus on how your edits flow together, so you don’t have to spend time looking through your bin trying to find a better reading of a take.
You can edit takes directly from the script into the playback source window, and build a "best of" list of selects. Press control and option and click on a line of dialog in the script and you will get the yellow arrow. This adds the selected line of dialog into the timeline wherever the blue position bar is located.
Step 8: Find the Best "Alts" Possible!
As you play back your edited scene, you may want to use the script to check for an alternative line reading or performance. Just "match frame" in the record side, and the matched take will load into the source side. Click the Find Script button (I’d map under your source window) and Avid will find that particular line in the script and put you on it.
Another handy feature? You can also search for a word or phrase in the script. Under the Edit pulldown menu, select Find, and the Find Dialog (or Ctrl-F (Win XP) or Cmnd-F (Mac OS X)) window pops up. Type in a word or phrase and click OK. That word or phrase is then highlighted in the script. You can select Find Again- or Ctrl-G (Win XP) or Cmnd-G (Mac OS X)- to find other matches. This is very useful for cleaning up words and/or dialog replacement.
Your Guide
""Robert Bramwell
Freelance Editor

Robert Bramwell has been a television editor for more than 20 years. His recent credits include It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Aliens in America, currently running on The CW television network. In 1993, he won an Emmy for editing Cheers.
Robert says Keep in Mind…
There’s nothing else like Avid’s script-based editing software ScriptSync on the market. Though it’s used by many Hollywood editors on scripted shows, it can be used for any transcribed project, such as documentaries or reality shows. Most important, it gives you the confidence that you’ve selected the best take for your piece. No more hunting through bins for alternate takes or forgetting which one you or the director or producer likes.
The one concern I hear from other editors is that ScriptSync can’t handle restarts within a take, say if an actor restarts a line or if there’s no end slate. You can easily work around this by "subclipping" these restarts. I simply add an "R1" or "R2" to the end of a take to note the restart, for example, file name "1/1R1" notes Scene 1 – Take 1 – Restart 1. The next file would be 1/1R2 for Restart 2, etc.
Robert Bramwell
Freelance Editor
Read more about how Robert uses ScriptSync on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia here.