Avid Media Composer: Offline-Online Basic Instructions

Paraphrasing http://digitalfilms.wordpress.com/category/workflows/page/3/ as of 8 August 2011:

  • Offline-online workflow
    • You can either edit directly from as-recorded files or transcode them to Avid media for a smoother and faster editing experience. Here is a short step-by-step explanation of a Media Composer-based workflow.
  • Step 1. Access/import recorded files via AMA (Avid Media Access).
    • Camera clips will open inside Media Composer bins, complete with camera metadata.
  • Step 2. In the case of Raw data, it is possible to change the levels/gamma/exposure/balance of the file by altering the camera raw data, then open the Source Settings for each clip and adjust the video.
  • Step 3. Adjust the clip framing by opening the bin Reformat column and set the option for each clip (center cut, letterboxed, etc.).
    • Remember that RED clips may have a 2:1 aspect ratio, but your Avid sequence will be either HD 16:9 or SD 16:9 / 4:3.
  • Step 4. Set the Media Creation render tab to a video resolution of DNxHD36, and in the case of Raw data, with a Debayer quality of “quarter”.
    • Since the objective is a good rough cut – not “finishing” – this quality settings is more than adequate for editing and screening your creative edits.
  • Step 5. Transcode all source clips. This process runs at close to real-time on a fast machine. When transcoding is done, close all AMA bins and do not use them during the edit. You’ll edit with the transcoded media only.
  • Step 6. Edit as normal until you get an approved, “locked” picture.
  • Step 7. Now it’s time to switch to “finishing”. Move or hide all Avid media (the transcoded DNxHD36 clips) by taking them out of the Avid MediaFiles/MXF/1 folder(s) on your media hard drive(s). You could also delete them, but it’s safer not to do that unless you really have to. Best to simply move them into a relabeled folder. Once you’ve done this, your edited sequence will appear with all media off-line.
  • Step 8. Open the AMA bins (with the originally recorded files) and relink the edited sequence to the AMA clips. Make sure the “Allow relinking of imported/AMA clips by Source File name” is NOT checked in the Relink dialogue window. When relinking is completed, the sequence will be repopulated with AMA media, which will be the native, camera-recorded files.
    • In the case of Raw data, if you want to change the raw color data at this point, you will need to change each source clip and then refresh the sequence to update the color for clips that appear within the timeline.
  • Step 9. Change the Media Creation settings to a higher video resolution (such as DNxHD 175 X) and in the case of Raw data, a Debayer quality of “full”.
  • Step 10. Consolidate/transcode your sequence.
    • This will create new Avid media clips at full quality that are only the length of the clips as they appear in the cut, plus handles. Since a transcode using a “full” Debayer setting will be EXTREMELY SLOW, make sure you set very short handle lengths. (Note: If you have a Red Rocket card installed, Avid supports hardware-assisted rendering to accelerate the transcoding of RED media.)
  • Step 11. Finish all effects and color grading within the NLE as you normally would.

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