Avid MC Workflow – Offline/Online Editing Example

I found a great simple example of a typical Avid workflow, happens to be for footage from an ARRI ALEXA camera, which can record to ProRes (amongst other things).  Once again, the workflow depends on the clunky/hacky method of taking files offline, in order to substitute others (e.g. proxies), in this case by moving them out of the MXF folder.  The full article is at http://digitalfilms.wordpress.com/2010/11/18/arri-alexa-post-part-3/.  The last time I posted on this sort of issue was http://blog.davidesp.com/archives/367.

Steps (derived from http://digitalfilms.wordpress.com/2010/11/18/arri-alexa-post-part-3/ – I hope I my terminology is acceptable):

  1. Pre-Edit
    1. Backup: Clone your media files for protection. Standard archiving solutions include LTO data tape, redundant copies on hard drive or burning media to Blu-ray discs (BR-ROM).
    2. AMA-Link: “Import” the camera masters (e.g. ProRes HQ or 4444) into a Media Composer project, using “Link to AMA Files” (or Volume).
    3. Make Offlines/Proxies: Determine the selected Takes you plan to edit with, and Transcode (only) these AMA clips to Avid media. If you intend to use them only for rough cut / creative editing, then select the DNxHD 36 resolution. Move the transcoded files to a separate bin. Close the bin with the AMA clips and do not use these as sources in your edit.
  2. Proxy-Edit: This is also known as “offline editing”, but I feel the term “offline” is ambiguous.  Edit as you normally would, with the DNxHD 36 clips. Feel free to change clip names as appropriate.  Continue until the cut is locked and approved.
    1. Tip: For the purpose of client/producer viewing, depending on levels/gamma etc. adopted in the shot, you may need to apply a basic color effect filter to an upper track in order to make these clips appear more like “normal” video.
  3. Switch to Online Media (assuming it is initially Proxy):
    1. Once the cut is locked, hide the transcoded media by moving the corresponding Avid media files out of the MXF folder on your media hard drive. This will cause the clips in your sequence to be offline.
    2. Now open the AMA bins (with the original ProRes files) and relink the edited sequence to the AMA clips. When relinking is complete, the sequence will be repopulated with AMA media, which will be the native files.
    3. Consolidate/transcode your sequence. Select a higher resolution (than the proxies), such as DNxHD 175X. This will create new Avid media clips at full quality for all clips in your timeline.
  4. Final Grade:
    1. Remove any temporary grading effect you might have added before (e.g. as in Step 5).
    2. Enter the Avid color correction mode for final grading.
    3. Tip: One approach is to use the auto-contrast controls to change black and white points. Apply this first and increase the master saturation to 150 as a basic starting point. Then proceed to do your creative grading using the hue offset and curve controls. This automatic control is only calculated on the parked frame, so (inspect several frames and) tweak as needed.

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