Archive for the ‘Avid’ Category

Premiere >AAF> Avid: Failed (though reverse works ok)

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Given a simple 3-minute dramatic scene with footage from BMCC (as DNxHD 185 of HD 1920×1080 at 25fps) and a Windows-7 system:

From Adobe Premiere CC (latest version) I exported AAF.  Then in AVid I imported that AAF.  Result: Bin created, containing what appeared to be (from brief glance) all relevant Media and Sequence objects (now in Avid’s representation), but the Media objects were offline/unlinked and various “cryptic” popup error messages appeared from Avid.

I had naively assumed that the Media objects would have been AMA-linked to the source footage, which by the way included DNxHD recorded by BlackMagic Cinema Camera.  However, not only were they not linked, but Avid’s Relink function failed to recognize them.

I had previously succeeded in exporting AAF from Avid to Adobe.

A forum post says Adobe can read Avid but not vice-versa – confirming my (limited) experience.  One can only guess at which company is at fault here, but one poster blames Adobe.  Regardless, I wasn’t impressed by Avid’s programmer-level “cryptic” error messages.

I tried Bin:[Select Clip > RightClick] but the [Relink to AMA File)s)] option was greyed-out.   So I tried the next-best (RightClick) option, namely [Import].  The Import process took significant time, because (as I later confirmed) it was doing a transcode (to DNxHD 120) rather than a re-wrap.  Surprising, given it was already DNxHD in the right format and better quality…  And this import didn’t replace the right-clicked clip, it just added the import to the bin as an additional clip.

Not an urgent project, so I give up for now…


Sequence Transfer from Avid (7.0.2) to Premiere (6.0.5)

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

I took an Avid Media Composer (7.0.2) Sequence built from AMA-linked XDCAM-EX footage and transferred that Sequence via AAF to Adobe Premiere (CC 7.2.1)

It worked, even for my AMA-linked footage (Sony XDCAM EX  / BPAV) – though  it wasn’t as straightforward as I expected – due to “a known issue with AAF in Premiere Pro CC (7.2.1)”.  It did succeed with Premiere CS6 (6.0.5), though even then some clunky wrangling was found necessary.  Thereafter I opened an existing Premiere CC project and Imported the CS6 sequence successfully.  Again I had to double-check the Sequence (this time in Premiere) matched the footage (clips).


Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

Suppose you have timecoded footage etc. from an intermittent shoot of a long event.  Perhaps there were also multiple cameras, but for whatever reason (e.g. huge outdoor site) there is no common audio with which to synchronize them.  Wouldn’t it be nice if the NLE (or whatever) could auto-populate a Sequence with clips placed appropriately in (timecode-) time on it?

As noted in an earlier post, Adobe Premiere can’t do this, but Avid and Edius can.  I already use Avid, so that will be my auto-arranging tool of choice.

In Avid (Media Composer 7.0.2):

  • Set Project Settings for media type as per source footage
    • Unlike Premiere, Avid doesn’t have such Sequence-specific settings.
  • Import the footage
    • I found it ok to use AMA – no need to Ingest to MXF etc.
    • And yes, at the end of all this, it transferred (by AAF) from Avid to Premiere ok.
  • Menu:[Windows > Workspaces > Source/Record Editing]
    • To reinstate the Timeline – after it closed when I deleted the bad seq
  • Bin:
    • Sort the clips into order by Timecod
      • Shouldn’t matter in principle but it did appear to in practice…
    • Select all required clips
    • Do [Bin > AutoSequence]
    • A new sequence gets created, with the clips placed in time.
      • The sequence gets auto-named as per the last clip in the selection.
      • The sequence’s starting-timecode is auto-set to that of the earliest clip in timecode-time (among the selection)
  • Tip:
    • Timeline Zoom in/out = Ctrl-] / Ctrl-[ respectively.

I will post separately on how to Export from Avid and Import to Premiere via AAF (Advanced Authoring Format).  It worked, even for my AMA-linked footage (Sony XDCAM EX  / BPAV) – though  it wasn’t as straightforward as I expected – due to “a known issue with AAF in Premiere Pro CC (7.2.1)“.  It did succeed with Premiere CS6 (6.0.5), though even then some clunky wrangling was found necessary.  Thereafter I opened an existing Premiere CC project and Imported the CS6 sequence successfully.  Again I had to double-check the Sequence (this time in Premiere) matched the footage (clips).

Adobe Premiere CC: No Way to Arrange by Timecode (even with PluralEyes). Use Avid/Edius as pre-processor?

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

In principle, it is possible to auto-arrange multiple clips on a timeline according to their timecode, e.g. from a camera that was recording time-of-day timecode automatically.

For example, if so-arranged, a timeline might look something like this:

  • [clip1]  [ clip2 ]                 [clip3]      [    clip4    ] [clip5]              [clip6]

I haven’t used FCP7 all that much, but I have a faint recollection that it did this somehow – though some other people say not.  Regardless, Avid does it, and also Edius reportedly does it, and these could be used as preprocessors in advance of Premiere, just to align the clips in tracks and time.

But (as far as I can tell) Premiere can’t do this, there are currently no add-ons for it to accomplish this conceptually simple task.  Not even PluralEyes 3, that can only sync based on audio, which is impractical in some situations e.g. large scale industrial area with different sounds in every corner…  People do it manually, e.g. by typing timecode into timeline and adding markers then placing each clip at its associated marker…


The nearest one can get, apparently, is to “pre-process” in an NLE that can arrange-by-timecode, such as Avid or Edius, then export an AAF for import to Premiere.   Edius also (reportedly) auto assigns each camera to its own track(s).

Edius price:

  • In the UK, I see for example that DVC have a crossgrade offer for (just under) £240 or (just under) £450 for standard purchase.
  • If it works as expected, then the crossgrade would be worthwhile (in terms of time saved) even if only ever used as a preprocessor…
    • And it’s worth checking out for general usability/productivity.
  • A demo can be downloaded from

Worth a try-out, when I get time, via Avid and via Edius, also to see whether Edius could be more generally useful.


LightWorks: Will it Coexist with Adobe & Avid?

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

I expect so…


Rearranging Video Tracks (in various NLEs)

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

The ability to rearrange the order of video and audio (etc.) tracks in an editing-project in a Non-Linear Editing project.

It’s one of those basic things I assumed all NLEs would allow.  But not so.  Some have workarounds involving the creation of new Sequences and pasting in contents from original Sequences, in which case why haven’t they simply automated that workaround?  Bizarre!


Avid MC (etc.): Version 7.0: New-Feature Highlights

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

What’s new in Avid Media Composer (etc.) version 7.0?  Below are the highlights that took my attention:

  • Cached Waveform Redraw
    • Less clunky then, hopefully…
  • Track Selection for Relink
  • Background Queue monitoring, inside MC and from web browser
  • Start/Stop/Pause Background Services
  • Spanned Markers
    • About time!
  • Dynamic Media Folders
  • FrameFlex: Reframing HiRes Media
    • e.g. pan/crop/zoom parts of HD into an SD target, or 4/5K to HD etc.
  • AMA Managed Media
    • Prior to this, AMA was a bit of a “Cinderella”, not managed in the manner of Imported media.
  • Audio Mixer Improvements
  • Background Consolidate/Transcode
  • Adjusting Audio Clip Gain in Timeline
  • Consolidate/Transcode only AMA clips
  • Color Management- for various camera types
    • Sounds to me like LUTs and Looks…
  • Change Track of Marker in Marker Window
  • Vertical Scroll in Timeline

Additional links:


Cineform and Alpha Channels

Friday, August 31st, 2012

The full (paid) version of GoPro-Cineform Neo (as I have) does support alpha channels.

(A colleague initially thought otherwise – but that impression turned out to be based on info from old forum threads)


PC is better than Mac for Avid?

Friday, July 13th, 2012 (as of 2012-07-13, various people/posts)

  • A lot of people including myself are worried about Apple’s lack of support for pro gear. They haven’t updated since 2010 so there’s speculation on them pulling the plug on Mac Pro’s altogether. I know that when this Mac dies Im switching entirely to PC’s. All the post houses use PC’s in london and they rarely crash or lag…never seen a Mac Pro hooked up to a DX nitris…
  • If you want a qualified Avid PC, check out the 800.
    • {HP Z800}
  • You can also wait to see if/when Avid will approve the new HP Z820. That’s an actual modern system, with on-board USB3 etc.
  • As a house that runs Avid on both platforms, I can tell you from experience Avid is more stable/solid on PC.
  • no one for mac?   i’ve been working with avid exclusively on mac for 20+ years now – no problems at all.

Avid MC6 Workflows (Offline, Adobe CS5.5) Tutorials

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

Avid Tutorials

Boris FX / AvidFX: ChromaKey etc Tutorial

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

Avid’s PhraseFind

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

The key tip:

  • Do not hit “RETURN” on the keyboard after bringing up the SEARCH box. That searches just  text. You need to click on the PhraseFind button.


Avid (MC etc): Prevent Use of System Drive

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012
  • (structured & paraphrased)
    • Main Trick:
      • Set your Media Creation settings to filter out the system drive
      • then open your Site Settings box (under the Special menu)
      • drag the Media Creation setting from your Project window to the Site Setting box.
      • All new projects should now respect your Media Creation settings (although old ones won’t – this will only affect all new projects you create).
    • Safety Net:
      • … create the folder AvidMediaFiles on your [C:] drive and then create a text file called MXF (take the txt extention off of it) inside the AvidMediaFiles folder.  Then if you try to digitize or import to that drive you get an error, because it wants to creat an MXF folder but can’t.  …useful in helping editors remember where to digitize, and to always check their settings.
    • Under the drive Filtering and Indexing tab make sure all 3 boxes are ticked.
    • This will prevent media being imported, captured or rendered to any drives that can’t handle the selected resolution (Filter Network Drives Based on Resolution). And filter out the System & Launch drives (these are the drives where Avid and your OS are installed – usually the same).
    • Under Media Creation you can also specify which drives different types of media are stored on. So for example, you might have a Unity Partition that is just for Renders etc.
    • How to separate media by project
      • The [1] folder under [MXF] can be called anything, e.g. a Project name, and reserved for media associated only with that project.  Once renamed, if Avid needs to import anything else, it will create a fresh [1]-folder.

Avid: Non-Standard Frame Sizes: Unavailable but Workaround-able-ish

Monday, June 18th, 2012

I have a wish to make a product with a non-standard frame size 1024×400.   I have found Sony Vegas and Adobe Premiere capable of that but could not find any way in Avid to make a project of that size.

Indeed, Avid only offers standard broadcast frame sizes


Avid Symphony vs Media Composer (6)

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Having already Media Composer 6 (MC 6) and separately purchased Boris, I can see no point in upgrading to Symphony.  The only difference as far as I can tell is that unlike MC, it comes with BCC and it handles a Control Surface, which I do not have.  And I intend to dabble more in Da Vinci (Resolve).


Avid Media Composer: 5.5 to 6.0 Dongle-Update

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Wasn’t sure what to do.

  • 21:00 UK time, I phoned USA support-line, via Skype, they advised me as follows:
    • Go to
      • Avid Media Composer System Upgrade
        Trade Activation ID for Dongle Updater.avd
      • Requires an Activation Code.
        • That is the code beginning “MCA”, which came by email along with various product keys or whatever.
        • My such email was from 23 Nov 2011.
      • Also requires othe rinformation e.g. regarding the dongle “System ID” and “Serial No.”
      • I did that and clicked the [Submit] button
        …Nothing happened for a minute or two…
        …Then eventually…
      • Avid Media Composer System Upgrade PLEASE READ CAREFULLY!
        • Congratulations! You have successfully upgraded to Avid Media Composer 6.0.
        • Click the Download button to generate your dongle updater file.
        • System ID: xyz is now registered, including the customer information you have provided.
        • Dongle Updater Instructions
          Please follow the instructions below to update your dongle.
          1.Save the dongle updater file to your system. This file authorizes your dongle for specific upgrades. The updater file extension is .avd.
          2.Double-click DongleManager.exe. The Dongle Manager utility starts.
          { Mine is located at [C:\Program Files (x86)\Avid\Utilities\DongleManager] }
          3.Click the Update tab.
          4.Click the Open button, navigate to the dongle updater file, and then click Open.
          5.Click the Upgrade button. Your dongle is updated.
          6.Click the Scan tab to view the results of your dongle scan.
        • For additional information or to download the latest Dongle Manager application, please refer to the following tech note.
          (Current versions of the software come installed with the Dongle Manager.
    • There is also a blow-by-blow tutorial on this procedure at , complete with download links for the Dongle Updater applications for Windows and Mac.
  • It worked!
    • As it turned out, the version on the laptop where I did that was MC 5.5, but it still ran OK with the MC-6.0-updated dongle.

EDL-Associated Apps on Mac OS

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

These are the applications  listed when, in my Windows VM on Mac, I did [RightClick>OpenWith] on a [.EDL] file:

  • Avid:
    • ALE
    • EDLManager
  • Apple:
    • Color

Mobile Video Editing Hardware: Thoughts, Ideas & Dreams

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Want a mobile “suitcase” editing system, something more (and more expandable) than a laptop but not too expensive.  Primarily to be used for Adobe CS5.5 for media enhancement / editing / compositing etc.

Nearest I found was NextDimension’s range around $7000 I think (but just guesswork – could be way off – would need to get a quote).   That would (if true) be around £4500 at current rates.  Plus import…  NextDimension call such machines “flextops” (Maybe they coined the term? Google searches on it mostly come up with them.)

Apart from the (mil/broadcast-lite but me-heavy) price, it might possibly be undesirably heavy to lug around much.   If so (just guessing, not assuming), it would make more sense to go for a modular quick-setup system.  So, starting to “think different” in this direction:

  • Standard tower, capable of taking new CUDA etc. graphics cards etc. as they emerge, but no need for more than say a couple of disks, maybe if SSD could even get away with just a single disk? (For system and media – inadvisable for traditional disks of course, what about for SSD’s?  I have much to learn about SSD’s though).
  • “Laptop-Lite” to talk to it.  With robust shuttered-stereoscopic HD monitor.
  • Gigabit network to NAS fast storage (SSD and/or RAID ?).

Maybe in that case it would be far more logical/affordable to use an existing laptop as a client working together with a luggable tower server, sufficiently light and robust for frequent dis/re -connection and travel.  And remote access of course (no heavy data to be exchanged, assume that’s already sync’d).  And some means to easily swap/sync applications and projects (data) between laptop and tower, giving the option to use just the (old) laptop on its own if needed.  All such options are handy for the travelling dude (working on train, social visits etc.) who also occasionally has to do heavy processing.  Then would just need a protective suitcase for the tower, plus another one for a decent monitor for grading etc.

I certainly won’t be spending anything just yet, but it’s good to have at least some kind of “radar”.


Boris: Retiming: Initial Websearch (Orientation / Terminology)

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012


Avid: Media Composer: User-Experiences (Promotional)

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Graphic / Pen Tablets, e.g. Wacom Intuos 4

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Web-research about graphic tablets – having seen and heard of their use by many editors, e.g on Avid and Adobe.  Bear in mind however that tablet computers like iPad might become (or already have become?) game-changers…

  • Graphic / Pen Tablet:
    • Google: [graphic tablet avid media composer]
        • Mouse vs. Graphics Tablet
        • CyberCat, Sun, Jun 6 2010 5:10 PM
          • Has: Avid Media Composer 5.5.2 | Windows 7 x64 | i7-990x | GTX 580 | 24GB DDR3 | GA-X58A-UD3R
          • Q: I’ve noticed that most editor’s I’ve worked with tend to use graphics tablets instead of mice for their input device. I would imagine there are many on this forum who do as well. I’m just curious why this is, are they just more comfortable to use, or more accurate or what? I’m considering getting one if they’re worth it.
        • Responses:
          • It’s just a matter of which tool you’re more comfortable with. If you’re considering installing a tablet, do some searches on this Forum for Waacom, as there have been conflicts using them, and specific driver versions needed to solve the problem
          • I’ve used graphics tablets for many years and we have several here — 2 Wacoms, Calcomp large format and Acecat wired.. The Wacom Intuos 4 is excellent. It is indispensible for Photoshop, Painter, etc., and I feel lost without it regardless of the software
            • This link is to a great overview/chooser for a set of variants of the Intuos 4 tablet.
              • I like the Wireless one. Seems the most useful when not at a desk
                (e.g. in bed or on a train).

                • Available from Amazon UK for under £300
                • One user recommends putting acetate on its surface before use. This reduces scratches and also reduces nib wearout. Several users report (unexpectedly quick) nib wearout as an issue.
                • Some users report issues with the wireless (BlueTooth). One responded with advice: Make sure on at least the first 4 charges, that you fully charge the battery, and use it till it runs out of battery (not just red light) rinse and repeat this process, and you’ll be fine with the wireless.
                • Some users were concerned that the tablet doesn’t come with a bluetooth receiver (e.g. USB stick?). Not a concern for my MacBook which has it built-in.
              • The Wacom Tablet changed the way I interact with the Avid application. For me, it’s much faster and intuitive for my hand to simply move right to the spot on the screen I need and click. No more dragging a mouse along. I feel like I’m moving faster and the carple tunnel I was developing has gone away.
      • The Wacom Intuos4 pen tablet

Avid Media Composer: Practical Usage in Productions

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

  • MC 5.0
  • User and Beta-Tester experiences.
    • They like the (fairly new) Smart Tool
    • AMA is useful for producing on-set rushes and quick edits
      • They mention a Mac (..Book?) being used on-set, taking footage from a P2 card.
      • They show a card from a DSLR being plugged into a Lexar outboard card-reader.
      • {? I wonder if subsequently they ingest/import it in “traditional” fashion, e.g. to take advantage of media management and to minimise risks of obscure issues down the line ?}
    • 01:50 shows Steven Sprung, ACE Editor (Dispatch, Entourage). He looks a bit like me.
    • More than one editing-suite scene shows a graphic tablet being used.
    • [02:12] shows some track labels/assignments.
      • It can be instructive to see how others do it.
    • [02:14] et seq: Smart Tool
    • [02:14] Audio
      • e.g. level meters on each track
      • Track-based RTAS effects etc. are useful to help indicate to the sound department approximately what the editor requires artistically
    • [03:48] Editors (can be) on set 12-14 hours/day might also take work home on laptop.
    • [03:39] Graphic tablet shown as part of edit suite. Which one is it? How useful?
    • [03:59] Matrox MXO Mini enables use of a standard TV as monitor, including calibration tools (what kind?).

Avid Media Composer 6: The Installation Experience

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

First I installed it to my MacBook Pro, on the Mac OS side, where I have not previously installed any Avid applications.  The latter is significant because from reading forums, it appears wise to remove all traces of any previous Avid installation (beyond what Avid’s Uninstaller does).

Installing and testing the basic Media Composer application:

  • Installer stated (correctly) that I had MacOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) yet the application was qualified for 10.7 (Lion).  From searching, I discovered that some others were nevertheless running it under 10.6.
  • The installer stated that the space requirement would be 6 GB.
  • Installation took about 15 minutes.
  • Then it did a system restart.
  • On restart, an Avid MC icon was present in the Dock.
  • Double-clicking the icon produced a prompt asking if I wanted on-line activation, use hardware dongle or 30-day trial.  I selected the latter as it seemed the least-hassle option.
  • Avid launch paused on an error message whose significance was not clear to me:
    • “ArthurQuinell-DataTrans” is in use by another application and cannot be used by Deck Control.
    • I am not sure what that means but vaguely remember naming one of my previous mobile phones as that (after an aldershot cat that used to “invade” our art-centre stage during performances, then sit washing in the spotlight – a born entertainer…).
  • Clicked [OK] to let it continue…
    • Got the same message about “Arthur…”.  Clicked [OK] to continue…
  • Finally the initial launch completed.
  • Got the usual Project dialog.  Chose [External]
    • Actually, before that, it asked for a Projects Path.
      • I defined it to be on my main external hard drive, a GRAID Mini, at the following location: [/Volumes/GRm HFS+/_App_Specific/Avid/Projects]
      • I wonder if people generally tend to put their Avid project-folder somewhere like in their Documents directory.  But my logic is that if I plug the hard drive into another Mac, it should still work there.
  • Prompted for some basic project settings.
    • Quaintly, its default display aspect ratio is 4:3 (how nostalgic!)
  • As usual, clicked the wrong thing at the wring time, resulting in a new project called [New Project].  Oh well, I am only playing/testing…
  • Selected the default Bin, [New Project Bin].
  • With that Bin:
    • Import an short existing MOV-DNxHD file.
    • Double-click that file.  It opened in the Monitor pane.
    • Clicked the [Overwrite] button, it laid-down in the Timeline as expected.
  • BUT there’s a missing expected pane at bottom-left corner.  I can see through to the desktop background (purple galaxy-space etc.).  Presumably OK but unsettling…
  • Window panes act independently e.g. re being above/below any other apps.  Similar to Final Cut.  I hated that about Final Cut also…
    • Is there a Preference for getting the whole app to work like “Single Document” ?

AMA Plugins


  • AvidFX 6.0.1 64-Bit
  •  Boris?
    • BCC
    • Boris has FEC = Final Effects Complete for Avid = Visual Effects Filters and Transitions for Avid
      • Installer said “FEC5 AVX 2   MC 2.5, XPressPro 5.5 or later:”
        • Makes me wonder if there is a later version for MC 6.0
        • I installed it but no “FEC” items showed up in Avid’s Effects Pallete.
          • Maybe it’s 32-bit and MC 6 only recognises 64-bit effects?

Avid Media Composer 6 – Upgrade Questions (Dongle, BCC)

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

I phoned Avid for advice re Media Composer 6:

Avid Media Composer 6 – Review (Link)

Monday, November 28th, 2011

CeltX and Avid (e.g. Script Sync)

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Avid’s Script Sync tool sounds great.  But it appears the script has to be in a certain format.  Can CeltX-exported scripts be imported?

Avid Basics (not only for Final Cut Pro Users)

Saturday, September 24th, 2011
  • Avid Basics re Projects, Bins, Users, User-Settings
    • Notionally “Avid for Final Cut Pro Users” but generally useful introduction, complete with pragmatics.
    • Overview:
      • In this set of tutorials, it is assumed that a Shared project called “Tempest” will be edited by two people, Laura and David, one on day-shift (say) and the other on nights.  They can each select eithers’ settings (editor configs) via the Project Window’s Settings tab, under the User dropdown.  No need to log-out of Avid or indeed to switch User login sessions.  I guess a given user could create several configs e.g. default, david, david_temp
      • Module 1, Lesson 1 – Creating a Project
      • Private/Shared etc., User Settings (independent of User logged-in), Film features
      • Module 1, Lesson 2 – Intro to Project Window – Avid for Final Cut Pro Users
      • MenuBar: [Tools > Console] brings up a text logger where progress can be recorded by users (as far as I can tell from the tutorial)
      • Module 1, Lesson 3 – Where to find Avid files
      • Explains where the Avid files are stored on the computer’s hard drive, and how to take your settings from system to system.
      • Module 1, Lesson 4 – Project Differences
      • Explains Avid Projects, Bins and how one can move & create stuff equivalently in Avid or in Windows Explorer (etc.)
      • Also explains some ways it differs from FCP.

Migrating Media (and Projects) from FCP to Avid

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

Migrating Media (and Projects) from FCP to Avid:

NLE Handling of 10-Bit Recordings

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

There exist various HD-SDI device to record 10-Bit 422 video data.  10 bits is useful for shallow gradients especially when expanded (steeper contrast curve) by grading, while 422 gives better detail, that can matter when pixels are big (e.g. when close to a big screen or when digital zoom employed in post).  In any case, such recorders tend to compress less than on-board camera systems, or in some cases not at all, improving the quality.  But to what extent can the various NLEs cope with this?  From my web searches it seems that the answer is “sometimes”.  For example some NLEs will accept 10-bit only in their own favourite formats, otherwise they discard two bits, interpreting the footage as 8-bit.  One might (naively) have thought the way to be sure was to experiment – but there is plenty of room for confusion when doing experiments, for example Avid’s color correction tool allegedly only displays to 8-bit resolution even when it is importing/processing/exporting at 10-bit.  Other “loopholes” may exist, like it seems (if I understand it correctly) that if you AMA or import 10-bit ProRes then Avid only sees 8-bit, implying one needs instead to transcode ProRes->DNxHD externally (e.g. via MPEG StreamClip?) and import that.  But even that might not be possible, as one post suggested DNxHD 10-bit encoding could only work from Avid, not external apps.   Furthermore, whereas all ProRes formats handle 10-bit, for DNxHD, only formats with an “x” suffix do; the only one I know of is DNxHD 220x.  There exist further subtleties/loopholes/pitfalls, hence more research to be done on this… and I’ll tread very carefully…


Avid MC Workflow: Offline/Online Editing: Video Tutorial

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

As illustrated in my previous post on this subject (, the popular (it seems) approach to offline/online media file replacement is to “hack” the file system.  In the example in that previous post, the hack was to move files to a different folder.  An alternative is to rename the existing folder then rename the required folder the original of the existing folder.  That approach is illustrated in a video tutorial at

Avid Color Correction User’s Guide

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

  • Extremely useful

Avid MC: Bundled Tools & Apps: Their Purpose

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

When you purchase Avid Media Composer, you also get a set of other applications, whose purpose (at least to the newbie) is not immediately obvious.  So I did some investigation and produced a summary of them, as below.  I have no experience of actually using them, I just trawled ReadMe files and (mostly) the web.  Here are my (interim) conclusions:

  • Avid TransferManager – Is e.g. for uploading to a Playback Server []
  • AMA – the camera-specific AMA Plugins (e.g. for Sony XDCAM) are no longer bundled with MC, you have to download and install them separately. []
  • Avid MetaSync automates the inclusion of metadata (expressed in suitable XML formats) into Avid editing systems, including synchronisation with video and audio. The metadata can be anything from subtitles / closed captioning to synchronized entertainments such as lightshows or simulator rides.   []
  • Avid MetaFuze’s primary, if not only purpose is to prep files for Media Composer use – an “outboard importer”.  Avid’s article at summarises it nicely.  Though bundled with Media Composer, it is also available free. That means for example that preprocessing work (e.g. generation of burnt-timecode proxies and online files) can be generated (e.g. in DNxHD) by anyone whether or not they have an Avid system.  Potentially then a great option for breaking up work into collaborative / parallel workflows. []
  • Sorenson Squeeze – a well-known compressor/encoder, bundled as part of Avid Media Composer (MC) but also an independent product in its own right. Avid MC5.5 specifies version v6.04 but further updates are available from Sorenson itself.  There is a free-to-Avid-users update from v6.x to v6.5.  The latest version is v7.0 (with CUDA).  Presumably these later versions are officially unsupported by Avid (but how much does that matter in practice?). []
  • Avid EDL Manager imports and exports EDL (in various flavours) – from/to a bin (e.g. thumbnails storyboard layout?) (or a Sequence or MXF file?).  It can be run stand-alone or from within Avid.  EDLs are somewhat of a hangover from the past, so it’s unlikely to be of much use in my case, but worth knowing about as an option, and as such still features in other people’s current workflows. []
  • Avid Film Scribe generates Cut Lists and Change Lists (used in transfer from video edit to film edit) in more contemporary formats than EDL, e.g. XML formats involved in VFX / DPX workflows (? I am on very unfamiliar ground here ?).  It can generate such formats from a Sequence and also it can be used to translate between some formats.[]
  • Avid Log Exchange (ALE) is an Avid log file format that has become a de facto standard in the post industry. It is a text-based metadata exchange format used in applications from telecine to standalone logging applications, and is supported by many NLEs.  The ALE format is based on a Comma or Tab -delimited file format. []
  • Avid After Effects EMP is (not a disruptive elctronic weapon but) an Avid-supplied plugin for Adobe After Effects allowing that application to use a DNA family video output box such as Mojo (“ordinaire”) or Nitris to provide External Monitor Preview (EMP) on a monitor.  Helpful in order to make use of that Avid box for the Adobe After Effects application, both for convenience and consistency.  Unfortunately it does not work with the more recent DX family, such as the Mojo DX box. []
  • The Avid DNA Diags application is for diagnostics on DNA family e.g. Mojo “ordinaire” (not DX) []
  • The Avid Quicktime Codecs extend QuickTime for encoding and decoding to/from Avid codecs such as DNxHD.  Essentially they add such formats to QuickTime on your system.  The LE codecs are “Light Edition” – only needed on systems where Avid is not already installed.   []
  • Avid Media Log is a standalone app supplied with Avid systems enabling assistants on non-Avid machines to select and log raw (as opposed to RAW) footage in a manner that can easily be transferred into an Avid session/system elsewhere, where the result appears as an Avid Project.  Apparently, Media Log is much like the digitize tool on Media Composer.  But I’ve never used that either… It can output e.g. to ALE (explained below) and hence e.g to other NLEs.  []
  • Misc “Avid Downloads” (?) Looking at  my Avid Downloads page, there is a much larger list of items than I expected, and suspect that many of them are not relevant.  For example, what is Avid Deko?  It’s listed on my Avid Downloads page, though I don’t know if I would be able to activate it, or whether it would be worth the trouble.  It’s listed as Deko 2200.  So I googled and YouTubed about it…  Impression: that version (2200) is very obsolete. []
  • On my web “travels”, I discovered a great article entitled “The Avid Ecosystem” at [], listing many of the resources for the Avid world: links, tutorials, filters, applications, training…
  • It’s helpful to see some of the above items in the context of illustrative workflows, e.g.:

MXF Variants

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

MXF exists in variants.

    • Examples:
      • Sony XDCAM (OP1a)
      • Panasonic P2 (OP-Atom)
      • Avid (OP-Atom)
    • MXF Import QT (one of mxf4mac’s products) is a MXF reader, importer, interpreter and file access plug-in for the QuickTime system framework. It allows to natively open and access a broad range of MXF variations without converting or referencing to the QuickTime movie format. The unique integration enables Final Cut Studio, Final Cut Server and other solutions to directly work with native MXF media.
      • £462 from one UK supplier I just checked.

Avid MC Workflow – Offline/Online Editing Example

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

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  The last time I posted on this sort of issue was



Sunday, September 4th, 2011

Free open-source pro-class NLE: .  Well-received by many.  Glimmers a little bit like FCPX, but more flexible user interface, including keyboard-compatibility options with AVID and FCP7.  Register to download it (just over 40 MB).  Further links:

Avid Media Management Tip

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

Suppose you have multiple AVid projects on the go.  By default, all of the media from those projects will be stored in one file path: [Avid MediaFiles].  If you have more than one volume connected having this folder, then it gets more complicated – e.g. if Avid can’t find sufficient room on one such volume then it will try the next one (etc.).  Avid provides tools for media management but it can get messy when you need to keep connecting different drives to see if they contain your required media.  Instead, it is helpful to be able to store media for different projects in different “lumps”, be they volumes or folders.  From web research (below), it seems there are a number of possible, though kludg-ey, workarounds, mainly based on temporarily renaming AVid media folders/subfolders…  Nice to know, until such time as Avid provides a tidier solution to this requirement.


Avid (and other) Workflows on “Iron Man” Movie

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

Avid MC 5: Standalone Transcoders to Avid Formats

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

These are standalone tools I have seen (on web) others using to transcode from various formats into Avid formats such as DNxHD.  Of course, that’s also achievable from within Media Composer (e.g. by its Consolidate/Transcode feature), but a stand-alone tool encourages parallel, and hence possibly collaborative, workflows in post-production.

Avid Workflows with Cineform

Sunday, August 21st, 2011


  • My presumption (yet to be tried):
    • Edit in Avid with AMA link to Cineform files and FirstLight open (simultaneously).  Do the primary grading in FirstLight, possibly via a parallel/collaborative workflow.
    • Later, Avid-import as Avid controlled media, at which point the Cineform files get transcoded to DNxHD or whatever and the primary grading gets baked-in (but can of course still be further tweaked in Avid).  For resilience and flexibility, retain the Cineform files (or at least the ability to regenerate them) and the FirstLight project file (which stores the grading data).


Avid MC 5: Exporting Cineform (as QuickTime)

Sunday, August 21st, 2011
    • (The original article includes dialog screen-shots, maybe these give extra info/insight)
    • 1. File->Export
    • 2. Select “Send to QT Movie” in the Export Setting dropdown at the
    • bottom of the export window.
    • 3. Select an output location and input output file name.
    • 4. Click “Options” to the right of the Export Setting dropdown
      • In the “Options” window:
        • – Export As: “QuickTime Movie”
        • – Width x Height: match your source or input desired scale size
        • – Select “601/709″ if you have NOT selected “Enable 4:4:4 encoding”. If you have, select “RGB”
        • – Display Aspect Ratio: “Native Dimensions” if you are not scaling, desired output if you are.
    • 5. Click “Format Options…”
      • – Sound: Checked, uncompressed, 48kHz, 16-bit, Stereo
    • 6. Click “Settings”
      • – Compression Type: CineForm HD/4K/3D
      • – Frame Rate: Current
      • – Depth: Millions of Colors+
      • – Quality (Set at user discretion, recommended “High” or “Best”)
    • 7. Quality Options: “Enable 4:4:4 encoding” and “Interlaced video source” are options to use at your discretion
    • 8. Click “OK” as you navigate back to the original “Export” window, and click “OK” again to start your export.
    • 9. Upon completion, go back to your project bin, right-click and select “Link to AMA File(s)…” and navigate to your new file.
    • For 3D projects, you will want to do one of these renders for each eye, then mux the outputs back together for a 3D master, as described here:
    •  Joachim Claus (Aug 2011) Re: MC 5.5.2 and CineForm Codec
      • If you need a QT-Cineform file format, I recommend o export a QT Reference and then use QT-Prof for transcoding to Cineform.
        • I have tested QT-export with Cineform Codec (GoPro-Cineform HD/4K/3D). It worked flawlessly from a HD720P50 timeline. However, the export is slow. For a 1:03 minute timeline (coded in DNxHD120), the encoding took 5:21 minute.
        • In another test, I exported a QT-Reference file from the same timeline, imported it into QT-Prof. and exported the file with Cineform Codec as above. In this case, the encoding took 2:49 minute.

Avid MC: Now there is an upgrade to 5.5.3

Saturday, August 20th, 2011

Doh! I only just finished installing MC 5.5.2…  Shouldn’t take long though…  On the other hand it apparently introduces a problem with GenArts Sapphire.

    • This is a “maintenance release” of the Media Composer (Mac and PC) , Symphony (Mac and PC) and NewsCutter (PC) editing software.
    • Customers currently running Media Composer 5.5.x, Symphony 5.5.x or NewsCutter 9.5.x are entitled to download and install the 5.5.3 or 9.5.3 release free of charge.
    • There are well over 75 + bug fixes and enhancements in the 5.5.3/9.5.3 Maintenance release.  You should download and read the ReadMe file before installing.
    • There are both  full installers (Mac and PC)  AND patch installers (PC) provided for the v5.5.3 and v9.5.3 release.
    • For PC Users: If you are using any of the Helper Applications (Avid EDL Manager, Avid FilmScribe, Avid Log Exchange, Avid MetaSync, or Avid Media Log), you must install the patch updates for these applications. Further, if you are using Nitris DX, Mojo DX, or Avid DNA hardware, you must update the hardware drivers. Download the installer for your appropriate hardware and OS on the
    • Sony has released a new version of the AMA plug-ins for XDCAM and XDCAM EX.  Version 1.2 is now available from Sony’s website and is supported with MC 5.5.x, Symphony 5.5.x, and NewsCutter 9.5.x releases. More information can be found on the Knowledge Base here:
    • GeorgeD: AFter I installed the upgrade patch the Sapphire effects stack won’t pass through the Alpha channel. Any other effect put on top of MakeRGB does not see the Alpha channel anymore. MakeRGB by itself still works.
    • Larry Rubin: Reported to GenArts Product Support

Avid MC 5.5: Bundled BCC 6 no free-upgrade to BCC 7

Saturday, August 20th, 2011
  • (Posts of May 2011)
    • Douglas
      • The (free) upgrades apply only to BCC AVX bought from Boris (or a Boris dealer) at the regular price.
      • For an upgrade from BCC 6 to BCC 7 via Avid, you will have to wait until it is included in a future Productivity Pack and then buy the new pack.  Still a lot cheaper than via Boris as it also would probably include any newer versions of Squeeze etc.  The only thing you need now is patience.
    • Dean
      • I asked them about the BCC7 upgrade and they confirmed that bundled products are not eligiable.
  • (Article of August 2010)
    • Boris FX, the leading developer of integrated effects technology for video and film, today announced that Boris Continuum Complete 7 AVX (BCC 7 AVX) is now available. BCC 7 AVX brings over 200 filters to Avid Media Composer and Avid Symphony. The new release features lens blur effects, a video noise reduction tool, a new OpenGL particle engine, and new on-screen overlay control widgets for streamlined workflow.
    • Boris Continuum Complete 7 AVX is available immediately through the Boris FX worldwide reseller channel and direct through the Boris FX web site at for an MSRP of $1,995 USD. Owners of previous versions of BCC AVX may upgrade for an MSRP of $599 USD.
      • {Prices may have changed since then}
  • (as of this post)
    • Boris Continuum Complete 7 AVX for Avid Media Comp Our Price: $1,895.00

Boris BCC Motion Tracking: Match-Move & Corner-Pinning

Saturday, August 20th, 2011

BorisFX’s BCC can be used as plug-in to various NLE’s, where it can be used for motion-tracking (among other things).

  • From Sony Vegas 10
  • From Avid Media Composer
      • Most Boris Continuum Complete (BCC) filters include a built-in motion tracker which can be used to control the position of the PixelChooser mask or matte or to position the light source of a Light effect. For example, you can attach a light to a moving object in one easy step. In addition, BCC includes powerful, specialized filters that allow you to recover motion data from a clip and then use the data to apply effects. For example, BCC Witness Protection allows you to track a person’s face and apply a mosaic effect to obscure it; BCC Match Move locks the movement of one image clip to another image clip; and BCC Corner Pin allows you to map media to a specific area on a moving object in a media file.

Avid Workflows with AMA & Offline/Online Combined

Saturday, August 20th, 2011
    • AMA and Media Management – Media Composer Cutting Edge
      • Suppose you start with a Project having a Sequence of clips from a Bin, these clips directly linked (via AMA) to original media-recordings in a camera’s native format.
      • “There are still going to be times when you want to integrate that media in your local or shared AVid storage”.
      • This can be done easily via the Consolidate and Transcode features:
        • Sequence: RightClick > Consolidate/Transcode
        • Consolidate/Transcode:
          • I THINK BUT UNSURE:
            • Select Consolidate if you just want the camera’s native format re-wrapped in MXF
            • Select Transcode if you want it transcoded e.g. into DNxHD
            • In both cases, you end up with a new sequence, of clips which are now:
              • On the Avid Media storage (MXF).  Better performance (?), better media management (by Avid) and ability to do some things that AMA can’t, such as multi-camera.
              • Only the subsets (of original footage) needed by the sequence (plus handles).  Saves disk space.
          • Settings:
            • “Video and audio on same drive”: YES
            • Select required target drive
            • Define Handle Length (e.g. two seconds’ worth of frames).
              • (Implies that Consolidate will only ingest the subsets of clips actually referenced in the Sequence)
            • “Create new sequence”: YES
            • “Delete original media files when done”: NO
            • “Skip media files already open on the target drive”: YES
              • (Thinks: what if they already exist on some other drive (that’s connected) ?)
            • “Relink selected clips to target drive before skipping”: YES
          • Click “go-button” (labelled Consolidate or Transcode).
      • If at any subsequent stage you want to re-edit:
        • Re-mount the original camera volumes (e.g. disk drive/drives).
        • Re-link your sequence to them (via AMA ?).
        • {Subsequently, presumably re- Consolidate or Transcode }
          • {Presumably if all you did was add something, the only action performed will be the Consolidate/Transcode of that very addition}
          • {What if existing clips are trimmed (up or down) in the sequence?  Will the corresponding existing Consolidate/Transcode product be appended/reduced/replaced as necessary (is AVid “clever” about all this?  Or will a new one co-exist alongside the old one (which then just wastes space) ? }
          • {Does an Avid-managed file act like an object, i.e. exists so long as something (bin or sequence) points at it, otherwise is deleted by some “garbage collection” ?}
      • ReLink is also handy for Offline-Online conversion.  Example:
        • A remote cameraman delivers (e.g. via DigiDelivery) a set of XDCAM-HD Proxies.
        • Editor receives proxies and Imports them into Avid.
          • No AMA used here.
        • Some time later the Online files arrive (e.g. by physical delivery of disks).
        • Avid’s ReLink function matches the offline proxy sequence, frame-for-frame, with the newly-avaiable HD footage.

Avid MC: Update 5.0-5.5: SmartSound Sonicfire Pro

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Installed SmartSound Sonicfire (“The Music Score for Your Vision”). Wanted to install version 5.5.2, from Avid MC 5.0 install disk (it is unchanged in MC 5.5), but the installation hung (problem with disk or at least incompatible with my MBP’s reader?).  No download was available for this product on my Avid Download account, while on the SmartSound website, only the latest version (update), namely 5.7.0 (on Windows, else 5.7.1 for Mac) could be downloaded.  However that downloaded and installed fine.  The Sonicfire app also pulled in some additions to its sound library, initially from the web and subsequently from SmartSound’s Core Sessions disk (which was fully readable); spontaneously once I inserted it.


Avid Media Log

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Avid Media Log is a standalone app supplied with Avid systems enabling assistants on non-Avid machines to select and log raw (as opposed to RAW) footage in a manner that can easily be transferred into an Avid session/system elsewhere, where the result appears as an Avid Project.  Apparently, Media Log is much like the digitize tool on Media Composer.  But I’ve never used that either…

{Voice from 2011-12-08: Installing Avid MC 6.0 to Mac, under “Helper Applications”, the MediaLog  option has text saying”Avid recommends installing your Avid MediaLog on a separate system from your Avid Media Composer”.  That makes sense.}

Example Usage:

  • Enter the Time Code numbers in the start and end fields and then click the log button.
  • Type in your slate number followed by your shot description.
  • Once you have completed all of your shots, break the main bin down into scenes, with a new bin for each scene.
  • Now you can organize shots in order by either slate number or order in which it was shot with the click of a button.
  • Once complete, drag the folder with your project into “Composer Projects” on the AVID’s hard drive.
  • Then, when you launch AVID .. your project will automatically appear as one of the projects and you are ready to digitize.


Avid QuickTime Codecs

Monday, August 15th, 2011

The Avid Quicktime Codecs extend QuickTime for encoding and decoding to/from Avid codecs such as DNxHD.  Essentially they add such formats to QuickTime on your system.  The LE codecs are “Light Edition” – only needed on systems where Avid is not already installed.

Avid DNA Diag (-nostics)

Monday, August 15th, 2011

The [Avid DNA Diags] application is for diagnostics on DNA family e.g. Mojo (not DX)

Avid: After Effects EMP

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Avid After Effects EMP is an Avid-supplied plugin for Adobe After Effects allowing that application to use a DNA family video output box such as Mojo or Nitris to provide External Monitor Preview (EMP) on a monitor.  Helpful in order to make use of that Avid box for the Adobe After Effects application, both for convenience and consistency.  Unfortunately it does notwork with the more recent DX family, such as the Mojo DX box.


ALE – Avid Log Exchange

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Avid Log Exchange (ALE) is an Avid log file format that has become a de facto standard in the post industry. It is a text-based metadata exchange format used in applications from telecine to standalone logging applications, and is supported by many NLEs.  The ALE format is based on a Comma or Tab -delimited file format.


Avid Film Scribe

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

Avid Film Scribe generates Cut Lists and Change Lists (used in transfer from video edit to film edit) in more contemporary formats than EDL, e.g. XML formats involved in VFX / DPX workflows (? I am on very unfamiliar ground here ?).  It can generate such formats from a Sequence and also it can be used to translate between some formats.


Avid Media Management Tips

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

Some tips I came across by accident:

    • (From July 2010):
      • << MDV is a free tool that will allow you to separate your media files by project, so you can store them separtely.  The site is Russian, but safe.>>
        • Angle-brackets here emphasize that this is just a quote from a post, I have no experience of it myself.
    • A media database(s) rebuilt may help (sometimes help fix obscure issues): trash the msmFMID.pmr and msmMMOB.mdb files from the mediafiles folders and run MC, it will scan the hard drives and rebuild the files.

Avid EDL Manager

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

Avid EDL Manager imports and exports EDL (in various flavours) – from/to a bin (e.g. thumbnails storyboard layout?) (or a Sequence or MXF file?).  It can be run stand-alone or from within Avid.  EDLs are somewhat of a hangover from the past, so it’s unlikely to be of much use in my case, but worth knowing about as an option, and as such still features in other people’s current workflows.


Avid MC: Update 5.0-5.5: Avid DVD

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

Continuing the Avid MC 5.5 update/installation process, I want to install the latest version of Avid DVD.

  • In the auto-email following-up my purchase of Avid MC update 5.0 to 5.5, no link was provided for Avid DVD (or suite containing it).
  • Therefore my initial point of reference is the Avid DVD install-disk supplied as part of the MC 5.0 disk-set.  The disk label states it is Avid DVD by Sonic, version 6.1.1.
  • From my web searches (below, under “More…) it seems that:
    • Avid DVD is made by Sonic/Roxio (combined?), under the name DVDit.
    • Latest version (I saw mentioned) was 6.4
    • But do-not update to it!
      • Douglas (“Gaijin-Eyes”) of Kumamoto, Japan,  reported difficulties in using version 6.4 with his Avid workflow.  In particular, the later version of DVD(it) removed the ability to export .iso files.
      • Furthermore, using a later version as compared to that officially supported by Avid risks incompatibility problems.  One forum post appeared to relate to an example of this, possibly involving associated dependency versions of QuickTime.  The post received no reply, suggesting that forum-based (e.g Avid-guru) advice would not be forthcoming on issues with software outside the Avid manifest.


Avid MC: Hi-Res Workflow & Color Guide

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

Avid MC: Decomposing/Consolidating XDCAM-EX Sequences

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

Avid MC: An Obscure Relinking Requirement

Saturday, August 13th, 2011


Saturday, August 13th, 2011

Avid Knowledge Base article on “XDCAM EX Support in Avid” [272715] : “How do I use Sony XDCAM EX on my Avid system? ”

Avid MC 4: Improvements to Transitions & Mix-Match

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

  •  This page provides a good explanation, with two separate videos:
    • Transition Preservation feature.  For example if you move a clip about, within reason, horizontally (in time) or vertically (between tracks), any dissolve transition times are maintained.
    • Mix & Match – of clips of various formats/framerates etc., and user-config of the options for normalising each clip (to project format), e.g. default of blending up to full “fluid motion” based processing.

Avid MC: Conform / Consolidate / Decompose

Saturday, August 13th, 2011


  • I’m slightly befuddled by these terms, and what the corresponding operations are useful for. What do they do and how are they pragmatically useful? – in particular in a digital and even tapeless world. I first came across the term Decompose when investigating an Offline/Online workflow for AVCHD-Cineform-DNxHD(low bitrate)-DNxHD(high bitrate):
  • For example “recapturing” sounds at first like an antiquated concept in the digital world.  But maybe they have expanded the term to include re-ingestion of digital footage in higher-bitrate format, e.g. online as opposed to proxy in the case of XDCAM-HD or just different DNxHD bitrates (e.g. 145 instead of 36).  For example initially ingesting all digital footage at DNxHD(36) for offline editing then later recapturing only the used subset of that digital footage at DNxHD (145).  Advantage: reduced disk space requirement.  Just my guesswork though, still trying to work it all out…

Snippets providing Glimpses:

  • Avid MC 5.5 Help [Understanding Decompose and Expert Decompose]:
    • Decompose creates new master clips in the bin based on the lengths of the clips edited into a sequence. You can then recapture media for the new master clips. Decompose breaks any links to the original source clips, and only the sequence and its new master clips are linked to the newly captured media files. If decomposing results in a change to the edit rate of some clips in the sequence, your Avid editing application adds Motion Adapter effects, or modifies existing Motion Adapter effects, to manage the edit rate change.
    • Decompose gives you more control over the recapturing process than simply recapturing a sequence without using decompose. You can sort or modify the clips that decompose creates before you recapture media. You can also use the Expert Decompose feature to customize how decompose operates.
    • For film projects, clips you create with decompose retain all the information from the original master clips, including Pullin column information, key numbers, ink numbers, or any other information formerly entered in the bin.
    • You do not need to decompose clips that were linked with the AMA (Avid Media Access) method.
  • There is also anAvidHelp on [Decomposing Sequences].  But it is just a set of instructions on how to do it, not a helpful (to me) as an explanation of what it does or what it’s for.  To understand it, you need an existing understanding of the concepts & jargon.
    • Larry Rubin:
      • Consolidating will create a new set of pointer files and associated media files, separately discreet from the original set – essentially a clone.
      • Decomposing creates a new and offline clip list relative to a particular sequence, so that you can batch capture or import only media associated with that sequence instead of all the original source material. This is used primarily to conform a low-rez rough cut to high rez finished material.
    • Q1:
      • Q: I want to save disk space. Is it possible to decompose an MXF Sequence in order to keep only the portions of footage used in the sequence on my hard disk? The footage was captured on P2 cards and Firestore.
      • A: Decompose is not what you want.  Select your sequence and right-click select consolodate.  Set your handles, then select “delete original media” and that should do it.  Remember that if you digitised anything that is not used in your sequence that you consolodate, this media will remain and you would need to manually delete that media as well. Be warned, though…  make certain that you are not trashing anything used in other sequences as well.
    • Q2:
      • Q: Can I consolidate more than one sequence at a time?
      • A: Yes – just select the sequences and go through the same routine
    • Recapturing and Decomposing: The new Expert Decompose feature allows you to decompose only certain tapes or clips used by a sequence, and allows you to fine tune target formats to which you want to recapture.
  • Book: Avid Editing: “A Guide for Beginning and Intermediate Users”, By Sam Kauffmann.  I have that book, but a web-link version is still handy.  Paraphrasing:
    • Clip Menu (Page 341)
      • Consolidate / Transcode:
        • Consolidate lets you migrate media files to other drives, e.g. for better organization of files.
        • Transcode lets you change the format of a clip or sequence, e.g. from HD to SD.
      • Decompose:
        • Breaks a sequence into its component clips.  Example: you captured 1000 master clips at low resolution, e.g. DNxHD (36), to save space.  Thefinal sequence only uses 50 clips. After decomposing, you have those 50 clips in a bin and you only recapture those 50 clips at higher resolution e.g. DNxHD (220).
    • Uprezing Your Offline Sequence (Page 308).  That is, moving from offline to online resolution; nothing to do with sub-pixel enhancement etc.  Example: given an initial edit based on DNxHD (36), you want to replace those clips with equivalents “recaptured” (retranscoded from original recording, digital or otherwise) at DNxHD (220).
    • Recapture (Page 311).
    • Decompose (Page 311) breaks a Sequence into its component clips.  This enables you to organize these clips in bins, recapture them etc.  Without this feature, a recapture would take place over all clips at once – when you really only want certain clips recaptured, or maybe put off some until another day.
    • Recapture
    • Scott Simmons:
      • Decomposing gives you a new sequence with offline media that has had all the clips trimmed to only include the media used in the edit + handles. If you’ve edited at low resolution you then recapture only the media you need at the online rez.
    • Randall L. Rike: Consolidate isn’t designed to create offline media.  It is used to move/copy media.  Similar to Decompose, it can move/copy only the segments of clips required to support a sequence.
    • Larry Rubin: The consolidation function is also useful for creating duplicate sets of clips and media that are linked to a different project than the one they were originally created in.
    • Job ter Burg:
      • Consolidate a sequence: make a dupe of all media that is being used in the sequence (with handles if you want). Consolidate master clips: make a dupe of the clip on a new destination drive. Consolidate subclips: make a dupe of this part of the media on a new destination drive. Decompose a sequence: generate offline clips for all media that is being used in the sequence (with handles if you want). You can’t decompose master clips.
      • Decompose I would use when finishing a tape based offline and preparing for tape capture to hi res media-right?Absolutely. Performing a Batch Capture would sort of have the same result, except Decomposer gives you more control over the batch process (as you can select which clips, etc).
      • You can’t decompose master clips
      • What I meant was if I consolidate a low res sequence, I am removing the unwanted media that does not reside in the sequence.Consolidating will not necessarily delete any unused media. And if you do select the option to delete originals, you still may have a lot of unused clips on board (that are completely unreferenced in the sequuence. I personally don’t consolidate that much anymore, as drive space is so cheap. If you do, I’d recommend consolidating onto an empty drive/partition, then hide/delete/remove the originals on your other media drives.
    • Pat Horridge:
      • Decompose is useful in that you create a new sequence and new master clips with whatever handles you set.  You can the decide how to re-capture/re-import those clips rather than with just batch capturing/batch importing the sequence which will just prompt for the required tapes/files.
      • Consolidate is normally used to create a new sequence and subset of Avid Media files for media management (so you can blow away the rest) or moving to a different system.
        • Take care that not all media can be consolidated (re AMA and “foreign types”) This skips those clips that link to media that can’t be made into Avid media files and your consolidated sequence will still be linked to the original AMA’d media.
        • So with AMA media and a mixture of sources you may need to consolidate and then transcode to get a complete set of media. (I’ve made a feature request to have this as a single function)
    • ?? (Not yet read) ??

Avid vs./alongside FCPX: My Interim Judgements

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

Though I’m currently concentrating on learning Avid, I’m trying to get my head around available tools (NLEs and their “satellites” and “ecosystems”) and how best to make use of them.  My overall impressions so far, being only a beginner on Avid Media Composer having never used Apple FCPX, are:

  • It’s probably best to learn about but not use FCPX for a few “dots” (sub-version updates), as Larry (and others) always advise for any software.  In fact I won’t even install the trial.
  • From my experience so far of producing videos of numerous live events – mostly music and lectures, some corporates and exactly one (very successful but very time-consuming) wedding movie (two-hour, creative & live elements, multicam) – as well as absorbtions from lectures given by professional high-end wedding producers, I have acquired the following views:
    • FCPX would certainly increase productivity for lightweight and freestyle projects, such as single-editors working on post for largely unscripted /unscreenplayed / unpredictable live events and ad-hoc / avante-garde productions, be they “human” or “nature”,  and also for spontaneous home movies.  Its Skimming feature allows rapid identification/location of material you need, e.g. to carry the story between cuts (creative spatio-temporal continuity) or that you didn’t realise you could make use of (opportunistic spikes of creativity).
      • I don’t miss FCP7, so no axe to grind then, and when FCPX matures, it is definitely worth considering. But given Apple’s demonstrated lack of consideration for the existing FCP-pre-X user-base, and possible lack of appreciation of the difficulties they would cause by their “switch”, I cannot regard them as a reliable company.  Even before the “switch”, they demonstrated a lack of care about how compatible new versions of QuickTime would be with Final Cut.  One had to have an ear to the ground in the vicinity of suitable grapevines known only to the few…
    • Avid Media Composer is probably more productive on heavy-duty media-industrial projects, especially where there is significant distribution of effort within the workflow (e.g. teams & departments) or where the overall production is largely screenplayed / scripted or at least predictable.  It’s less clunky than it used to be (e.g.MC v3); it’s clunkiness is now under the threshold that I mostly care about.  I just wish its media management and browsing was swisher – the “media database” concept is great, no need to keep heving to re-name disk letters (on Windows), just bolt on a bunch of disks anyhow, or even migrate them to a RAID (say) and still have it “join-up”.
      • …Though at the same time I’m slightly concerned by stories I’ve read (on advice-giving forums) of people having to employ “hacks” like temporarily renaming Avid media folders or having to rely on automatic ducks 🙂 just to copy all media, including renders, to a different set of disks for a co-worker.  Not everybody uses InterPlay or network storage.  And, hopefully a passing phase, I hear that FCPX cannot store certain project files (?) to network storage, only local storage, limiting the possible kinds of practical Avid-FCPX collaboration physical workflow.
    • An example of a largely screenplayed project would be a high-production-value wedding.  On the other hand a wedding involving only basic event-planning (not incorporating a filming plan) will likely result in largely uncoordinated (e.g. opportunistic) camera work (possibly even by guests with pocket phones or camcorders).  Such a project may feature an “at-least predictable” core of master shots but overall would be chaotic in nature, favouring FCPX.  An engineering lecture with multiple cameras and ad-hoc  cutaway shots, e.g. audience reactions, could be regarded as mostly predictable but chaotic at the edge, making the decision (which NLE is best) less obvious.
    • One could imagine using the two tools together, the main project being in Avid as primary (solid, distributed workflow), with the (e.g. delegated) more lightweight job of identifying useful elements and configurations of the ad-hoc elements (including proposed in-post transformations e.g. mirroring), and possibly also some initial assemblies, being carried out in FCPX as secondary. The right tool for the right job-let…
      • And that way, if Apple on a whim tomorrow change everything to FCPY or ban yet another popular but non-Apple import or export format, it’s no show-stopper.
  • BUT I’m still trying toget my head around it all.  All the above is just the best I’ve come up with so far.
    • AND… I haven’t yet looked at Adobe.

Avid MC: Update 5.0-5.5: Sorenson Squeeze (Which Version?)

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

Sorenson Squeeze – a well-known compressor/encoder, bundled as part of Avid Media Composer (MC) but also an independent product in its own right.

  • Avid specify a specific version but also it is available from Sorenson itself in various updates.
    • The MC 5.5.2 manifest specifies a specific version of Squeeze, namely 6.0.4.
    • I choose instead Sorenson’s own update for Avid users, namely v6.5.
      • The reasoning is below (under “More…”).
  • Also activated the “free MP3 Codec” bundled with Squeeze.


Avid MetaFuze – Description & Role

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

MetaFuze’s primary, if not only purpose is to prep files for Media Composer use – an “outboard importer”.  Though bundled with Media Composer, it is also available free, from (which redirects to  That means for example that preprocessing work (e.g. generation of burnt-timecode proxies and online files) can be generated (e.g. in DNxHD from an arbitrary source) by anyone whether or not they have an Avid system (apart from this app, and the free Avid codecs.  Potentially then a great option for breaking up work into collaborative / parallel workflows.


Avid MetaSync – Description & Role

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

Avid MetaSync automates the inclusion of metadata (expressed in suitable XML formats) into Avid editing systems, including synchronisation with video and audio. The metadata can be anything from subtitles / closed captioning to synchronized entertainments such as lightshows or simulator rides.  For closed captioning, it works particularly well with Final Draft and Evertz ProCap (both sold separately).  Thinks: can it be made to work with CeltX or some home-grown VBA-based XML-generator from Access or Excel ?

    • Avid MetaSync™
      • Avid MetaSync allows users to synchronize virtually any kind of metadata with video and audio content during the postproduction process. The MetaSync feature is now standard within Windows-based versions of Media Composer and NewsCutter products.
      • Avid’s MetaSync technology enables postproduction professionals to tap into new revenue streams such as closed captioning, subtitle text insertion, digital rights management, and interactive TV content as well as “converging media” such as motion simulation rides, movie theatre effects, internet devices, and interactive toys. All of these applications can be made to react to triggers embedded within standard film, video and TV content.
      • As long as a file type or process can be represented in the appropriate XML format, it can now be imported into Avid editing systems using the MetaSync feature and synchronized with video and audio. In the timeline, pointers to the original file can be positioned, trimmed and edited just like video and audio clips. The file can then be launched in its original format from directly within the Avid system to be viewed or updated, and any changes made are instantly reflected in the timeline and bin.
    • Avid MetaSync Workflow
      • In today’s typical scenario, one team will work on a show’s narrative content while a separate team works on the metadata elements of a program in a remote location, often at a different time altogether. Using the MetaSync feature, the Avid Editor, linked to a LAN or WAN, can edit metadata directly into the program while it’s under development. This allows the Editor to provide real-time feedback to the metadata content developers during the postproduction process.
      • Using the MetaSync refresh capabilities, the Avid Editor can update the metadata content within a show as it’s being refined. This allows the Editor to suggest changes based on how well this data is working within the actual video and audio elements of the program. The end result is higher quality programming with metadata elements more finely integrated with standard video and audio content.
    • The Avid MetaSync technology will work in conjunction with scriptwriting software provided by Final Draft, and ProCap authoring systems from Evertz, to create closed captioning and subtitling directly in the Avid timeline during the editing process. This practice will eliminate the separate step of incorporating this type of information into programs after finalized broadcast masters have been created.
    • In their press release they say the captioning and subtitling creation process for editors using Avid systems, is a simple as, importing the script dialogue directly from Final Draft and aligning it with the appropriate video content on the Avid timeline. Once editing is complete, both the video and the captioning information are fed through the Evertz ProCap system and caption-encoder, which insert the captions and subtitles into the final broadcast format, according to industry standards and specifications.
    • ‘‘Governments worldwide are mandating the adoption of closed captioning, and broadcasters have been looking for easier ways to streamline what has traditionally been a labor-intensive and time-consuming process,’’ said Ray Gilmartin, senior product marketing manager for Avid Technology. “Avid offers the perfect solution to meet their needs. Not only do MetaSync, Final Draft and Evertz ProCap make creating closed-captioning and subtitling almost effortless, but the process can now begin before the program is finished, saving producers valuable time as they strive to make tight broadcast deadlines.”
    • Avid MetaSync comes standard with all current versions of the Symphony, Media Composer, Avid Xpress and NewsCutter, systems, as well as the new Media Composer Adrenaline, NewsCutter Adrenaline FX, Avid Xpress Pro and NewsCutter XP systems announced today. Final Draft and Evertz ProCap are sold separately and are expected to work with Avid MetaSync to create the automated closed captioning and subtitling workflow in the second quarter. For more information about Avid MetaSync or Avid’s other products and services, please visit

Avid PhraseFind (& ScriptSync)

Friday, August 12th, 2011

What is Avid Deko ?

Friday, August 12th, 2011

It’s listed on my Avid Downloads page, though I don’t know if I would be able to activate it, or whether it would be worth the trouble.  It’s listed as Deko 2200.  So I googled and YouTubed about…  Impression: that version is very obsolete.  It looks like it was originally developed by Pinnacle, who Avid bought-up.

Avid MC: Update not to 5.5.1 but 5.5.2 (& Additional Apps eg Boris etc)

Friday, August 12th, 2011

Updating Avid Media Composer (MC) to v5.5.2:

  • I purchased an update from Avid Media Composer (MC) v5.0 to v5.5.
    • Actually I purchased PhraseFind, with which the MC 5.5 upgrade was bundled for free.
  • Following the purchase, I received an email with dowload links for PhraseFind and for MC 5.5.1.
  • I subsequently became aware that MC 5.5.1 had been superseded by an update to MC 5.5.2.
  • Two routes to this latest version were possible: update-patch or stanalone-install.
  • Advice from a “guru” on an Avid forum confirmed my instince: go for the standalone install.
  • I chose to follow that advice.
  • I downloaded a combined installer forMC 5.5.2 and PhraseFind.
  • Installation procedure:
    • First I uninstalled all Avid-associated software and started from scratch.
      • No need to deactivate before uninstall since I am using a dongle, not activation.
    • Installed the new MC version (with PhraseFind) with no problems.
    • Went about installing the Avid Production Suite applications, such as Boris, Sorenson Squeeze, Sonic DVD.
      • See separate posts on each of these items.


Avid MC: Update 5.0-5.5: AMA Plugins (Downloaded Separately as of MC5.5)

Friday, August 12th, 2011

In Avid Media Composer v5.5, the AMA plugins are no longer bundled (as they were with earlier versions).  The reasoning for this is that these plugins are developed by respective device manufacturers, who are by this route free to bugfix/update their plugins independently of Avid MC releases.  So I had a download-spree, from, chosing the following:

They are reasonably small, about 1MB for Windows and 10 MB for Mac (very general round figures).

Avid MC: Offline-Online Basic Idea

Friday, August 12th, 2011

Previously I posted “Avid Media Composer: Offline-Online Basic Instructions”, at  But that approach seemed a little quirky, what with renaming Avid subfolders etc.   By accident, while searching on Avid MC AMA-linking to Cineform-encoded video, I stumbled upon a forum discussion not only covering this but also how to go about (instead) using MXF ingest initially to small files (DNxHD 36) for cutting and subsequent re-ingest/replacement (DNxHD 128) for grading and final product etc.  The advice given in the forum was that the AMA approach was faster but more fragile than the MXF approach.  I guess the best of both worlds would be a workflow initially using AMA (eg for rush-edits) but then migrating to MXF for the full professional treatment.


Avid MC: Titling

Friday, August 12th, 2011

Below is a list of are some video tutorials I found on the web, illustrating how to do titling in Avid Media Composer.  There are several options (tools/plugins) in the Avid suite, from simple to more sophisticated (and complicated). Notably, the Marquee tool can automatically generate a set of lower thirds and text animations etc. in consistent style based on text in a simple text-file.  Really useful for apportioning the work between different people or simply editing the text on say a mobile phone (maybe even with dictation app).

Avid MC: Update 5.0-5.5: Additional Downloads (eg Start-Up (Demo/Example) Project)

Friday, August 12th, 2011

 Avid downloads e.g. the Startup Project for Media Composer, Symphony, and NewsCutter.  Useful when completing the installation of a download-order or when (with dongle in hand) installing on a “foreign” machine.

    • The Startup Project – including Media – can be downloaded from the Avid Video Download Center. Simply log-in to the Download Center and select your product (Media Composer, Symphony, or NewsCutter.) Select the version you are currently using (Media Composer 5.0, for example). You will then be presented with a download for the Startup Project (as well as downloads for the product installer, ReadMe, etc.)
    • But you need a Download account first.  This is separate from your standard Avid account, though once created, it can be linked to it.
    • Downloads:
      • Installation Guide for Avid Editing Applications
      • What’s New in v5.5/9.5 Guide
      • Avid Media Composer v5.5.2 ReadMe
      • Avid Media Composer v5.5.2 PC Installer
      • Avid Media Composer v5.5.2 Win Goodies
        • Third-Party Plug-ins e.g. ???
        • Demo versions of third-party applications.
      • Avid Editor v5.5.X Win Startup Project
      • Versioner 8/12/2011.  Updates your dongle to run another version of Avid software.

Avid MediaComposer 5 & Cineform (Neo)

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

It is possible to export to [QuickTime>Neo] and then eve to AMA-link to it:

      • Steps:
      1. File->Export
      2. Select “Send to QT Movie” in the Export Setting dropdown at the
        bottom of the export window.
      3. Select an output location and input output file name.
      4. Click “Options” to the right of the Export Setting dropdown
        1. In the “Options” window:
        2. Export As: “QuickTime Movie”
        3. Width x Height: match your source or input desired scale size
        4. Select “601/709″ if you have NOT selected “Enable 4:4:4 encoding”. If
          you have, select “RGB”
        5. Display Aspect Ratio: “Native Dimensions” if you are not scaling,
          desired output if you are.
      5. Click “Format Options…”
        1. Sound: Checked, uncompressed, 48kHz, 16-bit, Stereo
      6. Click “Settings”
        1. Compression Type: CineForm HD/4K/3D
        2. Frame Rate: Current
        3. Depth: Millions of Colors+
        4. Quality (Set at user discretion, recommended “High” or “Best”)
      7. Quality Options: “Enable 4:4:4 encoding” and “Interlaced video
        source” are options to use at your discretion
      8. Click “OK” as you navigate back to the original “Export” window, and click “OK” again to start your export.
      9. Upon completion, go back to your project bin, right-click and select “Link to AMA File(s)…” and
        navigate to your new file.
      • For 3D projects, you will want to do one of these renders for each eye, then mux the outputs back together for a 3D master, as described here:

However one person found that while the basic codec worked OK with Avid MC, the FirstLight LUT-altering aspect did not:

Avid PhraseFind Activation (Application & Language Pack)

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

How to activate the PhraseFind plugin to Avid Media Composer:

I wish it could instead be tied to my Avid dongle…

Avid MC: Update 5.0-5.5: AMA Plugins Not Included

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

My previous Avid MC version was able to AMA-link to XDCAM-EX files, straight away, i.e. straight after installing MC.  However, having updated it to MC 5.5 (fresh install, not on top of older version) this no longer worked.  Reason: the camera-specific AMA Plugins (e.g. for Sony XDCAM) are no longer bundled with MC, you have to download and install it separately.

    •  Starting with Media Composer 5.5, Symphony 5.5, and NewsCutter 9.5, you’ll need to download and install the AMA plug-ins you want separately from your editing software (these plug-ins are no longer included in the installer except for the QuickTime AMA plug-in). This enables Avid and third-party camera manufacturers to update plug-ins outside of a software release. (If you’re using an older version of Avid editing software, some of these plug-ins may already be installed on your system—please see the system requirements, below, for compatibility details.)


      • Canon XF 300 AMA plug-in (download)
      • Canon XF 305 AMA plug-in (download)
      • Ikegami GFCAM AMA plug-in (download)
      • MXF AMA plug-in (download)
      • Panasonic P2 AMA plug-in (download)
      • QuickTime AMA plug-in (installed with your software)
      • RED AMA plug-in (download)
      • Sony HDCAM SR Lite AMA plug-in (download)
      • Sony XDCAM/XDCAM EX AMA plug-ins (download)

Avid Media Composer: Offline-Online Basic Instructions

Monday, August 8th, 2011

Paraphrasing 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.

Avid Media Composer Workflow Basics for AMA, Consolidate, Transcode, Relink etc.

Monday, August 8th, 2011

  • This provides a great introduction to how/where one would use Consolidate/Transcode etc. in various contexts e.g. a News or a Documentary situation.

Avid: AMA versus MediaFiles

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

(Retrospective-publish – got held-up in Drafts – hence earlier posts may possibly address this) (As I understand it…) Avid traditionally manages media files (ingested to its own media formats in its own [Avid MediaFiles] folders where they are identified by pesudo-random file-names) in a database-like manner, enabling media and projects to be “shovelled around like stuff” between actual storage disks etc.  This is in contrast to (most? all?) other editing systems where the user must manage consistency of project-expected and actual file locations and names – though that “manual” task can be assisted by automatic search/relink tools (part of the editing system).  In contrast, the new AMA feature allows Avid projects to link directly to “alien” (to Avid) media under the control (and naming etc.) of diverse systems, be they user work practices or media recording/management systems.  The latter is certainly immediately convenient, but what about longer-term?  Is the traditional Avid media management essentially eroded?  Does it matter in practice?  Do people in practice only use AMA for rushes or rush-jobs?  Web-research this!

Avid AMA Limitations & Workflows

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Avid’s AMA allows direct use of media files in proprietary formats such as XDCAM-EX (BPAV folders etc.) , no need to import, just link.  However there are limitations, according to the Sony XDCAM and XDCAM EX AMA Plug-in Guide (as of 2011-06-08, relates to Media Composer 5.0):

  • No automatic relinking:
    • If the path to the AMA media changes (e.g. when files moved or a drive’s letter gets accidentally changed) then error message complains “Offline”.
      • Windows UNC (Universal Naming Convention) paths are not supported with AMA media.
        • To link AMA media, map it to the drive.
      • The Dynamic Relink option is not supported with AMA clips.
  • Avid does not support MultiCamera editing with AMA clips.
  • When the AMA setting is activated (default), the traditional import options [File > Import P2 (and Import XDCAM Proxy)] do not appear in the File menu. Deactivate the AMA setting and restart Avid to display those option.
    • But only AMA mode preserves the XDCAM metadata e.g. from camera settings and (presumably) any user/clip/log information entered via Sony’s Clip Browser.
  • You should not mix workflows. Either use the AMA method or use the traditional import/batch import method.
  • Some suggested workflows:
  • The following gives a great practical guide, based on a range of shoot-types (news, doc etc) and also explains aboutRELINKing from AMA to media that has been copied to Avid storage.

Avid: Mac & Windows Inter-Operability

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Avid: Installing an Upgrade over an Existing One

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Avid: Moving Media

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

Suppose I import (or whatever) media to one drive but subsequently want it on another drive.  For example maybe I forgot to alter the project settings or simply got hold of a better storage device.  How do I move (migrate) the media to the other drive in a way that the project depending on these media can still function?

Avid: Tutorial Documents

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

Avid: Config Windows 7 for Best Performance

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

Avid: Ingesting XDCAM-EX

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

How to ingest XDCAM-EX.  The following methods exist:

  • Quick:
    • But this leaves it long-GOP and it remains outside AVid’s managed media database.
    • Avid AMA link to XDCAM-EX’s BPAV folder.
      • Avid: File > Link to AMA Volume (e.g. folder containing BPAV folder)
  • Robust (or not?):
    • But this leaves it long-GOP and loses some metadata ?
        • Basically if you import clips this way you are absolutely locked in to those specific media files. No backup will allow a recovery or relink, short of storing the actual files (exactly) as they are created in the Avid MediaFiles directory.
        • The easiest way to avoid this problem is actually to use the older process:
          • Using Clip Browsers ‘MXF for NLE’ export setting.
          • This will create OP-1A MXF files that you can then import into Media Composer
            • (the Avid will rewrap them as OP-Atom and relocate them to it’s media directory).
          • It is a slower process, but as it’s a standard import process all the necessary Metadata will be stored with the clips to allow a Batch Import later.
    • Rewrap to AAF (the “newr process”
        • Essentially this method unwraps the MP4 XDCAM-EX files and re-wraps them as MXF Op-Atom (Avid’s mediafile container) and places those files directly into one of Avid’s media directories (such as F:\Avid MediaFiles\MXF\2) and then creates an AAF file that contains a clip describing that shot (basically the easiest way to get the shots into a bin).
      • ClipBrowser Help
        • [Export Avid AAF] converts to the following two file formats (AAF containing pointer(s) to MXF containing media).
          • AAF file: Use to load clips into Avid editing system.
            • The extension is AAF, and the output destination is the media or folder specified in the Export dialog.
            • AAF files produced by the conversion can be registered in your Avid editing system project by dragging from Windows Explorer to a bin in the project.
          • MXF OPAtom file:
            • The extension is mxf
            • The output destination is the media or folder specified in the Conversion tab of the User Configuration dialog.
              • Normally this is the media folder of your Avid editing system project.
      • (2009 article recommended on CreativeCow in 2010)
      • ClipBrowser: File > Export > Avid AAF
        • But first must define the Avid project’s media location?
          • [Avid MediaFiles/MXF/nn] where nn is an integer ?
          • e.g. [F:\Avid MediaFiles\MXF\2].
  • Luxury ?:
    • Convert to DNxHD
        • If you do not have a Nitris DX system then you will have to transcode the material to DNXHD after import. I find that doing a rough cut in Native XDCAM will reduce the amount of material (and therefore time) that I have to transcode for final effects and finishing.
        • Clip Browser … not needed now that AMA is working great.
        • Use AMA to link to the clips/volume.
        • Take a look and edit instantly onto a sequence,
        • …or use the consolidate command to copy the clips at the native resolution into the AvidMediaFiles folder (aka Managed Media).
        • …or use the transcode command to import the clips at an AVID DNxHD resolution of your choosing.


XDCAM (incl. EX) Workflows in Various NLEs

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

Avid: Media Folders

Sunday, May 8th, 2011
  • I installed Avid on a MacBook Pro where system drive had both a HFS+ partition (for Mac OS) and a NTFS partition (for Windows 7).  Also it had MacDrive installed, making the HFS+ partition accessible (read & write) to Windows.  Avid was first installed to just Windows.
  • By default, Avid’s Media Creation settings had selected some items selected to the NTFS partition but others selected to the HFS+ partition.  As a result, both partitions acquired a [Avid MediaFiles] folder at root level.
  • I understand (from www) that to prevent Avid from creating a [Avid MediaFiles] folder on a given device, one can pre-emptively create a file of the same name there.
  • In addition, Avid’s Media Creation settings have options such as Filter Out System Drive and Filter Out Launch Drive.  Also Filter Network Drives Based on Resolution.
    • Latter confused me at first, i.e. what kind of resolution?  The Capture setting (tab) has a selection item for Video Resolution, the choices being DVCPro HD MXF or HD 720P MXF.   Surprises me that only these specific options should be given.  Not sure what to make of it…
  • Having not noticed the Media Creation Settings, immediately after installation I made a quick test project using QuickTime [.mov] files containing AVCHD from a Canon EOS 500D camera.
    • I simply dragged the files from Windows Explorer (on the camera) to an Avid bin.
      • Not sure what that counts as doing, I guess it’s another way of initiating an “Import”.
      • Could I instead have accessed the original (camera) format files via AMA?
    • The result was the HFS+ partition’s [Avid MediaFiles] folder contained [MXF] folder containing [1] folder containing a bunch of [.mxf] files, having names such as [EOS_0297.JPG13037404DB57E6B.mxf].  Also the database files [msmFMID.pmr] abd [msmMMOB.mdb].  The [.mxf] files were not recognized by either GSpot or VLC Player.

Avid TransferManager

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

Avid TransferManager – questions:

  • What is it, what is it useful for?
  • How avoid startup message?
    • The TransferManager server name is not set.  Please set the TMClient.ini parameters in the Transfer settings


  • Is e.g. for uploading to a Playback Server
  •  If annoying, can remove programs TM-server and TM-client (in Windows:  Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs)
    • But then how get them back again if required?  Maybe best to leave in-place…


Avid: Pan & Scan Within Source Resolution

Friday, May 6th, 2011

Conservative Software Policy in Cutting-Edge Movie

Friday, April 15th, 2011

  • << “Avatar” was cut on Avid Media Composer systems running software version 2.8.4. >>
  • << Even with the help of stalwart first assistant Jason Gaudio, the editing team did not want to risk upgrading their NLE software in mid-project despite the fact that Media Composers have been able to playback 3D sequences directly from the timeline ever since version 3.5. >>
    • (my italicization)
  • << So when they wanted to view the 48 terabytes of footage on their Avid Isis storage system holding both left and right eye tracks, they had to run both dailies footage and cut sequences through a QuVIS Acuity 3D playback platform. >>

Avid Media Composer – Secondary Color Correction – via Plug-ins

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

Although Avid Media Composer (MC) itself has no native Secondary Color Correction, that functionality can be achieved via plug-ins such as Boris (e.g. BCC Colors & Blurs) or Spectra Mate.

Avid Tutorials by Douglas – Latest List

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Latest list of Avid Media Composer Tutorials by Douglas (Gaijin-Eyes):

Great informative review of Avid Media Composer 5

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Avid has no Secondary Color Correction (but there are workarounds)

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Avid Media Composer (up to V5 at least) does not have secondary color correction.

    • Avid (Media Composer) does not have secondary color correction. At least not like Vegas does.
    • (Avid) Media Composer differentiates itself from Avid Symphony because it is missing Advanced/Secondary Color Correction and Universal Mastering.
    • Now all we need is secondary color correction…
    • I heard Media composer does not have secondary color correction
    • Idea 1:
      • Colorista does full screen or square/rectangle/oval/circle windows (not custom).
      • You can achieve “power windows”-style secondary results in Media Composer by duplicating the clip onto a higher track, using Animatte tools to isolate an area within the clip and applying different correction to that area.
    • Idea 2:
    • Idea 3:
      • Colorista combined with Magic Bullet Looks should be able to do everything you’re looking for.
      • I believe Colorista has masks or what’s commonly called Power Windows but I don’t believe they have a tracker. I suggest you download the demo version of each and try them out.
      • In the Media Composer you can use the Paint effect to create a shape and apply basic corrections to that shape and track it.
    • Media Composer has a tracker. Here’s a tutorial:
    • Using the Paint Effect or AniMatte with two layers of video a very basic correction can be applied and tracked. For example, I’ve corrected a scene where the subject was looking at a computer monitor and their face was blue from the reflection of the screen. I was able to draw a shape, make color adjustments to remove the cast and track it.
    • Additionally Boris Red/Avid FX has a powerful color corrector and motion tracking:

Avid & Boris FX

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Some good links with tutorials and documentation on Boris BX, within and without Avid:

DNxHD & 1080p50

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Avid DS allegedly supports it:

FCP inherent (unwanted) level & gamma changes – unlike Avid’s AMA

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Someone noticed that XDCAM-EX footage imported to FCP appeared different as compared to Avid (AMA import).  Addressed in an Avid forum thread started May 2010, referring to FCP 6.06 and Avid 4.02:

  • What AMA gives is, is _exactly_ what the camera has captured. What FCP shows you, is a remapped image, most often with a gamma shift. 
    • (For Avid AMA imports, Avid settings for RGB or 601 etc. make no difference – it’s always as-recorded).
    • … imports (to FCP) will look different (to expected), because FCP/QT “corrects” the gamma when bringing in footage (even if you would not want that).
  • Most people seem to agree that FCP works in 0-235, not 0-255, not 16-235. And without the option to leave things untouched. So if you import something into FCP, there’s no getting it back to the original levels anymore.

I guess I’d better do some experiments with ramps & scopes etc…

Reading Avid DNxHS into FCP

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

I installed the (free) LE version of Avid’s DNxHD onto bothWindows and Mac, in order to round-trip between Sony Vegas and FCP.  Having received no responses to my threads on forums for Sony Vegas and for FCP, I tried Avid’s forums.

  • The “Avid on Windows” Forum:
    • PC MediaComposer to MAC FCP
      • Thread from August 2009.  Might well be out of date now.
      • If you export DVCProHD from your PC Avid you’ll want to check the “Use AvidDV Codec” box.  This will encode the file as AvidDV100 (which is Avid’s DVCProHD codec).  With the Avid codecs installed on your FCP system you’ll be able to read them.
      • Why don’t they mention DNxHD ?
  • The “Avid on Mac” Forum:
    • Search on [fcp dnxhd]
        • Error while loading DNxHD QT .mov into FCP
        • Someone with same issue as me: they rendered from Sony Vegas to DNxHD to import to FCP, and the media wasn’t recognized.
        • Thus far, that thread is inconclusive, with suspicions focussing on the precise format settings etc. and the fact that the media was rendered from Sony Vegas (as I guess the latter is relatively “unknown territory” to the Avid/DNxHD folks).
        • I copied this info (& thread link) to the Sony Vegas forum  Useful replies:
          • …a smalll but critical point; the codec DNxHD does all the encoding of the video stream, vegas does not touch the encoding process. At most, vegas may update the file headers and starting meta data as it closes the file. If Sony has an issue it will be there, but I would question FCP file handling when it opening the file.
        • ?

Avid MC5 vs Adobe CS5 vs Apple FCP 7 (FCS 3)

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

  • Great article comparing their pragmatics for various kinds of business and workflow situation.
  • Also speculating on their likely future developments.

DNxHD Settings (revisited)

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Some further tips found online:

  • []
    • You have more than a dozen choices in the DNxHD codec…  (but you might not see them) because of the little display bug. When you select the Avid DNxHD codec, a window pops up. At the bottom of that window is just a little sliver of a pulldown menu. Click that and all should become clear.
  • []
    • DNxHD is a broadcast codec. And types that are not broadcast standards are not included.
    • …in the “Custom Settings” you can … set the Frame rate and the Field order to suit your … footage.
  • []
    • Settings for HD interlaced:
      • Color levels should be RGB
      • Size should be 1920×1080
      • Pixel aspect 1:1
      • Field order Upper
      • DNxHD-TR 175 8-bit template
      • Be sure to click OK (the dialog may fail to display it)
    • Variation for HDV:
      • Thin Raster is supposed to be better for stretched pixels like 1440×1080
  • []
    • You will be able to preserve aspect and gamma with DNxHD. Be sure to select the right bit depth and color levels for your originals. (For a) 1440×1080 source, (i.e.) HDV, … you will want 8-bit, 4:2:0 RGB output to match the originals.
    • One user’s experience (not mine):
      • Here’s the file settings for … m2t files (as provided by MediaInfo):
        • 25Mbps, 1440×1080 (16:9), at 29.97fps, MPEG video component version 2,(Main (high @1440)) BVOP
      • Here’s what it reports for the .mov generated by DNxHD:
        • 220Mbps, 1920×1080 (4:3) at 29.97fps, VC-3, DNxHD
      • I’m not sure where it got the 1920×1080 frame setting from, though. In the frame size box, I had custom frame settings of 1440 x 1080 with a PAR of 1.333.
      • Reply:
        • 1440 X 1.333 = 1919.52 which rounds up to 1920.
        • Your render frame size should be set to 1920×1080 to preserve the aspect. As gets mentioned a lot in these forums, MOV does not respect PAR.
  • []
    • Best way to export timeline to FCP for CC:
      • Change your color space to RGB. Click the little pulldown window at the bottom, select 1080i/59.94 DNxHD 220x. And when you say OK to this window, change the slider from the current 50% quality to 100%. Then render out. The file will be slightly less than 2 minutes per gig.
      • Avid 1:1 is an uncompressed codec designed for SD video. DNxHD is an HD codec and the only one Avid uses.

Avid MC5

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

From article “NAB 2010: AVID MEDIA COMPOSER 5.0” of 2010-04-25 at [], as of 2010-05-15:

  •  Avid Media Composer 5.0 now works with the Matrox MXO2 Mini (not main or LE), not for capture, but for monitoring on a large monitor.
  • New advanced Avid Media Access (AMA).
    • This new version of AMA now allows Avid MC to access Quicktime files directly, and allows MC to EDIT those QTs without converting or transcoding them. So things like ProRes, the new Canon XF codec…they are directly accessed via AMA and you can just start editing them right away.  For example from files recorded on a KiPro unit or a QuickTime-based camera.
      • But move the files, and the connection is broken.   So, if you want to work with the footage natively, then move it to the folder you want it to reside in on your media drive, then import.
      • A possible FCP+AVid workflow: Utilize FCP to capture the footage (ProRes), use AMA to import that footage into AVID MC 5.0…edit (e.g. by Avid-only editing people) …then send that sequence back to FCP (via Automatic Duck) linking to the original media…send to Color to color correct, then output from FCP?
    • This also includes native RED files. Media Composer can edit them without the need to transcode.
    • You can adjust the color of the footage before you bring it over…apply a general look while you edit.
  • A FCP look&feel approximating mode called Smart Tools mode.  Can toggle between this and Classic mode.
  • AVCHD import. Before now you had to use third party applications to convert the footage to DNxHD, like ClipWrap. Not anymore. Now you can import the AVCHD footage directly into Avid MC via the IMPORT feature.  (But) there are multiple types of AVCHD (can it cope with them?).
  • Audio improvements:
    • You can now SOLO and MUTE on the timeline.
    • You can now access the Audio Suite plugins directly from the timeline.
    • And (for screen update speed) you can turn on Audio Waveforms on SELECT TRACKS ONLY.
    • You can now make a stereo pair appear as only ONE TRACK on the timeline. This works for stereo sound effects too.
    • Direct access to many audio suite plugins directly on the timeline. No need to go digging in the Audio Tool for them.

The  [] article also reported something about Avid remote editing using cloud computing, but that sounds to me like a whole other topic.