Archive for the ‘Avid’ Category

AVID vs FCP – a current and thoughtful discussion (at last!)

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

Horses for Courses – Avid vs. FCP:

Avid tutorials etc – nice

Friday, January 8th, 2010

Avid (MC4) Mix & Match (of formats on timeline, no need to render)

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010
  • The mix&match feature of the Avid (e.g. MC4) assumes bringing in footage in corresponding projects. After that, you can instantly access that footage from any other project (or project type), and playback in real-time
    • Your sequence setting is what you tell it.  1080i, 720p, 525i…whathaveyou.  And whatever clip you add to that that ISN’T that format, gets scaled to that format…using a filter called a MOTION ADAPTER.  This add interpolation to match the sequence settings, and this is added automatically when you add new footage that doesn’t match.  And there are all sorts of interpolation modes…these are all user selectable.  AND you can change your sequence settings to match something else later.
    • If you want the interpolation to better then you can “promote” the motion adapter to a full blown TIME WARP (that has been there for many years) and the footage will benefit more.
    • Works in software-only (no Mojo required) and takes advantage of multi-core (e.g. 8 core)
    • Avid’s ‘open timeline’ implementation is much better than FCP’s.  Avid MC automatically adds a plugin that is designed to do this upscale in very smart ways. It isn’t just scaling it and then repeating a frame.
    • The editor does need to have certain “switches “ turned on to see the highest quality output, such as: -Full Quality 10bit output, -HQ RT Scaling Decoder, -Advanced Polyphase image interpolation.
  • For example: “you will have to import NTSC clips in an NTSC project and 720p60 clips in a 720p60 project. If you try to import 720p60 files into a 30i project, you will be downconverting upon import, which is not as nice, and will not be able to handle certain metadata correctly”

Using ProRes in Avid Media Composer (MC)

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

How easy is it to use ProRes in Avid MC4 these days?  Obviously relevant to using FCP-generated media in AVid but also for establishing the practicality of using the Aja KiPro recording device – a hot topic for lots of people.

I am an extreme newbie on Avid, though experienced in some other NLEs, and I am not yet au fait with the basic Avid quirks and ways.  I read that it is possible to import ProRes but that there can be issues with level shifts (gamma & 709 etc.).  Is this true and is there a workaround for it?  If levels issue was solved then would there be any further issues?

I did try searching via Google and in the Avid forum but precise intelligence on this subject was thin on the ground.  Most people seem to just convert ProRes to DNxHD; what I’d like to know is whether it’s practical to avoid that and just use ProRes-encoded media directly.   Maybe that’s a very naive perspective, as my experience below hints at…

I did a quick experiment to Import some ProRes to an Avid project (on Mac).  The ProRes I had available just happened to be SD (35 sec clip, 180MB).  The project was HD (I just accepted this as default).  Importing it caused it to do “Creating video from QT”.  [Avid:(bin)>Clip>Reveal] showed that this “creation” had produced (in a generic Avid scatch area) a set of three MXF files, two of 3.5MB (the stereo audio channels maybe?) and one of 500MB, which I assume is the upscaled version of the original media.  It was not playable by QuickTime or recognized by VideoSpec.  Meanwhile, the bin I imported to listed a QT (.mov) file of the same name as the original ProRes file but its datestamp (in the bin) indicated it had been created just now and it was listed as being of type DNxHD 120 (not the original datestamp or codec i.e. ProRes).  I wonder if it is a Reference file, just pointing to the content in the MXF files, and in that case whether the original ProRes file could (in principle) now be deleted, if that original file is not being used by the project.  I wonder where the reference file (if that’s what it is) is located.

Next I tried a more sensible experiment: Import SD ProRes (PAL DV 50i LFF, 27MB) into a matching project.  Again got the “Creating video from QT” message but it completed more quickly (presumably because it didn’t need to upscale and involved less data).  The resulting (created) MXF files were two of 772KB and one of 19MB.  The bin listed the imported file under its original name (.MOV) but being of type DV 25 411.  The “411” is news to me – PAL DV uses “420” colour sampling whereas “411” is for NTSC.  Makes me want to call “911”…    I guess (and hope!) this message is just the result of a “lazy” bit of coding in Avid, i.e. that it hasn’t really re-sampled my media’s colours into colors…  Even if it hasn’t done that, DV is a lossy format (hence I suppose the slightly smaller file size than the original ProRes) and I would have preferred some kind of “visually lossless” format (can DNxHD also handle SD resolution?) here.  Maybe I need to attain some Avid-Wrangling skills. On a hopeful hunch I briefly tried Avid’s AMA but it didn’t recognize the folder containing my ProRes files as an AMA-compatible volume.  On a previous occasion I had used AMA successfully with a folder of XDCAM-EX footage and that had worked fine, so I just hoped … but my hopes were dashed.

It looks on the face of it like there’s no choice: Avid generates its own equivalent files in its preferred format (MXF-Avid) automatically, not just re-wrapping the “rival/alien” ProRes stuff but transcoding it into DNxHD (for an HD project) or DV (for a DV project).

But it’s early days in my Avid experience and I will find out more…

DNxHD Settings

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

When to use each kind of DNxHD format?

Avid Issues with usage of non-Avid formats e.g. ProRes

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Someone switching from Vegas to Avid, seeking advice:

Example advice from that thread:

  • (Implicitly, from the following) Try AMA as a first port of call.
  • “Import” is used for file types that can’t be accessed via AMA (Avid Media Access). There are two types of Importing: fast and I guess what I’d call slow.
    • Fast Import rewraps the file in an MXF container, but it does not transcode, so it takes very little time and there is absolutely no quality hit. 
    • Slow Import is necessary when the codec is not natively supported inside MC or one of the import settings dictates a transcode, e.g. going from 601 to RGB color levels (hard remapping all colors so 16 becomes 0 and 235 becomes 255).  Slow importing can take time
  • Avid will most certainly accept (content in) a MOV container, but will always generate new MXF mediafiles when you import these MOVs into the system.
    • Indeed that’s what happened when I imported a MOV file containing ProRes content.  The MXF was about the same size as the MOV.
    • I guess this would have been an example of Slow Import
  • Avid works mostly with its own codec, and with some other codecs. Not with ProRes.

The comment about ProRes conflicts with advice I have read elsewhere (and repeated elsewhere on this blog).  Possibly it is context-dependent (e.g. PC/Mac, Avid version, QT version, workflow) ???  I will reserve judgement until I have tried it.

Mac OS Snow Leopard – clean install (not upgrade)

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

“… if you want to upgrade to Snow Leopard, Avid recommends that you do a clean install of the OS, rather than a simple upgrade. ” []

Codecs for Mac/PC/linux & FCP/Avid transfer

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Eugenia recommended ([] as of September 2008) DNxHD and ProRes, among other codecs, for transfer between PC and Mac.   She also advises Lagarith for transfer to/from linux, though it sounds slightly tricky.According to BobRusso (Applications Specialist at Avid) []:<<< 

You can install the ProRes decoder on a system without FCP:


Make sure you have the latest version of the Avid codecs. They can be downloaded here:

I suggest using MPEG Streamclip to convert the files:



Aja KiPro records 10-bit 422 ProRes; can Avid use it?

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

The Aja KiPro captures HD (& SD?) from analog or SDI to 10-bit 422 to QT-ProRes (ordinaire and HQ).   In comparison the Convergent Design products currently capture to 8-bit 422 (hi-bitrate Mpeg2).  ProRes is particularly suited to (aimed at) Final Cut.  But since ProRes decoder is freely available, including on Windows, the KiPro could be used with other NLEs.Presumably (haven’t yet tried) once the ProRes is  copied to the editing system’s media drive, it can be simply dropped into an Avid project (bin/timeline).  Some seem to find it OK e.g. “I import ProRes straight into MC all day, no problems. You’ll need FCP 7 to have access to the new 4444 codec though..” [].  But some people are cagey about this (on principle?) “…if I were you I would reencode the quicktimes to an Avid codec” [].  One re-encoding option [] is Mpeg StreamClip [].  Not sure what the advantage is (or whether it is real) but some people complain of problems with levels [] and metadata.  I would hope that Avid’s “New Thinking” would render any such problems historical, but experience will tell.One slight nuisance – Avid doesn’t work directly with the Aja KiPro.  That is, the KiPro is not a device type recognized by Avid’s Advanced Media Architecture AMA [ ].  Not a show-stopper, but definitely a tilting force (from Avid to FCS/FCP).The KiPro is bulkier than the Convergent Design products.  It can record from more kinds of input to more kinds of storage medium. I haven’t looked at power consumption or robustness yet. Links: 

Avid-qualified Macs (incl MacBookPro)

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Avid on Athlon – sometimes possible

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Un-advised by Avid but the people are doing it anyway…

  • []
    • Avid® Xpress® DV 3.5 FAQ (2003)
      • Avid does not recommend Athlon systems. While some users are reporting good success with these systems, many more are having problems. If you are going to get an Athlon, make sure you or your dealer install all the latest BIOS upgrades and chipset patches prior to installing Xpress DV (2003)
  • [] (2009)
    • “New Nested Effects Technique in Media Composer 3.5” (article, May 2009))
      • MC 3.5.1, HP dv9605ea, Vista Home Premium, AMD Athlon 1.8 GHz, 2 GB RAM, nVidia GeForce 7150M, Conexant HD Audio, G-tech 500GB G-drive
  • [] (2006)
    • “I have two editing systems, the HP xw8200 with a Quadro FX card, and the d4100e Dual Core Athlon 64x, with a ATI x1600 video card, I had installed Avid Xpress Pro 5.6.2 with Mojo on both machines, for my surprise I do not get any errors on the System with the ATI video card and Athlon Processors. I am able to capture, edit, export and playback audio and video without any problem.” (2006)

Avid & FCP on Mac – Coexist?

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Reports and advice vary:

  • Some advise “No”.
    • []
      • “What about installing other video applications such as Premiere Pro or Canopus Procoder?
        Installing other NLEs such as Premiere, Vegas or Edius is seriously not a good idea. You will definitely run into huge problems and this may even result in having to reformat your system in order to fix things. Transcoding applications such as Sorenson Squeeze, Canopus Procoder, CinemaCraft and Media Cleaner are fine. “
      • “There are many software programs which you can install safely on your system without affecting performance or stability. However, our view is that your Avid system should be used for video editing only. If you need Photoshop or After Effects, feel free to install them. However, the problem is that the more software you install, the more likely that something somewhere will have a negative effect on performance. Using your Avid system as an office PC is not a good idea. “
  •  Others say yes:
    • []
      • “There was a problem where FCP would act up if the Avid codecs were installed (installing Avid installs them), so maybe that’ll be a problem.  Otherwise, install both and try it–if they don’t run, uninstall and pick your editing poison.  Ghost your drive before hand in case you run into problems.  It’ll be faster than waiting for “definitive” reply.” (2007-05)
      • “I’m running them both, w/no observable deficiencies.  At least on Avid.  I can’t say I’ve used FCP for more than 10 times or so.  I really air out the Avid 2.7, so I can say it’s solid w/the FCP install. ” (2007-05)
      • “I’ve got both on the same cpu and I haven’t noticed any difference. They both seem to work fine even if they are both running at the same time. That is if I’m doing a major export or render on the Avid I can still edit on FCP with Avid working in the background. I would suggest that you keep your media on separate drives though.” (2007-05)
    • []
      • “I run both systems on one partition of my Adrenaline system. There really is no problem. The only thing to be aware of is the capture card. If you are using an Aja card, you’ll need to disable it when launching the AVID by holding down the SHIFT key.” (2006-06)