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Lindsay Simpson
CatDV and Avid Workflow
on May 6, 2011 at 10:28:55 pm

Hi all,

I am new to CatDV and just installed CatDV Pro with the archive and mxf options purchased and active. I have been doing some reading including, the CatDV manual and the eventual final location for our archives referenced via CatDV catalogues, our Cache-A Pro-Cache LTO tape deck.

We are in a long process of phasing Avid out of our workflow, but currently have a quite a bit of media that was consolidated/transcoded upon import to Avid and is stored in the chaos that is 'AvidMediaFiles'

My question here is this: How do I take the massive AvidMediaFiles folder and import into CatDV to individual catalogs based on bins inside Avid Media Composer? The bins I refer to have been organized via subject matter or location etc. I haven't come across any specific written guidelines for doing so. If anyone has, please point me in the right direction.

As we speak, for my first catalog import test attempt, I pointed CatDV to the top 'AvidMediaFiles' folder. This is one huge catalog...and still importing! From my reading, smaller, more defined catalogs are more useful (duh!) Is there an alternate method to perhaps take this giant catalog and using it for reference since I can put a thumbnail to a generic MXF file name and create catalogs using the big one? Can you drag/drop so to speak from one catalog to another?

Any helpful references on work flow with Avid MC/Premiere ProCS5>>CatDV>>Cache-A Pro-cache would be great!

Thanks!
Lindsay


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Kevin Duggan
Re: CatDV and Avid Workflow
on May 7, 2011 at 8:51:22 am

Hi Lindsay,
you ask good questions! Firstly you can take a look at http://www.mme.tv and there are a couple of videos up there that show you how CatDV and MME work together to help with the workflows you describe. If you are not aware CatDv is a Qtime application and the addition of Calibrated Softwares products which give the ability to play your avid mxf files within Catdv is also desirable. This by the way is a cross platform solution which is generally important in the Avid space.
Your approach to drop the AvidMediaFolder is a good one, the chaos that you describe is perhaps a little harsh on Avid , they have just adopted a different approach to media management than say FCP and Premiere. The files themselves do not have meaningful names as far as human readability is concerned but CatDV can stitch the mxf files into playable clips and extract metadata that is embedded into these files and allow you to filter based upon multiple attributes which may aid you in making sense of your Avid back catalog. You do not mention whether you are on shared storage or if your AvidMediaFolder is a shared folder. If it is you will see a folder structure within the AvidMediaFiles folder , the folders that contain the media are numbered. In a Unity environment the numbered folders basically refer to each editing station, you should be able to work out which is which based on the content , so this may be a help in figuring out what to drop into Catdv. As mentioned check out one of the movies on the MME site, I would recommend this approach rather than throwing the whole lot at CATDV as it will help you discern what is what.
Going forward MME will offer as our highest priority , AAF out of the Avid into a form of XML that CatDv can import complete with the metadata from your bins, this will allow a project by project approach to getting the Avid media and metadata into Catdv as well as the ability to generate proxies, etc and all of the usual CatDv workflows. It is our intention to upgrade for free to this functionality to early adopters of MME . Another approach you can use right now if you can identify the correct files , is to apply an ALE log file to the relevant media files within Catdv, which will bring over logging information into Catdv. This is not as elegant as the MME/AAF approach as it applies to one tape at a time but is being used successfully in the context of the right workflow.
Finally the above methodologies , ( AAF and XML exports ) will allow Premiere to Avid to FCP and round tripping of metadata across these three platforms to be implemented.
Yes its a brave new world out there!

Hope this helps , but feel free to ask further questions as it may help others who are on this journey :-)

Kevin Duggan
CatDV/MME


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Lindsay Simpson
Re: CatDV and Avid Workflow
on May 9, 2011 at 4:44:15 pm

Hi Kevin,

Thanks for your thoughtful. response. I found it very helpful and am headed in the right direction. I have taken a look at the MME website and it does seem like a very valuable tool. I'm going to download and demo it. I've also installed a demo of Calibrated MXF.

Oy, I didn't realize I would need the extra plug-ins and will have to sell the need to my IT folks to hopefully get those purchased asap.

I went ahead a built a test catalog with one of the numbered folders in Avid MediaFiles (the smallest one) and was able to successfully import it, save the catalog, and after closing/opening CatDV following the Calibrated MXF install view the thumbnails.

This first catalog import did raise another question I have regarding Avid and CatDV. In some projects we have old DV footage mixed with new HD content. The project format is set to HD specifications and the SD clips formatted with filters to avoid distortion. I noticed the SD clips preview in CatDV, stretched, in a 16:9 format. Is this related to the Avid project format?

Thanks again, and I am sure there will be more questions to come!

Lindsay



Thanks!
Lindsay


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Kevin Duggan
Re: CatDV and Avid Workflow
on May 9, 2011 at 5:12:47 pm

Hi Lindsay
quick response to aspect ratio , filter on format ie DV then select all .. then change the ratio to the correct figure from the drop down list in the aspect ratio filed. The stuff may be incorrectly tagged as it is imported, but this will "fix" it


KEvin

Kevin Duggan
CatDV/MME


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Lindsay Simpson
Re: CatDV and Avid Workflow
on May 9, 2011 at 6:08:14 pm

Thanks for clarifying the format trick inside CatDV.

I believe I misinterpreted your first post regarding MME. Is MME's compatibility with AAF out of Avid a current feature? I tried to convert an Avid AAF in MME and was prompted by MME that it did not recognize the file as a Final Cut Pro product. Or does something need to be 'turned on' in MME to specify Avid file ingestion/conversion?

I also tried to import an ALE file into CatDV with no luck reading it either. CatDV indicates that either the file is corrupt or the codec to read the media the missing. I suppose that's related to another Calibrated plug-in necessity, specifically it looks like I would need calibrated's 'DV 100' decoder. Though Calibrated MXF does indicate that it reads all the MXF formats that I am asking it too. So perhaps it's really an ALE export problem in Media Composer?

Thanks again for your time and help,
Lindsay


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Kevin Duggan
Re: CatDV and Avid Workflow
on May 9, 2011 at 8:29:47 pm

Hi Lindsay
currently MME does not do the trip " the other way " ie AAF out . It will do so in the near future. A log file or ALE is applied to a file that has the correct TAPE and TIMECODE attribute . If these conditions are met then markers and metadata are "applied" to this file within Catdv. I admit there is a lot to learn about this modern file based workflows , but apparently they are the future :-)

Kevin Duggan
CatDV/MME


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Lindsay Simpson
Re: CatDV and Avid Workflow
on May 9, 2011 at 8:47:43 pm

Okay thanks for clarifying. Seems like an ALE won't do me any good as most of my media is tapeless. Does CatDV import and read Avid AAFs? I'll test it now.

Otherwise, can you move clips from one catalog to another? I think at this point that may be the only option. I think the workflow would go like this:

1)Import a single numbered Avid MediaFiles folder into a blank CatDV catalog.
2)Open a second blank catalog
3)identify common cilps via subject/location etc. and drag/drop etc. into the second blank catalog which will be focused on a specific subject/location etc.
4)Repeat for each numbered Avid MediaFiles folder until organized by category etc.

I haven't even really touched on how to get all that media referenced in individual catalogs into the Cache-A for backup/archive yet. I keep trying to watch a cache-A/CatDV tutorial video, and alas my state computer prevents me from doing so...they are protecting us from ourselves I suppose, but it sure slows me down when it comes to troubleshooting etc.

Thanks again for your input! Let me know when MME goes the other way too!

Lindsay


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Kevin Duggan
Re: CatDV and Avid Workflow
on May 11, 2011 at 8:43:12 am

Hi Lindsay
what you outline is very easy in CatDv just open up a new window and drag and drop between the two. Also you could use the scratchpad and just drop your selects into it , they show up in the scratch pad and also in the tree, as befits a scratchpad they only last for the session you are in , so make sure you save your work !
Cache workflow is also as you expect. Select your assets send to Cache-A. You need our Cache-A plug-in for this of course. I am often asked why so many options. In short we don`t sell you stuff you do not need. If your workflow does not need Cache-A functionality we don`t make you pay for it. Seems simple but its because CATDV can scale from a standalone product to a mega-server product managing multiple petabytes of data and archive but you get the same ease of use right through the range.

Hope this helps

Kevin Duggan
CatDV/MME


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Rolf Howarth
Re: CatDV and Avid Workflow
on May 14, 2011 at 10:38:22 am

You should be able to import an ALE file (not AAF) into CatDV. You say "CatDV indicates that either the file is corrupt or the codec to read the media the missing" but I don't recognise that message in the context of the ALE importer, so perhaps you could send a copy of the ALE file and a screenshot of the error to support@squarebox.com? Thanks,
-Rolf



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Lindsay Simpson
Re: CatDV and Avid Workflow
on May 23, 2011 at 5:35:14 pm

My apologies for the delayed response. I have been on the road for a couple of weeks now.

Well it turns out, the ALE import issue was a user error. I was able to import an Avid ALE into a blank catalog, but there doesn't seem to be any video/audio associated with the list of assets imported via ALE. Is there a secondary step to connect the media?

Otherwise, I have also slowly been importing an individual numbered Avid MediaFiles MXF folder and subsequently dragging/dropping individual clips into subject specific catalogs. This is pretty time consuming though and it would be great to rely on the ALE method instead. Just to double check, when dragging and dropping does the associated audio MXF file go transfer with the video?

Also, I am finding the different types of files brought in via MXF directory import a bit confusing. For the most part I can differentiate the raw clips from the effects, sequences etc., but can you point me to a reference page in the CatDV manual that lists the different icons for file type? Also, it seems as though some of my P2 media are lacking thumbnail previews. I do still only have the trial version of Calibrated MXF.

And yes luckily Kevin, I did have the foresight to purchase the Cache-A option originally. I hope that will be a smooth process once I reach that point.

Thanks for any additional feedback!
Lindsay


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Lindsay Simpson
Re: CatDV and Avid Workflow
on May 23, 2011 at 9:26:56 pm

Hmm...okay I am running into some issues in terms of being able to view thumbnails/previews. I can't seem to see previews from any of my P2 media and the Ikegami media is variable.







As far as I know based on the CatDV manual etc., P2 media should preview as well as M-PEG2 files. I do have Calibrate MXF demo installed. The majority of the media P2 or Ikegami was consolidated or transcoded using the same methods/codec upon each import into Avid MC, but the variations in format particularly with the Ikegami media leads me to believe my colleague and/or I slipped up somewhere. Am I missing a step here?

Ooo and one more thing, how do you run a duplicate check/delete on a catalog?

Thanks,
Lindsay


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Rolf Howarth
Re: CatDV and Avid Workflow
on May 25, 2011 at 8:30:04 am

It's difficult to tell just from the screenshots. If you mail a copy of your catalog to support@squarebox.co.uk we'd be happy to answer specific questions, but some initial feedback:

No, the green film strip icon isn't a sequence (that's a red diagonal film strip) but corresponds to a movie file. Other icons represent audio only clips, still images, and subclips. (Of course, there's no saying what the contents of that movie file it is - it might be a rendered sequence out of Avid, but as far as CatDV is concerned it's just a single movie file).

The other icon you're seeing is a blue folder icon for an MXF metaclip, which corresponds to separate video and audio files bundled together and treated as a single clip (for Avid, P2 and XDCAM clips). The Format description for a metaclip tries to summarise the contents of that metaclip. I'm not sure why the P2 clips are showing as MPEG-2, I'd need to check your catalog to know for sure. Ditto for why some clips don't play. It could be that you don't have the requisite Calibrated components or codecs installed. Depending on the format you may need a codec in addition to the MXF import component.



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