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Multiple video formats to Avid: AMA or transcode?

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Abigail Erickson
Multiple video formats to Avid: AMA or transcode?
on Apr 20, 2012 at 7:35:22 pm

I'm the editor for a feature length documentary and we decided about 4 terabytes of footage into the project that FCP 7 would just not be able to handle the organization and speed we need to cut it. We had stayed current with logging and transferring all of our different video formats to ProRes 422 Proxy: R3D files, AVCHD, and H.264 (from Canon DSLRs).

We have Avid 5.5 and upgrading to 6 isn't an option. I am faced with the decision of what to do with all the files. Transcode them all to DNxHD? AMA to the native video files? AMA to the proxy files? I know the plug in for AVCHD does not work on 5.5, so that wouldn't be an option. We will be shooting into the summer and I want to ditch FCP 7 from now on.

I'm willing to put in the week+ time to transcode everything if that means linking to the master files and exporting will be less of a headache later. I just want to find the most efficient way to handle this very inefficient process of switching software.

Abigail Erickson
Editor


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Cameron Warn
Re: Multiple video formats to Avid: AMA or transcode?
on Apr 21, 2012 at 9:40:53 pm

Hi Abigail.

From the sounds of it you have a whole lot of footage so I would suggest using a native AVID DNxHD codec. You could just re-wrap your pro-res files into MXF pro-res, but Avid generally performs better with its own codecs, so for a big project it might eventually bog down a bit compared to DNxHD media.

However, as its Pro-res Proxy media and quite small anyway it's possible that wont be such an issue, but maybe some others can advise on that.

Also, If your going to up-rez in avid later, do some tests with AMA to make sure everything will re-link properly at the end. Otherwise you can import media rather then using AMA>transcode...though this does take longer.


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Abigail Erickson
Re: Multiple video formats to Avid: AMA or transcode?
on Apr 21, 2012 at 10:24:13 pm

Thanks for the input, Cameron! Yeah, relinking one of the major concerns we have. Especially with the AVCHD files because when they are transferred to proxy on FCP, they are just labeled as "Clip #1, Clip #2" etc. And that starts over with every new volume.

Our drives are only 5400 rpm as well, so am I correct in assuming that that is one of the big reasons we are experiencing so much lag in playback?

Abigail Erickson
Editor


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Cameron Warn
Re: Multiple video formats to Avid: AMA or transcode?
on Apr 28, 2012 at 4:52:35 am

Yeah, 5400 drives certainly won't help you there. 7200rpm has always been the recommended minimum and, really, the faster the access the better! ...of course, we don't all get to pick and choose our budgets though :)

As for the AVCHD, you could always create high res versions in FCP to create new masters to use however you want to in AVID. Also, if you do go the AMA route, you can re-link a sequence to the original AMA clips from low res transcodes.

Thing to keep in mind if you do this is that if you low res AMA transcoded media goes offline for some reason, it is tricky getting it back on-line, as there is no real (that i know of) connection between the two, so if you just re-transcode from the AMA media it won't make the missing media come online again as its created an entirely new clip. You may be able to select transcoded media and batch import it, but i think you have to specify which clip to link it to as, as its transcoded material, it has no memory of an external link...so if lots of stuff goes offline this can be a bit of a pest having to do it manually one by one.....


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