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Re-linking to HD tapeless media transcodes from SD tapeless transcodes for onlining

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Jimmy See
Re-linking to HD tapeless media transcodes from SD tapeless transcodes for onlining
on Feb 21, 2013 at 9:21:17 am

Hi there. I'm edit assisting for a company using mostly tapes for their workflow however they also use a mix of tapeless media as well including some 7d footage, go pro, and a some specialist cameras for aerial footage.

I've just come into the system and inherited the workflow. For reasons unknown, there were problems with AMA relinking previously and so it was decided prior to my arrival on the project that tapeless media would be transferred from their cards to a hard drive, ingested in to AVID in to an HD codec, (they chose XDCAM 50mbit) at HD resolution and then transcoded again to SD for offline editing in their offline suites which can't handle the HD material. The plan was to relink when time for the online, back to HD transcodes. As such the project has bins of HD material and bins of SD for all the tapeless material, and so the mxf files for each of these should all be in the same place on the master drive.

I have been doing some testing with the relinking which is a bit of a mission for me because I'm new to Avid, and the methodology seems not to work. I created a test HD format sequence and placed bits and pieces of various formats from tapeless and tape media and tried to relink. If it had worked, the clips on the timeline should have reported no problems being in an HD timeline except the tape media which should be colour coded yellow because it would remain SD (ingested at SD to be later relinked to the HD tape, which works). Unfortunately, when I finish selecting the settings for the relink, Avid performs a scan, does not report any problem or errors and then closes the progress bar window, creates a new relinked version of the sequence which when opened is completely unchanged from the original. All the clips continue to be linked to their SD media files and continue be coloured yellow on the HD sequence because of the mismatch between their resolution and the sequence resolution.

I have tried many different combinations of settings, starting with any HD video format and highest quality to specific resolution settings that match those of the HD material I want to relink. None of them work, although in some cases, the latter method will relink one clip from the whole sequence. As yet there is not much tapeless material and there won't be for a little while so I have some time to investigate the problem. But as more comes in this could be prove disastrous. Can anyone help?

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Glenn Sakatch
Re: Re-linking to HD tapeless media transcodes from SD tapeless transcodes for onlining
on Feb 21, 2013 at 3:02:30 pm

You might want to start out by separating your SD and HD material.
I find it usually easier to relink if my sequence is offline. Seems to force Avid to go looking for media that can fill the slots.

in your Avid Mediafiles/mxf/1 folder, see if you can determine the SD vs HD material. Sort by date created, and or size. Move SD to a folder numbered 2, and HD to a folder numbered 3.

Move the HD folder out to the same root as the Avid Mediafiles folder. This will stop it from being seen by the box, and help determine if any of the clips inside it are actually SD or not.

Relaunch Avid and let it build its database. Your sequence will should be back online, in SD mode. Double check for missing clips. Check your original bins and clips to see if all your SD material is accounted for.

Once all this is cleaned up, reverse the process.
First Rename the "2" folder "SD Transcodes" and move it out to the root where the "3" folder is.
Second move the "3" folder back into its appropriate spot.

Launch Avid, let it build its database.
Now check your HD bins and clips and make sure they are all online. If you missed a clip or two, go find it and move it to the "3" folder.

Now select your sequence and try your relink process. Yes, sometimes you have to try a couple of different settings to get it to work. It ain't perfect, but it does (usually) work. Now that it can only access HD material, many of your settings should be irrelevant.

You now know which drive your media is on, so you should be able to select that drive specifically.
I usually deselect "relink only to media from the current project"
I usually deslect "Match case when comparing source names"
and the video paramaters should be set to "any video format"

If it still doesn't work, try selecting all the clips from your original HD bins. You can select multiple clips in multiple bins, then try "selected items in all open bins"

Hopefully the sequence then comes online.

Once that is done, i would rename the "3" folder to "HD Transcodes". This will retain the database, but lock the folder down so that no other media can get written to it.

As a workflow, I would probably only have one of those folders online at a time.


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Jimmy See
Re: Re-linking to HD tapeless media transcodes from SD tapeless transcodes for onlining
on Feb 21, 2013 at 3:35:42 pm

Oh thankyou, thankyou.

Avid's nice to edit with but this side of things is far from the simplicity I'm used to coming from Final Cut. I will try your methodologies tomorrow. I have a couple of questions though,

Is there any efficient way to determine whether or not material in the Avid Media Files folder is HD or SD? The only way I can think of at the moment is to watch each mxf file in an application capable of playing them back and getting information about the file from playback to determine the resolution and somehow marking the file within explorer or writing it down in order to keep a track and get a list of the HD files vs the SD. This seems absurdly labour intensive and I'm hoping there's a better way. Something I've already considered is consolidating a sequence and deleting the original files thus leaving only the HD there but I don't fancy trying this and then having it go wrong and my transcodes being deleted. Especially as I'm still a little green on transcoding with Avid to begin with so rebuilding will be difficult and time consuming.

My other question is, the methodology sounds like it will fix this specific problem I'm having and while labour intensive, it shouldn't be too bad because at this stage in the project there just isn't that much tapeless media in the first place. But I definitely don't want to be doing this all the time. Once I've tried your suggestions and got my test sequence relinked, how can I avoid being in this situation again? What should I do to keep the transcodes separate from each other so that Avid doesn't get all confused again and keep linking to the SD files, necessitating the long list of troubleshooting I'll need to go through to fix again? Do I need to keep HD transcodes on a different target drive? That seems very wasteful and there are only so many drives to go around.

Thanks so much.

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Glenn Sakatch
Re: Re-linking to HD tapeless media transcodes from SD tapeless transcodes for onlining
on Feb 21, 2013 at 11:10:41 pm

"Is there an efficient way to determine whether or not material in the Avid Meida Files folder is HD or SD"

Like I said in the original response, sort your list by date and file size. That will probably get you close.

After you divide up the folders, create an empty bin in your project and drag the database file from the "2" folder to the empty bin. This will populate the bin with everything From that folder. From here you can easily check to see if any of the clips are incorrect.

to clean up, just delete these clips...don't delete the media, just the clips in the bin

You can also launch the media tool and sort the media there. Again, I'm assuming your transcodes all happened in the same timeframe, and once you id one HD file, the others should Be nearby.

If you want to keep track for future, you need to stay orgainized from the start.

Everything you digitize or render or transcode with Avid will go to your Avid Mediafiles/mxf/1 folder.
If you are in the situation you are in, and you want to start a new project and digitize or AMA transcode to HD, go to your Avid MediaFiles/mxf/1 folder, and rename it to any available number. Then start digitizing, or transcoding, or what ever you need to do for the current project. Avid will automatically create a new "1" folder, and put all your footage into that folder. When you are done, rename the "1" folder to better reflect what is in that folder- perhaps "project X HD Material" Renaming a folder with letters makes the folder read only to Avid. It can still use the footage with its current database, but it can't write new media to it, or see any new media you manually put into that folder. If tomorrow comes around and you need to add to the folder, rename it back to "1", digitize, transcode...what ever, then rename it back to "project x hd material" It might seem like a bit of a pain, but it only takes a second to rename the folder, and it will keep your MediaFiles folders nice and organized for backups, archives, or simply deleting when the project is done.

I would not consider this workflow "labour intensive" at all. We are talking about renaming folders here. I would consider continually trying to search out and separate media from multiple projects, weeks after the media was created "Labour intensive"

With the huge amount of digital media we now deal with on a continual basis, organization from the start of a project is the key to keeping it clean. The above workflow is pretty much the norm around our office now, as we are constantly transcoding media to low res and high res versions.

Avid has a pretty good track record on media management. Use it to your advantage.


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