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Is importing AMA files the same as transcoding?

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Alan Howard
Is importing AMA files the same as transcoding?
on Mar 25, 2013 at 5:06:28 pm

Dim question I know, but many threads recommend transcoding AVCHD files rather than editing with AMA linked to the folder.. is that not the same as just importing the files at say DNxHD 185 or whatever resolution specified ??
Cheers

Alan


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Michael Phillips
Re: Is importing AMA files the same as transcoding?
on Mar 25, 2013 at 5:31:35 pm

While the end result may be the same, as in you have MXF/DNxHD version of the original camera sources, AMA brings more advantages to the workflow:

1. Link directly to AVCHD for review of footage
2. Optionally subclip just selects from the review process
3. Transcode just the required selects which is far more optimized that straight import as it uses all the processors - on average AMA is 2x faster than the same file being imported.

The discussions around AMA mainly have to do with doing the full edit with direct linked media which is certainly possible, but performance and such may not be up to anyone's satisfaction - especially with multicam type shoots.


Michael


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Alan Howard
Re: Is importing AMA files the same as transcoding?
on Mar 25, 2013 at 6:53:11 pm

Ok thanks..
Still not sure I understand ..
do you cut and then transcode like a consolidation? That can't be right cos my avid is running super slow trying to edit AVCHD... if you're bringing in ALL rushes as DNxHD why not just import?
If you subclip can you just bring in the footage you want to use (I'd read you couldn't do that with file based systems).. Transcode just the selects (is that a transcode option) .. If I read that right then as you say the outcome is the same but it's much quicker actually getting the DNxHD version in the computer?
Have I understood that correctly?


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Shane Ross
Re: Is importing AMA files the same as transcoding?
on Mar 25, 2013 at 7:28:07 pm

When you use AMA...you are just pointing the Avid software to where the media exists. "Hey, look, it's over here." Nothing is transcoded at that point. After you AMA the footage, this is when you need to transcode it or consolidate it if it is something like ProRes, XDCAM or other format Avid can deal with natively, but prefers in an MXF wrapper...but since this is AVCHD...must transcode. So you can either transcode the full clips, or make subclips of only the parts you want, and transcode only the subclips...saving space.

The end result is the same as Importing and transcoding, with the big difference being Avid's ability to link to the masters. Meaning AMA is better, because Avid now knows where the masters are in case you need to re-transcode. Something that you do if you are doing an offline/online workflow. Importing directly means that later, if you try to get the Avid to link to the masters so you can re-transcode to a higher data rate...it won't really work, or you'll have a tough time doing it. AMA/TRANSCODE is better in this case.

If you are going to work full res only...importing would be OK. But let's say you lose your media drive. It dies...and you need to reimport and have your sequence relink to the new media. It's more difficult to do this with footage that has been imported vs footage that was AMA'd.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Michael Phillips
Re: Is importing AMA files the same as transcoding?
on Mar 25, 2013 at 8:15:48 pm

Shane points out an important advantage with AMA is its ability to "conform" or relink a sequence. Imported sources need to have their entire source imported again, whereas AMA deals with subsets and spans and offset to be able to do that directly.

Michael


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Alan Howard
Re: Is importing AMA files the same as transcoding?
on Mar 26, 2013 at 12:51:24 am

Brilliant thanks guys ...
how does the subclip part work tho?
Don't you need to have started your edit in order to subclip it? in which case you're editing directly with AMA?


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Michael Phillips
Re: Is importing AMA files the same as transcoding?
on Mar 26, 2013 at 1:08:33 am

What I meant by subclip is that while clip is still linked under AMA, you can load it in the source monitor, play it and such. You can make a subclip of just the spans that you want to transcode should you have such a need - for example the best 2 minutes out of a 20 minute recording. When it comes time to transcode, you would just do the subclip.

Michael


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Pat Horridge
Re: Is importing AMA files the same as transcoding?
on Mar 26, 2013 at 4:00:46 pm

Also worth noting that the import process is a "legacy" process and as such isn't seeing the same development as AMA so importing and AMA linking/Transcoding can produce different results for some file types.
Import should only really be used for legacy projects or for file formats not supported by AMA (or if you have to bring alphas in)
Conforms can be massively quicker and cheaper for AMA linked projects if you get it right.

I cover this and a lot more in the VET course I deliver

http://www.vet.co.uk/site/Training/Scheduled_courses/Avid_Media_Management_...

Pat Horridge
Technical Director, Trainer, Avid Certified Instructor
VET
Production Editing Digital Media Design DVD
T +44 (0)20 7505 4701 | F +44 (0)20 7505 4800 | E pat@vet.co.uk |
http://www.vet.co.uk | Lux Building 2-4 Hoxton Square London N1 6US


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