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Avid crashing when using AMA/transcode with 5D footage

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Dan Zinn
Avid crashing when using AMA/transcode with 5D footage
on Oct 29, 2013 at 7:32:16 pm

I am new to Creative Cow and also to Avid, so please forgive me if this has been asked before or if I'm not providing the right information.

I've moved from editing with FCP and Premiere to Avid, but I just can't seem to get it to work how I know it should. I really have a few different questions, so maybe I should put them in different posts, but I'll give this a shot.

Before getting into the issues, let me just say that I've tried using the exact same footage in Premiere and it works flawlessly. But I would like to be able to start using Avid and move away from Premiere.

Anyway, here are my issues:

(1) AMA. AMA works fine when using footage from a Sony EX3. However, when trying to even just playback footage from a Canon 5D, after 30 seconds to a minute Avid will freeze (spinning balloon rainbow ball thing) and I end up needing to force quit. If I wait long enough before force quitting, I get the following error message: "Exception: AMAProducerTask::Execute: AMA Plug-In Unable to Provide Sample"

(2) Transcoding: I may be thinking about this the wrong way, so I'm hoping someone might have some tips for me here. The footage we shot is beautiful. I would hate to have to convert it to a lower quality file. So when AMA wasn't working, I was hoping I could transcode to DNxHD 36, offline edit the sequence, and then relink the sequence to the original footage so it would be using the highest quality footage for the export. My workflow for that was supposed to be as follows:
- (a) AMA my clips into Avid
- (b) Select the clips and go to Clip -> consolidate/transcode, then transcode to another harddrive using DNxHD36
- (c) Edit the sequence with the transcoded files on the second external drive
- (d) When done, relink the sequence to the original external drive/footage and export

However, when I get to step (b), after a minute or two the system crashes -- just like it does in issue #1 above.

The other option I am thinking of doing is using MPEGStreamclip to transcode to DNxHD220 PRIOR to coming into Avid, and then importing those files and skipping the AMA process altogether. I did that on my first Avid project and it worked fine, but again I don't want to compromise any of the quality.

Any thoughts or suggestions? I know that's probably asking a lot and I'm sure it's just user error, but hoping someone might be able to help me before I throw this computer out the window :-)

Here's my system info:
- 2012 MacPro
- Processor: 2 x 2.66 GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon
- Memory: 32 GB 1333 MHz DDR3 ECC
- Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 5770 1024 MB
- Software OS X 10.8.3 (12D78)

Other info that might be helpful:
- I'm running Avid 7.0, but was experiencing the same issues on 6.5.3
- My footage is on an external G-Technology GSPEEDes 12TB eSATA drive
- Plugins installed:
AVCHD MSP Plug-In Avid Technology, Inc. 1.3
AVCHD MVP Plug-In Avid Technology, Inc. 1.3
QuickTime Plug-In Avid Technology, Inc. 1.3
AS-11 Plug-In Avid Technology, Inc. 1.0
MSP_MXF Plug-In Avid Technology, Inc. 1.10
MSP_SonyXDCAMEXMP4_64bit Sony Corporation 1.6003
Sphere (6135 1.3.6367424) Avid Technology, Inc. 1.1
WaveAiff Plug-In Avid Technology, Inc. 1.0
MVP_CanonXF64 CANON INC. 2.0
AS-02 Plug-In Avid Technology, Inc. 1.2
IkegamiGFCam Plug-In Avid Technology, Inc. 3.6
PanasonicP2 MVP_MSP Plug-In Avid Technology, Inc. 2.6 [DEPRECATED]
RED R3D Plug-In (R3DSDK v4.3) Avid Technology, Inc. 1.8
MVP_SonyXDCAMEX_64bit Sony Corporation 1.6003
SonyXDCAM_64bit Sony Corporation 2.3305

Thanks so much,

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Michael Phillips
Re: Avid crashing when using AMA/transcode with 5D footage
on Oct 29, 2013 at 7:58:04 pm

What version of QuickTime are you running? Check the version matrix available here:

How long are the original clips you are trying to transcode?

As far as quality is concerned with a transcode, it is difficult to compare the low date rate of long GOP encoding (H.264) and I Frame encoding as you have with DNxHD. As it will not get better, you are looking to preserve. For most cases, DNxHD 145(115) should be fine, but just in case, and provide you have the addition storage, then 220 (175) will be more than enough. MPEGStreamclip can work, although I would consider Resolve going straight to native MXF wrapped DNxHD as a better alternative.


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Dan Zinn
Re: Avid crashing when using AMA/transcode with 5D footage
on Oct 29, 2013 at 8:22:20 pm


Thank you so much for the quick response! I have Quicktime 10.2 installed. The clips range from a few minutes to about an hour.

Regarding the quality, so you're saying that it should maintain quality for the most part as long as it's at least DnxHD 145 and I shouldn't need to worry about needing to preserve the "native" (h.264) quality?

Definitely understand what you're saying about MPEGStrealmslip vs resolve, and I will look into that option.

Thanks again,

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Michael Phillips
Re: Avid crashing when using AMA/transcode with 5D footage
on Oct 29, 2013 at 8:36:58 pm

I have found with AMA on H.264 clips longer than 20-30 minutes that things will really slow down and eventually you will crash. I've compiled 20 minute reels for features that were H.264 and it was a bit painful. You can always try subclipping your longer clips into 10 minute segments, and transcoding those to see if it helps.

I would say that 90% of the time DNxHD 145 will be fine. I have seen cases on scenes with lot of detail or wide spans of sky that there might be some banding - so those would probably benefit from 175x (10 bit).


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Dan Zinn
Re: Avid crashing when using AMA/transcode with 5D footage
on Oct 29, 2013 at 9:23:22 pm

Thanks again, Michael -- really really helpful! Unfortunately, now I have some more questions...

I was actually wrong with what I said at first. All of the clips were only 1-15 minutes in length. Just to be sure, though, I made 5 minute subclips of each one. Out of 5 clips, I ended up with fifteen <5 minute subclips. It still crashed.

However, I may have done something wrong. Although I had 15 subclips and I selected all 15 subclips (which reside in a different bin from the original clips) to transcode, Avid said it was transcoding 1 of 5 clips. Does it automatically combine them all into the original clips and disregard the subclips?

Depending on that answer, I'll most likely just be doing the transcode outside of Avid to DNxHD145 or 175x and then importing the new files and forgetting about the original files.


Is there no way to relink back to the original files if done that way? For instance, if I converted to DNxHD36 using MPEGstreamclip (or Resolve), then imported those files into Avid and edited using those new files, when I am done editing can I relink the DNxHD36 files back to the original h.264 files?

Sorry for all of the questions. Again, I'm very new to Avid. Starting to think maybe I should just go back to Premiere...!

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