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Clarification: AMA Linking files, without transcoding?

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Brendan Charles
Clarification: AMA Linking files, without transcoding?
on Feb 24, 2014 at 5:07:23 pm

I have been using Avid for a few months and I'm pretty comfortable with it now, coming from a FCP background- but I need something cleared up before going much deeper. Can someone explain the difference between these two scenarios?

1. AMA Linking all files, completing edit and then exporting without transcoding.

2. AMA Linking all files, completing edit, transcoding sequence and then exporting.

I know that I am supposed to be transcoding my sequence before exporting, but my projects all seem to export fine without transcoding first- so can someone explain to me why I should be? After checking colour levels after export they all seem to be still within acceptable ranges, and everything else looks fine. What am I missing?

The 90% of my source clips are MXF files, 50mb/s Apple XDCam HD222 1080i60 - or .mov files using Avid DNXHD codec.

Thanks!


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Michael Phillips
Re: Clarification: AMA Linking files, without transcoding?
on Feb 24, 2014 at 6:03:09 pm

All of these workflows are a "it depends" scenario. If what you do works, then stick with it! Considerations:

Transcode before editing is usually considered because codec being referenced takes a lot of processing to decode and editor wants to do more in real time when it comes to layers, VFX, multicam, etc. or working in a shared storage environment.

Some productions like having a smaller proxy codec like DNxHD 36 that still looks good but can play off a FireWire drive and still be projected on a 40 foot screen if needed. Lots of storage for mobile use, etc. 65 hours on a single 1 TB drive for example.

Some back end exports do not work with AMA linked media such as QuickTime reference, etc. If you are exporting a self contained format then MC is doing a render in the background anyway which is why it will work. Many productions like to use "same as source" as either ProRes or DNxHD and will transcode sequence to one of those then export as such.

Lots of reasons why a production chooses one over another - the key is to find the one that works for you.


Michael


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Brendan Charles
Re: Clarification: AMA Linking files, without transcoding?
on Feb 24, 2014 at 6:46:18 pm

Thanks for the clarification, Michael- so is it more of a performance thing than a quality/result issue? So far working like this I have noticed some slowdown but nothing that makes it too hard to work.

This way of working is extremely convenient since my clients often come with a hard drive full of media and I can link, edit, and export all before they leave without having to wait for imports/transcoding. That being said, I wanted to make sure I this method wouldn't come back to bite me later on or result in a loss of quality.


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Michael Phillips
Re: Clarification: AMA Linking files, without transcoding?
on Feb 24, 2014 at 7:00:20 pm

There should be no quality issues or differences assuming that the same settings are used before or after editorial. It's all about performance, mobility, and other considerations I listed. If direct link works for you, that's great. You can get started right away with your post process.

Michael


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Glenn Sakatch
Re: Clarification: AMA Linking files, without transcoding?
on Feb 25, 2014 at 3:11:18 pm

What you will probably find one day is that a different client will come in with a different type of footage.
(Red, Canon) and you will do your link and try to edit and all of the sudden you will say "wow, this footage is way to hard to work with in an AMA environment"

XDCam, P2 and even C300 are not terribly taxing on the system. Others will bog you down right away, and transcode will be your only real solution.

Glenn


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Brendan Charles
Re: Clarification: AMA Linking files, without transcoding?
on Feb 27, 2014 at 8:11:18 pm

Yeah I've already found some issues when clients bring in footage from Canon DSLRs - If I know ahead of time I will always import instead. The downside to my current workflow is I will be faced with unexpectedly slow footage from time to time.

Thanks pointing that out!


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