How to use FCP7 captured ProRes in MC 6.05?
I have some footage captured into Final Cut Pro 7 about four years ago that I’d like to be able to use in Avid Media Composer 6.05 without recapturing.
The material was captured in PAL ProRes HQ and has since been copied to an external drive. I’m guessing that I used FCP7’s Media Manager’ but can’t remember for sure. The backup files are inside a ‘Final Cut Pro Documents’ folder and consist of Audio Capture Scratch, Capture Scratch, Audio Render Files, Autosave Vault, Render Files, Thumbnail Cache Files and Waveform Cache Files. There is a .fcp sequence with the material but I think it was just captured and not edited, so there’s no timeline content when it’s opened and reconnected to the media.
I understand that Media Composer can now work natively with ProRes files, but I’m not sure how to begin a new project and have it use the pre-existing captured ProRes video and audio files from the FCP7 backup.
I’m new to Avid and have only limited experience of FCP7, so I’d really appreciate any pointers.
In v 6.05, you can use AMA to link to QuickTime ProRes files, however, although it is technically possible to edit directly with them, you really need to consolidate them, which will create copies of the files that are re wrapped as Avid MXF media (avid is natively an MXF editor and not really a QuickTime based editor, like FCP).
If you attempt to edit directly with the AMA linked QuickTime media you will likely experience poor performance (or instability) as the sequence or project becomes more complex.
Do you know if either AMA linking to the FCP7 ProRes files or ‘Importing’ them as Avid MXF media will work with my backup which has Video and Audio in separate folders? Or if I just choose the root folder will Avid automatically find the Video and Audio and import them in sync?
I take your point about poor performance editing with AMA linked files, but I thought that Avid Media Composer now deals with ProRes as ‘native’ media. But, as I said, I’m new to all this so maybe I’m misunderstanding how it works.
Regards and thanks.
Avid will not find them and sync them on import. You will have to do that after ingest. It may be possible to automate it somewhat using AutoSync, but it's not going to be fully automatic. Depending on the media, it may end up being fully manual and tedious.
Just a bit of explanation here, as Avid is very different than FCP about ingesting file based media.
There are two methods in Avid. The first is importing...this is the "old school" method, that has been in Avid for many years. Importing works differently than in FCP, as Avid makes a copy of the media in an Avid friendly codec for editing and places the media in the Avid file system. It does not use the original file, as FCP does. If a file is in a native codec (such as ProRes in recent versions of Avid), it will be "Fast Imported", which is much speedier . The file is copied and simply re wrapped as MXF..no transcoding. The resulting new file is Avid managed media and has good editing performance.
The newer, and mostly preferred method is AMA, which stands for Avid Media Access. You link to the camera files directly. You can do some very simple editing in some cases, but really this stage is all about making selects and transcoding the sections you want to keep into Avid MXF media. A number of workflows are possible, For example, you can transcode to a lower quality proxy, like DNX36 for offline, then after final editing, relink via AMA to the originals and transcode what you used to DNX 220.
To your last point, yes, ProRes is a "native" codec in Avid, as is XDCAM and a number of other popular formats, but ProRes as made in FCP is in a QuickTime container. Avid works much better with media in an MXF container. It is not fundamentally a QuickTime editor. Native codecs don't need to be transcoded to Avid DNX or any proprietary Avid codecs, they just need to be re wrapped to MXF, which is much faster than transcoding. This is done using the Consolidate command in Avid, after linking with AMA. Marketing makes it sound like editing via AMA linked media is seamless, and it is improved in v7 (as AMA media is now managed in v7), but anyone who uses Avid daily will tell you AMA real world performance is not ready for anything but the most basic sequences. You really need to be working with true Avid MXF managed media to avoid serious issues.
If this sounds like it's not a good fit for you, you might want to look at Premiere Pro, or even Lightworks, as those editors can use ProRes QuickTime files directly.
Thanks for taking the trouble to provide such a detailed informative answer.
That’s disappointing about the video/audio sync. I presumed that AMC could deal with FCP7 files that included audio and video. I’m not at my machine right now so don’t know if the audio and video files are the same length - they should be, since they were captured from Beta SP simultaneously. If so then they should be easy to sync. I wonder if there’s a way to ‘Export’ the synced files from FCP7 to Avid using something like ‘Automatic Duck’ without having to place them on the timeline?
Thanks too for your useful real-world advice on the benefits of having Avid MXF media managed files versus AMA linking. Sounds like the way to go.
I have to stick with the Avid option anyway, as this is what the eventual programme editor will be using.
Ok...hearing more about how your files were captured, they should be easy to sync in avid. Using the AutoSync feature you can turn them into discrete subclips where the audio and video are associated. Despite the name, it's not completely automatic, but its easy. Procedure is detailed very well in the Avid help menu.
Automatic Duck won't help you. All that does is translate FCP sequences to Avid sequences as best it can. Exporting them already synced from an FCP timeline (set in/out around each clip) would also be an option.
Hello again John.
I've just returned to this thread with another query, but noticed that my last response to you did not appear in the thread, so I'm not sure if this one will.
I followed your advice and 'Imported' my old FCP7 .mov files into Media Composer. I'm doing this in groups of four or five files. Everything seemed to go fine at first and I could see the 'wrapped' .mxf files appear in my target drive Avid MediaFiles folder and also in the 'Import Bin' I had selected.
However, after I'd imported a selection of files, some of which were very large, I decided to call it a day, and put my Mac Pro to sleep. Then I had second thoughts about doing that and 'woke' it up again. Shortly afterwards I got the message that 'Media Composer has quit unexpectedly'.
When I restarted MC I noticed that although all the .mxf files were there, my most recent group of imported files were not in the ''Import Bin'. I had not manually 'Saved' the bin, so I'm guessing that MC had not written the info to the database. I've continued importing my .mov files and everything seems to be working as it should, apart from the four or five files missing from the bin.
Is there a way I can get the missing files, that are in the 'Avid MediaFiles/MXF/1' folder to appear in the 'Import Bin' or do I have to re-import them?
Thanks again for your really useful help with this issue.