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Working with Mixed frame rates? Invest in Avid Symphony??

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Megan Thorne
Working with Mixed frame rates? Invest in Avid Symphony??
on Nov 13, 2017 at 10:51:27 am


I work at an offline edit house where we use Media Composer and I'm curious to know how others believe the best way of dealing with mixed frame rate footage is.

We work on a lot of promos with a lot of footage at varying frame rates. Our current workflow is to use Cinema Tools to convert any footage to what the final output should be, ie 25fps. This way we get a new clip which would have a longer duration (if it was originally higher than 25) because it would obviously make every frame exist, whereas if we were to just transcode it within Avid, it ended up dropping frames and i think we then found it got confused when it came to conforming and it wasn't marrying up.

We're wondering if it's worth investing in a Symphony license. Does it deal with this in a better way? Is Cinema tools even the best program to use?

An issue with cinema tools is that it will only convert prores media. If our raw footage is not pro res, we have to convert it before running it through cinema tools, it ends up being quite a lengthly process.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

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Michael Phillips
Re: Working with Mixed frame rates? Invest in Avid Symphony??
on Nov 13, 2017 at 1:21:41 pm

There is no difference between Media Composer and Symphony when dealing with different file-based sources with mixed frame rates. When you AMA link to sources, you can go to Source Settings for each (or all) clips and in the playback TAB, choose between preserve source or convert to project rate. Converting to project rate will convert frame-for-frame so a 50fps source will play 2x slower, whereas a 23.976 source will play back 4.1% faster, etc. Media Composer 8.9.3 added additional support for relinking across frame rates, but have not tested it enough to know all the details.


Symphony offer universal mastering for tape-based workflows where you can take a timeline and play it out as different frame rates. With the Avid iQ IO box it has support for frame rate conversion for tape-based capture as well if you happen to have tape decks that play the different frame rates and formats you might encounter. ☺


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Megan Thorne
Re: Working with Mixed frame rates? Invest in Avid Symphony??
on Nov 14, 2017 at 9:19:58 am

Thank you for your response Michael.

I think what we're trying to figure out is what the quickest smoothest method is for conforming when dealing with mixed frame rates etc.

We are aware of changing the frame rate in source settings, but I'm under the impression that it only works smoothly if you're doing say 50FPS to 25FPS. I'll be honest I haven't done a huge amount of experimenting but I was told that if converting say 23.98 or 29.97 to 25 it dropped frames or lost timecode.

Would Symphony benefit us at all? We rarely use tapes but as I said we are an offline edit house but occasionally we do do the online for lower budget jobs such as promos and we want to figure out the best workflow. We also have a baselight plugin if we ever want to grade in Avid. Do you know if Symphony is better for grading than this plugin?

Sorry for all the questions!

Thank you,


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Pat Horridge
Re: Working with Mixed frame rates? Invest in Avid Symphony??
on Nov 14, 2017 at 10:23:28 am

If you use the framerate override in source settings it will play at the project frame rate so footage will slow down or speed up depending on what the fps was before.
This is ok for say 24 to 25 fps or 23.98 to 25 fps but little use for 29.97 to 25fps.

The standard way of doing it was to AMA link the sources in a project setup to match the source frame rate.
Then transcode that footage and copy those bins to the working project. MC will now add motion adapters to allow the sources to play at the project frame rate.
Come the conform you can tweak those motion adapters or promote to fluid motion or externally have them framerate converted and re-cut in.

Pat Horridge
Broadcast & Post Consultant, Trainer, Avid Certified Instructor
Free online Tutorials at VET digital media academy online http://vimeo.com/channels/752951

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