How to Prepare Projects for Avid Media Composer

Stephen Tallamy, CTO, EditShare

Avid Media Composer is one of the leading edit software packages in use today, and has some unique features that indexes media so that it can be referenced in projects without knowing the exact path to the media. This can be extremely helpful on large projects but does require a specific media ingest process.

The way that Avid handles content is that each file is given a unique ID reference (known as a Media Object or MOB ID). Ingested media is wrapped into the Material eXchange Format (MXF), and the ID is saved as part of the MXF metadata. The whole of the familiar Avid workflow depends upon this.

On a simple project, the editor sorts material as the content is ingested, and it is automatically formatted and ready to go. But in a busy post environment, this is an inefficient way of working. Most obviously, it ties up an expensive editing workstation and related facilities simply to ingest content. It is also a manual process, so an edit assistant is needed to control the ingest.

EditShare’s integrated production asset management software layer, called FLOW, provides a number of automated tools to simplify this process. The idea is to help users streamline their workflows so they become more productive.

For Avid users, an important tool in FLOW is the ability to create Avid format files, complete with unique ID burnt into the MXF data. This is done not in the Avid workstation but on FLOW servers As soon as the editor sits down to work, all the files are ready in the right format.

Not only is this not taking up edit workstation time, but it can also be completely automated. Set up a watch folder, and new content will be automatically prepared as it arrives on the storage.

More than that, FLOW and its Universal Projects software tool allow you to organize material into universal bin structures that can be synchronized into Media Composer and other editing tools. An editor or edit assistant can structure the bins to suit the specific requirements of the project. All this happens in a web browser that can be accessed by anyone wherever they are located without tying up the suite.

This is a real boost to productivity because it separates organization from creativity. Much of the content preparation and Avid file format conversion happens automatically. Bin structures, markers, subclips and sequences can all be managed from a browser (or even automated). Then all of this appears on the Media Composer screen so the editor can start working right away.

For any busy facility, this is a perfect application of technology. Everything that can be automated is: no one needs to manage file ingest transcoding and rewrapping. Processes that need to be prepared in advance are: content is selected; bins are created and populated; the timeline is set up.

And there is nothing in the way of the creative process. No preparation, no waiting for file conversion or transfers. The editor simply focuses on making the content as good as it can be.

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