Latest post Fri, Jul 31 2015 5:13 PM by mjolnarn. 14 replies.
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  • Tue, Dec 2 2014 6:52 AM

    To AMA or not to AMA?

    Dear Media Composer users. I am looking for a general recommendation or guideline, when is editing with AMA linked media is a good choice and when to avoid so? What is your experience and lessens learned?

    Avid introduced and advertised AMA as a tool to work with native media. But so far all Avid representatives, resellers and most of the editors recommended to use AMA strictly for viewing media before ingesting through consolidate/transcode. So I followed this guideline and always edited with managed media in the Avid MediaFiles folder.

    But computer power ist on the rise, so maybe AMA will eventually become actually useful for native editing and replace Avid MediaFiles folders?

    What I gathered so far from other editors:

    - XDCAM: good or acceptable performance

    - XAVC: good or acceptable performance

    - QT ProRes / DNxHD: good or acceptable performance

    - H.264 (DSLR): poor performance, varies, depending on camera used

    - REDCODE: very poor performance

     

    What is your experience with AMA editing performance? Is playback smooth and quick, the Avid responsive and stable? I am mostly interested in experiences with longer/bigger projects (more than 3 days editing / more than 3 hours footage).

     

    But performance is only one aspect. Are limited functions (SAS export, AAF export) and a more delicate media relinking still keeping you away from AMA editing? Any other pitfalls to look out for?

     

    Thanks for sharing!

    Hannes

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  • Tue, Dec 2 2014 5:31 PM In reply to

    Re: To AMA or not to AMA?

    Well...ALWAYS use AMA.  Use AMA to access the footage from the card backups, or the cards.  And then consolidate if it's XDCAM or DVCPRO HD or AVCIntra.  And if it's not, transcode to DNxHD.  I never suggest editing with footage only linked to via AMA.  It isn't as stable as consolidating or transcoding and putting into the Avid media file structure.  And that structure is Avid's strength.  

    For Avid native formats, I always consolidate...because that's basically just copying. And you'd copy your footage from the backup drives anyway...NEVER work off the archive drives...always move media to media drives.  So instead of copying off your backup drive to your media drive, then AMA link and work native...just AMA link and consolidate. Same thing...same speed. Only now the footage is in the Avid file structure.

    yes, relinking after drive failure is an issue. If it's consolidated/transcoded, relinking is a snap! If you only linked via AMA, then relinking can be tricky.  I recently had a drive die, and the editor re-consolidated the cut and I relinked to 95% of the footage, no problem. The other 5% was footage I converted, so I just needed to convert again, and bam, it all relinked. Because it was in the Avid file structure. But all XDCAM Native....except for the 5% that was H.264 that I transcoded.  

     

  • Tue, Dec 2 2014 7:58 PM In reply to

    Re: To AMA or not to AMA?

    Same workflow here.  Editing in AMA linked files is just not workable (for speed in multi layer editing or effects - even with a new mac and fast drives) and if you are linked to your backup media- not wise.  You don't want your edit app. scrubbing those files during extensive editing.

    New Mac 8 core. 32 Gb RAM D-700 , BMD Ultra 4K, Maxx Digital TB2 RAID [view my complete system specs]
  • Fri, Dec 12 2014 8:02 AM In reply to

    Re: To AMA or not to AMA?

    Thank you for sharing Shane and Richard.

    I feel the same about AMA, never trusted it for performance and stability. And both of which are paramount to me during editing. And this is why I always consolidate/transcode my AMA clips so far.

    But actually I am a bit suppriesed I didn't get any reassuring pro-AMA comments here in this thread. A lot of people out there seem to be editing straight with the camera-native AMA clips. I wonder what projects or formats these are that work well with the AMA restraints. Maybe broadcast with xdcam footage?

  • Fri, Dec 12 2014 9:52 AM In reply to

    Re: To AMA or not to AMA?

    It really depends on the type of job, the budget and the turnaround time.

    If I can I always AMA then Transcode or consolidate.

    But for some jobs AMA linking and direct editing is still the logical choice. But you need a fast system.

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  • Fri, Dec 12 2014 10:34 AM In reply to

    Re: To AMA or not to AMA?

    What I find rather disheartening is that other programs like Premiere Pro essentially use "AMA" but don't suffer the performance and reliabilty issues that MC does when not working with native media files.

    "When I spent 60k on a discreet edit digisuite system 10 years ago someone came up to me to offer fcp 2, I said it was a scam too." -Ric

  • Fri, Dec 12 2014 11:04 AM In reply to

    • smrpix
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    Re: To AMA or not to AMA?

    BobbyMurcerFan:

    What I find rather disheartening is that other programs like Premiere Pro essentially use "AMA" but don't suffer the performance and reliabilty issues that MC does when not working with native media files.

    My own experience is Premiere lets you start quick but gets really bogged down when you're trying to finish up.  Avid makes you jump through a few tedious hoops at the beginning but stays pretty responsive once you're underway.

    (I had a brief romance with Premiere a few months ago, because there's a lot of things Adobe got right -- open timeline, flexible multicam, stills handling, auto synching by audio....   But at the end of the day, Avid let me cut faster and finish more reliably.)

  • Fri, Dec 12 2014 6:10 PM In reply to

    Re: To AMA or not to AMA?

    Premiere is designed to work with formats natively...Avid is not. Adobe's basic design is to work natively. Avid's basic design is to work with Avid media.  Adobe leverages RAM and GPU as well as CPU.  Adobe with a good GPU (graphics card), fast FAST processors and gobs of RAM will deal with native formats wonderfully. Have 8GB of RAM, a non-CUDA GPU and so-so processors, and you'll have a heck of a time editing that footage.  The beefier the machine, the better the experience.

    Avid can deal with SOME formats via AMA...like XDCAM and P2.  But AVCHD or H.264...those require lots of resources to deal with.  Avid works best with transcoded material. And you don't need a seriously beefy machine to edit these format either.

    Know that Adobe can also be bogged down with AVCHD or H.264 footage, or MP4, or other highly compressed formats, even with all that stuff on the computer.

    Best practice for Avid is to AMA link and transcode. If you want a smooth editing experience, that is

  • Sat, Dec 13 2014 4:09 PM In reply to

    • Robert B
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    Re: To AMA or not to AMA?

    There is no doubt that if you have the time, transcoding/consolidating is the way to go with all media types. If you are not granted the time to do so - XDCAM, DVCPRO HD and PRO RES/DNXHD quicktimes are somewhat doable. Be sure to map the "play length toggle" command to a hot key as this really helps when you've got a lot of AMA in your timeline; be advised playback will stop after two minutes until its toggled off. Enabled, Avid only preloads two minutes of the timeline which cuts down the play delay tremendously with an AMA-loaded timeline or when using long AMA source clips. 

    At some point, Avid added the "Transcode only AMA linked media" option in the Transcode/Consolidate menu. This allows you to "transcode as you go". When in a crunch, cut stuff in loose with AMA and periodically transcode the timeline with this option. After the AMA media in the timeline is transcoded, you can dive in and fine cut without the sluggish. This gives you the benefit of transcoded media without having to transcode the entire source clip.

    Until Avid adds an additional feature "transcode video only", I recommend subclipping the video portion of your timeline - transcoding only the video - and leaving the audio alone. That way when you want to matchframe back to a clip you aren't constrained by the limited handles on your transcode. Just match frame back using the audio to get to the original AMA clip. 

    When using heavily compressed .m4v, .mp4, .mpeg2 files such as internet-sourced archival footage, youtube rips or low res stock footage viewing copies, I actually bring all this stuff into Premiere CC 2014 - string it out and render to a DNXHD quicktime at my Avid timeline resolution. Most of the time, this stuff is completely unplayable at all in Avid - so unplayable you can't even make a selects reel. Premiere renders to a 1080P Pro Res or DNXHD file so quickly that you end up saving a ton of time with the extra step. Of course every time I do this I start to wonder "Why not just cut everything in Premiere....?".

    -Robert

    OFFICE: 3.5 GHz Core i7 Late 2013 Imac running OSX 10.11 with 32GB RAM. NVIDIA GTX 780M 4096 MB. Avid Media Composer 8.5/ Pro Tools 12.4 MOBILE: 17"... [view my complete system specs]
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  • Mon, Dec 15 2014 10:16 AM In reply to

    Re: To AMA or not to AMA?

    These seem to be two very valuable tips Robert. I made a bold mental note to remember those the next time I give AMA-editing a shot.

    I wasn't aware of the "play length toggle", but seems to be quite useful for AMA. But still a thing to permanantly keep in your mind and you have to switching back and forth. So I imagine it can gat really annoying for longer projects. It might also help to store the project-file on a SSD drive instead of a spinning disc. Then the sequence should also load faster into RAM.

    And for transcoding I always wished for the "Relink Master clips to media on the target drive" option, that is available during consolidating. That way you could start editing with AMA sources very quickly and midway through your project decide to make the switch and transcode all source material in the bins rather than just the sequence. Now all handles would be available during trimming or slipping and matchframe works as expected.

    Hannes

  • Mon, Dec 15 2014 3:32 PM In reply to

    • Robert B
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    Re: To AMA or not to AMA?

    The play length toggle can be tricky - the only way to know its engaged is to look at the play button. If it turns green, then you are in normal play mode - if it stays black, you are in play length toggle mode. 

    When we first import our AMA footage, we always add a "AMA_" prefix to the bin of any shoots we are loading in. Then we transcode to DNXHD 45 and move the transcoded media to an identical bin with a "DNX_" prefix. This makes it easy to jump between your AMA resolution and DNXHD offline media.

    If you've been cutting with DNX, just open all your bins with the "AMA_" prefix, highlight everything, right-click the sequence and choose relink "selected items in ALL open bins" by Tape Name or Source File Name and everything should instantly link up to the AMA masters. Vice versa, you could start your cut with the AMA masters and after you've had a weekend to transcode them, use the same technique in reverse. Open up all the "DNX_" bins and then using the same relinking method for your sequence. Then you'd avoid the handle issue. 

    Of course, transcoding it gets tricky when working with multiple framerates. To preserve your relinkability - the transcodes need to be created in a project type that matches the source frame rate or else Avid converts it to match your current project and converts the timecode base to match breaking the relink. The workaround is to tell Avid to skip any files it wants to convert, save your sequence, open the bin with your sequence in the other project/frame rate and then transcode again to get the other clips. I really wish there was a "preserve source format/frame rate" option in the transcode dialog...and it would allow you to specify different DNXHD resolution for each source framerate located in the sequence.

    -Robert

    OFFICE: 3.5 GHz Core i7 Late 2013 Imac running OSX 10.11 with 32GB RAM. NVIDIA GTX 780M 4096 MB. Avid Media Composer 8.5/ Pro Tools 12.4 MOBILE: 17"... [view my complete system specs]
  • Mon, Dec 15 2014 5:34 PM In reply to

    • dingo1
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    Re: To AMA or not to AMA?

    for quick and dirty (hour long lectures shot on dslr, edited 2 camera cause of that wonderfull 12 minute max on D60) I will routinely cut from the AMA footage....but we are talking two tracks of video 6 of audio and CC only at the end.....I works fine if you keep your avid in good shape and transcode after the rough is done.  Cutting a rough from AMA first has become my go to method even for doco segments....but again, fairly simple edits.......just thought I would say something nice about AMA......

     

    Gregg 

    MC 2020.6 on 2019 MacBook pro 64 gigs ram Symphony v2018.12 on 2011 iMac i7 48gig ram tons of firewire single drives Symphony v 2020.4. on 2019 IMAC... [view my complete system specs]
  • Fri, Jul 31 2015 1:56 PM In reply to

    Re: To AMA or not to AMA?

    Hi Gregg,

    I like what you said here.  That is what I am dealing with - an hour long lecture with a couple edits and a simple title.  (I have SEVERAL to do like this - all an hour or more.)

     I have it ready to go in AMA = BUT, now how do I get it to youtube?  If I mixdown or transcode, it takes hours and huge drive space.  An export takes hours, and still will not be ideal for youtube - and will have to go thru Compressor or Sorenson still.  I cannot export QT ref files with AMA...

    What is the best way to get it to youtube?

    Thanks,

    Chris

  • Fri, Jul 31 2015 2:17 PM In reply to

    Re: To AMA or not to AMA?

    Video mixdown to a lower resolution suitable for youtube should be quick. I get approx 6X faster than runtime. so 60 min prog in 10 mins or less. Space is 30GB or so out of a 4T drive is a drop in the ocean.

    HP Z840 3.1GHZ 20cores 128GB RAM M4000 GPU 1TB NVMe drive HP Z book 17 G2 2.7GHZ Quad core 32GB RAM Nvidia K3100M 1TB SSD drive ACI Moderator. I'm... [view my complete system specs]

     

    Broadcast & Post Production Consultant / Trainer  Avid Certified Instructor VET

     

    QC/QAR Training - Understanding Digital Media - Advanced Files * Compression - Avid Ingest - PSE fixing courses and more

    All bespoke and delivered onsite at yours. Or delivered via hosted Zoom session.

     

    T 07581 201248 | E pat@vet-training.co.uk | W www.vet-training.co.uk |

     

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  • Fri, Jul 31 2015 5:13 PM In reply to

    • mjolnarn
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    Re: To AMA or not to AMA?

    chrisfoley:

     

    What is the best way to get it to youtube?

     

    Multiple posts, I answered in your other thread

    View this post at http://community.avid.com/forums/p/134952/767651.aspx#767651

     

    Mac: 17" Macbook Pro i7 2,66 ghz with 8Gb Ram, 500gb 7200rpm drive___ PC_NEW Win10 Pro Mbo Asus Rampage IV Black CPU Ivy Bridge-E 4960X ( = 12 x 4... [view my complete system specs]

    Tomas 

     

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