Latest post Tue, Jul 26 2011 2:08 PM by Nick. 22 replies.
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  • Mon, Jul 11 2011 12:02 PM

    • Ondrej Azor
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    AMA and Canon XF media

    It is sad to realize, that while Media Composer is advertised with "native" support for Canon XF media, in fact the real workflow is far from possible (at least as for AMA). Has anyone from AVID tried to work on documentary (or any other longer format) based on AMA linked material from Canon cameras? It simply is NOT possible. Well, if you want to wait 5-10 minutes after several operations...

    For me it is not acceptable to say "Canon XF natively supported" and then point out, that AMA is for "preview only and you shoul transcode for the editing itself". We have been working on XDCAM and P2 media for quite some time and they really are usable in native form (AMA linked) even for long documentaries and series. I was expecting the same with Canon XF media, upgraded all edit rooms to latest MC. I ended up having to transcode ALL media for the whole long term project... Not funny.

    No warnings from Avid side, no warnings from Canon side. Something that SHOULD work as advertised simply does not. I wonder if things will get better with next Canon AMA plugin or next MC patch...

    Is AVID engineers aware of this problem? I can see I am not the only one suffering from this, in fact I was not able to trace anyone working "natively" with XF media so far (not 5-minute sequences)... It is not about the PC power (as with h264 based material), but it seems to me it is more of an access problem (disks are crazy with every timeline operation). Can we realisticly expect it will get better (well, "working") or just to revert to transcoding for good?

    Any word of future developement or any other suggestions are really welcomed and appretiated. Thank you.

     

    (for the record: MC 5.5.2, Canon AMA plugin 1.0.3, various Avid systems)

    DNxIO w. MC2018.11 on HP z820 [view my complete system specs]
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  • Mon, Jul 11 2011 12:17 PM In reply to

    Re: AMA and Canon XF media

    Hi,

    It may be that your systems aren't powerful enough to run Canon XF linked via AMA.  Just in case you haven't seen it, this doc might shed some light on your problems:

    http://avid.force.com/pkb/LegacySearch?DocId=365919

    ciao,
    Carl 

    Media Composer 2020.9 w/Symphony/SS/PF options, HP Z-Book G6 17", i7-9850H 2.60GHz, 32gb RAM, NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000, Windows 10 Pro [view my complete system specs]

    "There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who only consider the price are this man's lawful prey."  - John Ruskin (1819-1900)

     

    Carl Amoscato | Freelance Film & Video Editor | London, UK

  • Mon, Jul 11 2011 12:57 PM In reply to

    Re: AMA and Canon XF media

    This is a common issue with AMA linked content.

    If the system has to unpack and decode the content and run the NLE at the same time resources are stretched especially while we're limited to 32bit operation. The AMA functions are provided by Canon not Avid. Avid just provides the framework. So if the AMA plugin isn't optimised then it's Canon who are responsible.

    But for good AMA work you realy need very fast drive connectivity and the fastest newest systems and even then there are limits. Hence the advice to make selects via AMA and then transcode.

     

    ACI Moderator. I'm not employed by Avid or work for them. I just do this in my spare time. Normally using the current Media Composer version on My... [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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  • Mon, Jul 11 2011 12:57 PM In reply to

    • Ondrej Azor
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    • Slovenská republika
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    • Points 610

    Re: AMA and Canon XF media

    No, this is not the case. Playback (even in full quality settings) is not a problem (20-25% utilization of CPU). The problem is the "initialization" of the clip (reading the data from the source clip). For example - if I load the clip into source monitor, it takes 2 seconds just to load it FIRST time. Then, when I load another few clips and after that I load the first clip again, it load instantly (just as it is "normal" in MC). For me it indicates the problem either with metadata reading from the source files or painfully slow "initialization" when accessing the source. Playback itself is not a problem (as was/is the case with h264 and RED files on slower systems).

    DNxIO w. MC2018.11 on HP z820 [view my complete system specs]
  • Mon, Jul 11 2011 12:58 PM In reply to

    • Ondrej Azor
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Tue, Jun 21 2011
    • Slovenská republika
    • Posts 48
    • Points 610

    Re: AMA and Canon XF media

    Forgot to add "Thank you" indeed! :)

    DNxIO w. MC2018.11 on HP z820 [view my complete system specs]
  • Mon, Jul 11 2011 1:03 PM In reply to

    • Ondrej Azor
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Tue, Jun 21 2011
    • Slovenská republika
    • Posts 48
    • Points 610

    Re: AMA and Canon XF media

    Pat Horridge:

    This is a common issue with AMA linked content.

    If the system has to unpack and decode the content and run the NLE at the same time resources are stretched especially while we're limited to 32bit operation. The AMA functions are provided by Canon not Avid. Avid just provides the framework. So if the AMA plugin isn't optimised then it's Canon who are responsible.

    But for good AMA work you realy need very fast drive connectivity and the fastest newest systems and even then there are limits. Hence the advice to make selects via AMA and then transcode.

     

    Thanks for your reply, Pat :)

    I consider dual quad-core system with FC connected UNITY storage "poweful enoug" for 50Mbit stream. As I have stated, it doesn't seem to be a performance (PC-wise) issue, rather than poor AMA access to the files. I do understand that Canon is the provider of the plugin, but at the current state I can hardly say MC "supports XF cameras natively" and since it is a part of advertised features of MC, I consider it also a AVID failure for now :(

    DNxIO w. MC2018.11 on HP z820 [view my complete system specs]
  • Mon, Jul 11 2011 1:20 PM In reply to

    Re: AMA and Canon XF media

    Hi,

    Ondrej Azor:
    I consider dual quad-core system with FC connected UNITY storage "poweful enoug" for 50Mbit stream. As I have stated, it doesn't seem to be a performance (PC-wise) issue, rather than poor AMA access to the files. I do understand that Canon is the provider of the plugin, but at the current state I can hardly say MC "supports XF cameras natively" and since it is a part of advertised features of MC, I consider it also a AVID failure for now :(

    I don't know if Avid's definition of "working" means "playback only" or "overall system performance"; I assume it means the latter as AMA wouldn't be much use if the rule was "you can play video back just fine, but every time you press a key or drag a shot into a monitor it'll take 5 or 10 seconds."

    Anyhow, I know you don't think it's a performance issue, but I used AMA-linked Canon XF material last week on MC 5.0 running on an HP Z800 system and it worked fine for both playback and overall system performance, even on long timelines, so I can't confirm your findings.

    ciao,
    Carl 

    Media Composer 2020.9 w/Symphony/SS/PF options, HP Z-Book G6 17", i7-9850H 2.60GHz, 32gb RAM, NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000, Windows 10 Pro [view my complete system specs]

    "There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who only consider the price are this man's lawful prey."  - John Ruskin (1819-1900)

     

    Carl Amoscato | Freelance Film & Video Editor | London, UK

  • Mon, Jul 11 2011 1:36 PM In reply to

    • Ondrej Azor
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    • Slovenská republika
    • Posts 48
    • Points 610

    Re: AMA and Canon XF media

    I have tried to rule out every aspect (different PCs, UNITY/local FC storage, versions 5.0.3/5.5.2), but no luck so far. Playback is fine, dragging curson in timeline is fine (although slower than other AMA material), even editing is fine up to the point when MC needs to save or close the bin or do any other operation which "re-checks" the sequence (as if opening sequence) - then I wait appr. 7minutes... No other format behaves like that for me in any other projects :(

    DNxIO w. MC2018.11 on HP z820 [view my complete system specs]
  • Mon, Jul 11 2011 1:41 PM In reply to

    Re: AMA and Canon XF media

    Don't forget with Avid created media Avid makes media databases and loads into RAM those for fast access of clip information (like exactly where the media is on the system)

    With an AMA clip this isn't the case. There seems to be a number of steps that happen when AMA folders and clips are used. Teh initial mounting takes soem time as an index is created but this seems to be a limited one (Which I guess is to reduce the lag in mounting AMA volumes) Then there is a lag when accessing a clip while MC gahers the rest of the info to actually allow playback of it. With AMA media we now have a whole bunch of meta data that relates to how we ant to proces the file like aspect ration GFX levels and many more.  the first time a clip is loaded these seem to be collected and stored allowing later accesses to be faster but this info sems to be volitile and is lost after a restart and I've even noticed it can seem to be re gathered while in a session. Possible to as unused RAM is released.

    Many of these issues may well be resolved hen MC is released from it's current 32bit build and assuming the next build will be 64bit (but we can't know of course...yawn...) then Avid will have the scope to improve things.

     

    ACI Moderator. I'm not employed by Avid or work for them. I just do this in my spare time. Normally using the current Media Composer version on My... [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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  • Mon, Jul 11 2011 4:02 PM In reply to

    • Ondrej Azor
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    • Posts 48
    • Points 610

    Re: AMA and Canon XF media

    I understand AMA workflow exactly as you describe it (that's why I assume it is not "brute force" performance problem, as with h264), but the thing that confuses me most is that while I AM used to work with P2 and XDCAM files linked with AMA (using Avid Unity) even with large projects/timelines, I had not experienced such problem as with Canon XF material so far...

    When linking with AMA to local FC storage, things are a bit better (lag is aroung 1 minute instead of 5-7 minutes when linking to Unity), so it seems related to number of accesses to linked files. Either way, it is not suitable for regular editing :( Hope future Canon plugin release will help the issue, since I am sure it CAN be done better (see no problem with other media types).

    DNxIO w. MC2018.11 on HP z820 [view my complete system specs]
  • Mon, Jul 11 2011 4:20 PM In reply to

    Re: AMA and Canon XF media

    I think with P2 and XDCAM much of the metadata is stored in XML files within the folder structure of the cards.

    However the XF files store it in the actual media files (I think) so with P2 and XDCAM much meta data can be collected easily in one hit. But with the XF the plugin has to strip out the data as it accesses the files. This may not be easy to fix later as it's a structural design issue.

    The canon camera design and price point look to be partly responsible for the limitations in that area.

     

    ACI Moderator. I'm not employed by Avid or work for them. I just do this in my spare time. Normally using the current Media Composer version on My... [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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  • Mon, Jul 11 2011 4:38 PM In reply to

    • Ondrej Azor
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    • Joined on Tue, Jun 21 2011
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    • Posts 48
    • Points 610

    Re: AMA and Canon XF media

    Pat Horridge:

    I think with P2 and XDCAM much of the metadata is stored in XML files within the folder structure of the cards.

    However the XF files store it in the actual media files (I think) so with P2 and XDCAM much meta data can be collected easily in one hit. But with the XF the plugin has to strip out the data as it accesses the files. This may not be easy to fix later as it's a structural design issue.

    The canon camera design and price point look to be partly responsible for the limitations in that area.

     

    Oh, in that case that's not a good news then :( And we are stuck as with AVCHD... I understand "consumer" media avoidance, but in this "real world" situation Avid is losing points to other editing SW that have no problem working with "consumer" media. How hard is it to extract metadata in "first pass" when working with such media and then use it? Like checking the "don't scan for AMA volume change" possible optional checkbox? It would be then easy to create small "local" metadata database for each AMA volume (they hardly change anyway). Well, it doesn't make sense to me, since AMA is a GREAT tool, since more and more media comes from tapeless sources, but as great tool it is, AVID is not taking it to it's full potential :(

    Thank you anyway for your inputs, at least I know a bit more now :)

    DNxIO w. MC2018.11 on HP z820 [view my complete system specs]
  • Fri, Jul 22 2011 11:11 PM In reply to

    • Nick
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on Mon, May 3 2010
    • Scotland UK
    • Posts 213
    • Points 2,725

    Re: AMA and Canon XF media

    Exact same problem here. Z800 PC, 6GB RAM, Raid 0 drives and works fine on XDCAM EX AMA material. So whats up with canon XF plugin? I have not been able to edit a single piece using AMA, I have to consolidate everything. Icons in frame view take ages to load and you get long hangs when doing operations such as lift, extract, add edit etc. This format has been out a year now, this really should be sorted. 

    The metadata is stored in a XML file next to the video clip. 

    HPZ800, X2 Intel Xeon X5650 Six Core, Nvidia Quadro FX4800, 48GB RAM, Nitris DX, MC 8.5.2 Windows 7 Pro [view my complete system specs]
  • Sat, Jul 23 2011 9:31 PM In reply to

    • Ondrej Azor
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    Re: AMA and Canon XF media

    Nick:

    The metadata is stored in a XML file next to the video clip. 

    But the XML stores almost no data, take a look. When you compare this to XML data from XDCAM EX, you'll see... This means that every time MC accesses the data it has to read it from media instead of XML file. I don't see any quick solution here :( There would be a similar way how Premiere does it - scan the media and extract metadata on the first use (or at the time when volume is linked with AMA for the first time) and store them in separate "mini database" for quick access. There could be an option for "locking" this mini database (which would suppose there is no modification in volume itself) or for "rescanning" (when volume has been changed). This would speed up the AMA workflow (hopefuly) to the same level as with XDCAM or similar professional media.

    DNxIO w. MC2018.11 on HP z820 [view my complete system specs]
  • Sun, Jul 24 2011 3:53 PM In reply to

    • Nick
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on Mon, May 3 2010
    • Scotland UK
    • Posts 213
    • Points 2,725

    Re: AMA and Canon XF media

    Ok, that does make sense. But what metadata does it need to see when editing a clip? Maybe timecode but surely nothing else? Could it be anything to do with the audio being stored in the same file as the video? I know that Avid likes to use separate MXF files for audio in the database. I don;t know how XDCAM EX saves the audio...

    HPZ800, X2 Intel Xeon X5650 Six Core, Nvidia Quadro FX4800, 48GB RAM, Nitris DX, MC 8.5.2 Windows 7 Pro [view my complete system specs]
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