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While importing files is fairly straight forward. By far the most popular way to access your media within Media Composer is by using the AMA workflow, which is Avid Media Access. Now this allows you to quickly and easily link to files without importing, transcoding, or copying. You just get instant access to your files and you can start editing. Now Avid natively supports many, many popular codecs. Which if we go to their webpage, is Avid.com/ama, that will get you there.
You go to the bottom here, you can take a look at the various formats that Media Composer supports. Now as you can see here, you just download the plugins for the workflows that you use. So, if I click on this here you'll notice that we have instant access to each of these plug-ins. Now, why is this done this way? Well, this enables these third party camera manufacturers to update the plug-ins outside of the media composer releases. So as you can see, as of this recording here, here are all of the camera manufacturers that Avid is working closely with.
And I should mention that the QuickTime codex are automatically included with an installation of Media Composer. So if you are just linking to QuickTime, no need to install these separate plug-ins. But, if you are going to work with any of these plug-ins, you just need to download it and install it and you're ready to go. So I'm going to go back into Media Composer here, so to get started with AMA, I just open a bin, like I have here. And I can either go up to File > and AMA Link or I can just right-click in the bin, and say AMA Link.
And I'm just going to navigate to the file that I want to bring in. So in my case, I'm going to go into my exercise files and additional files and import. And I'm just going to bring this file in right here, dance long shot. You could of course bring in multiple files this way, you just control click or command click on each file you want to link to. So I'm not importing it, I'm linking to it. I'm going to go ahead and say open. And the file is brought in. So as you can see, my source path here tells me where I'm linking to it.
It's just in my exercise files folder right there on my desktop, and it's ready to go. As you can see, here is the shot of Kim and Dave dancing, and I can begin editing right away. One other thing, just take a look at the icon type. It kind of looks like a Master clip on the left, but on the right is a little chain link to let you know that this is an AMA clip. Now I don't have to bring in just one file, I can bring in as many as I want. Let's go for an entire folder. And I'm just going to go to this folder right here.
If you take a look inside, it's a rather intricate folder hierarchy. It goes down, this is basically coming from a camera card. I just copied my entire camera card right into my system. Just so you know, I wasn't able to provide this to you for the exercise files, it's just too large, but feel free to grab your own folder of files. And again if they're QuickTime files you don't even have to install the appropriate AMA plugin. So, now I want to show you a different way to link by AMA. So, instead of going through the menu, you actually just Alt-drag or Opt-drag on a Mac right into your open bin.
So, just kind of hold down alt and drag into my bin and release. And in just mere moments, you can see that the entire bin was brought in. I'm going to go ahead and expand this so that you can take a look. You can see that my source path is pointing to where these files are located. Again, you can just load them and begin editing with them right away. So as you can see, this has very, very quickly brought in lots of clips, all of which I can load into the source monitor, play through, and get started editing with.
Now this is terrific. But I wouldn't be doing my service if I didn't say that there is a downside to editing with AMA. And that's that the files aren't stored in the managed media location, that Avid Media files folder. Instead, it's up to you to perform good media management at the operating system level yourself. So to help yourself out, I highly recommend setting up a folder on the root directory of your media drive right beside your Avid Media Files folder, kind of like this right here. So if this is my Avid Media Files folder, this is my AMA Media folder, and then everything that I'm liking to via AMA, I just put inside there.
It's never going to get lost. I'm not going to misplace it, it's not going to be living on my desktop. It's going to be living right beside my Avid Media files folder. Which I believe is a smart work flow, smart media management. Now one thing a lot of people ask is, what do you do once you have your AMA media inside Media Composer? Well people have different approaches, but basically there are a couple of options. One option, as long as you're not linking straight to a camera card connected to your system, as long as you're linking to an actual folder full of media that's already been transferred to your system.
This to just edit the entire show with the AMA media, start to finish. As long as you're not experiencing any performance lag, you're totally fine to do this. Then, when you have edited your sequence, you can transcode it so that just the portions of the clips that you actually used in the sequence are converted to native Avid MXF files. Now, others prefer to transcode the AMA files right away, before working with them. Now if you do this, you're guaranteed excellent performance, and you're also guaranteed rock-solid media management.
And it's probably obvious, but you absolutely need to transcode the files if you're linking straight to a camera card. You need to transfer those files off the card and onto your drive. So while we won't go into every option and every work flow, I did just quickly want to show you how to transcode an AMA file, so that it converts to a native Avid MXF file. You just right click on the file in the bin here, and choose consolidate transcode. I'm going to go ahead and click transcode.
And in this case, I'm going to choose my C drive. And, as you can see here, up at the top, there is an option to transcode only AMA linked medias. That can be very handy, but since I only have one file selected right here, I really don't need that option. Then I just come down here and select my target video resolution. So I think I'm just going to go one to one, and you can also convert your audio if you like. And let's go ahead and transcode. Notice that Run in background is an option so you can select as many files as you want, set up the parameters as you like, run in the background and then, you know, continue working.
I'm going to go ahead and just transcode here. Shouldn't take too long. As you can see here, I have my two clips. This is the AMA clip, and this is the transcoded file that I just created. Now, best of all, you can mix and match clips however you'd like. I'm going to go ahead and just load the transcoded file into the source monitor, and marking in, in and out. And slices into the timeline, just going to call this AMA Test.
And I'm going to go ahead and grab one of the AMA clips, and do the same. So we have a non-AMA and an AMA clip side-by-side in the timeline. Now, if you're ever curious about which of the clips in your timeline are AMA clips, it's really easy to find out. Just come down to the timeline fast menu and you choose clip color, and I'm just going to select AMA. Notice that, that's purple, and you'll see that it's going to highlight anything in the timeline that's AMA in purple.
So imagine instead of two clips, it's hundreds, this can be a little bit more useful when you have, you know, your AMA clips highlighted. So as you can see, linking to files via AMA is really easy and it's certainly becoming the preferred and most popular way to get your media into your project. As long as you're aware of media management and don't move the original files from their linked location, the AMA workflow is quick, easy, and efficient.
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