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In Avid Media Composer 5 Getting Started, author Steve Holyhead explores the tools and techniques in Media Composer for producing great looking video, as well as the basics of high definition media formats. This course walks through the video production workflow from input to editing to output, covers key information such as trim concepts and frame rates, and introduces techniques such as color correction, footage stabilization, and real-time audio effects. Exercise files accompany the course.
Avid AMA, which stands for Avid Media Access, provides a way for certain popular camera formats, and other popular file types, to be accessed in the bin instantaneously, without the need to spend time importing. Unlike a regular imported or captured clip, an AMA clip does not refer to a media file in the managed Media files folder; instead, an AMA clip is linked to Media files on a camera, device, or drive containing the AMA-compatible media.
Once linked, those clips become immediately available for viewing and editing, but because the files are linked, rather than imported, they will be displayed at their native image size and resolution, the size and quality at which the file was recorded or created - not the resolution specified in your Media Creation settings. Let's use AMA to link to a QuickTime movie. Here I've got a bin; I've made it active by clicking on it. If I right-click on the bin, you can see that I've got Link to AMA Files as a command option here.
Let's click on it; we'll get our Browse dialog. Here in the resources folder, I've got an MP4 video called march of the formats. Let's go ahead and link to that. That was pretty fast, and the yellow means that it's already loaded the image and audio data. If I pull this over into my source viewer... (Music playing.) I can play it back immediately.
In our next example, we're going to link to an AMA volume. Linking to an AMA volume means that you can load multiple clips into your bin in one easy move. Many of the new HD Cameras record their media as clips onto solid state memory cards. The AMA procedure can be used to read these cards directly from the camera, or a card reading device, and the AMA procedure can also be used to link to those folders which contain those copies on your hard drive.
In this example, we'll use AMA to link to a copy of a P2 card recorded by a Panasonic P2 Camera, but the procedure is identical, even if I was using XDCAM EX material recorded by a Sony EX3 Camera. All I need to do is go to the File menu and Link to AMA Volume. Then I can browse to the location, and what I've got inside of my resources folder here is a folder called AMA hummingbirds.
This is a copy of the card that was recorded on the camera. I select the top level of the card, click OK, a bin is automatically created, and here in the bin now are my clips. I can double-click on those and play them back straight away. (Clip playing.) Working with AMA linked files is perfect for the modern deadline-driven world. Instant access to your media is a real time saver; however, the down side is that because the media is not in the managed location, you will need to keep the files and folders orderly on the operating system level manually.
One simple way to do this is to create a single folder on your Media drive containing all of your AMA media. For longer film projects or more enterprise-level environments, creating a back up of your camera bedia is usually required, as is moving old media into a managed Media files location. To do this, we use the Consolidate function. I've come over here, and I've selected my two files in the bin. All I have to do now is right- click on them, and I can choose the Consolidate command right here.
Leave this checked on Consolidate, Video and audio will go into the same drive and then select your media drive which has the manage Media folder on it. Next, click Consolidate. This dialog is simply confirming, do we want the clips in our bin to be linked to the original location of the AMA Media or to the new location of the copy of the AMA Media? Click OK. The consolidation process takes place; it's simply copying the files from the AMA location to the managed Media files location.
Now I've got those file in my bin. You can see that the AMA version of the clips have .old next to them, and the new versions of my clips are available for playback and editing, just like the AMA versions were. Now this is quite important: Once you've done a consolidate like this, that means you've now got the system referring to all of these clips in two different locations. What do we do? We come to the File menu, and we use the Unmount command, and what we're saying here is hey, we were accessing this AMA Volume, but now I don't need to any longer.
Why? Because I already have my copies on the managed Media files folder. Now that I've unlinked these files, you can see that they say Media Offline and since I don't need them anymore, I'm just going to delete them from my bin and work with my managed copies. Accessing clips or volumes via Avid AMA creates clips in your bin which are linked to the native Media shot by the camera, or created by another application. Consolidating creates media copies of the clips in the managed Media folder whilst retaining the original file format.
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