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Avid Media Composer 6 Essential Training
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Understanding system performance


From:

Avid Media Composer 6 Essential Training

with Ashley Kennedy

Video: Understanding system performance

Working with effects allows you to add a lot of interesting elements to your sequence, but it also takes a toll on your editing system. Keep in mind, every time you play back an effect, which is actually something that isn't really there--like a resize, a reposition, a retiming, and so on-- Media Composer is actually working overtime to try to play those effects back in real time. If you notice your system is struggling, there are several things you can do to help it along so that you can maximize the playback of real time effects. Before trying to solve performance problems, it's important that you understand how Media Composer retrieves the media from the drives.
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  1. 3m 55s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
    2. Using the exercise files
      2m 39s
  2. 22m 54s
    1. Touring the Select Project window
      4m 45s
    2. Exploring bins
      4m 23s
    3. Customizing user settings
      3m 36s
    4. Setting up and organizing a project
      5m 57s
    5. Saving and backing up the project
      4m 13s
  3. 57m 27s
    1. Touring the Composer Monitor and the Timeline
      2m 29s
    2. Touring the Edit interface
      5m 6s
    3. Splicing shots
      7m 43s
    4. Splicing non-linearly
      2m 43s
    5. Overwriting shots
      4m 35s
    6. Removing shots using Extract and Lift
      4m 38s
    7. Using Segment mode (Extract/Splice) to switch shots
      6m 37s
    8. Using Segment mode (Lift/Overwrite) to move shots
      6m 31s
    9. Using Extract/Splice and Lift/Overwrite together
      3m 32s
    10. Manipulating the Timeline directly
      4m 34s
    11. Creating subclips and subsequences
      3m 48s
    12. Adding multiple video and audio tracks
      5m 11s
  4. 23m 28s
    1. Understanding trimming
      3m 19s
    2. Performing single-roller trims
      5m 15s
    3. Performing dual-roller trims
      3m 54s
    4. Using Ripple Trim and Overwrite Trim
      5m 4s
    5. Understanding sync
      3m 17s
    6. Solving sync problems
      2m 39s
  5. 54m 26s
    1. Navigating with JKL
      3m 26s
    2. Using navigation shortcuts
      4m 47s
    3. Using the Command palette
      6m 4s
    4. Customizing the Timeline
      4m 54s
    5. Using bin layouts
      3m 49s
    6. Using workspaces
      6m 41s
    7. Sorting and sifting clips
      5m 57s
    8. Using the Find tool
      5m 13s
    9. Using markers
      5m 54s
    10. Using PhraseFind
      3m 21s
    11. Using ScriptSync
      4m 20s
  6. 20m 42s
    1. Trimming with JKL
      4m 53s
    2. Performing Slip edits
      6m 1s
    3. Performing Slide edits
      5m 39s
    4. Performing Replace edits
      4m 9s
  7. 27m 17s
    1. Reading audio levels and pan
      5m 42s
    2. Using the audio mixer
      10m 1s
    3. Keyframing audio
      7m 6s
    4. Recording audio adjustments on the fly
      4m 28s
  8. 55m 1s
    1. Using Quick Transition effects
      4m 6s
    2. Using the Transition Manipulation tool
      3m 12s
    3. Using the Effects palette and the Effect Editor
      6m 1s
    4. Keyframing segment effects
      5m 30s
    5. Nesting and auto-nesting
      5m 54s
    6. Saving effect templates
      3m 23s
    7. Building basic composites using vertical effects
      4m 7s
    8. Using the picture-in-picture (PIP) effect
      5m 14s
    9. Using the Color effect
      4m 24s
    10. Creating basic motion effects
      6m 55s
    11. Using Timewarp
      6m 15s
  9. 11m 48s
    1. Understanding system performance
      6m 13s
    2. Rendering intelligently
      5m 35s
  10. 26m 44s
    1. Analyzing footage for problems
      2m 27s
    2. Using the Y-Waveform monitor to set whites and blacks
      7m 16s
    3. Using the RGB Parade to correct color casts
      5m 50s
    4. Using the Vectorscope to improve skin tones
      5m 34s
    5. Using auto color correction
      5m 37s
  11. 30m 10s
    1. Formatting and enhancing text using Avid Marquee
      5m 32s
    2. Using Marquee to apply shapes and gradients
      5m 18s
    3. Using title templates
      3m 45s
    4. Bringing the title into Media Composer
      3m 54s
    5. Revising the title
      2m 17s
    6. Creating rolling and crawling titles
      5m 14s
    7. Using AutoTitler
      4m 10s
  12. 32m 37s
    1. Importing files
      6m 47s
    2. Linking to files using AMA
      3m 36s
    3. Linking to hi-res stills
      5m 59s
    4. Using the Avid Marketplace
      2m 50s
    5. Using the Capture tool
      5m 19s
    6. Capturing footage
      3m 41s
    7. Batch capturing
      4m 25s
  13. 12m 58s
    1. Deleting material from the bin
      5m 29s
    2. Understanding the Media tool
      4m 46s
    3. Deleting unreferenced clips
      2m 43s
  14. 17m 35s
    1. Preparing your sequence for output
      5m 44s
    2. Performing a digital cut
      5m 26s
    3. Exporting your sequence as a file
      6m 25s
  15. 19m 2s
    1. Solving offline media
      6m 48s
    2. Re-linking media
      3m 0s
    3. Resetting Avid settings
      5m 9s
    4. Using the Avid Attic
      4m 5s
  16. 44s
    1. Additional resources
      44s

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Avid Media Composer 6 Essential Training
6h 56m Beginner Dec 08, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, author Ashley Kennedy demonstrates basic and intermediate video editing techniques in Avid Media Composer. The course explains how to build sequences, mix audio, apply effects, and color-correct footage. The course also shows how to create titles, manage and output media, capture and import footage, and troubleshoot common post-production issues.

Topics include:
  • Adding and removing shots to build multi-track sequences
  • Trimming shots to fine-tune sequences
  • Exploring navigation shortcuts and project management strategies
  • Customizing the editing workspace
  • Using advanced editing and trimming methods
  • Adjusting audio levels and pan
  • Applying, nesting, compositing, and revising video effects
  • Understanding the relationship between rendering and system performance
  • Incorporating intelligent media management strategies
Subjects:
Video Video Editing
Software:
Media Composer
Author:
Ashley Kennedy

Understanding system performance

Working with effects allows you to add a lot of interesting elements to your sequence, but it also takes a toll on your editing system. Keep in mind, every time you play back an effect, which is actually something that isn't really there--like a resize, a reposition, a retiming, and so on-- Media Composer is actually working overtime to try to play those effects back in real time. If you notice your system is struggling, there are several things you can do to help it along so that you can maximize the playback of real time effects. Before trying to solve performance problems, it's important that you understand how Media Composer retrieves the media from the drives.

Avid retrieves media from the drives very quickly, much faster than real time. When you hit the Play button, Avid loads the clip or sequence, finds the media, and quickly fills a buffer full of video frames that comprise the media. This buffer, historically called the spring buffer, is a ten-second container that holds the media that's ready to be played. If you're playing just a few streams of video, the spring buffer stays filled the whole time. That is, Avid is always able to fill the buffer faster than real time, and playback it smooth. If you're playing many strings of video, the spring buffer can't always stay totally full; it's only partially full, and while you're not dropping frames yet, Avid gives you a warning that you might drop frames soon.

This is displayed as solid, yellow or blue dashed lines in the time code track in the Timeline. If you're playing back too many streams, the spring buffer empties completely, and this results in dropped frames, or red warning bars in the time code track. This simply means you're not achieving real-time playback. So, with this explanation, there are a couple of options in Media Composer that can help you playback your media in real time. We have here a pretty complex sequence. There's not much to it.

There's just a lot of picture-in-pictures with all of them popping on, one after another. I'm going to play through it so that we can see exactly what warnings we get and if we drop any frames. So let's go ahead and just press Play. I'll press the spacebar. All right! You probably noticed that we dropped frames at the end, and let's go ahead and scroll down so we can take a look at our time code track. All right! So up to here, we didn't drop any frames.

We were okay. But we're receiving some warnings. These yellow bars in the time code track indicate that my computer processor is being taxed. If these were blue lines, that would mean that my drives were being taxed. So that can help you diagnose what the problem might be. Then, starting right here, we've just started dropping frames, Avid couldn't handle it, and by the end, we really weren't getting any playback at all. Keep in mind, these results do vary depending on what system you're on, so if you're following along, you may receive completely different results.

So let's take a look at a couple of options to help you out, in case you need to playback your media in real time, which is usually desirable. If you come down to this menu right here, the Video Quality menu, and right-click, you'll see that you have three options: Full Quality, Draft Quality, and Best Performance. In Full Quality, the frames are being sent through your system at full resolution, but at Draft Quality, you can send the frames through your system at one-quarter resolution. Now, when you're dealing with HD media, you really can't tell the difference, so I highly recommend that you work in Draft Quality.

Full Quality should only be for screenings and output. So let's go ahead and play this back and see how it goes. All right! So that went much better. We're looking down here in the time code track, and we see that we started to get a little bit bogged down, about right here. We're getting these yellow warning bars saying that my computer processor is being taxed, and oh! At the end, we dropped frames.

So you can actually go down one more step, to Best Performance. This is sending frames to your system at one-sixteenth resolution. You will notice a degradation in quality here, but again, if real-time playback is the goal, sometimes the drop in quality is okay. Let's go ahead and play this back. All right! So we were able to play all of that back just fine. We had a couple of warning bars near here the end, but we had no red lines, which means that we are able to play back in real time, and the spring buffer just emptied a little bit near the end, but not completely.

In the ruler above the timeline, we see the performance from the last-played example. So this is the current example, and this is the last-played example. All right! So this can really help you out. The Video Quality menu is a tremendous way for you to be able to play back the maximum number of real-time streams, and depending on what you're doing, you can just switch back and forth. And like I said, I highly recommend working in Draft Quality most of the time, except when you're doing heavy compositing--then Best Performance can really help you out.

I also want to show you the Format tab. The Format tab will allow you to switch from the HD flavor to an SD flavor, and this can often help you out as well. So instead of playing in a 1080i59 94 project, and we switch to something of a like frame rate, like a 30i NTSC, I'll go ahead and switch over, and we'll go ahead and play it through in Draft Quality. I'm going to press my spacebar. All right! We played through just fine, and we had no warning bars down here in the time code track.

So that was our best option as far as not taxing the system. There are a couple of other methods, but these are the main ones that will help you out in making sure that you can play back your media in real time. Again, your Video Quality menu, and switching to a different format of media, will really help you out if you have a lot of tracks to play.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Avid Media Composer 6 Essential Training.


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Q: When I open the exercise files, the media is all offline. I tried to reconnect using the steps in Chapter 14, but that isn't working. What do I do?
A: Make sure to watch the "Using the Exercise Files" video. The Avid MediaFiles folder must be located at the root directory of the media drive (i.e. not inside any other folders, such as the exercise files folder), or all media will be offline. Here's a summary.

1. In the lynda exercise files, there is a folder called Avid MediaFiles. Inside of that folder is a folder called MXF, and inside of the MXF folder is a folder called 1.

2. Rename the "1" folder to "2" (or any other number).

3. In a separate window, open the MXF folder of the Avid MediaFiles folder that's already on your system (not the exercise files folder). Drag the "2" folder from the exercise files to this MXF folder. You will now have both a "1" and a "2" folder. 
The media for this course will be in the "2" folder.
 
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