AMA allows you to almost immediately begin editing with file-based video formats, such as P2, XDCAM, QuickTime, RED, and others, without first having to endure the very time-consuming Import or Transcode process before editing.
Before undertaking a project using the AMA feature, it is highly recommended that you perform a small-scale test of the process to familiarize yourself with the options and results. Ideally, you would be able to perform your small-scale test prior to receiving the mission-critical files and prior to the intensity of working under a deadline.
Avid provides helpful AMA user guides for the different video formats. You'll find them on the same page as the AMA plug-in downloads (URLs provided below). They provide a good deal of helpful information that is outside the scope of this book. At the time of writing, you may visit one of the following links:
On the Avid.com web page, you'll see a link labeled Download and/or there will be three tabs near the top labeled Overview, Features, and Plug-ins. Click on either the Download link or the Plug-ins tab. You will find the AMA user guides there.
Following are the steps to link to files with AMA:
Configure your AMA Settings by going to the Project Window, selecting the Settings tab, and then double-clicking on AMA settings.
In the Bins tab, you may select how Media Composer will react when it automatically detects that you've mounted a volume (for example, a P2 card or a removable drive). This also becomes the action that Media Composer will perform when you manually AMA link to a volume, and in the Bin Selection dialog window that will open during the AMA linking process, you select Bin(s) Based On Current AMA Settings.
To use active bin, in this case, you would first select an open bin inside your Project before mounting or manually linking to the volume through AMA
Create a new bin:
i. Default bin naming convention: The bin that's automatically created will have the name of the Project (with an incrementing number added for each new bin).
ii. Volume name: The bin that's automatically created will have the name of the card or drive.
iii. Specify bin name: The bin that's automatically created will have the text that you type into the entry box
Some video formats provide multiple files with varying compression. In the Quality tab, you may select which files the AMA process will initially link to. Note that the files that are linked to can be changed later, and this is discussed in the later recipe titled Changing the link between different resolutions of media.
Link Options sets a default for how to treat the audio tracks (for example, mono or stereo). Note that this can be changed later by selecting the clips and using the Modify command from the Clip menu.
Click on the OK button to close the AMA Settings window.
You're now ready to begin the AMA linking process. The following steps cover linking to files that have been copied off a camera card. You will see this referred to as linking to a Virtual Volume. If you want to link to the files directly off of the camera card, see the There's more... section that follows this section for details. The following steps presume that:
You have copied the files off the original camera card and organized them in a fashion as discussed at the beginning of this chapter, in the recipe titled A strategy for project organization at the desktop level.
The original file and folder structure on the card has been kept perfectly intact during the copy process to a drive. In other words, there are no differences between the contents of the card and the copy on the drive. Note that this is very important and is something you should discuss with the production team prior to shooting.
You have chosen to allow Media Composer to make a new bin when it creates the AMA link, rather than selecting a current bin.
From the File menu, select Link to AMA Volume.
The browser window will open.
Browse to the location of your files keeping the following in mind:
XDCAMfiles: Select one folder above the Clip folder
XDCAM EXfiles: Select one folder above the BPAV folder
P2files: Select one folder above the Contents folder
REDfiles: Navigate to the root directory
GFCAMfiles: Navigate to the root directory
QuickTimefiles: Navigate to the folder that contains the files
Click on OK.
Bin(s) based on current AMA setting: This is the default selection. Use this if you want the bin to follow your AMA settings.
Single bin named: This method allows you to override your AMA settings for this moment and set a specific name.
Single bin based on selected folder: If you made a main folder named
AMA Media, and then placed the contents of three different P2 cards inside it (each card having its own folder) and named each P2 card's folder as
card_3, Media Composer would make just one bin named
AMA Media, and the clips from
card_3would all be placed within it.
Bin(s) based on subfolders: If you made a main folder named
AMA Media, then placed the contents of three different P2 cards inside (each card having its own folder) and named each P2 card's folder as
card_3, Media Composer would make three separate bins. The bins would be named
Some more aspects of linking are mentioned in this section.
If you choose to work directly off the camera card rather than copy and organize your files, as discussed earlier in this chapter in the A strategy for project organization at the desktop level recipe, then follow the next set of steps:
Launch Avid Media Composer.
Insert the card into the card reader attached to your system.
When the card is recognized by the computer and is mounted, Media Composer will scan the volume (the card).
A bin will be created and named based on your AMA settings.
Media Composer will grab the clip data from the card and create Master Clips. Then, it will link the Master Clips to their media files.
If your media type provides you with versions of the files at different resolutions, you may want to switch linking from one resolution to another. For example, you've initially linked to the low-resolution version of the media for editing, and now you'd like to change the link to the high-resolution version for finishing.
Select the clips in your bin.
Right-click on the selected clips.
Choose Modify AMA Resolutions... from the menu.
The AMA Resolutions Quality window opens.
Select the video quality that you want for your video.
Click on OK.
You can get more information from the AMA plug-in Log File.
The Avid system creates an AMA plug-in log file when you link clips. The log file records errors and information about the clips. If you experience any problems while you link clips or if you receive an error message, check the AMA log file to get more information about the error (for example, a corrupt file or a bad filename).
You can view the log file from the following location on your system:
:\Program Files\Avid\Media Composer\Avid FatalError Reports. The name of the log file is
Volume/Users/Shared/AvidMediaComposer/Avid FatalError Reports. The name of the log file is