I noticed a thread on the Avid-L2 about file-based delivery, specifically in this case it was NBC wanting XDCAM file delivery (MXF 50Mb/s HD files) – Bourke from Videotoolshed offered some great information about using Avid’s Export to Device function to get an XDCAM-format MXF file suitable for delivery.
By providing an empty XDCAM folder structure (download link at the bottom of the page) on a bare drive you can convince Avid that it’s looking at an XDCAM disc, and it will then author a standards-compliant XDCAM video file.
That’s easy enough, but I wanted to test it and didn’t have an empty harddrive available (the drive should probably only have the XDCAM files and folders to work properly) but I remembered an old DOS trick – first I copied the XDCAM folder structure to a folder on my D: drive called “XDCAM” then I opened a command prompt and typed:
subst x: d:\xdcam
subst is an old DOS command (still available all the way up to Windows 7) which maps a drive letter to a folder on your harddrive. In this case Windows will create a new drive as X: which will point at D:\XDCAM – when I use Avid’s Export to XDCAM function I will find a file called C0001.MXFin D:\XDCAM\Clip folder – this is the MXP OP1A file that Avid has created from the sequence.
This same principle can be used to create virtual drives to organise project-based media. For example if you have a series of folders on a drive named for each project, each containing an Avid MediaFiles directory then you could use subst to “mount” each of those folder as it’s own drive letter.
Avid will see each folder as if it were a real drive, but media will be kept within the project-based files. The biggest drawback to this approach seems to be that all virtual drives have the same volume name as the source folder drive.
XDCAM folder structure: