Avid Media Composer 5 in a DSLR World

A few weeks ago I wrote a post called Avid Media Composer in a DSLR World which detailed the various workflow options for working with DSLR media (mainly from Canon’s insanely popular 5D and it’s siblings). In that post I mentioned that the upcoming Media Composer 5 would change it all, and it really has, so here’s the update…

With Media Composer 5′s support for Quicktime as an AMA media format working with DSLR material (shot in QT-native formats .MOV or .MP4) is as simple as the Avid workflows for XDCAM or P2.

Accessing the media is a simple as selecting Link to AMA Volume from the File menu then navigating the folder where you’ve copied the clips from the card (you could potentially access the media directly from the camera card) – seconds later you will have a bin full of clips.

When linking to the Canon DSLR media Avid will create new timecode from the file metadata, a Time-of-Day timecode based on the record time in the file.

On my laptop, which isn’t very powerful with a Dual-Celeron 1.6GHz processor, I can play one stream of H.264 in realtime (assuming I’m not running other processor or memory intensive applications). For improved performance it is possible to transcode selected clips to an Avid resolution.

In my test video above, it take 13 seconds to link and index 46 minutes of footage from an external USB drive.

To put this in perspective, it took me only a couple of minutes to link to 5 cards containing a total of 129 minutes of footage. Also it’s significantly faster to transcode from the AMA material than it is to directly import the files – I transcoded a 1:03 clip to DNxHD 120 in 2 minutes 27 seconds, importing the same clip directly to DNxHD 120 on the same system took 5 minutes 06 seconds, a little over twice as long – again on my underpowered laptop with a few other memory-hungry apps running.

So in summary, the workflow issues with DSLR media in Avid Media Composer largely cease to exist in version 5.

More posts about Media Composer 5, including a lengthy review/introduction will be posted in the near future.

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  • Abinash Mazumdar

    I have a Canon 550D. Recently I recorded some videos for a documentary through that camera, the format is .MOV but when I try to import those videos in AVID Media Composer, it says that the file is not supported. Can you help me out.

    • http://dylanreeve.com/ Dylan Reeve

      What version of Media Composer? In 5.0 and later you should be able to AMA link to the media. Depending on computer spec it may be impractical to edit with the linked files, but they can be transcoded to native Avid media.

  • Hels

    Hi Dylan, Im using a Canon 5D Mark III, could you please tell me what you think is the best way to import video footage from this camera into Avid Media Composer 6? I am really struggling with this one. Many thanks

  • http://www.facebook.com/amberfug Amber Todd

    Hey Dylan, I am fairly new to AVID MC and was taking a look at some of your posts just to refine my workflow and I see that when you AMA linked to a volume – your 5D files were able to carry their TOD timecode into AVID. I’m using 6.5 and not seeing that TOD – everything resets to 00:00:00:00. Do you have any ideas what I may be doing incorrectly or is it a chance that its a bug in 6.5? I would really appreciate any thoughts you might have on this! Thanks!