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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