Reconform your Projects in Media Composer with this Resolution Independence Tapeless Workflow

By in Tutorial Thursday, Video Editing

Once a show has been edited and locked, I am handed a Bin with the offline sequence to reconform for online. In my online reconform/digitizing/ACSR Media Composer world, every frame has to make the online edit; from relinking the pulled selects of source tapes using the Key Number Start, over timecode values that graphic artist assigned, to B-Roll and stock footage edited with different timecode values.

 

Digitizing Tape

A normal 42 minutes Scripted Show has around 600 to 700 edits, a 42 minutes Reality Show with 800 to 1200 edits (Average edit 2 seconds 2 frames). If I was digitizing tape for the online reconform, I could have a tape cart filled front and back with tapes. If it was a two hour special I could have 2 tape carts filled front and back with tapes to digitize. For Tape, I could digitize an average of 100 clips per hour. Plus, there is time lapse footage. And depending on the tape deck I might have to fix 2 to 6 frame offsets per edit event. Before Media Composer v6.5, it could take me 40 hours of metadata management alone just to prepare for the tapeless online reconform.

 

Tapeless Workflow

Now some of my shows are 99 percent tapeless. Since Media Composer v6.5, within seconds I can do the metadata management for the tapeless online reconform. I have spent many hours testing and retesting columns of metadata for relinking, and I figured out an almost unbreakable Media Composer tapeless reconform. This method has been used on shows, watched by millions weekly. Here’s how this Avid tapeless workflow works in Media Composer v8.4. Feel free to try it on your own projects.

Step 1

Go to the “File Menu” and choose the “Link To Media…” command. Select a source file on the storage device. A master clip is created in the Avid Bin.

Step 2

In the Avid Bin, click on the column heading titled “Name”. The metadata in the “Name” column becomes selected for the master clip.

Step 3

While the “Name” column is selected, go to the “Edit Menu” and choose the “Duplicate” command. The “Select” window appears.

Step 4

In the “Select” window, from the displayed list, click on the “LINK” heading to select it. Click the “OK” button at the bottom of the “Select” window.

Step 5

In the Avid Bin, click on the column heading titled “Start”. The metadata in the “Start” column becomes selected for the master clip.

Step 6

While the “Start” column is selected, go to the “Edit Menu” and choose the “Duplicate” command. The “Select” window appears.

Step 7

In the “Select” window, from the displayed list, click on the “Auxiliary TC2” heading to select it. Click the “OK” button at the bottom of the “Select” window.

Step 8

Select the Master Clip icon in the Avid Bin.

Step 9

While the Master Clip icon is selected, go to the “Clip Menu” and choose “Consolidate/Transcode…”. The “Consolidate/Transcode” window appears.

Step 10

Make the desired selections for the transcode and be sure to select “Keep source’s frame rate”. Click the “Transcode ” button at the bottom of the “Consolidate/Transcode” window.

Step 11

Now the transcoded master clip is ready to be cut into a sequence. Cut the transcoded master clip into a sequence.

In the Avid Bin, Duplicate the original sequence and place it into the bin with the AMA Plug-in “Link to Media…” master clip.

Step 12

In the Project Window click the “Info” tab and then click the “Clear Bin Memory”.

Step 13

Open up the Avid Bin and select the Sequence and the AMA Plug-in “Link to Media…” Master Clip.

Step 14

Go to the “Clip Menu” and choose the “Relink…” command. The “Relink” window appears.

Make sure to select the following settings (see picture) and click on the “OK” button.

You should now have a linked Online Sequence that is now pointing to the original AMA Plug-In “Link to Media” master clip.

This workflow supplies both relinking to tapeless footage, and having metadata track back to the original source file at any time. If your typical offline-to-online scenario is to edit in a multicam standard definition resolution and then relink to the original tapeless camera masters for online at the desired resolution, then this workflow supports it all! It’s a true resolution independence reconform in Avid Media Composer; there’s no need to overcut or eye match, automatic reconforms are now a reality of tapeless footage. Spend less time on media management, and free up more time for the artist to create the art. I hope this is helpful!

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I am an online editor and consultant. I love metadata linked to essence.
  • Richard Sanchez

    If you transcode the clip before you relink it to the sequence, this workflow would be dependent on transcoding each clip in it’s full duration as opposed to just transcoding the portions used in the cut with handles. Is this correct? If so, do you have a method of transcoding just the used portions in the event that hard drive storage is at a premium?

    Do you ever run into potential issues with formats like XDCAM, where you might have several clips all named C0001? Overlapping filenames and such.

    • This automatic reconform sequence workflow overcomes handle obstacles and source files with the exact same name obstacle.

      Overcomes sequence handle obstacles with the Avid relink command:
      For this tapeless workflow the sequence only needs master clips duration as used in the sequence for the relink.

      Overcomes source files with the exact same name obstacle:
      Files with the exact same name is supported, if the original camera source file tree folder supports being placing in a named new root folder. I use that new named root folder as the metadata name to populate the LINK column for those master clips.

  • gert vandencruijce

    What do you do if you have several thousands clips buried in several hundreds of bins. I’m talking about a drama serie of more than 10 episodes. I would be impossible to AMA-link all the clips.

    • This workflow supports thousands of files in the selection and can relink to all dailies organized or not organized. Step 12 clears the media objects and mix this with the strength of LINK and auxiliare tc2 everything relinks. This workflow can support relinking video mixdowns too.

      So far, this relinking a sequence to thousands of master clips workflow seems unstoppable.

      • gert vandencruijce

        Is the LINK column custom made? And if it’s original to Media Composer, what’s the purpose of the LINK column? In your workflow it’s a copy of the name column. If you don’t change the name of the clip that don’t see the advantage of copying that metadata.

  • bannerman

    Thanks for this post Scott. Can you clarify what you mean when you say ”
    I use that new folder’s name for the metadata name to populate the LINK
    column for those master clips.”

    All my original cards (Sony
    xavc-long gop) are each in their own folders in a master project folder
    on my harddrive. EX: G:/project/card001/… And each of the 100 or more
    cards will have a clip0001, etc. How is this accounted for when using
    the LINK column to hold the Original file name?

    • If needing unique file names, I make a new folder and move the entire tree-structure-of-folders into the new folder. I name this folder something unique like the date, show, camera. When I ingest the footage in the “LINK” column, I merge this Unique-“Folder Name” with the “Master Clip Name” creating a Unique Master Clip Metadata Identifier for relinking reconforms downstream in Avid Media Composer.

      • Simon Mackenzie

        Hi Scott, is there a way to use this workflow in Media Composer 7.0? File > Link to Media doesn’t seem to be an option in this version. Thanks!

        • For Media Composer Version 7 use ‘File > AMA Link’