Editing was not always as simple as it is today. If you thought post takes a long time today, try working with film. Making a fade takes two days on film. That’s enough to make you want to use imovie.
Cutting with actual film was not the most glorious thing in the world. As tedious as the process already is, the time consumed by making changes was mind blowing. Then add the fact that if you are 90% of the way done with the edit and you want to make a change, good luck. You’re going to have to start all over.It used to be a cumulative process, like a game of Jenga.
Enter Bill Warner
In 1989 Bill Warner was editing home videos as well as product videos he had been shooting for the software company he worked for at the time. Eventually Bill had gotten fed up with wasting time and the limitations of linear editing. He thought there was something better out there, like a digital editing system. That’s when the idea for Avid Media Composer was born.
The first Avid was released in 1989.
Bill Warner talks about how he came up with the idea for Avid Media Composer.
In the above interview with Bill Warner, he goes on to mention how he and his team first programed computers to handle the digital editing process. It wasn’t long before Avid was being used to edit larger budget productions. In the video below, you can get a feel for how editing began on Avid.
This guy is probably using Avid Film Composer, the first non-linear editing program. If you’re wondering why he’s using a mac. In 1989, Avid could only run on macs, as it was first programmed to run on Macintosh computers. That interface looks a lot like imovie…
We’ve come a long way from barely being able to play digital video back on a computer in 1989. Now, not only can you do the offline edit on Avid Media Composer, but you can do pretty much everything else you need to do in post as well using Avid Symphony and Avid DS. It seems each year that passes we keep getting more and more choices. Before Avid there few choices in the editing room: get it right the first time, or spend all night making changes. Now you have never ending choices only limited by your ideas. That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for entertainment.
Cut to 1997
Out of the entertainment ether pops Final Cut Pro, birthing a new wave of home editing enthusiasts. Competition has arrived. Newer, easier to learn, cheaper software has entered the playing field. With its easy to learn interface and low cost, almost anyone can get into the editing game.
Fast forward to present day. Now there are more choices than ever. Adobe Premiere Pro, Sony Vegas, imovie, Lightworks, Avid Studio. There’s a program for every type of project and every budget and the number of choices will only continue to grow as new competitors arise. By now you probably know what my NLE of choice is. What’s yours?
The series premiere of “Annoying Orange” is tonight at 8:30pm!
Watch Orange and friends explore the galaxy, going where no fruit has gone before. Everything is going according to plan until the starship Fruiterprise is attacked by vegetables, forcing the ship to crash land on a nearby planet.
At first, the fruit aren’t sure what to make of this wonderful, candy coated place, but after a closer look, Marshmallow recognizes it to be his home planet of Marshmalia!
While in Marshmalia, Orange and friends have a confrontation with the Rock Candy Monster, meet Marshmallow’s father, the King of Marshmalia, and get down to some sick beats by DJ Buttercup.
Don’t miss the series premiere of “Annoying Orange” with guest star Michael Clark Duncan as the Marshmallow King, on Cartoon Network tonight at 8:30pm.
Need more Orange? You can watch all the Annoying Orange you want on Youtube, with new episodes coming out each week. Don’t be an apple!
To Transcode or Not to Transcode?
So you just got the footage from your production team, who are shooting in 4k with the RED ONE camera. Are you cutting in Avid? If so, Avid Media Composer 5.5 and 6.0 have plug-ins which allow you to bring in your RED footage using the Link to AMA feature. AMA stands for Avid Media Access.
If you bring in your footage using AMA, it’s like editing in Final Cut or Adobe Premiere, which allow you to edit while referencing your footage natively. In other words, no new media is created (Avid will not create MXF files when you use AMA).
Now that you’ve got your footage imported, you can begin working. Until…
You notice the footage lagging. A lot. What’s the next step? One possible next step is to go buy a Red Rocket. This video card will allow you to transcode and play back Red footage in real time. If you want to find out more about the Red Rocket and want to know if it is compatible with your system, visit http://www.red.com/products/red-rocket
For all the big budget productions out there, buying a Red Rocket is really the best way to go. You’re going to be glad you have it when it comes time to do post. However, if your budget is a little bit smaller and you don’t have the extra $5,000 for the Red Rocket, the next best thing would be to transcode all of your footage before you start editing. To transcode your red footage, go to Red’s website: https://www.red.com/downloads
Download the latest build of Red Cine X. Transcode away. Be sure to check that you are transcoding your files to Avid MXF. The good news is, you will be able to continue doing other work while the transcode is happening. The bad news is, since you’re not transcoding with a Red Rocket, it’s going to take a while. The benefit of transcoding at this stage is that when you export your cut, the export won’t take as long because you will be referencing Avid MXFs instead of Red files.
Final Cut 7
For the editors out there still using FCP 7, the process will be the same as above, except that you will have to transcode your Red files to Apple Pro Res 422 HQ.
The new Adobe Premiere 6.0 has been released, which allows you to edit with Red files natively without transcoding! While that is a great feature, what that means is that instead of waiting for files to transcode in the beginning of post, you’re going to have to wait that same amount of time while exporting your cuts at the end of post.
Rather than referencing Apple Pro Res files like in Final Cut, you’re referencing 4k Red files, which are much larger than Apple Pro Res or Avid DNxHD. The size of the native files will influence the export time of your cut. Big Red files = Long export. That’s why that quicktime you were about to make from your timeline filled with Red footage is going to take longer than you expected. Now you’ll hopefully be prepared.
If, after reading this post you still don’t think you’re ready for a Red workflow, no need to worry. You can sign up for a course offered by Red, which will teach you everything you could ever possibly want to know about Red cameras and workflow. For a price, of course. For more information about REDucation go to: http://www.red.com/learn/reducation-x/reducation-x-2012
Here’s today’s video:
God bless and happy exporting.
Why do errors happen?
Errors happen for many reasons, here are some of the most common causes:
- Transcoding the same masterclips to multiple drives
- Allowing media drives on the Unity to exceed 85%
- Trying to play corrupted media
- Having too many clips in one bin
- Having 13+ hours of footage in the timeline
- Using settings from an older version of Avid on a newer version, ex. using Avid 4 settings on Avid 5
The most common cause for errors is the last one mentioned about using older settings on a newer version of Avid. It’s a misconception that you can use settings from say Avid Media Composer 3 and bring them into Avid Media Composer 5.5 without any problems. It is possible to bring in user settings from an older version, but not without having the most common error of all:
the Bus Thread Error
The most common cause of crashes and Bud Thread Errors are from the AE or Editor bringing in settings from an older version. When you see this error, immediately trash your user settings and create new settings. It’s possible that it may not be your settings that are causing the error, it could be another user’s settings. For example, Johnny and Sally are editing on an Avid 5.5 system. Johnny is using settings he created in Avid 5.5 and Sally is using settings she created in Avid 4. If they are getting Bus Thread Errors, it’s time to trash Sally’s settings.
Errors should never happen. Avid is made to perform error free. When you installed Avid it didn’t come with any errors. Errors happen because the user is doing something or has done something that Avid doesn’t like, so it raises an error. Errors are Avid’s way of saying saying “Stop doing that! It doesn’t work! Try something else!”
Something to keep in mind is that Avid might give you a variety of errors but the cause could be the same for all of them. Remember, when it comes to errors keep in mind the simple reasons which could be causing them. Google is your friend. Use it when needed. Google is the Tech that never sleeps.
Top 5 Ways to Prevent an Avid Unity Meltdown
1. Make sure there is plenty of space on all the drives on the unity. Play it safe by never going above 85% capacity on any Unity. It’s very common to start seeing errors on all of your systems when one or more drives is at 90% or higher.
2. If the Unity has too many directories written to it, try deleting some of them.
3. Try not to have too much activity in one project at a time. For example, if you are transcoding, digitizing, syncing, editing and grouping all in the same project and on multiple systems (10+), the Unity will probably get overwhelmed and start giving errors on all systems.
4. Try not to have too many media drives for one project. This may cause confusion when someone is transcoding. If one of the AEs transcodes masterclips to say Media Drive 1, then accidently transcodes the same clips again later to Media Drive 2, Avid won’t know which drive to link your masterclips to and they will go offline at random times, even if all media drives are mounted.
5. Dedicate the fastest systems you have to only transcoding. This is very simple, yet powerful. For example, if you dedicate the two fastest systems to transcoding, your transcodes will finish faster and by not having too many systems transcoding to multiple media drives at once, you will have far less crashes and errors.
If you follow the top 5 ways to keep your Unity from melting down, you will never see this:
Wow, pretty scary, huh?
Don’t worry. It may be a big, long error, but there is a way around it. Disc IO means Avid is having a hard time reading/writing to the Unity. This could be because of a variety of reasons. You could be transcoding on too many systems simultaneously, there could be clips that were transcoded multiple times to different media drives, there could be corrupt files on one of the media drives or you could be running out of space on the Unity.
If Avid ever gives you an error like this with the file path included in it, here’s what to do:
1. Take a screenshot or write it down.
2. Follow the file path given to you by the error and remove those files from the drive they are living in.
3. Re transcode those clips as needed.
There you go ladies and gentlemen, the top 5 ways to keep your Unity up and running error free.