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Author Topic: Avid (stone age?) workflow report  (Read 1845 times)
fredjeang
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« on: September 07, 2011, 04:29:55 AM »
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Is Avid still a dinausor workflow? I'm afraid I have no other option than affirming so.

I love Media Composer, it's a bloody peice of software but its interface belongs to another age.

An age where only the elite editors where working on 100.000 bucks software (that strangely cost now 1000...) with an interface thought for being the most complicated and unfriendly possible. Avid changed recently and started to listen, but its old nature is still alive, it's a pity.

Here is what happened:

Fashion shooting 1400 stills, same background, dozens of models.
I had to put side by side (left-right) dividing the screen area in 2 V parts, 2 images sequences at 1 frame/sec
then, some parts of the sequences had to be played at 24 frames/sec. None frame could be lost so no time remaping.

In Premiere, this kind of requirement is intuitive even for a novice. No hassle. Try to do that in Avid...

this requires 2 kinds of imports. One is an image sequence at 24 frames/sec render into a motion clip: there, Avid is simply brilliant.
The other is an image sequence of the same but this time imported in the timeline as image with a frame duration of 1 sec: there it's been hell.
It also requires that a 1/2 H of resolution clip keeps his native dimension and transparencies guarantee when the clip is moved. Avid doesn't like that at all.

It took me 2 hours to figure out how to set-up the timeline and distribute the clips in the format area the way it should have. (that was a complex requirement that had to match with the music beat)

but then, the worst issue is that when you don't ask Avid to import in autodetect an image sequence, it simply puts the images in the bin in a non sequencial order (holly shit!!) and follows his own logic wich is more or less a reverse order but not exactly either to complicate even more the story. That's not fun! It took me another hour of searching info about how to re-order the sequence into the bin or re-import automatically with the correct order (sequence was 0001 to 1400). Well, nothing, nada and I gave-up. Do that in Premiere or Edius it simply works with no limitations, hassles or whatever. The time it took me to look for info and the project was booked in Edius!...and I still haven't find the bin order prob.

Why do I write this? because if you think to go Avid, think well first. It's a very good software, probably the most powerfull NLE, but it's not the first time I'm facing this kind of things and it takes always ages to figure-out the hows when this simply should not be happening.
Now I'd have no other options than calling the Avid's guru in Madrid. "hello...I have this issue...bla bla bla". I'm tired of that with Avid and a little bit more of this dinausor workflow and I'm about to give it up.

They have listened, true, but still too much oscurs settings and hassles that appear when you thought it was more or less mastered and that are solved from ages by other NLEs.

I found by accident an article about Media Composer that IMO resumes very well all that. If you're interested by Avid, read it, it's IMO spot-on, the conclusion says it all:

http://www.eventdv.net/Articles/News/Feature/In-the-Studio-Avid-Media-Composer-5-and-the-Matrox-MXO2-Mini-71227.htm

Have a nice day.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2011, 09:52:07 AM by fredjeang » Logged
tho_mas
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« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2011, 06:27:37 AM »
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The other is an image sequence of the same but this time imported in the timeline as image with a frame duration of 1 sec: there it's been hell.
import stills at 1'' duration, sort them in the Bin by name (see below on how to), mark them and simply drag all the marked clips in a timeline (sequence).

Quote
It also requires that a 1/2 H of resolution clip keeps his native dimension and transparencies guarantee when the clip is moved. Avid doesn't like that at all.
check your image size and alpha chanel import settings...

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It took me another hour of searching info about how to re-order the sequence into the bin or re-import automatically with the correct order (sequence was 0001 to 1400). Well, nothing, nada and I gave-up.
sort by name: in the Bin click on the column "Name" and press cmd+E (strg+E on PC respectively).


« Last Edit: September 07, 2011, 06:31:23 AM by tho_mas » Logged
fredjeang
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« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2011, 07:19:38 AM »
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tho_mas, if you where a woman I would send you a weeding proposal! It worked! (the bin)

But I'm still on the same line of my post: Avid is NOT intuitive. I mean, you had to know that you had to know that the trick was to isolate "name" wich only worked in certain bin display (had it in script mode) and do this keyboard command.
And the reason why Avid does not import automatically your folder images in the right order still remains a mystery to me.

This is exactly the kind of hassles I had to deal many times with it. In the end it works and the trick to know was "silly", but often hidden, keyboarded and indeed it can make you loose a lot of time.

In fact Avid is not to be learned on your own without the help of long-time or very experienced users because it can be very frustrating.


About the apha import, that was not the case here. There is no alpha channel on the images. What happens is that I have 2 folders of images sequences that are 1/2 of 1920 and I want to place them side-by-side. Well, Avid understand that the missing parts of the 1920 are opaque and ignore the original H, it forces to "fill the missing parts, so when you push one, you are not pushing 1/2 of 1920 but 1920 with left and right black opaque and that is driving me crazy.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2011, 07:31:52 AM by fredjeang » Logged
tho_mas
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« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2011, 07:42:07 AM »
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tho_mas, if you where a woman I would send you a weeding proposal! It worked!
:-)

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But I'm still on the same line of my post: Avid is NOT intuitive. I mean, you had to know that you had to know that the trick was to isolate "name" wich only worked in certain bin display (had it in script mode) and do this keyboard command.
whether or not a software is "intuitive" depends on where you come from, I think. To me, for instance FCP is absolutley un-intuitive...

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This is exactly the kind of hassles I had to deal many times with it. In the end it works and the trick to know was "silly", but often hidden, keyboarded and indeed it can make you loose a lot of time.
mostly right-click reveals a pop up menu that also displays the shortcuts.
In this case: right click on the column name and a menu appears that let you choose the sorting order (descending or asccending). Likewise you can order by ANY column you've choosen for your Bin-view... you can sort by Start-TC, End-TC, by Duration, Name, codec, audio sample rate, drive, creation date ... whatever.
Bin-View and Sorting/Searching options (including "custom sift" within a Bin) belong to the very basics of Avid MC ... and I'd advise you to read the respective chapter in the manual as Sorting/Searching is actually quite powerful in Avid MC ... IMO.

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In fact Avid is not to be learned on your own without the help of long-time or very experienced users because it can be very frustrating.
yes, true. It's a complex software. But extremely powerful ...


edit:
Quote
About the apha import, that was not the case here. There is no alpha channel on the images. What happens is that I have 2 folders of images sequences that are 1/2 of 1920 and I want to place them side-by-side. Well, Avid understand that the missing parts of the 1920 are opaque and ignore the original H, it forces to "fill the missing parts, so when you push one, you are not pushing 1/2 of 1920 but 1920 with left and right black opaque and that is driving me crazy.
there is certainly an easier way to handle this but I would work around it this way:
- import the images at full res
- create a sequence with the images that will be placed on the left hand side. create video mixdown
- create a sequence with the images that will be placed on the right hand side. create video mixdown
- create a new sequence with 2 video tracks and assemble the 2 videomixdowns. now drag a picture-in-picture effect on each of the tracks and adjust their position
... actually quite easy and fast... though, again, there might be a better way to handle this
« Last Edit: September 07, 2011, 07:57:28 AM by tho_mas » Logged
fredjeang
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« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2011, 08:07:50 AM »
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:-)
whether or not a software is "intuitive" depends on where you come from, I think. To me, for instance FCP is absolutley un-intuitive...
mostly right-click reveals a pop up menu that also displays the shortcuts.
In this case: right click on the column name and a menu appears that let you choose the sorting order (descending or asccending). Likewise you can order by ANY column you've choosen for your Bin-view... you can sort by Start-TC, End-TC, by Duration, Name, codec, audio sample rate, drive, creation date ... whatever.
Bin-View and Sorting/Searching options (including "custom sift" within a Bin) belong to the very basics of Avid MC ... and I'd advise you to read the respective chapter in the manual as Sorting/Searching is actually quite powerful in Avid MC ... IMO.
yes, true. It's a complex software. But extremely powerful ...


edit:there is certainly an easier way to handle this but I would work around it this way:
- import the images at full res
- create a sequence with the images that will be placed on the left hand side. create video mixdown
- create a sequence with the images that will be placed on the right hand side. create video mixdown
- create a new sequence with 2 video tracks and assemble the 2 videomixdowns. now drag a picture-in-picture effect on each of the tracks and adjust their position
... actually quite easy and fast... though, again, there might be a better way to handle this


Yes, I thought yesterday about the picture-in-picture effect within your idea but then I stopped at that point because I was somewhere feeling that I was probably thinking it "the hard way" and another hidden "silly" thing I ignored would show-up at one point.

Actually, the thing I saw is that both clips should be placed on the right or left side. Then using picture in picture would work. If you (logically at first) place one clip on left and the other on the right, it won't work with that effect because of the opaque black.

Thanks a lot anyway for all those usefull infos. (and you avoided me a call to Avid Spain...ring ring "oh no, it's again the heavy Fred who hasn't read the user's manual"...)

About the user's manual, who reads those now? Too long. The image sequences issues escaped me because I never had to do it before on Avid. The only thing I did before was importing image sequences with autodetect wich works like a breeze so I wasn't worry, until yesterday...

I agree that Avid is extremely powerfull, but I think that the very best way with MC5 is doing it with a guru. I'm not specially clumpsy with softwares and it's probably the software who gave me more difficulties to learn and a great dosis of frustration and more than once I was about to give-up. Then, when it finally works, it bloody works better than anything else and you forget how frustrating it was and when you think you got it, the next day another hassle appears and again drawned in the frustration... If I knew it I would probably follow my first intuition that was going Autodesk Smoke and by-pass any NLE stage. Smoke is tough to learn but Avid's not easy either. Or, I would have started the learning from the beginning with an Avid's guru.

I wrote this thread because I think that it is good for newcomers to know that if they want to go Avid, they will have a super-powerfull NLE but find a guru and don't go on your own. Avoid the experience I've been through because I didn't want to listen the TV guys advices when I said: "I'm learning Media Composer"/..."great, with who?"/..."on my own"/..."mmmmmm"

I can bet that FCP users defectors will have hard time in its adaptation. Saying it's gona be easy like I saw in some advertisings is not telling the truth.

As the link I provided says, knowing Avid opens working doors. You belong to a sort of elite. In the cine or TV here it is obliged. National TV is all Avid. Those guys aren't choosing a brand on whims. There are on Avid because it's simply the best. But, for smaller structures, photographers who are going motion, I'm not sure Avid is the correct choice if you come from FCP or Premiere.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djDFjoZgLzk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OteYxdkOGLE&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8VWc6ycR-M&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZO7WYydDW5I&feature=related

IMHO.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2011, 09:27:05 AM by fredjeang » Logged
tho_mas
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« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2011, 09:29:08 AM »
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I absolutely agree a training with a "guru" is the best start.
Goes for almost any complex and powerful software...

I would say it also depends on previous experience with other softwares/workflows.
For instance... as strange as it sounds... I do think you'll learn any NLE much faster/better when you know how to edit on old school linear editing systems.
The other way around: when you are not only new to a particular software but also (largely) new to film-/video-/audio-editing at all ... it will take quite some time to learn all that stuff and to get organized.

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fredjeang
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« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2011, 02:17:30 AM »
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Picture-in-picture is definatly the easiest way.

But it has to be both sequences located on the same side or otherwise it would cancel the effect and makes it impossible. A little trick to know.
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tho_mas
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« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2011, 01:46:09 PM »
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But it has to be both sequences located on the same side or otherwise it would cancel the effect and makes it impossible.
not sure I understand what you mean ...
With PIP you can place the image wherever you want it to be ...

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fredjeang
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« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2011, 04:39:36 PM »
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Here are the screen shots.
 
first, the left girl in black is in place, the image has been pushed to the left.

if I push her on the right side (second pick), look what happens.

So if you had the first girl on the right, and the second on the left, doing picture-in-picture would cancel it and you'd never be able to divide the screen in 2.

try this: on a 1920 project, insert 2 images of L=960 H=1280 dimension.

You need to position the first image on the right and export-import the sequence, then the second image on the right also and so-on. Try to do one image on the right and the other on the left. It won't work.
Avid consider the missing 960 as opaque when you push an image to the extreme left or right. I haven't been able so far to make it understand that the "missing" part is actually not "missing" and of course I maybe myself missing something.
The prob is that I had those images at this size from the retoucher, if it was me I would have create a 1920x1280 with an alpha channel and end of the story, but I had no control on the output and re-do the pics with aplha in PS would take longuer than applying the picture-in-picture in Avid.

So to solve the issue, I created both image sequence on the same side, in this case on the right. The girl in black is in fact exactly like the girl on the right side with the hat but been pushed on the left Shocked Shocked to get the divided screen.


The best way to understand it (because my explainations are confusing) is to try it with 960x1280px images.  I need to preserve the 1280px height at 100% for each image, only the Lenght of the screen has to be divided in 2.

But again, I might ignore a setting that would fix the empty 960x1280 transparency. But it's not on import because the pics are exactly 1/2 the lengh of the full HD and 100% the height. There is no alpha channel.

In the end my method worked anyway, that's the most important and thanks a lot for your help.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2011, 05:50:17 PM by fredjeang » Logged
fredjeang
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« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2011, 05:24:36 PM »
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If you want to play and try I give 2 images here, blue and red at the exact dimensions of the pics I received.
Left has to be placed on the right, and blue on the left respecting 100% native dimensions (960x1280).
So the screen project will be divided in 2 equal parts.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2011, 05:28:57 PM by fredjeang » Logged
tho_mas
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« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2011, 01:44:15 AM »
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If you want to preserve the native aspect ratio of the images you will either end up with cropped images or they will not fill up 1920px width.
Simply as two 960x1280 images will not fit into the 1920x1080 raster side by side. They are 200 px too high.
Images should be at 960x1080.

But okay, let's take your red and blue images and let's live with the crop ...

Import settings: check "Resize image to fit format raster".
This setting will resize the images to fit into 1080px height maintaining the aspect ratio.
Alternatively you could resize (or crop) the images in Photoshop prior to importing them into Avid (this is what I would do using an action).

Drag a picture-in-picture effect on both (!) of the video tracks.
CROP in the PIP effect acts like a key (alpha) ... so simply set the crop in each PIP effect to make the black space transparent.
I made a white background to show the crop which is, again, a result of the incorrect image dimensions (960x1280) here.


__________

(You could as well import the images at native resolution (at 1280px height) with the "Avid Pan & Zoom" effect.
The effect automatically adds a transparency around the actual image.
But with this effect you would have to import every single image manually... which is a pain for your over thousand still images.
So proper resizing/cropping prior to a sequentially numbered import is much better here.
However, here's a short tutorial on the Pan & Zoom effect: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AK9lPZ7aLYo)


__________



« Last Edit: September 09, 2011, 02:09:32 AM by tho_mas » Logged
tho_mas
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« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2011, 03:10:32 AM »
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BTW ... you can also use the effect "3D Warp".
Does essentially the same (here) but offers more additional options (if you need them).
For some reason the scaling algorithms utilized in 3D Warp are somewhat better than in "PIP" or "Resize".

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fredjeang
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« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2011, 04:20:09 AM »
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Tho_mas,

Thanks so much for taking the time to explain me some Media Composer tricks.

Yes, I made a careless mistake in my explaination. I wrote 1280 when I meant 1080 because while I was writing those posts I was doing a 1280x720 project and was batching 1280 stills for a sequence and in the end I mixed-up with the post, it was late and I was dead tired, but all images are 1080x960.
Sorry for this.

I ignored that the 3D Wrap rendered better.

MC is a complex software and there are so many things to know.

My first NLE was Premiere Pro, and those things in Premiere have no settings, you just put the image and drag it from the display where you want it. MC is I guess it will still take me a while until I can exploit its full potential.
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tho_mas
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« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2011, 04:44:07 AM »
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Thanks so much for taking the time to explain me some Media Composer tricks.
you're welcome!

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I ignored that the 3D Wrap rendered better.
only comes into play when resizing (down-/or uprezzing) or in conjunction with "rotation" or "skew" or so ... and in conjunction with animated effects. For a simple crop and re-positioning the PIP effect will do.
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