Settings Galore

The Media Composer just keeps getting more flexible and powerful. But with all this flexibility comes complexity. And good as Avid is at making the machine do whatever we might desire, it often fails when the time comes to explain those capabilities. Without the explanation, the power isn’t worth all that much.

I’m starting  new show with Adrenaline machines, using the latest software, Quad-core G5s and Unity. First impressions — very fast. Probably the most responsive Avid I’ve ever used. And a far cry from the early, and very buggy, Adrenaline machines I’ve used in the past.

But there sure are a lot of settings to pay attention to. Many are hidden. Most are unexplained. Here’s a basic example: Media Creation. When you digitize you can now create MXF or OMF files. MXF is the default. Want to make OMFs? You need to do a little searching. Turns out the choice is in the Media Creation setting pane — in two places. First use the last tab to select your “Media Type.” Then select your actual resolution in the Capture tab. And if you want to create AIFF audio files instead of WAV, you’ll need to locate another setting: “Audio Project.”

Media Creation Settings 1

Media Creation Settings 2

Audio Media Setting

Then there are the “Film and 24P” settings. I can guess what they mean, but it sure would be useful to actually know what they mean. The help system tells us little more than to select the settings you want.

Defaults and settings have been a bugaboo of the Media Composer since the early days. They’ve been responsible for a lot of problems. If you set up your project incorrectly you pay for it later.

Avid needs to add some explanatory text to these settings panes — text that is vetted by real editors to make sure it conveys the meaning intended. A little money invested here might save a lot of money on customer support.

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3 Comments on “Settings Galore”

  1. Adam S Says:

    I recently experienced a similar thing with Xpress Pro(i think 5.7.x.). I was 1,000 miles from home base and waiting on footage to arrive. Luckily I hadn’t anything important to do for a few days other than assemle some temporary elements while we waiting to shoot new footage. I was trying to add some footage to my current OMFI folder from an older job I worked on but no media files were listed. I cursed myself for a moment while I thought I had for some reason captured locally. I soon realized the real problem lied within a small setting. Xpress was set to capture MXF by default, and after a few tries figured out there were two settings I needed to change to get both video and audio in OMF media mode to get everything back to my trusty OMFI folder. A small transcode and I was ready to roll again.

  2. Brett Kosmider Says:

    Aha!! So THATS why when I import an AIFF it brings it in as MXF! Genius, thanks for the tip. And I thought I knew my way around an Avid.

    Great blog by the way


  3. Mark Burton Says:

    I’m on a PC Adrenaline right now and can’t recall if its the same on the Mac Avid, but you can right click on just about anything in the interface and get a “What’s This?” option which will take you directly to the relevant page in the system manual.

    Any setting you don’t understand, just right click and you get the full explanation. Very cool feature.

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