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Project Structure - Using folders to organise content

The secret to keeping any project on track is organisation. This can come in a number of forms but for this post, I wanted to look at how you can use simple folder structures to help organise and manage the content of your project.

For most people, especially editors, when you use the word content they will instantly think of hours and hours of rushes, but in terms of a project, there is a ton of other 'stuff' that we will need to have to hand. The amount of 'stuff' we have will depend upon the type of project you are working on and the experience of the people you are working with too.

Even if there is no information being offered to you, there are a number of things that you should be doing to ensure your project runs smoothly.

Understand the workflow Make sure you have an understanding of the project's workflow. Talk with the producer, editor and cameramen if needed. Ensure you understand how the material is captured, backed up, delivered, ingested and what the …
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Things to know about the new Avid Media Composer licenses...

NAB 2018 saw Avid release a new licensing scheme. There's a new license in town and the good news is, it's cheaper! But what's the catch? Here's a quick guide...

Well, actually there's not really too much of a catch unless you intend to use shared storage... let me tell you more.

Licenses Licensing edit suites should be easy, but it's usually not. While it might not be your responsibility, it's a good idea as an Avid Assistant, to be aware of what license type you have on your workstation. Make sure it won't run out mid-project or, if it is a monthly subscription license, does your workstation have Internet access to reactive a monthly subscription? Let's get a better idea of how Avid licensing works.

Electronic licensing for Media Composer is done through the Application Manager. You purchase your license through the Avid website as either a perpetual or subscription license. Once finalised, your licencing information is placed into your Avid Accou…

Creating the right Avid Project type

Avid Projects. It's the first thing you are greeted with once you have launched Media Composer. In days gone by creating a project was relatively simple with only 3 types being available. These were basically PAL (25 frames) NTSC (Drop and Non-Drop) and finally Film (24 frames usually).

When High Definition formats turned up they added to the muddied waters with various raster sizes (1280x720 and 1920x1080) varying frame rates (50fps was now commonly available) as well as the usual Progressive and Interlaced fields issue.

Today we now have 2K, UHD, and 4K to contend with too. These add further issues such as varying colour spaces and a myriad of various frame rates and raster sizes, such as the Digital Cinema Initiatives formats. DCI Flat, DCI Full, DCI Scope and Full Apature to name but a few. If you are interested in the complete list of varying formats check this Avid KB article about currently supported project formats.

For this short post, I'd like to look at a few sanity…

Edit Suite Etiquette 101

You've worked hard to get your first Avid Assistant role so you need to keep that good impression going to make sure you'll be hired again!

Stepping into an editing room for the first time can be a little overwhelming. I'm not talking about the technology but rather the day to day workplace interactions with others, especially the editor.

Relationships with your co-workers are very important. You're not just trading off your technical ability but also your reputation as a great person to work with. Are you easy to get on with? Helpful? Punctual and well mannered? Can you work well under pressure and still be polite and helpful? All of these are important life skills and can make the difference between being hired and not.

I know a number of Assistants who are technically brilliant but their personal persona has actually deterred editors from working with them.

Don't forget, the editing profession is relatively small and editors will quite regularly talk with each o…

Essential free Avid Assistant kit.

When starting out as an Avid Assistant you will need to practice your skills constantly. So what are the essentials you need to be able to practice your skills and use on your first projects? Here's a short look at what you can get for free and a few items you may have to buy, but all of them under $25!

I'll be making one (rather large) assumption here. I am assuming you already have a laptop, Mac or PC it doesn't really matter. I don't however, assume that it can run Media Composer, but if it is the right specification then great as this means you can practice your Media Composer skills anywhere! But if your laptop has seen better days it still has a place. Use it as your nerve centre in co-ordinating and researching projects. Ideally, you will have access to a computer that runs Media Composer in some way shape and form, even if it is at a facility that will allow you access to their system outside of business hours.

Make sure you have a laptop bag too, you'll ne…

Native Workflows outlined

For a lot of smaller productions, typically documentary makers, their projects will shoot with smaller format cameras such as DSLR or small hand-held cameras like the Panasonic AJ-PX270 or Canon XF305.

All these cameras can produce stunning quality pictures and produce relatively small files for storing and editing with. This means these productions could work with rushes in their 'Native' format removing the need to carry out a more complex offline and online conform and can help streamline the editing process and more importantly save money and time.

This approach still needs some planning as you need to ensure camera rushes are presented in similar, if not identical formats (raster size, framerate and colour space). This can still be challenging, especially when some productions have little experience and may have little technical understanding of camera equipment and formats. So what can we, as assistants, do to ensure the project runs smoothly and can be edited in its nat…

Avid Codecs : DNxHD and DNxHR

Avid had to create a set of high-quality High Definition codecs back in the mid-2000's to allow them to move High Definition video content over their I/O connection pipe of choice for the time, a domestic 400Mbs Firewire cable! This was the birth of DNxHD codecs.

DNxHD became a very popular finishing and editing codec as it was a Media Composer friendly format and the compression also allowed users to store HD content on drives which, at the time, had limited performance and capacity.
With recent UHD formats becoming more widely used in cameras, users now need to edit in 2K, 4K and even 8K. As a result, Avid revised its codecs in line with this demand and released an updated DNxHR codec set. While this new codec has been released this does not mean the end of DNxHD.

Let's look at them both and what they are suitable for.

Avid DNxHD As we have mentioned already DNxHD is widely used by video editors but it is also used by other manufacturers and is supported within the Quicktime…