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Working with the Avid Attic

Every Avid operator should have a thorough understanding of Media Composers Attic. At some stage in your editing career, you will need to rescue an edit from within the Attic, either owing to accidental deletion or plain old-fashioned corruption not allowing a bin to be opened.

The Attic is your friend, so let's get to know it a little better.

What does the Attic do?

Avid editing systems allow you to organise your edits and clips into 'Bins.' If these bins become damaged or content accidently deleted from it then thsi can cause and issue. Avid saves a copy of your opened bins and after a fixed period of time (usually every 15mins by deafult) the bin is saved into a specific location, the Attic.

Where is the Attic?

On standalone Avid systems the Avid Attic is usually found in one location.

PC: \users\public\documents\avid media composer\avid attic\
Mac: /users/shared/avid media composer/avid attic/

What's in the Attic?

There is a folder inside the Avid Attic folder that corresponds to the name of the project: ‘HD1080i50’ for example. Inside this folder is a folder called ‘Bins’, in which there is another folder for each bin that has been auto-saved.

In our example folder, ’01 Day One Rushes’, there are four back-up copies of the ’01 Day One Rushes’ bin. The bin copies are missing their .avb extension, and instead get an automatically incrementing number. The bin with the highest number is the most recently saved bin.

How do I control the Attic?

You Media Composer user settings control when bins are backed up, in particular the Bin Settings.
From the Setting Tab choose Bin Settings...

Configuring Auto-Save

Auto-Save parameters may be configured from the Bin Settings. There are 5 parameters that can be adjusted:

Auto-Save Interval 

This tells the system how frequently an auto-save attempt should be made. It will try to save after this interval, but will only perform the actual save when there has been an idle or, Inactivity Period.

Inactivity period 

This is the length of time, in seconds, that has to pass with no user interaction before the auto-save starts.

Force Auto-Save

This is a safety setting that can be set to ensure an auto-save happens eventually. This is the upper limit for ‘Inactivity Period.’

Maximum files in a Project’s Attic

This is the total number of files to store in the Attic. The default is 1000 files. It can be used to prevent too many files from filling the Attic folder and may need to be increased on systems with a lower default figure.

Max Versions of a File in Attic

This setting prevents filling the Attic with too many copies of one bin, at the risk of losing the others. The default is 50 copies.

How do I restore a bin from the Attic?

To use a bin that has been saved in the attic do the following:

  1. Remove the bin that you want to replace from the Project’s folder (or make sure that it is closed).
  2. Locate the bin copy in the Attic
  3. Copy the bin from the Attic to the Project folder you are working in.
  4. Rename the bin, adding the .avb extension to ensure the bin can be seen.

Internally, Avid systems track bins not by their file names but on an unique internal identifier, a Bin-ID. The Bin-ID is assigned to the bin when the bin is created and it never changes and is always unique.

Each copy of your bin the attic will retain the Bin-ID of the original bin, and Avid Media Composer will not allow two bins with the same ID to be open in the same project at the same time. This is why you are asked to close or remove the off ending bin from the project folder first. It is permissible to leave the original bin in the Project folder as long as it is not open.


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