Avid updated AMA—Avid Media Access Whitepaper


The fastest route from shoot to edit


Stop transcoding, rewrapping, importing, and/or copying media and start editing now. AMA (Avid Media Access) is a revolutionary plug-in architecture that greatly accelerates your tapeless video workflows, including RED, QuickTime, XDCAM, P2, GFCAM, and Canon XF. With AMA, you can simply connect a supported card/disc or device and begin viewing and cutting footage right away — no need to transcode media or use other software to view or extract the clips.

You’ll find AMA in the latest versions of Media Composer, Symphony, and NewsCutter software.


  • Get native, direct access to file-based video without moving, importing, or transcoding media
  • Instantly view, edit, and play back clips, with access to all clip metadata
  • Cut multiple media formats together in the timeline without converting clips
  • Supports more popular tapeless formats than ever, including:
    • RED (.R3D)
    • QuickTime (including ProRes and Canon 5D/7D movies)
    • P2, DVC PRO HD, and AVC-Intra
    • GFCAM
    • New Canon XF codec
  • Redesigned plug-in architecture in Media Composer 5, Symphony 5, and NewsCutter 9 allows for even greater future format support


Imagine what you could be doing instead of having to spend time copying and converting media to edit it. That’s the beauty of AMA, a powerful timesaving feature only available from Avid.

The Waitless Workflow

With AMA, a tapeless workflow becomes a waitless one, giving you the fastest project turnarounds and playout*. Spend more time crafting a compelling story and polishing your work instead of transcoding, rewrapping, importing, or moving media.

For post production, AMA lets you focus more on being creative instead of dealing with file format bottlenecks. With direct and immediate access to a variety of tapeless media formats — not to mention you can mix and match formats — you can start editing right away and deliver final projects back in the same media. And if you’re working on effects- or processing-heavy projects, use Avid DNxHD to maintain the highest quality throughout the entire editing process.

In the broadcast world, news can’t wait, and AMA offers the fastest route from shoot to edit to output, so you can make it to airtime in practically no time. With end-to-end XDCAM HD support, and full native RED, QuickTime (including ProRes), P2, XDCAM HD/EX, Canon, and GFCAM media support, you can focus on delivering the best story for playout, without worrying about how to get footage and data in and out of the system.

Built for the Future

Because AMA uses plug-ins, you won’t need to wait for the next version of Avid software to get support for new file formats. That said, Media Composer 5, Symphony 5, and NewsCutter 9 feature a new and improved AMA architecture, which opens the door to more and better format support in the future, and introduces RED, QuickTime, and Canon XF formats to the AMA family. As newer plug-ins become available in the future, you’ll find details on this page and downloads on the AMA Plug-ins section below.

Under the Hood

AMA is a plug-in-based feature in Avid Media Composer 3.5, Avid Symphony 3.5, and Avid NewsCutter 7.5 and higher software that enables you to directly edit* tapeless media without having to copy or import the footage. It works behind the scenes, automatically linking clips from the device to a bin in your software. You get immediate and direct access to all AMA media just as you would when working with clips stored in the Avid Media Files folder.

What’s more, AMA Virtual Volumes work with any hard drive full of supported files too; just connect the drive, choose File > Link to AMA Volume, select the desired content, and the media pops up in a bin, ready to view and edit. AMA media functions like other video clips too. Need to consolidate all of your media? Just use the Consolidate command to offload footage and put that camera or card/disc back in use.

Supported Formats+

  • Canon — Get direct access to and full native support for Canon’s new XF codec. This Canon-developed plug-in enables you to instantly start working on footage shot on upcoming Canon HD camcorders that will employ this new codec, while natively retaining the format’s high-quality 4:2:2 YUV color resolution and 50 Mbps data rate.
  • GFCAM — Get direct access to Ikegami GFPAK media and full native support of the GFCAM format with the AMA GFCAM plug-in. This plug-in opens up new GFCAM workflows, eliminates having to transcode or copy GFCAM media before editing on an Avid system, provides full metadata support for better clip and project management, and allows you to deliver final masters in GFCAM format.
  • P2 — Get direct access to and full native support of P2, DVCPRO HD, and AVC-Intra media and metadata with the AMA P2 plug-in. Experience the fastest, most flexible P2 workflows as you edit footage directly from a P2 card or drive, mix and match media, work directly with P2 Store Drives, and deliver finished programs to P2 media (Windows only).
  • QuickTime — Work natively with any movie file that can be played** in Apple’s QuickTime Player, including ProRes and H.264, plus get access to all clip metadata. With the AMA QuickTime plug-in, you can even instantly access and edit .mov footage captured by Canon 5D or 7D digital cameras, without having to transcode, rewrap, or log and transfer media.
  • RED — Get direct access to and full native support of RED (.R3D) files with the RED plug-in. Instead of preparing files through MetaFuze, ROCKETCINE, or REDCINE, you can shoot on any RED camera and then instantly access footage right from the RED-FLASH card or RED-DRIVE, enabling you to get right to work, with access to the full metadata and color management data. Images may preserve RGB color and are scaled to HD image size.
  • XDCAM — Get direct access to and full native support of Sony XDCAM, XDCAM HD, and XDCAM EX formats (including low-res proxies) with the AMA XDCAM plug-in. With fast and flexible XDCAM workflows, you can edit your way, right away. Edit SD and HD footage directly, get better clip and project management with full metadata support, import footage over FireWire, and deliver final projects in XDCAM formats.

* Playback speed and the complexity of edits and effects possible may be limited by the inherent bandwidth restrictions of the disc/card. Moving material to higher speed storage as an AMA Virtual Volume will resolve this issue and free up the original media for further recordings.

** This statement is generally true, however certain file types or codecs may not open or perform optimally depending on factors such as age of codec, QuickTime engine behavior, OS version, system configuration and installed system components.

The download version of the GFCAM plug-in supports the GFCAM 50 Mb/s format only; get support for both GFCAM 50 Mb/s and 100 Mb/s formats with Media Composer 4, Symphony 4, NewsCutter 8, and higher software.

Please note that AMA is a processor intensive application, and older platforms may not offer optimum performance.

AMA Plug-ins

Got Avid Media Composer 3.5, Symphony 3.5, or NewsCutter 7.5 or higher software? Accelerate your tapeless workflow with these AMA plug-ins+:

See the Knowledge Base for additional information on installation and use of GFCAM plug-in.

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