Kicking the tires on Avid Media Access Part 1

Pro Video Coalition by Scott Simmons
A new feature in Avid Media Composer 3.5 might be the killer one

When Avid announced Media Composer 3.5 and the new Avid Media Access architecture the first thing I wondered was how would this new way of importing and using media would work when it comes to one of Avid’s strongest features: Media Management. When you designate an Avid media drive the app creates a folder on that drive (either an OMFI Folder or Avid Media Files folder) and all media captured or imported into the software resides in that directory, on that drive. That’s one reason Avid media management has always been so rock solid. That and it’s just got some damn good database management built in there somewhere. But it’s also a reason that many people new to Avid don’t like it very much. The fact that you can’t drag any old media file right into the application without it having to copy or convert that file first doesn’t make a lot of sense to some, at least not until you’ve had bad media management in your editing application cause a rather large headache and take a lot of time. Avid took a bit of a step away from that with the Import P2 Media function a version or two ago but they have now taken a big leap with AMA, or Avid Media Access.

AMA is an entirely new protocol for getting media into Avid. It has been described as a “plug-in” type architecture. As of the initial release in Media Composer 3.5 (as well as Symphony) AMA currently supports Panasonic P2 media and Sony XDCAM, including XDCAM EX. To sweeten the pot Avid can now write XDCAM media as well, in a number of different bit rates. To sweeten the pot even more is the promise of what Avid Media Access might offer. RED R3Ds, AVCHD, AVC-Intra, Canon 5D Mark II H.264 files ... the possibilities seem endless. I have no idea or inside knowledge of what AMA might support in the future but conceptually there’s no reason it couldn’t support formats like that right? QuickTime is kind of a wildcard since it’s really a container for different codecs. But if AMA can support a specific codec then why not a QuickTime with that codec? If it is truly a type of “plug-in” architecture then it would stand to reason that someone (or some camera company) can write in AMA support for a lot of different kinds of codecs. read more...

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