Thursday, June 2, 2016

Avid Behaving Badly #16: AMA linked clips reference the wrong AMA linked clips

Dealt with this years ago, but it's come up again for a friend on Avid 8.x.x so I figured I'd write it out.  This is so stupid.  When you AMA link clips, avid generates a pointer hash that tells the bin which clip file is being referenced.  Unfortunately, whatever algorithm generates this hash is totally stupid and frequently creates duplicate hashes.  The result is that clip AH010602A01.04 suddenly has a tape source of AH010602F03.  Fucking Avid.

It doesn't matter if the clips are different lengths, have different TCs, or are even in the same format.  If you have AMA linked clips, you can have bad reference pointers.  The problem isn't super common (maybe 1 clip in every 50), but if you're working on a real show, it'll pop up daily.  Yes, before you ask, dear reader, this will happen with quick ingest XDCam stations since they AMA link to the MPEG reference files for copyover.

So how do you prevent this nonsense?

Well, you can't.  Not really.  The best I've got is a shitty workaround that adds a fuckload of time to your already busy schedule, and it fucks you if you're trying to do a true tapeless workflow (well, it fucks online, not you, but you shouldn't be going tapeless anyway).

The short option is to transcode full-res source files to Avid codecs and edit in full res.  That's the only tapeless solution I'm aware of, but it's going to take up a fuckton of storage space.  Don't go tapeless.  Ever.  One magnet or power surge or misplaced glass of water will make you lose your entire fucking show.

The longer, shittier option is to output those full res clips to new master tapes and capture them normally, or AMA link the master tape clips and then transcode the AMA link files to low res media for edit (which can be properly upressed for online later).  God forbid you just transcode the full-res files to low res Avid codec media for edit, when you get to online you'll need the entire master files (and a correspondingly large amount of media storage) in order to upres.

It's a fucking shitshow with AMA links as your primary media extraction tool right now.  I had hoped they had fixed this in 8.x.x but word on the street is that it's still a big problem.

If anyone still reads this shithole blog, please let me know if you find a more elegant solution!  Thanks everyone.  Except you, Avid; you're a steaming pile of hot garbage.

8 comments:

  1. This is very funny. I teach an AVID editing class and sometimes I just can't figure out why the program acts up at times. Thanks for the laugh.

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    1. Glad I entertain, and thank you for the kind words.

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  2. Ha! I can beat that: Last year we went through an AMA shitstorm when we discovered that Avid Media Composer 8.4.1 would CHANGED THE TIMECODE of each clip when you import them into a bin via the AMA pulldown. Check it out:

    http://i.imgur.com/a67aSjC.jpg

    This was verified by third parties with different projects and media and Avid technical support who remoted my workstation for three hours and signed off shaking their head. Their solution? Freeze us out by ignoring us and our problem... problem solved! After pushing back we ended up getting in a game of pointless Snark Tennis with their idiot 'customer service' rep. Long story short, Avid could give a shit if you're an independent filmmaker.

    Of course, we discovered this timecode disaster after we'd already transcoded our entire feature into editing proxies, all with the wrong timecode baked in. In the end the only solution was to delete everything and re-transcode the entire show. If we hadn't already assembled seventy minutes of the show we would have jumped the project to Premiere Pro then and there. Given all the other Avid issues and stabilities we've had we still regret not biting that bullet.

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    1. Ugh, that's brutal. My initial guess would be that they're losing TC info when converting from your true 24p to 23.976, but that doesn't seem to me like the difference would be so dramatic. Were you maybe editing in something completely different, like 59.94i? I would have loved to have played around with this to see what was causing the issue.

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    3. No, we had true 24p that I'd transcoded from RAW to DNxHR HQX in Davinci Resolve and imported into Media Composer 8.4.1

      I gave a guy on Creative Cow some bins and he ran a bunch of media through the standard workflow and determined that Media Composer would change the timecode in several different codecs, not just Avid ones. I have no idea if this bug has been fixed in later version but in that version of MC it was a friggin' NIGHTMARE. Eventually we re-transcoded the entire show to DnxHQ SQ and didn't have a problem.

      If you want to hit me up on Blogger I'll send you the bins.

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  3. "One magnet or power surge or misplaced glass of water will make you lose your entire fucking show."

    Jeez, someone isn't doing proper data management. I've done 150+ episodes of TV and we've only ever lost a couple clips due to corruption on a card.

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