Insider Tips: Get Your Avid MediaFiles in Order

Every week, Insider asks one of our expert contributors to share a tip, tool, or technique that they use all the time and couldn’t live without. This week, Chris Tennant shows you how to keep your MediaFiles folder under control in Avid Media Composer.

As any Avid editor knows, Avid Media Composer is meant to work with intermediate transcode codecs DNxHD and DNxHR. Camera companies are constantly unveiling new shooting codecs, frame rates, and color management capabilities, so transforming the raw footage into intermediate transcodes helps to keep Avid running smoothly regardless of your crew’s camera settings.

How to organize Avid MediaFiles

Whether you create transcodes directly in Avid or create them in a separate program, all of these files end up in an “Avid MediaFiles” folder on the root level of your hard drive or storage partition. This folder can quickly get unruly if not properly organized. Without proper labeling, if files ever get corrupted or start going offline, you have to diagnose and rebuild all your project’s media at once. (That’s pretty much a nightmare scenario.)

Organizing your MediaFiles will allow you to isolate problems before troubleshooting them, and if you ever have to rebuild a database you’ll only deal with one day’s worth of footage. Additionally, you’ll have greater control over your footage when turning over to other vendors.

To organize these folders, we first need to understand how the MediaFiles folder works. When Media Composer creates transcodes, it always puts them in folder Avid MediaFiles > MXF > 1 of whatever drive you specify.

After it’s done transcoding, you can change that “1” folder to another number, such as the media’s shoot date. As long as that folder lives within the Avid MediaFiles > MXF directory, Media Composer will be able to read its contents.

Alternatively, if you create your transcodes outside of Avid, you can simply drag the files straight into a dated folder. When you start up Media Composer, it will scan the MediaFiles folder for new footage and create a file called msmMMOB.mdb. Drag that into an Avid Bin, and the files will populate.

However, a word of warning. Only use numbers in your folder names, since other characters can screw up Avid’s ability to read and write to the folders. (High-end shared storage systems can handle other characters, but it’s usually safest to stick to numbers.)

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Chris Tennant

Christopher Tennant is an IATSE Assistant Editor who’s worked on features and TV for Sony, Netflix, Legendary Pictures, Blumhouse, and others. He lives in Los Angeles and writes a blog featuring post-production guides.

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