Insider Tips: Work With Photos at Full Resolution in Avid

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 shares why Avid Pan & Zoom is the only way to get full-resolution photo zooms in Media Composer.

As an editor, I often want to zoom in on photos during an edit to guide the audience’s attention towards a specific part of the frame. However, when photos are imported into Avid Media Composer, the software creates new media at finishing resolution. And this limits how far you can zoom in. Even when linking to media, the software doesn’t use the full resolution of the photo, so your zooms get real blurry, real fast.

How to use full resolution photo zoom in Avid

To get full photo resolution from Avid in these instances, you’ll want to use an effect called Avid Pan & Zoom.

  • Drag this effect to your photo in the timeline. It will go black, but don’t worry, we just need to point it to the original photo asset.
  • In the Effect Editor Tool, click the box to Import Image and navigate to the file on your computer.
  • Change the dropdown from Display: Source to Display: Target, and keyframe the shot’s motion as normal.

Now, when you zoom in, the photo retains its full image quality.

Using full-resolution photos in Avid, you can zoom in much further.


However, a word of warning: the effect can be glitchy. Especially when working in a shared storage environment like a Nexis server. Storing your photos in a directory with too many characters breaks the connection with your file, and everything goes black.

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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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