Migrating from Final Cut Pro to Media from Final Cut Pro ... Apple Final Cut Pro X, causing many to re-evaluate ... Final Cut Pro to Media Composer, and how

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    Migrating from Final Cut Pro to Media Composer

    What you should know to make your transition successful

  • Migrating from Final Cut Pro to Media Composer

    What you should know to make your transition successful


    The editorial community has undergone a profound transition with the recent introduction of Apple Final Cut Pro X, causing many to re-evaluate their professional video editing tool. Final Cut Pro 7 editors looking to migrate to a solution that provides similar workflows and professional editing features will find Avid Media Composer 6 a familiar and powerful application.

    This guide is designed to assist you with understanding the basics in migrating from Final Cut Pro to Media Composer, and how to successfully navigate the transition.

    Choose your hardwareOne of the financial challenges during a migration is to maintain your investment in both computer hardware and video interfaces. Final Cut Pro users have a number of options when choosing video interfaces, including products from AJA, Blackmagic Design, Matrox, and MOTU. Various configurations include baseband SDI inputs and outputs, HDMI connectivity, AES/EBU and S/PDIF digital audio inputs and outputs, as well as analog composite and component connections. Beginning with Media Composer 6, Avid has created a software development kit (SDK) that enables developers to create connections between their hardware and Avid software. This technology, known as Avid Open I/O, enables you to use many of the same interfaces that you may already have implemented in your Final Cut Pro system with Media Composer.

    Media Composer 6 is also platform agnostic, with support for both the latest Mac OS X (Lion) and Windows (Windows 7) operating systems. Although Final Cut Pro 7 is a 32-bit application, the last available version (7.03) is compatible with Mac OS X Lion. That means if youre currently using Mac OS X Lion and Final Cut Pro 7, no additional OS upgrade is required to migrate to Media Composer.

    Media Composer also has complete parity with its PC version, meaning the application is identical in feature set and operation on both platforms. This provides you with complete platform portability when moving projects between a Mac and PC.

    Managing your mediaOne of the strengths of Media Composer has always been its robust media management database. Its ability to keep track of all of your media and easily delete unused media and effects, as well as consolidate media, has been a major feature benefit. Baseband captures and imported files are managed by the Avid storage file structure using Avid tools. The files also contain additional metadata embedded in the file such as information about the project, source, and media format.

    When working with Avid managed media, files are wrapped in MXF containers and stored at the root level of the hard drive in an Avid MediaFiles folder. This allows the system to track additional metadata along with the essence of the file. The actual media is usually encoded to a number of different native Avid formats, including DNxHD (at various data rates), uncompressed, DV25, DV50, 15:1s, 2:1, and many other format choices.

  • Migrating from Final Cut Pro to Media Composer

    What you should know to make your transition successful


    This powerful media management feature means that media remains linked and doesnt irreversibly lose its link due to a minor file system update or file modification changes. Its also flexible when working in an offline to online scenario, where you want to unlink the low-resolution clips and quickly relink to the high-resolution material.

    Final Cut Pro users do not have the option of choosing a managed media system. All files imported by Final Cut Pro remain in their original location from when they were imported. Media can span across drives and be located in various folder levels throughout the file system. Media files can accidentally be moved, renamed, and deleted without you knowing how many projects reference the media file. Updating a media file in one project may also break the links to a different project using the same media file.

    Using AMA (Avid Media Access)Final Cut Pro users who wish to continue to link to media files will find that AMA gives them that capability. In many ways, AMA replicates the file linking found in Final Cut Pro, and goes a step further by providing a conduit for broad format support.

    AMA is a technology based on software plug-ins. This means that plug-ins are required to provide support for various file formats. When you install Media Composer, a QuickTime plug-in is installed. This enables you to link to all QuickTime wrapped file formats for use in Media Composer.

    Its up to the appropriate vendor to develop the AMA plug-in that enables their hardware to be used with Media Composer. This allows each manufacturer to keep their plug-in up-to-date, without waiting for the next release of Media Composer to take advantage of the manufacturers updates. You can install and uninstall AMA plug-ins as desired.

    To download AMA plug-ins, go to the AMA webpage (www.avid.com/ama), select the Plug-ins tab, and find links to the various AMA plug-ins.

    When using AMA, files, folders, and volumes can be linked and imported. No media is createdit is practically identical in nature to what you are accustomed to in Final Cut Pro when importing media into a project.

    One of the major benefits of AMA is that it supports more formats than Final Cut Pro. The Log and Transfer utility, built into Final Cut Pro, was created to mount non-native media in the application. After selecting a clip or part of a clip, the Log and Transfer tool wraps the media into a QuickTime format, often transcoding to Apple ProRes along the way. With AMA, many of the formats that require QuickTime wrapping or transcoding in Final Cut Pro have native support in Media Composer. AMA also gives you the ability to quickly view and play media, mark ins and outs, and transcode to various formats for editorial.

  • Migrating from Final Cut Pro to Media Composer

    What you should know to make your transition successful


    Continuing with your ProRes workflowAlong with Avid DNxHD, Apple ProRes has become a staple codec in the industry. Many facilities use ProRes as their shooting codec, editorial, and mezzanine archival format. With the introduction of Media Composer 6, Apple ProRes has become much more tightly integrated into the application than ever before.

    You can now choose to capture directly to all versions of ProResincluding ProRes 444. You can set timelines to render in ProResfinal exports to ProRes take much less time since there is no transcoding upon output. Youll find ProRes capture options in the same lists in which you choose your normal DNxHD codec settings.

    When importing ProRes files, Media Composer can either AMA link, or do a fast import. During a fast import, the media is copied without a conversion, and the container is rewrapped from QuickTime to MXF. Final Cut Pro editors will find that these two methods of importing provide for a very flexible workflow.

    Storage your bits and bytesYou can easily use local storage devices, such as USB, FireWire, Thunderbolt, and others, with both Final Cut Pro and Media Composer systems for media storage.

    For larger installations, Final Cut Pro users have the option of using the Apple Xsan centralized storage file system. This technology, based on Quantums StorNext file system, was once supported by Apple hardware, including Xserve RAID and Xserve servers. Apple has discontinued its professional line of servers and storage, and has opted to certify a third-party company for its storage needs.

    If youre transitioning to Media Composer in infrastructures using Xsan, you will find that AMA enables you to read media on the volume without issue. Native file use with multiple Media Composer systems, however, will require some storage manipulation or the use of a third-party product due to differences in metadata and file management.

  • Migrating from Final Cut Pro to Media Composer

    What you should know to make your transition successful


    True collaboration and bin sharingApple Xsan provides Final Cut Pro 7 users with file-level locking centralized storage. This means that permissions are based on a per-file basis, so you can read and write files, provided youve been given permission to do so. Since Final Cut Pro 7 doesnt have project sharing capabilities built into the application, no simultaneous sharing of actual projects or bins is possible. Only reading of media by multiple users is possible with its current limitations.

    For true collaboration across multiple Media Composer systems, Avid solutions such as ISIS 5000 and 7000 provide high-availability, ample bandwidth, and one of the easiest storage setups in the industry.

    With Media Composer on ISIS, you can concurrently share projects and bins with other editors, and work in a truly collaborative editorial environment.

    If you need to connect non-Avid systems to ISIS, Avid has certified both Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere for use on ISIS storage systems. This gives you the best of both worldstrue collaborative workflows using Media Composer along with Final Cut Pro compatibility for centralized media storage.

    Opening Final Cut Pro projects in Media Composer If youd like to open Final Cut Pro projects in Media Composer, you can choose from two applications for the translationBoris Transfer FCP or Automatic Ducks Pro Export FCP. These applications enable you to export a Final Cut Pro timeline as an AAF or OMF file, and allow the media to be external to the file for flexibility.

    Along with timeline video and audio, Boris plug-in users on both Final Cut Pro and Media Composer will find that filters and transitions applied to clips in one system retain all of their settings and keyframed changes during the translation.

    Timelinae editingFinal Cut Pro users are familiar with the mouse-driven editing and trimming, and Media Composer offers similar functionality with the Smart Tool.

  • Migrating from Final Cut Pro to Media Composer

    What you should know to make your transition successful


    Built-in audio toolsetIf you use Final Cut Pros built-in audio tools, migrating to Media Composer will give you an even broader arsenal of audio tools.

    Unlike Final Cut Prowhich only supports clip-based audio effectsMedia Composer supports both clip-based and track-based audio effects in the timeline. This means you can place an RTAS (Real-Time AudioSuite) plug-in on an entire track and affect all clips you place on that track. This is useful with dialog tracks, for example, in which a compressor or equalizer is necessary to smooth out dialog on the entire track. Multiple RTAS plug-ins can be added to a single track, and settings can be saved and recalled for later use.

    Additional audio capabilities that Final Cut Pro users will appreciate include multichannel 5.1 and 7.1 audio tracks, with support for interleaved files, surround panning, and automation for all audio tracks.

    Integration with Pro ToolsIn a typical audio finishing workflow, you might export Final Cut Pro timelines as an OMF or AAF file for use in Pro Tools. Along with the audio media, audio keyframe data, as well as panning information, is translated and imported into the Pro Tools session.

    Due to the tight integration between Avid products, Media Composer to Pro Tools finishing workflows contain much more data than simple volume and panning information.

    The following features are translated to Pro Tools:

    Markers created in the timeline Volume automation (rubber banding)Clip gain Clip pan Pan automaton (including surround panning) Avid EQ AudioSuite plug-ins RTAS plug-in assignments and settingsThis gives the Pro Tools editor a much greater head start when working with projects in which the video editor set volume, panning, and plug-in assignments for their temp mix.

    The power of integrated phoneticsFinal Cut Pro editors have the ability to use Boris Soundbite, a third-party phonetic search application based on Nexidia dialog search technology. This separate application indexes media files and enables you to find clips with particular words or phrases based on phonetic characteristics.

    Similarly, PhraseFind is an option powered by Nexidia, but differs in the fact that it is completely integrated into Media Composer. It offers the same phonetic audio indexing, and enables you to quickly pull up all relevant clips by searching on a key word or phrase. Because its integrated into the Media Composer Find tool, you can use PhraseFind to search additional fields and filter their results, so searches are more precise. Boris Soundbite users will easily be able to migrate to PhraseFind and take full advantage of the built-in integration with Media Composer.

  • Migrating from Final Cut Pro to Media Composer

    What you should know to make your transition successful


    For script-based projects, the ScriptSync option, powered by Nexidia, phonetically indexes all clip dialog in your project and then syncs all relevant clips to your scriptautomaticallyso you can find the best takes fast.

    Final export and conformFor workflows involving offline to online relinking, Final Cut Pro and Media Composer are very similar in their approaches. The differences are in the additional metadata that Media Composer tracks and catalogs, as well as its robust and powerful Media Tool.

    Final Cut Pro finds and relinks by basic Finder filename, reel name, and timecode values. Media Composer uses a much more powerful set of criteria for relinking, and has many options for setting the size and codec for files being relinked.

    ConclusionIf youre a Final Cut Pro editor whos looking to migrate elsewhere, youll find that Media Composer offers a powerful and easy-to-use set of professional tools. For a successful migration, editors should understand that many of the features found in Final Cut Pro are also included in Media Composer. Features such as Avid Open I/O, AMA, native ProRes support, audio interoperability with Pro Tools, and the ability to work with many third-party software applications makes migrating an easy decision.

  • 2012 Avid Technology, Inc. All rights reserved. Product features, specifications, system requirements and availability are subject to change without notice. Avid, the Avid logo, Avid DNxHD, ISIS, Media Composer, OMF, Pro Tools and RTAS are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Avid Technology, Inc. or its subsidiaries in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks contained herein are the property of their respective companies.



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