FCP to Avid

I suppose evangelism is by definition avid. Avid have started a series of online tutorials the explain their interface to Final Cut Pro users. They’ve only just begun with the introduction and lesson 1, which is how to start an Avid project and how the file organisation on disk differs from Final Cut.

They also don’t waste too much time selling how much better Avid is than Final Cut, although it does creep in a little.

Avid’s tutorial for Final Cut Pro users.

Avid for FCP Users: Autosave compared with the Avid Attic

The equivalent of Final Cut Pro’s Autosave feature is the ‘Avid Attic.’ In Final Cut, the whole project is saved every few minutes. You choose where these backups are stored using ‘System Settings’ in the ‘Final Cut Pro’ menu:

You can choose where to send your autosaved Final Cut Pro projects

With Avid the backups go to a specific place ‘/Users/Shared/name of Avid software/
Avid Attic
.’ The Avid Attic is where your project’s bins are backed up. The bins are only backed up to the Attic if there have been any changes. Within the Attic, the organisation is ‘Avid Attic:Project Name:Bins:Bin Name:Bin Title.n’ (where n is a different number for each backup):

Individual bins in Avid are saved to the Avid Attic

In this case, the ‘Marconi Bros AG’ project was moved from a Media Composer to an Xpress machine. Since the move only the ‘Sequences A’ and ‘Takes’ bins have meed modified – therefore only they have been backed up to the Avid Attic.

This means that you can go back to earlier versions of some of your project without losing recent changes to the rest of your project. To recover older versions of bins, you have two options, depending on if you want to completely revert to the way the bin was, or if you need to access a clip or sequence in the backup while keeping the bin as it is.

To replace the bin with a backup, rename the filename extension from ‘.n’ to ‘.avb’ and replace the current file in the project folder.

To have access to both the current and older version of the bin, you need to rename the backup bin with a different name as well as change the extension to ‘.avb’ – then copy the bin file to your project file.

Due to a bug in some versions of Avid (including Media Composer), it isn’t possible to have both the current and backup version of a bin open at the same time in Avid. Even if you have renamed the backup bin, Avid can’t display the contents of both bins at the same time. To get around this you can have the window of the backup bin open and drag the clips and sequences you want to the icon of the unopened current version of the bin. Once you close the window of the bin copied from the Attic, you can open the current version of the bin and continue to work.

As Avid only autosaves the bins that have changed in your project, you should also have a policy of backing up the other files and folders kept in the project folder to a backup drive (not the media drive).

Avid for FCP users: How to make a clip offline

Sometimes Final Cut Pro editors like to make clips offline, usually so that they can be recaptured at a higher resolution. In Avid terms this is is known as ‘unlinking’ the clip. There is no ‘Unlink’ in the Bin menu, but there is a way to change ‘Relink…’ to ‘Unlink’

If you want to make a selected clip offline, hold down shift and command(i.e Apple), go to the ‘Bin’ menu and choose ‘Unlink.’

Clip contextual menus in Final Cut Pro and Avid

Alternatively, if you have a two button mouse, hold down command and right-click the clip and choose ‘Unlink’ from the contextual menu.

That’s the thing about being a professional editor. You need to make it seem that whichever system people provide, that’s the one you are most happy to use.

So I’ve started writing a guide to Avid for Final Cut users. If any of it doesn’t make any sense, please comment!


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