How to configure a Terrablock array
Test Patterns and where they are stored
Correct Export of sequential TGA files
The 3D DVE
Editing 3D or stereoscopic material (DS Version 10 and higher)
Tony Quinsee-Jover's Autobiography and why we love him so much
Tracks, Video and Background
Tracking an object, stabilizing video with the Tracker
Transport Controls, including keyboard shortcuts
Transitions, including keyboard shortcuts
Working with Tree Effects
24P in the US


Use Version Info Extractor to create a .cab file, which may be e-mailed to tech support for diagnosis of problems.

If your DS does not have access to the Internet (or e-mail) the .cab file will be created at the root of C:\ with the extension .cab.

The quickest way to get text-based support for your Avid DS system is to use the Avid DS Support website.

Phone support is (800) 800-AVID (2843)
Avid Codec IS NOT SUPPORTED with DS.

Defragmenting video files—use Windows Defragment Tool or O&O Defrag. Use it often!

Repair install: Go to Start > Programs > Avid Products > Setup…
And then you select the "Repair" option. Reinstalls DS Software.

Back up Disk configuration: This will save your stripe set if the internal drive fails or the OS gets corrupted and needs a reinstall Repair Disk: Put a diskette in the floppy drive. Emergency Repair Disk is under Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Backup.

Page File The page file is the virtual memory file. It is the file the system uses when it runs out of ram. To change it:

It is generally recommended that you do not have the pagefile on the same disk as the OS even though Microsoft defaults the page file to the C drive. You may get a little better performance when rendering large jobs that cause paging if the file is on the F drive. It is not system critical to move it. If you do want to move it, select the F drive in the virtual memory list and set its initial and max sizes to 2250. Select the C drive and set its
initial and max sizes to 0 mb. Click the "set" button and the file is now on the F drive. You will lose 2 gigs of space on the F drive and gain 2 gigs on the C drive.

All versions of Windows XP-64 should have their pagefile set to "System Managed" In 64-bit, the system managed size option allows the operating system to better balance memory between running 32 and 64-bit application. And it's just simpler.

Project Storage Folder Management: All within Explorer - BE CAREFUL!):
If your system looks for a specific folder that you deleted from your Video storage, compare all folders in the video storage with all folders in audio storage. Add a folder to your video storage with exactly the same name as the lonely one in the audio storage.

  1. On F drive go to your project-->System-->Sourcemodel. Note the first 8 digits.
  2. On your Audio Storage find the folder with the same name.
  3. Select the folder and press Ctrl+C (copy)
  4. Go to your Video Storage and press Ctrl+V (paste)
  5. Enter the folder on your Video Storage and delete its contents (it's a copy of all your audio media).

Also, verify if your storages matches what is found in the Storage Utility. You may have inadvertently deleted a folder that the storage configuration is looking for.


Right click My Computer > Manage. Use "Import foreign disks" if you connect the array to another system, or after using the Avid|DS Recovery CD.

Swapping out a Media Drive Array

OK, your drive array is way too full to add another project. And you have a new job coming in and you need to preserve what you have but you have a handy extra media drive array that you can put this new project on. Here's how to swap out the arrays and (hopefully) not lose any data.

  1. Stop Avid DS.
  2. Open the Support Console.
  3. Run UMMD Test.
  4. File > Open Service.
  5. File > Configure.
  6. Remove the storages that are located on the chassis to disconnect.
  7. Shut down the workstation.
  8. Disconnect the video storage chassis.
  9. Connect the temporary video storage chassis.
  10. Boot the workstation.
  11. Log in.
  12. Add these disks in Windows Disk Management. (You just "Import foreign drive set").
  13. Confirm this storage is fully accessible in Windows and write content to it to prove it. ;-)
  14. Run UMMD Test again.
  15. File > Open Service.
  16. File > Configure.
  17. Add the required video storage on that temporary chassis.
  18. File > Commit.
  19. Exit UMMD Text.
  20. Start Avid DS and proceed with your uncompressed media capture.

Andi Loor's comments:

I do swap on a regular basis. A backup is good to have, this saved me a few months. I lost one drive while starting the storage up. (4 years old). Swapping storages usually is a rather straight forward thing but if you run into problems it may take some time, especially if you have to copy from a backup. Make sure you have time to do this. It is never good to have your client waiting while doing this. Things to think about when swapping: Use the end of the cables that sits in the storage, not the end sitting in the computer. The computer end has pins that easily bend, the other end doesn't.

Howard Chasteen's comments:

Begin by archiving!
Easiest Solution Expand your current storage by moving some files off onto a 2 TB LaCie or similar.
Save System settings and notes on exact array names, sizes etc. Dynamic vs FAT 32 etc.
Save a copy of your "cab" file from AVID
Shut down everything systematically.
Rent and attach more storage to the same host adaptors or:

When you go back to the old storage put everything back as it was before the changes, restore the system settings and look carefully at the Avid VIE tool to make sure every thing is back as it was.

(Thanks to Peter O'Neill, Dermot Shane, Tony Jover, Phil Mastman, Howard Chasteen, Andi Loor and Sylvain Labrosse)

How to Add a New Drive to a Media Drive Array

(Case Study)
We had a bad drive and we bought a new drive. We were attempting to put the new drive into the array and make it 8 total. However when we loaded the system back up it appeared in DM but it was showing up as missing (I think that was the state) with a red X icon. It wasn't unallocated or unknown. I think what happened was we deleted that missing drive rather than importing it. This created a serious problem because after the bad drive was replaced, Disk Management did not see the new drive.

If the drive was pulled, but still showing up as missing, that means you deleted the drive, but didn't delete the stripe set first. You need to delete the stripe set before mounting a new drive.

Then, go into Disk Management and right click on the drive down in the list and Import Foreign Drives. You must first un-stripe the remaining drives, and then restripe all eight. The eighth should be there waiting to be recognized. Also realize that all your data is gone and you'll be starting with a pristine array.

If the drive is missing from the list when you try to "Import Foreign Drives," try refreshing the Disk Management pane. If that does not work, the disk may be dead or dying, in which case the Disk Management pane should never recognize it. You can try re-orienting the drives so that drive is oriented at an angle perpendicular to its preset position and reboot. It may show up but other drives may disappear if it is a mechanical or bearing problem. You can also remove the drive that is not showing up, chill it in a freezer for about 30 minutes and then quickly boot it. Sometimes cooling a drive or inverting the entire drive frame will do the trick long enough to salvage things.

Another technique is to triple check all connections or pull a drive from one slot and place your new drive in that slot, placing the pulled drive into the slot where you were adding the new drive, changing the drives Disk Management was happy with. If you deleted the drive and did not delete the stripe set first, swapping two drives may "wake Disk Management up" and it will see all eight drives. This did solve the initial problem in this case study.

If you are changing one drive on an array and the array is pretty old, you should understand that it is not a good idea to have one new drive with several old ones. Drives that are the same age work better together and errors on older ones can spread to newer drives.

(Thanks to Jason Russell, Sean Stall, Tony Jover, Howard Chasteen and Rick Emery)

Drive Array Configurations

These are regardless of how many "striped sets" there are.

The number of striped volumes ("sets" being old NT stuff) is irrelevant. It could just be one volume of 24 disks or three volumes of 8 disks, for that matter. It only makes a difference when you configure your storages inside the DS application because DS guarantees two real-time HD video streams if you use at least one volume of 12 disks. Now how users configure their system is their own decision, and indeed the two 12 disks volumes is the most common and logical choice.

(Thanks to David Friedman and Sylvain Labrosse)


Autosaves only exist for the current opened Sequence. If you open another sequence, the Autosaves are all deleted and replaced by new one's for the new sequence. This is a crash recovery mechanism, its autosave name is probably not the best... Maximum or 4 autosaves (hard coded).

Saves to C:\Program Files\Avid\DS_vx.xx\DSSystem\temp. as
Autosave1, Autosave2 etc. “DS_vx.xx" is the version you're running, and “yourname” is your Windows username. There you will find some files called "AutosaveX" where X is an incrementing number depending on how many times you've saved. You can copy these into your project sequence directory, rename them to stick a ".segment" on the end, and try to open them manually.

Normally DS tries to keep track of what you're working on and the last auto-save that it did (if you've got it on). If the program crashes or
otherwise does not exit cleanly, it notices the next time you start up and asks if you want to try and recover, which basically loads the most recent
Autosave. If it fails to notice, do the above procedure and hopefully dig out a useful sequence :) If you're paranoid, make a copy the Autosaves out of your temp directory before starting back up after a crash.


On early Compaq systems, shut the computer down, and pull the plug for 10 seconds.
Power supply issues on these early machines prevent the system from resetting completely if you don’t pull the plug. Newer Compaq power supplies don’t have this problem. HP systems do not have this issue.

Crashes when expanding audio track to view waveform
Move the following files to a safe place…

[Partition letter]:\DS Projects\[project name]\system\data\audiodisplayfiles. (files with .adf extension)

…and see if this resolves the problem. These files will be rewritten by Avid DS when you expand an audio track. If the sequence still crashes, there might be a corrupted audio file causing you this problem. You can run Verify Media in the Media Tool and see if it detects corrupted files. Note that in recent versions, the .adf files are written inside the audio storage, with the audio media (.wav).

Deleting 0kb “File cannot be found” files
If you get an error message while attempting to delete or move a file that “can’t be found” do the following:

  1. From the command prompt, navigate to the folder that contains the file.
  2. Type dir/x which will display the DOS short filenames for the files.
  3. Delete the files, using the short filenames.

Problems with the HP xw8400 and 64-bit XP and 64-bit DS 8.4 (frequent crashes and lockups)

(Very special thanks to Troy Thompson of Private Idaho and Pierre Corbeil of Softimage simultaneously found a solution to this issue Added 05.01.2008)

Users running an xw8400 workstation with Intel Pro1000 MT for Unity ISIS or ATTO Celerity FC-41XS for Unity MediaNetwork are not affected by this issue. It only affects those systems using the ATTO UL4D SCSI card, Symphony and DS, 32 and 64-bit. (added per Sylvain Labrosse 03.31.2008)

Avid engineering confirmed the problem with the currently qualified driver for the ATTO UL4D dual-channel SCSI card. That driver dates from July 21, 2006. They have finished testing with the latest updates from ATTO Technology.

Avid allowed volunteers to Beta test the ATTO driver update ( and these sites all reported stable xw8400 workstations.

Avid has now approved of this solution. You can download the pertinent drivers from The Avid DS Support Center or from The Avid Knowledge Center

Please note that DS documentation has said that you cannot combine Unity and local storage on a single timeline. This has been untrue since it was fixed in DS 7.1, although it did not make it into the documentation. In any case, if you are using Terrablock (unsupported by Avid), drives in that type of storage are seen as local drives by DS.

Here is the original case study given to us by Troy Thompson:

xw8400 | XP64-bit
DS 8.4 QFE 1
After talking with HP and ATTO I have a non-Avid supported fix. Our xw8400 | XP 64-bit | DS 8.4 QFE1 system has not been stable since we purchased it almost 8-9 months ago, with system lock-ups at least 3-4 times a day.

After speaking with support last Wednesday, it seemed that most (if not all) of the systems experiencing the issue were running local SCSI storage. Which is why I switched the system to our TerraBlock, to see if I could re-create the system lock-up with the fiber storage. Turned out to be rock-solid on the TerraBlock. On Monday, I spoke to ATTO about the Driver and Firmware that was loaded for the UL4D card that was downloaded from the Softimage Site. Turns out the Driver is almost 4 years old, and they wanted me to update it.

  1. Download and install the ATTO Configuration tool 3.17
  2. Download and install the Windows XP 64-bit driver 3.10
  3. Restart system
  4. Download the February 18, 2008 Windows Flash Bundle
  5. Using the ATTO Configuration tool flash the UL4D card
  6. Restart system

After changing the configuration, I’ve been solid without a single system lock-up for the last 4 days. One thing to note is that when I switched the system to the TerraBlock, I had to move the Interactive Cache to one of the internal drives, and as of right now it’s still set there rather than back to the Video drive.

Getting the correct ATTO Driver for DS 10.1.1

Apparently, a search on Avid's site does not turn up the correct ATTO driver version for the DS 10.1.1. This should be rectified but the link to the correct driver version 3.10 is available.

If your system's PERFORMANCE DEGRADES NOTICEABLY, processing error messages appear, or the whole system freezes…

Your C: drive is running low on available disk space. DS works better when there is at least 300MB. In general, computers work better when at least 10% of the system drive is free.

See the Windows Stuff section (under Cleaning unnecessary files and logs from C: drive) for cleanup tips for your C: drive.

How to make sure your 32-bit DS will recognize as much RAM as possible

(added 01.30.2008 thanks to Tony Jover)
The default Windows XP Professional boot.ini file must be modified to handle memory usage with Avid DS and the Avid Nitris DNA. For this purpose, the boot.ini file must include the following text:

"Microsoft Windows XP Professional 3GB DS=2700" /fastdetect /3GB/USERVA=2700

To modify the boot.ini file:

  1. Right click My Computer and select Properties.
  2. System Properties opens.
  3. Select the Advanced tab.
  4. In the Startup and Recovery section, click the Settings button.
  5. Startup and Recovery opens.
  6. Click the Edit button.
  7. The boot.ini file opens in Notepad.
  8. Locate the 2400 values and replace it with 2700.
  9. If the entry does not match the boot.ini example, edit your boot.ini text to reflect our recommended settings.
  10. Under File select Save and exit Notepad.
  11. Close all windows and restart the workstation to validate the changes

Tony has provided a boot.ini file, which may be downloaded here: boot.ini

Note: If you see a /NoExecute=OptIn switch, it means you are booting with the PAE kernel, and data execution protection is enabled -- but only for those programs that are "opted in". This does no harm. You should see a RAM count of 2.87 in System Properties.

A special note about memory with respect to 64-bit DS
64-Bit DS can see a lot more RAM than 32-bit and it's a good idea to add more as needed (singly or matched pairs in the manner consistent with the requirements of your HP workstation) for larger and more complex jobs. With respect to virtual memory in 64-bit, it is strongly suggested to let Windows automatically set the virtual memory for optimal results.


(added 07.29.2007 MH From the List)

The proper configuration for the TerraBlock units on an Avid DS using the ATTO Celerity FC-41XS (4 Gb) card. The current driver version for this card is is 2.18. The Connection Mode should be Point-to-Point (PTP) as checked through the ATTO Configuration Utility. The stripe interleave needs to be set at 1024 Kb in the ATTO Express Power Center Utility. In the DS you select for the LSI controller, 12-24 disks.

As a replacement to the ATTO SCSI, you could select the SAS x4 as the controller card and (in the DS Configure Storages) the Videoraid RTR storage. (added 03.21.2008 courtesy an unnamed source at Softimage)

Case Study

TerraBlock 24D / 6T / Running 3.0.5
xw8400 DS 8.4 QFE 1 8G RAM – no Symphony Dual-Boot
FC-41XS configured Point-to-Point

FC-41XS configured Point-to-Point and Node WWN
Drivers and Firmware set to Facilis recommendations, this is what we’re running:

Server : Driver 2.16 | Flash 2.16 (this is only because we have a FC-22XH card in the server)
Client : Driver 2.61 | Flash November 13

xw8400 | 64-bit | 8G RAM
DS 8.4 QFE 1 | no Dual-Boot

Configure Storages as:

Make sure to change the interactive cache to a NON-TerraBlock drive.

I switched the controller and storage because of the recommendation on the Wiki and from Facilis. They noted that when using the FC controller, it can affect playback because it’s treating the storage as if it’s Unity. I was also reading, I cant seem to find where now, that configuring the storage as Generic limits the amount of real-time performance you’ll get. I don’t know how DS actually handles this, meaning if you’re using SCSI storage, but you’ve set it to Generic, are you not getting all the performance you’d get if you’d set it to MediaDock 12-24?

Special thanks to Troy Thompson

How the DS sees Terrablock

DS doesn't use drive letters to access media. You might point DS to your D: drive when you set it up. But once it is configured, DS uses UNC paths to define media locations. Unity happens to use UNC paths for the workspaces you connect, so it doesn't matter if you are on a DS or a RP, the UNC path is the same to Unity (i.e./ /FileManager/workspace/directory).

Terrablock supports drive letters (or mount points), but not UNC paths directly to the Terrablock server. Because of this, any Terrablock location appears as a local drive and when DS points to it, it creates a UNC path to a local drive (not to the server, i.e. / /MyDS/ ds_media/), this is why, if you have a Remote Processor the RP wants to connect over Ethernet back to the DS system to then access the media.

(Thanks to Kane Peterson)

Losing Renders with Terrablock

(Case Study)

My DS is losing it's renders. After a shut down I think. Old sequence that was rendered when I left it needs rendering again.

Caches should just reconnect -- they don't go away by themselves, unless additional storages were used and they're now offline after a restart because of a corrupted Indexer table.

The solution here was that the DS tech guy came in and reconfigured the storages to be local instead of shared. (a Terrablock between 2 suites).

Terrablock storage is always local storage to a DS. That is how it works. The way you share media between systems is to have drives from other rooms show up as Read Only local storage.

(Thanks to Tim Hitchen, Sylvain Labrosse Jef Huey and Tony Jover)

Check Your Throughput

The Avid DS reports the disk access statistic in the Avid DS event log, so clean your event log and do a couple of playbacks from your Facilis TerraBlock array and check the min/max/average read time. For realtime HD you need the average to be below a frame time (ie ~40 ms for 24/25 FPS, ~32 ms for 30 FPS and ~16 ms for 60 FPS) NB: FPS means Frames Per Second.

Another way to test drive arrays is to use HD_Speed. Please check The HD Speed Procedure

Typical (working) triple boot system with an HP xw8400 has the following config:

slot1: unused
slot2: QuadroFX 3500
slot3: ATTO FC41ES PCI-e
slot4: AJA Xena 2K-e
slot5: Nitris Base board
slot6: Nitris codec board
slot7: ATTO UL4D

HDD1(SATA) = WXP Pro SP2/ SymNitris 1.7.7
HDD2(SATA) = WXP Pro SP2/ DS ver8.0/32 bit
HDD3(IDE) = WXP 64 Pro/SP2 with DS ver8.4QFE1

Case study from Derek Herr:

If you are using a HP xw8400 with DS v8.4 and have the AJA 4:4:4 card option AND are using Terrablock storage without any local SCSI storage atached, here is a way to get real-time dual stream HD 4:2:2 performance from your system WITHOUT installing a SCSI card in slot 3:

NOTE: ABSOLUTELY NOT SUPPORTED BY AVID – The following is provided for educational purposes only, please do not try this at home, in a production environment, on mission critical systems, or while eating cheese...

  1. Go to HP site, click on “Software & Driver Downloads” on the left side.
  2. Enter “xw8400” (no quotes) into the “For Product” search box.
  3. In the page that pops up, select “Microsoft Windows XP Professional X64 Edition”
  4. In the following page, select the link for “Driver – Storage”
  5. Click on the “Download” link for the “LSI Logic SAS 1064X Driver for Microsoft Windows XP Professional X64 Edition”
  6. Once you have downloaded the sp33930.exe file, run it. It will extract the driver you need (lsi_sas.inf) to C:\SWSetup\SP33930.
  7. Open the device manager, then update the driver for the unused motherboard SCSI controller (might have a yellow exclamation point on it), pointing to the lsi_sas.inf file.
  8. Windows will install the driver for you.
  9. Re-boot your machine.
  10. Start your DS software, delete any Terrablock storages that the DS has configured in the Configure Storages dialogue, and then add them again setting Disk Controller Type to “Onboard SAS x4” and Disk Storage Type to “Avid VideoRaid RTS”.
  11. Now you have your real time dual stream playback and real-time titles back in HD 4:2:2 using Terrablock.

Once again, this is absolutely NOT supported by Avid – use at your own risk.

Test Patterns and where they are stored on DS

DSSystem\VideoBitmaps\TestPatterns and then go from there (there are different ones for each resolution).

Test Patterns are all assumed to be in 601/709 colorspace so if you are whipping something up in Photoshop or whatever, go into Levels and set the output levels at the bottom to "16" and "235".
(Thanks to Bob Maple)

These are the Test Patterns from DS version 10: DS_10_TestPatterns.zip
They may be used on any DS and they include HD resolutions as well as SD resolutions.

Correct Export of sequential TGA files for editing

With sequential TGA files, Final Cut Pro does not set them up correctly for the 23.976 frame rate automatically. You will compare the sequential TGA sequence and the Quicktime sequence with your reference tape and you will notice that QT is dead on, but the TGA sequence is way off and that difference will increase with time.

Here's the fix, in Final Cut Pro:

  1. Choose your sequence.
  2. Choose File / Export / Using QuickTime Conversion.
  3. Format Image Sequence, hit Options button.
  4. Put 23.976 in the Frames per second section.
  5. Click OK.

You must tell anyone cutting in Final Cut Pro to follow this procedure in order to get sequential TGA sequences to cut correctly.

The Procedure for Quicktime is follows:

In Final Cut Pro:
  1. Choose your sequence.
  2. Choose File / Export / Using QuickTime Conversion.
  3. Format QuickTime Movie, hit Options button.
  4. In Movie Settings window, choose Video and Sound (if you have sound).
  5. Choose Settings in Video section.
  6. Choose None for Compression Type.
  7. Choose Custom for Frame Rate in Motion Menu and put 23.976.
  8. Click OK.

(Thanks to Dennis Pilon)


Put 3D DVE into a compositing container tree whenever possible. This allows you to
add inputs to the DVE node (r-click the node). If you add a 3D DVE to a clip, you get
one input only.


Use Direct View/Suspend Output for fast screen updates while building effects.

Use Fast 2D Antialiasing if you can get away with it - it's much, much faster and often gives the best results.

Leave Texturing at either Low or Medium - generally High filters the image too much and gives a worse result while taking twice as long.

Lighting can be on high - doesn't make a lot of difference.

Leave the Motion Blur button alone!!! If you need to blur motion, don't do it within the 3D DVE.

Ctrl and Alt held down will kern in 3D Text

Note: Using the titling preset has no node for a video layer. Add a DVE Node to input video into the DVE.

Note: A 3D DVE must be added in the Effects Tree or as a clip/track effect, not In the DVE Slice Effect.

Shift Z –activates Z space tumbling.

Z –Zoom

R-click to delete objects.

R-click on the 3D DVE Node in the effect tree to add additional inputs.

Note: The background is usually not visible in the 3D DVE unless it is added as input.

Main Tools in the 3D DVE

R-click on the DVE Node in the layer window to make a 3D layer of Type.

R-click / Motion / Crawl to move text on a path. Baseline offset moves text away from the path orientation.

IMPORT ILLUSTRATOR EPS. Import into Graphics session or 3D DVE. File must
be created as Illustrator 8 for Windows. Can be .EPS or .AI file. Letters that have
strokes inside of strokes, such as A or O will be displayed with the inner strokes filled.
To fix this, select the inner stroke and the outer stroke of each affected letter, and use
“Combine Strokes”


Constrain proportions on Ellipses and Rectangles: Shift-Drag

Create ellipse or rectangle from center: CTL-drag


Start a curved shape: drag from starting point to where curve ends.

Subsequent control points:
Straight line: click at the next location
Curved line: drag from control point
Angular point: ALT-Drag tangent handle

Close a shape: Click on the first control point created
Open a closed shape: Hit ESC. Click R mouse button. Click a different tool.


Click control points with Shape Tool. Shift-click for multiple points. R-Click “Select
All Points” for all.

Add Control Point: Alt-Click with Shape Tool
Delete Control Point: Select point, press DELETE.

Panels can be saved and re-applied by dragging the effect icon from the desired panel
into a toolbar, then into the desired panel of the new object.

“Curl Time” property really means “Curl Percentage”. Don’t get fooled by the name.

Use Shift-apostrophe in the 3D DVE to animate a light during play back. Select the light, press Shift-apostrophe and then drag the light around with autokey on.

Working with text in the 3D DVE -- A case study

(Thanks to Jason Russell)

You can animate the individual letters in a text box in the 3D or you can animate the text box that holds the letters. If you animate the letter INSIDE the text box and then copy the outer text box you keep the animation. However if you animate the outer text box that holds the letter(s) (this is achieves the exact same effect) and copy and paste that box you lose the animation. That solves one issue.

While finding this out I noticed that if you type a letter and copy/paste it solo into the main layer (without the bounding text box) you lose control and you can't change the actual letter. You also lose the animation. Basically it becomes worthless. No point here, just an observation.

The other thing that was throwing me off was the fact that the ALT key works differently on the individual letters inside the box than it does on the actual text box holding the letters. I was attempting to do something inside the text box with the ALT key that doesn't require the ALT key on the outside box.

And finally back to my original problem of keeping the animation when copying. I can keep the animation of a copied object (see above) until I change said object. This next point makes all the above moot. Regardless of whether the animation is inside or outside the text box as soon as I change my letter, I lose the animation. Which leads me back to Chuck's solution being the solution to my problem. It sure doesn't make it easy to make templates but it is do-able on complex builds. Sean, you were onto my issue, I just couldn't understand it without working thru it myself.

So my build process is... I type one letter, set my variables, and do the animation inside the text box on the actual letter. I then copy the outer text box as many times as necessary to make my word. The easier way, if your word wasn't changing length, would be to type the word in one bounding text box and do the individual animations but I suppose it depends on the end result... I can't add letters if they are all in one bounding box. Next I go into each text box and copy the animation off the letter. I change the letter and then paste my animation back on. I do this for each letter of the word. This is my method, if there is an easier way please let me know. I wouldn't do this if I didn't have a ton of variables already setup on the letter(s) (ie lighting, extrusion, surface lighting (specular/emissive/shiny) etc).

Blurring Text Created in the 3D DVE -- A case study

(Thanks to Judy Ranelli)

  1. Build a composite tree containing a 3D DVE with a moving background.
  2. Set up the camera, lights, shadows and so forth like you want.
  3. Duplicate the layer 4 times for a total of five layers.
  4. On the bottom layer, mute all but the background in the 3D DVE.
  5. The next layer mute all but the back line of text.
  6. Repeat until you get to the top layer, muting all elements behind and in front of the line of text you want to work with.
  7. On the layers you want blurred, add a blur effect in the tree.

This enables you to blur any layer and to change the blur for each level as it suits your needs.

Cull Back Faces

(Added 10.31.2007 MH)

Backface culling definition from Wikipedia

Since meshes are hollow shells, not solid objects, the back side of some faces, or polygons, in the mesh will never face the camera. Typically, there is no reason to draw such faces. This is responsible for the effect often seen in computer and video games in which, if the camera happens to be inside a mesh, rather than seeing the "inside" surfaces of the mesh, it disappears completely (all faces are seen from behind, and are culled).

Back Face Culling happens on a Object by Object Basis. So you will have to turn the option on for each piece of geometry you have.
(IE: Back Face Culling is not a Global option)

  1. Select Geometry ("DVE")
  2. Select the "Render" tab for that geometry (The property page 3rd from the bottom that has an Icon that looks like a eye inside a red box with corner points)
  3. Select "Cull Back Faces"

To test how this works fly your camera inside and object like sphere and select /de-select the "Cull Back Faces" option.
When the 3D DVE culls the inside surface of the object vanishes as it is no longer being processed. With the option off the inside of the sphere is visible again.


(added 11.29.12 from TJover on the DSList)

To get Thumbnails of oversized linked stills to show the entire image...
1. Set capture settings to "Scale To Fit."
2. Set sequence prefs media scaling the same.
3. Link your files in thumbnail view

Once they're all linked and showing the full image, reset your sequence prefs however you want them.


R-clicking on a clip and going to Properties / Level of Detail will show proxy frames
in the timeline. To turn on proxy frames for every clip in a track, R-click the track and
follow the same path.


Control Drag and Drop for storyboard editing: In the Explorer, hold Control while
clicking in order a selection of clips, then drag and drop into the timeline. The clips will
assemble in the same order.

CTL-Drag an effect preset from explorer to timeline clip, and the effect will respect the
in-out markers.

R-drag clip—gives you track router.
To work with multiple clips, CTL-R-drag, lets you select track routing one at a time on multiple clips. Use reverse button to reverse audio/video track selection.

Drag clip to marking ribbon—puts clip on a new track.

R-Drag to marking ribbon—puts clip on a new video track.

Drag clip—HOLD V—makes an insert edit—ripples even without ripple on.
Drag clip—HOLD B—overwrite with activeness.

To move a clip to a higher or lower track, without changing its position, hold the “U” key, while dragging the clip to the different track.

The duration window (D) will change the duration of a clip or its effect by inputting a value.

To enter a value from the keyboard to a SMPTE box
  1. Ensure the viewer is focused on the source or timeline/ record side… no need to focus any of the SMPTE entry boxes. You can tell by the color around it i.e. green on source, red on timeline/ record. To switch from one to other on the keyboard use the TAB key. Make sure that a clip in the timeline is NOT selected
  2. Type the SMPTE number and it should appear in the middle of the focused viewer
  3. after typing the timecode, you can press:
    * I to set the in point
    * O to set the out point
    * D to set the duration.
    * ENTER to set the play cursor

In this case, if you type a positive timecode, the out point is changed. If you type a negative timecode, the in point is changed. Note that negative timecodes have the minus sign at the end. If you type a positive timecode and the in is undefined, it is treated like a negative timecode. If you type a negative timecode and the out is undefined, it is treated like a positive timecode.

You can also work in incremental mode. Incremental mode occurs when you type a + or a - at the end of the timecode, like 200- 1000+. In this case, after typing the timecode, you can press:

Selecting a clip, then entering numbers will affect the “Start” of the clip either by adjusting the position of the clip in the Timeline (with the Timeline” button selected lower left) of the clip’s start time (with the “Clip” button selected

Trimming Effects Durations
–10 will edit the clip effect to start 10 frames prior to the end of the effect. 10 will edit the clip effect to end 10 frames from the start of the clip. 10- will remove 10 frames from the clip effect duration.

Lists all the timeline markers, pulldown menu to select which marker appears in window.




Shift while clicking and dragging the active-ness bar overrides active-ness (gives priority) to that clip.

Dragging an active clip over another active clip, the clip that was already there wins the activeness battle in the shared space. To make the new clip win the activeness battle, ‘SHIFT-drag the new clip.
In/out to selection: [CTRL]-/

OVERVIEW AREA—white area at top that shows and navigates whole timeline. CTLclick
on overview area cursor to move the play cursor to that point. R-click on an
overview area allows you to scale the media.

R-CLICK-trim overview area to media—zooms timeline and overview to fill screen.
You can move sequence to a designated area of the timeline, and eliminate area before
and after active media.

TIMELINE EFFECT TRACK—add letterbox crops or other global effects.

GLOBAL MARKERS—show up in containers.

MOVING a clip up or down in the timeline: Hold U while you move it to prevent side to side movement.

R-CLICK OPEN VIEW—add a second viewer

Common Keyboard Shortcuts New in Version 10

Bypass effect (or multiple)
  1. Select a clip or track effect on the Timeline
  2. Press Ctrl+B

Select multiple clips and bypass:
  1. Put them in a tree
  2. Select the clip and press Shift+9

Select All Effects of Same Family
  1. Customize Toolbars, go to Editing-->Select All Effects of Same Family and drag the SAEoSF button onto a toolbar
  2. Take three different sources and mix them up as a bunch of clips on the Timeline
  3. Rubber-band select all the clips and press F2 (Quick Effects)
  4. Apply a DVE


Many times folks have complained about how fiddly it is to amend a SSE CC for individual clips. Using the SAEoSF button you can apply a CC to every clip on the Timeline, then load a preset for each tape source. The CCs are now clip effects and are easily adjusted on a clip by clip basis. So you get (almost) the same functionality as SSE but as clip effects.

Note that the SAEoSF button also works for Track or Timeline effects.

This is very useful for removing or replacing poorly-done set CCs or DVEs put in at offline.


Toggle Ripple globally: R

Set Ripple End: Puts a “barrier” in the timeline, beyond which nothing ripples.
[SHIFT]-E toggles it on and off. To turn it off, you must be parked on the ripple-end bar.
TIP: to turn it off quickly, just hit [SHIFT]-E twice (once to turn it on where you are parked, and again to turn it off).

Defeat Timeline Magnetism—hold the shift key while dragging clips around.

To cut a sequence into a sequence, use R-click and drag the sequence into the timeline.

With a clip selected, ‘ (apostrophe) will add a clip effect.

To add a track in the timeline while dragging a clip, drag clip to the marker ribbon of the timeline.

To add an overlay track in the timeline while dragging a clip, drag clip to the marker ribbon while holding down Control.

Dragging clips with the right mouse button directly into the timeline will prompt for each clip its destination track(s).

Set Timeline start time: go in the user preferences (file menu). In the Editing tab there is a box called "Timeline start". All new sequences will start at that point. For existing sequences, turn ripple on, selecting your first clip and typing the desired start timecode in the first window at the bottom. Then right click and select, "Trim Timeline to Media."

Changing Start Timecode of a New Sequence: Set in sequence preferences before beginning work on sequence.

Change Start Timecode of an Existing sequence: Highlight the first clip in your sequence. Turn on ripple and make sure all tracks are on. Type the desired sequence start number in the "start" field below the timeline. You can also use the Shift key and grab the left side of the overview area, to enlarge the timeline before the starting time.

Changing Sequence Timecode (Drop-frame/non-drop): Go to the time ruler in the timeline window and r-click. Select the Drop Frame option.


The keyframe you set at the head of your top timeline clip will also affect the preceding media (which wouldn't normally be seen). Two workarounds which solve this:

Step back 1 frame and set a keyframe with speed at 100% which ensures that all the media up to that point will be at normal speed

Or move to the leftmost keyframe on the Timewarp Property page (which isn't a true keyframe really but just the start of the source clip) and set a KF with speed at 100%, set the curve for that first KF to "constant".


If you have a clip on the timeline which has 1 min of extra media available on the head and you apply a timewarp set to "constant" all is well. Also if you look at the greyed out Base Frame figure it will say even though you cannot change it, from this I'd assume that a base frame set to "first" gives the same result as a manually set one of

However if you select "speed"...and step into the TW container, the markers show the base frame is at the same point as the "First frame" - from the start of the clip. However if you go back up and this time select "Fix at" you see a completely different frame! Doesn't work. If you step back in you'll see the base frame has indeed been fixed at but now the "First frame" and "End frame" have been shifted down by a minute, thus affecting which part of the clip you see. Its damn confusing!

Render the timewarp as frame and then add interlacing rendered as field. Though to be perfectly honest my method falls apart at constant speeds around 50%. I usually do a lot of ramping with the "input speed" selection and this method works best for me then.


DS will get confused on freezes if you trim the media directly inside the container.

  1. Stick a couple of markers on the clip inside the container just before and after the "used" bit.
  2. Create a Background Containmer of the clip
  3. Trim the clip to the markers inside the Background Container

That way DS still sees a full length clip inside its Timewarp Container, even though there's only a little bit of media there.


I was born, I edited, I shouted occasionally (hey, we all get frustrated), I got drunk.


With video tracks, you can place clips above each other as well as next to each other. Video tracks always makes use of/calculates the alpha information… use alpha fades on the video tracks. You cannot dissolve between video tracks…Use an “alpha fade” instead.

On background tracks you can't place clips above each other, only next to each other. Alpha information is not calculated or used. You can dissolve between background tracks.


Create GRAPHICS CONTAINER. Hit TRACKING button in DVE properties window.

DVE goes on the object that needs to FOLLOW the track. That’s the one you are moving.

The track that is supposed to follow goes into input 1. The track being followed goes into input 2.

Drag track jewel from timeline layer to be tracked into the start frame of reference.
• Select Edit Option (reference)
• If Below Threshold Options
• Stop
• Update (ok for rotation on 4 point tracking)
• Continue (if track point is stationary but becomes obscured by a foreground object)
• Predict (if track point is in motion and becomes obscured by a foreground object)

Drag jewel from the layer that is to follow the track into the TRACKED start frame window.

• Click Track to open the Tracker
• Select the type of Tracker
• 1-point (transformation)
• 2-points (transformation with scale and rotation)
• 4-points (corner pinning)

Switch to linear interpolation mode in the stroke's transformation page before tracking.
Bezier interpolation introduces nasty jitter because of it's "bubbly" nature.

Choose Stop tracking if it falls out of tolerance. Choose PREDICT if the object is going to temporarily be hidden, but it is going to come back. If the Tracker is interrupted, back up to the last good frame and continue.

DEINTERLACE both layers to improve tracking. The container length will double.

REFERENCE TRACKING—when the following object is to be placed offset from the tracking point. CTL-drag reference tracking point to where the layer point should go.

When tracking reference goes out of the screen and a new tracking reference point is needed, Tracking stops. Back up one frame. SHIFT R-click—move search region. CLEAR TARGET/SET TARGET to select a new target. Continue tracking forward.

Choose the Reference Point from the same plate to be tracked, then switch to stabilize.
Note: Scale must manually be adjusted in the DVE.

Use a tracker, and use input 1. Or use the STABILIZE preset.


Hit Return key for locked playback.

Up arrow Jog. Right/left arrow jogs slower/faster

Bottom arrow—SLOW SCRUB, right/left arrow for direction

Hold J—MOUSE SCRUB- spin cursor or drag on screen for slow scrub.

LOOPING- The ~ key sets the transport into loop mode, but will not toggle, you must
click the loop icon to disable it

Remembers a timeline location
Click the circle icon below it to go there.

Press a key and hold down left mouse button. Brings up over 30 common commands


[SHIFT]-DRAG to select multiple clips. You can then put them into a video container
for further treatment.

Select several edit points, to add several transitions simultaneously.

Add an effect to a transition (such as a blur/dissolve)… Transition must be separated from previous edit, and then rejoined.

Remap a dissolve to a wipe or 3D DVE move—Use transition properties window. Hit L to load wipe patterns or DVE moves.

USE 3D DVE for page turns. NOT 3D WARP!!!

Right click on the Key Frame icon to edit an animation curve.

[SHIFT]-Scrubbing a slider value bar scrubs at lower resolution.

Note: The Alpha option in the Masking menu should be on if you are compositing.


Tip: Hold [SHIFT] while opening a tree - Opens the effects tree and expands it.

Tip: [ALT] click to rename an effects node

R-click EXPOSE or UNEXPOSED—removes node effects from property editor window menu

Key Combiner-Allows foreground channels and alpha channels from separate pieces of media to be combined into one clip with alpha channel.. i.e. an Ultimatte foreground element with a separate pass for a matte.

Composite Node- Combines multiple inputs with user controllable transfer modes.
Bottom layer goes into input 1. Input 1 MUST have an input for higher-numbered inputs
to work. Can’t skip an input.


RIPPLE ON for trim—almost always.
With RIPPLE OFF, trim in SLIPS the edit with single handle trim.

Autotrim-Right click the trim button at the bottom of the timeline to activate or
deactivate autotrim mode, which puts you in the trim mode by using composer command
Next edit or Previous Edit

ACTIVENESS BALLS— Yellow lights at a cut point indicate a confirmed edit (an edit with no black holes). White lights mean an unconfirmed edit.

BREAK LINK-cuts edits apart to make a hole.
Allows a free trim option to one side of an edit. You must map the Break Link function to the UI.

Use PREVIOUS/NEXT to move between edits


[ ] –increment/decrement trim or other number 1 frame
[CTL]-[ ] -increment/decrement trim or other number 10 frames

In TRIM WINDOW, Shift click on one or more trim windows to get base trim control.
Do it in the slip/roll window…not in the timeline. If you do it in the timeline, you will
break apart the edits.

RESYNC. If you break sync, use RESYNC. Only works if there is enough media
available for DS to slip the edit. If not, use SYNC UNLOCK tool, to manually fix sync.

7. MATCH FRAME \ from a subclip reveals entire original clip media
8. MATCH BIN [CTL]-\ reveals subclip
9. MATCH BIN again to reveal original clip media.


Select several edit points, to add several transitions simultaneously.

[SHIFT]-DRAG to select multiple clips. You can then put them into a video container
for further treatment.

24p in the United States

(A few notes from Matthew Small)

Most "24P" SD is recorded 29.97 with 3:2 pulldown- just like a telecine session from Film to SD 29.97 tape.

I believe Canon uses standard 2:3:2:3 pulldown which can be removed via some SDI capture cards during ingest or a 3:2 container in the DS.

With Panasonic, they have the standard 2:3:2:3 recorded at 29.97 and also the dreaded 2:3:3:2 (also recorded at 29.97) where the inserted pulldown can be removed easily over FireWire when the computer just throws out the last B frame and the first C frame to get from 30 to 24. Removing it through conventional methods can be more problematic.

Sony sometimes uses CineFrame in their HDV camcorders which re-orders fields to "simulate" a film-look and in my opinion generally makes a mess. Adobe Premiere can deal with it well, but not many other systems that I know of.

I saw SD-24P a lot with lower-budget productions that wanted the 24P "look" but couldn't afford to shoot film or HD. The DVX-series cameras from Panasonic are still great cameras if you need that flexibility.

For more on 24p, I recommend a read of Adam Wilt's blog

Revised: Nov 29, 2012 6:13 am