To research more info about online project management then checkout project planning online.I


Indexer Problems
Isolating Chroma from Luminance for keying better with poor footage
Installing iTunes on a DS system without borking your system with the wrong version of Quicktime

Indexer Problems

Avid's website has a troubleshooting guide that may be useful.

Indexer problems are generally caused by corrupt media tables and/or project indexer tables. An indication of an indexer problem is an application crash with a message similar to this one:

SICORE engine has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience.

Error signature
szAppName : Consumermgrs.exe szAppver: 7.5.2004.916
szModName : ummd.dll szModVer: 1.0.2004.1129 offset: 0002cfe5

This may be caused by too many projects on your system (the solution is to archive them and get them off your system), a corrupt sequence or an improper shut down of your computer because the indexers write their tables right before a Windows shutdown (please see note below). You can try this:

  1. Exit DS and navigate to C:\Program Files\Avid\Services\DSSystem (up to V8.4)
  2. Exit DS and navigate to C:\Program Files\Avid\DS_v10.x\DSSystem (V8.x)
  3. From the desktop, right-click on My Computer and choose "manage". Go to "services and applications>services" In turn, right-click on the Avid Project Indexer and the Avid Media Indexer and choose "stop" (or stop the Service location protocol to stop both indexers simultaneously).
  4. Wait a moment in order for the command to complete.
  5. Delete the media table C:\Program Files\Avid\Services\DSSystem\server.ummd and/or the project indexer table C:\Program Files\Avid\Services\DSSystem\ummd.consumers.
  6. Right-click and choose "start" on both services. Wait a few minutes as reindexing takes places (you can monitor the progress of the indexers in the Task Manager interface, or using the small "W" bottom-right light within DS which will read as "Media Indexer: Scanning" instead of "Idle").
  7. When indexer activity has ceased, launch DS. Work can now resume.

NB: Since the DS storage configuration information is stored in the server.ummd file, it is possible that the DS storages do not show as real-time anymore. In such a case, using the "configure storages" utility to restore the proper device settings will be necessary. Trash the server.ummd file ONLY if you really have to and, if you do, don't forget to go in Data management > Configure Storages… and reassign your audio and video storages with correct hardware devices for real times capabilities.

  1. For all versions of DS from around v5 up to and including v8.4, the two indexers are Consumermgrs.exe to index the Projects, and UMMDS.exe to index the media. Service Location Protocol is the service that looks after both of these.
  2. Consumermgrs will reside on the computer that is the Workgroup Manager for your DS. On a standalone DS this might be the DS workstation itself, but ideally should be a standalone PC specifically for this purpose.
  3. UMMDS will live on each DS workstation that has local storage. It indexes the local storage. Local storage might be Terrablock, LVD, Media Array - whatever.
  4. Consumermgrs and UMMDS each keep databases within the folder C:\Program Files\Avid\Services\DSSystem. They are server.ummd, ummd_consumers, and ummd_roots. The size of the databases are determined by the number of active projects within your workgroup, and by the number of discreet media files within the indexed storage.
  5. When you shut down the DS Workstation, or the cpu running the DS Workgroup Manager, the indexer(s) running on that cpu must complete writing the database out of memory and into the file This takes a finite amount of time which is determined by how large the database is (see #4). Unfortunately, Windows only allows a set amount of time for services to close down when you reboot (or shutdown) a cpu, and it may not be long enough for Consumermgrs and/or UMMDS to complete writing their database before windows abruptly shuts them down. This will result in a corrupted database.
  6. So, the correct workflow when rebooting a DS workstation or a Workgroup Controller is to:
    * Right-click My Computer, and select Manage
    * Expand the tab "Services and Applications" in the left-hand pane and select "Services"
    * In the right-hand pane scroll down until you find "Service Location Protocol"
    * Select SLP and hit the Stop button. A window will open, telling you of the other Avid services it will stop. This is what you want it to do so select OK
    * SLP might complain that it couldn't close one of the Avid Services in time. Just keep trying until it completes. It WILL complete eventually.
    * Once you've done all of these steps, shut down or reboot your workstation. The indexers will restart automatically with your workstation.

To set up indexing on DS, it is recommended that you read and understand (and carefully follow the steps outlined on) Avid's site

Managing your projects to prevent indexing issues

It is a good idea to have just a few projects on your DS. If you have a bunch of old projects that you do not regularly use, you should archive them and get them off your system. The fewer projects you have active, the better your DS will run.

Multiple Project Roots

For example, you set a Project Root for a specific task where you work on one or several projects that will share between themselves (sequences, clips, even media files). If you keep everything under that main root location, the DS purge and delete functions will work exactly as designed.

If you need to keep your number of active projects to a decent amount (less than twenty is ideal, but that's not even the "number" of projects that is the real issue, it's rather the "size" or how long the Project Indexer requires to scan and save all the data information), then you can just create several Project Roots.

Why several roots? Because each can contain projects that are related to each other, and you can just easily Add or Remove these roots from the Open Project dialog, and immediately the Project Indexer will go and scan for the list changes.

A root is added? The Project Indexer scans it. A root is removed? Fine, the Project indexer takes it out of its content list.

Manually removing projects

If you are still having problems, try removing projects from the Projects Folder not in a sub-folder inside, but somewhere parent to the actual "DS Projects" folder.. like a different folder in the root of the F: drive if thats where your projects are.

Using the DS Project Manager Tool

The DS Project Manager Tool makes this procedure less scary and is recommended for moving projects out and in. Also make sure you only have projects inside your Projects folder. Anything else in there can be really problematic, as the Indexer may hang up trying to figure out what the additional material is.

To get to the DS Project Manager Tool, go to Start-->Progs-->Avid-->DS-->Tools. It should be there. Move out all projects you don't need for your day-of-edit. Media indexing, as a result, should take a lot less time.

Important note:
The DS Project Manager is a support tool option designed strictly to help remove (temporarily) a certain number of projects from the active Project Root (the location scanned by the Project Indexer) and to minimize indexing time.

If you indeed move projects out of the active Project Roots, its related media files will appear in the DS > Data Management > Project Manager dialog as "Unknown project" and you may accidentally purge or delete media that you need to keep.

The recent DS Project Manager utility includes an option to move the projects data and its associated media (as long as it belongs in its GUID identity, BUT NOT media linked across other projects). The utility has no code to scan and understand dependencies and relationship between other sequences and projects. It is purely a basic tool to make projects and media ON and OFF to minimize indexing down time. You don't really need the DS Project Manager utility if you manage your projects using the "Multiple Project Root" technique above.
(Thanks to Sylvain for this)

Use the Project Manager to relieve the pressure on your Indexers, but don't do any purging until all those projects are back.
(Thanks to Tony for this)

Project Manager requires Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0, 32 or 64-bit depending what OS you are running.

Creating a batch file to shut down indexing

Open Notepad or something and type:

net stop slpd /y

To restart them you could create another batch file with the following:

net start slpd
net start ummd
net start dscm

this starts (in order) the
service location protocol
media indexer
project indexer

I just added material and now the green "Media Unavailable" display is up for everything! What now?

(Case Study by Tim Hitchen)
DS 8.4 on a 8400 dual boot.
PAL Project
5.x Unity

Happily working away off a unity when I add the DVD timeline - I just added another very large sequence to the project via an AFE..
Every thing's OK for a while then bang - all indexing is lost. (All material is unavailable).

Over the next hour or so it slowly came back but what made it happen in the first place? Was it too much for it to handle?

If you make a big change to the media database (like conforming a large AFE, or dragging a load of media into Indexed space) you will have to wait for UMMDS to finish indexing all the new media (even if it's offline media) before you can continue to work.

This is completely normal.

(With thanks to Tony Jover)

Loading a sequence in the Source viewer is NOT what caused the media rescan. It occurred at the same time but it is not what triggered the indexing.

You say that you run Avid DS 8.4 connected to Unity 5. That means that probably (just assuming here...) your local DS Media Indexer is directly hosting the audio and video off Unity MediaNetwork, and with 8.4 it does so in 32-bit.

Now DS and its Media Indexing Service will scan up to around 30,000 files safely. On a local storage, it is unlikely that you will reach such a high number (I've seen a bit over 20,000 files on a quite crowded chassis) but on Unity, it is absolutely possible to go over this limit.

If you keep all projects in progress, pending or done, and all media lying around on Unity storages, then you might have caused this problem...

On Unity, MediaNetwork or even ISIS since it is no different, you should really divide media storages and use the Media Indexer to scan for required content "on-demand."

How do you do this?

Bill Admans used a technique where he would create a project-specific folder for his video (and audio I think...). He would add these folders for the Media Indexer to scan and provide this media content to DS.

On the next project, he would use another project-specific folder with different audio/video content, then remove the first audio/video folders from the Media Indexer's list and simply add the new media folders.

All these operations really take a few minutes for the remove and add steps, and to allow the indexer to complete the required media scan. But with far less media to index, using this method, the chance to reach the 30,000 file count limit is almost null.

On a side note, ask the maintenance people at your facility to ALSO check the Unity logs. If there was anything odd going on with any of the Unity disks, the DS Media Indexer will also see such event as a change and this is known to trigger a scan of the storages content. Just so you know and to avoid possible issues with Unity...

(Thanks to Sylvain Labrosse)

Tim reports:

There was nothing unusual going on at the unity end at the time on the data base refresh.

The other thing I notice going on is when I delete (all unused media) a file, the current sequence will lose it's indexing.
Loading another sequence media's there - then loading the sequence that had the upset shows media again.



CONFIG WINDOW—select/create deck templates. Decks are connected to COM 1.

To customize a device configuration, change all settings except device, then save as a new device.

Edit mode: Auto (insert editing) and Assemble.

Tip: Make a duplicate setting of each device, one set for Auto and one set for Assemble.

PLAY/RECORD Bias—delays video frames, offset for TBC delays, etc. Affects video

PHYSICAL AUDIO PATCH—Vertical is machine channels, Horiz. Is DS inputs.

The primary visual file format DS uses is the .GEN file format. FYI, .GEN files are an altered AVI file format (.AVI is the windows video format). A .GEN file is YCbCr 4:2:2 with color space support for both ITU-R-601 SD and uncompressed ATSC HD formats. It also supports one alpha channel layer playback in real-time since v6.0.

The pixel aspect ratio is driven by the sequence settings

New Input-Output Settings on Media Output/Input (DS Version 10)

The video level descriptions on version 10 have changed. What do they mean?

Here's a crib sheet for Input. Output is the same thing in reverse.

If you are capturing to YCC

Which is a non-linear colour space, DS uses the input level to transform your media from the input level colour space to the log709 colour space. In YCC DS uses the input level which describes your media and then applies a LookUpTable to convert it to 709 colour space.

Input 709 -> media is log709 with Black 64 and white 940 (16, 235) -> DS will just copy the media

Input Video Linear -> media is linear with Black 64 and white 940 (16, 235) -> DS applies a log2linVideoLinear and a lin2log709

Input Linear -> media is Linear with Black 0 and white 1024 (0, 255) -> DS applies a lin2log709

Input SRGB -> media is logSRGB with Black 0 and white 1024 (0, 255) -> DS applies a log2linSRG and a lin2log709

If you are capturing to RGB 16/32bits

Which is a linear colour space, DS uses the input level to transform your media from the input level colour space to Linear colour space. Then DS applies the sequence LookUpTable(LUT) for the output monitor and the viewer LookUpTable for the DS Viewer. You can activate/deactivate the Viewer LUT and choose the LUT in the Viewer options. Disable it if you want to see the same result as previous DS versions.

Input 709 -> Media is log709 with Black 64 and white 940 (16, 235) -> DS applies a log2lin709

Input Video Linear -> Media is linear with Black 64 and white 940 (16, 235) -> DS applies a log2linVideoLinear

Input Linear -> Media is Linear with Black 0 and white 1024 (0, 255) -> DS will just copy the media

Input SRGB -> Media is logSRGB with Black 0 and white 1024 (0, 255) -> DS applies a log2linSRG

If you are working in RGB 10bits the media is not changed but is tagged with its input LUT, so DS applies the LUT transformations to properly process the image, then another LUT for the output. There is also a viewer LUT for the DS Viewer.

Legacy Graphics

Means that DS will remap 0,255 to 16,235 but without applying the 709 gamma curve, just like previous versions (which is actually incorrect) -- the color and gamma Look Up Table that was used in DS versions before 10.0.

Additional comment from Tony:

Q: When importing an AVI or QT or WMV without knowing where it comes from and how it was exported, what is the best way to import it?

A: I generally import all RGB graphics files (which mostly includes QTs and AVIs) using Legacy. sRGB is supposed to be more accurate, but I think that legacy looks more correct most of the time.

If the supplier hasn't told you what levels it contains (and most won't because they simply don't know) there is no magic way to get it right on import other than take a look at it once it's in.

As I understand it, the Legacy Graphics LUTs are not strictly 'correct' according to ITU specs. However, most other kit (like encoders, other NLEs etc) are similarly incorrect and would therefore expect to see an image created with the curves used in Legacy Graphics. If you used Linear RGB instead you would indeed be making a file that is - in a strict sense - correct, but would "look wrong" when you did anything with it, because just about everything else out there is similarly wrong.

Does that make sense?

Encode with Linear RGB and again with Legacy and use an external converter (like WMENc for instance) to create two files and then play them side by side - the differences are small but noticeable.

(Thanks to Tony Jover and Bevis Jones, with profound apologies to Serge Verrault)

Legacy Graphics Problems in DS v 10.1.2 and 10.2.1

There are known issues with exporting Animation QuickTime files and in many different situations. DPX, TIFF, 8bit, 10bit, 16bit in Legacy GFX levels. A solution is to close DS and restart the application, but eventually it returns. It is described as "crazy green fuzz over areas of high luminance." (See photo below)

One "Jover" is to put a color correction on top of everything and take the video gain down to 97-98% it seems the blue, magenta, yellow stuff doesn't seem to appear. If you take it up to 100 it's there again.

Avid says: Engineering was finally able to pinpoint the root cause and they are actively working on a solution to this problem. The “corruption” happens only on a very narrow range of pixel levels right around the white point (235 in 8bit or 940 in 10bit) so the above "jover" works, even though you may wind up with levels that are too low.

(Thanks to Troy Thompson, Tony Jover, Adam, Woody Sherman, Des Murray, Mike, Linda Öhlun, Knut Helgeland, Sylvain Labrosse, Jean-Marc Porchet and the engineering team at Avid)

Case Study: Recapturing RED DPX files after an upgrade

The Issue:
We did some work on a RED job last fall running DS 8.4 QFE1 xw8400. Since then the system was upgraded to DS 10 on the same box (using Nitris not AJA). Client called up and wanted to make some changes to the piece, only to find out now all the material in the timeline looks like a madman color corrected it (blown out and very neon). Support wasn't surprised by my call.

All the RED material was processed as DPX and linked to on the DS. Best I can tell now is that the DS in applying the wrong LUT to the linked DPX. Going into properties seems to allow you to reset the LUT, but once you click okay it reverts to how it was being displayed. Support told us we had to go back in and bring the DPX material in again, and possibly re-color correct.

Probable Solution:
We found that on 8.4 we had linked to some DPX files (using LINEAR lut) and output (using GRAPHICS) and all was well. Just this week we had the issue you described (upgrade to 10.0 and had to rebuild the DPX project). We Linked to the DPX files (once again using the LINEAR lut) and then output, using LEGACY GRAPHICS cause that output setting had changed, and all was NOT good!!

Turns out, we had to go into the properties of the DPX linked file and change the LUT to LEGACY GRAPHICS and then output using LEGACY GRAPHICS and all was good again. It seems that all we can use is legacy graphics to make our projects work. In order to change the LUT, you must not have anything in your source side viewer, or else it will not "stick." This is because the color management is completely revamped in V10.

Sylvain Labrosse reports:
Development tried to avoid such problems by implementing code that detects a sequence from a previous release, and allow you to convert to the correct legacy LUT when restoring and opening in version 10+.

(Thanks to Troy Thompson, Sylvain and Paul Neal)


To avoid vertical displacement of the captured video:

  1. Activate the internal black generator on the Digital Betacam deck from which I am capturing. (or patch a known stable SDI video source into the deck).
  2. Turn off the viewer.
  3. Switch to capture mode.
  4. Monitor the picture via the DS SDI output with an external SDI monitor. (If you are having the sync problem, it shows up there, too, so this is a reliable monitoring method.)
  5. Sync sound will appear to be not-so-synced during the capture, but don't worry about it. It's being captured correctly. Monitor the DS, rather than the deck's output, to verify that a good signal is going into the DS.

Before opening the capture tool, make sure that the appropriate type of sequence is open first: In other words, to capture 16x9 footage, a 16x9 sequence must be open. Same goes for 4x3. If you don’t do this, you will need to process captured footage to view it.


Upon initialization, Media I/O checks the decks automatically.

J-K-L Deck control: J is reverse play, K is pause, L is forward play. Hit J or L repeatedly for increasingly fast shuttle speed. Hold K with J or K for slow playback.

YOU MUST TURN AUDIO ON in browser capture window if you want audio—even if you logged the clips with audio.

CAPTURE ON THE FLY—no logging function—only for digitizing.
Sets in and outs on the fly. Continually update setting ins and outs by repeating the same key. Media between out points and in points is not captured.
Use the mouse, clicking in viewer margins, while tape plays—
Left Button—Mark IN
Right Button—Mark OUT
You can also use keyboard I and O keys to mark ins and outs.

Alt+Capture, a list of tapes needed appears. You can then alter the order in which the tapes will be asked for.

If you cannot get machine control

Remember, all VCRs connected to DS must use Serial Port 1. To check the serial port, you can use This tool from Sony from Windows. It is recommended that you exit the DS application when you do that.

Case Study, MTV Networks:

We have a one rental XW8000 and I have seen this on two occasions with v7.6. Our situation was - the serial port was fine. The Sony utility that Sylvain speaks of worked fine which ruled out the port and the 232-422 serial converter.
I did notice both times that the DS machine control changed to Serial Com 2, but you were not able to change it. With the capture window open - the reference lock indicator was not lit either.
In both cases, after spending a few minutes troubleshooting, I just restored my Ghost image (6 minutes) and viola, it worked fine. This problem apparently is buried deep in a config table, the registry, or a corrupted DS file. I did try repairing and then re-installing the software the second time just to see if that fixed the problem - and no it did not.

I never saw this on IBM ZPro or Compaq EVO W8000 machines through software version 7.6 QFE4. I have not seen anything like this with HP XW8400 v8.4 either.

(Thanks to Tom Edwards, Sylvain, Howard and Seán Travers)

If capturing results in a crash or a non-responding application

If you are trying to capture from tape and, as soon as the capture ends you see an hourglass and the DS stops responding, you may have too much on your timeline. Do your recaptures while you have an empty timeline, or else you will have to wait until all indexing is complete to be able to use your DS.

(Thanks to Tony Jover and Jef Huey)


For clips larger than D1 that need to keep the entire image size use the link file import option. The entire file will be loaded into RAM the first time it appears in a time line. Use to pan/scan big files. This will create D1 media when you process.

NB: For Avid DS 8.4 you can no longer Link to Quicktime files due to an incompatibility in the QuickTime audio stream encoding. This flaw is causing application errors (crashes). All QuickTime files must now be captured in order to be used safely in Avid DS version 8.4.

For Avid DS 10.0, Apple QuickTime 7.4.5 can be used (7.5+ is not yet qualified).
For Avid DS 8.4, Apple QuickTime 7.1.x can be used except that you can no longer Link to these files due to an incompatibility in the QuickTime audio stream encoding. This flaw is causing application errors (crashes). All QuickTime files must now be imported in order to be used safely in Avid DS.

For Avid DS 8.0, Avid recommends QuickTime 7.0.4 up to QFE 2a. Since the QFE 3 release, Apple QuickTime 7.1.x is now qualified. Due to the above QuickTime audio issue, Avid recommends you import QuickTime files instead of linking.

For Avid DS 7.6 and prior 7.x releases, Avid recommends QuickTime 6.5.2 only.

Tip: Create a subfolder with in the project folder called Linked Files. This folder will then be archived with the rest of the project. (Archived to Disk) Note: This can cause issues, particularly truncated AVI captures. It's a pain that it causes issues because it's a convenient workflow. Philippe's clever Archive Backup tool can also copy all linked file sources, so a convenient workflow can therefore be to put your source files anywhere you like, use Archive Backup to back them up when the project's finished with, then delete the original folder.

Quicktime issue it's all about where the file resides.

Do not place Quicktime files in your project folder. If you do, you will get the following error:

No Quicktime file should be in an indexed folder otherwise it may prevent its capture in DS. Place your Quicktime files elsewhere.

Also, if you are accepting Quicktime files from a Final Cut Pro shop and they are not at the correct frame rate, you need to tell your Final Cut Pro offline editor to export them correctly with the right frame rate.

Photoshop or other square pixel (720x540 or 720x486 unscaled): 1.0 aspect ratio,

Quicktime or other D1 file: .9 aspect ratio, PREMULTIPLIED ALPHA if there is alpha

Pre-multiplied setting should be on for files with alpha. If the alpha looks incorrect pre-multiplied can be turned off later in a clip effect editor under Custom/Pre-multiplied.


In Non-Custom sequences, the captured material is always stored on disk in YCbCr assuming Video Levels. This means that headroom and footroom are present, also meaning that black is considered at 16 and white at 235. The "Input Levels" setting will allow Avid|DS to correctly map the value of the pixels read from file when capturing.

Batch capture from timeline or browser. Use in/out points on timeline to capture partial timeline.

For Sequential TGA files, Avid DS will create what looks like a folder for all of the files and import them all in a batch. If you get sequential TGA files from Final Cut Pro that are not at the right frame-rate, you need to tell your Final Cut Pro offline editor to export them correctly with the right frame rate.


Use CDEX, which is on DS installation CD. Also, dBPowerAmp. OR use CD Copy or Audio Catalyst… all will make a .wav file.

Field dominance is ODD

IMPORTING CLIPS FROM OTHER PROJECT BROWSERS—Navigate browser to other project/clip. Right click to IMPORT CLIP. Use FAVORITE button on browser window to get back to the current browser

PREMULTIPLIED-custom effect to change the premult value of an imported clip if necessary.

File Based Workflow

(thanks to Paul Neal for this case study)
A case study by Will Harris

Ok, say you have a client that has a Firewire drive with a lot of folders and inside every folder is a lot of files you need to capture. After you hook it up to your system and the computer recognizes the drive, start up DS, get into the project these files are to live in and follow these simple steps:

  1. Under the Tools menu (at the top left of DS) click on File Renamer - this load the independent File Renamer 1.0 program
  2. At the bottom of the program window, you see a checkbox labeled Include Sub (if you have a drive that has a lot of subfolders, click this) and then click on Add Directory.
  3. A Dialog box opens that will allow you to navigate to the attached drive (or maybe even a network path… which I use on occassion). Find your firewire drive and click OK. The program then scans the drive and has a path of all items in that path.
  4. At the top of File Renamer, there is a button called DS Script. Click on DS Script.
  5. This runs a script that is set to log all the items that was discovered in the scan in step 3. You may want to look at the script closely to make sure you are only getting the files you want...SO, what you can do is Highlight the script by clicking somewhere in the script and hitting [CTRL]-A (select all) and then pasting the script in a Microsoft Word document (or wordpad or txt editor). While you are in Wordpad (or whatever text editor) you can Find and Replace items, you can delete items you may not need, etc. (some playing may be necessary to get the results you require). Now, once you have your script the way you want, highlight everything in Wordpad and [CTRL]-A to select all.
  6. Get back into DS and go to the menu and select View, then Single Instance Views and move down until you find Script Editor and select that. This opens the script editor program. :)
  7. Your cursor should be in the white area of the script just paste the script you had in wordpad here.
  8. Click on the Run button at the top of the script editor program.

Once this runs, you should have a log of all the files you need off the drive, and you can now highlight them and batch Capture.


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.”
From within Illustrator, save the file as an EPS again, it will add the extension .eps. Then hit OK and another property page will come up asking you what format. Under one of the pulldown tabs you have the option to select whatever version of Illustrator. Save it as Illustrator 8 for Windows. For color or black and white, there is a Format selection on the next pulldown down the page. Select from Tiff (Black & White) selected or (8 bit Color).


Build graphic on transparent background in Photoshop to DS. Save as tiff. Save-as a copy with no layers. Choose Save Transparency in the pop up dialog and you are done. Import to DS as graphic with premultiplied alpha and have a look at those nice edges.



Where x is the number of the first frame of the sequence and y is the number of digits
you in the number of files. For example the file avidds.[0;3].tif would yield a .tif
sequence with up to 1000 files.


Import OMFI 2.0 only.

OMF Conform button converts to sequence or logs (clips in browser) or both. Must have
browser open first—preferably an empty one.

OMF supports picture in picture effects from Avid systems

Importing Audio from Composer
  1. Remove all Audi Suite Plug-In effects from you MC Sequence.
  2. Take the Audio out of MC as OMF2 w/media.
  3. Import the OMF w/audio into 6.01QFE1, with "Create Both" selected and "Force Creation of External tape sources" DE-selected.
  4. Take a copy of your MC Sequence in a bin, and run it through Media Log, exporting as AFE.
  5. Conform the AFE in DS with "Force Creation of External tape sources" DE-selected.
  6. The audio from the OMF should link up with the sequence.

IMPORT ALE- Input/output mode—VIEW-ALE.

From Media Composer—Using Medialog

Have the Composer editor send you a bin with two things in it: the sequence that you should conform, and the decomposed clips (with desired handles) from that sequence. Open MediaLog, create an NTSC 30fps project, and import the bin. Convert the sequence to an AFE, and conform it in DS.

For 4-channel audio, in Media Log, select all the clips that contain audio, right click and modify them to have all 4 tracks of audio. The select the sequence, Right Click and export as AFE. This will enable you to digitize all audio tracks into DS. This is important if the offline was done from a 4 channel master dubbed to tape sources that have only 2 audio channels.

If lots of subclips were used in offline, those clips will not be able to be modified in
Media Log. Make sure that “Statistics” is displayed in the Media Log bin, then select all
of these clips and export them as ALE. When importing into DS, go into Media I/O, then
call up the ALE import window, open the ALE file and select the 4 channels in the Audio
Channels matrix, then create the logs. This will cause the subclips to have all 4 channels
of audio.

Excel 2007

(added 12.27.2007)

You must have Excel 2007 for this to work.

  1. Open client's log sheet.
  2. Copy all events into the Excel 2007 template.
  3. Export as Text Tab Delimited.
  4. Open that in Notepad, and copy all the columns below Data into the HD notepad template or SD notepad template (depending on which you need).
  5. Export as {filename.ale} and make sure the pulldown below the naming area is set to all files, not .txt
  6. Go into DS. ALE import. Load and then send to a folder to make clips.

(Credit to Sean Stall for workflow and templates)


AFE and AAF are not the same thing, although they contain a lot of the same information.

AAF -- Advanced Authoring Format.
An AAF contains sequence metadata and information from Media Composer and Symphony that can then be conformed on DS. An AAF can ONLY be exported from a v11/v4 or greater MC/Symphony.

Export AAF from Media Composer
  1. Ask the editor to NOT consolidate the sequence.
  2. Forget embedded media - that's for when you're using shared media drives.
  3. Ask for the project as well so that you can make your own AAF from that project using Medialog if needed.
  4. Make explorer clips as well as timeline clips - they can be very useful sometimes.
  5. Capture from Timeline with handles sizes you are comfortable with.
  6. If I need any more handles when slipping a shot against the offline, simply select that clip on the timeline and select "Recapture Selection With Options" and give it bigger handles.

  1. Color Correction effects from MC do not come across completely intact, depending on what the offline editor did with it.
  2. Speed Ramps require careful examination to ensure their accuracy against the offline.

Any errors or notes to do with the conform (apart from inaccurate speed ramps) are
always flagged up at the end of the conform in a saveable file.

AFE -- Avid File Exchange
An AFE is created from MediaLog 11.1 or greater, and contains a lot of the same sequence and metadata information. One of the primary differences is that an AFE can be a wrapper for an entire project, including several bins, while an AAF is only one sequence. Import Composer/Xpress bins into MediaLog, and export to AFE.

Also... there are some things that conform with AAF that will not conform with AFE. For instance -- AVX effects will COMPLETELY (with all parameters, curves, etc.) with AAF. But AFE will only conform the AVX effect with default settings, i.e.: no keyframes or custom parameters.

From within DS:
  1. Navigate to the AFE via Explorer.
  2. Double click the AFE.
  3. You will get a window that will give you the options for destination folder, logs, timeline clips, etc.
  4. Ensure your location for clips is correct, then open the bin (it'll be obvious at this stage),
  5. Drag the sequence to the Timeline.
If you hold down U when dragging it'll keep the same start timecode (just like an sequence within DS).
(Thanks to Sean Stall and Tony Jover)


Say100 clips from an OMF/AFE have conformed with a source of OPT1. You have already digitized OPT1, except you've called the reel OPTICALS. All 100 clips need to be changed to a source of OPTICALS, or redigitize all the OPT1 material with the new name OPTICALS. Use the EDL tool in DS to change reel names for multiple clips simultaneously:

  1. Sort a bin by reel name. Create a new sequence. Drag and drop all clips from OPT1 onto timeline.
  2. Go to the EDL tool. Create an EDL from the timeline.
  3. Select all the clips in the EDL tool. Right-click, and re-assign the source reel
  4. Conform the EDL back to the timeline, and only create Browser Clips.

You now have new clips that are properly linked to the correct reel.


Lets you send frames to another application (such as Photoshop) for modification. In
the properties you can specify format, destination and a couple other thingies. Hit export
and DS will export the frames affected by the effect to the specified destination (local or
LAN). Default file path is to a directory in the project called 3rd Party. You can the use
the tool of your choice to edit the images... save them over the original files on the LAN
or HDD and use the update feature in the Outsource effect to reimport the modified pics
to the correct place on the timeline.

File Naming procedure: Write the file to a new name, then rename it after the render or change is done.
Example : If the AVI you rendered out of DS is "bletch1.avi," then render out of AE as"bletch2.avi." Once the render is done, rename "bletch1.avi" to "bletch1.old" and rename "bletch2.avi" to "bletch1.avi."

Replacing Graphics

Case Study

I created an element in Photoshop to use in the graphics tool of the DS. It was an element consisting of a line with arrows at each end and a box in the middle showing a metric measurement. It was tracked to an object in DS so it was placed in a group so that I could use the opacity to dissolve between it and another version with a second metric measurement. Now I have to create a version using imperial measurements. My question is, unless I've overlooked something, is there a way to simply step into that group of objects within the graphics tool and replace the objects with the new versions?

Here's how I'd it, providing the new element matches the old (in frame size etc):

  1. Import the new element into the graphics tool.
  2. Select the newly created graphics object
  3. Select fill fx (cutout) and save the preset (or drag the icon to a toolbar)
  4. Delete/hide the newly created praphics object
  5. Select the object to be replaced, and load the recently saved fill fx (or drag the icon from the toolbar)

Repeat for all the objects you need to replace.

(thanks to Roy Janke and Des Murray)

Importing from 3D applications

Any image sequence that DS reads and your 3D application (like Cinema 4d or Maya) outputs works just fine. If the end product is video or even many forms of HD, a TGA sequence will do just fine because there is no need for 32-bit color or for printing. Tiff sequences are good, but they're huge. Both TIFFs and TGAs will contain alpha information and you will want to import them accordingly with alpha where needed. If you're doing film, then you would have a need for 32bit color and files like SGI, cineon, DPX are the norm.

XSI has the ability to export its Project file for the DS to read. You can export all of your 3D elements, lighting, shading, depth, ambience, to separate output files and then recompose them in the the DS and have a ton of control over each aspect..color, clip effects..etc.


To Tape: If you ever need to output to tape using assemble edits, create a separate deck configuration for your deck, enabling the assemble mode, and rename it to reflect that.

Using Windows Media 9 Encoder. Download this and Direct X 8.1 and install it. Encode your reel to an impossibly small file size whilst still retaining extraordinary amounts of detail. Don't forget to use AVI reference movies to make this a piece of cake!

For Quicktimes, use Sorenson and ALWAYS deinterlace and raise the gamma. Results are superior to MPEG. Don't use Cleaner for this - Output a half size Sorenson QT straight from DS with real-time defield and CC effects applied.

NB: 64-bit versions of DS prior to Version 10 cannot work with Quicktime files, either imported or exported. You must use a 32-bit Assist workstation to import or export them. DS Version 10 (64-bit) can export and import Quicktime files but cannot export Quicktime Reference files.

Export .AVI Reference Movies, .WMV Files.
Avid|DS includes an option that lets you create an AVI reference movie.
Install the Windows Media Encoder 9 Series for added compression options with AVI reference and WMV file output. Windows Media 9 requires DirectX to be installed. It is believed that you should have no problems with the Avid DS with this version of DirectX.

To output WMV files (that look good):
Using the standalone encoder do dual-pass VBR encoding. Start with New Project, select the source file, click through the next screen, then select 2Mb/s as the video data rate, click Finish. Now go to Properties and, if the source is NTSC Anamorphic, select Edit on the Compression tab, and select "Non Square pixels". On the next tab (Video Size) select "16x9" on the Pixel Aspect Ratio drop--down box. On Processing, select "Deinterlace". If you have an HD source, do the same, and keep the output size to around SD frame size.
Note: It is not recommended that you make WMV files straight out of the DS, but rather use an application, such as Windows Media Encoder, that gives you more control over the final output. Also, when you use WME, be aware that it does not handle resizing well, so it's recommended that you resize your file using the DS by exporting an AVI file that is your desired size and then use the WME to convert it to a WMV. (rev. 3/28/10)

For more information about Windows Media, please see Ben Waggoner's article.

An AVI reference movie, like a QuickTime reference movie, contains only composition information. An AVI reference movie does not contain media. Instead, it points to the original media on your storage device. Any application that can read AVI files can read an AVI reference movie exported from Avid|DS, as long as the application can access the original media. Exporting an AVI reference movie lets you work around the size limit of AVI files. Since the AVI reference movie points to the original media, the output settings will be the same as the current sequence settings.

Before exporting an AVI reference movie, process the entire sequence, including any real-time effects.

To export an AVI reference movie:
  1. From the Media Input/Output layout, select the Output panel.
  2. In the Output Device box, select AVI for the To… Reference Movie option.
  3. Click Export.
  4. From the Export to File dialog box, select a folder in which to save the file, type in a name for the file, and click Save.

The AVI reference movie, which contains only the composition information, is created, and placed in the selected folder.

  1. An AVI reference movie becomes invalid if the media to which it points is modified.
  2. If audio is included in the AVI reference, the total file size will be greater because the audio is not compressed.

AVI Reference appears to be broken in 64-bit DS 8.0 if you run the 32 and 64-bit AVI Reference installers.

BUT it works if you only run the 32-bit installer.

So the workaround with DS 8.0 to have working AVI Reference for the time being is to run the 32-bit installer and skip the 64-bit installer.

(Currently looking to see if this was fixed for DS 8.4)

The initial 8.4 installer wouldn’t properly install the Ref AVI on a clean system with no previous version of DS on it. The new installer on Avid's site includes a fix to this so that it should no longer be an issue.

DS would export, but the AVI would just be a white screen on playback. DS wouldn’t recognize it on import. But this was fixed once Avid released the new installer.

Outputing Windows Media 9
Download and install the free WM9 encoder from Microsoft. Downloading this encoder will place a number of codecs that are useful for both Windows Media files as well as .AVI files on your computer. Keep a folder with encoder templates that you have created in the Windows Media Profile Editor. Save the profile with a recognizable name. Encode directly out of DS, no reference movie necessary. When exporting as a Windows Media file, simply select the "custom" radio button and mouse over to the folder where you have all your presets stored.

Exporting for DVD: DVD MPEG2 is 720x480. Crop 4 lines off the top, 2 lines off the bottom and you'll keep the image as sharp as it should be. Otherwise, the image will be scaled. Maintain lower field dominance throughout the process.

Importing DVD video: Use Super DVD Ripper. It makes DivX encoded AVIs and is simplicity itself to use. A good DVD reference and download site is

How to use Timeline to Media Composer in Avid DS

Preparing the DS Storages for the Timeline to MC export.

Make a To_MC folder on the video storage volume, but do not place it inside the existing VideoStorage media root, it must be its own folder.



Inside this To_MC folder, create two additional folders.


Right click on Audio_to_MC and select Sharing and Security...
Select "Share this folder".
In Comment, type Audio to MC.
Click Permissions.
Select "Full Control" and that enables also Change and Read.
Click Apply and OK.
Click Apply and OK to exit the dialog.

Right click on Video_to_MC and select Sharing and Security...
Select "Share this folder".
In Comment, type Video to MC.
Click Permissions.
Select "Full Control" and that enables also Change and Read.
Click Apply and OK.
Click Apply and OK to exit the dialog.

Either open Avid DS > Data management > Configure Storages... or via the Avid DS Support Console, open the Media Indexer in UMMD Test.

In Media Storage Configuration, click Add...
Select Avid Media Storage and click OK.
In Avid Media Storage, browse to To_MC, select the Audio_to_MC folder and click Select.
Select "Prevent purge of media on this storage" (important!).
Select MXF audio files (.mxf).
Set the Disk controller and storage type and click OK.

In Media Storage Configuration, click Add...
Select Avid Media Storage and click OK.
In Avid Media Storage, browse to To_MC, select the Video_to_MC folder and click Select.
Select "Prevent purge of media on this storage" (important!).
Select MXF video files (.mxf).
Set the Disk controller and storage type and click OK.

Click Close and close all dialogs.

In Avid DS, select the top most timeline to highlight the area (Timeline Effect space, below the timecode and the effects bar display) that you want to export to Media Composer.
Click Generate and select "Timeline to MC".
Set the appropriate options and click OK to initiate the export.

When the export is completed, retrieve the AAF clip in your project folder and the audio and video MXF media files.

Conform them in Media Composer. That means that you copy the audio and video in their specific Avid Mediafiles location and open the AAF to create a MC compatible Clip file that will link to the MXF media.


In each of the DS MXF folders, there is an empty GUID folder for the project. This is empty and can be trashed.
The audio appears as audcache"encryption".mxf
The video appears as vidcache"encryption".mxf

Export MXF missing in Version 10

DS Version 10
(Case Study)

I want to output a MXF file for our audio guy, to accompany an OMF export but v10 doesn't have this file format; I couldn't find this in the output settings. Version 8.4 had it. This is a real PITA!

Avid removed "Output MXF" because they were too many scenarios were DS was generating MXF that Media composer would not understand. To achieve what you want you just need to create a MXF storage that is writable and have no purge option set. You can then output your timeline to Media Composer and you will create an MXF file that either MC or ProTools can understand.

(Thanks to Nathan Downing, Chris Hahn, Bob Maple and Jean-Marc Porchet)

Isolating Chroma from Luminance

(DS List TJ 05.31.2007)This may be helpful when trying to key from DVC Pro 25

"you need to isolate the UV and blur it along 4 pixels horizontal.
I never was able to do that in DS, never managed to put it to work at YUV"

That's soooooooo easy. Much simpler than "splitting U and V"...

  1. Make a tree and stick a composite node and a blur inside it
  2. Feed the input into Composite node Input 1
  3. Feed the input via the blur into Composite Input 2
  4. Make the blur 4 on X only
  5. Change the transfer mode within the Composite to "Chroma"

Now you're just blurring the chroma (the U and V of the YUV) by 4 on X.

Installing iTunes on your DS System without messing up your system with the wrong version of Quicktime

The latest verision of iTunes bundles the latest version of Quicktime which is a no go. You need to stay with the recommended version of Quicktime for your DS. You can install iTunes without installing Quicktime. I used the following instructions:

  1. Download latest iTunes installer.
  2. Extract the contents of the installer file using WinRAR You will likely see 5 .msi Windows Installer Package setup files, namely AppleMobileDeviceSupport.msi, AppleSoftwareUpdate.msi, iTunes.msi, iTunesSetupAdmin.msi and QuickTime.msi.
  3. Delete the Qucktime.msi installer file.
  4. Open a Command Prompt window (START>Run>cmd.exe) with administrator privileges
  5. Type the following command: msiexec.exe /i iTunes.msi /quiet

Revised: Dec 1, 2011 3:05 pm