Proxies in Avid Media Composer

Making Proxies in Avid Media Composer

What are Proxies?

Proxies are low resolution copies of your media. Although they are lower quality files, they load much faster to allow for smooth playback. This is particularly helpful if you are working with large 4K+ files or if you are accessing media on Isilon through a VPN. Follow the steps in this guide to create proxies, but don’t forget to relink to your high resolution media before your final export!

Making Proxies in Avid

If you have not already done so, use the Source Browser to either ‘link’ or ‘import’ all of your media. Decide upon how you want to organize your bins AND name your clips in Avid before you begin making proxies - keeping your media organized is the key to this process. In our example, we have sorted our original media into 4 bins.

We will begin making proxies for each bin one by one. Open a bin and highlight all your clips (‘Command A’ on Mac or ‘Control A’ on PC). 

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Right click and select Consolidate/Transcode.

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A new window will open. In the top left, select “transcode” Screen_Shot_2020-04-24_at_2.31.09_PM.png

Select the target hard drive where you want to save your new proxy media. Using your computer’s internal hard drive or an external drive will provide the fastest editing experience. Isilon is a great backup, but your proxies will encode very slowly if you are accessing Isilon through the VPN.

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What if your hard drive does not appear on this list? See our guide on Avid Media Composer File Management

Make sure “Convert video” is checked. Next to Raster Dimensions select ‘Source 1/4' (or select ‘Source 1/16’ if you are working with 4K+ footage). Automatically, this should set your target resolution to DNxHR LB.

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Hit Transcode. (If the transcode button is greyed out, try selecting your target drive on the left side of the window again) Screen_Shot_2020-04-24_at_2.32.00_PM_copy.png

Avid will begin the process of transcoding new copies of your media at this lower resolution. Do not interrupt this process. Your new proxy media files will be saved to the following folder on the target drive you selected: Avid MediaFiles/MXF/1 Screen_Shot_2020-04-24_at_2.37.20_PM.png

Wait until Avid has finished transcoding before making any changes, but you can rename the ‘1’ folder to any number you like for organizational purposes. Do not move that numbered folder outside of “Avid MediaFiles/MXF.” Do not rename any audio or video files at the finder/file explorer level. 

 

Back inside of Avid, you will see that your bin has 2 copies of all your media - the proxy versions should have ‘.new’ in the name. 

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In order to swap between the original media and your proxies, we need to put these new files in separate bins. Make a new bin - we advise you use the same bin name with ‘PROXY’ at the end for easy organization. 

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Now drag all of your ‘.new’ proxy media out of the original bin and into your new proxy bin. 

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Repeat these steps for the rest of your bins.

Editing with proxies

If you have not started editing yet, just begin editing with your proxy media. When you have finished editing and you are ready to export, follow the steps under “Replacing your proxy sequences with high resolution footage”

Replacing your sequence with Proxy footage

If you have already started editing, your sequences are not automatically replaced with the proxy footage. In order to do this, you must keep your proxies and your original media in separate bins. Move your sequence(s) into their own bin without any other footage.

Close all your bins. Closed bins looks like a closed drawer in the screenshot below.

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Next we need to highlight our proxy clips in each bin - this is how Avid will know which clips are the proxies. One by one, open each PROXY bin and press command A (Mac) or Control A (PC) to highlight every clip. Do this with every proxy bin and leave them open.

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Double-check that you did not open any bins with original media. Now open your sequence bin. Right click your sequence and select “relink...”

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A new window will appear. Be sure to match these settings exactly. 

  • Selected items in ALL open bins
  • Timecode: Start
  • Source Name: Tape Name or Source File Name (NOT Source file ID)
  • Uncheck “Match case when comparing source names”
  • Track to relink: All 3 checked
  • Create new sequence: check
  • Allow relink across rates: check

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If you’ve done this correctly, Avid will make a new copy of your sequence using the proxy media labeled ‘relinked.’ You can tell that it was successful if the clip names in your sequence match the proxies. For example your proxy media may be labeled ‘.new.’ We advise replacing ‘relinked’  in the new sequence name with ‘proxy’ for easier organization when you are ready to reconnect to high resolution media.

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Replacing your proxy sequence(s) with high resolution footage

You’ll need to replace your proxy footage with the original high resolution media before your final export. To do so, we will follow the same steps as before, but with our original bins. 

Close all the bins containing your PROXY footage. 

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Next we need to highlight our original clips in each bin - this is how Avid will know which clips we want to use in the high resolution sequence. One by one, open each ORIGINAL MEDIA bin and press ‘command A’ on Mac or ‘Control A’ on PC to highlight every clip. Do this with each original media bin and leave them open.

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Open your sequence bin. Right click your sequence and select “relink...” Screen_Shot_2020-04-24_at_3.12.09_PM.png

A new window will appear. Be sure to match these settings exactly. 

  • Selected items in ALL open bins
  • Timecode: Start
  • Source Name: Tape Name or Source File Name (NOT Source file ID)
  • Uncheck “Match case when comparing source names”
  • Track to relink: All 3 checked
  • Create new sequence: check
  • Allow relink across rates: check

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If you’ve done this correctly, Avid will make another new copy of your sequence using the original media labeled ‘relinked.’ You can tell that it was successful if the clip names in your sequence match the original media (not the proxies, which were labeled '.new')

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We advise renaming the ‘relinked’ sequence to something like ‘original media’ or ‘high res’

Now you're relinked to your high resolution media and you are ready to export your project!

 

If you are having trouble, email kieran_mckeon@emerson.edu with a screenshot of your relink settings.