This guide explores the export capabilities of Avid Media Composer.
It is written for the beginner, so you can understand what is possible with Avid Media Composer and what isn’t. I highly recommend you read the Avid Media Composer Manual (In your computer: Help > Documentation (PDF)… > Media_Composer_Editing_Guide.pdf) for a more detailed overview once you’re done with this guide. It goes into greater detail, and that’s where you should head if you find something confusing.
There are multiple export options in Avid Media Composer:
- Export a video.
- Export an AAF for third-party software.
- Send sequence to Avid-based software for further processing.
- AMA file export.
In this part we’ll look at the first option.
What to do before exporting
Before you can export files you must first set up your Avid. In page 1007 of the manual Avid spells out some important techniques:
- Make sure your media is online.
- Duplicate your sequence into another bin as backup.
- Render effects, titles and filters beforehand.
- Mix down audio if possible.
In addition to this, you can also save your desired export preset first, and this is how Avid recommends you work. You can create an export preset by
- Going to your Project panel and selecting the Settings tab.
- Right-click Export (if you want to change a few settings in an available preset choose that) and choose Duplicate.
- Name your preset appropriately.
How to export video from Avid Media Composer
There are two ways to export video from Avid Media Composer. In many ways, they overlap functionality:
- File > Export…
- File > Send to
The ‘Send to’ method is supposedly used when your sequence is intended to go into a third-party application for processing. E.g., by default, you have the option to go to Sorenson Squeeze, Pro Tools and Avid DS.
On the other hand, the ‘Export’ method is intended to create files and be done with it. You can stick to the method you find most comfortable.
In any case, once you select an export format, you will get further options to edit that codec or file format. One of the frustrating things in Avid Media Composer is digging into an output file format for customization. For a newcomer, finding the right buttons to click (they all look the same!) is hit-and-miss, to put it generously.
Using the ‘Export’ method
Choose the sequence you want to export. Click on File > Export…, and you’ll get this:
Many of these settings are for audio, which I’ll not cover. The three major options available on default are:
- Send To QT Movie
- Sorenson Squeeze
- Sorenson Squeeze – Encode for DVD
Using the ‘Send to’ method
Click on File > Send To > Make New (for a new setting):
You basically get the same options you got under the ‘Export’ method. E.g, if you want to select a Quicktime codec, choose Send to QT Movie in the Export Setting 1 drop down. Click on Options. You’ll get this:
Here you have the choice of resolution or color space, but not codec. For that, you’ll need to click on Format Options…:
Still no codec! You’ll have to click on Settings… to choose your codec:
Four pop-ups later you have access to the codec. Some codecs allow you to even deeper with settings! Anyway, click Ok. When you’re done, click Save.
As you’ll see, your exact codec and settings aren’t shown in the Export 1 summary. Click on Save as… in the ‘Export Settings’ box. Don’t forget to select an appropriate filename. The setting will be available in the ‘Export’ option, and also under Settings in the Project panel.
Now you know why Avid prefers you store presets prior to exporting anything. Who wants to do this every time? For a detailed overview on each option, refer to page 1390 of the manual.
Supported export codecs and file formats
There are limited codecs you an export to from Avid Media Composer:
- Quicktime codecs – all available included in the installed plug-in (by default)
- XDCAM MXF OP1a
- Windows Media
Image Sequences (Avid supports many, I’ve only listed a few)*
DPX and OpenEXR are not supported.
Audio (from mono to 7.1)**
*Choose ‘Graphic’ from amongst the options available and check the ‘Sequential Files’ box to create an image sequence.
**Choose ‘Audio’ from amongst the options available.
If you want to export to a codec not available, you can choose to buy the Sorenson Squeeze Pro application. For more info, read page 1383 of the manual.
Avid Media Composer also exports to tape, but I’m not covering that. Here’s a good video that explains the export process and settings:
In Part Two we’ll look at how Avid Media Composer creates projects that can be imported into third-party software for further processing or finishing.