Archive for August, 2014

Motion Effect Types in Progressive Projects

Saturday, August 30th, 2014


There was a discussion on the Avid Community forums as to what the different field based motion effect types do when working with progressive footage in a progressive project. I thought that was a great question and set out to do a quick test using Job te Burg’s excellent digital countdown leader available here.

I did two things with the original countdown. I did a DVE move left to right to get some additional movement and then did a 50% speed change (1/2 speed) rendered with each of the 7 types of motion effect types available in the Timewarp effect. In all cases, the input and output settings were set to progressive. For the 7 different types offered, you only end up with 4 different looking results as the following pairs end up with the same result:

  1. Blended VTR and Blended Interpolated
  2. Both Fields and Duplicated Fields
  3. Interpolated Field and VTR Style
  4. And FluidMotion is the fourth result and stands alone as its own unique look.

Below are links to JPG contact sheets using each method and exporting the first 6 frames of each sequence. Using A, B, C, D to uniquely identify frames, the following patterns for each are:

Blended VTR and Blended Interpolated: A|AB|B|BC|C|CD
Click link for full size contact sheet:

Both Fields and Duplicated Fields: A|A|B|B|C|C
Click link for full size contact sheet:

Interpolated Field and VTR Style: A|B|B|C|D|D
Click link for full size contact sheet:

FluidMotion: A|N*|A|N*|A|N*
Click link for full size contact sheet:

*Where N is a New frame.

It’s not really fair to use a countdown to show FluidMotion as it creates new frames based on pixels in the frame, but is shown here just for fun.

Having so many options is a bit redundant, and confusing, in a progressive project using progressive footage with input and output set to progressive.  There was no real difference in render times between any of the options other than FluidMotion which is doing a lot of pixel calculations, so is expected to take longer. But now we know the answer.

*Edit: Remember when judging motion effects frame by frame that the timeline setting be green/green or you will only be seeing one field or 1/2 a segmented frame when stepping through. This has caught me several times. The above contact sheets were done as an export, so they are the full progressive frames.

The Many Uses of ALE

Saturday, August 9th, 2014


As promised in the previous blog, I wrote up a high level overview of what can be done with an ALE file and Media Composer if you are willing to get into it and do a little text editing. It opens up a lot of different workflows including some batch automation processes. Download: The-many-uses-of-ale.pdf. and get a better idea of how to manipulate files and some of its strict requirements and quirks.

No More AvidLogExchange Application

Friday, August 8th, 2014


Some users are just noticing that AvidLogExchange, the application (not the file format .ale) is no longer a product and part of the installer starting with v8. Some will notice that Avid MediaLog is no longer available and I wrote my thoughts about that here last November (2013).

AvidLogExchange has been around for a long time when there used to be more than a half dozen “log” types that were common from different vendors such as Aaton, Evertz, and KeyScope; all formats that were part of the film-to-tape logging solutions as well as some common video logging applications in the 90’s.  Those formats have not used  for almost 15 years as the ALE format became a pseudo standard due to its dominance in the NLE market throughout the 90’s. So those formats will not be missed, but the application still did some interesting tricks that fit different workflows needs that are still in use. A few of them would be quite easy to implement directly in Media Composer. A Product Manager at Avid (no longer there) even called me at the time and asked what I thought about them EOL’ing (End Of Life) Avid Log Exchange in a future release. I said as long as the handful of useful features were not lost, it would not be a big deal. Unfortunately that did not happen, but may still appear in a future release.

Those features are:

  •  Both FCP log files to ALE (format) conversion. Helped in moving source metadata to Avid.There’s still a lot of FCP 7 and earlier being used.
  • ALE Clean function. This prevented logs created outside the system to not have overlapping START and END timecode as it would create confusion during list generation as a timecode could point to different sources. This is more common with tape based sources, but can still occur with FileMaker type databases and exporting files to be used in Media Composer which leads to:
  • TAB to ALE conversion. This is one of the bigger ones. A user could open a TAB file in ALE, then it would add the Global Header information required by the import. I would say that the global header information is helpful for timing checks during import, but this could easily be done by Avid allowing a TAB file without global header or data fields “Column” and “Data”. The first line in the file can be assumed to be column names, and lines 2+ as the data. This would eliminate a lot of frustration of getting the header just right and copy/pasting. Also, seeing as Media Composer can export a TAB file, it just makes sense.


  • Record timecode as Source. While somewhat special, it does help with those looking to bring in an EDL and notch an existing flattened program file. It was original developed to support a post audio sync process on dailies, but now has uses as blogged about here (using DaVinci Resolve for Scene Detection).
  • The Windows version had a nice text editor in it including search/replace functionality which is quite useful these days when dealing with Tape and Source File merging workflows. It also had a nice two window view so you could compare original file and resulting .ALE.

The ALE format is still a popular shotlog exchange format, and using the different ALE import/merge functions allow for some nice batch renaming/subclipping processes that will be part of a future blog, but it is getting a little long in the tooth and needs an update to fit more modern workflows with an XML schema that would allow for markers, and such to imported as a batch process on multiple clips, etc. And that too is a subject for another day.