Avid DMF Considerations

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One of the many new features that were part of the 7.0.0 release was Dynamic Media Folders or DMF. DMF allows for media services to be applied to folders as a set of rules and actions and processed whether the Media Composer application is running or not. The solution appears to be a localized version of Interplay Central as you can see “Interplay Central - Progress Monitor”  flash for a few seconds in the browser’s tab before changing to “Background Queue.” I think it’s great that technology and solutions get repurposed for different uses and markets once developed.

But in the case of DMF, there are some considerations to be made depending on your workflow and whether you are better served with a foreground/background transcode, or using DMF. And as usual, the answer is “it depends.” It depends on what your sources are and what you plan on doing with the media once edited;  Is it to be finished inside Media Composer or conformed elsewhere? An important one is whether you are dependent on FrameFlex or not as part of the process. As you can see from the following screenshot, not all transcodes are created equal and the user needs to be aware of which one is being used (click for original size image). The NOTES field indicates DMF, and Background Comparability ON or OFF.

dmf-considerations.png As you can see, the same original AMA linked clip will have different metadata attached to it after a DMF transcode or a foreground/background transcode process once linked in the bins. The Image Aspect Ratio and Reformat values are not the same (Stretch? Nothing’s been stretched). Some of this is based on whether you have compatibility ON or OFF in the transcode settings, and I will get to that in a future blog dedicated to FrameFlex. The issue is that even with these settings turned off in the DMF profile, the file is transcoded as though it were turned on. Click on thumbnail to see full size image of DMF Transcode settings.

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It makes sense for Color Transform to be baked in (for now), but not for raster and image size. It is either a bug or a limitation of the DMF’s external transcode engine. Anything listed as 16:9 in the Image Aspect Ratio column at a 1920×1080 resolution will not have the ability to use FrameFlex in the timeline. Which for an offline to online process FrameFlex on proxy media should be part of the basic design.

Another consideration is when using DMF, there is no project association attached to the media. The DMF clip has an empty “Project” field.  If you are using DMF for media to be associated with different projects and later use the Media Tool or third party software applications to find associated media, it will be problematic at best.

I find that background transcode is the overall better solution for formats that are not 16:9 or greater than HD in resolution. Background transcode allows me to manage clips to a defined project, keep the raster size “live” for FrameFlex and downstream conforms all for the small price of keeping the Media Composer up and running. Having Media Composer not running with DMF does not offer enough advantages considering what I am giving up. It would be an entirely different matter if I could run Background Services on a separate system that did not have Media Composer installed. Perhaps that will be a future consideration as referred to in this blog

As with any project, think through all your needs from start to finish, and pick the best path for success.

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