iXML AMA Plug-in Update

Media Composer 7.0.3, the third maintenance release of Media Composer 7.0.0 brings some fixes and small refinements to the iXML AMA Plug-in that was introduced with 7.0.0. The good news is that it is out of the “danger zone” that I blogged about in its initial release here.

At least, while in a 1080p/23.976 project, timecode is correctly  interpolated and does not drift over the course of the clip by the .1% pulldown factor (1 frame every 00:00:42:16).  The Read Me also lists other bug fixes such as being warned when linking via AMA that a timecode mismatch exists between file and project type. While this is a nice addition, it is only in the console and the user is not notified of a mismatch at time of linking unless always checking the console becomes part of the process - which is clunky at best. With BWF import, the user is presented with timecode of file and can see right away what changes might occur at time of import.

My biggest issue now is that it is still a “Sophie’s Choice” when using either AMA or Import methods as they are not the same. Actually BWF import has gotten worse compared to BWF import in previous versions. Here are the differences in the same file using AMA versus import (click for larger image):


As you can see, the iXML contains a few more fields of metadata such as “Circled” and Wild Track” compared to BWF, but BWF import is missing Track metadata 4-8 which used to work.  iXML still does not support monophonic tracks into a single clip, pullup or pulldown workflows, nor allow for 1/4 frame resync in 35mm Film Projects, even if you link and do a transcode/consolidate. As far as BWF is concerned, import for frame rate is not prompted for some project types. For example, I get the timecode prompt when importing a BWF file into a 720p/23.976 project, but not in 1080p/25. And in the case 720p, it is using a 60 frame count which is not a SMPTE standard instead of a converted 30fps:

If AMA is the way of the future replacing “Import”, it really needs to provide all the functionality of the existing “import”. I guess as yet another workaround, one could export an ALE of the AMA linked files and merge them into the BWF imported ones to have parity. But why make users do that? What would make AMA a great tool is to allow for it to have “source settings” like other AMA linked formats. Not only for consistency purposes, but to allow the user to have control over the metadata with a refresh and update much like Wave Agent allows for with BWF and incorporate the existing BWF import functionality:


It should also be noted, that with 7.0.3, you cannot create an audio EDL from any imported or AMA linked BWF file. It will come up 00:00:00:00. I am sure this will be fixed in the point release, but the “workaround” for now is to duplicate the START timecode column into an AucTX column and use that to generate EDLs.

I have no real issues with iXML AMA Plug-in being a work in progress for a period of time, but not at the expense of existing and functioning workflows such as BWF import. I hope iXML and BWF Import functions will be addressed in the near future and not have to be a choice of the lesser evil depending on your workflow needs.

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