Stock Footage Tracking in Media Composer


This one comes courtesy of Matt Schneider of Postworks NY. We were in an email exchange going over how to get comments in the EDL as a production was using it to track stock footage vendors in the Comments column in the bin. It isn’t obvious that a column labeled “Comments” in the bin is not the same as the “Comments” option in EDL Manager.  But since the production needed to track a stock footage, this seemed like the right place to put the information to generate a report. As an FYI, EDL Comments are derived from highlighting an event in the timeline, going to the record side monitor menu and selecting “Add Comment”.  This will pop up a window into which text can be entered. These are “event” comments for the EDL.  Would be nice to have that available as a right-click on the event itself in the timeline.

Matt then said; “Oh, we can just enter then into the ASC SAT and ASC SOP columns.” Great thinking! These columns are normally used for ASC CDL color workflows, but since they weren’t using color management on their native Rec.709 source clips, it made for a very nice workaround for clip based comments (versus event based) in an EDL allowing for two columns of info to be tracked. Here is what these comments would look like in an EDL.


If you ignore the comment header name, then this workaround could be used not only for Stock Footage, but also for any custom metadata needing to be tracked. The setting to make active is “Color Decision List” in the Comments tab of EDL Options.


But EDL’s are not easily imported into an application like Microsoft Excel so I suggested using FilmScribe XML export as an alternative as it includes all custom columns in a bin in an easy to parse XML format. So from the bin example above, you can see that information can be tracked in additional custom columns. In this example, I created one for Stock Vendor, Rights, and Cost. You could have as many as you like.  There are dedicated Stock Footage column available in Media Composer, but they are currently reserved for stock footage purchases via the Avid Marketplace and cannot have values entered into at this time. But if these columns were open to user entry, a user could right-click on a sequence and generate a stock footage report directly. For now, the FilmScribe XML is another workaround for exporting this metadata and works in versions v5.x and later for as many metadata columns desired.

Following is just the portion of the XML file that deals with the custom columns from a single event in the timeline. The Column Name is listed after the <Custom Name => XML tag with its value. A simple XSLT could be created to parse this XML and exported as a TAB or any other type of file needed, for example to import into Microsoft Excel.

<Timecode Type=”Start TC”>10:10:14:08</Timecode>
<Timecode Type=”Start TC”>10:10:14:09</Timecode>
<ASC_SAT>All Rights</ASC_SAT>
<Custom Name=”Video File Format”>MOV</Custom>
<Custom Name=”Stock Vendor”>T3</Custom>
<Custom Name=”Stock Rights”>All Rights</Custom>
<Custom Name=”Cost”>$100</Custom>

<Custom Name=”Footage Rights”>T3</Custom>
<Event Num=”3″  Type=”Cut” Length=”134″ SourceCount=”1″ >

Avid FilmScribe does export a TAB file, but only allows one custom column to be defined and added to the list. In this example, I added vendor and then opened the TAB file in Excel.


This method is less useful than the two fields available via EDL Manager and the ASC column workaround, and far less than the XML method but does have the advantage of being in a ready to import format for Excel.  But seeing as an EDL can contain many comment lines as long as it is preceded by an asterix (*), a nice update to EDL Manager would be to allow multiple (or all!) columns to be selected and added to an EDL export. But for now, one of these methods may be of use.

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