Advanced Avid Round-Tripping: Relinking Resolve Renders In Avid Without Losing Avid Effects

November 1, 2020

Learn an advanced workflow for round-tripping between Avid and Resolve, while maintaining effects and online work done inside Avid.


Round-Tripping: Why Go Through The Trouble?

If there’s one phrase that tends to strike fear into the mind of many colorists (nope, not “8-bit” or “passion project” or even “can you send me the DRP?”) – it has to be “round trip”.

A round-trip is exporting from an NLE, grading in grading software, and then bringing the graded sequence back into the NLE. Imagine all the problems of a conform – but now you have to do it twice!

In my ideal world – I would rather 100% finish in my grading software, and make all the final outputs from there – but that isn’t feasible for all projects. Many TV shows have titles, graphics, and effects that are built right into their Avid sequence. Recreating them by hand in Resolve isn’t always reasonable or even possible.

Recently this came up when Robbie and I finished a TV series that had a ton of Avid made picture-in-picture effects, all with advanced keyframes, borders, and other options that made recreating them in Resolve is not an option.

Round-Tripping The Conventional Way

Conventionally – there are two ways of getting an AAF out of Resolve to link back up in Avid:

Exporting An AAF Using The Avid AAF Preset

When rendering individual clips, if you use the Avid AAF preset – Resolve will provide you an AAF that links to your graded media. It also does the same thing if you right-click a timeline after rendering, and select Timeline->Export->AAF. Sounds great, so what’s the problem? Well, there are a few issues:

  • This method references the AAF file that was originally imported. If you deleted it, moved it, or moved machines? You’re basically out of luck. The only thing to do is re-conform to a new AAF, and colortrace to that.
  • If you have made any changes to the timeline edit in Resolve – they won’t apply, since the original AAF is being referenced.
  • This method doesn’t work well with timewarps or mixed frame rates. Often the Avid just pops up a “PMM_INSUFFICIENT_MEDIA” error, which can be a huge hassle to hunt down.

Generate A New AAF

Another way of getting an AAF out of Resolve is to right-click the timeline and select Timeline->Export->Generate New AAF. This avoids a lot of the pitfalls above – but it has issues of its own. Instead of referencing the original AAF, this option generates a new AAF from scratch based on the Resolve timeline.

Unfortunately – that way isn’t perfect either, as any Avid-specific plugins, transitions, effects, etc won’t come back into the Avid, and will have to be manually re-applied.

A Better Round-Trip Workflow

So when it came to working on this big round-tripped show, Robbie and I immediately decided some workflow testing was in order. It’s always best to test a round-trip workflow deeply before committing to it. It was our friend Burk who put us on the right path – with a workflow for round-tripping that I hadn’t thought of, but that solves many of the problems. It worked great for our show – and with some additions/modifications, it’s the workflow I show in this Insight.

Instead of making a new AAF from Resolve – we just render individual clips, then knock the timeline offline inside Avid, and re-link to the new, graded media. This keeps the Avid effects perfectly and evades a lot of pitfalls along the way.

Exploiting Differences

So how can we make sure Avid links to the correct media? Especially in a shared storage environment that may have thousands of Avid clips online at a given time – including those from the offline? We can employ a time-honored method used in chemistry and science to separate materials: exploiting their differences.

To separate oil from water – you can mix them, and because oil and water are insoluble, the water will settle to the bottom where it can easily be drained out. To manufacture fissile material for nuclear power and weapons – scientists needed to separate extremely rare Uranium 235 isotopes from common Uranium ore – they utilized centrifuges which exploited the only difference between U-235 and the more common U-238, a very slight difference in atomic weight. The lighter U-235 isotopes would eventually travel to the outside of the centrifuges.

So what is the differences in media that we can exploit? In our case – it’s metadata fields. Avid by default doesn’t populate the “Tape” field for file based clips – but Resolve renders do. By matching the Resolve “Tape” field to the Avid “Name” field – and also be telling Avid to link to the highest resolution possible, we can force Avid into linking to the clips we want!

Caveats

No one workflow is perfect for every project – but this method can be pretty flexible. That said, there are a few things to remember:

  • Just like the traditional method above – don’t change the edit timeline in Resolve! This means if you run into a clip that needs a dissolve or a cut inside of it, you’ll have to use static or dynamic keyframes. As we are linking back from the original Avid timeline, it will never know if we changed something in Resolve.
  • Be careful about duplicated clips. While Avid does a pretty good job of figuring out what’s what – it’s possible that if the exact same clip appears in the timeline twice, but has 2 different grades, it may not know which is the correct version.
  • Test, test and then re-test. If possible, test with the actual media you will be using. Remember, it’s better to measure twice and cut once. Every project will have its own considerations, so a test run before diving in is always a good idea.
  • Make sure not to re-name master clips in Avid – this can cause all kinds of trouble down the line.

In the video I’ll walk you through the process – from Avid, to Resolve, and then back into Avid. As always leave any questions or comments below.

-Joey


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Comments

Homepage Forums Advanced Avid Round-Tripping: Relinking Resolve Renders In Avid Without Losing Avid Effects

Viewing 18 reply threads

    • Marty
      Guest

      Is there any reason you option drag to AMA link the clips back in Avid? As opposed to just dragging the database file to populate the bin with master clips? Does it make any difference?


    • Joey D’Anna
      Guest

      No not really – I wasn’t actually doing that to link to them, just to have a look at their metadata and see that the Tape field was populated. As long as Avid successfully indexes the media, you can relink to it – it doesn’t even need to be in a bin/ I just did that to show the metadata.


    • Chris Coote
      Guest

      Great video. I have been round tripping between Avid and Resolve for years now, but I always use “generate new AAF”. My sequences are usually basic enough that I can just cut the new Resolve sequence on top of the old sequence in Avid and just copy over the few effects that are there. I have been burned by the Avid relink window enough that I am a little gun shy…might give it another try with this workflow…


    • Verne Mattson
      Guest

      Great insight Joey – thank you!
      Have you tried this with BCC AVX effects in the timeline? Do you need BCC OFX in Resolve to make that work?


    • Joey D’Anna
      Guest

      Thanks! Currently the BCC effects won’t apply in resolve – even if you have them installed. But when you re-link the original avid sequence to the new resolve media – all the BCC stuff will still be on the graded media back in Avid.


    • Joey D’Anna
      Guest

      Just to update this – Resovle 17 now DOES support BCC OFX via AAF from avid 😉


    • Verne Mattson
      Guest

      That’s great!


    • Bob
      Guest

      Thank you very very much


    • Jean V
      Guest

      Many thanks, Joey! I used your workflow as an inspiration for my configuration and needs. For instance, the decompose of the timeline didn’t work for me, but i managed to relink with the resolve media using specific settings and different methods. As you said, a lot of testing needs to be done before arriving to the correct workflow in a given situation.


    • eyal D
      Guest

      Great tutorial Joey. About to start a multi episode project where I will be attempt to use this workflow. I have’nt gotten the footage yet but suspect the AE’s did change the name of the master clip in the offline. What kind of trouble can this lead to? any workarounds? does that make this workflow not usable?

      Thanks in advance for any input.


    • Jon E
      Guest

      Wow. Great tutorial!
      I’m currently trying to do this on a sequence using multicam clips and my eyes are going crossed. Any help?


    • Joey D’Anna
      Guest

      Thanks! Multicam in avid doesnt translate to the AAF – so right click the sequence and flatten multicam clips. This will duplicate the sequence with a .NoGrps extension. Export that to the AAF.


    • Joey D’Anna
      Guest

      Thanks! sorry for the late reply, but I think avid keeps the original filename in metadata even if they rename them. Try this – in the Avid in the hamburger menu of the bin, under set bin display – there is an option to show referenced clips. this will show you all the clips used in the timelines in the bin. then you can go through the metadata fields available in the headers to verify what is in all the fields, so it should give you an idea of what you can use to re-link.


    • Jon Enge
      Guest

      Thank you! Another quickie. Resolve isn’t populating the Reel name when I follow your instructions so I’m having to populate those using the settings below (Assist using reel names from the Source clip filename) But it won’t link when I bring it back to Avid. It’s got a Tape name in MC. Am I losing it in the AAF do you think? https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f604fe3031e2e4d1f53c64bae4815f08ab456aca90be691deb7c3420e34ba8b0.png
      Between that and the Relink window in Avid, I’m going nuts trying to figure out why it won’t relink.
      Thank you so much!


    • Joey D’Anna
      Guest

      For Avid you should have it populate reel names based on “embedded in source clip file” not source clip filename


    • Maciej C
      Guest

      Hi, great tutorial. As an Avid editor I’m really impressed. But I’ve got the same problem as Jon. The Resolve won’t populate the reel names based on “embedded in source clip file” in media pool. It’s doing nothing when I check this option. Is there anything special I should do when making proxies in Avid?


    • Joey D’Anna
      Guest

      if you open up the media pool – and enable the ‘reel name’ field, does it stay blank or does it populate?
      if its populating the reel name but not relinking it could be something else – but lets make sure the reel name is correctly populated first


    • Maciej C
      Guest

      Sorry for the delay. When I enable the ‘reel name’ filed it stays blank. But I was able to set it manually in the clip attributes tab.


    • Joey D’Anna
      Guest

      Hrm yea that is strange – could it be something in the encoding of the files? Getting that reel name populated somehow is what makes this all work. Maybe try file name?

      can you try some different media and see if that has reel names populate?

Viewing 18 reply threads
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