Avid Offline to Online
Streamlining the MovingPicture WorkFlow

Since MovingPicture works on all Avid editors, it is very common to offline a show on one system and online it on another. This page  is aimed at sharing some techniques that editors have used to streamline their workflow.

People routinely edit on Macintosh-based Avid Media Composers as far back as version 7.1 and online on Windows-based Symphony editors. This can be a completely seamless process if you keep a few things in mind.

When using MovingPicture, there are three factors that are important to the show: The choice of "Placeholder Clip", the size and kind of the image you are panning on, and finally, where that image is physically located.

1. The Placeholder  Clip

MovingPicture acts as a filter-style AVX plug-in within the Avid editor. This means it is "applied" to a clip on the Avid timeline.

Most filters, such as one that blurs an image, looks at the clip on the timeline, does some processing on that clip, (blur the image, for example) and then replaces the original clip’s imagery with the processed imagery.

Since Avid limits the resolution of images on its timeline to video resolution (720 by 486), and MovingPicture whole "reason for being" is to make moves on hi-res stills, we use the clip merely as a carrier for the effect, a kind of "Trojan Horse." The actual image to be panned is loaded by the plug-in itself, and not by Avid. We DO NOT load the image from the timeline!

After making moves with MovingPicture, we ask automatically Avid to store the name of the hi-res image and any moves you have made within this placeholder clip, so you can re-edit the move at any time. If you transfer the project from one Avid to another, this information will seamlessly move with the clip.

This placeholder clip can be one of 2 things: A piece of footage or a still image:

Using Footage

Using a clip from the show works quite well, with the only disadvantage being that the timeline itself will not reflect what the actual image will look like.

Using a Still Image

Placing a still image on the Avid Timeline works equally well. If it is important to have the Avid timeline label reflect what the image is, make a 720 by 486 pixel version of the hi-res image as the placeholder clip. If you do not care, put any 720 by 486 pixel image on the Avid Timeline.

NOTE: DO NOT put the hi-res image on the Avid Timeline, as it can cause your system to CRASH! A 4,000 by 4,000 pixel image can take 64MB of memory, and that places a great strain on the Avid.

2. The Actual Hi-Res Image

MovingPicture can pan and zoom on images up to 8,000 by 8,000 pixels and in a number of image formats.

Image size

You want to try and create images with enough resolution so they hold up under the zooming you plan to do, but not too much, so they take forever to render.

In general, 1,500 to 2,000 pixels is the best size to use for most shows, unless you are really zooming in very tight. As a rule of thumb, you want to have at least 500 pixels to preserve image quality. 

For example, you could safely zoom in to one-fourth of the picture by using a 2,000 pixel image. This is somewhat subjective though, as some images hold up better than others.

DPI vs. Pixels

If your scanner only allows settings in Dots Per Inch (DPI), the resulting image size in pixels (a.k.a. dots) will be the size of the image in inches times the DPI. 

For example, an 8 by 10-inch photo scanned at 150 DPI would yield a 1,200 by 1,500 pixel image. That same image scanned at 1,200 DPI would yield a 9,600 by 12,000, which is larger than MovingPicture can handle.

Image Format

MovingPicture supports PSD (Photoshop native), TGA (Targa), BMP (Microsoft), and uncompressed TIF (TIFF) files on both Macintosh and Windows platforms.

JPEG files are only supported under Windows and PICT files are only supported under Macintosh. If you are going cross platform on your show, make sure you do not use either of these formats!

We recommend using 24-bit Targa files, as they load the fastest, have the least amount of compatibility issues, and work on Macs and Windows.

Using a Low-Res Image for Offline

Sometimes it is necessary to do the offline with a low-res image, perhaps gleaned from the web and the replace it with a hi-res image when doing the online.

This is easily accomplished by simply loading the hi-res image in MovingPicture when doing the online. You will be asked if you want to "Match the moves to the new image size?" and saying "Yes" will cause the moves to be scaled to match the hi-res image.

When scanning the hi-res image, be sure to match the cropping and overall shape of the low-res image exactly.

3. Where the Image is Stored

Unlike regular footage or media, the Avid will not manage where the hi-res image is located. That location is stored in the placeholder clip by MovingPicture.

Onlining on the Same System

If you are onlining on the same system you offlined on, the images will be in the same folder and MovingPicture will look there to reload them when it re-renders the move at the higher resolution.

Onlining on a Different System

If the systems are different, you will need to copy the hi-res images to the online system, unless  the images are stored on a network accessible by both systems, such as an Avid Unity or other networking scenario.

MovingPicture will have stored the exact  files path of the hi-res image files in the placeholder clip of your show's Avid Project file, such as "Macintosh HD:MyShow :MyPics:Picture.tga"  or "C:.\MyShow\MyPics\Picture.tga."  

If you can create a folder on the online system that exactly matches the offline one which is referred to by the placeholder clips, MovingPicture will be able to find the images and render them.

Using the Alternate Image Folder

If you are going cross-platform, or don't want to create the same structure, you can choose a folder that MovingPicture will look for when it can't find the image specified in the placeholder clip.

Put the images in a folder accessible by the online system. Re- edit the moves on one of the clips by clicking on the MovingPicture icon in Avid's Effect Editor palette. 

This will bring up MovingPicture. It will not be able to load the image and generate an error, so just ignore it.

Click on the Alternate Picture Folder option in Options/Advanced Options menu item to set that folder by choosing one of the images within it. Choose the Exit without saving option to quit MovingPicture.

From that point on, all previously unfound images will be loaded from that folder.


View the MovingPicture  Manual

Check out the FAQ's (Frequently asked questions)