I got an email the other day from a company that I have been hoping to work with for some time.  This email was a job offer.  A quickie.  A day, maybe two.  He needed someone to online a short film, but the budget was tight so all they could afford was one day.  It was shot on film, telecined to HDCAM SR 444, and offlined on an Avid.  Could I come in an online on their Symphony?  Basically recapture, and do minor corrections to make sure shots match.  The bulk of the color correcting happened at the time of telecine…the DP sat in on a supervised session, so I didn’t need to worry about that.

Sure, I’ll take it.  I have done plenty of Avid onlines…on Media Composer Meridians, with Symphony, Adrenaline.  Lots.  But…a while back so only in SD.  You’ll see why this is relevant in a bit.

So I come in, do my usual online prep of making a new project, one that matched the settings I intended to capture as (in this case, 1080p 23.976), bring over the bin with the final locked cut, duplicate it, drag that into a new bin, strip out the audio tracks and decompose the cut with 1 second handles.  I then go to batch capture when…

ERROR.  The clip you are trying to capture does not match the settings of the project.

What?  I look at the fps of the clips…they are all 23.98.  The project is 23.976.  What could be the issue?  So I look at the sequence and clips.  Wait…the numbers go up to 29, then to 00.  Even the burned in code is 30 frame.  But, pulldown has been removed so they are running at 23.98.  But the timecode is 30 frame…and the master tapes are all 23.98psf.  Great…now what?

I haven’t had to deal with this before.  I have always onlined 29.97 or 23.98…not converting.  I have no idea what to do.  To make things worse, it’s 10:30 AM and the client will be in at 4PM to review the online.  No pressure or anything.  GAH!  So I quickly post the question on the Avid.com forum, and the Creative Cow Avid forum…hoping someone would chime in soon.  No such luck.  So I do some google-searching on the issue and stumble across this:


OK…wow.  That seems over my head.  But, it seemed pertinent.  Did the editor get 29.97 dubs of the HDCAM SR masters, then remove pulldown, edit…and now I need to convert this to 23.98 code?  I didn’t know what to do.  The project wasn’t a 29.97 project…the EDL I spit out was 23.98, just with different numbers.  So how could I convert that?

I called around.  My first go to person, Terry Curren, was in a session so I left a message.  I called a few more people and all offered one suggestion or another.  And I knew that I was in over my head, so I was also calling around to find someone else to take this over from me.  I don’t want the company to lose the job because of my incompetence.

Then Terry Curren called back.  And I chatted a bit with him about the FCP vs AVID argument that we have been having online here an there…and then I asked him my question.  How do I deal with this.

“Oh, that’s simple.” And proceeded to tell me how to fix this.  Dang…it was simple.  Just need to find the right person to talk to.

You see, Avid thinks that I’m working on an SD 29.97 project with pulldown, and it wants 23.976.  Plus I  want to online in HD, so I need to change things.  If this was FCP, I’d use the Media Manager to CREATE OFFLINE and then choose the settings I want to online.  Well, here’s how you do it in Avid Media Composer/Symphony.

Right-click on the sequence and choose MODIFY.  Then click on the drop down menu and choose SET FORMAT.  

Then choose the format you want to online the project as.  In my case, 1080p 23.976.  

When I did that, the Symphony made a new sequence and modified the name to add “.1080p.01.”  When I decomposed that, and chose BATCH CAPTURE…everything went smooth as butter.

Thanks Terry.