A little less than a year ago, I reviewed the new Avid Media Composer v5 software.  Buried in that otherwise good review…at the bottom of the review…I mentioned that even though AMA was cool and nice, you couldn’t export an AAF or OMF from a project that contained AMA material.  You’d get an error stating that the media needed to be Avid media in order to export an AAF.  This pretty much put the breaks on my wonderful plans to capture in FCP (to ProRes), import those files into Avid Media Composer via AMA…edit them…and then export the cut via AAF, import back into FCP via Automatic Duck Pro Import 2.o (zero quality loss, as it would reference the same media you captured with FCP), then take that into COLOR to color correct, and then finish and output with FCP.  There are a few reasons for wanting to do this, but I won’t go into that now…later.

Well…now you CAN do that.  And thanks to Twitter, and the great community of Twitter people I follow, I found out how.

Twitter person @jayfriesen (fellow Montanan) was complaining that he couldn’t export an AAF with footage he imported via AMA.  That this was a huge workflow hole that needed to be fixed.  He has a Twitter follower named @joshpetok who chimed in; “did you try using a linked AAF and turn on the ‘use AAF edit protocol’ checkbox?” Well, I have done that before, and it still didn’t work.  I thought I did anyway.  Well, that got people in that tweet bundle (group of people tagged in a tweet) to have this discussion between ourselves like “Really?  Serious?  it works?” and “Why didn’t the beta folks tell us about this” and “I am on the beta and I knew nothing about this.”  And so on.

Well, I tested it.  Guess what.  IT WORKS!

First thing I did was import some Canon DSLR footage (Canon T2i) into FCP, transcoding to ProRes 422 as I did so.  I then launched Avid MC 5.5 and used LINK TO AVID AMA FILES to load the footage into my bin.  I make a quick little sequence:

Nothing fancy, a few clips, a dissolve, layering. Then I exported an AAF:

I clicked on OPTIONS to get to the window where I need to adjust things like LINK TO MEDIA and USE AAF Protocols. So I used these exact settings:

That resulted in Avid churning out an AAF file without complaint. No fuss, no muss. OK now, bring this into FCP via IMPORT>AUTOMATIC DUCK PRO IMPORT 2.0…using these settings (that match the clip settings):

And a second later, the sequence and a folder with the clips appeared. I double clicked on the sequence…exact match:

NOW… it doesn’t end there.  Apparently this isn’t new.  This bug was secretly fixed in version  Because @joshpetok said; “I’m on at my current gig. When I get a min, I will test here.”  And follows up with; “Works in Make sure AAF Edit Protocol checkbox is on.  Only issue: clips can’t be embedded. Link manually in resolve (sic).”  Meaning that you have to manually relink the media in the RESOLVE color corrector.  @joshpetak: “it’s basically a better version of an EDL with metadata.”

That is cool!  This means you can capture with FCP…AMA to Avid for editing…and now either AAF back to FCP to go to Color, or AAF to RESOLVE.  Now it is later (remember, earlier in the article I said later that I’d talk about why you’d want to do this…now is later).  Why would you want to do this?  Well, if you want an inexpensive capture station (FCP), but want to edit in Avid MC, because you are either more comfortable with it, or want to use the shared project workflow it offers…or like MC over FCP for whatever reasons you have.  Or a client supplies you with ProRes footage.  And then you want to export an AAF for audio mix (which you couldn’t do with AMA’d footage before), or you want to get this back to FCP, or some other application for final touches.