OK, this is a tip for the more advanced user. One who knows their way around the Avid Media Composer software enough to dig themselves out of any hole they might dig themselves into. Or those who know a bit about how Avid MC operates under the hood.  Although some if this is easy enough for the beginner. Just…be careful.

If you edit with Avid Media Composer (MC), you may notice that Avid has a very specific way that it organizes media, and there’s not much you can do to change it. Avid media is ALWAYS stored in the following path:  Hard Drive>Avid MediaFiles>MXF>1.  Or other numbered folders, as there is a file size limit of about 5000 files. Get near that and Avid makes a number “2” folder, and so on. Avid MC will ONLY see media if it is in that very specific file structure. Any media outside of that, and it won’t be seen. Even if you have a “1” folder just on the root level of the hard drive, Avid won’t see it.

And you can’t make specific folders and direct Avid MC to render/import/capture to those specific folders on the project level. Meaning you can’t have the 1 folder be for Project X, and the number 2 folder be for Project Y. Avid will always default to putting media into the 1 folder until it is full, then shift to folder 2.  Because of this it makes it difficult to separate your media from one project into separate folders…like we did with Final Cut Pro Legacy (1-7).  For those of us who are hyper organized, and like to do this on the finder level…it’s frustrating.

See, Avid MC does all the organization inside the application. That’s where you access the media, copy the media…and sort the media. Want to delete the media for a specific project…then you need to open the Media Tool and search for media for that specific project, and delete it. Or if you want to move it, you use the same thing…Media Tool and then CONSOLIDATE.  It can be a hassle

Now, if you have media that isn’t for one project…but is to be used in multiple projects, you want to keep that media separate from the project specific media. Say the same music cues, sound effects, basic b-roll or stills.  Well, I have a solution.  My original solution was to just have different numbered folders, because Avid will see the folders if they are numbers in the MXF folder. So I numbered my music as “10” and my SFX and “20.” This way I could easily find them. I would love to have had a folder called “SFX” and one called “MUSIC,” but if I named them that, FCP would see them. They needed to be numbers or Avid MC wouldn’t see them.

But then I saw something that raised my eyebrow.

The folders started with numbers, but then had names with letters after that number. And yes, Avid still did see the media. I took out the number, and the media went offline…add it back, they returned. Did I think of this solution? No, I can’t take credit for that. I had a project arrive with things done this way, and I was a bit amazed to see that it actually worked. You see, I thought that the folders had to be ONLY numbers. You see, if you had a number first, Avid will see it. So you can still add a name.  Sweet!

BUT…Avid MC still defaults to putting media into the “1” folder when you render or import new media. So it might be best to make the numbers higher…starting at 10 or 20. And if you import new media that needs to go to one of those folders…after you import, do a REVEAL FILE to reveal the media, and move it to where you want it.  Just know that any new footage goes right into the “1” folder.  So if you need it moved, you need to do that manually.

This is where the dangerousness of this comes into play. If you don’t know Avid MC well, you can dig yourself into a hole. Make media go missing. So you need to know how to fix things if you mess up. If you have media from your project that you need, and you THOUGHT you moved it to a new folder, but you didn’t…oops.  So BE CAREFUL.