Managing multiple projects media on local disks with Avid MC

While Avid ISIS storage and the likes, is prolific in larger Post houses this is not really a concern for small productions who use local storage for their projects

However owing to the nature of some projects it is good to have a system in place that allows you to quickly locate rushes from any given Project and move them with confidence should they need to be backup up or moved to another drive for use on another system. Some users achieve this by adding on additional storage for each project, however, it may not always be possible to keep on adding storage to your edit suite. It may well be that you have a high performance and capacity array and don't need to add any more storage.

Let's have a look at what can be done inside the Avid MediaFiles folder in order to make this type of management possible.
I am assuming that we will be working with MXF media only within thus article and we're also leaving AMA linked clips to one side for now too.

Avid MediaFiles

Since the dawn if time Avid has always needed to corral it's own generated media into a specific location. This is in a folder placed at the root of the nominated media drive called Avid MediaFiles. Within this folder is the MXF Folder and inside here is a folder named 1. It's not uncommon to also find a folder named 2, 3 and 4 in here as well. But why are they here?
Avid keeps track of its media through 2 databases called msmMMOB.mdb and msmFMID.pmr. If either of these files become damaged or corrupt, or media is added at the desk top level then the editing software has to rebuild the databases by scanning the drives.
As drives grew in size the databases took longer and longer to carry out. So Avid introduced a folder count that meant that once a folder reaches around 5000 items a new folder is created meaning that a number of database files are used and not a single large database.
Understanding these 2 basic principles (name of the Avid Media Files folder name and the sub folders used within the MXF Folder) gives rise to 2 ways of keeping track of media for multiple projects in a single disk array.

One Projects Media at a time

If it is that you only need access to a single Projects media at any one time you can use the 'Hiding Technique' If I start with Project 'Boston' all it media will be placed into the standard media location.
[drive] /Avidmediafiles/MXF/1

If I then want to start a second project and not have the Media be placed into the same location as that of the Boston media then I can hide the Boston media by simple renaming the Avid Mediafiles folder Boston Avid Mediafiles BEFORE I start ingesting and creating material in my new Project.

Boston Media is now hidden from the Avid Software

Multiple Projects / tracking rushes

In some cases you may well wish to have access to a number of projects rushes and media at the same time so the method of renaming the Avid MediaFiles folder just won't do it for you. This is where a little desktop folder manipulation is useful.

We have already seen that Avid manages its folders by increasing the folder count once 5000 items are in a single folder. We can use this function to help manage media into particular folders. This is especially useful for managing rushes that are given to you on day by day and camera by camera basis.

Here is the outline of the general practice. Here I assume we are working on just one project on a single drive which has NO media on it currently, but we are receiving pocket drives from location with various days material which we need to keep track of.

  1. Create a project as needed in the correct format.
  2. Select the first cameras rushes from day 1 on the transport drive and either Import or  AMA consolidate the media to the media drive you are using. Drive F in my case. This will create the Avid media inside Avid MediaFiles/MXF/1 folder.
  3. Once I have finished with that cameras rushes I can then simply rename the 1 folder (you only need to minimise Avid to do this and NOT quit it) with the appropriate number convention we wish to use. So in my case I'm going for Camera number followed by the day. For example camera 2 day 1 rushes go into the folder 0201.
  4. Go back to Avid and make a new bin for the next cameras rushes and ingest again, this will now be placed into a newly made Avid MediaFiles/MXF/1 folder. Once I have finished with the rushes I can then rename the 1 folder as desired. 

Manual manipulation of the folders needs careful planning 
It is more then likely that you will not be receiving all your rushes on the same day and so what do you do when the editor has been rendering material and creating guide VO that is now living inside the 1 folder?

Simply rename the 1 folder 2. Ingest the new rushes and follow your established numbering convention and when finished rename folder 2 back to folder 1 and all is well again.

The folder numbering can also be followed when ever mixing projects. Ensure that the which ever project is currently live is named as folder 1 ensuring that media created for that project goes back into the same folder!

Here I have managed media from other projects into folder 2 and 3
This is a labour intensive and is something that can also sometimes trip you up if you forget to manage the folders. However there are third party tools out there can can manage the data for you such as Marquis Project Parking and the free (but hard to find now) MDV software that can read the database files and filter the media displayed by Project and then allow you to move or delete the file you desire.

Golden oldie MDV from 2008, still appears to work well on my Windows 7 machine!
I would recommend that you play with this process and get a feel for how it works, way before you commit to running a project like this.


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