Avid Media Composer Optimization Guide

Adam Beason
Adam Beason
  • Updated

Please note that with the release of Multi-Filespace Connect in version 2.5.5127, administrators of Filespaces with Media Composer users working on Windows should override the new default mounting scheme by specifying a fixed drive letter mount point for all Windows users.

This should be done on a Filespace-wide basis by setting the Windows mount point to a fixed drive letter (e.g. L:) in the "Global Defaults" tab as pictured in the following screenshot. Applying the change for all Windows users globally will avoid issues arising from dynamic drive letter assignment that may cause links to media assets to break.

mountpoint.png

Using the new default mounting scheme (C:\Volumes\<domain>\<filespace>) will result in compatibility issues with Media Composer due to the way Avid MediaFiles and other directories essential to the function of Media Composer are created, and should be avoided whenever Media Composer is in use with LucidLink on Windows.

1. Verify your system meets Avid requirements

In order to have the best possible experience when coupling LucidLink with Avid Media Composer, please begin by ensuring that your system meets the minimum qualifications as defined by Avid for use with Media Composer, and that it is configured in line with Avid's best practices. Avid publishes the following resources to guide users in selecting and configuring their systems for use with Media Composer:

2. LucidLink Best Practices

The following best practices for LucidLink Filespaces can make a huge impact on your experience with editing applications:

  • always connect via an ethernet cable (as wireless internet can create unpredictable or inconsistent results)
  • utilize the fastest drive and connection possible for your cache (SSD or NVMe; use Thunderbolt if using an external drive)
  • ensure your cache drive is formatted correctly if connected externally (NTFS for Windows, APFS for Mac; avoid exFAT formatting as it will cause performance issues)
  • ensure enough space has been allocated for the LucidLink cache (we recommend between 50GB - 200GB depending on disk availability)

3. Operating System and Hardware Optimizations

In addition to their compatibility and qualification guidelines, Avid also publishes a list of recommended operating system and hardware configuration changes (such as power and BIOS settings) for best performance:

4. Media Composer Optimizations

The following are frequently recommended optimizations found within Media Composer's own settings:

5. Do the (workflow) math

When setting out to run your first project from a LucidLink Filespace, consider the bitrate(s) of the media you will be using in the project and compare that against the bandwidth available to yourself and to your users.

For instance, if you will be editing at 1080p/23.98 using DNxHD LB (36 Mbps) on a 1 Gbps internet connection, you could expect to be able to play a maximum of 22 streams. If you were to do the same with DNxHD SQ (115 Mbps) on a 1 Gbps connection, the result would be roughly 6 streams. If we cut the bandwidth of our internet connection by 75% to 250Mbps, our capacity to stream media on demand would be reduced proportionately to 6 streams and 1 stream respectively. How many streams a sequence will require will depend on its complexity, but as a rule of thumb any combination of codec and bandwidth that results in fewer than 6 streams is probably inadequate for real-world usage.

Because of factors such as latency and general variability in internet speeds, it's advisable to build in a buffer of 10-20% when making these sorts of calculations for best performance. For instance, if you have a 1 Gbps connection, figure that 800-900 Mbps of that is available when making your calculations. If you are sharing an internet connection with other users within the same local network, take into account their usage of bandwidth as well.

If you find that your available bandwidth is insufficient for the types of files you need to work with, you can also consider LucidLink's other caching workflow, known as pinning. Pinning persists all blocks for files and folders you designate in the LucidLink cache. When you access pinned files you are leveraging the read performance of the drive hosting your cache rather than the speed of your internet connection, allowing you to work with higher bitrates than your internet connection would otherwise allow.

Please note that pinning should not be thought of as a "download" or a "copy;" pinning maintains the core-critical LucidLink principle of the "Single Source of Truth," which means any modifications to a given file are near-immediately reflected for all connected users who are also using that same file, no matter their location. Downloads, copying, and any other "sync" workflows create duplicate copies of a given file, which is not efficient from a capacity stand point and might also introduce security concerns (i.e if copying or sync'ing to un-managed storage locations). 

6. Project Setup and Search Data folder location

When creating a Media Composer project for use with LucidLink, set the "Search data folder" option at the bottom of the project setup prompt to "Local default". If not set appropriately, search data will be stored with the project in the LucidLink Filespace, potentially impacting performance.

local_default.png

7. Use bin-locking emulation when collaborating

If you will be working with others in the same Media Composer project(s), you have the option to install and use an appropriate bin-locking emulation tool like Mimiq or Osiris. These tools will indicate to Media Composer that the storage being used is shared, enabling Media Composer to create lock files when a user opens a bin, and to create media in individual folders for each system (an essential part of any collaborative editorial workflow). Failure to use bin-locking emulation when collaborating on shared storage will result in errors and project corruption.

Please note that these bin-locking emulation toolsets are 3rd party add-ons and are not provided directly from LucidLink. These tools may also carry other costs to the customer and to the end-user. 

As an added technical note, it is not possible to use bin-locking emulation and first-party Avid storage simultaneously. NEXIS Client Manager must be completely uninstalled for bin-locking emulators to function correctly.

When first starting the project after installing a bin-locking emulator you may receive a message from within Media Composer about your use of this software with an option to accept. You should do so, or otherwise enable the following setting under Settings>Project>General:

bin_emulation.png

8. Bin and Phonetic Indexing Issues

If you encounter persistently poor performance, please reference Task Manager (Windows) or Activity Monitor (Mac) to see if the Bin Indexer or Phonetic Indexer processes are consuming large amounts of system resources. If so, you may consider temporarily disabling these services while working and re-enabling when you are done. To do so press Ctrl/Cmd + F to open the Find window as shown below, then click the gear icon in the lower left to open the "Search Options" menu.

find.png

From here you can choose to Stop Phonetic Indexing or to Pause All Indexing:

find_options.png

Allowing the Phonetic and Bin Indexing processes to complete is crucial to the functionality of PhraseFind, ScriptSync, as well as search in general. For this reason it is recommended that these processes only be disabled temporarily to avoid contention for system resources while editing, and re-enabled once editing is finished so that indexing can be allowed to complete (indicated by a solid green circle in lower left of the Find window). Once the index has been built, resource consumption should return to normal. Note that the application must remain open for indexing to take place.

9. Mounting LucidLink Filespaces in Windows 11

As of this writing, LucidLink Filespaces mount differently on Windows 11 compared to other operating systems, including previous versions of Windows. This difference means that additional steps are required in order to allow Media Composer to recognize the Filespace as a valid media drive:

  • Within the LucidLink Control Panel, adjust the mount point to reflect a UNC path along the lines of "\\lucid\myfilespace;L:" (replacing myfilespace with the name of the Filespace you are mounting). Reconnect when prompted. This can also be applied for all users using the "Mount Point" setting in the Global Defaults tab if appropriate.

unc_path.png

  • Launch Media Composer. When prompted, select "Mount All Drives." Once the application has launched, press Ctrl/Cmd + 6 to open the console, then type "alldrives 1" (without the quotes) and press enter. If you are using Media Composer 2022.12 or newer, you may skip this step as UNC paths are supported for media drives by default.

alldrives.JPG

  • The Filespace should now be available as a media drive option in Settings > Project > Media Creation and in the Consolidate/Transcode menu.

 

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