First-time Avid Setup

Whenever I’m first setting up a Mac Avid, whether it’s a rental for a show I’m working on or my own desktop or laptop, there are a bunch of things I like to do before getting down to work.

  • Connect your Avid to the Internet and/or internal network
  • Go through this list of good Avid practices. I’m not sure if there’s one for Leopard yet, but the gist is to turn off any features that could interfere with your interaction with the Avid application or slow down the performance of your system in genera. In particular make sure to turn off Software Update.
  • Install necessary software
  • Import your User Profile, as well as that of any other person who may need to use your Avid (other editors and assistant editors)

Why you should connect your Avid to the Internet

I’ve heard from many an assistant editor and rental company that Internet-connected Avids are a bad idea, but I believe that if you’re careful and professional (i.e. don’t use your Avid as a BitTorrent client), the advantages of connecting your Avid to the Internet far outweigh any disadvantages.  Connecting your Avid to the Internet has the same amount of danger to your Avid, and no more, as any other computer. I agree that general net surfing on your Avid should be avoided (especially if you’re on a PC), but otherwise no harm will likely come to your computer or to the Avid application by having it hooked up.

The advantages of hooking your Avid up to your network are as follows, and they basically fall under the two categories of internal and external file transfers.

  • Internal File Transfers
    • Everyone, at some point, usually multiple times a day, needs to get a file from your laptop to your Avid or from your Avid to another Avid. If you’re on a Unity, you can use the Unity workspaces as shared storage space for exchanging files. You can use a flash drive or hard drive if you must, but this is quicker and equally safe. If you’re not on a Unity, or if you need to do a transfer from your laptop to your Avid, you can use AFP. In your System Preferences on one of the two computers, enable Personal File Sharing:
      • Then, on the other computer, select Connect to Server from the menu in Finder, and type in the AFP URL you see in the Sharing pane (mine is afp:// Type in any password you may have, and you’re on your way. AFP, by the way, is significantly faster than SMB / Windows Sharing. personal_file_sharing
  • External File Transfers
    • I like to use my Avid for uploads not only because it’s faster than my laptop and has access to the Unity, but also because I usually don’t have the free hard drive space on my laptop to accommodate the size and quantity of files that I normally transfer. I could copy those files to an external drive, connect that to my laptop, and then start the upload, but that seems like a big waste of time when I can just upload from the Avid.
    • Overnight Uploads
      • On HB2 I was frequently in a position where I needed to upload gigabytes of data overnight from London to LA. I could’ve left my laptop in the office uploading all night, but who wants to do that? Instead, use your Avid, especially if you don’t have it doing some other all-night task like exporting reels to QT.
      • For Signiant, I also set up a Mac Mini on HB2 to do a lot of the overnight file transfers back to Universal. If you do this, then you can use your Avid to transfer the DVD image or whatever you’re uploading from a Unity workspace to the Mac Mini, and then use the Mini to upload to the studio.

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Backing Up Unity Media

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