Development of the program the was to become Avid Studio was first hinted at before the demise of Pinnacle Liquid – later re-branded as Avid Liquid. The nickname NextGen was given to the development, while later rumours attributed the codename Johansson to the project.
Avid Studio Version 1.0 was announced on the 15th February 2011 and released as a download in 8th March. Retail boxes started to become available about a month later.
Although many of the plug-ins appear to be the same as the Pinnacle Studio line of NLE software, Avid Studio is a completely new program. Two features re-written for Pinnacle Studio version 14 were prototypes for those functions in Avid Studio – the Motion Title Editor and the Importer. The Avid Studio versions have the same look and feel, but enhanced capabilities.
The new program featured a very comprehensive media management library system and unlimited timeline tracks. Timeline editing features a Smart Editing mode that makes assumptions about the tasks you are trying to carry out and behaves accordingly. Smart modes are easily overridden.
The first feature list for Avid Studio contained the following information:
- Sophisticated movie editing tools, including markers and keyframes
- Powerful media management library to organize videos, photos, and audio files
- Media editor to apply corrections or effects to videos, photos, and audio
- Unlimited timeline tracks for advanced editing and compositing
- Professional add-ons and plug-ins (valued at over $2,000):
- Red Giant Plug-in package
- Complete Avid content package
- 100 additional HD video transitions
- Comprehensive collection of how-to videos from Class on Demand™
- Motion Titler for adding animated graphics and text
- Audio tools for professional sound quality
- 5.1 surround sound import/export functionality
- AVCHD burning; DVD and Blu-ray disc authoring and burning tools
- 5′ x 6′ green screen sheet for chroma-key effects
This was released on 10th June 2011 as a 17MB free download.
You can download the 1.1 patch for Avid Studio HERE
Many performance and stability improvements
Improved memory efficiency
Fixed several localization issues
Corrected several issues with information displayed for certain media items
Correctly reset view filter when adding a new view tab
Fixed some issues with scene detection
Corrected issues with VST plug-ins
Improved behavior when adding clips to a locked track
Effects can be previewed from the library
Effect indicator now displayed properly on clip for Stabilize effect
Corrected issues in Fractal Cloud Effect
*Fixed problem when using Pan and Zoom effect on a clip on top of a visible background
*Corrected issues when using some MP4 files in projects
*Corrected frame rate issues when using some 1080/30p video
*Improved behavior in timeline navigator
Fixed issue with unwanted cursor jumps when entering text
Improvements to title editing user interface behavior
Menus: Main button now correctly hidden on first menu
Menus: Fixed issue with incorrect button highlights on DVDs
Menu Designer: Fixed issue with inconsistent layer names
Menu Designer: Fixed problem when undoing creation or move of a button
Menu Designer: Improved context Help information
Fixed issues causing chapter playback failures on dual-layer DVDs
Use user-supplied name as DVD/BD image name instead of project name
DVD simulation: correctly start playback from selected menu
Fixed issues with ‘Ignore Duplicates’ mode
Show proper thumbnails for DVD chapters when selecting DVD in Importer
Corrected export size calculation for Blu-Ray discs
Fixed quality issues with AVCHD encoding
Fixed several issues with DivX file export
Improvements to movie and clip duration calculations
After the 1.1 patch there have been a number of hot fixes issued for Avid Studio. It is recommended that you don’t install these unless you encounter the issues that they address. They were not listed on the download page, but could be found in the Knowledgebase.
Please note – these hotfixes are no longer available from Pinnacle. I’ve been sent them by another user and they are bundled up in a zip file that you can download HERE.
Hotfix Summary – Knowledge Base article 434871
Export Errors – Knowledge Base article 392011
AVCHD Pixelation – Knowledge Base article 413381
HDV Audio – Knowledge Base article 413391
H 264 preview – Knowledge Base article 418915
Menu Navigation – Knowledge Base article 419731
HD Mpeg-2 Export – Knowledge Base article 427071
DVD Recorder Import – Knowledge Base article 420535
Creative Pack Volume 1 patch – Knowledge Base article 414291
Backing up the Library
In addition to backing up your Library, the technique below can be used to back up your settings, Steve Arnold has pointed out that some types of crashes can corrupt the settings.xml file.
“On two occasions now I have seen an error message informing me of an XML parsing error, Then the following happens:
A message appears ‘Initialising Effect System. Please wait.’
The ‘Welcome to Avid Studio’ dialog appears (as if you were running it for the first time).
The sample project ‘The-Sky-is-the-Limit.Movie.AXP’ is loaded.
After this you will find that:
Your recently used list is missing
Your Control Panel settings have all been reset to their default values (Avid Studio Control Panel – not Windows Control Panel).
I have traced this problem to corruption in the settings file, which is located at ‘C:\Users[User Name]\AppData\Local\Avid\Studio\1.0\Settings\Settings.xml'”
Before you embark on this task, please note a few provisos – don’t experiment on important unfinished projects, don’t blame me, blah blah blah :-). If you have any doubts, back up your computer before trying this for the first time.
Avid Studio stores it’s settings and Library database, along with a number of other important files, in a location that is hidden from prying eyes on many computers. The first thing we need to do is reveal the location. Using Windows Explorer, go to Tools/ Folder options/View and set Hidden Files and folders to Show hidden files, folders and drives.
To backup the current Library and settings on a Windows 7 or Vista computer using Windows Explorer:
- Go to your boot drive
- Navigate to Users/Your profile name/App data/Local
- Copy the whole of the Avid Folder
- Navigate to a safe backup location and paste the folder
To restore the saved Library and settings, close Avid Studio
- Go to the safe backup locations and copy the Avid folder
- Go to your boot drive
- Navigate to Users/Your profile name/App data/Local
- Delete the whole of the Avid Folder
- Paste the saved Avid folder from the clipboard to the location Users/Your profile name/App data/Local
If you run Avid Studio on a XP machine (it’s not supported but appears to work OK in version 1.1) then the path is slightly different – /Documents and Settings/Your User Name/Local Settings/Application Data/Avid
I would hope that the ability to save and restore Libraries and Settings is added to future versions of Avid Studio, but until then the above is a good insurance policy.
The watchfolders feature of Avid Studio can be very useful, but it’s not always entirely trouble free. It will add any video file that it thinks it recognises into the Library, but on occasions that file may not really be compatible with the program.
Resetting your Avid Studio Installation
So, you have a non-functioning installation of Studio on your computer, and you want to fix it. It may never have finished compiling the Library the first time you ran it and now won’t start at all.
The obvious thing is to do a complete re-install. However, the process doesn’t clear out the Library, so you may actually find yourself going round in circles. You could start sorting through the contents of your hard disc, looking for the guilty files(s) that may be causing Studio to crash.
However, it may be easier to reset your installation to it’s “factory setting”, disable watchfolders and see if that cures the issue. If it does, you can do some detective work to find the problem.
I first put this solution on the Avid Studio forum shortly after the program was first released. Some people have questioned that it may be overkill, but in my experience, simply deleting the settings.xml file isn’t enough.
I’ve found that the following resets the whole thing to zero – Don’t do this unless you are WILLING TO LOSE EVERYTHING.
Firstly, you need to bb able to see hidden folders and files. Open a Windows Explorer window and from the Tools dropdown menu select Folder Options. Select the View tab set the button to Show hidden files, folders and drives. Now uncheck the Hide extensions for known file types checkbox. There is a screenshot of this dialogue box on page 1 of the “Making Custom Effects” article
In Windows 7
- Go to your boot drive
- Users/Your User name/App data/Local
- Delete the Avid folder
for XP users, the path is (OS drive)\Documents and Settings/Your User Name/Local Settings/Application Data (XP is not supported by Avid Studio, but many people can get it to work)
Now when you restart you will get the opening screen that allows you to turn off the three watchfolders that seem to be causing many people grief – My Music/Pictures/Videos.
Creating Custom effects in Avid Studio
Note – although Pinnacle Studio 16 has the ability to save FX compositions, the following article offers a technique that may be of interest.
If you use effects a lot, you may already know that you can drag them straight from the library to a clip on the timeline without opening the effects editor. All the presets appear in the library, and you can add effects to a collection, so you can have “My favourite effects” open in the mini-library and use them efficiently.
But what if your favourite effect needs modification each time you use it? There isn’t a way of saving effects as a preset. However, it’s not that hard to permanently modify any of the presets, and only a few steps more to create new presets, complete with thumbnails, in the Library.
First, a disclaimer – please take care, and either make a system backup before proceeding or be prepared to re-install Studio should something go wrong. I’ve checked every step carefully, but you embark on this at your own risk!
We will start by simply modifying the default parameters of a Video Effect . I’m going to show you how to change the setting of the Crop effect so that it just trims a small amount off the top of a video frame – very useful if your recordings have interference or digital data at the top, normally lost in overscan on a TV. If you regularly digitise analogue camcorder tapes, you might want to trim a bit off the bottom of the frame to hide the flyback distortion sometimes seem.
Different effects are stored in different folders so you may need to search around to find a specific effect. The other confusing thing as that some presets are stored in XML files, and others in FXT files. Both file types contain only text and have the same structure when used to store effects. We need to find Crop3D. Before you start looking, open a Windows Explorer window and from the Tools dropdown menu select Folder Options. Select the View tab set the button to Show hidden files, folders and drives. Now uncheck the Hide extensions for known file types checkbox. (If you don’t have the menu bar showing, use Organise/Layout to reveal it). Now browse to
C: (or the drive you have installed Avid Studio)/Program Files/Avid/Studio/plugins/RTFV2/Base/RTFxFilters
and find Crop3d.fxt. We need to open this file in Notepad – a simple text editing program that comes with every version of Windows. Right-click on the FXT file and if you see the option select Open with, and then choose Notepad if it is offered as an option. If you don’t see that option, you will have to browse to chose it from the C;/Windows directory. If you can’t find Notepad that way, you can open it from All Programs/Accessories/ and open the FXT file from within Notepad.
You will see the layout of the text uses indenting to allow you to see each section. The XML format uses < some name here > to start a section and to end one.
The last section is and there is a line for all four parameters, Left Top, Right and Bottom. The value=”10” in each parameter is the default value and it is these we want to change.
Edit the text to set Top to “1” and the other three values to zero. Now Save As calling the file Crop3D.new. Close Notepad and use Windows Explorer to rename the original .fxt file to Crop3D.old and the .new file to Crop3D.fxt. Make sure Notepad hasn’t added a .txt extension to your names – if it has, delete it! If things go wrong, you just need to reverse this renaming process to restore the original values.
Start (or restart) Avid Studio and test the effect. Hopefully you will see that only a thin section at the top of the frame is now cropped, and the starting values are the same as we set them to using Notepad.
OK, so that hasn’t created a preset. Let’s use another effect for this. Let’s imagine you use the Advanced 2D editor presets a lot, but you think the soft edge border is too big. I’m just going to show you how to create one preset for this demonstration, but it will show you how to proceed.
Use Notepad to open the 2DEditorAdvanced-GPU.fxt file that is in the same folder as the Crop file we just edited. The third section down consists of a series of Presets. Highlight and copy all the text for the the first preset Top Right Corner and paste it at the bottom of the preset list, taking care to preserve the formatting. Now we want to edit that new text. You can discover which id values correspond to which parameter by referring up to the Group section. Delete the whole line for the Rotate value – id-“5” and edit id=”1” to the value “20”, id=”7” to 10 and id=”8” to 20.
The preset name line needs editing as well. Change Top Right Corner to Custom for both occurrences in the line. The first determines the name and the second defines the graphics file that is displayed for that preset. I simply copied one that already exists and modified it in Photoshop, saving as a .png, with the name 2D Editor Advanced – Custom.png, back into the same folder. I’m not going to show you how to create the thumbnail – it will depend on what graphics program you have. You need to create a PNG file with the dimensions 256×205 pixels. If you don’t want to do that right now you can download mine from HERE and put it into the same folder as the FXT file
This is only an example. If you want to include parameters that aren’t in the preset you copied and pasted, you will need to create the line with reference to the id and the other lines.
We now need to save the file as a .new file and perform the renaming trick as described earlier, but even then we haven’t quite finished. The new preset won’t show up in the Library or the dropdown list until we force Avid Studio to rebuild its effects list.
To do this use Windows Explorer to go to
C: (or the drive you have installed Avid Studio)/Users/YourUserName/AppData/Local/Avid/Studio/1.0/EffectDB/
and rename EffectRepository.xmp to EffectRepository.old and then start (or restart) Avid Studio. When the program loads you will see the message Initializing Effects System. Please Wait. The effects list is rebuilt and then you should see the addition preset with its changed thumbnail in the Library, and the preset should also appear in the dropdown box in the effects editor.