This post refers to Avid Studio, Pinnacle Studio 16 through to 23, and should be relevent to future versions as well.
One of the most common fixes for problems with Pinnacle Studio is to reset various setting to their default. Until the advent of Studio 19 the only way to do this was to make changes to the hidden data files using Windows. Later versions also offer in-program ways of performing certain resets.
Another issue is the potential loss of your Settings and Library data – not just assets, but metadata. The following also explains how to make backups and then restore these items.
In-Program resets in Studio 18 and above
Settings store the choices that you have made in the Control Panel, the list of projects available in the Recent section of the File menu and the project that opens on the timeline when you start Studio.
If you use the Reset button in the Control Panel, Studio behaves as if you have just installed it. All the Control panel settings will be returned to the defaults, the Recent list will be lost and the Effects Database will be refreshed (searching through the installation to see what effects are available and adding them to the Content section of the Library). You will also be greeted with the Importer message and the sample footage will be loaded onto the timeline.
Using the reset button is a quick substitute for reinstalling the program from scratch – it’s quicker and often seems to solve problems that would otherwise call for a re-install. However, if you have spent time modifying your default settings you will need to repeat all that work.
Also, if Studio is refusing to start correctly because a corrupt project is on the timeline, you can’t ever get to the Control panel, so you will need to resort to manual methods.
Refresh is a button in the Library that has been avaialble since Studio 19. It performs a partial reset – it forces Studio to rescan the content folders and creates a new manifest file of all the effects. So, if you are missing some effects, this is the button for you. The good news is that you won’t lose any custom effects that you have created in My FX Compositions.
Manual resets for all versions of Studio
Studio stores all its setting and database data in the User profiles – so if you have multiple user profiles that have access to Studio, the individual users can have different settings and libraries.
Revealing Hidden Files
It’s quite likely that the folders you need to access will be hidden to you, so to find them we first need to enable your Windows setup to see hidden folders. There are several ways of doing this. My Windows 10 method is to open a Windows Explorer window and switch to the View tab, where there is a checkbox for Hidden Items. In Windows 7, click the “Organize” button on Windows Explorer’s toolbar and select Folder and search options to open Folder Options. Click the View tab at the top of the window, select Show under Hidden files and folders then click on OK.
For all version of Studio, you need to look in C:Users and then select the name of the user profile you wish to work with. It’s NOT Public – it’s most likely your name. Now look for the AppData folder, and in that Local. Here there will be a Version folder for each release of Studio you have installed – Pinnacle_Studio_23 in the case of the latest version. Back to version 17 the folder naming follows the same convention – Pinnacle_Studio_xx where Studio is the version number. Studio 16 uses a folder just called Pinnacle. If you still have Avid Studio installed that is in a folder called Avid.
We still aren’t there yet – In the version folder is another folder called Studio and within that the two folders that are of interest to us – XX.0 (where XX is the version number) and Scratch.
So the full path is for versions 17 upwards is C:/Users/Your User Name/AppData/Local/Pinnacle_Studio_XX/Studio/ where you will find XX.0 and Scratch. Phew!
For each of the files I’m about to describe, the following always holds true:
- If you delete anything, it will be automatically replaced by the default startup version when you restart Studio.
- If you make a copy and back it up elsewhere, you can replace the current file with the backup and Studio will adopt those settings when you restart the program.
- Alternately you can rename a file as filename.old within the current directory to both delete the current file and make a backup that can be restored by renaming it.
The Full reset
Even if you re-install Studio, you won’t loses any settings unless you delete all or parts of the user data. I suggest if you want a completely clean re-install you delete the whole of the version folder – Pinnacle Studio_XX. The same goes for saving a complete backup.
These are what get put back to the default when you use Reset in the Control panel. They are Studio/XX.0/Settings and there is only one file called Settings.xml. If you are feeling brave, you could even try editing this file using the Windows app Notepad. For example, you can locate the name of the project loaded at startup by searching for ActiveEditorFile. If that’s what might be causing studio to crash on startup you can then edit the project name, save the settings file and then try launching Studio.
Library content refresh
This is the file that is rebuilt when you use the Library Refresh button. It is held in Studio/XX.0/EffectDB and there is only one file called EffectRepository.xmp.
Studio can sometime create thumbnails with duplicate filenames, and you might end up seeing the old ones. The folder of interest is within the Scratch folder and called NGThumbnails. Deleting this folder will cause the thumbnails to be re-generated.
Studio/XX.0 contains a folder called NGDatabase which holds all the Library data. A corrupt library can cause Studio to crash or even refuse to run, but if you delete the folder you will lose all your metadata.
Backing up and restoring the Library
If you want to back up your library, this is the folder to copy. Save it somewhere safe, and replace the current version with the saved one to restore your Library. One way to do this would be to create a folder called Saved Libraries. In this create subfolders named by date – for example April 2020. To save the current state of the Library, copy the NGDatabase and place it in the dated folder. Now, if for some reason you lose your Library, or want to roll back to an older version, close Studio, delete the current NGDatabase folder and copy the backup folder into the Studio/XX.0 location.