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How to Import Videos to Avid Media Composer: Different Codecs

In this page, we’ll take at look at some popular codecs H.264, AVCHD, XDCAM, XAVC, MXF, ProRes, etc and see how to import and work with them in Avid Media Composer.

How to Import Videos to Avid Media Composer: Different Codecs

We've talked about the Avid Media Composer workflow. In this guide, we will look at how Avid Media Composer deals with different codecs including H.264, AVCHD, XDCAM, XAVC, etc, so you can import videos to Avid Media Composer smoothly.

How to Import video into Avid Media Composer

First, make sure the right bin or folder is selected, otherwise the ‘Import…’ option might be greyed out. Then, go to File > Import…. You will be prompted to select the video or stills you want to import. You must choose a transcode format if you are using this method. I recommend DNxHD while you’re in Avid:

These files are found in the ‘Avid MediaFiles’ folder. There is also a *.pmr file which is important:

  • The PMR file lists all the online media files. Every editing application consults all the PMR files in all the machine name folders to find out which media files are online. Whenever a media file is created, its name is immediately added to the creating editor application’s PMR file, and whenever a media file is deleted by its creator, its name is immediately removed from the PMR file.

However, many would prefer to use AMA to avoid transcoding to any intermediary codec. In this case, you must first open AMA by going to File > AMA Link…:

Only the codecs you have installed individually will show up. If you’re editing regularly with a varied client-base, it might be a good idea to install all the plug-ins at the beginning. Who wants to scramble for the right plug-in at the last moment while the client is watching? Avid puts this down to the ease with which they can update plug-ins when necessary, but that’s just them being lazy. I think they should consider your convenience above their own.

Once you select the video file, it will show up in the selected bin, in its native format and wrapper. If you have DMF running, you can select a profile to execute on the specified folder.

Avid Media Composer Supported Codecs



H.264 is the ubiquitous codec, and it looks like it will stay for quite some time. Avid Media Composer supports H.264 natively, via AMA as mentioned above. The Quicktime plug-ins are installed by default. For MXF plugins, use this link.


AVCHD is a ‘version’ of the MPEG-4 AVC specification, or H.264 and Avid Media Composersupports AVCHD natively with the default plug-in (only in the MOV wrapper), via AMA as mentioned above. Avid says you’ll need to perform a one-time-only free activation of the Dolby AC-3 codec to use the plug-in, which happens in the background if you have an active Internet connection.

For AVCHD not in MOV wrappers, you’ll need to download the specific plug-in here.


Avid Media Composer treats XDCAM with kid gloves, so to speak. XDCAM and XDCAM HDfollow the MXF OP1a standard, and need to be converted to MXF OP Atom. Similarly, XDCAM EX is MP4, and needs to be converted to the same. Use this link to download the XDCAM plug-ins.

The utility that can do this is Sony Content Browser (The manual incorrectly still recommends the XDCAM viewer, which has been phased out).

XDCAM codecs are supported at native resolutions only. To read the detailed guide, go to page 303 of the manual. For videos on the XDCAM and Avid Media Composer workflow, click here. For a detailed workflow guide, click here (PDF).


At the time of this writing, there isn’t a plug-in for 4K XAVC, though XAVC Intra 100 is supported within Media Composer.


This applies to files from both the XF series cameras as well as the Cinema EOS line (Cxxx). You’ll need to install the Canon XF and MXF plug-in from this link.

Once that is installed, restart Avid Media Composer. You can then import it natively via AMA as mentioned above.


Like H.264, Avid Media Composer supports MPEG-4 natively, via AMA as mentioned above. The Quicktime plug-ins are installed by default. For MXF plugins, use this link.


Prores works natively via the Quicktime plug-ins. If you use the AMA method, you can edit natively in MOV wrappers. If you want to use the other Import method, Avid rewraps the video into an MXF wrapper (codec is still Prores).


This is Avid’s baby. All kinds of DNxHD are supported natively via either of the import methods mentioned above.

Source from: 

OK. From this article, you should have a clear ideal how to import PorRes, H.264, AVCHD, XAVC, MXF, etc to Avid Media Composer for editing. And if you have more idea to share with us, just leave your words in Comment.

Related Guides:
How to Import Video into Final Cut
How to Import Videos to Final Cut Pro X
Importing Canon MXF to Final Cut Pro X

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