Step 1: Understand the RED File Format
You need to know what the naming schema is for the native.r3d files created by the RED ONE camera. Here’s how to read the metadata:
Step 2 Create an ALE File (More Metadata Mapping)
Further metadata mapping depends on how your source metadata file is created. In this tutorial, the source metadata file is an Avid Log Exchange (Avid ALE), which will be created with MetaCheater and then imported into your Avid. As in all QuickTime source-based workflows, an ALE file must be imported beforehand. The sources are then “merged” during import. For a complete description of Avid’s extensive metadata management, download the Avid Metadata and Logging and Tracking whitepaper from Avid’s site (
Step 3 Download Metacheater
MetaCheater is a free application created by Jabez Olssen (donations appreciated) to allow Metadata extraction from QuickTime movies (reel ID and timecode). MetaCheater reads the filename, reel ID and timecode from a QT file and saves out an ALE file, in this example, as exported by RED ALERT! (QT reference). Go here to download the latest version:
Step 4 Map More Data in Metacheater
The following section defines the Avid bin columns and how they track the metadata derived from the.r3d files. Your settings let you control different levels of filename to tape ID to create unique tape names that are more specific. For example: A001_C001_071206
A001 (default)
SHOOT DATE: 071206
RED ALERT! adds the quality suffix and refers to the quality of the debayering process.
_H (High. Uses the 2K extraction)
_M (Medium. Uses the 1K extraction)
_P (Proxy)
A001_C001_07126 is added to Filename as a separate metadata field, which means you can change the clip name to something more relevant.
The filename is appended with -000000 to track DPX export, if used.
xx:xx:xx:xx (timecode) = Start
Read from file
Step 5 Create QuickTimes with Red Alert!
RED ALERT! currently exports QuickTime references in three resolution from the original file: High (2K), Medium (1K) or Proxy (_H, _M, and _P). Your transcode times will obviously differ if you use _H or _M. Based on experience, _M is roughly 20% faster. Both are more than satisfactory for offline editing. Don’t use _P.
As a point of reference, here are the approximate times it took to import on a MacBook Pro directly in Avid Media Composer as Avid DNxHD 36:
  • 6 – 8x longer than real time for the _H file (2K)

  • 4 – 5x longer than real time for the _M file (1K)
If processing files for use on a different system, you can create DNxHD via QT MoviePlayer Pro and select your desired Avid DNxHD codec from the codec options.
Step 6 Create Your Settings for ALE with MetaCheater
Opening the QuickTime files will automatically populate the data fields in the window. In the upper right section, select the amount of metadata you want to use for the Tape name. The default is what is reported in the QuickTime file. Go to "Settings" and select the settings for the Avid project type: 1080, then frame rate as shot (23.976, 24, 25). Go back to the main page and save as ALE file (see images 6A and 6B). Your resulting ALE file, as saved from MetaCheater, will look like the file in 6C.
Step 7 Batch Import Your Metadata into the Avid
In order to facilitate the merge process, you should have all clips form an ALE point to the same directory. Do this by first dragging all the QuickTimes into a single folder. Next, you’ll create an ALE file of all the QuickTimes in that folder using MetaCheater. Import the ALE file into the Avid and select all the clips. Then, choose Batch Import (7A) from the Clip menu and navigate to a folder with QT files (7B). Select the desired Avid resolution (DNxHD 36, DNxHD 115, DNxHD 175, DNxHD 175x (10 bit). Import! Once imported, your original RED files will have the necessary metadata attached for editorial and export to your EDL (7C). Take a look inside Media Composer’s EDL Manager (7D) to see your files.
Step 8 You’re Ready to Edit
You can use this method to merge metadata from any QuickTime or sequential file format during the import process. In this example, the ALE was created using MetaCheater to read Reel ID and timecode from the QuickTime references created by RED ALERT! and saved out as an Avid ALE file. After importing the ALE file into Avid Media Composer, it’s easy to merge with the QuickTime references of the.r3d files during the batch import process. Once you’re done editing, you can generate an EDL and return to the original files as needed.
Tools Used: Avid Media Composer, MetaCheater and RED ALERT!
Your Guide
Michael Phillips
Solutions Manager, Content Production
Avid Technology, Inc.
Michael Phillips joined Avid Technology, Inc., in 1990 and was responsible for the design of Avid’s Media Composer, Film Composer and Symphony product lines, which offer professional digital online and offline editing and finishing. Michael currently interacts with customers as a solutions manager for the content creator.
Michael Says Keep In Mind…
This tutorial details a way to extract metadata, using a third-party application called MetaCheater, from QuickTime movies into Avid Media Composer so you can edit your RED footage. I’ll show you how to make QuickTimes through RED ALERT!, RED’s image-processing utility that lets you load REDCODE RAW footage, adjust image exposure and color correction settings, and render out to 4K or 2K resolution DPX and TIFF file formats. Although it generates QuickTime reference movies from original REDCODE RAW data (.r3d) files, RED ALERT! is only available for the Mac right now. MetaCheater is available for Mac OS X and Windows XP. (Note: Avid does not endorse the third-party applications used in this tutorial). Stay tuned for a future tutorial in which we’ll explain the Media Composer workflow using REDCINE, RED’s more evolved post-production tool.
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