Starting a Project in Avid


This guide will show you how to create a new project in Avid Media Composer. Afterwards, you will find links to help you import footage and use Avid's basic editing tools.

***IMPORTANT*** If you are using footage from our server Sourcebook (students in VM376, 476, and 632), you will be better off following our other guide: Avid Media Composer - Using Sourcebook Projects on Campus.  

Creating a Project

  • Launch Avid Media Composer.
  • The project window will open. Select New Project at the top.


  • Select your project location. 
    • Shared Avid Projects: *highly suggested* Project is stored locally on computer while editing (Avid's preference). If you forget to backup your project after you finish for the day, it will be retrievable 
    • Avid Projects: Saved locally on your computer - if you forget to backup your project at the end of the day it will be deleted permanently
    • Custom: Click the folder icon (right side) to save your project directly to a custom location such as an external hard drive. 


  • Title your project. You can not change this later without starting a new project.
  • Input your resolution and frame rate to proceed. You can not change this later without starting a new project.
    • If you are not sure what settings you shot with, you can check by opening a clip in QuickTime Player, hitting CMD+i for info, and checking the values listed there.


  • Ignore the "MediaCentral" login at the bottom. If you have text entered in these fields, it will prevent you from moving forward.
  • Click "Create" in the bottom right to create and open your project. Before you begin editing, we suggest you double check your file management with the tips below. This will ensure everything is being saved to the locations you expect.

File Management

Locate your project folder inside the location you choose: Shared Avid Projects, Avid Projects, or a custom location. Within it, you will find your project folder, which has all of your bins, settings and project file.

The .avs file is your settings file. This is where everything you find in the settings tab is saved.

The .avb file is your bin file. Each new bin created in Avid has a corresponding .avb file.

The .avp is your project file. This is where your cuts and other edits are saved.

Keep in mind that none of these files, nor your project folder, contain any media. They simple reference (or point) to media on your hard drive. This makes project folders very small in file size allowing for quick transfers and easy backups of earlier edits.

Avid is very particular about where it stores media files. Avid will convert all imported media into MXF files (Avid's preferred format) and store those files in one place: your Avid MediaFiles folder on your external hard drive (or your students drive, if you are using the server instead). The Avid MediaFiles folder must live on the root of your hard drive - moving this folder or renaming it will cause all of your media to go offline in Avid Media Composer.


Setting Media Creation

  • Navigate to File/Settings. Select the Project tab and double click Media Creation.


  • Navigate to the Import tab of this new window
  • Select your desired resolution
  • Select your external hard drive (or your students drive) from the drop-down menu.


  • Click Apply to All to make sure that all media created within your project is saved to your drive at this resolution.

Backing Up Your Project

  • When you have finished editing for the day, save and quit Avid.
  • Open the Shared Avid Projects folder and find your project. Copy the entire folder to your hard drive (or Student drive).
  • You may want to create an ”older versions” folder where you keep each day’s project folder as a backup before overwriting the folder with the most recent version of your project. These folders take up very little space and this will make your life much easier if something goes wrong with your project in the future.
  • At the beginning of your next editing session, copy this folder into the Shared Avid Projects folder and open this version in Avid. You are less likely to run into problems if you work from the Shared folder than an external drive.
  • Note: If you rename your project, Avid will no longer be able to find it. Be sure to keep the name of your project folder consistent.

Additional Links

Importing in Avid Media Composer

Basic Editing in Avid Media Composer

Proxies in Avid Media Composer

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