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  • Export FCP7 AAF to Symphony causing frame-rate issues

  • Marco Solorio

    June 19, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    I can’t find to seem an answer regarding this either on Google or Cow.

    I’m exporting a sequence out of FCP7 to Avid Compatible AAF for Symphony using Automatic Duck. The FCP7 sequence has a combination of formats: 720p60, 720p30, 720p24, 1080p24. The majority is 720p60.

    My first attempt was to export with externally linked MXF files that I then brought into the Avid database. They link right up and show up in the Symphony timeline, but the clips that are 720p60 are playing at slow motion. I tried changing the AMA export “Project Type” to both 720p60, and 720p30, both with the same results (720p60 clips playing slomo). It’s as if the original 720p60 clips are being conformed to 720p30 instead of keeping their original 720p60 rate.

    My second attempt was to do an AMA relink, which I really don’t want to do because I’ve been having issues with AMA workflows in Avid. Regardless, I can’t get the files to relink in Symphony after doing all the AAF dancing because it thinks the 720p60 clips are 720p30. I can’t modify the clip’s frame-rate, nor will it relink since it thinks it’s a different frame rate.

    Urgh, what a pain. I really do enjoy Symphony over the other NLEs right now, but bringing in legacy FCP7 projects is proving painful. Any help is appreciated.


    Marco Solorio | CreativeCow Host | OneRiver Media | ORM Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Media Batch

  • Shane Ross

    June 20, 2012 at 1:24 am

    Well, bringing in Legacy FCP projects is a pain if you mix all those formats. I’ve brought over a lot of projects without issue. Just did one last week.

    But mixing all of those in FCP is very problematic. I have no doubt that exporting flawlessly wouldn’t be possible.

    Little Frog Post
    Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def

  • Marco Solorio

    June 20, 2012 at 1:43 am

    I just performed a basic test:

    I made an FCP7 sequence at 720p60 and another sequence at 720p30.
    Each sequence had one clip at 720p60, 720p30, and 1080p24. The same exact clips/cuts for both sequences. Simple.
    I exported both sequences out of FCP7 as AAF with Automatic Duck using the respective format settings for each sequence.
    Imported both AAF sequences into Symphony.

    In short, anything in the sequence not native (frame-rate wise) gets *conformed* to the project frame-rate, not their inherent frame-rate, making any of those non-native clips totally unusable.

    Personally, I don’t know how anyone is using AAF export with success on large projects. We work in multiple formats on just about every project, whether it’s from different camera sources or stock footage. I’m not asking for plugin compatibility or even transition compatibility… all I need is for the source footage to maintain their original frame-rate, which seems like AAF export 101. I can’t believe this hasn’t been brought up before. Surely we’re not the first outfit to edit multiple frame-rates in a sequence and need to export that out as an AAF to Avid.

    Almost seems an ancient EDL might work out better. That’s my next attempt.


    Marco Solorio | CreativeCow Host | OneRiver Media | ORM Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Media Batch

  • Michael Phillips

    June 20, 2012 at 1:56 am

    It probably depends on how FCP is flagging the frame rate in the clip in the AAF. AAF is only as good as what goes into it, and how its interpreted on the way out. I don’t know if EDL will be any better or not, as I have not seen mixed frame rates flagged in EDL as to original rate and sequence rate. Perhaps that is the same issue with what is going into the AAF.

    For the simple sequences you just made, what does the XML export look like as far as frame rate metadata and timecode used for those formats?


    Michael Phillips

  • Juan Salvo

    June 20, 2012 at 4:56 am

    Hey Marco!

    Sent u tweet, but posting here for others:

    This is a known issue coming out of fcp w/ duck… Been doing mixed rate docs for years and have run into this a few times. There is a work around… you need to go into the project and separate out each framerate. I do this by listing master clips by frame rate, then making them all one color, and putting all the clips of each color onto their own tracks. Then you move each track into its own seq. Run each individual sequence through duck on its own. Then import into the same avid project and recombine tracks.

    Hope that helps.

    Online Editor | Colorist | Post Super | VFX Artist | BD Author

  • Marco Solorio

    June 20, 2012 at 5:43 am

    Juan! Always the man!

    Thanks for this reply, bro. This actually sounds like a plan! Will try it out first thing AM tomorrow.

    One thing though… after you isolate the clips to assigned tracks based on frame-rate, how are you bringing those isolated clips into a new sequence at a different frame-rate? FCP7 always screws up the clips’ in/out points when copied from one timeline to another timeline with a different frame-rate.

    Another question… do you know if multi-frame-rates work without any workarounds by alternatively using the Boris AAF Transfer tool?


    Marco Solorio | CreativeCow Host | OneRiver Media | ORM Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Media Batch

  • Juan Salvo

    June 20, 2012 at 5:55 am

    Good point. You do get extra frames… Edits slip 1 way or other by one frame. But if the seq target fps matches source fps, clip in/out seems to stay correct. Its dropping a 24 clip in a 25 seq, for example that messes it up. Still have to go through and fix after combining in avid, keep handles of course!

    As to Boris… No idea, never used. Imagine it’s inherent in the process, as fcp framerate handling is screwy and unique.

    Online Editor | Colorist | Post Super | VFX Artist | BD Author

  • Marco Solorio

    June 20, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    Weird, I’ve always had issues copying clips from one FCP7 timeline to another FCP7 timeline with a different frame rate. Likewise, if do it in this project, the same happens. However, I was able to get this working, albeit in a haphazardly way.

    I isolated the respective clips by format into their own tracks (your tip, Juan). Much like an audio stem, except in this regard, a video stem per se. But in order for me to copy those clips into a new FCP7 timeline that matches their source frame-rate, I had to copy them in “chunks”. If there were any gaps, slugs, or anything that *didn’t* have a clip with the same frame-rate that adjoined it, the clips from that point on would have the typical slip issue (totally screwed up in/out points) as I’ve come to know all too well. And no matter what, even one clip at a time, audio keyframes go bye-bye as those are slipped out as well.

    So not only did I have to create isolated tracks, I had to copy those tracks as isolated chunks. What a pain! But it “worked”. =)

    So after some painstaking time, I got all the stuff copied into their isolated sequences, and exported one by one as AAF transfers. These then imported into Symphony. Those multiple Symphony sequences were then copied into a master sequence. All audio keyframes have to be redone.

    Huge pain, not ideal, but it (sort of) worked. Thanks for the tip, Obi Juan. I almost didn’t continue pressing on when the isolated tracks didn’t copy over to their respective sequences, but luckily I gave it a shot to copy them in chunks.

    Still wondering if Boris actually works in this scenario. There’s gotta be an easier way.


    Marco Solorio | CreativeCow Host | OneRiver Media | ORM Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Media Batch

  • Marco Solorio

    June 20, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Hi Michael,

    Thanks for chiming in. Before you’re post yesterday, I did make an XML to see if that would do anything to help me get that sequence into Symphony. Looking at that XML file now, it does in fact show the clips’ source timebase. Weird thing though is that it shows it in rounded FPS, so instead of 29.97, it shows 30. The same is true for the metadata tags of the sequence itself.

    Too bad XML can’t be used instead as it seems like it does in fact retain source footage frame rates.


    Marco Solorio | CreativeCow Host | OneRiver Media | ORM Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Media Batch

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