Is there a way to export an audio AAF that includes all the tracks of source file, even if not all those tracks were placed in to the timeline itself?Posted by Jimmy See on April 4, 2019 at 7:01 am
I’m fairly sure the answer is no, but on the off-chance, I’d like to know.
I actually thought that this is what ‘include inactive tracks’ means but actually having now tested that I can see it isn’t and actually is probably related more to do with whether one had tracks switched on or off or muted or not muted which I guess actually makes more sense than what I took it to mean.
However, my misinterpretation of what it meant actually does sound like a pretty useful function and indeed is what I thought was happening in that past.
So say you have a timeline that for simplicity’s sake is just one clip. Imagine the source of that clip has 8 tracks of audio recorded, 7 of which you didn’t want during your edit, so you only placed in Track 2 of the source in your timeline. For offline editing, prior to mix, that’s fine, but for the mixer, those 7 other tracks could be useful. It’d be good to supply those to them, but it would be a PITA to have to lay those in to the timeline prior to generating an AAF for them. What I had erroneously believed was happening when one clicks on ‘include inactive tracks’ was that the sound mixer would open the AAF in their DAW and see a timeline just like my one in Avid with only the 1 audio track, but they would have the ability to do a match frame back to the source file which would have 7 other tracks available for them to put in. Is there a functionality like this one?
April 4, 2019 at 3:02 pm
[Jimmy See] “I actually thought that this is what ‘include inactive tracks’ means but actually having now tested that I can see it isn’t”
That refers to MULTICAM clips. If you have a multicam clip with 4 angles, and you only see one, if you use this option, ALL FOUR will be consolidated.
[Jimmy See] “Imagine the source of that clip has 8 tracks of audio recorded, 7 of which you didn’t want during your edit, so you only placed in Track 2 of the source in your timeline. For offline editing, prior to mix, that’s fine, but for the mixer, those 7 other tracks could be useful.”
Yup. This is why even if you only use one of those tracks, but need to provide all 7…you must include all 7 in your timeline, and drop the audio down on the 6 you aren’t using. This is one reason I have 10 dialog tracks to deal with on my timeline…I include all the audio tracks the mixer will want. Sorry, it is a pain, but this is the way it must be done in order to get all 7 over. AAF will only include what is on the timeline, that’s it.
One option to getting the mixer ALL of the audio, that is also widely done, is for you to give them ALL of the audio, and then an EDL of the sequence, and they auto-conform it on their end. Yes, this takes longer to do, but it gets them all the audio tracks. Talk to your mixer about this option.
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April 5, 2019 at 1:23 am
Thanks man, good to know. I have actually had mixers request materials in that way, the auto-conform I think is the part of the process I was missing so that explains a lot.
Is it a limitation of the AAF standard that this isn’t an option, or just no one particularly felt it was necessary or thought about it. I’m thinking it could be a good feature request, after all, it’s useful for much the same reasons that the feature as it currently works for multicam is.
April 5, 2019 at 2:45 am
[Jimmy See] “Is it a limitation of the AAF standard that this isn’t an option, or just no one particularly felt it was necessary or thought about it.”
Neither. AAF and consolidating are doing what you tell them. Consolidate…all media in the timeline. AAF export…all media in the timeline. If you needed more to be included, you need to put that onto the timeline. It can’t guess what you want. Because I will have clips with 8 tracks of audio, but really I might only want to send 1 or two. Or, four tracks are silence (XDCAM format often has 8 tracks)…and I don’t want the silence to be sent. So, if you want certain audio tracks to be consolidated or exported…put them on the timeline.
[Jimmy See] “I’m thinking it could be a good feature request, after all, it’s useful for much the same reasons that the feature as it currently works for multicam is.”
Worth a shot. But note that in the case of multicam…ALL of the angles are included on the timeline. It’s a clip with multiple angles embedded. What you describe isn’t…a clip will have 8 channels, but you only put one on the timeline. Because only one is there, that’s all it knows. Unlike multicam, where all are there.
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April 5, 2019 at 4:29 am
Well, it appears to have worked fine for everybody all this time without my idea implemented so I’m not holding my breath, however right now I can certainly see the value of it, especially as what I am suggesting is essentially already done as it is, albeit much less efficiently, by delivering audio files separately for an auto conform process.
The limitation of my suggested feature being implemented in the way that I suggest is as you describe: that a global toggle doesn’t account for particular and specialised circumstances where for example, the editor has declined to place all the possible tracks that might be available on the timeline, however the mixer would only benefit from the inclusion of some of those unused tracks, but not all. It’s true that my on/off, include/don’t include switch in this circumstance wouldn’t have any way to deal with that, that wouldn’t be messy.
That said, if you think of the current approach of delivering all the recorded audio to the mixer for them to auto conform, they’re faced with the exact same situation anyway. Similarly, the current global switch option that is implemented, either includes, or doesn’t include ALL the angles of a multicam clip including any you might potentially have seen no value in providing and would have excluded were it possible.
I also don’t see the obstacle in the explanation for why this is logical and sensible as a feature for multicam angles, but not for audio tracks. You point out a distinction whereby a multicamera clip, is a special kind of clip where all angles are on the timeline but not, because they are ’embedded’ in to the clip and so they’re ‘there’ even when not visible in UI or in the record monitor output, thus when an AAF is generated it is possible to collect all the media that comprises all the angles of the clip because of all of them are ‘on’ the timeline (in a sense of the word). This opposed to audio tracks from a source clip that are not laid on the timeline which you are saying are ‘absent’ from the timeline in a way that angles of a multicamera clip that aren’t actively selected are not. It seems to me that’s an accurate description of the current situation, more than it is an explanation because that distinction is arbitrary. All of the angles of a multicamera clip placed on the timeline aren’t ‘on’ the timeline, in the sense that the user interface doesn’t show you 4 clip segments, it is just the case that a relationship between the angle that is visible on the timeline and those which are not is understood by Avid and recognised during the process of generating an AAF, it seems to me then that a clip with only one track on the timeline but which has a relationship with 7 other audio track can be just as logically described as having all 7 tracks as “on” the timeline as a multicamera clip can be described as having all angles “on” the timeline, given Avid knows about the relationship between the 1 chosen track and the other 7 available ones. You can, with 1 keystroke from within Avid call up the other 7 tracks of audio available, just like you can with multicamera angles, and the AAF standard appears capable of dealing with this same level of complexity so the inclusion of one example of it and not the other seems just arbitrary.
If the AAF standard was not sophisticated enough to encompass the concept of media with special relationships to other media, and was simply a means of collecting and describing tracks on a timeline, the inability to do what I’m suggesting would make sense, however because you say it’s possible to do this with multicamera clips, it is hard to imagine it’s not equally possible, by means of the same mechanics that allows that to work, collect additional unused but still available source audio tracks. Having the option on by default would probably not be a great idea, but a checkbox exactly like the one that’s already there, would be great. There would be circumstances where you didn’t get exactly what you wanted out of it because the inability to choose which tracks to include or not, but if you wanted to do that, you’d do it the old fashioned way by either including or not including them on the timeline and disabling this theoretical option.
Also, after writing all this I went back and looked at the export dialogue again and I’m now quite thoroughly confused. It’s actually called ‘include inactive audio tracks’ not ‘include inactive tracks’ which suggests it is absolutely audio specific. It also makes me wonder something, if the option does or doesn’t enable the collecting of additional media for the AAF based on whether you do or don’t want additional unused angles collected with the chosen angle of a multicamera clip, what is the ‘commit multicam edits’ function for? Wouldn’t that be the same things as choosing not to enable the include inactive tracks option?
April 5, 2019 at 10:15 pm
I haven’t used it, but I’ve always assumed in active audio tracks swithlch was ( as you originally said) was to include tracks that are physically on the timeline, but rendered inactive by way of the mute command or power switch.
The difference In the function of multicam video vs all audio tracks is possibly that in a milticam video scenario, you are essentially putting all the clips on the timeline e at once, you just are only viewing one at a time.
For me…I have a macro built that can match frame back to the original clip and cut more audio tracks onto the timeline very quickly…thus I can cut with bare audio, then add in all the other audio tracks by litterly hitting a macro button over and over again. It deselects all tracks in both record and source…match frames the clip in the timeline, patches the audio, records it to timeline tracks of my choosing,and advances to the next clip. I can re do the audio on a 20 min show in 5 mins easily, if my timeline is properly organized in the first place.
July 22, 2022 at 2:03 pm
Hi Glenn, I am in this exact situation and was hoping you could tell me more about the macro. I would love to get that going on my current project so I can provide all tracks to our dialogue editor.
May 5, 2023 at 3:22 am
No, there is no functionality in Avid Media Composer that allows sound mixers to match frame back to the source file and access inactive tracks
The “include inactive tracks” option simply displays any tracks that are turned off or hidden in the timeline. The only way to provide the mixer with all the tracks is to lay them out in the timeline and generate an AAF with all the tracks