Recently I've had to spit finished colored files out to a Smoke - is there an optimal way of doing this? I render DPX files (each shot to a different directory) with handles and export the XML for the Smoke to read, but the Smoke has trouble finding the clips. Does this have something to do with how the files or directories are named, or both?
You can conform DPX files with an XML or EDL in Smoke. Either way, the search criteria will be based on timecode and tape name which is the information you can embed in the DPX.
The best way to set up your structure is to have a root folder. Inside the folder you will have all your reel folders. Each folder would contain your footage. Place the XML in the root folder because Smoke will search recursively for the DPX files.
To do the conform, open the gateway browser and navigate to the location of the DPX files. Double-click on a DPX clip and you can set the preferences for the import. Importantly the META data such as TIMECODE from header and TAPE from Header/Directory needs to be set before conforming.
Now navigate up to the ROOT folder. Select the XML clip.
In the FCP XML /AAF menu, choose the first menu and set the RESOLUTION of the XML to the resolution of the DPX files. This will ensure that you do not resize your footage for no reason.
Select the the second menu, and set your search criteria to USE TAPE and USE TIMECODE.
You should be able to drag and drop the XML from the gateway browser into the clip library and Smoke should find the clips.
It's difficult to troubleshoot over a forum because there are so many variables but hopefully it will get you in the right direction.