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AAF import from Avid inserting black flash frames in to source clips that do not really exist

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Jimmy See
AAF import from Avid inserting black flash frames in to source clips that do not really exist
on May 9, 2018 at 2:20:48 am

I have imported a sequence in to After Effects from Avid using AAF and pro-import.

Everything appeared to be fine, however on playing back sections of the sequence I'm noticing sudden black flashes. When looking at the source clip in After Effects at the exact timecode where this seems to occur, there is nothing but black, but on the frames prior to and following that, there is vision. This would suggests that the source clip has some kind of problem except that it definitely doesn't because A: this same flash frame doesn't occur at that same source timecode in Avid, or anywhere in the source clips in Avid, and B: this same flash frame doesn't occur at that same source timecode in After Effects, if I manually locate the specific clip in the Avid MediaFiles folder that the Avid Project is reading from and import that in to After Effects and scrub to the frame in question.

This means I'm able to continue working by manually importing clips when I encounter flash frames, but this is really unsatisfactory because it's inconvenient for a start, but with a lot of clips it will become dangerously unmanageable and so far, only three shots in, I've discovered two offending clips. Also, what if I happen to miss one of these flash frames? By their very nature they flash for a fraction of a second. In a long sequence, the chances of this kind of mistake getting missed increases greatly.

Anyone know what's up with this?


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Jimmy See
Re: AAF import from Avid inserting black flash frames in to source clips that do not really exist
on May 9, 2018 at 4:43:26 am

Just to add to the weird-assed-ness, the problem is manifesting differently sometimes now and the workaround became simpler, but still irritating.

At one point, on watching back through my timeline I noticed that a black flash frame showed up on one of the layers I'd already replaced the footage for and fixed the flash frame issue for. That was dismaying, what could I do now if my fix doesn't work? On a whim I switched back to the original, supposedly not working source clip that was on the layer to begin with and suddenly the issue was fixed.

Then as I continued on through my timeline I noticed a flash frame on yet another clip, except this time it wasn't just blackness. It was one random frame from a different clip in the composition. This time I went through the folder of imported footage and found the source clip and placed (no 're-placed') it on the timeline with the same in and out points, and copied the transform parameters from the layer below on to that layer. Suddenly the flash frame was fixed. This didn't work if I used the replace command with the same clip selected in the project pane.

This was good because it meant I could fix issues as they arose without digging around on disk to find source clips and manually import them, however it's not great because the issue seems to manifest at random even in footage that probably didn't have the issue before, or which already had it fixed.

Somehow it seems to me like some sort of corrupt rendering issue, but the problem persists when you view the footage layer from source and not in the composition. My biggest fear is that any fixes may ultimately be for naught because what if the errors suddenly show up during the export of the composition? Is it a preview only issue, or will it persist in the finished movie file?


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Dave LaRonde
Re: AAF import from Avid inserting black flash frames in to source clips that do not really exist
on May 9, 2018 at 4:16:08 pm

Purge your memory & caches right away.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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