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Media Composer to Resolve via AAF -- Clips "missing" and/or jumbled

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Aaron Wiesen
Media Composer to Resolve via AAF -- Clips "missing" and/or jumbled
on Aug 20, 2016 at 8:27:22 am

I know this ground has been well-trodden already, but so far I've not found anything that directly helps with the issue we're having. Ultimately, what I need is a roundtrip workflow from Avid to Resolve and back. I'll try to provide as much detail as I can and explain some of the strange things that are occurring. (And - as is almost always the case - we're on something of a deadline, so any/all timely assistance is greatly appreciated.)

Here's the layout:
  • I will (hopefully) be grading a 1 hour program in Resolve 12.5.1 from one computer. The editor is working in Avid Media Composer 8.5.x (I think it's 8.5.1, but I'm not certain) on a different machine.

  • The vast majority of footage was shot on a C100mk2 (a little GoPro in there as well and maybe a shot or two from DSLR) and the footage was transcoded to DNxHD175X by Avid coming in (in other words: no AMA linking)

  • We are attempting to create an AAF of the not-quite-locked-pic edit from Avid so that we can get a head start on the grading necessary within Resolve. In other words: some finagling may be necessary in the future, and it would be handy to be able to reimport the clips into Avid for any trimming adjustments necessary.

  • Due to the sheer amount of media and fact that 2 machines are involved - we are aiming for utilizing consolidated media as opposed to a full copy (with handles)

  • Although the editor is comfortable working in Avid and I in Resolve; this is the first time we've attempted to combine said dastardly powers (our previous project originated from Premiere). It's important to note that neither of us really understands the mechanics of the other's program of choice in this case.

  • Just in case it proves relevant: the Avid machine is on Mac and the Resolve machine is on Windows.

And here's what is currently happening:
  • The editor exports an AAF of the timeline in question (consolidated media/no transcode options selected/not sure what else goes into this).

  • What I receive is an AAF file with timeline information, and a fairly large folder entitled, "Avid MediaFiles" that carries all the assets.

  • When importing into Resolve, I get the notification to relink media (missing ~1350 of 1350) and I have to point Resolve to the "Avid MediaFiles" folder

  • Resolve finds the vast majority of the clips, but (seemingly) no video clips on track 2 and an arbitrary number of audio clips (missing ~70 of 1350).

  • Though difficult to find (thank you Avid .mxf file naming schema), I can manually find the "missing" media clips - though they will not reconnect to Resolve.

  • A significant number of audio and video clips are displaced in the sequence. Some simply out of order, some with new gaps introduced between clips, and several seemingly shoved off to the end of the timeline.

And finally, some important discoveries I've made by importing this very same AAF into Premiere:
  • The timeline shows up in order. There's still some unexplained media showing up after the end (almost looks like random selects that didn't get removed...only I know that these were cleared away), but a cursory scrub-through seems to place every bit of media where it should be.

  • When attempting to relink one of the "missing" media clips with its file from the "Avid MediaFiles" folder, I receive an explanation from Premiere stating it cannot relink due to the audio channels having changed (previously 2 channels, now 1?)

So...what on earth is going on? Is this an Avid problem? Resolve problem? Insane bug that we're finding at a terrible time? Why are the audio channels getting fussed with when the editor isn't transcoding on the way out? Why does it seem that Premiere is getting the info straight while Resolve is confused? Should I actually be posting this in the Media Composer forum? So very many questions here...

And, as much as I would like to get a proper fix for this issue (round-tripping Media Composer to Resolve and back), we're under the gun enough that all workarounds are acceptable as well. (Export full video from Avid sans transitions and slice-and-dice from Resolve before grading? Awful and time consuming - but I'll do it if I have to. Perform color grade from Premiere? Ugh - but I really will do that if I must.)

Finally, I would really like to try and get some form of definitive round-trip answer here - if only so that others can find something definitive when they go searching. (I found a LOT of unfinished threads on this topic.) Bottom line: if the ultimate answer is that this simply does not work? So be it. Very strange...but I'll accept that it just doesn't work right now.

Huge thanks in advance and I'll try to reciprocate by marking a definitive answer if I get one (or by stating what we wound up having to do if no solution presents itself).


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Glenn Sakatch
Re: Media Composer to Resolve via AAF -- Clips "missing" and/or jumbled
on Aug 20, 2016 at 4:19:15 pm

I typically do a different workflow for this kind of thing.

First of i rarely worry about audio into Resolve. You said the sequence is going back to Avid, so i'm assuming you just want to color in Resolve, and do the rest of your finish in Avid. This is my workflow as well. I don't need 14 tracks of audio in Resolve to do a color pass. Export a wave file from Avid of your offline mix, bring that into Resolve and edit it onto your timeline. Delete the rest of the audio from the resolve timeline.

ack in Avid, i don't usually embed the media during the aaf creation. Take your sequence duplicate it and put it in a bin call to Resolve, and transcode it, with handles to a clean "1" folder in your Avid MediaFiles structure. (rename your current "1" folder to something else..."Project name offline edit media"

Once the transcode is done, move your "Project name offline edit media" folder up one layer, effectively hiding it from Avid.

Now, when you load the transcoded version of your sequence, you should see it online, and the original sequence offline. Does your newly transcoded sequence look correct? If any media is missing, look at that media and figure out what is different about it. This will tell you that all the media you need has been properly transcoded.

Now, export an aaf, but only with the linking options set...no media creation necessary.

Once that is done, open the newly created timeline that has the word exported next to it. Does it seem correct? This is essentially the same timeline that Resolve will be reading. There is no need to keep it in Avid, I usually delete it, but it is handy to check to make sure all the tracks that I wanted to come across are there.

Now rename your "1" folder "transcoded to Resolve"

Launch resolve, import your transcoded to Resolve folder into your media pool.
import your aaf, tell Resolve not to automatically load media...it will ask you where the media is, point it to the media you just brought in.

With any luck you will get a timeline, where everything is online.
Delete the audio tracks, add in your wave file, and color the show.

When you export back using the Avid delivery preset, the list that is automatically created will still include your original audio tracks. Resolve doesn't create a list with any changes that you've done to the timeline, unless you specifically request it.

This is the workflow I've been using successfully for years.

When you are ready to send the final edit changes from resolve to Avid, there are a couple of things you might want to consider before you commence, but that is another topic.

Glenn


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Aaron Wiesen
Re: Media Composer to Resolve via AAF -- Clips "missing" and/or jumbled
on Aug 20, 2016 at 6:30:45 pm

Hi Glenn. Thank you for the quick response.

You're absolutely right, I'm not really concerned with the audio aside from having a reference track. But it was the jumbled and/or missing audio clips that first clued me in to the fact that there was a problem - only reason why I was initially interested in them. Having a single, stereo-mix wave file was always the final intent.

As for your proposed "duplicate/transcode/move original" to "AAF link only" workflow - thank you. This is the first answer I've found that makes sense to me and seems like it allows for some degree of QC from within Media Composer before we go through the trouble of transferring everything to the Resolve system.

I'll send this information on to the editor so we can give it a shot - but it sounds good so far. If we run into any other hangups I'll post them here, and if not I can mark this down as a definitive solution.

Thanks again!


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Marc Wielage
Re: Media Composer to Resolve via AAF -- Clips "missing" and/or jumbled
on Aug 21, 2016 at 2:32:35 am

Three handy links:

http://www.avidblogs.com/how-to-roundtrip-davinci-resolve-to-avid-media-com...

https://library.creativecow.net/freeman_scott/AVID-Framerate-Metadata/1

http://wolfcrow.com/blog/the-avid-to-resolve-workflow/

It can work, but it needs to start with a simplified timeline, a minimum number of video tracks (I don't like more than 2), no speed changes, no baked-in looks, no compound clips, and no multicam clips. You'll also need a reference video (low-res with visible TC) to check the conform in Resolve once it's done.


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Aaron Wiesen
Re: Media Composer to Resolve via AAF -- Clips "missing" and/or jumbled
on Aug 21, 2016 at 2:51:45 am

Thank you for the links, however links one and three (avidblogs and wolfcrow) were ones that did show up in my initial search. In fact, these are the two that we tried unsuccessfully before I posted here (clips missing or in the wrong places...I can't recall which, but one of the links only matches an older version of Avid as well). That neither of these step-by-step links has worked is what had me initially concerned that we may have had a bug. The metadata link is one I've not seen yet, so I'll be sure to read it over.

We were careful with video tracks (only 2) and we have no baked-in looks, compound clips, or multicam. I did forget to check with the editor about speed changes, so I'll be sure to do that. Thanks! (And yes, the reference video is an absolute must in this case - never a question about it.)

I'll be meeting with the editor tomorrow to try and hash this out, so I'll have an update either later tomorrow or the next day.

He expressed some concerns regarding the unlink/relink nature of moving the Avid folders around (since it's still probably a day or two away from locked-pic, and this is serving as a proof-of-concept). I'm not really an Avid editor, so I couldn't give him a 100% guarantee that everything will relink smoothly - we may have to meddle with Glenn's formula ever so slightly to try and preserve the current folder structure.

Info on what we do and how it turns out when I get back. Here's hoping.


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Marc Wielage
Re: Media Composer to Resolve via AAF -- Clips "missing" and/or jumbled
on Aug 21, 2016 at 9:43:31 am

The brute force technique is to bring all the clips in manually to the Media Page and then bring in the XML (or AAF) and it should automatically find the files that way. If you're forced to bring in all the files shot for the project -- including those unused in the timeline -- you can Media Manage the session and save a subset of the files in a different location.

In general, if the Reel Names are correct and the timecodes have no conflicts, this is generally a piece of cake. Where it goes south very quickly is when people shoot on toy cameras without timecode (where all the clips begin with "00:00:00:00"), or when somebody changed the file names at some point. There are workarounds for all of this, but a lot hinges on your specific situation.


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Glenn Sakatch
Re: Media Composer to Resolve via AAF -- Clips "missing" and/or jumbled
on Aug 21, 2016 at 3:29:14 pm

Just keep in mind, when moving the MediaFiles folders around, you are not doing a "relink" in the traditional sense of the word. (you do not have to go anywhere near the relink button, which many people are quite intimidated by)

Each folder has its own database. That database is written and read by Avid automatically when the name of the folder contains numbers only. By moving the the folder up one level, you are simply hiding the media from Avids database search. When you drop it back down, it will automatically see the media again. It is pretty important to hide the media, to ensure the box is not reading old media, when you want to to check that it is only seeing the new media, or to double check that Avid didn't skip a clip because a version of it already existed on the drive.

Once the media is confirmed, change the transcoded media folder to a different name ( or number if you please, but harder to keep track of) and drop the other folder back into the mix.

Tracking your media properly is part of the challenge in the round trip process, other wise it is pretty easy for resolve to read a lower res version of a shot into your sequence, which you may or may not even notice until much later.

I would also add that many timewarps will come across just fine. I find most issues arise when the originating clip is not the same frame rate at the project. Basic speed changes certainly come across, as do most ramping situations, although because of the different techniques that can be applied in avid to create a ramp, your mileage may vary.

Glenn


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Aaron Wiesen
Re: Media Composer to Resolve via AAF -- Clips "missing" and/or jumbled
on Aug 21, 2016 at 4:57:09 pm

Glenn: Awesome info that I didn't know about Avid (and I suspect the editor didn't either). While not frightened per-se of the "relink" button, any possibility of risk that we'd have to individually relink clips at this stage is daunting. Great to learn about the database info as both this and discerning between the original and newly transcoded media was a concern. Thanks for the clear-up.

Also very valuable to learn the info about timewarp/ramp. To clarify for anyone who reads this thread: in our case - any footage that did not inherently match the timeline settings was conformed (whether through Media Composer, or before it even got there), so we were not battling mixed framerate footage.


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Aaron Wiesen
Re: Media Composer to Resolve via AAF -- Clips "missing" and/or jumbled
on Aug 21, 2016 at 4:50:54 pm

Excellent technique of "last resort". And yes, I've worked with enough DSLR shooters that I've had to lay on the timecode/media management speech a little thick more than a time or two. (Thankfully, that is not the case in this instance.)

Doesn't look like it's going to be necessary this time around, but I'll follow-up in another post to this thread.


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Aaron Wiesen
Re: Media Composer to Resolve via AAF -- Clips "missing" and/or jumbled
on Aug 21, 2016 at 4:59:09 pm

I couldn't find a means of editing this last post (probably there and I'm just missing it), so my previous message was in response to Marc.


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Aaron Wiesen
[Solved]: Media Composer to Resolve via AAF -- Clips "missing" and/or jumbled
on Aug 21, 2016 at 5:45:27 pm

Okay, the results are in and everything is working. Much of our issue was actually caused due to proximity - or the lack thereof.

What we had initially created in Media Composer was an AAF using the options to Consolidate media. As far as Resolve is concerned, this technique worked correctly. My confusion originated from the fact that certain titles and transitions generated in Avid did not carry over - and had the appearance of missing media clips when I started looking in Resolve. The Media Composer timeline I received had been set up with all video assets on V1, and titles on V2 (titles were after effects comps, and showed up as "media offline"). The audio was all over the place and resided across A1-A6.

These audio clips did get jumbled all over the place (bizarre mixes, placement, horrendously out of sync and jumbled, etc) when the AAF was brought into Resolve, but - as we are only interested in the video here - I could care less. (It is important to note that a distinctly different AAF file was created for the person handling the audio mix, and that this worked just fine on their system - implying that the "anything goes" jumble is Resolve's fault, not Avid.)

The confusing element wound up being two things: a few uses of "empty" text generators in the V1 timeline for fades to white - these showed up as "media offline" for me, and I assumed I was missing footage assets. And the unusual garbled a/v media at the end of the timeline which I had assumed got "popped" out and shoved down to the end for some strange reason. Turns out these were the result of some montage version selects that had been so far down the timeline. The editor had cleaned these out of the version I was receiving, but at some point in the hand-off I received the non-cleaned up version.

Once we were sitting in the same room with one another - he with Avid open and I with the same sequence in Resolve - we were able to verify through clips and timecode that all was well with the video. I then received an audio reference file (.wav) to replace my garbled audio mix and all was well. (I also subsequently removed the offline titles from V2 and replaced the empty text generators with white solids for my own personal reference.)

The end. All is well. But, for the sake of being definitive and thorough: I then set up the workflow per Glenn's instructions on the second post of this thread (verbatim) and verified that this yields the exact same (working!) results - with the added bonus of being a little faster and easier to QC.

So I suppose the lesson is: our way worked, it's better to use Glenn's method (2nd post), and if all else fails use the "brute force" technique outlined by Marc (6th post) to make sure you have something usable. Big thanks to both Glenn and Marc for the assistance, and hopefully this answer helps out someone else who gets similarly stuck. I think we've got the trip back to Avid well in hand (already tested delivery to Avid options in Resolve with no issues), so hopefully you won't be hearing from me again too soon.

Thanks again!


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