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MC6 to After Effects with Automatic Duck

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Frederic Lumiere
MC6 to After Effects with Automatic Duck
on Dec 26, 2011 at 11:25:25 pm

Going from MC6 to AE CS5.5 using Automatic Duck.

Just did a test and it looks like transcoding all the footage to Prores (MXF) instead of DnxHD was a bad idea? AE doesn't recognize the media... or I did something wrong.

Anyone try this yet?

Frederic Lumiere
Producer
Lumiere Media


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Scott Cumbo
Re: MC6 to After Effects with Automatic Duck
on Dec 27, 2011 at 3:25:36 am

I'm not sure if the transcode is the problem, but i have to ask... Why would you transcode to prores instead of dnx 145? It's the same bit rate. Avids DNX codecs are very good.

Scott Cumbo
Editor
Broadway Video, NYC


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Frederic Lumiere
Re: MC6 to After Effects with Automatic Duck
on Dec 27, 2011 at 4:35:53 am

Great question Scott. Well, I'm completely new to AVID. I'm one of the FCP convert after Apple abandoned professional editors. When AVID raved about the 'Prores' feature of MC6 I figured it would be a safer switch incase I needed to go back to FCP for this project in panic mode... Didn't realized that for MC6 to operated really smoothly it would wrap the Prores in an MXF - which is fine I guess.

I also didn't know if AE would do well with DnxHD (I guess it does). Anyway, I committed to the change (40 hours of footage and counting) and am now realizing that the issue is most likely the Prores wrapped in MXF that AE does not recognize.

So now it looks like I have 1 of 2 choices:

1. Re-transcode everything to DNx

2. Export AAF from MC6 to AE with the re-encode option (really don't want to do that)

I used to teach post workflow at NAB, Macworld, etc... and I used to start my classes with 'TEST YOUR COMPLETE WORKFLOW BEFORE YOU START A PROJECT' and here I am. I didn't. :(

In my defense, I had to wait for a new system to handle MC6 (64 bit) and didn't want to wait on the encoding from 5D H.264. I made an assumption that Prores would be a safe way to go since I had used it for years... Well, we all know what happens when we ASSume...

Frederic Lumiere
Producer
Lumiere Media


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Frederic Lumiere
Re: MC6 to After Effects with Automatic Duck
on Dec 27, 2011 at 3:31:26 pm

I re-read the Media Composer 6 page on AVID puzzled by my decision to go Prores... I guess the following lead me to believe that MC6 to AE using Prores should be a no-brainer:

"Get full native ProRes support on Mac (encode and decode) and Windows (decode only) for easy integration into any ProRes workflow"

Frederic Lumiere
Producer
Lumiere Media


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Frederic Lumiere
Re: MC6 to After Effects with Automatic Duck
on Dec 27, 2011 at 4:08:03 pm

Looks to me that the "ProRes Workflow" AVID advertises is only in AMA mode which isn't recommended by any pro editor (for good reasons) essentially making ProRes not really useable on MC.

Looks like I'm going to have to re-transcode 40 hours to Dnx...

Frederic Lumiere
Producer
Lumiere Media


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Scott Cumbo
Re: MC6 to After Effects with Automatic Duck
on Dec 27, 2011 at 5:06:32 pm

yeah, if you're gonna transcode stuff anyway, i would choose dnx. I've never really had problems with AMA (besides h264 codec, which it doesn't seem to like), though I mainly work on promos and other short form stuff. I still like to old school "import" footage when time permits (I'm also lucky enough to have assistants who take care of that stuff over night in most cases)

good luck

Scott Cumbo
Editor
Broadway Video, NYC


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Frederic Lumiere
Re: MC6 to After Effects with Automatic Duck
on Dec 27, 2011 at 6:31:50 pm

Hmm... did a test with Dnx and AE doesn't recognize it either. Perhaps the problem isn't ProRes...

Frederic Lumiere
Producer
Lumiere Media


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Frederic Lumiere
Re: MC6 to After Effects with Automatic Duck
on Dec 27, 2011 at 8:49:22 pm

Nevermind - the Dnx stuff works in AE as long as it wraps the Dnx into a QT (won't open MXF directly - at least not AVID's).

So the issue is Prores MXF as it must be wrapped in a QT for AE to understand it and Automatic Duck doesn't recognize it.

Frederic Lumiere
Producer
Lumiere Media


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Oliver Peters
Re: MC6 to After Effects with Automatic Duck
on Dec 27, 2011 at 10:43:42 pm

MC6 works with ProRes natively on a Mac. It does a "fast import", which rewraps the a/v essence from MOV to MXF. It DOES NOT transcode the format - only a copy. If you import as DNxHD, you should do this via AMA and transcode in order to maintain proper levels. Standard (not "fast" and not AMA) imports from QT formats require the QT engine to decode and then Avid re-encodes. Neither RGB or 601/709 level selection will yield correct results, because of QT's closed architecture. They WILL BE correct if you go in via the AMA route.

AE does not read Avid MXF media, so AutoDuck has had a workaround to write QT reference files for MXF media. Since their development stopped before MC6 was released, it's possible this no longer works with certain files. An alternative (not free) would be to use the Boris Transfer tool. They have a slightly different approach and in the past, I have been able to use AMA-linked files (not transcoded) in MC and go to AE using the Boris tool. There, AE would reconnect to the original QT files.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Oliver Peters
Re: MC6 to After Effects with Automatic Duck
on Dec 27, 2011 at 11:05:39 pm

I just ran a quick test. AD does the correct conversion, but it's just that it does not know how to interpret the ProResMXF files. These come up as unsupported media in AE. If you use the Boris AAF Transfer tool to import the AAF files into AE, it will relink to the original source QT movies.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Frederic Lumiere
Re: MC6 to After Effects with Automatic Duck
on Dec 28, 2011 at 12:08:24 pm

Just tested the Boris Transfer tool, same thing as AutoDuck, it doesn't recognize Prores MXFs.

I guess it's just a matter of time before they update their software in order to support AVID Prores MXFs since it's so new (MC6).

Frederic Lumiere
Producer
Lumiere Media


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Oliver Peters
Re: MC6 to After Effects with Automatic Duck
on Dec 28, 2011 at 2:25:13 pm

Strange. It worked for me with Boris. Make sure that when you export the AAF file from MC you have it set to Link To Media (not embed) and have the Edit Protocol button checked. In the Boris import dialogue there is an option to reconnect media. This should see the links to the original QT files. If it doesn't, you can manually point it to the location of the files.

Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Frederic Lumiere
Re: MC6 to After Effects with Automatic Duck
on Dec 28, 2011 at 2:34:24 pm

It worked for you with ProRes MXFs? I still get the 'unsupported MXF' error for each file.

Frederic Lumiere
Producer
Lumiere Media


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Oliver Peters
Re: MC6 to After Effects with Automatic Duck
on Dec 28, 2011 at 2:58:50 pm

Yes, with the Boris tool. Make sure you have the latest version. My process :
1. MC6 - Import ProRes MOVs selecting equivalent ProResMXF format. (Should "fast import").
2. Cut sequence together in MC6.
3. Export AAF of sequence, selecting Linked Media and AAF Edit Protocol.
4. Open AE and import AAF file via Boris Transfer option.
5. Reconnect to media which connects to original QT source MOVs (NOT MXF files)

Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Frederic Lumiere
Re: MC6 to After Effects with Automatic Duck
on Dec 28, 2011 at 3:13:20 pm

Ah got it. You still have a copy of your QT prores, I don't since I transcoded from DSLR H.264 but I could reconnect to the DSLR footage though...

Frederic Lumiere
Producer
Lumiere Media


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Oliver Peters
Re: MC6 to After Effects with Automatic Duck
on Dec 28, 2011 at 3:25:00 pm

OK I see the issue. Yes, I have been working with H264 files already converted to ProRes MOV as well as Alexa files. My normal SOP with Canon files is to convert externally first (ProRes for FCP or DNxHD for MC) using MPEG Streamclip, before I do any editing. These files become my "camera masters" because I also embed TC and reel numbers. For the future, in your workflow, I would recommend importing via AMA. Cut down selects and then transcode to DNxHD. Then AutiDuck should work just fine.

Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Frederic Lumiere
Re: MC6 to After Effects with Automatic Duck
on Dec 28, 2011 at 3:43:35 pm

Here's my workflow:

1/ Rename DSLR H264 with Adobe Bridge
2/ Consolidate takes from interviews (10 min max on 5D) with Streamclip
3/ Sync & Embed dual system audio tracks with Dual Eyes & QT 7 (some clips will end up with more than 2 audio tracks)
3/ Add TC with qtChange

4/ Before installing MC6 I used FCP Media Manager to transcode to Prores (Streamclip would not keep the multi-audio tracks intact)

4/ Now I import the H264 (with multi audio tracks synced & TC) with AMA then transcode to ProRes.

Frederic Lumiere
Producer
Lumiere Media


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Frederic Lumiere
Re: MC6 to After Effects with Automatic Duck
on Dec 28, 2011 at 3:57:05 pm

[Oliver Peters] "For the future, in your workflow, I would recommend importing via AMA. Cut down selects and then transcode to DNxHD. Then AutiDuck should work just fine."

Absolutely! Next project... Thanks for all your help Oliver!

Frederic Lumiere
Producer
Lumiere Media


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Frederic Lumiere
Re: MC6 to After Effects with Automatic Duck
on Dec 28, 2011 at 5:37:20 pm

Actually, here's an even better solution:

MXF Import by Calibrated Software makes Prores MXF files readable by QT!

http://www.calibratedsoftware.com/MXFImport_Mac.asp

Thanks to this software, there is now a smooth workflow with AutoDuck between MC6 Prores MXF and After Effects.

Frederic Lumiere
Producer
Lumiere Media


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Frederic Lumiere
Re: MC6 to After Effects with Automatic Duck
on Dec 28, 2011 at 6:31:20 pm

For the life of me, I had it working once and can't make it work again!

Automatic Duck crashes when trying to import the Prores MXF AAF.

Boris Transfer will import the clips successfully but the comp is empty (no layers) when choosing to link to the MXFs files. When unchecking the 'link to original source references' the comp has all the proper layers but has placeholders instead of mxfs…

Frederic Lumiere
Producer
Lumiere Media


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Frederic Lumiere
Re: MC6 to After Effects with Automatic Duck
on Dec 28, 2011 at 7:52:26 pm

Much testing and my verdict is that having MXF Import is nice because it allows playing ProRes MXF in QT and therefore all QT based apps (FCP, AE, etc.) but it isn't reliable with Boris Transfer.

Boris Transfer works best when reconnecting the clips to your digital negatives (H.264 in my case).

Frederic Lumiere
Producer
Lumiere Media


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Frederic Lumiere
Re: MC6 to After Effects with Automatic Duck
on Dec 28, 2011 at 7:57:07 pm

A new test just brought in audio in AE even though I had specifically chosen just the video.

Sticking with reconnect to H.264 approach.

Frederic Lumiere
Producer
Lumiere Media


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Oliver Peters
Re: MC6 to After Effects with Automatic Duck
on Dec 28, 2011 at 7:57:55 pm

For the most part this issue is on the Adobe side. With Wes over there now, it's quite possible that import workflows for AE will improve with CS6.

Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Frederic Lumiere
Re: MC6 to After Effects with Automatic Duck
on Dec 28, 2011 at 8:02:40 pm

Yes. Funny I emailed him about this yesterday. No response yet. But I think you're right.

I was tempted (for 10 secs) to code a solution myself but we'll let Wes take care of it.

I developed Lumiere HD years ago -- never again ;)

Frederic Lumiere
Producer
Lumiere Media


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Oliver Peters
Re: MC6 to After Effects with Automatic Duck
on Dec 28, 2011 at 8:08:26 pm

I figured that was you. The name was familiar. Since Wes and his Dad are working with Adobe, the existing Automatic Duck plug-ins are at their last stage of development prior to the deal. So, I'm pretty sure you won't see any updates, fixes, etc. to them. That's why they are free. They will continue to work well in most cases for some time, but obviously as the hosts change in upcoming versions, some things are bound to break. Any future development from Wes will likely only be within the confines of an Adobe product.

Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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