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PLEASE! FCP export out of synch!

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Alan Langdon
PLEASE! FCP export out of synch!
on Nov 10, 2012 at 11:43:23 pm

Hello. I am in a very tight position and under the gun, so any light on this issue is thousand-fold appreciated. I have searched the forum for similar issues, and found some, but none have solutions posted.
I have been editing a feature-length (60 min actually) documentary. Footage is XDCAM EX3, logged and converted into FCP, 23.98, 1080p. The audio was from teh camera, so edited within FCP, then sent via OMF to an audio editor to sweeten and treat, fill in gaps, etc. in Cubase on a PC.
He sent me back the AIF files, 48 khz, 16bit, 2 mono and one stereo. These are Voice, Ambience, and SOundtrack.

We plugged them into the timeline like this: I nested the original picture cut into a same-settings sequence, and under the picture I brought in the audio files from the sound guy.
Every thing was fine, we watched the whole piece with client and got approval. So I proceeded to export Quicktime (current settings, self-contained), which took 20 minutes roughly. Left the mac completely dedicated to the export: MacPro 2008 Xeon Quad-Core with 20 GB RAM, a very empty hard drive to receive the file, internal.

The resulting export is out of sync, and apparently more and mroe as it progresses.

The worst and strangest is that when I start a new sequence and try without the nesting, just pasting the oringinal clip cuttings and the imported audio AIFs, the files do NOT SYNC!!!! So it's almost liek the files I got form the sound guy are not synched, but then how does the nested sequence, shown to client, still maintain synch to this minute? I can watch it in synch no problem, but any new attempt to synch the image and sound, export, etc, seems to reveal out of synch issues...!


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Rafael Amador
Re: PLEASE! FCP export out of synch!
on Nov 11, 2012 at 3:04:27 am

Unless your audio guy has exported with a wrong time-base, I think this is the well known bug that has been documented by Matt Lyon.
When you import audio to FC, the application manage it as it had the same time base than your default sequence (Easy setup). So if your default sequence is 29,97fps and you import any audio and lie it on a 23,98 fps sequence, the audio will go out of sync.

That's why happens this:
[Alan Langdon] "The worst and strangest is that when I start a new sequence and try without the nesting, just pasting the oringinal clip cuttings and the imported audio AIFs, the files do NO"

i guess your default sequence is 29,97, so when you import your audio FC treat it as 29,97 and so drifts on your 23,98 sequence.

Try this:
- Delete the audio from FC.
- In "Easy setups", select any 23,98 fps option (so when you open a new sequence will be 23,98)
- reimport the audio and lie it on his place.
That should work

If you want to know more about the bug and how to fix more complicated scenes:
But if you are working with just one mix from your audio guy, you don't need to resource to XMLs. Just do as i wrote above.

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Alan Langdon
Re: PLEASE! FCP export out of synch!
on Nov 12, 2012 at 12:43:09 pm


Thanks for the help on such short notice. Now I have successfully exported the video, although the method you indicated was not the solution... I had seen the same solution, which another cow user had recomended as well, and it seemed very plausible, except for the fact that the first time I imported the AIF files from Cubase , while FCP was still under the 29.97 fps Easy Setup reign, everything worked fine: that was how I showed the final edit and mix to the client. The sequence played (and still plays!) fine, but upon export, it is out of synch, and upon new importing of audio and re-synching in the sequence, also it is out of synch. This happened no matter if Easy Setup was 23.98 or 29.97, unfortunatelly.

I also had tried not nesting sequences for the final master, which didn't solve the issue either. I thought it would.

What ended up being the solution, which I cannot explain why, was to plug the Cubase audio files into a duplicate sequence of the original cut, no nesting (just in case) and to re-sync the 3 audio streams (voice, effects and music): each was off by +5 or -9 frames (!!!). Once I did this, everything stayed in synch and I was able to export using Current Settings, and form there make a DVD and a h264 QT.

I really do not know what happened, because it seems like the files from Cubase lost frames/sync AFTER they had been imported and successfully synched up. But at least it wasn't an issue of frame-rates, because there was no sycnh drift.

If anyone has any idea what might have gone on (coudl happen again, I am sure), feedback is much welcome!

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