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AAF exporting and importing using Automatic Duck (or anything that will work)

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Jimmy See
AAF exporting and importing using Automatic Duck (or anything that will work)
on Apr 24, 2014 at 8:17:11 am

I've been attempting recently to send edits to sound for mixing.

It's not something I've had to do often and the last times I have, I believe the sound department used Pro tools. In my first experience with it, we exported from FCP 7 to the sound department using Final Cut's in-built OMF export features and it was problem free. In the next environment where I had anything to do with this we exported from Avid in AAF format to a sound guy who I can only assume used ProTools though I can't confirm. Again, this was problem free.

However, our new guy uses Apple Logic. We've tried unsuccessfully to deliver him OMF's before using FCP7's in-built OMF export functionality but he just can't seem to get those files to import in to Logic. It occurred to me I might have more luck with AAF's and so today I downloaded automatic duck pro export and pro import (free now BTW awesome) plugins. I succesfully exported an AAF and attempted to test it in FCP 7 to see something like what our sound guy's going to see in Logic. It imported, seemingly without incident and created a bin called my sequence name and 'clips' and also a sequence. Unfortunately, all the media in both bin and the sequence is offline and when attempting to reconnect it says there is no specified path.

I exported the AAF to be completely self contained and set it to export everything with the entire source clip and to embed the audio media in to the AAF file. The AAF comes to 1.26GBs so something's definitely there, yet it's not connected when imported to FCP 7. The same AAF doesn't open in soundtrack pro or Adobe Audition and also causes Premiere Pro 5.5 to crash on import. I don't have high hopes for his system given the track record for this AAF so far. What's going on?


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Shane Ross
Re: AAF exporting and importing using Automatic Duck (or anything that will work)
on Apr 24, 2014 at 4:26:03 pm

The AAF you export for audio won't really import properly into FCP again. It should open in Soundtrack Pro though....wonder why it won't?

Just send it to them and see what they can do. You are trying to test opening it in every app BUT the one they actually use.

Shane
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Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Jimmy See
Re: AAF exporting and importing using Automatic Duck (or anything that will work)
on Apr 24, 2014 at 5:04:47 pm

That's because I can only test with the tools I have at my disposal sadly :( .

Curiously, since the last posting further testing yielded some more positive results, though I'm not entirely sure what I did. I noticed after all my frustration that there was a checkbox in the import options that read 'Use existing media' intuitively this looked like it was my culprit but before checking it I decided to read the automatic duck pro-import user guid which (in a section referring to AAFs) said that the checkbox was only relevant in terms of video and that if no video is present, the audio will be linked to the embedded existing media regardless of the state of the checkbox.

At the time when I noticed it, I was actually doing another OMF import test using the Automatic Duck Pro Import (this OMF had been generated with the plain old 'audio to OMF' setting of standard FCP 7's featureset. Seeings as the user guide actually only mentioned that the checkbox was irrelevant to my situation in the context of AAFs I reasoned it was worth trying here and checking the checkbox thus telling it to use existing media not reference external media which should be an option only for if you want to reconnect to a specific media directory. It worked a charm.

I then tried this again with an AAF with the supposedly irrelevant checkbox checked just in case and now IT worked too, when previously it hadn't. I even checked to see whether or not the folder created for the embedded media extracted from the OMF was being referenced by the now online media from my newly imported AAF somehow thus invalidating the test, but no, it had indeed extracted the media from the AAF in to it's own separate folder.

I guess I'm glad I got it to work in FCP, though it doesn't exactly make sense. I haven't had the time to check in all the other applications the various exports failed to open in before to see if they magically work now as well but whatever. Anyway just for future people in this situation to sum up.

There's a checkbox in Automatic Duck's pro import plugin that I should have noticed which you can switch on or off that allows the AAF or OMF to reference existing media embedded within the file (it extracts it to a folder) or for it to reference external media which you have manually link to yourself. It's not meant to make a difference unless there's video present but apparently it actually does after al.


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Michelle Kaufer
Can you please advise? - AAF exporting and importing using Automatic Duck (or anything that will work)
on Aug 8, 2015 at 6:52:15 am

Hi JImmy,
I just read your post from last year and am hoping you can provide some guidance. I am not an experienced AE and I need to import an AAF into FCP7 tomorrow morning - yay for me!

We exported using Automatic Duck - it was brought into a ProTools session and then exported out to an AAF.

Do I need another tool from Automatic Duck to make this work?

I SINCERELY appreciate any help...or a step by step instruction. I'm looking online for tutorials and haven't found anything...thanks!

Shane,
If you get this and can advise as well...that would be much appreciated too.

Thanks!
Michelle K


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Shane Ross
Re: Can you please advise? - AAF exporting and importing using Automatic Duck (or anything that will work)
on Aug 8, 2015 at 7:07:41 am

Don't export out of ProTools as AAF. From there they need to export a stereo mix, or Dolby 5.1...or whatever your needs are. What you cannot do is what you are trying to do.

Once mixed, they need to export the mix as a mixed audio file, that you then import and place into FCP. AIFF or BWAV.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Michelle Kaufer
Re: Can you please advise? - AAF exporting and importing using Automatic Duck (or anything that will work)
on Aug 8, 2015 at 7:27:20 am

Ok - so the AAF won't go back into FCP properly?

In a perfect world, my music editor would just complete his work, and give the pro tools session to my mixer. BUT my director needs to see the music edit, in it's current state with picture in FCP so he can make his changes.

Is that possible at all? If my music editor exports the music track as an aiff, will that work? or will I get one long track of music?

thanks!


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Jimmy See
Re: Can you please advise? - AAF exporting and importing using Automatic Duck (or anything that will work)
on Aug 8, 2015 at 7:47:16 am

Hi, yes, it is necessary to have the corresponding import tool from automatic duck as well as the export tool in order to import AAFs using FCP or to export them, as FCP did not have this functionality and worked instead with OMFs for the equivalent purpose.

These tools used to cost a bundle, but the developers gave them out for free as FCP became obsolete and they got jobs at adobe, I notice now that they have stopped hosting the files for download as it looks like they are reviving the automatic duck project to produce some new tools (not sure what they will do), so the software is no longer available. I still have my installer for the automatic duck 'pro import' which will allow FCP to import AAF's if you can provide me with an email address I should be able to send it to you. Unfortunately I don't know how you send messages to individual cow users, maybe reply with a temporary email address if you don't want your publicly known.

Anyway, ultimately, it's best if you can simply get your sound guys to export to a format that already works. Unfortunately I don't have time to research the matter because I'm late for work but perhaps Pro Tools offers OMF export? I think it mightn't but worth checking, or perhaps XML with an accompanying media folder.

Anyway's once I get to work I'll check here again and see if there's an address for me to send to so you have it, but I've had mixed results with this tool, I don't remember what was going wrong, but as you can see from my post a year ago, there' s a checkbox that seems to have unexpected effects upon the import that you should pay attention to too.


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Michelle Kaufer
Re: Can you please advise? - AAF exporting and importing using Automatic Duck (or anything that will work)
on Aug 8, 2015 at 3:25:59 pm

Jimmy -
THANK YOU - my email is michellekaufer@gmail.com

THANKS!!!


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Ryan Frias
Re: Can you please advise? - AAF exporting and importing using Automatic Duck (or anything that will work)
on Aug 12, 2015 at 2:18:15 am

Hi Michelle,

Your music editor can export multiple AIF/WAV files of their music edit so you can import these into FCP. If each music cue is a different file or "checkerboarded" between two files, then the director has the flexibility to experiment with the cues. If the director wants to make changes to these tracks, he/she can, and you can just send the music editor back an AAF back which would show all the cuts you made to the music. The music editor can then conform to this - it should be an easy conform. Does that make sense?

I do not recommend having AAFs exported out of Pro Tools to bring into FCP.


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Jimmy See
Re: Can you please advise? - AAF exporting and importing using Automatic Duck (or anything that will work)
on Aug 12, 2015 at 10:30:13 am

My only experience with attempting to do what Michelle wants to do in FCP is detailed in the original posting from a year ago and clearly it wasn't problem free, it also was not exactly the same circumstances either given I was importing an AAF I had produced using FCP in the first place for the sake of testing. That said, I identified the cause of the problem which would suggest to me (touch wood) that in those same circumstances again, if I followed my own procedures laid out above, I wouldn't encounter those same problems.

The automatic duck software, as I recall, about 5 years ago at least was very popular paid software, which though a far from foolproof metric, leads me to believe people must have used it in ways that were at least similar if not the same as what Michelle is aiming for.

I wonder then, what is that has you and Shane so skeptical of this process, is there something else we should know that makes the use of the automatic duck tools in conjunction with Final Cut Pro 7 for the purposes of AAF import and export functionality inherently unreliable or risky? Though in a year I've never had to do this since that one occasion nor had I needed to before my original post, I had rather hoped I could say I was prepared should I ever need to again next time being both in possession of the tools and now tbe procedures as well. What don't I know?


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