Freitag, 29. Juli 2011

Output part 1

The output-process

The first 20 minute documentary was edited, graded and basically the soundmix was done for a normal digital distribution (file, internet).
But I had to get this program to a broadcaster; luckily file not tape, but the rules are still different than with pure internet-output; basically you follow the tape-workflow, only you don´t use a tape anymore. One step less and a 17GB upload more.

Let´s start with the image. Well the lack of proper broadcast monitoring solutions forced me to make several renders to watch the clips via FCP7 and my Matrox MXO2. I tend to grade a little dark when using the computermonitor only. So that is really a problem and I hope Apple provides Matrox/AJA/BlackMAGIC and others with hooks so they can give us access to monitors again. Liquid Edition, which also relied heavily on GPU performance,  did this via a USB breakoutbox, so I expect something thunderboltish soon. If not....might be a dealbreaker, really!

Audio….different beast in broadcast environments. 
the problem was I had to get the audio-mix to the broadcaster with up to 8 dedicated audiochannels. that was something I couldn´t do in FCPX anymore. I had to output the timeline in various versions to merge them back in FCP7.
This is the same process I do in FCP7 also, I always make one file per audio-bus there and rebuild a timeline. Only this time I had to detach audio (because much ambience sound was in the clips) and jump between FCP7 and FCPX. Not really a lot of time lost there, but still weird to have to leave an NLE to do what an NLE should do.

First I exported the film with the audiomix i had done in FCPX as ProRes Masterfile.

Then I duplicated the Project/Timeline.

I then opened the timeline-list (the list where all items of your timeline are listed in the left bottom) and selected the keyword "SONG", since all my songs and SoundFX have that keyword. I made a compound clip of this selection. That process takes 10 seconds. 

Now I soloed this compound and tried to export an AIF, but that doesn´t work. I need to look into this, but I was not able to output AIFs or WAVs  through "Share->Export Audio…"

So I  exported a ProRes file with a GAP as video. That went fast…but when opening in FCP7 it is 1 frame only….apparently outputting GAPs alone is not an option. Puuhh….that gets annoying. So drop a black generator in the timeline, extend to 20.00 and output a Prores again….ok, that worked.
This should have taken 2 minutes and it took 30. I hope in FCP10.1 it will be 2 as expected.

Then I had to break up my tidy timeline and Detach all Audio for ambience and interviews.

I used the SONG - Compound as spreader between ambience (above) and interviews (below). Whoa, now the timeline looks messy, turn off connections and turn off thumbnails and waveforms and it is better to organize what I do. 

So I made two new compounds copied all 3 compounds to a "Audio only" timelineproject and exported each of them  (toggling the others).

Now drop the resulting 4 files (Pro Res master, ambience, SONG, interviews) into FCP7, adjust the audio-track-outputbus, adjust the pan when needed and export the whole lot as Prores ready for sending via ftp. I additionally export a AIF track-collection to make sure it will work. Since I do it similar in FCP7 the only drawback (well, besides the non-functioning audio export in version dotzero) is the closing and starting of the different FCP versions.

What would help was the option to tell FCPX in the inspector which (compound-)clip should output to which audio-channel. Simple. And they should make the "Export Audio function" function!
But I guess it won´t take long to fix these audio-issues in FCPX; now all we need is OMF/XML output so we could give the audiomix on for further work, which is needed for many production houses.

My guess is, Apple has a problem with these output-hooks, because stuff like auditions are not easy to write into a list, because they overlap each other.


  1. I am sure that outputting audio stems will eventually be done using the "Audio Role" metadata.

  2. Hmmm....second time around: I tried the audio-export function again...and it worked for the second sequence (project). It was the 26-minute show and this time the audio-only export was done in a few seconds. weird. But good to know.