Exporting an Audio EDL

Just as the final edited video from Final Cut Pro is not generally used when conforming the negative, the edited audio might not be used. If you intend to recapture and reedit your audio at an audio post-production facility, you need an audio Edit Decision List (EDL) indicating how the audio clips are used in the edit.

Although the Final Cut Pro EDL contains both video and audio information, it may not contain references to the timecode and roll numbers from the original production sound rolls, depending on how the clips were captured and how the video was synced to the audio. A Cinema Tools database makes it possible to generate an audio EDL with the original production audio timecode and sound roll information.

Where’s the Audio Timecode?

Film productions use dual system recording (separate camera and audio deck) for capturing the pictures and sound. You must sync the two of them together, either during the telecine transfer or before capturing the clips with Final Cut Pro.

If your audio is synced during the telecine transfer and recorded onto the audio tracks of the videotape, the timecode and roll number of the original sound roll is no longer part of the clip, and all edits within Final Cut Pro refer only to the video timecode and reel number. Fortunately, the telecine log created during the transfer usually contains the audio information and adds it to the database when you import the log into Cinema Tools. You can also manually enter the audio information if no telecine log is available.

Using Cinema Tools to Export an Audio EDL

Cinema Tools can export an audio EDL as long as its database contains accurate audio information (an audio timecode number that corresponds to the first video frame of the clip and the sound roll number) in each record. Because of the way audio is recorded during the production (using dual system recording—a separate sound recorder that is started and stopped independently of the camera), the Cinema Tools Export Audio EDL function is applicable only when the project database has a record for each take (as with scene-and-take transfers).

It is critical that the value in the Sound Timecode field correspond directly to the first video frame of the clip. This is typically the case when you import the audio information from a telecine log. Use the Clip window’s Identify feature to enter (or verify) the audio timecode value for a known point in the clip (most often at slate close). Based on this value, Cinema Tools calculates the timecode for the first frame. See Using the Identify Feature to Calculate Database Information for more information.

After you have finished editing and have added the audio timecode and sound roll information to the database, you are ready to export the audio EDL.

You generally open the Export Audio EDL dialog from within Final Cut Pro. You can also open it from within Cinema Tools if necessary, although additional steps are required, including the creation of a program file in the Export Film Lists dialog. See Using the Export Audio EDL Feature from Cinema Tools for more information.

To export an audio EDL from Final Cut Pro using Cinema Tools
  1. In the Final Cut Pro Timeline or Browser, select the sequence from which you want to export an audio EDL.

  2. Choose File > Export > Cinema Tools Audio EDL.

    Cinema Tools opens and its Export Audio EDL dialog appears.

    Figure. Export Audio EDL dialog.
  3. Enter and select settings in the Export Audio EDL dialog, then click OK. See Settings in the Export Audio EDL Dialog for settings information.

  4. In the dialog that now appears, select the Cinema Tools database file to use, then click Choose.

Once you select the database, Cinema Tools starts matching events in the sequence to it:

  • For each edit involving a track enabled in the Export Audio EDL dialog, Cinema Tools searches the database to see if that edit’s video clip is connected to any database records. If not, it uses the edit’s video reel number to try to locate a record that includes the edit’s timecode In and Out points. See Audio Track Usage for more information about audio tracks.

  • If Cinema Tools finds a suitable record, it checks whether that record includes audio information (audio timecode and sound roll number). If so, an entry is added to the EDL and Cinema Tools moves on to the next edit.

  • Cinema Tools may not be able to match all audio edits within the sequence. This may be due to incomplete database records or the use of audio from sources other than the logged sound rolls. For those edits that cannot be matched back to the database, an entry is added to the EDL using the sound roll and audio timecode information from the sequence, with an asterisk placed by the roll name. A comment stating that no matching database record was found is also added to the EDL entry.

Cinema Tools creates two files during the export: a CMX 3600 EDL format file and a text file containing information about the EDL export:

  • The CMX 3600 EDL format is widely used as a standard for EDL interchange and should be acceptable at virtually all facilities.

  • The text file created along with the EDL file uses the EDL’s filename with a .txt extension. The file contains information regarding the sequence used and all the settings of the Export Audio EDL dialog, including the number of tracks and their mapping. It also lists any errors that occurred during the export.

Settings in the Export Audio EDL Dialog

Cinema Tools uses information from the sequence to fill in several fields in the top part of the Export Audio EDL dialog.

Figure. Top part of the Export Audio EDL dialog.
  • File: The name of the Cinema Tools program file just opened. This is used only when exporting an audio EDL directly from Cinema Tools. See Using the Export Audio EDL Feature from Cinema Tools for more information.
  • Audio Tracks: The number of audio tracks used in the edit.
  • Project name: The name of the Final Cut Pro sequence on which the file is based.
  • Project timebase: The frame rate of the sequence in the Timeline.
  • Start time: The sequence start time as assigned in the Final Cut Pro Audio/Video Settings window.
  • EDL Title: The name of the EDL. By default, it is the same as the project name from the sequence.
  • EDL start time and timecode format: The start time for the EDL and the timecode format to be used. By default, the start time is the same as the start time from the sequence. This should not be changed unless your audio post-production facility has a specific requirement.
  • Include clip comments: When this option is selected, the audio EDL includes the name of the clip file (if known) as a comment for each event in the list.
  • Include scene and take comments: When this option is selected, the audio EDL includes the scene and take numbers as comments for each event in the list.
  • Open in text editor: When this option is selected, the exported audio EDL opens in the text editor specified in the pop-up menu. Because the audio EDL is actually a text file, the TextEdit application is typically used.

Audio Track Usage

Although Final Cut Pro supports many audio tracks, the Cinema Tools Export Audio EDL feature includes only the first eight, and audio EDLs support a maximum of four. The Export Audio EDL dialog provides settings for each of the eight possible audio tracks, allowing you to map them to the four EDL tracks.

The track configuration pop-up menus are active for those tracks included in the sequence—all others are unavailable. Although it is possible to map multiple tracks to a single EDL track, this frequently results in errors and confusion in the resulting EDL.

Because there is no way to fit the eight audio tracks into the four EDL tracks, you must export two EDLs—one EDL with tracks 1 through 4 enabled (and the others off), and the other EDL with tracks 5 through 8 enabled. Be aware that some sound editors may prefer a single track per EDL, requiring you to export multiple audio EDLs. Make sure to consult with your sound editor before you export the audio EDL.

Using the Export Audio EDL Feature from Cinema Tools

You will most often use the Cinema Tools Export Audio EDL feature from within Final Cut Pro. You can use this feature from within Cinema Tools, but because Cinema Tools does not have the edited sequence directly available, an additional step is required to create a Cinema Tools program file.

Final Cut Pro creates a Cinema Tools program file if you select “Save a Cinema Tools program file” in the Export Film Lists dialog. A Cinema Tools program file contains information about the edit sequence in a format that can be used by Cinema Tools to create the audio EDL. Other settings within the Export Film Lists dialog, such as whether or not the various available lists are included, have no effect on the program file.

To open the Export Audio EDL dialog from within Cinema Tools
  1. In Cinema Tools, choose File > Export > Audio EDL from Program DB.

  2. In the dialog that appears, select the program file to use, then click Open.

The Export Audio EDL dialog appears.