EDL Considerations During Editing

While you edit, keep the following guidelines in mind to ensure successful EDL export:

For details, see the following sections.

Limit the Number of Edits in Your Sequence

Different EDL formats allow for different numbers of edits in your sequence. If your sequence has more than the allowed number of edits for the selected EDL format, Final Cut Pro automatically creates additional EDLs, depending on the number of total events.

The following are the maximum number of edits, or events, allowed in various EDL formats.

  • CMX 340, CMX 3600, and Sony 5000: 999

  • Sony 9100 and GVG 4 Plus: 9999

Only Use Transitions in Track V1

A superimposed video track, or any track other than V1, is called a key track in an EDL. Only one key track can be in an EDL, so information for V1 and V2 tracks only appears in an exported EDL. Transitions in V2 are not allowed in EDLs and are ignored. As an alternative, you can use opacity keyframes in V2 and export Video Level notes in your EDL.

Opacity keyframes in the Timeline are translated into values and locations and are listed as the Key Level in notes in the exported EDL. These values are based on the timecode of the master tape and are used by a video switcher. Some online systems can translate these values for automatic use by some switchers, but more commonly the values are only used as notes for the editor working in an online session.

Join Through Edits

A through edit is defined as two adjacent clips from the same continuous piece of a media file. The timecode numbers of the first clip’s Out point and the second clip’s In point are one frame apart. Unless you have a specific reason for keeping these two clips separate, you should join the through edit to create a single clip. This reduces the number of events in your EDL and simplifies the process of re-creating your edit with another editing system. For more information, see Cutting Clips and Adjusting Durations.

Keep Track of Duplicate Frames

You can use the Final Cut Pro duplicate frames indicators to keep track of whether you use a clip more than once within a single edited sequence. Duplicated frames are marked by a colored bar appearing at the bottom of the clip’s video item in the Timeline.

If you have warning in advance, you can reedit your sequence to eliminate the duplicates, if necessary. This is most important for film editing, where duplicating frames is a much more involved process than with video.

Each separate instance of duplicated frames is color-coded differently. There are six different colors used to indicate separate sets of duplicated frames: red, green, blue, white, black, and purple. If there are more than six sets of duplicate frames in your sequence, these colors are reused.

Note: If a duplicated instance of a clip has variable speed applied to it, no duplicate frames indicator appears.

You can adjust the parameters that determine when duplicate frames indicators appear in the Editing tab of User Preferences. For more information, see Editing Tab.

Limit the Number of Audio Tracks You Use

Final Cut Pro supports up to 99 tracks of audio in a sequence. However, EDLs support only two or four tracks of audio, depending upon the EDL and video format you use.

EDL format
Number of audio tracks
CMX 340
CMX 3600
Sony 5000
Sony 9100
GVG 4 Plus

If your sequence has more than four tracks, you may have to export separate EDLs. A simple way to do this is to copy your sequence and delete everything except the audio tracks that weren’t included in the first EDL. Then export an EDL just for the remaining audio tracks.

Don’t Rely on Audio Mix Levels

Mixed audio levels, represented by audio overlays in the Timeline, can be exported as notes in the EDL for the online editor to use as reference. However, most editing systems can’t translate these notes into an automated mix.

Avoid Nested Sequences

Nested sequences, or sequences within a sequence, should not be used if you are exporting an EDL. To prevent confusion, you can create a duplicate of your edited sequence and simplify sections where there are nested sequences.

To replace a nested sequence with its clip content for EDL export
  1. Duplicate your edited sequence.

    By working with the copy, you can still get back to your original sequence if necessary.

  2. Double-click the duplicated edited sequence to open it in the Timeline.

  3. Option-double-click the nested sequence in the Timeline so that it opens in the Viewer.

    The Viewer now contains the nested sequence and the Timeline contains the edited sequence.

  4. In the Timeline, move the playhead to the first frame of the nested sequence.

  5. Press Command-F10.

    This is the default keyboard shortcut for the Overwrite Sequence Content command (as opposed to F10, which performs an overwrite into the Timeline using a nested sequence).

  6. Export this sequence as an EDL.

Avoid Nonstandard Video Transitions

Final Cut Pro has many kinds of transitions, but EDLs can recognize only a subset of these (primarily the cross dissolve and various wipes). If you use other transitions, Final Cut Pro automatically replaces them with the closest transition type. For more information, see Transition Wipe Codes for EDL Export.

Be Careful Using Still Frames and Speed Settings

If you use still frames, give all of your stills distinct reel names. It’s good to identify the source clips that are taken from graphic stills.

Keep speed settings to even percentages for optimal results. For example, use 50% speed rather than 57% speed. If you plan to export your EDL for a tape-based online edit, this may be important. Some video decks work well at a certain range of speeds for either slow or fast motion. Ask your online editor for a list of acceptable speeds. Variable speed adjustments are not supported by most tape-to-tape systems.