Creative COW SIGN IN :: SPONSORS :: ADVERTISING :: ABOUT US :: CONTACT US :: FAQ
Creative COW's LinkedIn GroupCreative COW's Facebook PageCreative COW on TwitterCreative COW's Google+ PageCreative COW on YouTube
LIBRARY:TutorialsVideo TutorialsReviewsInterviewsEditorialsFeaturesBusinessAuthorsRSS Feed

Fixing Assets in FCP using XML

COW Library : Apple Final Cut Pro Tutorials : Matt Lyon : Fixing Assets in FCP using XML
Share on Facebook
CreativeCOW presents Fixing Assets in FCP using XML -- Apple Final Cut Pro Tutorial



©2010 CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.


In this FCP tutorial, Matt Lyon will provide a step by step guide for fixing a major issue with the way Final Cut Pro imports audio and still image files using a FCP XML file and TextEdit. Incorrectly imported assets can lead to serious problems down the road, especially with Media Manager. Matt also provides a guideline for re-importing audio and still image media correctly, as an alternative to the XML fix.



Fixing incorrectly imported assets and solving media manger problems using XML.


In this article I will give a step by step guide for fixing a major issue with the way Final Cut Pro imports audio files. This problem likely affects a small number of users, but it can lead to serious problems with Media Manager. In detailing my solution, I will also provide a general guideline for properly importing audio and still image media. If you make these concepts a consistent part of your workflow, you should be rewarded with a more reliable overall experience with the software.

There is a lot of information in this tutorial, so I advise reading the entire article from start to finish before putting it into practice. The information is provided "as-is." Every user needs to evaluate and test for themselves whether it is appropriate for each situation.


Who should read this:
If you experience lots of errors when running Media Manager, or are struggling with getting the stills you imported into FCP to animate smoothly, this article may have a solution for you.

Even if you are working away problem free, I recommend that everyone familiarizes themselves with the "right" way to import media files, which I describe in the last section of the tutorial.

This article is intended for medium to advanced users of Final Cut Pro. You should be have a firm grasp of frame rates and video standards and you should be comfortable viewing and editing XML files in a text editor.

Warnings:
This tutorial has not been tested on projects that are using mixed frame rate VIDEO material. Therefore, before running this tutorial, I advise you to duplicate your timeline and remove any VIDEO material that uses a different frame rate then your base sequence setting. (You can put it back later).

Background:
This technique was developed while I was working on an animated television series. The problems described will most likely affect more users working on projects that utilize large amounts of stills or non-timecoded audio formats. PAL and 23.98 based projects are especially susceptible to these problems (more on that later).

On our show, the voice actors were recorded out of house. The studio sent us AIFF files exported directly from a ProTools session. Editing proceeded with out a hitch until it came time to media manage and deliver a show to the online suite. On every episode, we would see literally hundreds of errors being reported by Media Manager. We were ready to give up and change our entire workflow until I discovered a fix using XMLs and a little "search and replace" in the OS X text editor.

All the testing and screen grabs for this tutorial were done in FCP version 6.0.6. I have every reason to believe that it will apply equally well to FCP 7, 5 and 4, but I canʼt make any guarantees. As always, test and see for yourself!

Some Technical details:
Under the hood, Final Cut Pro does not like media that has no timebase associated with it. When you import a file, FCP will attempt to figure out the timebase of the asset (presumably using the timecode track or other attributes).

Unfortunately, certain file formats, like AIFF, WAV and PNGs do not contain timecode tracks.

This is the first important concept to wrap your head around:

When you import a media file that does not contain timecode, FCP will "assign" a timebase to the file. The timebase it uses is based on your DEFAULT SEQUENCE SETTING, as selected in your "audio/video settings" window.

It does not matter what the settings are of your open sequence(s).

Now, to make things worse. The default sequence setting FCP uses out of the box is "DV NTSC." Many users never change this!

Going back to my specific example: our animated series was a PAL show, so we cut at 25 fps. After talking to some of our editors, I realized all our audio was being imported on a workstation with the "DV NTSC" sequence setting still set as default! This was the source of our problem! You can imagine how this issue could affect anyone not working with 29.97, interlaced material.



  View 31 Comment(s)

  Apple Final Cut Pro Tutorials   •   Apple Final Cut Pro Forum
Reply   Like  
+4
Share on Facebook
Comments

Re: Fixing Assets in FCP using XML
by Matthew James
Oh my word.

This has been the most irritatingly unsolvable thing for me for years, and I can't believe I only found this explanation now. Works perfectly. Thank you kind sir!!

I KNEW it had something to do with this, but never knew to re-export the XML and change the actual script.

Thank you, again. You have saved me so much future irritation.
Re: Fixing Assets in FCP using XML
by Matt Lyon
Hi everyone, I thought I'd post some additional tips that I hit upon while helping a friend fix some audio sync issues:

He shot on DSLR @ 23.976 (aka 23.98) and the sound was recorded to a separate recorder that was set to 25 fps. File format was WAV. Everything was synced via PluralEyes. The clips would start playing in sync, but gradually drift out of sync.

Even though the correct sequence preset was set before the files were imported, they still displayed the tell-tale "green bars" that indicated some speed change was being applied. The frame rate stamp in the metatdata was "forcing" FCP into thinking it needed to apply a speed change. (Note that this doesn't happen to AIFF files, since they don't allow for such frame rate meta-data to be tagged).

The solution turned out to be simpler than we'd imagined: we downloaded a (free) software package called "waveagent."

http://www.sounddevices.com/products/waveagent/downloads/

The program allowed us to batch change the frame rate tag on all the WAV files to 23.976.

Once this was done, the files stayed in sync! We didn't even need to re-import them. The green bars simply disappeared on the clips in the timeline and the drift went away.

HTH,
Matt

Matt Lyon
Editor
Toronto
+1
@Matt Lyon
by Luke Beaman
Thanks Matt, I shot some 24p footage and audio on H4n. This little program just solved my sync issue without reimporting assets :)
@Matt Lyon
by Andrew Ball
Matt thanks for these articles and being helpful its really awesome of you. That being said I'm in a bit of pickle. I will try to make this understandable. I am having these audio drift issues and here is the skinny, this is the media used in my problematic sequence,

Dailies - Apple ProRes 422 29.97, 48khz, 16 bit
External Zoom - WAV 96khz, 24 bit.
Lavalier - WAV 48khz, 24 bit.

The Sequence Preset for the project on the whole is ProRes 422 1920x1080 24p 48khz

When creating this interview we saw the dailies for this specific day were 29.97. I removed the media and changed that specific sequence setting to 29.97; not the preset.

I dropped in the clips, followed by the external audio. I used pluraleyes to sync it up. All looked good. I passed it on to a translator, he makes vo's then gives it back I type out the vo's and marker the interview into the clips and along the sequence. I pass it to the editor who pulls SLX etc. She noticed that this sequence was out of sync, when I looked at it yes, there is audio drift.
My first step was to fix the External Zoom so that it was 48khz 16bit. I swapped out the files and reconnected. But there was still echo's. I opened the clip information that was showing the TC rate for the External and the Lavalier were 24. While the Dailies TCR were 29.97 I now understand from your article that final cut determined the TC rate for the external audio to be 24 due to my sequence preset stated above.

However when I tried to use your xml workaround I searched the malfunctioning external audio clips names and they matched that of the sequence,


TRUE
30


So I cannot change those values because they already match that of the sequence in the xml?

When I open an external audio clip in viewer and scroll through frame by frame every 4th frame is a duplicate number and then some are skipped completely.

I tried to use WaveAgent and change the audio timecode but External zoom files played as if they were in extreme slow motion.

I cannot re-create the sequence as it is 3.5 hours long with a few hundred edits and hundreds and hundreds of markers. The SLX pulled have also been incorporated into new sequences as this characters story takes shape. Do you see any possible solution for this problem.
Re: Fixing Assets in FCP using XML
by Ruben van den Belt
Matt...Thanks a lot for this explanation. I personally had the problem of trying to sync external recorded .WAV files to my 23.98 fps footage as once I synced the beginning it unsynced over time. Turns out this default timebase phenomenon you described was creating this problem as my default sequence settings was using a 25p timebase (e.g not 24p)
One more thing, although kind of obvious perhaps: you have to quit Final Cut Pro first after changing the Default Sequence Settings in order to have it take effect. Before you do that any new imported footage will still be having the same problems..

Cheers,

Ruben
Re: Fixing Assets in FCP using XML
by Mike Debbie
In an attempt to move a rather large music video project that I'm cutting in FCP 7 on a Macbook Pro to a machine a little beefier, I used your tutorial to fix the timestamp issues I was having. Looks like all worked well.

When I import the fixed XML into a new project all of my audio clips have a green bar.

So I copy the entire sequence that I brought in via the XML, and paste it into a new sequence within the new project. All the green bars disappear. Great!

However, every audio clip in my project has lost it's stereo pairing link (the 4 little green triangles)

As I'm sure we all know "Opt L" doesn't work on a group of audio clips so getting that stereo pair linked back will a huge manual pain.

Any idea why this is happening / any knowable work arounds for batch pairing stereo clips in a sequence?

Re: Fixing Assets in FCP using XML
by Peter Westoo
Thank you!
Great advice. I had syncing problems with an audio file, it was indicated green and the waveform didn't match. So I think it was because of the reason you outline. I did a very simple workaround; copy and paste the audio in QT7; renamed the file; deleted the old file; restart FCP; and relink the file to the new file. Worked perfect!
Peter
Re: Fixing Assets in FCP using XML
by Dan Wilde
Matt! You sir, are truly a king among men! I was just about ready to send back my zoom H4n after struggling to sync it to my 5DMk III PAL footage. I had taken the fall on a recent job when I used the zoom for the first time and there was syncing issues in post. I just assumed I had incorrect audio recording settings, but I now know we had reinstalled all our software that week so the FCP import settings must have reverted to the defaults. Anyway Everything is syncing perfectly now...I had a hunch that manually re-timing the audio clips was insane work around to something that should have an easy solution.
Re: Fixing Assets in FCP using XML
by Lars Fuchs
So, I'm having a bear of a time trying to sync an interview shot on an HPX-170 at 1080pa24 and audio recorded on a TASCAM DR-40 at 48kHz.

I've tried the fixes described in your tutorial to no avail.
http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/200/896802#896808

I wonder if you have any thoughts.

-lars
@Lars Fuch
by Lars Fuchs
I meant to write that the link is to the original thread where I outline my problem and what I've done so far.
Re: Fixing Assets in FCP using XML
by Matt Lyon
No, it shouldn't be a problem with ALL audio. Provided you take the right steps to set up your preferences BEFORE you import your files, this issue should really never occur. As for the framerate stuff: don't confuse TIMEBASE with FRAMERATE. A timebase will always be a whole number (24, 25, 30, etc), but the frame rate can be anything really. 23.976 video still has a TIMEBASE of 24. You can't have fractions of frames.

I wouldn't recommend changing the audio speed in FCP. You are really just treating the symptoms, not the cause. And it can cause issues down the line; for example if you send your project to a mixing house. Also, FCP is only frame accurate, so it will almost never do a perfect 0.1% speed change, in my experience. Of course, in a pinch, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!

Matt Lyon
Editor
Toronto
Re: Fixing Assets in FCP using XML
by Charlie Behrens
Aaaah — so in which case is this a problem with ALL audio syncing in final cut? Because it only allows audio timecoding at 24 but does see video at 23.98? I am noticing the same problem recurring at times still, but only with certain clips... So I could just make the audio track 99.9% in this case? Or is that bad practice? Thanks again...

http://www.charliebehrens.com
Video Art, Editing & Graphic Design
Re: Fixing Assets in FCP using XML
by Charlie Behrens
Hi Matt,

Many, many thanks for the response, and thanks for all the suggestions. Yes, it turns out that it is to do with timecoding provided by the soundman, although he was unaware that his new recorder defaulted to having the timecoding switched on.

I actually found that the following fix seems to work with everything except the initial clip I was having the problem with. (perhaps it is corrupted?)

I simply select each file within the bin and then go to modify>timecode and then uncheck "source TC"

it seems to work but what is baffling me is that it is only a very slight delay I was experiencing. You'd think it would be 4% but actually it was only about 6 frames out of a 3 minute clip. Weird! Anyhow, thanks very much again...

http://www.charliebehrens.com
Video Art, Editing & Graphic Design
@Charlie Behren
by Matt Lyon
Glad you fixed the problem, Charlie! The drift does make sense, since the problem is rooted in older post production workflows when film was shot at 24.00 fps and transferred at 23.976. So the speed change you are seeing is a compensation FCP thinks it has to do to account for the 0.1% difference in speeds between those two frame rates.

Matt Lyon
Editor
Toronto
Re: Fixing Assets in FCP using XML
by Charlie Behrens
Hi Matt — I hugely appreciate this fix — it looked like it was going to go swimmingly.

I encountered this problem when audio started being timestamped by FCP 7 at 25fps when the soundman who provided the audio changed his equipment halfway through a shoot. I had already set my project as HDV 1080i 23.98 fps to match my footage, yet it still stamped the audio as 25. When I ran your fix, upon loading final cut I got the following error message on xml import:

: and mismatched. Data defined in element will be used.( line 8160 )

Also, the timecode frame rate has not been fixed. I can see no way around this as I have made sure my sequence settings/easy setup settings are all correct...

To add the audio is recorded from a new, top end TASCAM device (this is all I know):

WAV 16bit Mono 48.0 Khz

Please help! I can find nothing online at all sadly...
@Charlie Behren
by Matt Lyon
Hi Charlie,

Glad the tutorial is helpful. If I understand correctly, the audio from the TASCAM recorder is being provided with a timecode track, yes? If that is the case, then it is understandable that you are getting the error message. FCP is seeing a mismatch between the framerate you've manually plugged into the XML and the framerate being reported in the actual audio asset. The message seems to be saying that FCP is going to stick with the framerate it found in the audio asset itself.

If I understand correctly, the soundman recorded the files with 25fps timecode? That shouldn't be a problem to sync with your 23.98 footage, just make sure you import it with the correct sequence preset selected. Follow the steps in the second half of my tutorial, but select at 25 fps preset. Import the files, then switch back a 23.98 preset once you are finished importing the audio files in question. The principle behind this is we don't want FCP to apply the incorrect pulldown stamp to the audio files in question.

You may first have to take some steps to force FCP to "forget" about the files or it may not refresh the pulldown stamp when you re-import. Delete all traces of the file from your project (bins and timelines). Save the project. Close the project. Quit FCP. relaunch and re-import. If this fails to make a difference, you can try renaming the files. If nothing seems to work, you could also try converting the files to a non-timecoded format, like AIFF.

HTH,
Matt

Matt Lyon
Editor
Toronto
Re: Fixing Assets in FCP using XML
by Jon Thomson
Thanks for sharing this info. It saved me yesterday when relaying post dubbed audio back into fcp project.
Re: Fixing Assets in FCP using XML
by Brooks Reid
I've been experiencing crashes with FCP 6 every time I use PNG files. I'm surprised to hear that FCP assigns a timebase even to stills. The workaround has been not to bring the PNGs into the Browser. If I go directly to timeline it's OK. I'll check the timebase and see what FCP is assigning my PNGs. Thanks for the help.

Re: Fixing Assets in FCP using XML
by Andrew Clancy
This worked brilliantly for me. I had 25p footage from a 7D and audio from a Zoom h4N. When I checked, the audio had been stamped with a 24fps timecode, but this work around solved it for me and got sound back in synch.
Re: Fixing Assets in FCP using XML
by Joseph Hung
This is fantastic. Learn something new everyday.

http://www.tulpapictures.com
Twitter: @tulpapictures
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tulpapictures

Mac 2.66 GHz Quad Intel Xeon
OSX 10.6.8
FCS2
CS5
8GB RAM
ProAvio 8TB RAID 5 Dual Mini-SAS
Blackmagic Intensity Pro
ATI Radeon X1900
RocketRAID 4322 via dual MiniSAS
Panasonic Lumix GH2, Canon 5DMKII, 7D, Panasonic HVX200A, Panasonic DVX100A
Re: Fixing Assets in FCP using XML
by Eric Nelson
Hi Matt,
this is an interesting tutorial. While it's not the issue I'm having it may be a clue.

The issue I have is when capturing long clips from a DV tape. Occasionally the audio sample rate will be reported as some tiny amount off from 48kHz, say 47.999993. This forces audio render.

If I recapture the same tape in shorter clips the sample rate is correct.

Any clues what's happening? I've looked in exported XML files but can't find anything that seems amiss.

Thanks
Eric
@Eric Nelson
by Matt Lyon
Hi Eric,

That sounds like an unrelated issue. It's been a long time since I've dealt with anything like it, but I /think/ it has something to do with certain peculiarities of the DV format. Was the material recorded on a consumer-level camera by any chance? Have you tried searching the board? I bet someone has posted about this at some point.
-Matt
@Matt Lyon
by Eric Nelson
Hi Matt,
I've searched the board off and on when I first discovered this problem and haven't found any answers for it. Most people I think capture short clips & don't see this problem. My sense is it depends on the length of the clip, the number of starts & stops in it, the existence of a bad frame or some combination of the above.

Camera is PD-170 used for shooting and capturing.

Thanks,
Eric
Re: Fixing Assets in FCP using XML
by Katherine Sweetman
This saved my life... at least my job. Thank you.
Re: Fixing Assets in FCP using XML
by Matt Lyon
That sounds like a great tip Dan! Thanks for sharing.

Matt Lyon
Editor
Toronto
Re: Fixing Assets in FCP using XML
by Dan Quintero
PS... reimporting the stills kept their motion/scale properties.

Go fly fishing.
Re: Fixing Assets in FCP using XML
by Dan Quintero
As an update, I was able to reimport stills from 24p to 30p by opening the project, making the 24p stills offline (leave them on disk), closing the project, quiting FCP, opening FCP from the menu, changing the sequence default to 30p, closing FCP, opening FCP from the menu, opening the project, and reconnecting the stills. They came in as 30p.

Go fly fishing.
Re: Fixing Assets in FCP using XML
by Dan Quintero
Thanks for the help.

I did this with still images (24p to 30p) and it worked great, but is there a way to make it retains the clip's scale/motion properties?

Go fly fishing.
Re: Fixing Assets in FCP using XML
by Michael Locke
Thanks Matt, for turning your malady into a vaccine for the rest of us. Not just pointing out a problem, and griping to Apple (cause that's gonna help), but solving it and sharing. Way to go...ML
Re: Tutorial: Fixing Assets in FCP using XML
by Rafael Amador
Hi Matt,
Great tutorial.
You give us the cue (and solution) on a problem that has caused some many headaches.
Cheers,
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com
@Rafael Amador
by Matt Lyon
Thanks Rafael! I hope people find it helpful...
-Matt


Related Articles / Tutorials:
Apple Final Cut Pro
FCP Quick Tip - Creating the ROCKY effect

FCP Quick Tip - Creating the ROCKY effect
  Play Video
Creating the "ROCKY" video inside text look in Final Cut Pro is almost as easy as it is to create inside of Avid's Media Composer, and there's no need to go into Apple's Motion to do it! Just use FCP.

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
Apple Final Cut Pro
FCP Quick Tip - Copy & Pasting Attributes

FCP Quick Tip - Copy & Pasting Attributes
  Play Video
When editing, speed and accuracy are two things that make a great editor. In this FCP Quick Tip, copying effects from one shot to another might be "common knowledge", but what about having the ability to copy not only effects, but clip attributes as well, and being able to do it in a second. That's a trick that will amaze your clients every time.

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
Apple Final Cut Pro
FCP Quick Tip - Importing Image Sequences

FCP Quick Tip - Importing Image Sequences
  Play Video
Are you stuck trying to figure out an easy way to import an image sequence into Final Cut Pro? In this quick tip for FCP, Kevin P McAuliffe shows you why QuickTime 7 will be your tool of choice for importing image sequences.

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
Apple Final Cut Pro
Controlling Final Cut with an iPad

Controlling Final Cut with an iPad
  Play Video
This video tutorial demonstrates how to set up an iPad with the AC-7 Core app to control Final Cut Pro.

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
Apple Final Cut Pro
Get: Dialog and metadata search for Final Cut Pro editors

Get: Dialog and metadata search for Final Cut Pro editors

In this review, Los Angeles based director, editor, colorist, and Creative Cow Contributing Editor, David Roth Weiss, takes a look at a product aptly named "Get," from AV3 Software. It's a speech recognition search app for Final Cut Pro editors that will undoubtedly help get your projects completed faster and on the screen sooner.

Review
Apple Final Cut Pro
FCP Tip: Broadcast Safe in Final Cut Pro

FCP Tip: Broadcast Safe in Final Cut Pro
  Play Video
It is possible to achieve true broadcast safe using only the tools in Final Cut Pro if you follow the right steps. In this quick tip, Walter Biscardi, Jr. shows you how he has delivered shows to broadcasters worldwide using only the built in FCP filter

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
Apple Final Cut Pro
Final Cut Pro Quick Tips

Final Cut Pro Quick Tips
  Play Video
Learn how to get things done in Apple's Final Cut Pro faster with CreativeCOW.net contributing editor Stephen Smith. In this video tutorial he'll show you how to find un-used clips fast and easy. Plus, cut down your render time and learn how to play un-rendered clips in real time. If that's not enough, he'll show you how to work with thumbnails, nest clips and how to access the text editor quickly. With these FCP quick tips you can save time so you can spend it doing more important things like learning Klingon.

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
Apple Final Cut Pro
Editing Tip: Still Image dpi vs. pixels

Editing Tip: Still Image dpi vs. pixels
  Play Video
There is much confusion about dpi vs. pixels when it comes to still images and video editing. In this short tip, Walter Biscardi, Jr. helps to take some of the mystery out of the process.

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
Apple Final Cut Pro
Multiclip Editing in Final Cut Pro

Multiclip Editing in Final Cut Pro
  Play Video
Rob Mize demonstrates the use of Final Cut Pro's Multiclip feature to cut or switch the cameras of a multicam shoot in real time. Rob also demonstrates techniques to synchronize the cameras prior to the edit, as well as how to revise and adjust the Multiclip camera selection decisions on the timeline.

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
Apple Final Cut Pro
Copying Sequence Content in FCP

Copying Sequence Content in FCP
  Play Video
In this FCP video tutorial, Shane Ross shows how to get a section of cut footage from one sequence to another in Final Cut Pro.

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
MORE


FORUMSTUTORIALSFEATURESVIDEOSPODCASTSEVENTSSERVICESNEWSLETTERNEWSBLOGS

Creative COW LinkedIn Group Creative COW Facebook Page Creative COW on Twitter
© 2014 CreativeCOW.net All rights are reserved. - Privacy Policy

[Top]