Fixing Assets in FCP using XML
COW Library : Apple Final Cut Pro Legacy Tutorials : Matt Lyon : Fixing Assets in FCP using XML
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.
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).
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.