Post-Production Sound for Picture Editors Part II
The post-production sound procedure:
We edit and mix in Samplitude. ProTools is good, but Samplitude is better. I'm not going to go into it right now.
When we have picture lock on a given act of a movie, we can "lock" the video tracks (in order to make it clear that we've locked the act and that NOBODY CAN TOUCH THAT ACT!)
Technically, that's a lie. You can do everything to the act except to move any clips left or right. New visual effects (that are exactly the same length as the time alloted for them) are fine. Color - correction is fine. But no moving nuthin' right or left. If, for some reason we do need to add or subtract time from a clip we have to be very specific — everybody has to know that you have (say) added one second at timecode 5:23. Everybody, meaning especially the sound department. So those changes aren't to be taken lightly. In fact, if the sound department can make the changes in Samplitude at the same time that the picture editor makes a change to a locked act — well that's the best way to do it.
In any case, we've locked the act. Everyone is happy with the act. So what's the next step?
Then we export a Quicktime movie with a temp stereo mix and we export an OMF file. The OMF file and the Quicktime go in the "OMF" and "video" folders.
The directory structure:
For a given act, say act 1 for example, we make some directories inside the mix folder on the PC. If the movie is called "0801" then the mix folder becomes:
And then the following directories are created inside the "0801 mix" folder.
Note that on some pictures perhaps not all these directories will be made. And on other pictures there may be other directories (for, say, music that comes from an outside composer).
Anything that is act specific, like OMF files, music, dialog fixing, etc, goes inside the appropriate act folder. Here is an example of the directories inside "act 1":
These directories serve as a guide, not a dictat. You may find that it's easier to create a "music" folder in the "0801 mix" folder and then put the different libraries or composers works under that.
Or, you might find that any foley or music you have for a specific act should go inside folders marked "foley" and "music" inside the given act's folder.
Exporting an OMF from Final Cut Pro
Go to "File" and then "Export"
Export an OMF. Feel free to use the highest level (which right now is v2.0) of the OMF converter.
Place the OMF file in "mix">"act x">"omf"
Exporting a video file from Final Cut Pro
For audio editing, I tend to use smaller video files. Export at 640x360 and you'll have a nice little 16:9 movie to work with. Probably the easiest codec to work with (especially since it's cross-platform) is the h264 codec.
Importing an OMF into Samplitude:
Samplitude does not read OMF files directly. Instead, there's a program we own called EDL Converter. As far as I know, this program is no longer being made. There's another program called EDL Translate which seems to still be supported. In any case, as long as we can still get it to work, we'll be using EDL Converter.
The steps are this: open the OMF in EDL Converter. The program will take you through a couple steps to import.
Then you export as a Samplitude EDL. Put the Samplitude EDL in the same folder as the OMF (not for any technical reason, just because that's how I've always done it.)
Then open Samplitude. Go to "file" and "open" and "EDL" and open the EDL.
Then open a template of a .vip in Samplitude, and using control and shift, copy the data from the EDL right over to a Samplitude project. Everything will be in exactly the right place time-wise and you just need to menuberate which tracks the "objekts" (or, in Pro Tools talk "segments") go to.
Converting video for Samplitude
Samplitude likes "Magix Video" files. You can use Quicktimes (in, say, an h264 format) but Samplitude will whine and complain endlessly about them.
Lucky for us Samplitude comes with a consumer video editor called Magix Movie Edit Pro. Open that Quicktime you exported from Final Cut Pro in Movie Edit Pro — it'll ask if you want to change the aspect ratio of the project to match the 16:9 video you just brought in, just say "yes".
Then export as Magix Video. Here's a trick — as of this writing Magix doesn't understand 23.98 frame base. So go ahead and export as 29.97. That has worked for us for the last several movies.
Importing video into Samplitude:
Make a new track. Make it the top track why don't you? Then hit "w" and find the Magix Video file for the act you're working on. Select it. The video will appear in your timeline. Don't bother importing the audio from the video on a separate track (Samplitude will ask) unless you're worried about some sync problems which came up because some picture editor messed with the edit after it had been locked.
Oh, and this is important: grab that video object and pull it all the way to the left of the project. You really don't want that video to be even slightly off sync with the OMF you've dragged in.
Before you get started with the mix
You might want to "select all" and lock all the objects. That will lessen the likelihood of something getting bonked out of sync.