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- Understanding video formats, codecs, and timecode rates
- Importing OMFs and AAFs into Pro Tools
- Spotting film and using markers
- Using room tone
- Creating fades to smooth out audio edits
- Sweetening and hard effects
- Recording ADR and editing with VocALign LE
- Editing out plosives, crackles, and hums
- Mixing with automation and reverb
- Calibrating for 5.1 surround mixing and bass management
- Mastering delivery levels and dynamics
- Understanding the Audio Suite enhancements in Pro Tools 10
Skill Level Intermediate
Once you have your properly exported OMF and the QuickTime reference movie on hand, it's time to import them into Pro Tools. Let's check this out. Getting an OMF or AAF into Pro Tools is a pretty simple process. Pro Tools even treats an OMF as a session file. So here we have our deliverables in our OMF. You can double-click on it to open it or go to Pro Tools and go to File > Open and choose it. Let's do that. In Pro Tools, File > Open Session. I find it here. Click on it and click Open.
This will start a new session. So we have to check our Audio File Type, Sample Rate, and Bit Depth. These are all the ones we want to use, so we will click OK. Then it will ask us where to put it. So we'll put it in our 03_01, and we will call it andinhrace, which is the name of the OMF file to begin with. Pro Tools immediately brings you into this Import Session Data dialog box. This is the same Import Session Data box we will use to import session data from other Pro Tools sessions as well. On the top left you have your Source Properties.
This tells us the info we need to know about the source OMF file we are importing. In this case it says the source time code format is 24 frames per second. This is due to the original metadata attached to the sequence settings in Final Cut Pro. As we will come to see, the true frame rate of this project is actually 23.976. Below that we have our Media Options. Some of these options would have more ramifications if you are importing from another Pro Tools session, not an OMF. Here we have Link to source media. This would be a possibility if your OMF came from an Avid Media Composer system because there it's possible to export an OMF and the media file separately.
If you do receive an OMF in this format and you don't want to double up on media, you can choose this. If you are given just a standard one OMF file with embedded media, like we had, you should choose Copy from source media. That's probably going to be your usual setting. In this pulldown menu you also have the option to consolidate from source media. I wouldn't choose that here because you don't want to cut off any media that you might want to use. You also have Force to target session format, which is irrelevant in this case. Video Media Options here are also grayed out, because we are going to actually import our videos separately from the OMF transfer.
Assuming your video editor set up the time code correctly from the beginning, you should choose up here in the Time Code Mapping Options to Maintain absolute time code values. As we can see, it's already set to 58:30, which is the same as our start time from our Source Properties. You could choose to use Maintain relative time code values, if, for example, the video editor was using time code starting at hour three and you don't want all your audio to start way down the timeline. This way it will start relative to the beginning of your session. You can also customize the start time by mapping the start time to a specific time code.
We are going to keep it on Maintain absolute time code values. One other option here is you could offset your incoming tracks to a specific time code by choosing it in the Offset Incoming Tracks To field. Sample rate conversion options are also possible. SRC stands for Sample Rate Conversion. If you check Apply SRC, you can choose a different sample rate to convert as you are importing. But since our Source Sample Rate is 48 kilohertz and our Destination Sample Rate for our session we chose to be 48 kilohertz, we are not going to check that box.
Next, you have all of your source tracks. As you can see, our OMF contains five tracks, which are all highlighted in blue. If you wanted, you can choose to deselect some of these tracks and not include them in the OMF import, but for now we are going to keep them all selected. At the bottom, we have some more options. Because we plan on doing significant audio work in Pro Tools, I think it's best to ignore any rendered effects, ignore clip-base gain, ignore auto-gain, and we are actually going to choose not to pan odd tracks left and even tracks right. Then I will just make more work for us later when we have to reset the pans to center.
For Track Data to Import, we can choose Some. This is all the data you could potentially import. I'd like to choose All. But, for example, you can choose to deselect Volume Automation if you wanted to ignore the volume settings from the video editor. Playlists aren't supported by OMF, so we can ignore these settings below. When you hit OK, everything should come into your Pro Tools session. When I zoom out a little bit, we can see that all of our regions came into our session and were populated in the audio regions list, which I will narrow a little bit.
Let's expand our window. The next step is to import the video reference file and make sure everything is in sync. So we will go to File > Import > Video, and we will go back to our Deliverables folder, and above the OMF we have our reference video. Click Open and it will ask us if you want to put it on the new track, which is good, put it at the Session Start. And we do want to check Import audio from file, so we have a reference of the original audio from the reference video that we can use as we work.
It's going to ask us to choose a destination for this audio, and it automatically defaults to the Audio Files folder of this session, which is a good place to put it. So we will click Open, and as it's bringing it in, you notice that the video window is quite large. So we are going to want to downsize that. Right-click on it and we will change it to Half Size and we will further drag it smaller from the bottom right. And I like to put my video window in the top right of my Pro Tools Edit window. So now we want to make sure that everything is in sync.
The best way to do this is, if your video is good and included sync pops, we can check those against the video reference. I can see that our sync pops are hanging out in the beginning of our sequence, so I am going to click on it and zoom in very close. I also want to make sure we are in Grid mode here and that our grid is set to 1 frame, which it is. I can see here that the sync pop is actually a little bit off from the grid boundary. This might be due to the fact that we are referencing the wrong time code rate, so let's check that. We are going to open the video track to medium size so we can see the frame rate of the video, which we can see here is 23.98, rounded up from 23.976.
And notice that it's red. Whenever the numbers are red, it means that your Pro Tools session is not referencing the correct video frame rate. So we will have to fix that in the Session Setup. Go up to Setup > Session, and here is our Session Setup Window. You can see that because the metadata told us that the original OMF was at 24 frames per second, it's actually off. So I am going to go in here and change it to 23.976. As you can see, the numbers are now white, so Pro Tools is happy. It's referencing the correct time code rate, and let's check our two pop.
Close the Session Setup Window and look, it's right on the frame line, and it happens to be, if I click on it, here up to the frame line, right on the video reference of 2. So if I go back one frame, you can see that was number 3. I go there, number 2, and I go one later, and it's nothing. So that's our two pop. Works perfectly and we can watch it. If I back up a little bit and hit Play, we will hear it and we'll see it go by. (beep) Let's check the end of our session as well. Zoom out a little bit. And here we have a sync pop also, corresponding this time to a frame of bars.
It's right on the frame border, so that's good. I'm going to go back one frame, no bars, forward one frame. There's the bars, and to the next frame, and there is no bars, so we are right in sync. I can play that as well. (beep) We can also see that the reference audio, visually, if I zoom in on the waveform a little bit, also has its sync pop at the same exact location. So I will zoom out, and that's good news. That means everything is in sync. Now the last couple of things I usually do here is I take the video out of frames mode and into block mode.
This actually just conserves some DSP power. It's nice to see the frames, but they are not totally necessary, since we have the video reference up here, and it conserves some system usage power. So now you have some good insight into importing OMF and AAF files. These steps are crucial to getting you set up properly so you can launch right into your audio editing without any trouble.
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