FCP to Avid, a Continuing Saga

Hit a frequent request on an editing forum today, Robert asks:

“I have a project coming in that was shot on a combination of HDCam and XDCam (EX-1 & EX-3) and edited on a Final Cut Pro system. What type of workflow can I use to get the sequence and media into a PC Symphony Nitris (3.0) for the online edit?”

My immediate answer is the obvious one, use Automatic Duck. Automatic Duck, for those who don’t know, produces several software applications that improves the interchange between certain post production software packages. While it brings a lot of information across, it doesn’t do everything. For example, effects for the most part don’t come across. (No thanks to Avid’s exclusivity mentality).

Then Robert adds:

“If the offline editors converted the EX media into QT files for FCP and no longer had a copy of the original EX files what options would we have? Can those QT files be re-packaged to MXF files or did the actual codec change when they were turned into QT files for FCP?”

Now this complicates matters quite a bit. I can think of three workflows that I would use in descending order.

1: This one you really should finish in FCP.

2: However, if you really want to move to Symphony, the next best option would be to beg Wes Plate for an early copy (it was supposed to have shipped by now) of V4 of Automatic Duck. It WILL carry media over to Avid. (And some more effects information again, no thanks to Avid).

3: Next best option after that would be to either output to tape from FCP or export as an uncompressed QT movie. Bring that in with the original project moved over via Automatic Duck. Then use the reformat subdivide trick to break up your imported QT or recaptured tape. You would then capture all of the HDCAM tape material into Avid. So when you were done, you would have a sequence that was composed of the subdivided material that was XDCAM files, and the new HDCAM material. Now you would have to go through and selectively remove or keep the material you wanted based on quality.

Personally, I would opt for 1 or 2 above.

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Terence Curren has had a passion for filmed entertainment since the age of 12, when he began creating home movies with an old eight-millimeter camera. He began his career in the early 1980s by directing,…