I have been questioning a lot by newcomer directors how to export and deliver correctly all those files required by audio post-production facilities in order to start working on a project. This article is gonna explore the basic instructions for exporting those files without getting too deep. Other files are needed for assembly and reconform but those may be a topic for another article.
Usually, the dialogue editor is the first to ask for those files and this guide is intended for those directors and picture editors who are approaching for the first time the workflow in the audio post-production facilities.
Those instructions are pretty much the same for every software editor (Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, DaVinci Resolve, Avid Media Composer, etc).
These files are:
- a video reference file
- an AAF or OMF file
- original audio files from the set (rushes)
- an EDL or XML file (depending on the editing software) for assembly and reconforming (EDL and XML files need to be exported every time a new edit or version of the picture is made)
These are the files required to start working on sound. EDL and XML files will be covered in another article and are required for assembly and recoforming session after new picture edits. It is better to get in the habit of exporting them everytime you make changes or a new version of the movie is made, even if you think you won’t need them.
Before you even think about exporting a video reference and an AAF/OMF file from your edit software remember to keep dialogue, sound effects, and music in separate tracks, in sync with the video and to have a clear and structured folder hierarchy of your audio/video files in your project.
DO NOT RENAME AUDIO FILES as this would result in broken metadata and in further problems when it comes to conform dialogues.
Audio tracks delivered by sound recordist from the set should be untouched in any circumstances as 99% of recorders nowadays create BWF with metadata embedded.
Metadata are extremely important for several reasons. We are not going to explore in this article all those reasons but for the moment you should know that they are fundamental for syncing audio and video and only this should be enough to consider them with a higher level of attention.
Add Timecode Indicator
Whatever software you are using for editing video you should always add a TIMECODE stamp on your video (usually at the bottom). FFOA (First frame of action) starts at 01:00:00:00 unless your distribution specifications say otherwise
Add an audio 2pop
On your project, you should always place a -20Dbfs 1Khz sine wave, 1 frame in duration, and 2 seconds before the FFOA so at 00:59:58:00. We need this sound (called 2pop or audio pop) to make sure that the video reference and the AAF/OMF files will be aligned when importing them in our audio sequencer (Pro Tools). Both those 2 files need to have an audio pop in it. It’s normal that the 2pop starts before the video region, it is intended this way.
Click HERE to download the audio pop.
Now it's time to export the AAF/OMF file and the Video Reference:
I am sure you know how to export the final video of your project (aka video reference) but remember to export it with the audio track as well (stereo audio track).
For the AAF/OMF file the option should stay somewhere on the menu-file-export of your edit program (depending on which one) but it’s very easy to find. The most important thing to make sure is that settings need to be correct.
I strongly reccomend you to export an EDL or XML file as well along with the first picture edit and get in the habit of exporting them everytime you make changes in the edit. Those files are mandatory when you have to assembly production dialogues or re-conform the whole session to a new picture edit (another article will cover this topic). Usually this option is located under file – export – export EDL or XML.
1) exporting reference video:
Video Format: MOV
Video Codec: Avid DNxHD is the best otherwise H.264 is fine
Video Frame Rate: The same of your video master
Resolution: Up to 1920 x 1080
Key-frames each 12 frames, P and B frames: Disabled
Automatic Key-frames: Disabled
Audio: Linear PCM/WAV in Stereo L/R
2) exporting AAF/ OMF:
Leave everything uncheck but breakout to mono enable
Sample Rate: 48 Khz
Bit Depth: 24 bit
File Format: AAF / (OMF if under 2 gb) with embedded audio (no necessary to embed video)
Audio Format: Broadcast WAV is better then AIFF
Render: Trim Audio Files
Audio Handles: Minimum of 240 frames
When you have those files you can send them along with the rushes to the audio post-production department via dropbox or wetransfer.
If you prefer to watch a video tutorial about exporting AAF/OMF I recommend you watch the following:
Exporting AAF in Adobe Premiere Pro:
Exporting AAF in Avid Media Composer:
Export AAF from Final Cut Pro (Unfortunately FCP doesn’t have an option for exporting AAF file but, for this feature, it requires an external plugin called X2pro which costs about 150 € or so):
here is the link for X2pro audio converter:
Exporting AAF from DaVinci Resolve (sub eng):
Purcell, John. Dialogue editing for motion pictures: a guide for the invisible art, Burlington, Focal Press, 2007.
Rose, Jay. Audio postproduction for film and video, Burlington, Focal Press, 2013.
Gilmer, Brad. AAF — the Advanced Authoring Format, 2002
We are going to regullary update the blog with new contect and we hope you enjoyed this artificle, found it useful for your purpose and gain some new knowledge 🙂
Mindsound Audio Post Production