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  • Cejunee
    Posts: 19
    Joined: Dec 31st, 2009, 04:24
    Need help ASAP! Export music tracks to Final Cut in sync
    I have just finished my first music soundtrack, but I am confused as to how to export the music to the audio mix professional so that he can sync it with the film. The film editor is using Final Cut 7 but the audio mix guy is using some other program to mix. I have Logic Pro 9. I can of course export an AIFF file, but that has no sync data. I can also use "Export to a movie" function and choose PCM but of course the filmmaker already has the movie. I did 3 things to try to get the sync set up: I defined the start point of the movie, I set up a cross-reference point ("bar xxx plays at SMPTE point xxx) and then I selected all regions and Locked SMPTE. I also set the frome rate to 24 which I was told was the frame rate of the film. Yet I still notice that the TCG displayed on the movie within Logic does not agree with the timecode displayed in Logic's transport counter. Did I leave out some step? Still the playback in Logic is fine. In any case, is there a standard way to export the music soundtrack from Logic so that the filmmaker and the audio mix guy have the sync data they need? I have a very short deadline from here so I am hoping that you can help ASAP. Thanks very much!!!
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  • Peter Schwartz
    Posts: 545
    Joined: Sep 15th, 2007, 06:04
    Re: Need help ASAP! Export music tracks to Final Cut in sync
    Couple of questions and comments... What programs the other members of the post team are using doesn't matter. All you'll need to do is create an audio file(s) at 48K, 24-bit that you bounce from a known point against picture --- most of which I'll explain below, though I don't have enough info to go by to answer everything just yet. The audio standard for film is 48K, 24-bit. However, you want to be sure that the editor is set up to handle audio at at 24-bit. Contact him and find out. If he doesn't know what you're talking about, or he says he can't run audio at 24-bit then you'll make a dithered 16-bit copy when you bounce. Now... Are we talking about multiple cues or one long cue? Next... Frame rate. You should have known what the frame rate was and set Logic to that frame rate before recorded a single note. That's OK, you can set it now, but by all means do NOT SMPTE-lock your regions before you change the frame rate in Logic to what it should be (24). But... Are you sure it's 24fps? Are you scoring an animation? If you're not scoring animation then either that information about 24 fps is wrong or your editor made a mistake. Need answers to the above questions before I can offer any more advice. And any more detail that you can offer about what you're doing, the kind of film project it is, and so on would be extremely helpful.
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  • Cejunee
    Posts: 19
    Joined: Dec 31st, 2009, 04:24
    Re: Need help ASAP! Export music tracks to Final Cut in sync
    Thanks so much for helping. I will double check about the framerate, but 24 fps is what the filmmaker told me it was. Once the movie is imported into Logic is there some way to tell? Maybe she made a mistake or I misunderstood her. Is the relevant framerate the fps of the original footage or the fps of her quicktime export to me? Do they need to be the same? How would she tell about that? (She is fairly new to this type of collaboration also.) This is a 10 minute narrative film, no animation. The footage was all taken with one of those really expensive "red" cameras. I can actually do the export with just 2 cue points. I can of course tell the filmmaker as well as the audio guy what the corresponding TCG SMPTE code is for each start point. I did set the framerate before I locked anything and I will unlock it before doing changing anything. I could specify these points and just do two AIFF bounces at 48K and 24-bit. I suppose I could do an extra one at 16 bit just to be safe, since I can't reach the audio guy now and I will be out of town by the time he is available.. So standard practice is just an AIFF bounce with a note showing SMPTE starting point?
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  • Peter Schwartz
    Posts: 545
    Joined: Sep 15th, 2007, 06:04
    Re: Need help ASAP! Export music tracks to Final Cut in sync
    I'm going to guess that it's 23.976 fps, which is not the same as 24fps. Unfortunately, some people like to "shorthand" the terminology by rounding up. Now, there is a valid term of "24p" which refers to a "progressive" frame rate, but that IS 23.976. In any event, you have to find out for certain. The editor is your best bet for that information. But you can also check yourself... Open the movie in QTPro. Hit CMD-i (info) and look at the listed frame rate. I'd be extremely surprised if it's 24. That frame rate is, to the best of my knowledge, used exclusively for cel animation and actual film. OK, that aside, and come to think of it, you could save yourself some trouble by not changing a thing and referring exclusively to the movie's timecode burn and not worrying about Logic's timecode counter at all. This will produce a perfectly in-sync result. For example, if your music starts at 01:02:03:04 with respect to the picture's t/c burn, go with that. I would suggest you to use the following routine for printing each cue: 1) set the playhead at the start frame of the cue. Do not worry about whether the playhead is positioned on a musical beat. We're out of musical territory right now. Go for the first frame of picture as to where your cue starts, using picture's t/c burn as the reference. 2) in Logic's transport, click/hold on the bits value in the SMPTE display and scroll it down in value until you just see the PREVIOUS frame of picture come into view (that would be frame 03 per the example timecode I gave you above). Then slowly scroll the bits value upward until you arrive at the actual start frame of your cue (here, frame 04). Set your left locator (without rounding) to that position (the key command for setting left locator without rounding is useful here). Then set the right locator to a bit past the point of the end of the cue. At no point during this process should you be concerned with whether Logic's t/c counter matches picture's. (BTW, that little bit of necessary bit-scrolling evil is to ensure that your music cue starts on the "leading edge" of that frame of picture). 3) Bounce your cue, naming it similar to this: "1m1 Final +01_02_03_04.aif" Because of the timecode discrepancy you're experiencing I suggest you bounce an AIF and not a WAV. I can explain that later if you want. To answer your last question, what constitutes "standard practice" depends on who you ask. When I print cues I take the most conservative (i.e., foolproof) approach there is: to pop my music files with a 2-pop at the head. However, for your purposes, you won't need to do this. The procedure I outlined above is fine.
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  • Cejunee
    Posts: 19
    Joined: Dec 31st, 2009, 04:24
    Re: Need help ASAP! Export music tracks to Final Cut in sync
    This is great. So I think that what you are saying is that I find the exact spot, go back to the previous frame and then advance one bit at a time in Logic's transport, although I am still going by the burn-in code, not the the Logic transport. One last qustion. As I have said, the filmmaker is a bit new at this. I believe that she incorrectly set the framerate at 24 fps when she set up the TC Generator. She probably should have set it at 23.976. If she made this mistake at the time of generating the burn-in timecode, then are my reference points still correct? Maybe the TCG burn-in is actually wrong, because Final Cut was assuming the wrong fps when it generated the code?
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  • Peter Schwartz
    Posts: 545
    Joined: Sep 15th, 2007, 06:04
    Re: Need help ASAP! Export music tracks to Final Cut in sync
    Re your first paragraph, "yes"! : - ) Re your second, indeed, filmmakers new to the process of making films will stripe timecode with the wrong frame rate. I've worked with a lot of indy filmmakers and I've seen this before so I know LOL! So yes, don't change anything about your Logic project. Keep it at the original frame rate you had it set to and you'll be fine. Just go by the picture's timecode when you print. But read on... Since they're (very likely) working at a different frame rate than you, there's a very good chance that no matter how careful you are with starting your music on the leading edge of a frame that it will end up being out of sync when they place it. That's because your frame count and theirs probably don't match). So... a slightly new routine is in order. Basically, you're going to follow the above procedure, except now you're going to start your bounce on a hard edit somewhere before the music starts. Hopefully there is one! A hard edit is where the picture changes instantly from one perspective to another (as opposed to a dissolve or crossfade, where one image slowly overtakes another). So yes, there may be some dead air at the top of your bounce, but that's fine. Now... there's still every possibility that your timecode reference and theirs are going to be different, but... if you indicate in your communication with them that the timecode may be off, "but, the music starts right on the cut from (character X) to (character Y) then you should be good to go. Hope that helps. Post back and let me know how you make out! Cheers, Ski
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  • Cejunee
    Posts: 19
    Joined: Dec 31st, 2009, 04:24
    Re: Need help ASAP! Export music tracks to Final Cut in sync
    Just one problem. The music starts before the film does, when the screen is still black. Could I just start the bounce at the very beginning of the timecode (at 00:00:00:01)when the screen is still black even though the music starts a bit later? Perhaps that wouldn't give the code any time to get out of sync with the framerate
    Reply
  • Peter Schwartz
    Posts: 545
    Joined: Sep 15th, 2007, 06:04
    Re: Need help ASAP! Export music tracks to Final Cut in sync
    Sure, you can do that. And to really ensure sync, try adding a "tail pop"... After your music cue is over, hopefully there's some more footage where there's a hard edit (cut) in the picture. Load up a drum kit that has a rimshot (sidestick) sound and record a sidestick right on that cut. Your placement doesn't have to be precise, we'll get it there tho --- and to be on the safe side for the next operation, stretch the left edge of region (containing the rimshot note) to the left a little bit. The region should now straddle the cut. To get the sound to hit exactly on the frame of the cut, align align the playhead with it and jockey Logic's bit counter to get it precisely positioned. Then open the piano roll on the region in which the rimshot is recorded and use the "pickup clock" key command. This will move the note to the playhead position. Record that sidestick sound along with your cue, and make a note to the editor as to where it's supposed to align, i.e., "1m1 starts at the very top of the film, and the hit at the end aligns when (describe the cut)". Oh, and be sure that the editor trims out the rimshot!
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