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I am volunteer editing a production with professional sound recording and need to deliver picture lock to the audio dept so they can add foley, mix, and master. I've delivered a few tests, but it's clear that the workflow needs improvement. In the first test, I just edited and delivered camera scratch audio, but the audio dept isn't able to re-sync the master recordings to camera scratch. Second test worked for them, but made my edit timeline a nightmare with 8x more audio tracks visible than necessary. Looking for a better way to work. Goals are:

• Sync Zoom 8-channel (per file) .WAV files to camera, either via waveform or timecode, maintaining camera timecode. This is the easy part.

• Combine synced A/V into “Merged Clips” (or any outside-the-box method of syncing audio to video) where the resulting clip channel format is “multichannel,” not “mono,” so that editing all eight channels into an adaptive audio timeline track results in a single track, not eight.

• Output stems for final mixdown with synced proxy video. Quicktime container format worked to transfer 8 streams of mono from 8 separate mono timeline tracks (A1-A8), but a better solution moving forward should use “8-mono mapped to Adaptive” clips, nested in adaptive audio timeline tracks (just A1). The resulting file must be multichannel, whether it’s 8 streams of mono or one stream of 8-mono, etc. I’d prefer a more compressed video codec than prores proxy.

•Give the sound guy an .AAF, .XML, or similar, which accurately conveys the edited timeline with references to the original 8-channel .WAV files. This is the ultimate goal. The particular DAW he's using is Reaper, but DAW-agnostic answers are preferable.

  • According to this document from Adobe, "Note: You cannot modify audio channels of a merged clip. They must be mono by default. However, you can still reorder and enable/disable all of the available audio channels from the component clips." helpx.adobe.com/premiere-pro/using/clips-channels-tracks.html – Jason Conrad May 16 '19 at 21:02
  • So, if merging clips is the way to sync sound in Premiere, and merged clips must be mono by default, it stands to reason that synced multichannel audio is impossible in premiere. Hard to believe that an entire industry is using a "workaround." – Jason Conrad May 16 '19 at 21:05
  • I still have not found a good solution to this problem, though I've posted my best efforts as an answer below. Our engineer has recently added AATranslator to his toolkit, but we're still struggling to get that to work. PP2019 won't let you unmerge merged clips but AATranslator requires unmerged clips. Subsequences are cumbersome. I've even tried DaVinci Resolve, with no success. – Jason Conrad Apr 1 at 20:21
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The Subsequence Method:

This is the first method I developed to work in this situation. I'm posting it as an answer here because it might be a sufficient answer for someone with a similar problem. However, I do not consider it a good or elegant solution. It has serious drawbacks which complicate the editing process (Subsequences don't display audio waveforms on the timeline, using Shift+O to open in source monitor is awkward, e.g.). I mention Reaper in this answer because it's the specific DAW we're targeting, but the advice might be generalized to other DAWs. Vordio is a translation tool which works in this context, but I cannot comment on its efficacy in others; YMMV

  1. Select all of the Zoom audio, right-click on it, and “select modify audio channels.” Change number of audio clips to 1, set clip channel format to adaptive, click OK.
  2. Create a new sequence from the file menu, making sure that the audio tracks are adaptive. This first sequence is just for sync dailies, so you only need one adaptive (or stereo) track on A1 for camera scratch, and a Poly on A2 for Zoom audio (with # of channels depending on how many sources used by the recordist.
  3. String out the video by selecting it all, and clicking the automate to sequence button. The camera scratch audio should land on A1 when you do this.
  4. Drop Zoom audio on A2 and sync each clip, one-by-one, either by using the “syncronize” command, or by lining up slates
  5. Once you’re done syncronizing, delete A1 camera scratch. You don’t need it any more.
  6. Select each A/V clip pair in turn and “Link”. This step’s kinda optional, but without it, the Subsequences generated in the next step won’t be linked.
  7. Select each linked pair in turn and “Make Subsequence”
  8. Re-name all of the subsequences. Now, make a new timeline for editing. Since double clicking subsequences in the project browser doesn’t open them in the source viewer like regular clips, you’ll want to use Shift+O (That’s an Oh, not a zero) instead.

Edit your material

Once your edit is locked, you need to flatten the subsequences before sending to reaper. Follow these steps. Basically, make sure the “insert and overwrite nested sequences as nests or individual clips button” is disabled (white, not blue) Make sure selection follows playhead is enabled Lock any tracks you don’t want to affect, and make sure the sequence targeting is active for the track you do want to affect Repeat the keyboard sequence: [ x ] [ f ] [ . ] [ shift+3 ] (ex, eff, period, shift key and number three together) for every clip in the timeline.

Now, to export a project for mixing, follow these steps:

  1. Command+M
  2. Set Format to Quicktime, Chose Apple Prores Proxy from the Preset dropdown. Under the “Basic Video Settings” section of the “Video” tab, uncheck the box next to width and height and change either number to a quarter of their original size. The other number should scale by the same amount automatically. If it doesn’t, make sure the link icon is active.
  3. Under the “Audio Channel Configuration” section of the “Audio” Tab, change “Output Channels” to match the number of channels in the poly wave. Make sure all of the other, “Basic Audio Settings” match the quality of audio the recordist started with.
  4. Hit Queue, and let Media Encoder do its thing. Now, to translate via Vordio for Reaper, follow these steps:

In Premiere, do File->Export->Final Cut Pro XML. Use the default Final Cut XML version.

Download Vordio if you don’t already have it (http://vordio.net/download/) , and open it. In the “Convert Project” tab, click “Browse” by the “Source File” field, and navigate to wherever you saved the XML. Browse for an Output Folder the same way, and click convert (all of the other settings can be left at default)

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