Moving from Premiere to Pro Tools

You've locked picture. That's great, you're on your way! No it's time for intensive sound editing and design. You need to get sound and picture out of Premiere Pro.

You will export two files out of Premiere Pro:

  • A Quicktime movie optimized for working in Pro Tools
  • An AAF file, of Advanced Authoring Format, which is a multi media file format that allows the interchange of media and editorial metadata between compliant applications such as Premiere Pro and Pro Tools

For our purposes, we will be creating an AAF that contains your sound edit in addition to a copy of the source media. You will be exporting all audio and editorial work as a single file.

In the event that an AAF will not export and Premiere continually gives error messages, this handout will also go over creating an OMF (Open Media Framework), importing it into Pro Tools and relinking al the audio. OMFs are not an ideal format and should only be created when an AAF is not possible. All image/video export steps will be the same when using an OMF.

Before You Begin

In order to maintain sync throughout this process, ensure that you are using 1:30-long head leader and that your sequence starts at timecode 00:58:30:00. Your leader also must include a 2 pop at 00:59:58:00.

Technical Staff have created 1:30 leader files to match various project settings. They can be found at FVCentral > Support > Leader [ProResHQ].

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To check your start time, choose Start Time... from the Timeline panel menu and, in the dialog that appears, enter 00:58:30:00. Click Ok.

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If you modified the starting timecode of your project, make sure your picture begins at 01:00:00:00. No picture or sound should be before 01:00:00:00!

Exporting Image for Pro Tools

  1. Select your sequence in the timeline window and go to File > Export > Media.

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  1. The Export Settings dialog box will open. Uncheck Match Sequence Settings. Select Quicktime under Format and Custom under Preset. Click on the blue filename under Output Name to name the file and set the destination for your export. Uncheck Export Audio.

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  1. Under the Video tab, select Apple ProRes 422 (Proxy) under Video Codec. Under Basic Video Settings, click Match Source, then make sure the Width & Height Frame RateField Order, and Aspect are all checked. Leave Render at Maximum Depth  unchecked and Depth at 24 bit. Click Export.

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Pro Tools can be very picky about video. If you are working at an aspect ratio other than 16:9 (1.78:1), Pro Tools may have trouble playing back the video. Pro Tools also has trouble with resolutions other than HD (1080p or 720p). You may need to adjust your video export settings to accommodate this.

Exporting Sound Using an AAF

  1. Duplicate your sequence. In the duplicated sequence, select all videos, right click, and select Unlink to unlink the audio and video. Delete all video from this sequence.
  2. Now you will create a single AAF file from your duplicated sequence which will contain all your audio and metadata. Select your sequence in the Timeline window and go to File > Export > AAF....

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This AAF export process will preserve your audio edit decisions and fades. Clip volume in Premiere does not translate to clip gain in Pro Tools, but is preserved as volume automation. Channel volume, panning, and muting in Premiere does not come through at all.
  1. In the AAF Export Settings window, leave Mixdown Video unchecked. In the Breakout to Mono section fo the window, check EnableRender audio clip effects, and Include clip copies without effects. Set Sample Rate to 48000, Bits per sample to 24, Files to Embed Audio, Format to Broadcast Wave, Render to  Copy Complete Audio Files. Click  Ok.

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Rendered audio clip effects and their unaffected 'clean' copies will both appear in Pro Tools as separate tracks whose names are appended with, respectively, 'FX' and 'No FX'. Both copies will come in as unmuted, meaning that the affected and clean clips will both play back on top of each other. Pick one and mute the other, do not use both. Be sure nonetheless to keep both in the session.

  1. Name the AAF file and choose a destination in the browser window. Click the drop-down button next to the file name in order to navigate through the file browser. Click Save.

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If you receive ay AAFRESULT_... error messages, your AAF has failed. You should create an OMF using the steps below.

Exporting Sound Using an OMF

If you are unable to export sound using an AAF, you will need to create an OMF to carry your audio to Pro Tools. OMFs will not include all of the metadata or audio clips effects that an AAF does.

  1. Select your sequence in the Timeline window and go to File > Export > OMF....

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  1. In the OMF Export Settings window, name the OMF. Set Sample Rate to 48000, Bits per Sample to 24. Files to Separate Audio, Format to Broadcast Wave, Render to Copy Complete Audio Files. Click Ok.

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  1. Choose a destination in the browser window Click the drop-down button next to the file name in order to navigate through the file browser. Create a New Folder for the OMF files name OMF Files. Click Save.

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  1. When the OMF is done, an OMF export information window will pop up. Check for any error messages.

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Importing AAF into Pro Tools

  1. Launch Pro Tools. Check Create from Template. Choose the FV Edit template which matches your project frame rate. Ensure that File Type is set to BWF (.WAV), Sample Rate is set to 48kHz, and Bit Depth is set to 24 Bit. Leave I/O settings on Last Used. Make sure interleaved remains unchecked and Prompt for Location is checked. Click Create and select a destination for your Pro Tools Session folder, then click Save.

Be sure to save your session onto the Scratch drive or your external drive. Remember, home folders are deleted at log out!

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  1. The Edit window of your currently blank Pro Tools session will come up.

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  1. Before you import your AAF file, copy it from the location you specified during the export into your newly created Pro Tools Session Folder. This ensures that all the media for your Pro Tools Session is always in the same location.

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  1. Now go to Setup > Session and check that the Session Start reads 00:58:30:00 and the Timecode Rate matches your project frame rate. Then close the Session Setup window.

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  1. Click on the name of the Sync Pop track to select it. This way, the imported tracks from your AAF file will appear directly between Sync Pop and Dlog 1.

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Imported tracks appear directly below whatever track you have selected prior to import. If you need to move a track, click on its name and drag it to the desired location.
  1. Now to import your copied AAF file. Go to File > Import > Session Data. Select the AAF file from your Pro Tools Session Folder. Click Open. You may get a message saying that the source start time is earlier than the current session start time. This is not a problem as long as your Premiere timeline used the standard leader beginning at 00:58:30:00.

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  1. The Import Session Data window will open. Review Source Properties. Then Set Timecode Mapping Options to Maintain absolute timecode values, unless it is grayed out, in which case, select Maintain relative timecode values. Note that maintaining relative values will only work properly if you are using 1:30-long head leader. Set Audio Media Options to Force to target session format.

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  1. Click V1 (video) under Source to deselect the video track - the Destination will change to (none). Then under Session Data, check Import Clip Gain and Import Volume Automation. Leave Import Rendered Audio Effects unchecked. Click Ok.
  2. A Session Notes window may open saying "Some effects were ignored" and "Pro Tools does not support AAF/OMF references to multichannel audio files." This is fine; audio effects have already been rendered into new clips and any multichannel audio files you exported have been split into mono. Do not save a detailed report; click No.

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  1. Your Pro Tools Session Edit window will now display your imported tracks and clips. Pro Tools will link the clips to the media in the AAF and then draw their waveforms. This may take several minutes to complete, depending on the size of the project.

You may see a window saying that there are missing files and asking how you would like to relink them. Sometimes, AAFs from Premiere will try to bring over non-existent audio files named after video clips. Pro Tools is obviously unable to locate these non-existent files, so you can select Skip All.

Importing OMF into Pro Tools

  1. Follow the same steps as for importing an AAF: launch Pro Tools, create a new session using the correct FV Edit template, and check that the timecode rate and session start time match your film.
  2. Before you import your OMF file, copy the OMF Files folder form the location you specified during the export into your newly created Pro Tools Session Folder. This ensures that all the media for your Pro Tools Session is always in the same location.

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  1. Click on the name of the Sync Pop track to select it. This way, the imported tracks from your OMF file will appear directly between Sync Pop and Dlog 1.

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Imported tracks appear directly below whatever track you have selected prior to import. If you need to move a track, click on its name and drag it to the desired location.
  1. Now import your copied OMF file. Go to File > Import > Session Data. Select the OMF file from your Pro Tools Session Folder. Click Open. You may get a message saying that the source start time is earlier than the current session start time. This is not a problem as long as your Premiere timeline used the standard leader beginning at 00:58:30:00.

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  1. The Import Session Data window will open. Review Source Properties. Then Set Timecode Mapping Options to Maintain absolute timecode values, unless it is grayed out, in which case select Maintain relative timecode values. Note that maintaining relative values will only work properly if you are using 1:30-long head leader. Set Audio Media Options to Force target session format.

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  1. Under Session Data, check Import Clip Gain and Import Volume Automation. Leave Import Rendered Audio Effects unchecked. Click Ok.
  2. A Session Notes window may open saying "Some effects were ignored" and "Pro Tools does not support AAF/OMF references to multichannel audio files". This is fine; audio effects have already been rendered into new clips and any multichannel audio files you exported have been split into mono. Do not save a detailed report; click No.

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  1. Your Pro Tools Session Edit window will now display your imported tracks. Because OMF does not include all of the metadata, you will have to relink all of the audio clips.

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  1. When the Missing Files dialogue box pops up, select Manually Find & Relink. Click Ok.

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  1. The relinking window will appear. Under Select Files to Relink, select all of the gray italicized tracks. Under Select Areas to Search, navigate to and check the folder that the OMF audio files are in.

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  1. Click Find Links button. In the Linking Options window, check Find By Name and deselect Match FormatMatch Duration, and Match Modification Date. Dismiss the pop ip dialog that warns about linking files that are too short. Link icons will appear next to the files that have found links.

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  1. Click Commit Links. The Relinked files will no longer show up under Select Files to Relink and the clips in the Edit window will show waveforms. You can now close the Relink window.

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Importing Video into Pro Tools

  1. In the Finder, locate the video reference file that Premiere Pro generated. Copy it into the Video Files folder in your Pro Tools session folder.

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  1. Go to File > Import > Video and select the video reference file that you just copied into the Video Files folder in your Pro Tools session folder. Click Open.

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  1. The Video Import Option window will open. Ensure the Destination is set to New Track. Location is set to Session StartImport audio from file is unchecked. Click Ok.

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  1. Your video will appear in the Pro Tools Session Timeline. If the frame rate on the video track is red, your video and session timecode rate do not match and may not sync correctly. Check your session timecode by going to Setup > Session. When the video frame rate and session timecode rate match, the video frame rate will turn white.

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  1. To ensure sync, you must check that the 2 frame of your video leader lines up exactly with the 2 pop from your AAF. Click on the Main Counter and type in 00595800. Press Enter.

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You can also get the 2 pop by simply clicking on the yellow diamond 2 Pop marker.
  1. Zoom into the waveform of the leader. If the 2 frame and the sync pop from the leader align, you're in business.

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