Until recently, video professionals who use Final Cut Pro have had only one way to export video sequences to high-end editing systems for finishing: edit decision lists (EDLs). Automatic Duck’s Automatic Sequence Export Pro (ASE Pro) plug-in for Final Cut Pro 3.0 circumvents EDLs altogether. Instead, ASE Pro exports Final Cut Pro sequences as Open Media Framework (OMF) files that you can import into a variety of Avid systems.
Going Beyond EDLs
EDLs are simple ASCII files that describe a narrow variety of edits, transitions, effects, and tracks. Depending on the type you use, EDLs limit you to two levels of video and either two or four tracks of video. Traditionally, editors spend days preparing to export an EDL, conforming their work to these rigid specifica-tions. By contrast, ASE Pro lets you export far more-complex sequences. The OMF file that the plug-in generates acts as a replacement for an EDL — it carries all of a sequence’s track information, as well as all the related clip data. When you import the OMF into an Avid system, your sequence appears exactly as it did in Final Cut Pro, with all your clips placed properly in the timeline. All you need to do to finish a project is capture the media at a high resolution, manage the effects and titles, and output the project to tape.
While ASE Pro does streamline the transfer of projects between Final Cut Pro and Avid systems, the process is not fully automated. Final Cut Pro and Avid systems don’t share common effects and text generators, so many effects in Final Cut Pro don’t have a direct equivalent in Avid. Simple dissolves and basic motion effects (scale and rotation, for example) carry over seamlessly, but complicated effects, filters, and text don’t. Even here, ASE Pro helps out by creating placeholders in the Avid sequence so you can re-create the effect or text quickly. All you have to do is select the effect placeholder and apply the closest Avid equivalent of the desired effect.
You must also give some thought to the editing process before attempting export to Avid. For example, Avid and Final Cut Pro differ significantly in the way they handle nesting and in the maximum number of video tracks they support. It’s important to know which type of Avid system you’re exporting files to. Avid Xpress DV, for example, can handle only 8 video tracks, while Final Cut Pro can handle 99. But the concise, well-written ASE Pro support documents clearly explain the export process and the inherent limitations on moving projects between these two systems.
Macworld’s Buying Advice
For professional video editors who often finish their Final Cut Pro projects on high-end Avid systems, ASE Pro can be a lifesaver. Although it can’t transfer most of your effects and text, it can significantly streamline your workflow and add a great deal of flexibility.