Time remapping: Final Cut beats Avid and Adobe by a couple of lengths

Poster

Poster for Sunnyside Environmental School Spring Musical, 2013

It seemed so simple… Just speed up some clips, creating a faux-time-lapse sequence. It would be cute, save some space.

It seemed so simple…

I am editing the DVD (and BluRay) packages for Sunnyside Environmental School’s Spring musical, Video Killed the Fairytale Star. Three performances, each shot with three cameras – plus an 8 or 16 channel ProTools audio recording. And then there is about seven hours of single-camera material from rehearsals.  It is a lot of work – including trying to squeeze the best bits onto a DL DVD.

So I decided to time-compress some bits. Well, Avid Symphony and Boris BCC effects both have time-warp/velocity remapping effects – plus, there is Avid’s traditional clip speed controls. But – no good. They all work for video only.

Fine. I have ProTools HD, with a nice selection of Waves plugins (thanks, @Donny Wright at Super Digital).  I’ll just time-warp (or velocity remap) the video, then change the speed of the audio to match, and voilà…

What Waves Soundshifter only goes up to 400%?  Really?

OK, I’ll try going out to Premiere Pro for that bit, right?  No, wrong – at least I can’t see an easy way.  Probably not too hard in After Effects, but I didn’t go there.

OK, in desperation (well, really in pig-headed stubbornness) I fired up iMovie Pro  (also known as Final Cut Pro X).  I had to work a few things out, but in the end it was very easy to get just what I wanted.  I chopped up the tape into clips that needed retiming and clips that didn’t, applied a 20x speedup, and it was done.  There were only limited choices – 8x, or 20x, but nothing in between.  And no keyframes, so no easing in and out or such.  But a faux time lapse effect – for video and audio – with very little effort.

Bringing ProTools audio into the Avid was harder than it should have been.  I exported an AAF file from Protools, but the Avid would only ingest it if I exported an AAF with embedded media, then imported into Symphony.  I should have been able to export an AAF with links to the actual media, then linked with AMA into the Avid Symphony.  But no matter what I tried, it kept showing up as “media offline.”  Sigh…  It’s only hard disk space.

I am not brave enough to try a two hour multicam show with 14 additional channels of audio in Final Cut, though.  Are you?

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