Latest post Wed, Dec 2 2009 7:26 PM by mschneider. 4 replies.
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  • Mon, Nov 9 2009 4:59 PM

    • mschneider
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Thu, Oct 13 2005
    • PostWorks, New York
    • Posts 38
    • Points 470

    Aaton Cantar "TRK" Info Missing After BWF Import

     

    Hi all:

    A scripted episodic show here at PostWorks will be recording on an Aaton Cantar and post-sync'ing BWF audio in Media Composer 3.5.x. The Track ID/Track info metadata - boom, iso, etc - is key for smooth audio post when it comes time to turning over sound. That TRK information is now missing when importing BWF audio into Composer versions 3.5.x, 4.0, and a beta version of 4.0.x. I am trying 3.1.x now.

    Three 3rd party softwares *do* however see this metadata: Wave Agent, BWF Widget Pro, AV Transfer, so the data is there. However I noticed that the Track ID is not written in its usually place (from the vantage point of BWF Widget Pro's metadata editor). If I manually key in the track ID where it is typically found within a metadata editor, Media Composer *does* see it.

    So, could be Composer looking in the wrong place, could be issue with the firmware version of the Cantar. I have been in touch with some film assistants here who have had positive experiences with 2.20 firmware of the Cantar eliminating this problem (or simply not manifesting it).

    Ring any bells for anyone (beyond those I have already spoken with)?

    Matt Schneider, PostWorks

    Matthew Schneider Director of Technology PostWorks, New York 100 Avenue of the Americas, 10th Floor New York, NY 10013 212.894.4000 (work) 347.672.4192 (cell) mscheider@postworks.com

  • Mon, Nov 9 2009 6:00 PM In reply to

    Re: Aaton Cantar "TRK" Info Missing After BWF Import

    Odd, the same question came up last week.

    As a matter of fact I opened a few older projects that also went Cantar->Avid->ProTools, and none of these had the TRK entries. I only see those on SoundDevices files.

    One of the issues is that Cantar (and some other recorders) write some metadata in the BEXT chunk (which the Avid reads), and some metadata in the iXML chunk (which the Avid apparently ignores). N.B.: Avid, can we have this iXML metadata as well?

    On one project I did, the audio was postconformed. When the original BWFs were placed in the Avid, a lot of the BWF data (also the track contents) did show up in PT.

    Maybe, just maybe, you could get that data from the ALE that the Cantar makes, and "merge with known sources" after importing the BWFs.

    Also, some other stuff has changed.

    In the past, I would get multiple monophonic BWFs from the Cantar, then I'd use Majax to create a BWF-P from it, which I imported into Avid, then exported as OMF/AAF to ProTools. This in order to maintain linked tracks.

    Since v3.5, a long standing feature request of mine was implemented, being "Autodetect Broadcast Wave Monophonic Groups". I have used this on my latest project, but I haven't done any metadata testing (and the sound editors I work with don't really care, since they get PDF reports and track numbers).

    I recently had a similar discussion when my AE was working on something when his sound editors complained about missing metadata. We agreed we needed to do some more testing.

    Let me know what happens when you import in v3.0 / v3.1. Hope to do a test of my own soon.

     

    One more thought,

    The metadata you describe per track would be difficult for the Avid to track when you import poly's or mono-groups, since AFAIK the Avid tracks metadata per master clip, not per track.

    So what happens if you import the monophonics one by one, disabling the autodetect feature?

    Media Composer /w Symphony option | PT-HD | Win7Pro64 HP | OSX MBP | ISIS5000 | Nitris DX | Artist Mix & Transport & Color | AJA T-Tap | Decklink... [view my complete system specs]
  • Mon, Nov 9 2009 11:13 PM In reply to

    • mschneider
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Thu, Oct 13 2005
    • PostWorks, New York
    • Posts 38
    • Points 470

    Re: Aaton Cantar "TRK" Info Missing After BWF Import

    Hi Job,

    Thanks for those notes and good to hear from you..

    The track by track notations are usually tracked as separate columns in the Avid bin. So, a polyphonic BWF master clip with 8 tracks would have 8 additional columns - TRK1, TRK2, TRK3 etc - so that you could carry forward all track names as created by a production sound mixer.

    This all certainly seems to be a function of this metadata being written in the iXML area of the file, not in the BEXT area of the file. BWF Widget Pro, Sound Devices Wave Agent, AV Transfer and so on, all see this information; when viewing with a metadata editor such as BWF WP, you can see that these track names are indeed written in the iXML section.

    I have done the due dilligence of testing MC 3.1. 3.5, 4.0 and beta 4.x, and all have the same results. Polyphonic files created wtih both BWF Manager and Majax are no different. I also took your good suggestion of using the ALE created by the Cantar however the ALE formatting is problematic requiring massaging the file in a text editor just to get into Media Composer. So...the import and merge capability is a bit compromised there.

    I've spoken with the production sound mixer: he is using 2.30 firmware of the Cantar (latest I believe). By all appearances, he is doing everything a-ok.

    Manual data entry may be needed. Plus a consolidate of the master clip to "embed" the new columns into the media file so that the media files carry this metadata to mix.

    I've been in touch with some Tewksbury folks. We'll see what we can do. For now, I continue to work on developing some kind of comfortable workaround for the client.

    Thanks Job!

    Matthew Schneider Director of Technology PostWorks, New York 100 Avenue of the Americas, 10th Floor New York, NY 10013 212.894.4000 (work) 347.672.4192 (cell) mscheider@postworks.com

  • Tue, Nov 17 2009 4:53 PM In reply to

    • Postworks
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Tue, Sep 15 2009
    • Posts 14
    • Points 150

    Re: Aaton Cantar "TRK" Info Missing After BWF Import

     

    Just to review where we are with this:

    Currently there are two stumbling blocks to getting Aaton Cantar track names into Media Composer: the ALE from both Cantar and Majax group all 8 channel names into onto one column heading called "Description." Separating these into 8 columns either requires introducing tabs manually in a text editor or setting up some scripting in Excel. Currently we are manually creating 8 discrete columns in an Avid bin and saving that as a bin setting, and then manually adding the track names poly clip by poly clip.

    Aaton has released a new version of Majax that resolves this, and I will be testing this today.

    There is a larger stumbling block: there is no simple way to adjust the Cantar ALE to account for the .1% pulldown of timecode that is being done in Avid when ingesting the BWF audio. Assuming we are talking about film acquired material, audio needs to be slowed down by that same margin when bringing into a video speed projct - i.e. 23.98 - and thus the Timecode in the Aaton ALEs do not match the timecode in the Avid. The "import and merge" function thus no longer works.

    I've asked Aaton to see if a setting can be applied in Majax to pulldown the TC when exporting ALEs.

  • Wed, Dec 2 2009 7:26 PM In reply to

    • mschneider
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Thu, Oct 13 2005
    • PostWorks, New York
    • Posts 38
    • Points 470

    Re: Aaton Cantar "TRK" Info Missing After BWF Import

     

    For those interested, here is an update:

    Aaton has released an update to Majax - version 2.42 - that will copy the Track Name from the iXML chunk into the BEXT chunk so that this information is visible to Media Composer on import. Performing the update in Majax is a little flaky from a UI stand point but it does work. If you want a step by step, you can email Aaton Post Support or email me directly for pointers and how-to.

    This is good news as we no longer need to rely on ALEs from Cantar as these ALEs do not take into account the fact that the audio timecode of film acquired projects require a pulldown upon import into Media Composer (and thus the timecode of the imported BWF audio does not match the Aaton Cantar-generated ALE). This update to Majax makes this workflow problem go away.

    However, there is a catch!

    Media Composer 3.5 and 4.0 do NOT recognize the updated BEXT information beyond Track 1 on import. Specifically, Track Names are ignored for Tracks 2 through 8 when choosing the "Autodetect Monophonic Groups" settings. 2-8 are also ignored when imported an already interleaved polyphonic audio file created by Majax.

    The only time Media Composer sees the newly updated BEXT metadata in the BWF files is if the mono files are imported separately with the "Autodetect" function turned off. Bummer..

    My suggested workaround is to import the mono files with the Autodetect setting off just to get the bin columns and the track names, and then import with the Autodetect setting on to generate the clip you ultimately edit with. Copy/paste the track names for tracks 2-8 within the Avid Bin.

    Matt

    Matthew Schneider Director of Technology PostWorks, New York 100 Avenue of the Americas, 10th Floor New York, NY 10013 212.894.4000 (work) 347.672.4192 (cell) mscheider@postworks.com

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