Until recently, Final Cut Pro users 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. Instead, it exports Final Cut Pro sequences as Open Media Framework (OMF) files that can be imported into a variety of Avid systems.
EDLs are simple ASCII files that describe a narrow variety of edits, transitions, effects, and tracks. Depending on the type used, EDLs are limited 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 specifications. By contrast, ASE Pro can 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, the sequence appears exactly as it did in Final Cut Pro. All that’s needed to finish a project is to capture the media at a high resolution, manage the effects and titles, and output the project to tape.
While ASE Pro streamlines 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. All you have to do is select the effect placeholder and apply the closest equivalent effect.
You must also give some thought to the editing process before attempting export to Avid. For example, Avid and Final Cut Pro differ in the way they handle nesting, and in the 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 eight video tracks, while Final Cut Pro can handle 99. But the concise, well-written ASE Pro support documents explain the export process and the inherent limitations on moving projects between these systems.
For video-editing pros who finish their Final Cut Pro projects on high-end Avid systems, ASE Pro is a lifesaver. Although it can’t transfer most effects and text, it can streamline a workflow and add a flexibility.