Tag Archives: workflows

Use a Droplet to Prep Audio for FCP

Use a Droplet to Prep Audio for FCP

So I’ve had a chance to work for a while on FCP, and I have a few things in mind to post on it. First, though, a very simple trick to help with importing properly configured audio into FCP.

The Issue

FCP, like Avid, prefers uncompressed audio over MP3s, M4As, etc. It’s not that it doesn’t work when you import a MP3 into FCP, it just doesn’t work well. You’ll hear all sorts of clicks and dropouts as you play through the track, so to prevent this you need to convert your audio to WAV or AIF before you import. There is a program called Loader that will convert your audio for you, copy it to a specified folder, and then import it, but it costs $79. The other way you can do two out of those three actions (converting, copying to a specified folder) is to make a Compressor droplet. You still have to import it on your own, but to save $79 I think that’s a pretty good trade-off.

Compressor Droplets

Any compression setting in Compressor can be converted into a standalone application called a Droplet. As you might infer, you can drop things like files onto the Droplet, and it will then process that file into whatever setting the Droplet is programmed with. You can also specify a destination folder for that Droplet and tell it to run silently. Each file you drop onto it will queue up and encode immediately, with the resulting file being placed in your predetermined destination folder.

For me, I have two droplets, one for Mono and one for Stereo (both 24-bit/48k AIF)

Stereo Compression Setting

The image above is for the stereo setting, from which I then make a Droplet in the Settings window:

Make a Droplet

Once you click the Make Droplet button, a dialog will come up asking you where you want to save the Droplet itself, as well as which Destination (defined in the Destinations tab) you’d like that Droplet to send its files to:

Saving a Droplet

Once you click Save, your Droplet will appear wherever you saved it (on my Desktop in my case), and you can proceed to drop files onto it. The first time you run the Droplet a dialog will come up confirming your settings, and you should uncheck the “Show at Launch” checkbox in the lower left corner so that the Droplet runs silently in the future.

Once the compression is done (keeping Batch Manager handy is a good idea to check progress, though most audio takes a very short amount of time), you can import your new files into FCP and cut away.

Print a Hierarchical List of Disk Contents

VFX companies often include paper printouts of a hard drive’s contents when they send material to/from Production, the DI, and other vendors. Occasionally, it’s useful for Editorial departments to do the same. Having a printout attached to a hard drive you’re sending out lets your vendor see exactly what’s on the drive without having to plug it in, and can be used to log a drive in or catalog it while it’s offline.

Strangely, there’s a lack of software available to do such a simple task as printing a directory listing. Searching through Google, I found a few applications for OSX that offered this functionality, but either the application wasn’t exaclty what I was looking for, or it added too many flourishes like icons and such.

So, I turned to the Terminal. Using a pattern I found in a forum on Unix.com, I modified the arguments and incorporated it into an Automator workflow (attached). This workflow displays a recursive list of directories (if you want only files or both files and directories see the bottom of this post), and is broken into the following steps:

  1. Asks for the root folder you’d like to make a listing from. This would usually be the root of your external hard drive.
  2. Asks how many levels of recursion you’d like.
    • Example: In one instance I was backing up P2 cards. I only needed to list the folder name of each P2 card I was including, and not the CONTENTS, VIDEO, VOICE, PROXY, ICON, and AUDIO folders that exist as subfolders of a P2 card’s root directory. So using this function with a recursion level of 2, my printout stopped processing directories after 2 levels of hierarchy.
  3. Runs the shell command:
find "$2" -type d -maxdepth $1 ! -name '.*' -print 2>/dev/null|awk '!/\.$/ {for (i=1;i<2  && i != 1 )d=5;printf("%"d"s","|")}print "---"$NF}'  FS='/'
  1. Saves a text file with the listing in the same directory you chose in Step 1, and then opens that file so you can browse and print it.

The output looks like this:

|      |---Warrior Back Up
|      |              |---Dailies by Tape
|      |              |              |---CT001
|      |              |              |---HI-8
|      |              |              |---VT001
|      |              |              |---VT002
|      |              |              |---VT003
|      |              |              |---VT004
|      |              |              |---VT005
|      |              |              |---VT006
|      |              |              |---VT007
|      |              |              |---VT008
|      |              |              |---VT009
|      |              |---P2 Backup
|      |              |        |---MISC
|      |              |        |---PRODUCTION
|      |              |        |---REHEARSAL FIGHTS
|      |              |        |---TESTS

Future Refinements

Suggestions welcome, but things I'm already thinking to add to this workflow later on are:

  1. An option to show files as well as folders. You can change this in the workflow yourself by changing "-type d" to "-type f" for a files-only listing, or remove "-type d" completely for both files and folders.
  2. A dialogue to ask if you want to print the listing automatically