LEGACY: Avid AAF and Apple Final Cut Pro XML - How do I conform these things?

Posted by Ultimate_Smoker*, 5 October 2009 1:00 am

Hi Everyone

I hope that you all are doing well.  Today is a little bit miserable in London, the summer weather has definitely departed and the cloudy rain has returned.

Never mind! I hope to show you something that will help you on your way to conforming bliss!

AAF & XML Conforming in Smoke & Flame

As of the current versions of Smoke and Flame (2010 ext1), we can conform a Final Cut Pro XML with media as well as an Avid AAF with media to do a conform.

I have recorded presentations of both types of conforms.  They are both concise from beginning to end so you d not have to watch both if you are only doing one particular type of conform.

Each one of the methods have their own particular mini-quirks, nothing major, and they demonstrate the most common example of conform using compressed media.

Let's get cracking!!!

AAF conforming!

It's worth mentioning that Smoke and Flame only support DNxHD media and not the other Avid legacy formats. I get asked this question all the time so it is worth mentioning that now.


For the optimum viewing experience, set the view to 1:1 and watch it full screen

Flame or Smoke 2010 ext1


XML Conforming!

Only the codecs which Smoke and Flame support will be successful in conforming the same media as Final Cut Pro.

TIP:  How do you know what codec support the software has?   Well there are two ways to look
1. The manual - Who has time???
2. In the clip library, select a clip and go to export image.  Choose the QuickTime option and then you can browse the codec list.  Cool!


For the optimum viewing experience, set the view to 1:1 and watch it full screen
Flame or Smoke 2010 ext1



Just the Facts!

Now I know that I make everything look very easy but I follow some simple facts which help tremendously when doing the conform and you should follow them too.



If the conform still fails then I have this trouble shoot guide which could also get you out of a heap of stress.

I hope that you will find this information valuable!

Please keep the feedback coming and let me know your experiences, tips and tracks so that I can continue to help out.

Keep well where ever you are!






Posted 5 October 2009 2:33 pm

Hi Anders, can you send me a message regarding this. I don't have any R3D specific examples I could show but perhaps we can look at what went wrong? Thanks... Regards Grant


Posted 6 November 2009 8:30 pm



Posted 6 November 2009 10:47 pm

Hi rajatseth44. The XML conform process in SMOKE 7.0.14 was far from perfect compared to 2010 ext1. However, the principles of what I explained in this blog still remain the same. Tape name and timecode must match the XML. The resolution of the XML much match the media. So if your media is 1440x1080 then the XML must be reformatted to match that resolution is all aspects.

Hope this helps.... Regards ... Grant


Posted 7 January 2010 7:33 am

This tutorial is great! But can you help me on how to conform DPX files using an EDL. THe DPX files will be coming from a Da Vinci Resolve for grading then it will be dumped on the network. The EDL is just a normail edl not the ones with an DLEDL. I hope you can help me with this


Posted 14 January 2010 8:30 am

Hi Grant when we offline Red files we work only on the medium resolution quicktime files that comes with it. Then we grade the red and output a dpx sequence with the same name as the r3d files. My problem is in the XML the names that are listed in it are the medium-res one's so even if I specify the root folder already and fiddled with fileheader timecode, and filename timecode the flame can't seem to find it. If I manually select each clip and point each one to the right folders I still get problems. How do I solve this ? Is it my settings on the flame? Is there away for me to rename the filenames of the XML inside the flame. I also tried importing the XML and not link it to the video and audio files so I'll get a blank path so I'll just set again the root patch but I still can't make it work.

Right now what we do is after grading we go back to fcp to manually reconnect the media files and then export an xml to the flame. But I think there could be a better way. Got any ideas? Thanks!


Posted 14 January 2010 9:03 am

Hi Jobert, please refer to the comments I made in the DPX conform blog. I suspect you are not embedding the timecode in the file via the resolve.... You need to contact your support for these issues. Regards Grant


Posted 18 January 2010 12:05 pm

Hi B_Watching, You can link your AAF file to your DPX but I would suggest embedding the timecode data and tape name into the DPX. The idea is that if you convert your original DPX files into MXF files, you need to have a way to track your data and frame accuracy. So if the MXFs have a specific timecode and your DPX files have the same timecode then you should be able to relink the media back into the timeline when doing the online. As mentioned in my blog there are factors such as timecode and tape name but you also need to factor in resolution, frame rate etc. Everything has to match perfectly for the relinking to happen successfully. Regards Grant


Posted 18 January 2010 8:17 pm

Thanks!!! So once the AAF is imported I tell the sequence to become the same frame size as the dpx source file. Correct? I'm going to do a search on metadata embedders for dpx, are there any you know I should avoid because they've been documented in not working with smoke/ lustre? I'll make a specific timecode for each shot and tape name will be same as the folder. A color pass has already been done on the 2d dpx files is there a quick way to transfer that info to the New steroscopic time line? Or is it a matter of overlaying the stereo sequence over the 2d and dragging filters.

Much appreciated!!!!!


Posted 18 January 2010 8:36 pm

Correct, the dpx sequence and the timeline must be the same resoluton to match (or you cold enable the soft-resize button in the capture menu but it could be an extra porcessing step you want to avoid). The main details in the DPX files are the timecode. Using the tape name as a a folder name is fine as Smoke has a seeting to set this as well in the import menu. If you are referring to a colour pass done in Smoke as a softFX then you can use the COPYFX button in the timeline and this will match the softFX from tape name and timecode. to do this, place the 2D sequence on the source area selected, and the 3d sequence inthe record area. One of the pop up menus will have a COPYFX button. Good luck!


Posted 18 January 2010 8:43 pm

Thank You!!!!


Posted 5 March 2010 9:09 am

Hi Andrew,

Your best bet is to contact Autodesk Support so that we can investigate this officially because that should not be happening.



Posted 14 October 2010 1:09 pm

Hi, When conforming file-based media, it is almost a case of relinking the footage to the timeline.

With tape-based capture you need to approach the situation differently. Since the XML/AAF has all the information regarding the original source media, it has become common for the software to want to capture an entire source instead of just a portion of the media. To fix this, this requires consolidation prior to capturing your material.

An easy way to do this is to import your XML/AAF as if you were about to capture from tape. Don't capture, just exit the module. Go to your tools menu and choose consolidate. Set the method to ALL TRACKS and set your handles. Select the UNLINKED clip and consolidate it. This creates a clip which is only looking for the material required to assemble the timeline and not anything else. Select the UNLINKED clip again and switch to the I/O menu. Press the RECAPTURE button. Once inside the module you can start capturing your media and the system will only capture what is required. Thanks.... Grant


Posted 28 January 2011 11:16 am

Hi Mor Komuves

If the media already exists in the clip library on the framestore than it is definitely possible to relink an XML timeline to the existing media. In the FCP XML/AAF - Media Options, turn off "Search & Import Files" This will bring in an unlinked timeline. In order for this work you need to ensure that the metadata contained in the off-line clips matchthe online. For example you could relink with tapename and timecode. Or you could link to filenames provided the filenames are exactly the same. This would be done through the tools menu and relink options. You can relink from an existing reel containing your media or you can search the open clip library.

Hope this helps! Regards Grant

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