Real Assistants Use BBEdit

You call yourself an Assistant Sound Editor and you don’t use BBEdit for EDLs and change notes? If you say that you’re still using Vantage, I’m going to smack you. Microsoft Word is what you’re using? Well, I guess I understand. We’ve all kind of grown up with that whole “Word is the program you use for typing things”. But seriously, yuck. Maybe you just don’t realize what you’re missing.

How about this spiffy little header it puts at the top of all printed pages? Pretty nice, huh? Ever dropped a stack of Vantage change notes and then tried to figure out the correct order again?

BBEdit Printed Page Header

I barely know where to start with all the great text-fixing features it has built-in. Just take a look at all the options on this menu. Pretty great stuff.

BBEdit Text Menu

But it’s real strength is in it’s support for Regular Expressions and AppleScript. Regular Expressions are complex find and replace searches that are much more powerful than a simple “Find ‘cat’ and Replace with ‘dog'”. In my last post I gave an example of a Regular Expression that could be used in Soundminer to split apart text with the format of "Title Description" into two individual “Title” and “Description” fields.

Just today I was trying to assemble some reels of dialogue using Titan. The source DATs were loaded with the filenames like “001 004/05.L.wav”—meaning Sound Roll 1, Scene 4, Take 5. Unfortunately the EDLs listed the sound rolls without leading zeros. So it would say “1” not “001”. Titan needs the EDL and filename to match so that things can be linked properly.

No problem with BBEdit and Regular Expressions.

Bring up the Find window. Make sure that “Use Grep” is checked. That’s what will turn on Regular Expressions.

Type this in the Find field without quotes: “^(d{3}s{2})(d{1}s+)”

And type this in the Replace field without quotes: “102”

Click the Replace All button.

BBEdit Find and Replace Window

In English you just told BBEdit: Starting at the beginning of a line (^) look for a group of characters, 3 digits followed by 2 spaces (d{3}s{2}), then look for a second group of characters, 1 digit followed by 1 or more spaces (d{1}s+). Return the first group (1), add a “0” and then return the second group (2).

This will find any single digit sound rolls in an EDL and add a zero to the head. Now you need to turn 2 digit sound rolls into 3 digit ones.

Type this in the Find field without quotes: “^(d{3}s{2})(d{2}s+)”

And type this in the Replace field without quotes: “102”

Click the Replace All button.

Now all of your sound rolls have 3 digits, leading zeros as necessary. All in about a minute. Try typing all those zeros in by hand and see how long it takes you. Plus the Find window allows you to save those Regular Expressions as Patterns that you can call up any time you need them.

BBEdit Find Pattern Menu

I said that the second strength of BBEdit is AppleScript. Nearly all of its functions can be called from simple AppleScripts, including Find and Replace with Regular Expressions. That means you can make a simple “Add Leading Zeros To Sound Rolls In EDLs” Droplet. Drag your EDLs on to it and they’ll all be fixed in seconds.

Other ideas for BBEdit, Regular Expressions and AppleScript are removing those ugly boxes that show up at the end of every line of change notes made by the new Avid Meridien systems. Or splitting Picture and Track changes notes into two files. Or even interacting with other programs like Word, Excel or Filemaker. How about searching a change note for the new LFOA and entering it into a chart in Excel? All kinds of things can be done if you just take a little time to learn.