Capturing Video For Pro Tools With Sync Audio In OS X

Here’s step-by-step instructions for loading digital picture for use in Pro Tools in that cool way that I briefly talked about the other day. I can’t take credit for this one. The amazing Ron Eng came up with it. It definitely works with OS X 10.3.4, Pro Tools|24 Mix hardware, Pro Tools 6.2.3 software, Final Cut Pro 3, Adobe Premiere 4, Miro DC30+ videocard and DC30 Xact driver. I’m sure it works with newer versions of hardware and software like Pro Tools HD and an Aurora Igniter card, I just haven’t tried it out myself.

  1. Final Cut Pro must be set up to capture video from your video card at the recommended 1000 KB/sec and audio from the Digidesign hardware via the Core Audio driver. You will probably need to have audio from your videodeck coming in on Analog 1 and 2.
  2. Make sure that your Universal Slave Driver or Sync I/O is set to pulldown and the sample rate that you’re working in. You can run Pro Tools first and set that in the “Session Setup” window if you’re not familiar with doing it on the hardware.
  3. Make sure that you’ve quit Pro Tools. Core Audio cannot use Digidesign hardware while Pro Tools is running.
  4. Run Final Cut Pro.
  5. Select “Log and Capture” from the “File” menu.
  6. Press play on your videodeck and click the “Capture Now” button in Final Cut Pro prior to the “Picture Start” frame.
  7. Load the entire picture and press the Esc key to end capture.
  8. Press Cmd-W to close the captured picture, saving and naming it appropriately.
  9. Quit Final Cut Pro.
  10. Run Adobe Premiere 4. This is a OS 9 application so you’ll need Classic installed. It’s the only video application I know that allows you to reconform digital video frames.
  11. Open the digital picture that you just captured in FCP.
  12. Find the first frame of picture. If you have an Academy Leader it will say “Picture Start”. It might simply be an even hour of timecode or 0+00 of footage in the window burn.
  13. Click the “In” button to set this frame to the in-point.
  14. Select File -> Export -> Movie Segment.
  15. Name and save the new digital picture file.
  16. Select File -> Tools -> Conform Movie.
  17. Choose the newly saved digital picture from the open dialog window.
  18. Set the frame rate to 30 fps and click “Conform”.
  19. You are now good to go. You can throw out the original digital picture from Final Cut Pro.

The beauty of this method is that the audio and video tracks are in sync so the video file can be played back on any computer and it is completely usable. It could be used to spot ADR or cue Foley on a laptop. Since the picture is set to 30 fps is is compatible with Pro Tools 5.0 and 5.1.x—software which only has a joined video and audio pulldown setting. The audio tracks can be imported into any Pro Tools session by selecting “Import Audio From Current Movie” from the “Movie” menu. This audio will be in sync with all of your other film-speed material that is being pulled-down to video speed.

This method works great. If your audio and video are not in sync when you’re done with the process, check that your sync device (USD or Sync I/O) is set to pulldown. If not, you’ll have to reload. Otherwise the reconform probably didn’t take. Run Adobe Premiere 4 again and repeat steps 16 to 18.