Dealing With -37 Errors In Pro Tools

Pro Tools 6.4.1 is the pinnacle of achievement on the Mix|24 hardware and you’ve just finished cutting the most amazing piece of sound effects work in your life. Now it’s time to layback your session to another drive for dubbing. So you select “Save Session Copy In” from the File menu, choose the other hard drive, check the box to copy audio files and your cranking away. The only problem is that part way through, the copy craps out with a -37 error. WTF?

A -37 error usually happens when you try to copy two or more pieces of media with the exact same name into one folder. You’ve got duplicated audio. Two files have the exact same name sitting in two different places on your master cutting drive(s). They are both referenced in your editing tracks in the Pro Tools session. When you try to combine everything under one Audio Files folder with a “Save Session Copy In” the copy quits when it tries to copy the duplicate file and returns the -37 error. Those two files might be identical in every that counts for Pro Tools—name, Unique ID, length—but they don’t have to be. They could be completely different sounds but have the same name. Look back over all the shows you’ve cut. How many “Applause 1” or “Footstep 27” do you have in you library?

Thankfully there’s a pretty quick fix.

  1. Open the master session. This will set things like timecode and I/O’s to the settings you’re looking for. It’s also your chance to double-check that all your fades are created and that you’re not missing any audio files.
  2. Save and close the session.
  3. Create a new session on the layback drive using whatever settings you need—16 bit or 24 bit, 44.1KHz or 48KHz, etc. Make sure that “Last Used” is selected for the I/O.
  4. Select “Import Session Data” from the File menu.
  5. Choose your master session from the other hard drive.
  6. Make sure to choose “Copy media” from the audio pull-down menu.
  7. Highlight all tracks for import (or at least all tracks that you want to layback—you might have more in your master session). Make sure that you’re importing “All” data and that it’s from the master playlist.
  8. Click the “Import” button.
  9. Wait while all your tracks and media are copied to the new drive. You can watch the process in your Task Window. Any duplicates will show up as -37 errors at the bottom of the Task Window. The regions will still show up in your tracks but they will be blue because there is no online media associated with them. Everything else will be copied to the new drive.
  10. Save and close the layback Pro Tools session.
  11. In the Finder, open the layback hard drive and open the folder of the layback session you just closed.
  12. Rename the “Audio Files” folder to something else like “Audio Files 2”.
  13. Reopen your layback session in Pro Tools.
  14. Pro Tools will warn you that there is missing audio. These are just the files that are now in the “Audio Files 2” folder. Select “Manually Find” and check “Rebuild Fades” if necessary.
  15. The duplicated media that didn’t copy the first time will be found on your master drive. A new “Audio Files” folder will be created and the duplicates will be copied into it.
  16. In the Relink Window, only check your layback drive. Even better, only check the layback session folder in the layback drive. Highlight all missing audio files and click the “Fink Links” button. Click “Commit Links” when all files are found.
  17. When all the copying and relinking is done in your Task Window, save and close your session.
  18. Reopen it to make sure that everything was copied. Be sure to choose “Select -> Offline Regions” from the Audio menu above the Region List to make sure that you’re not missing any files.
  19. You might have to repeat at step 10 if there are 3 or more files with the same name in the session. Go ahead and repeat as many times as it takes to get all files copied to your layback drive.
  20. Your “Audio Files” folder will probably only have a few files in it while “Audio Files 2” might have hundreds. This doesn’t really matter, but for the look of things, you might want to rename “Audio Files” to “Audio Files dupes” and “Audio Files 2” to “Audio Files”. It’s all up to you. If you rename any folders, you should probably reopen the session one last time and “Manually Find” any files that are now “lost”.

Yes, it’s a lot of steps to describe, but I think you’ll agree that it’s not very hard. This definitely works with Pro Tools 6.4.1. I would imagine that it’s the same under 6.4 with HD hardware but since I don’t have that, I’m not 100% positive. If I remember correctly 6.2.x and lower always asked you where to save audio and fade files on import. In that case you could just create a new folder in the Save Window and save things there.