Export EDL/XML/AAF of matched shots

Hi there, I work in a post house where we need to conform 20-40s promos cut from multiple masters of TV shows. Given that all offline is done upstream and completely separate from us, they send over XMLs and the masters they used to cut the promos for us to relink manually so that we can then do online work on the hi res pics. Alas, these conforms can get quite tricky as timecodes tend to be all over the place, offline have little regard for frame rate, and they link to file names/tape names that are completely different from what they send us. Here is a breakdown of our workflow :

  1. Receive AAF/XMLs, QT refs and Hi Res Masters from client
  2. Import XMLs into Flame, and relink (conform) timeline clips to their source Masters
  3. Pray that the conform goes well and everything relinks and matches
  4. See that nothing matches, and manually skim through the hi res masters to drag the 10f to 2s clip you need in order to rebuild the sequence to the ref (eye match it all)
  5. Export these conformed sequences as a Flame archive for the Flame ops to work on

In this regard, I’ve tried using Matchbox to simplify our conform workflow. My aim was to let Matchbox look at the QT ref, look at the Hi Res Masters of the eps, and tell us where each shot from the QT ref lies in the hi res master. I must say I was very impressed by how well Matchbox managed to do it ; it just spat out a list of matching shots with timecodes, which is exactly what we need.

That being said, we’ve been looking for a way to export an EDL or XML or AAF of the matched shots, but couldn’t figure out how to do it. In essence, what we would need, would be for Matchbox to export an EDL of only the shots of the hi res masters that have a matching shot in the QT ref; i.e. an EDL of the shots of the old sequence that have a match in the new sequence. From there we could just import that in frame, ripple the delete the gaps and voila, hours saved in our workflow.

Is this something that would somehow be possible in Matchbox ?

And while I’m at it, is it possible to drag multiple source clips (hi res masters) in Matchbox and let it try to find as many matches it can in all the different files with regards to the QT ref ?

I just want to add that such a tool would be a tremendous step forward for the industry as a whole ; I raised this subject on the r/editors subreddit earlier this week and was met with lots of variations of “we’ve been dreaming of such a software for 20 years, but no one seems to be able to do it”. And I know of plenty of post houses that work the way we do and would kill for such a feature. I think there’s huge potential here !

Hey. The short answer is yes… and no.
This is definitely a workflow that can be achieved with Matchbox, but in your specific example there are a couple of workarounds.

Yes, you can drag in multiple masters. The trick is to give each file a different “start timecode” as you import them. MB doesn’t extract a timecode so you need to specify one, but MB then remembers this as your preference for that specific file. If you subsequently shift the file inside the MB timeline, it’ll remember this as your new preference for that file. Or trash the MB settings file to clear it’s memory.

So now MB can hunt down every clip in the promo from all the loaded masters, and it’ll create a kind of “EDL”. In your case you probably want to turn OFF the healing preference so you get 1 match per shot. The MB shot detection is pretty good but it leans towards “false positive” so you might see unwanted shot breaks on an explosion or flash frame. You can solve this by selecting 2 green match objects and using “heal-selected”.

But here I see a (temporary) issue. When MB finds shots it creates the green “match” objects (effectively the EDL event) using the name of the clip in the NEW timeline. You want the opposite. Even less helpful is that if you’re just using raw video frames, it will call the match object “VIDEO FILE MATCHUP”. But this is easily changed and I think this is a great use case. I’ll see if we can default to using the OLD clip name for these video-file comparisons. Might have to be a user-pref.

Re: Exporting as EDL:
We’d rather actually make the changes for you than just cough up the raw data. We currently have an integration with Hiero which would let you run this workflow automatically(ish). You’d drag all those masters into Hiero, located to the same timecodes as you used in MB, and then MB would automatically run the numbers and assemble the promo for you in a new Hiero sequence.

If that’s not an option we could look at doing the same for flame.
We do occasionally get requests to just cough up an EDL, and I do see the benefit - but it’s a change in our business model that I need to consider carefully. It may be on the cards tho.

I’ll track down that reddit thread and see what people think. Obviously keen to make this a valuable tool for your corner of the industry. So thanks for the feedback.

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Flame support would be amazing. I can say commercial house would add a license of this for to every flame setup if these features were added.