Posted in Pluraleyes

How to create timeline sync markers from a PluralEyes v3 & v4


Background

On July 2016 Red Giant release Pluraleyes 4.1 which supposedly now supports EDIUS but no longer supports Avid’s AAF project files.

It was always a hit and miss importing a Premiere’s XML project file into EDIUS, especially when the video clips are spread over spanned files (found on memory cards). Red Giant have a Pluraleyes extension for Sony Vegas and Adobe Premiere which works better than using the standalone program (explain later). But at present (July 2016) they have not reintroduced a Pluraleyes extension plug-in for EDIUS 8 similar to the old version 2 that worked with EDIUS 6.5 (back then Pluraleyes was owned by Singular).

The core of Pluraleyes program seems to only read and write XML files. Version 2 had an extension plug-in that communicated between EDIUS timeline and Pluraleyes. The extension creates a temporary type of XML file only Pluraleyes understands and when Pluraleyes is finished processing another temporary XML file is created for the extension to make a new sync EDIUS timeline. At present, it’s still the most reliable way of reading and writing the editing program’s timeline rather than importing and exporting an XML file into the standalone program.
XML files are normally associated with a program or website settings/data. XML files are human-readable but unfortunately, it’s markup tags doesn’t always follow an interchangeable format, making the file incompatible with other programs. Final Cut Pro has tried to make an interchangeable format see here https://documentation.apple.com/en/finalcutpro/usermanual/index.html#chapter=97%26section=3%26tasks=true
When you look at the bugs fixed over Pluraleyes updates, you will see lots of XML compatible problems fixed.
The new GV Browser creates an XML file to import the Browser’s catalogs into EDIUS bins. Unfortunately, these XML files can’t be imported into Pluraleyes which is a pity but you can drag and drop video/audio files from the GV Browser to Pluraleyes.
I did find EDIUS could import the XML file from Pluraleyes 3 if the video clips are not spanned files (found on memory cards). Pluraleyes 4.1 creates a new type of XML file to be more compatible with EDIUS but I still get an error message when importing some video formats that use spanned files (EDIUS is selected at Pluraleyes export and the frame rate is matching the EDIUS project). Although there’s an error message the files will now import into the bin with the sync sequence, but again the spanned files don’t appear joined up. Luckily EDIUS knows they are spanned files and you can extend the clip to its full length on the timeline. A solution is to use the free program Sony Catalyst Browse which can import/copy spanned files to create one complete joined up clip without transcoding. You can join spanned files from other AVCHD cameras but only Sony footage can be viewed in Catalyst Browse.

Pluraleyes sync XML file doesn’t contain a list of timeline timecodes but instead uses frame numbers to determine where a clip position should be on a timeline. Using frames rather than timecode allows Pluraleyes to sync clips of mixed framerates . The frame rate and timecode data of the first track are used to start the frame number count and position. 

EDIUS doesn’t import mixed or mismatch frame rate projects, including its own project format .ezp. Also, FCP 7 XML and AAF projects containing mixed or mismatch frame rate footage, can not be imported into an EDIUS timeline.

I’m very frustrated that EDIUS still splits the stereo tracks into separate left and right tracks when importing by XML or AAF (Final Cut 7 and Avid MC splits the stereo tracks). Also, it would be a better workflow if EDIUS or GV Browser could export a compatible XML for Pluraleyes to sync.

If you are having trouble with importing the XML sync sequence, e.g. footage in spanned files, different framerates or you don’t like how EDIUS splits the stereo tracks into separate left and right tracks when importing from an XML or AAF project, you could try my workflow using sync markers, (my converter creates milliseconds markers for accurate conversion and is suitable for all framerates) SEE BELOW https://goo.gl/lR2FKc
The workflow extracts the data from Pluraleyes XML, deletes duplicated timecodes (you can’t have markers with the same timecode), and creates sync markers (the markers names will be same as the video and audio files) for the video and audio clips to be placed to the prefer timeline tracks at the correct sync timecode.
It might sound a slow process, but with practice, it can be done fast. You can make the edit-line jump to the marker on the timeline by finding the marker in the list and double clicking it or use my AutoHotkey script here https://goo.gl/lR2FKc.

You will sometimes find clips out of sync by 1 or 2 frames because both Pluraleyes and EDIUS timelines work only with frames instead of milliseconds making the framerate conversions less accurate, e.g. rounding up or down the decimal calculation to a complete frame.

How to create timeline sync markers from a PluralEyes version 3 or 4.

I uploaded a video on my workflow to create sync markers from a PluralEyes XML file for an EDIUS timeline that has different framerate or mixed framerates.
See my Youtube video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUh4WtnclAs

I have created a Microsoft Excel Macro file that will do this conversion. Download here
https://goo.gl/lR2FKc I hope to make a standalone program in the future if it’s needed. Let me know if you are interested.

Step#01 Start PluralEyes and click add media button to import video & audio files.

Step#02 Save PluralEyes project in your Edius project folder

Step#03 Click the Synchronize button.

Step#04 When it’s finished synchronizing click the Export Timeline button.

Step#05 #1 Click on Premiere Pro  #2 Final Cut Pro XML for Premiere box must be ticked. #3 Click Export button

puraleyes003

Step#06 The Export window appears. Close the export window and exit PluralEyes and save.

Step#07 PluralEyes has created a folder where you have saved the PluralEyes project (e.g. your Edius project folder). This folder  will be “Your PluralEyes project name” and ending with “exported” date & time. In this folder you will find a XML file with “Your PluralEyes project name” and ending with FCP_Premiere.xml.

This XML file must be made readable to Excel before using my macro. Right click on the XML file and choose open with from the menu, then choose the program Notepad from the sub-menu. Delete the text on the second line <!DOCTYPE xmeml> and leave the line blank. Save the file and exit Notepad.

Delete_text

Step#8 Open my Excel file PE_XML_to_Edius.xls and enable the macro. You will see two macro buttons at the top of the page. 2. Import Puraleyes XML and 3. Export to Edius markers CSV file. After importing the XML file and saving the new CSV file, close Excel without saving it, actually I would recommend making it a read only file to prevent overwriting it.

Macro_buttons

Step#9 Import the markers into Edius timeline and place the video and audio clips to the correct markers. You can make the edit-line jump to the marker on the timeline by finding the marker in the list and double clicking it.

It might sound a slow process, but with practice, it can be done fast. You can make the edit-line jump to the marker on the timeline by finding the marker in the list and double clicking it or use my AutoHotkey script here https://goo.gl/lR2FKc.

See my video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUh4WtnclAs

I use this program https://code.google.com/archive/p/jumplist-extender/ to add a Jumplist shortcut to EDIUS icon in the taskbar see this post.

Start a new Jumplist project and choose EDIUS when adding a program. Then create a new Task and name it. In the Task properties, change the Action to Run AutoHotKey script. Paste the following script at the bottom end of the code that already exists.

[CODE]WinWait, EDIUS,
IfWinNotActive, EDIUS,
WinWaitActive, EDIUS,
InputBox, ClipNumber, Clips to markers, PLEASE READ FIRST! Before this macro runs you will have 10 secs to place the edit cursor is at the first marker. Check the TRACK PATCH is at the correct track. Then finally check the first clip in the correct bin is selected and highlight. How Many clips do you want to be added to timeline? Enter a number in the box below!,
Sleep, 10000
Loop, %ClipNumber%
{
Send, {SHIFTDOWN}{ENTER}{SHIFTUP} ; Your user keyboard settings must have the keyboard shortcut Shift+Enter to add clip to timeline.
Send, {SHIFTDOWN}{/}{SHIFTUP} ; Your user keyboard settings must have the keyboard shortcut Shift+/ to move the edit cursor to next marker.
Sleep, 1500
Send, {DOWN}
}
Return
Esc::ExitApp ; This is the keyboard shortcut ends and exits Autohotkey app Esc.
Exit[/CODE]

MacroGenerator Pro can also be a great program for doing tasks like this.

Please leave a comment.

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My new workflow for converting Sequence markers to Clip markers.

Sometimes I want to add a marker to a peak of an audio waveform e.g. a music beat, or an audio sync peak for other track clips. Unfortunately, on EDIUS timeline I can only add a marker to the time ruler and not to the clip itself. You can add markers to the clip when it is added to the player window, but again this is a problem because I can not see the audio waveform in the player window.

I have made a workflow for converting timeline/Sequence markers into clip markers.
The clip can be at any position, on any track (above or below a clip), and it can be already trimmed or edited to the preferred length. The markers are added above the clip on the time ruler on the timeline where I can see the clip waveform.

The Sequence marker list is exported (The first marker on the list must mark the position of the clip IN point on the timeline and it comments box must have the clip IN timecode, which is copy and pasted from the clip properties).

I have created a Microsoft Excel sheet with a script to calculate the different timings between the timeline/Sequence and clip timecode. The Sequence marker list is imported into the excel sheet and the new clip marker list is exported. Then finally the clip is added to the player window where the new clip marker list can be imported to the clip, then overwrite the clip on the timeline with updated clip markers.

This may seem to be a mad long process to just add markers to a clip, but when I use my AutoHotkey script it usually only takes 2 secs to complete. I also hope to replace the Excel sheet with just one small program script. (coming soon).

Many EDIUS users on this forum use the AutoHotkey program to speed up their editing workflow. You can download the AutoHotkey program at autohotkey.com. I have made simple scripts with this program to change the clip colour, speed, length, and add clips to markers, or create markers every 5 mins etc.

You can see my Youtube video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLpq-sbtVFo

You can download the files here https://goo.gl/lR2FKc