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Conforming DSLR stuff to Resolve

The Problem

A couple of us on Twitter had quite a discussion recently regarding my frustration with lack of proper TC with Canon cameras. Normally, this wouldn’t be an issue except every clip’s TC starts with 00:00:00:00. This is how Resolve conforms footage (how most online/grading apps do it in really). I’m not really presenting any best pracitices/solutions so much as I’m generating discussion around it on what people have done and what’s worked/hasn’t.

Potential Solutions

The first is using QTChange and change the TC start/stop times of you clips, or assign Reel ID metadata- either way, clips with the same Reel ID need to have different timecodes. However, this is probably best done at the organizing stage pre-edit, but the data may very well carry over post edit later. I haven’t tested it yet, but know several people who use QTChange with great success.

In Avid, you can AAF or EDL. If you EDL out, @joshpetok pointed out that it works when you check “Source File” in the comments field of the EDL Manager settings as shown in the following screengrab. I did try this with a simple edit timline about 10 minutes long and it worked, I was able to link up with online media in Resolve correctly.

The other option is AAF out. AAF has some advantages over EDL because it retains more metadata. I’ve found Resolve gets things more right when I use an AAF although there’s still a few issues with DSLR stuff (on one project FCP wouldn’t export an AAF because of Reel ID/TC issues). I don’t have any comments on making AAFs work best.

Your best option is to make sure your project organized on the front end with all your footage separated appropriately according to “reel” (or tape, or media card or however you want to organize it) and that each clip under that has continuous TC- meaning (and I’m talking to the DSLR jockeys here) none of the clips repeat timecode, the next clips continues where the last clip left off.

Best Option?

As I said, none of this is even an issue when proper TC is recorded, but I’ve conformed enough DSLR stuff (some of it mine) to say it’s a huge headache and if you want to go out to a colorist without exporting a single file to scene cut, he’ll bill you for this prep work. I know that you can change TC for each clip in the particular NLE. While I haven’t tried this to see if it carries over to Resolve (I doubt it since Resolve reads from the metadata on the clip and the NLE doesn’t change the Metadata- or at least Premiere doesn’t), I’d love to hear from those of you who conform or send to your Baselight, FilmMaster, Resolve colorists DSLR edits for conform back to the source media vs. exporting and cutting based on an EDL.

There are lots of ways to do to it here and some are better than others.

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©2019 by Jay Friesen.

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