In audio post production, video editors often lay up temporary music in edits to try out the music without spending money and then once they are happy then they buy it. However we then get the job to replace the watermarked music for the unwatermarked versions whilst retaining all the edits. Community member Matt Russell has turned to the community for advice on the best way to do this in Pro Tools.
Thanks guys for always doing such a great job with the site and podcast episodes. I'm a huge fan. I keep encountering an issue that I need some help with. I work a lot of audio for picture mixes and for the most part, I work on TV commercials and videos for websites (industrials). These pieces sometimes arrive with the temp music still in the AAF with watermarks on them.
However, often the un-watermarked tracks are correctly placed in the audio of the Quicktime video that accompanied the AAF. This indicates to me that somewhere, there's an edited version of the actual music track that's ready to go, but again, it wasn't included in the AAF's tracks. This often leads to a wild goose chase of trying to get the correct one from the editor that's all edited and ready to go. Sometimes, I'll even find the correct track in a folder they included called "Music Tracks", but they're not edited - it's just the music that plays underscore to the dialog in their original, unedited form, but without the watermark. This usually means they included it as a safety precaution or it was done intentionally so that I could edit the music myself, thereby copying their exact work (that mind you, has already been done). They can easily re-conform in their NLE with the correct music source but I can't in Pro Tools.
Pro Tools prevents me from simply replacing the files due to the function of having unique identifiers. I need to find a way of re-conforming the music tracks that I can do easily that perfectly copies the NLE edits of the wrong music files, just as they would do, only right in Pro Tools. Sometimes, the edits are incredibly difficult to sort out and take many hours to get done precisely. In this business, the fewer calls one needs to make to execute your role, the better and as you know, deadlines can often be tragically rough in the first place. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Again, I truly appreciate the work you guys do. Thanks so much. Matt Russell, Gain Structure Sound, Boston.
Thanks Matt for this question. I have a few ideas but I am hoping that others in the community might have better ideas.
It isn't impossible to re-conform the audio in Pro Tools but you are right that the unique file ids make it hard. However there is a technique that enables you to force Pro Tools to relink to different files.
How To Force Relink A Pro Tools Session
- Open the session with the relinking problems
- Skip the ‘automatic find’ options as you will already at the point where these haven’t worked for you.
- Once the session opens, there will be, of course, a number of sky blue regions denoting media Pro Tools can’t find.
- Go into the Window menu and select New Workspace.
- Select the session from the Locations column in the Workspace window.
- In the Project Browser go into the session’s audio files folder and select an audio file you want Pro Tools to relink by force.
- Right click on the file and select Relink, this will put that file into the Relink window.
- Now open the Workspace Browser from the Window menu and find the file you would like Pro Tools to link to but for some reason it can’t find.
- Drag that file into the Candidates section of the Relink window.
- Click on Relink button to the left of the file in the Candidates section and then click on the Commit button at the top of the Relink window and the file will be relinked and very quickly the blue regions relating to that audio file will regain their normal look.
- If the file you relinked was not inside the session folder you might want to consider using this final step to fix it. In the Project Browser select the relinked file, right click and select Copy and Relink. This will get Pro Tools to make a copy of the audio file and put it into the session’s audio file folder and link to that copy rather than the file somewhere else on the system. It is always safer to have all your audio files inside the session’s audio files folder.
Other options would be to remove the watermarked audio files from the session so Pro Tools cannot find them. Then put them in the audio files folder and then when Pro Tools complains it cannot find them, use the Manual option and point Pro Tools at the unwatermarked audio. If it complains about the unique file id then ask Pro tools to search based on file name and to ignore the unique file id.
So there are my ideas, anyone else have any solutions that they use in this scenario? Do share them in the comments below.