|BWF2XML is the fast and easy way to convert Broadcast Wave File into a format that allows FCP to read those BWF audio files including metadata.
By leveraging the power of the FCP XML format, BWF2XML allows FCP to seamlessly import the complete metadata and timecode. Dependent on your system setup polyphonic BWFs and merging of discrete mono BWFs are handled.
There is also an option to do a level and pan setup, which does not modify the original files, but the XML - so the editor still is able to change these setttings.
BWF2XML is thought for usage with Tiger, Quicktime 7 and FCP 5, but it will work with lower versions of the OS, Quicktime and FCP, as long as the polyphonic BWF files won't have more than 2 channels.
With FCP 5.1.2 and QT 7.1.3 a new era starts, audio timecode is handled by QT and FCP. To read more about this click here.
BWF2XML is an ASS application based on the robust BWF parser of BUII and the powerful Satimage XMLlib OSAX. Both of these "building blocks" allow a pretty fast adaption on customer needs (the most complicated adaption was done for the HBO/BBC production "Rome" and Klink VOF where in the latter case the audio XML was merged with a FLEX from the telecine to create a nearly "ready to edit" FCP bin XMLs, BWF2XML was used also with many of the German "Rosa Roth" feature films).
There was (or still is BUII) which is a quite complicate and hard to support app - most of the versions out there are customized and very special. Now with QT 7 and FCP 5 things get easier for all of us.
There is a nice tutorial at the LAFCPUG done by Clay Coleman. Check it out.
BWF2XML does double check for system version and QT version, so polyphonic BWFs with more than 2 channels will be ignored when the QT version is below version 7. The app does not know or care about what version of FCP is installed. FCP 4.5 does only support 2 channel polyphonic BWFs - so that might be an issue for you; FCP 4.5 will parse the XML with polyphonic BWFs correctly, but won't reconnect files with more than 2 channels and in case you try to do it manually, there will be errors.
For QT versions below 7 there is the option to use multiple mono files with FCP 4.x.
BWF2XML will create an XML, which contains "merged clips" - these XMLs are NOT compatible with FCP 5.x !<
Below - quite roughly - how it works (hopefully):
Starting the application will show a simple window, which shows the current settings.
Some popups allows to set the required frame rate and the "Metadata Mapping".
Below some an example workflow.
The timecode settings allow to use DF/NDF with both of the NTSC rates. This may look strange for some video editors, but it does reflect the settings of the audio HD recorders.With the above settings the app will try to collect discrete mono files into a single multi-track movie while adding a 29.97 DF timecode track to an self-contained movie.
The conversion preferences can be edited with a click into the upper box-
With XML version 2 formats you can select a target project. You can type a name into the small text field of use the "Select…" button to choose a FCP project. The target project needs to open in FCP already if you double click the generated XML., in case not FCP will ask you to create a new project with the given name. If you cancel you'll get a general error with FCP (FCP bug). So using this name option you either import your files into an open project or create a new one, leaving the field empty will cause FCP to ask you what to do.
The "Load BWF" button allows to select single BWF files or folders which contain BWF files. In case you load a folder, only the first level of this folder will be processed.
If you load multiple folders or files, the app will try to sort this files and folders. The result will be merged into bins for FCP.
The selection above includes both files and folders; BWF2XML will try to resolve these file names on the first level and those of the selected folders. You will be asked for a destination
The "Save Panel" always will show the name of the parent of the selected items (if more than one item is selected) - this name will be used for the file name of the XML. Above we created a new destination folder (which is recommend) where the files should be saved - this folder name will be used for the name of the "Master Bin".
The imported XML will show 4 bins in the "Master Bin" where multiple monos have been merged into 1 single file. Those files which had been at the first level of the source folder are put into a bin with the name of the source folder.
If you don't select the "Merge" option the result will look like below.
To set up "Metadata Mapping" select "Data Mapping" from the application menu - or press the shortcut.
A new window will appear:
If you run the application for the first time, there is only a "Default Mapping" displayed - you can change the settings if you want, you also can load a BWF and create a new setting by pressing the "New Setting" button and selecting a valid BWF for reference:
This will read the BWF header of the selected file and show the metadata. Now you can choose which is the right place for those data in a FCP XML.
Any line which is mapped to a "--" won't be regarded in the XML conversion.
Setting the preferences
You can use either the version 1 or version 2 of the FCP XML format. Version 2 can't be read by FCP versions 4.1 thru 4.5 - except you write a XML style sheet.
BWF files will be converted to MOVs, currently there is no other way to make FCP aware of the timecode, reel and playrate.
Files can be saved/converted to self-contained movies (which is recommended) or as dependent based on an empty movie and the original "WAV"-part of the BWF.
In case you don't choose self-contained, be aware of some limitations: the saved file will have double dependancies; there will be a dummy movie in the "save location", which is named "DO_NOT_DELETE.mov" and there is also the original BWF, which contains the sound itself - if you (re)move any of those two, the converted ".mov" files aren't readable any more.
In case you choose the "Save Sound Files Self-Contained" do not delete your original BWFs, since they contain the original metadata - at least keep the XML(s).
The timecode selection allows to convert the BWF's timestamp into a timecode for QT. Make sure you know what you do! The current version of BWF2XML does not support any speed settings given by the metadata.
With 23.98 NTSC frame rate you may choose "slow seconds" depending on your setup. Slow seconds will convert the timestamp to a NTSC time, which by it's nature may fail about 1 frame - so again: Make sure you know what you do.
To make it easier for some other apps to conform the audio XML from a final cut there is the option to name the QT movies with a ".WAV" extension.
Depending on the audio hardware and the setup of this hardware the metadata may include a "TAPE" value, if you map the "TAPE" value to "--" or the "TAPE" entry in the BWF is empty, the XML "Reel" will be created from the name of the file, you can choose either first three or six characters characters of the file's name. Leading alphabetic characters will be ignored: "Z006002.WAV" (Deva 5 sample) will be "006" if have choosen "3 characters". If the file name looks like 3-002_42-03.WAV or 33-002_42-03.WAV (Gallery Metacorder) only the characters before the "-" will be taken as reel name.
Double selections (using an XML sibling twice or more) will always overwrite the first/previous selection.
Version 2 files (when using QT 7) have the advantage, that you can merge multiple mono files into a single file with all tracks showing up in FCP in a single clip. This currently works with most of file names - if you have a name type that doesn't work let me know.
Version 1 files still have the option to link the multiple mono files into a single clip for FCP in the XML, but XMLs using this feature currently only can be parsed by FCP 4.x.
You can also do some settings for level and pan with both versions of the XML. The settings will only affect the filters FCP applies to those files during import. You optionally can choose "Track 1 is Master", this will overwrite the settings done for all following channels. There is an additional choice which settings are affected: levels only or both levels and pan.
Pan and Level Settings
The app handles settings for 12 channels. The on/off settings for tracks are not implemented for this version.
If you find bugs (or got feature requests) let me know.
*) ASS in Germany: "Acetyl Salicid Säure" this helps to get rid of head aches and other pain, in this combination: "AppleScript Studio" - but, maybe it's somehow both of it.
Some issues and limitations.<
- The option "MOV -> MOV" is not implented yet.
- No "drag'n drop" support.
- Writing timecode to self-contained files, may fail on some systems with memory problems.
- Importing "dependent clip" XMLs fails on correct TC for some reasons sometimes. (it's a FCP bug - restart FCP to fix)
- Maybe there are other issues I am not aware.