From Client Hard Drive to XML Export: Prepping a Timeline

November 10, 2016

If you need to move a timeline from Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro for color grading or finishing then learn how to prep it for an XML Export.


Part 2: Conforming Mixing Light’s Short Film In The Shadow of Giants

If you need to move a timeline out of a non-linear editor and into another bit of software—say, DaVinci Resolve—and relink back to the Camera Original footage then you’re about to undergo the Conform process. In Part 1 we defined the term Conform, what it generally entails and how you know the Conform is successful.

It’s only at the end of the Conform process that color correction can begin. This Insight explains the start of the Conform process—resulting in us doing an XML export in Premiere Pro CC.

We’re starting Conforming Mixing Light’s original short film, In The Shadow of Giants

Giants was conceived, lensed and edited by Mike Mazur, a good friend of Mixing Light and the Tao of Color. Mike pitched the project to us early this year and we gave him the go-ahead to shoot in Paris. After a 1-week shoot, he edited the piece over the summer (in between his other gigs) and came down to Orlando, Florida to color grade with me.

In Part 2, you’ll see the very first steps I take every time a client hands me a hard drive. My goal at this earliest stage is to sense the organization of the project. Years of experience have taught me that messy hard drives and messy editing projects tend to be uniquely difficult to conform. At this stage, I also ensure that the XML (which moves the timeline from the editor and into the color grading software) is properly prepped.

I always like to open the project in the non-linear editor first

I’m looking at the timeline that created the XML generated for me. I can tell in a few minutes if I’ll have problems with the XML (or not). Usually, I find myself making some quick tweaks and re-export the XML. That’s what I ended up doing at the start of the Giants conform.

As we walk through this Conform you see why I choose to relink to the Proxy files in Premiere (rather than relink to the camera originals). You also start getting a sense why Conforming can be so time-intensive.

One point of this series is teaching why you need to budget time for the Conform process

You can never expect the Conform to go easy. Even the simple stuff can take time. In this Insight, I cut out about 30 minutes of wait time—all spent waiting for Premiere Pro to do one thing or another. And it’s not always the fault of Premiere. Clients rarely give us high-performance media drives and this can really slow down our software. As this series builds out, you’ll see one major decision I’m always struggling with is when to move the media off the client’s USB3 drive and onto my RAID.

But the end result, an XML export—cleaned and prepped for DaVinci Resolve, is achieved



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Homepage Forums From Client Hard Drive to XML Export: Prepping a Timeline

  • R.NeilHaugen

    Short & sweet. Clear. Thanks!

  • Thanks Patrick for this clear insight! Conforming some time its hard to tame.
    I’m really curious about what do you think about exporting a delivery format baked sequence from the client NLE and then conforming it in Resolve using a preconformed EDL from that original NLE time line. And in this case how would you handle the cross dissolve transitions?

  • Great insight Patrick. I wanted to share how I link the RAW’s in Premiere. It seems to have been working for me. It does give me a warning but only to say that audio is missing from the file. This doesn’t matter to me and usually the audio is from a different source anyways. After I offline everything and go into the timeline I will select all files – right click and go to link media – and then select the RAW files. I haven’t tried to right click the sequence yet. Maybe that will work also. Just wanted to give you exactly how I have been doing it. It has worked every time for me. I started doing this to export higher resolution for time remapping but here recently I have found a way to get RAW files from time remapping into Resolve. Add a slug or a copied file behind the time changed file so the length stays the same and remove the time remapping. I export the xml and then add the time change back after the import into resolve. This has worked perfectly for my current Harpers Bazaar that I colored. I’m sure it will be an issue for speed changes over a single clip but for me I haven’t had any of those. For files that are shot in slower motion and changed to a different constant speed this seems to work.

  • Patrick Inhofer

    If your workflow doesn’t require grading from the Camera Original footage then yes, the flat file workflow is awesome and you can ignore this entire series 🙂 To your point about dealing with dissolves… there’s an Insight on that!

  • Patrick Inhofer

    Ira—Thank. You. Great tip. At some point in this series I’ll go back into Premiere and see if this workflow cuts out any hassles when XML’ing into Resolve.

    RE: Offspeed clips – Later in this series you’ll see that a bunch of clips in ‘Giants’ recorded at 59.94 are actually meant to be played back at 23.976. I show you how I handled it in Resolve.

  • Thx Patrick!

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