3.1 Importing via EDL


Welcome to part one of your extended study material for Level 3. Advanced Film and Video Restoration Tools in PFClean training course. Find out more about The Pixel Farm Training Academy and register for the next available class here.

In this short tutorial we are going to be preparing footage for future level 3 tutorials as well as looking at using the Smart bins along with discussing what an .edl is and how we can use it to import footage into our project.

If you haven’t completed the previous level 2 tutorials, I would suggest going back and starting from there as some of things we will be building on what we have learnt in the previous level.

NOTE: To follow along in this tutorial, you will need access to the clips provided for the class. If you don’t have them to hand, below you will find the link to download the footage again.

Tutorial Footage

To learn this tutorial you will need to download and use the footage below.

Footage: PFClean_footage_level_03.zip


01. Creating Our Project

The first thing we are going to do is create our project. We are going to call it test_project_03 and in my case I’m going to choose its path to be the project folder in my PFClean_footage_level_03 folder. You can choose which ever name or project location you like. There is one option we will be changing in the Project Properties Panel, something that we will need to change now as we will not be able to change it after we have clicked Confirm. In Project Properties we are going to change the Colour management to use OpenColorIO by clicking on the symbol on the left. This will highlight in blue to tell us that it has been selected. I will be talking about colour management in a later tutorial so for now let’s proceed and click the Confirm button.

02. Adding a Smart Bin

In our previous levels we imported the footage by dragging clips into media bins from the file browser, in this tutorial we will be using the file browser again but we will also be looking at a more advanced way to bring clips into the project.  The first thing we are going to do is create a new type of Media bin called a smart media bin.

To do this click the smart_bin_button smart media bin button on the lower left, this will add a smart bin to the lower panel. We can select it in just the same way as we would a Media bin.  So what is a smart bin?

A smart media bin is one where the contents are automatically managed by an EDL. When selecting a smart media bin a split view shows the standard media bin view on the left and the EDL controls on the right.

An edl is a file that consists of a list of of shots or edits in a project and allows us to transfer an edited project from one program to another, normally from an editing package to a finishing / mastering system or visual effects program.

In our case we use the .edl to rebuild our edit inside of PFClean. This has a number of benefits but primarily it allows us to work with raw film scans or ingested tape material without compromising the quality with an export from the editing package.

The .edl files are formatted in a specific way. If we look at the example above starting from the left we can see the first edit 001 and then underneath that the name of the source file this edit is taken from. In our case clip_005. Over on the right we have a set of four timecodes.  The first two timecodes tell PFClean which part of clip_005 to take so the in point of the clip and the out point. The next two timecodes tell PFClean where in the timeline to put the extracted clip. Looking at the last two timecodes again, if we look at edit 002 we can see where 001 ends is where 002 begins. Edl’s seem complicated but actually they are very simple. They can also be modified very easily by hand using a text editor.

TASK: Let’s open in a text editing program the file my_edit.edl inside of the EDL_CLIPS folder in the FOOTAGE folder that you downloaded at the beginning of the tutorial. I recommend the text editor Atom available freely online. Once you have opened the file take some time to familiarise yourself with the formating.

03. Using an EDL

An EDL can be dragged into the right hand section from the File Browser. The contents of the EDL are shown along with controls to define the frame rate of the EDL (if it can’t be inferred from the contents EDL itself); a list of directories to search for locating the clips referenced in the EDL; and a button to Parse the EDL.

Let’s navigate to the folder containing the edl file we will be using for this tutorial. It is located in the folder which you downloaded at the beginning of this tutorial…


Once you have located the .edl file, when you click on it you will see the shot information appear in the preview window on the right of the UI. Now click and drag the EDL into the box on the lower right to bring it into the project. You will now see information contents of the EDL appear in the box. All that is left to do is click parse to bring the footage into the project.

The clips will now appear in the Smart bin, no other clips can be can be dragged into the smart bin from the file browser only clips parsed using the EDL. If you click in the Media Admin panel you will see the EDL file appear in the list. It can be deleted but only once the clips referenced in the EDL have been deleted first.

04. Using Rules for Missing Footage

As the EDL is imported, PFClean will need to locate the clips it references, which will involves replacing the named clip with the full details of where the corresponding image sequence is located on disk.

The “Rules” list defines a set of directories that are searched to locate footage that is referenced in the edit. These directories are project specific and are in addition to the one defined in the “Import Edit” section of the Preferences which act on all projects. In this case I have added another two paths as an example. These can be deleted easily by double clicking them and deleting the path.

If footage still can’t be found even after defining rules for missing footage, PFClean will prompt you to locate the footage manually or allow you to ignore the clip.

05. Importing the Rest of the Media

For the rest of the clips we will be using for the level 3 tutorials, we will be using the conventional method of importing by clicking and dragging the footage into the media bins.

Let’s create one additional Media bin so that we have two conventional Media bins in total. In the folder EDL_OFFLINE drag the clip my_edit_offline.mov into Media bin 1. This clip is a reference of the edit which we will use to check against our EDL import in a later tutorial.

For the rest of the clips CLIP_001, CLIP_002, CLIP_003 and CLIP_004 we are going to drag them into Media bin 2.

Now we have imported the media let’s take a look in the Media Admin panel on the top right of the UI.

You may notice a lot of the clips are of an unknown standard, this may prevent us using some of the tools in PFClean such as the Digital Wet Gate and Telerack.

In the next level 3 tutorial we are going to create some custom standards for our project.

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