FCP7 sequences into AVID2020 workflow?

Posted by rakogedivitia 
FCP7 sequences into AVID2020 workflow?
June 24, 2020 12:13AM
Been struggling at this one for a few days, and seeing some very limited success, so hoping someone out here can give me some pointers or tips.

Situation: I am working post on an independent documentary, and the decision has been made (due to failing computers) to 'upgrade' and move onto a new Mac and Avid. Only Avid 2020 works on these computers. Our old computer runs OSX 10.6.8 and FCP7, and we are trying to take as many of the sequences from that into the new systems - it's a lot of sequences and a lot of footage, and redoing all of it is not particularly feasible. Much of the footage was shot on miniDV captured in FCP6 and FCP7 (lots of DVX footage), but it ranges into a lot of different formats at points (HDV, DSLRs, C300, iPhone, etc)

Right now, I am having partial success with this workflow:

1) Export sequence out of FCP7 as XMLv5

DaVinci Resolve
2) Load XML into DaVinci Resolve (v16), bringing the FCP7 timeline into Resolve
3) Transcode footage using "Media Management" into [MXF OP-Atom, DNxHR LB, constant bit rate off, render at source resolution on, audio settings default]
4) Import new MXF footage into DaVinci, then using "Reconform from Bins" to replace the footage on the timelines with the MXF versions.
5) Export the timeline as an aaf

6) Use Source Browser to link the MXF files, then use the Source Browser to link the aaf files
7) Success(?)

I'm close to batting .500 with this workflow, but there are two hiccup points I find. In step 2, sometimes Resolve can't read the footage from the drives (can't figure out why it does some and not others yet). These clips cannot be brought in to resolve. bit if I add a .mov extension onto the footage, Resolve can suddenly see it, but still can't connect it to the timeline due to a potential timecode discrepancy. I'm still investigating this.
EDIT: For some reason, DaVinci reads the timecodes differently on these clips too (leaving a discrepancy between the media pool and the timeline). However, the Clip Attributes in the Media Pool allow you to change the timecode, and I've done this to get them to match. Not sure if it'll cause other issues, but so far, it seems to work with no noticeable downside.

The other hiccup is in step 6, where the files in Avid behave strangely. Sometimes the audio is out of sync, and sometimes it's fine (sometimes quitting Avid brings it in line). Occasionally, the aaf link won't give me a usable sequence because there is some error with looking for a second audio track. I can try to provide more details if needed about the error message (or anything else - happy to help anyone help me here!), but I'm new to Avid, and this seems like a difficult first task to try and tackle.

EDIT: Still having issues with Avid, but slowly working through them. The out of sync audio sometimes corrects itself if I move the footage (causing it to go offline), then move it back to where Avid expects to find it. I assume it causes it to rebuild some kind of database, this time correctly. As for the error that looks for a second audio track, I have started exporting that footage from DaVinci as ProRes, and then importing back into DaVinci before exporting again as MXF, and then linking that up in DaVinci before making the AAF for Avid. Really clunky, but it seems to be working for problem sequences.

Any insights into why things might or might not work in steps 2 or 6, or if anyone has a better workflow that I could utilize, would be most gratefully appreciated!
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