How To: IMPORTING AAF soundtracks into Toon Boom Storyboard Pro 5.

I have previously requested addition of AAF import into Storyboard Pro (SBP), and now I finally figured a workaround, which I would like to share with you.
The idea is that you receive files prepared by the sound studio, using their original takes in a non-embedded AAF, then work with these in SBP, with as end result a return AAF that the sound studio can use to conform your edits made in SBP, saving a lot of double work (and keeping the original quality/bitrate, as well).
My system is Windows-based, and for this I use SBP5, Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2014.2 and Notepad++ which is a practical, free text editor.

Now, fear not, this whole thing need not take more than 5 minutes or so!

These are the steps:
In Premiere:

  1. Import the received AAF into a Premiere project. Check the framerate, as Premiere can be strange about that.
  2. Set the timeline TC to start at 00:00:00:00 and move all sound so the first frame coincides with the start of your SBP project.
  3. Check the clips for fades/dissolves and other effects and remove these, as these clips will not be conformed but removed in SBP later!
  4. “File > Export > Final Cut Pro XML…” (I call this “XML-FCP”).

5) Make a dummy SBP project with the same framerate as your final project. It will have just one empty panel.
6) Import all sound files onto one track. “Import Sound Clips…” (Choose all sound files from the AAF (click on top one, shift-click on bottom one), current track, first frame).
7) Save the project. Because of (3): MAKE SURE ALL FILES ARE THERE!!! (Look in “audio” folder in the project and compare with AAF folder).
8 ) “File > Confirmation > Export Project…” - export Confirmation XML (“XML-SBP”). We now have two XML files.


(Continued from part 1)

In Notepad++ (this is where you need to be especially attentive!):
9) Copy top part of XML-SBP (from the top and the whole video part down to and incl. < /video >, something like 197 lines), paste it, overwriting the similar video part (likely fewer lines) of XML-FCP.
10) Change paths of audio files in XML-FCP to those in XML-SBP. (Copy the path in XML-SBP, highlight it in XML-FCP and press ctrl-H (replace) and paste the new path in the “to” box), “Replace All”.
11) Save this edited XML-FCP.

12) In the dummy project (5): “File > Conformation > Import Animatic Project…” - import XML-FCP saved in the previous step. Only “Process audio” checked. “Import.” (Check the window for errors!)

That’s all. I tried this, it works. It can possibly save days of work, especially on TV series or feature productions!

To move tracks over to final project, make sure there is a sound on the first frame of each track. It there isn’t, put one there.
Then, track by track, choose all clips in the track (crtl-alt-leftclick on that first clip), copy - then paste in final project track.

You can now work in your project with the original sounds from the studio, where they originally placed them in their AAF.
What’s more, you can give them back an edited AAF, saving them the time they would have to use to recreate what you did in SBP.

To get the files back as AAF for the sound studio:
Remove all image files, then export the project as AAF, sound only. Do NOT add a name template, or it will rename the clips!
Remember to then UNDO so your images are back on your timeline.

I would gladly hear suggestions for improvements and implementations, in the mean time, enjoy! --Hans

Amazing! Thank you for figuring this out :slight_smile:

Above works in SBPro 5.5, but not necessarily in 6.03!

I conformed a 25 fps SBPro 6.03 project with a 25 fps Premiere Pro project to a 25 fps SBPro 6.03 project, and the result was… that SBPro had changed its framerate to 24 fps!
The sound files were shifted so that nothing fit and it was unusable.

Then I did the same starting and conforming to SBPro 5.5 from the same Premiere pro project and it stayed in 25 fps, as it should.

I suggest this is a bug.