Media Composer: Exporting and Replacing Audio
Discover how to export audio from Avid Media Composer for external processing; or if you’ve already edited your video, directly replace audio source files while retaining your edits.
By Kevin McAuliffe
Many people say to me, “Kevin, why would I ever need to export audio from Media Composer for someone else to work on it? I do a good enough job at audio mixing myself!”. Well, that might be the case, but keep in mind that the audio you received to work with might not be the final audio – the eventual version might not be ready until after the edit is done. Also, dedicated audio mixing applications, like Pro Tools and Nuendo, specialize in audio processing, mixing and exporting. In almost all cases, an experienced engineer will be able to do wonders with your audio that your NLE just can’t do!
The most basic type of audio export you can do is a simple WAV or AIFF export. Keep in mind that you can export as Stereo, 5.1 or direct out with a single file export or a file-per-track export. You can also export up to the supported 96K or down convert your audio as you export. You are going to need a preset to make your life easier, so let’s set one up right now.
1. With either your timeline selected, or with the audio in the Preview window of the composer, right click and select “EXPORT”. You can also find it in the FILE dropdown (FILE >> OUTPUT >> EXPORT TO FILE). You’ll now see the export window, with a whole bunch of different options, but the one you want is simply called “Audio”.
2. Once you’ve selected the Audio option, you’ll now see the options you have. The first thing to point out is that there are options at the top of the window to have the In/Out points impact your output, as well as the selected tracks, so keep that in mind.
3. Next, choose the output option that’s right for you. You have a few options here. The most common audio export options are Stereo (for final mixes), as well as Direct Out, if you’re going to be exporting, for example, 12 channels that you want to keep independent, and not have them mixed down into Stereo or Mono channels. Once you’ve decided your export option, you’re all set to save this preset by clicking Save As, giving it a name, and then exporting to the location of your choice.
Keep in mind that Media Composer will not export MP3 files, so you will need another application to flip the file over.
This export requires a little more setup, let’s break it down…
1. Select Export to get to the export window
2. Click Options to get to the export options window
3. Choose AAF as the Audio Export option
4. Select export options you want (Use Marks/etc) in the upper right corner of the export window
5. Select “Include Audio Tracks in Sequence” to call up the AAF export options.
6. Choose the export method that’s right for your workflow. Either Copy All Media (the entire audio clip for every clip in timeline is copied to folder of your choice), Consolidate (all media is copied and broken down to include what was used, and any handles if necessary) or you can even Link To the audio media in the AvidMediaFiles folder of your hard drive.
7. There are some other options here like converting Sample Rates if necessary, but other than choosing where your audio will be placed, and the drive it’s going to, you’re ready to export!
If you’re not working with the highest quality version of your project's audio, don’t worry. You can always work with what you have until you’re provided with it from the audio production company, and then replace the source file. What you will need to do once you receive your audio is:
1. Make sure the audio has the same name as the audio already in your project, or at least know what the high-quality clips are named versus their low quality counterparts
2. It is essential that the length of your high-quality audio matches the length of your low-quality audio
Now you’re ready to batch import your audio. I normally like to delete all the low quality audio before I import the high quality audio, so this way there is no confusion. For the purposes of this article, we’re going to assume you’re only importing one clip, but the same concept works for multiple clips as well. Simply select all the clips you want to delete, and press the “Backspace” or large delete key if you’re on Mac. You’ll be greeted by this window
What’s exceptionally important is the option you want to select is Media Files, and not Master Clips. The Master Clips are the clips you see in your project. Delete those, and it will be difficult (not impossible) to re-batch import things. The media files are just that – the actual media on your hard drive. Once you’re done, you’re ready to batch import. Here’s the process
1. Make sure you have all the clips selected that you want to re-batch import.
2. Navigate to Clip >> Batch Re-Import
3. This is where things get a little tricky. Media Composer will always want to re-batch import clips from where it had imported them originally. It’s not a big deal to change that if you’re dealing with a clip or two, but if you’re dealing with 1000 clips, it can become a bit cumbersome to change the clip’s location.
You might want to take the audio that you had imported (we’ll assume the folder was called “Audio”), change it’s root folder name to “Audio Old” and then rename your high quality audio folder to “Audio”. Now Media Composer will look at that folder, and import as per usual. Keep in mind that if your clip names are different, you’ll have to relink the clips, via the Batch Import window, even if the folder names are the same.