Sync Dialogue in Premiere Pro and export AAF to Pro Tools (3 STEPS)

The key question here is:

You have finished shooting your short, documentary or feature film and you have as well already edited your film but only the visual part (if this is the way you come around it). Now you would like to continue with the process of post-production that include (in the following order):

  • Dialogue editing
  • ADR (Automated Dialogue Recording)
  • Sound Design
  • Foley
  • Music composition and editing
  • Mixing

If you want to know more about the order of audio post-production, check out this post.

BUT,

The problem that you now face is that you have recorded all of of your audio in an separate external recorder so that you get cleaner audio than if you had recorded everything through the built in mic of your camera.

SO

what you need to do it’s easy: SYNC AUDIO AND VIDEO.

BUT then again, where do you do it and how if you know that all of the audio post-production stages you will do them in a separate and specialised audio software like Pro Tools or Adobe Audition?

Well, there is something that will literally will save your life so don’t stress out.

There is a little thing called AAF files (Advanced Authoring Format) that enable you to export all of your already synchronised audio from your Premiere Pro project to your new Pro Tools project!

Let’s cover all the process step by step so that there is no confusion on the subject matter.

Step 1

You have the visual part of your film already edited with the audio that  the camera picked up on set that is automatically linked to your image. Meaning, you have already chosen the best take (visual) and therefore you have implicitly already chosen the audio file from your external recorder that comes with that particular image.

Now you want to sync all the audio files that correspond to the good takes you have on your timeline, the clips that make up your short, documentary or film.

For that, on your Premiere Pro project you will need to either open a new sequence or in the same timeline that you are working on select both your audio file and the clip that you know that audio belongs to and right click and select merge clips or synchronize.

Both options are suitable for the case but there is a slight difference: merge clips will create a brand new clip where the image will be synchronized with the audio clip selected and with synchronize clips you will have all of the 3 elements still there and synchronized (the image of the clip, the reference audio that picked up the camera when you hit the recording. Button and the audio clip from your external recorder).

Here I leave you guys a video that explains it much better visually:

VIDEO: MERGE CLIPS & SYNC
SHORT EXPLANATION
LONG EXPLANATION

The option you choose depends on how you will like to work. If you want to have a cleaner timeline select merge clips and if you want to keep all of your original audio clips separate choose synchronize.

(DISCLAIMER: If you have an old version of Premiere you may not have the synchronize option)

YOU WILL NEED TO REPEAT THE PROCESS DESCRIBED ABOVE THROUGHOUT YOUR WHOLE TIMELINE UNTIL YOU HAVE ALL OF YOUR GOOD AUDIO IN SYNC WITH EVERY CLIP OF YOUR PROJECT.

Step 2

You will need to export your Premiere Pro project to an AAF file.

This is just a file so that Pro Tools can read all of your audio tracks in sync with the picture and place all of your audio tracks in the exact place where they belong in your timeline.

This video explains PERFECTLY the process so I won’t bother you with the written explanation.

VIDEO: EXPORT AAF FILE FROM PREMIERE PRO

Step 3

Import the AAF file to your Pro Tools session.

Same as before, here I leave you a GREAT video that explains the process of importing an AAF file to your Pro Tools session.

VIDEO: IMPORT AAF TO PRO TOOLS

YOU HEVE FINISHED THE PROCESS!

If you want to know more of why you would want to export an AAF file instead of an OMF file, here I leave you guys a video that covers why AAF files are awesome!

VIDEO: DIFFERENCES BETWEEN AAF & OMF FILES
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