Exporting Storyboard Projects to Non Linear Editing Systems

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Once a storyboard is done, there are several reasons to send it to a Non Linear Editing system.It could be to complete the animatic in a real editing suite with a direct return on TV, or it could be to use it as a pre-editing map to replace the storyboard scenes by the final materials (shot in live action or rendered from a 2D or 3D software).

It is possible to export your storyboard project and preserve the timing, motions and sounds edited with Toon Boom Storyboard Pro, and export this directly to Apple Final Cut Pro using EDL format or to Adobe Premiere, Avid Xpress or Sony Vegas using AAF format.

This article will explain how to export your storyboard in EDL, AAF or XML format and how to use the conformation feature with Apple Final Cut Pro 6.0.2 to 6.0.6.

Export your storyboard to EDL or AAF

Select File > Export > EDL/AAF/XML to open the Export to EDL/AAF/XML dialog box.

There are several options available in the Export to EDL/AAF/XMLdialog box. First, select where you would like to save your storyboard project on your drive in destination path. You can type in the exact path or use the folder icon to browse a specific place on your system. You should create a folder to place your export project since Storyboard Pro will generate several files during the export.

In Export Type, select which format should store the timing information (timecode for panels and audio tracks). The format will be chosen depending on the destination application:

Application:
Apple Final Cut Pro

Format:
EDL

Notes:
In EDL, if you are using audio elements more than once in the timeline, FCP won’t be able to reconnect the medias. AAF is supported in FCP with a plugin from Automatic Duck.

Application:
Adobe Premiere Pro

Format:
AAF (windows)
EDL (MacOS)

Notes:
With EDL, media will have to be linked manually one by one. Premiere Pro on Windows cannot open AAF coming from MacOS (and AAF is not supported on the MacOS version of Premiere Pro).

Application:
Avid Xpress

Format:
AAF

Application Format Notes
Apple Final Cut Pro EDL In EDL, if you are using audio elements more than once in the timeline, FCP won’t be able to reconnect the medias. AAF is supported in FCP with a plugin from Automatic Duck.
Adobe Premiere Pro AAF (windows)
EDL (MacOS)
With EDL, media will have to be linked manually one by one. Premiere Pro on Windows cannot open AAF coming from MacOS (and AAF is not supported on the MacOS version of Premiere Pro).
Avid Xpress AAF  

If your editing system is not in the list, check its specifications to verify which format can be imported in.

In Options

  • Use the resolution drop-down menu to define the output resolution since you might not always need to export the storyboard at full resolution (you can select Full, Half or Quarter of a project’s resolution).
  • The One Movie Clip Per Panel option is useful if you want to export more than one QuickTime movie clip per scene (which might contain more than one panel) e.g. to obtain better granularity during the editing since the storyboard will have smaller movie clips.
  • The storyboard scenes are exported in QuickTime format. Click on Video Config to configure the video settings (codecs, quality).
  • Generate Video Files: If you only need the EDL, AAF or XML files to be generated, you can disable this option. When disabled, no video files will be rendered.
  • Copy Audio Files: By default, during the export to EDL/AAF/XML, the original sound elements used are copied to the same location as the QuickTime movie clip’s and the EDL, AAF or XML file. If sound elements in the timeline are used more than once, the elements won’t be duplicated. The EDL/AAF/ XML will refer to the same sound elements. You can disable this option if needed.

In Export Range

  • All will export the entire storyboard project.
  • For Selected Scenes,you can enter the scene number in the field provided. If you want to enter multiple scene numbers, put a comma or dash (with no space) between numbers.
  • Current Scene will export the currently selected scene or shot.
  • Current Panel will export the currently selected panel.
  • Tracked Panel will export any panels that have been tracked. The number of tracked panels appears beside. To track changes made to your storyboard go to Storyboard > Panel Tracking > Auto Tracking mode. Any panels that have been altered since enabling the Auto Tracking mode will be highlighted in yellow.

In Overlay

  • In the Movie Information tab:

    • Print Time Code: Enable this option to print the project time code on the video as an overlay on your video.
    • Print Scene Names and Panel Numbers: Enable this option to print the scene names and panel numbers as an overlay on your video.
    • Print Panel Time Code: Enable this option to print each panel’s time code on the video as an overlay on your video.
    • You can customize the font type, size, colour and location of the printed time code using the Preferences panel. In the Storyboard Pro 2 User Guide refer to Preferences > Storyboard Pro Export Preferences > Export to Movie to learn how. You can access the user guide from the Storyboard Pro 2 Help menu.
  • In the Camera Grids tab:
  • Project Safety: Enable this option to print the Safe Area on your video. To learn more about the safe area and how you can define its limits, refer to Discovering the Interface > User Interface > Interface Highlights > Camera View > Safety.
  • 4:3 Safety: Enable this option to print the 4:3 Safety on your video. Enable this option to print the 4:3 Safe Area on each panel of your storyboard, which has a camera movement. To learn more about the 4:3
  • 4:3 References: Enable this option to print the 4:3 Area on your video. Enable this option to print the 4:3 Area on each panel of your storyboard that has a camera movement. To learn more about the 4:3 Area, refer to Discovering the Interface > User Interface > Interface Highlights > Camera View > 4:3 Area in the Storyboard Pro 2 User Guide.You can access the user guide from the Storyboard Pro 2 Help menu.

Enable the Open folder after export option to open the folder when the movie clips are ready.
Click Export to start the rendering of the QuickTime movie clips.
Refer to the third party software’s user guide to learn how to import and use the EDL/AAF/XML file.
Refer to the Storyboard Pro 2 User Guide to learn more about the Export to EDL/AAF/XML dialog box options. You can access the user guide from the Storyboard Pro 2 Help menu.

In Storyboard Pro, you can export your storyboard project to Final Cut Pro 6, an Apple third party editing software, edit it, and then import the changes back into your Storyboard Pro project using the conformation feature. The conformation export will produce an XML file containing all your animatic project structure as well as images of your panels. You can then import it into Final Cut Pro and it will recreate the animatic.

To export your entire storyboard project:

In the top menu, select File > Conformation > Export Project to open the Export Project dialog box.

In the Destination Path section, click on the Browse button and locate the folder to export your files to.

In the Options section:

  • Export one image per layer: Enable this option to keep your layers on separate images rather then flattening each panel’s layers into one flat image file.
  • Maintain image size throughout scene: Enable this option to prevent image files from being different sizes depending on the camera frames and movements on each panel.
  • Bitmap Format: Use this drop-down menu to select the bitmap image format of your choice:

Enable the Open folder after export option to open the folder when the files are ready.
Click on the Export button to start the process.

You can also choose to export only tracked panels or a specific selection of panels. Refer to the Storyboard Pro 2 User Guide to learn more. You can access the user guide from the Storyboard Pro 2 Help menu.

Once you have imported your project’s conformation XML into Final Cut Pro 6 and completed editing, you will need to export it once again as an XML file to bring it back into your Storyboard Pro project.

Refer to your third party software’s user guide to learn how to export the animatic project in an XML file format.

You can only re-import a modified conformation XML file into the original project from where it was first exported.

To import an animatic:

  • In your original storyboard project, select File > Conformation > Import Animatic Project to open the Import Project dialog box.
  • Click on the Browse button to locate your XML file.
  • In the Options section, the Process Audio is enabled by default, meaning that the audio tracks will be conformed as well. Disable this option if you do not want to conform the audio.
    Click on the Import button.
    The Successful Import dialog box opens, notifying you that the conformation process has been completed.

The Report section displays information relative to the conformation process. If an error would happen during the conformation process, this is also where the details relative to this error would appear.