Cleaning Up The Conform

Sometimes, due to various reasons, the comparison process can fail to match shots which you may consider 'unchanged'. Conformalizer gives you a couple of useful tools for cleaning up the change list so you can be sure you have the best and most complete conform possible before you start chopping your audio.

1. Checking each edit
At this point it may be wise to import the two pictures into the movie panel and check each edit in the list to ensure the comparison has been accurate. You can do this by selecting an edit and checking that the two pictures match exactly (the Difference View helps here). If not, it is likely that the EDLs do not reflect the pictures (see below - 'mis-matches').

Use the arrow up and down keys to quickly run through the edits or simply click and drag on the Block View.

2. Pulling out handles
Occasionally (especially with VFX heavy projects), you may find that Conformalizer matches a shot correctly but fails to notice that the next shot is also the same in both versions of the picture. In Pro Tools we would be able to 'pull out the handles' on either end of the edit to find the necessary audio but it is better to do this at the change list stage so you can apply it to all your conforms.

As you check each edit against the pictures, look for blue coloured events which show that there is a gap in the conform (preceding the blue event). Use the arrow keys and the cmd-arrow shortcuts to check the frame before each edit and the frame after each edit. If you find that the frame before the edit is the same for both pictures, continue nudging backwards until the pictures fall out of sync. Likewise use the right arrow to find a suitable out point. Then, capture the timecodes to apply to the selected event (see below).

3. Capturing or setting new in and out times

Once you have identified a better in or out point for a particular edit, use the shift-cmd-I and shift-cmd-O shortcuts to set the in and out times to match the current picture locations. You may also manually edit a time by double clicking it and entering a new time.

Typing timecodes in conformalizer can be done using a number of shorthand tricks:
Typing without colons is supported.
Typing just the first few digits will set the rest to zero (e.g. typing 0203 gives 02:03:00:00)
Typing a single digit will create a timecode for a whole hour location (e.g. typing 2 gives 02:00:00:00)
When 'Overtyping' (inputting more than 8 digits) it assumes you want the last 8 digits - so mistakes can be ignored as long as you finish with the correct timecode values.

4. Creating a new event
Occasionally you may need to manually create a new event in the change list when the comparison process fails to match a shot.
Nudge the two movies to the correct locations (use the SHIFT and ALT modifiers to nudge each of the movies in isolation) and then type shift-cmd-n. A new event will be created with in and out times matching the position of the two pictures. If the movies have no start timecode assigned then the hour code for the timecodes will be taken from the first event in the list.

5. Healing events
By selecting any number of events in the 'change list' and typing shift-cmd-H, you can manually heal the events wherever possible. Conformalizer gives you the ability to pick and choose which events get healed rather than relying on the 'aggressive' healing mode. The healing routine used is identical to that used by the 'aggressive' comparison mode.

Aggressive healing will join together any consecutive events whose positions, relative to each other, have not changed between the old and new versions.

Forceful mode will heal like aggressive except that it will first check any gaps between events to see if there is a real clip in the new list. If a real clip is found to reside in this gap, forceful mode will refuse to heal. This is useful in the case of a shot swapped for another take of identical length.

Normal mode will heal any adjacent events (clips actually touching), but will never heal over a gap.

Careful mode does not heal at all. It will give you a shot-by-shot list of everything it could match between old and new cuts. This mode is useful when looking for updated VFX shots, which will be flagged with a red colour.

7. Mis-matches
There are a few reasons why Conformalizer might match the wrong material.
Usually it is because the EDL or cutlist simply does not reflect the picture you are seeing and you can verify this by finding the matched edits in the old and new lists. If the source names are the same, and the source timecodes overlap, the pictures should match. You can also check that the old and new events actually describe a real shot in the movie - simply select an event in the old or new list and nudge 1 frame backwards. If the shot does not change then the EDL event is probably bogus.

Occasionally the editorial dept will manually cut original footage in place of slo-mo'd or rendered FX clips in order to make your cutlist. although this is usually desirable, it means the source times can be incorrect and may produce incorrect matches.

It is also possible for a number of frames, or even an entire sequence, to be used more than once in the cut. Conformalizer has some clever techniques for determining which is the correct section to match but it can get this wrong sometimes.

In any case you can find the offending edit in the 'change' list and delete it. This will create a 'hole' in the change list which you can manually heal by selecting the two events and typing shift-cmd-H.