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Exporting FCP XML from Premiere is a dead end

To give credit where one is due, the creators of Final Cut Pro did create one of the more popular standards of exchanging the project information, alongside the old EDL, and Avid’s AAF and OMF. Exporting XML from FCP was very versatile and allowed for various workflows to appear, passing data from FCP to Soundtrack Pro, and Color, but also to many other applications from vendors other than Apple.

For many years Adobe also tried to implement project sharing via exporting to AAF, and FCP XML. However, the exporting and reimporting still remains a pretty troublesome process, regardless of how much Adobe touts their horn. Many transitions can’t be converted, most of the effects do not translate, and there are problems with stills, time remapping, and Dynamic Link compositions. Not ideal under any circumstances.

People accustomed to XML interchange push Adobe to do a better job in this exporting – rightfully, especially in the short run. However, being so focused on their workflow, they seem to be unaware that there seems to be a better option, right around the corner, and that even Apple already considers FCP XML a legacy. The more time passes since the demise of FCP 7, the more constraining FCP XML will become, and with no support in development from Apple, the stagnant standard will at some point become problematic.

This is where the unrealized potential of Adobe Premiere comes in. Many people are not aware of the fact that Premiere’s project files are already XML! There is no need to export anything anywhere, the file is easily readable – and writeable! – by any application. Of course, it is not compatible with FCP’s implementation of XML, and its documentation is not publicly available in any way, but – as I wrote in a few of my earlier posts – the basis for the universal interchange container are already in place. The only thing that stops other vendors from accessing Premiere files is the lack of specification and – more likely – lack of demand from the users and lack of aggressive promotion of this de facto standard on the part of Adobe.

Therefore, instead of putting most resources into – mostly futile – attempts to translate Premiere sequences into FCP XML sequences to make them readable by other applications, why not promote Adobe XML standard that is already present?  This way we would get rid of numerous hurdles on the way, avoid all the problems and limitations of FCP XML, and in the end create the possibility for new, more flexible workflows.

Are you listening, Adobe?