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Replace Created Files By Ko Maruyama
I have been using Automatic Duck for 4 years now.  Automatic Duck is an excellent way to get your edit list from Avid or Final Cut Pro into your After Effects project.   It does many more file/project conversion types, but this is the only one I'm interested in... Getting it into After Effects.  Here's a simple method to debug one of the application's stumbling blocks.

It's simple enough to implement Automatic Duck.  Once you've installed it properly, go to FILE->IMPORT->AUTOMATIC DUCK from you After Effects file pulldown menu.

When you're importing from Final Cut Pro, you'll want to be sure that the editor saves the edit list as an XML VERSION 1, and saves all of the media for you to reference.  Usually, your clients will deliver something that slips right into After Effects, when a simple click of the Automatic Duck importer will convert the entire timeline for you.

However, sometimes this isn't enough - especially in the case of all of our new strange formats, converted files, and batch converted offline references.  Sometimes Automatic Duck Pro Import will look for footage, footage that is right there in front of its little duck face, but won't find it.   AND, in these instances, the error will persist no matter how many times you restart, or re-export from Final Cut Pro. 

It's rare, but it happens.

In the event Automatic Duck can't find something, the software creates a placeholder, a movie that will straddle the in/out point of the edit, including handles - so when you finally find the proper movie, you can replace the proper timing.

The problem is this:

If Automatic Duck's generated reference movie differs from your source movie (as is the case with some batch digitized Final Cut Pro movies), you won't be able to use After Effects' ability to automatically find additional movies (it will now recognize the Automatic Duck movies as the proper source material).

You'll need these three steps:

1. Save and close the After Effects Project.

2. Delete the Automatic Duck reference movies.

3. Use Renamer (http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/16588&vid=78999) or other utilities to change the suffix of your media to ".mov" in order to match the previously deleted Automatic Duck media. 

Open After Effects and find the missing footage.  After Effects will now find all of the other related sources and put them exactly where Automatic Duck said they should be.

A small price to pay for such an important production tool.  Every professional After Effects studio should be outfitted with a copy of Automatic Duck Pro Importer.

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Ko Maruyama is a freelance animator in Los Angeles.  In addition to working on film and broadcast animations, Ko teaches at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design - focusing on motion design.  When working, writing or testing software allows, you can find him lending a hand in the After Effects board and lurking among the Cinema4D, Visual Effects and Photoshop posts within the DMNForums.
Related Keywords:automatic duck, work around, Final Cut Pro Importer, ko maruyama tutorial


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