How to Conform an EDL in SpeedGrade

The Send to SpeedGrade command in Adobe Premiere Pro provided a great DPX finishing workflow with SpeedGrade CS6. We covered that in an earlier post called Four ways to load footage in SpeedGrade CS6. The DPX route is great for short projects, or if you have lots of horsepower (and lots of storage for all those DPX frames), but for some scenarios an EDL workflow will make more sense.

In this post we’re going to look at how to get an Edit Decision List (EDL) out of Premiere Pro and into SpeedGrade. Rather than creating a whole new set of files, this approach allows you to load your cuts and “conform” your source material on the SpeedGrade timeline. This is often the fastest way to get a project into SpeedGrade CS6 or SpeedGrade CC.

Update (October 31, 2013): With the release of SpeedGrade CC 7.1, you also have the option of using Direct Link to bring Premiere Pro projects into SpeedGrade. While that will be a preferred workflow for many scenarios, EDL workflows are still fully supported in SpeedGrade CC and SpeedGrade CS6.

Exporting Your EDL
Once you have finished editing in Premiere Pro export your EDL by selecting the File>Export>EDL command.

Use the Export EDL command in Adobe Premiere Pro

Use the Export EDL command in Adobe Premiere Pro

Make sure you have selected the correct Video Layer in the Export EDL settings dialog – you can only export a single video track with an EDL! Click OK and then choose a location for saving your EDL file.

Select your Video Layer in the EDL Export dialog

Select your Video Layer in the EDL Export dialog

Check Your Settings in SpeedGrade
Before you load the EDL in SpeedGrade, check your settings to make sure they match your source material.

In SpeedGrade open the Settings panel (tab in top right corner of the screen) and select the Editing settings pane. In the Editing settings pane, make sure your base frame rate matches the Premiere Pro sequence.

To avoid "Reel Out Of Range" errors in SpeedGrade, match the base frame rate to the frame rate of your source material.

To avoid “Reel Out Of Range” errors in SpeedGrade, match the base frame rate to the frame rate of the source material.

Choose the Timeline tab on the lower part of your screen and click on Reels to open the Reels browser. Set the default time base from the dropdown on the right side of the Reel browser.

Set default time base from the Reel browser pane

Set default time base from the Reel browser pane

Load Your EDL
Now you are ready to load your EDL. Open the Desktop (tab near the top left corner of the screen) to locate your EDL file. Double-click the EDL to load it on the Timeline.

The first thing you see is an brown clip placeholders on the Timeline with empty grey boxes in the Reel browser. The next step is to link your clips (aka “load your reels”) on the Timeline. This process is referred to as conforming an EDL.

Empty EDL on the SpeedGrade timeline

This is what the EDL looks like before you link your clips.

In the Desktop, navigate to the folder where your clips are stored. Make sure that all the clips listed in your EDL are there!

Finally, in the Reel browser, click on Load from Desktop. Your clips are now linked and you are ready to start grading!

EDL conformed on the SpeedGrade timeline. Not that one reel (clip) in this image did not load. To solve this, locate the missing clip and drag it into position on the Timeline, or onto the grey box in the Reel browser.

EDL conformed on the SpeedGrade timeline. Note that one reel (clip) in this image did not load. To solve this, locate the missing clip and drag it into position.

If you want to substitute a specific clip, you can do that by dragging the replacement clip from the Desktop onto the corresponding reel in the Reel browser, or onto that clip on the Timeline.

Final note: If you want to include your audio tracks with your EDL in SpeedGrade, manually drag the audio file onto the Timeline.

Four things to watch out for with EDL workflows:

  1. Make sure you use CMX 3600 supported key, such as cross-dissolves or speed changes. Other keys, such as dip-to-black or audio transitions are not supported in SpeedGrade.
  2. I already said this, but I’ll say it again: use a single-track video sequence, or the EDL won’t work in SpeedGrade!
  3. Ensure that you are using a SpeedGrade-supported format! MXF, for example, will not load in SpeedGrade. GoPro owners should convert MP4 files into .mov files to play them in SpeedGrade.
  4. Do not rename your clips in Premiere Pro if you plan to export them with an EDL.
That’s how it works with EDLs in SpeedGrade. Want to make it even more fun? Check out our  post on a super-easy EDL workflow.

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And in Other News…

Adobe held a fantastically successful Create Now event yesterday showing how artists and filmmakers are using Creative Cloud to bring their work to the next level. If you missed the live broadcast, you can still watch Create Now on Adobe TV.

Yesterday also saw the announcement of Creative Cloud for Teams – a better way of working together.

Recommended reading: our fabulous colleague Kathy Charneco has written a great post on the Pro Video Coalition blog – Reinventing Video Creation with Adobe Creative Cloud.

New to SpeedGrade? Download it as part of your Creative Cloud membership – or get a 30-day free trial to test it out.

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