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Exporting Frames, Clips, and Sequences in Adobe Premiere Pro CS5

Working with edit decision lists

An edit decision list (EDL) harkens back to the days when small hard drives limited the size of your video files and slower processors meant you could not play full-resolution video. To remedy this, editors used low-resolution files in a non-linear editor like Adobe Premiere Pro, edited their project, exported that to an EDL, and then took that text file and their original tapes down to a production studio. They’d use expensive switching hardware to create the finished, full-resolution product.

These days, there isn’t much call for that kind of offline work, but filmmakers still use EDLs because of the size of the files and other complexities associated with going from film to video and back to film.

If you plan to use an EDL, you need to keep your project within some narrow guidelines:

  • EDLs work best with projects that contain no more than one video track, two stereo (or four mono) audio tracks, and no nested sequences.
  • Most standard transitions, frame holds, and clip-speed changes work well in EDLs.
  • Adobe Premiere Pro supports a key track for titles or other content. That track has to be immediately above the video track selected for export.
  • You must capture and log all the source material with accurate timecodes.
  • The capture card must have a device control that uses a timecode.
  • Videotapes must each have a unique reel number and be formatted with the timecode before you shoot the video to ensure there are no breaks in the timecode.

To view the EDL options, choose File > Export > EDL, which opens the EDL Export Settings dialog.

Your options are as follows:

  • EDL Title: This specifies a title to appear in the first line of the EDL file.

  • Start Timecode: Here you set the starting timecode value for the first edit in the sequence.

  • Include Video Levels: This includes video opacity–level comments in the EDL.

  • Include Audio Levels: This includes audio-level comments in the EDL.

  • Audio Processing: Here you specify when audio processing should occur. Options are Audio Follows Video, Audio Separately, and Audio At End.

  • Tracks To Export: This specifies which tracks to export. The video track directly above the video track selected for export is designated as the key track.