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Parse and convert Pro Tools text exports

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Read Pro Tools text exports and generate XML, JSON, reports

Quick Example

At this time we're using ptulsconv mostly for converting ADR notes in a Pro Tools session into an XML document we can import into Filemaker Pro.

% ptulsconv STAR_WARS_IV_R1_ADR_Notes_PT_Text_Export.txt > SW4_r1_ADR_Notes.xml
% xmllint --format SW4_r1_ADR_Notes.xml
<?xml version="1.0"?>
  <PRODUCT NAME="ptulsconv" VERSION="0.0.1"/>
    RECORDS="84" TIMEFORMAT="hh:mm:ss"/>
    [... much much more] 


The easiest way to install on your site is to use pip:

% pip3 install ptulsconv

This will install the necessary libraries on your host and gives you command-line access to the tool through an entry-point ptulsconv. In a terminal window type ptulsconv -h for a list of available options.

Theory of Operation

Avid Pro Tools exports a tab-delimited text file organized in multiple parts with an uneven syntax that usually can't "drop in" to other tools like Excel or Filemaker. This tool accepts a text export from Pro Tools and produces an XML file in the FMPXMLRESULT schema which Filemaker Pro can import directly into a new table.

In the default mode, all of the clips are parsed and converted into a flat list of events, one Filemaker Pro row per clip with a start and finish time, track name, session name, etc. Timecodes are parsed and converted into frame counts and seconds. Text is then parsed for descriptive meta-tags and these are assigned to columns in the output list.

Fields in Clip Names

Track names, track comments, and clip names can also contain meta-tags, or "fields," to add additional columns to the output. Thus, if a clip has the name:

Fireworks explosion {note=Replace for final} $V=1 [FX] [DESIGN]

The row output for this clip will contain columns for the values:

... PT.Clip.Name note V FX DESIGN ...
... Fireworks explosion Replace for final 1 FX DESIGN ...

These fields can be defined in the clip name in three ways:

  • $NAME=VALUE creates a field named NAME with a one-word value VALUE.
  • {NAME=VALUE} creates a field named NAME with the value VALUE. VALUE in this case may contain spaces or any character up to the closing bracket.
  • [NAME] creates a field named NAME with a value NAME. This can be used to create a boolean-valued field; in the output, clips with the field will have it, and clips without will have the column with an empty value.

For example, if two clips are named:

"Squad fifty-one, what is your status?" [FUTZ] {Ch=Dispatcher} [ADR]

"We are ten-eight at Rampart Hospital." {Ch=Gage} [ADR]

The output will contain the range:

... PT.Clip.Name Ch FUTZ ADR ...
... "Squad fifty-one, what is your status?" Dispatcher FUTZ ADR ...
... "We are ten-eight at Rampart Hospital." Gage ADR ...

Fields in Track Names and Markers

Fields set in track names, and in track comments, will be applied to each clip on that track. If a track comment contains the text {Dept=Foley} for example, every clip on that track will have a "Foley" value in a "Dept" column.

Likewise, fields set on the session name will apply to all clips in the session.

Fields set in markers, and in marker comments, will be applied to all clips whose finish is after that marker. Fields in markers are applied cumulatively from breakfast to dinner in the session. The latest marker applying to a clip has precedence, so if one marker comes after the other, but both define a field, the value in the later marker

An important note here is that, always, fields set on the clip name have the highest precedence. If a field is set in a clip name, the same field set on the track, the value set on the clip will prevail.

Using @ to Apply Fields to a Span of Clips

A clip name beginning with "@" will not be included in the CSV output, but its fields will be applied to clips within its time range on lower tracks.

If track 1 has a clip named @ {Sc=1- The House}, any clips beginning within that range on lower tracks will have a field Sc with that value.

Using & to Combine Clips

A clip name beginning with "&" will have its parsed clip name appended to the preceding cue, and the fields of following cues will be applied (later clips having precedence). The clips need not be touching, and the clips will be combined into a single row of the output. The start time of the first clip will become the start time of the row, and the finish time of the last clip will become the finish time of the row.

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Files for ptulsconv, version 0.5.3
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