If you’ve been in the business long enough, you probably remember doing split track master layoffs to tape machines. For me it started with 1 masters that had VO on channel 1 and everything else on channel 2, and progressed to using D2 and digital beta that allowed you to layoff vo on one channel, natural sound on channel 2, and stereo music on channels 3&4. If you were fortunate enough to have higher end decks, you were able to layoff up to 8 discreet audio channels.
If you’ve never done this you may wonder why you would want to do such a thing. It’s all about the revisions. Before everything was on the computer, doing changes to a tape masters could be a real pain and very time consuming. Often you would need to make a change to the VO, or maybe the client wanted to change the music. If all you had was a mixed master you were pretty much out of luck for the quick fix. It was back to all original elements.
Now that everything is digital and all file based, changes are easier then ever. That is, as long as all of your original elements are still on the computer. But what happens if a project comes back for changes or an update a year after it was originally done? Maybe a translation into a different language (this happened to me recently). Most editors I know usually have a mixed master layoff (many of us don’t have access to the high-end decks that cost more then a house) and/or a QT export of the final master sequence that gets archived to a DVD or HD Backup system. But that doesn’t help much if the changes you need to make involve audio. However, since the release of QT 7 there has been the ability to export multi-track QT movies from FCP that retain all of the individual audio tracks so you can make whatever changes you need! The problem is, most editors don’t seem to know about it. This article will walk you through the process step by step.