Because of its non destructive workflow, very powerful editing capabilities, cross platform-availability, very low price, and ability to play a large panel of video codecs (and SubRip subtitles support !), Reaper could be the DAW of choice for video post-production. How can we go from our video editing software to Reaper? What format to choose? What conditions the project must satisfy? After trying a lot of different worflows, I will show you the best I found, with Premiere Pro, on Windows. This workflow let you edit and mix the same files used in your Premiere Pro Project, with no reconversion, and with the same tracks disposition, using EDL files and the AATranslator converter.
I just noticed your post and actually read it with great delight – well done […] Excellent work!
- Softwares: Premiere Pro CS6, AATranslator, Reaper
- Difficulty: Medium
- Estimated Completion Time: 3 minutes
Screenshots are made from one of my video projects, which is a fake interview. The video contained a lot a different media sources without being too complex, so it can be a good example.
Here is a silent (french) video in order to explain what we will do in this tutorial. The (english) text version gives greater detail for each step.
Step by Step
Step 1 : Conform the Premiere Pro Project
In order to be able to edit and mix the sound of your video project from Premiere Pro to Reaper using EDL, you have to be aware of certain things.
- Keep your editing as simple as possible. No secondary audio tracks, no audio transition. You can use standard gain of volume keyframes, but don’t do it to much. Your goal is do edit and mix the sound in Reaper, not in Premiere Pro. Your sound editing in Premiere Pro is basically just syncing audio and videos and do a very basic editing.
- No audio from Nested Sequences or Multicam Sequences. If you do have some of those in your project, deleted audio from the “child” sequences, copy the audio from the original sequences, ans paste it into the destination sequence. Be sure that your audio-synchro is still ok.
- You can’t have more than 4 audio tracks. If you have more than 4, try to combine them, you will be able to spread audio items on other tracks later in Reaper. This is a limitation due to the export format we will choose in Step 2.
- Don’t use any Audio Effects.
- Render audio files that are linked to After Effects composition, or item generated by Premiere Pro (like Colors Bars and 1khz Tone). Audio from Video+Audio files will also need a conversion, but this one can be done in AATransalor.
- Some audio files have a build-in Timecode that can cause trouble. To correct this, assure you that all of your audio files started from 0:00:00:00 in the project bay. If not, select your audio files, choose Modify and set the Media Start to 0.
Step 2 : Export the Project
Premiere Pro is able to export a large variety of formats. The best one I found for exporting to Reaper after a lot of tests is the EDL, which allows the media items to be linked to the source audio files and maintains track names and doesn’t split stereo tracks. Export a sequence in EDL is quite simple : click on your sequence, choose Export > EDL, choose the channel 1 of your 4 tracks and Video Linked. Reaper will be able to restore stereo objects on your tracks without you have anything to say. And then, it’s done !
Step 3 : AATranslator
Premiere Pro can export EDL. Reaper can import EDL. But… not the same EDL. There is several variations of EDL files, and the one exported by Premiere Pro is not the same than the one Reaper can import. What you have to do is to use the Windows only AATranslator converter (Standard Version $59USD is enough), coded by Suite Spot Studios. The purpose of this software is to translate one audio project format to one other. It can do some audio extraction (from video clip) or certain audio reconversion if needed. It’s a complicated software for novice, but can be a great helper once we know the workflow we need. Fortunately, what you have to do is pretty simple : import your EDL in AATranslator and export it in Reaper Project File (RPP).
Step 4 : Reaper
Now you have your RPP, you just have to open it. Reaper will ask you to locate the files of the project, so do it… and then, you are ready to go ! Full power of a DAW for your video project !
You can import a rendered video file of your project and import it in Reaper, which would be able to play it, if the exported format is common (mp4 – h.264 works fine, even in Full HD, depending of your computer hardware). You can’t mute the track (or else no video will be displayed) but you can put the volume track fader to -inf.
Once you finished your editing and mixing, export your audio with the maximum quality available for your project.
Step 5 : Back to Premiere Pro
Import the resulting file into your Premiere Pro sequence, mute the other tracks. You can now render your video for a final export.
Mac users who don’t have Windows session on their computer can use Winebottler, a free Windows emulator for MAC, and then, run AATranslator. An cheaper solution (without AATranslator) is possible using Vordio, a software for converting FCP X XML to Reaper Project File. The fact is that Premiere Pro export in FCP 7 XML, so you have to use the 7toX software in order to make a first conversion, from FCP 7 XML, to FCP X XML. FCP XML export has some limitations that I don’t appreciate (it split tracks, spread the item channel over several tracks, and we lose track name). I haven’t personally try this MAC OS workflow, so consider this as something to try rather than a turnkey solution. Note : Vordio and 7toX are very specific softwares, you will have a lot more conversion possibilities with AATranslator.
To export your audio project section from Premiere Pro to Reaper is very easy once you have the right tool and you know the workflow. The general workflow can be extrapolated to other editing softwares, but can need some small adjustments. Notice that some of those softwares could probably be used without AATranslator conversion, because of a direct compatible (with Reaper) EDL export (Note from Michael : The EDL that Reaper reads & writes is a Samplitude EDL which is only read by Samplitude/Sequoia & Magix Video Pro, Reaper & N-Track).
If you want to see the mixed in Reaper video… it’s here !