Knowledge Base

Importing Shooting Scripts

You can import cues into ADR Master from a variety of supported formats. In general, the formats can be divided into two categories: ordered formats and unordered formats. Formats like CSV where all cue information is stored in a spreadsheet-style manner are ordered formats. Other parsable file formats like XML or Pro Tools Session Info text files also belong into this category. If the cues are contained in an ordered format, ADR Master can typically parse the files and import the cues directly. Importing cues from these kinds of formats is explained here.

With unordered formats, the files cannot be parsed automatically. This is usually the case for shooting scripts stored in the Microsoft Word or in the PDF format. To import a shooting script, you use the same menu entry also used for ordered formats: File -> Import Cues from File. ADR Master will show the Shooting Script Import Window:

The window is split into three sections. The top section (1) contains information about the current cue. Here you build up a cue and commit it to the actual cue list. The middle section (2) contains a text field to define the script pattern as well as a number of buttons which will be explained in detail in the following. At the bottom of the window (3), the script is displayed in a line-wise manner.

Turning script lines into cues

After selecting a script to be imported, ADR Master will open the window shown above and it will display the script content in the bottom section of the window. ADR Master will try to read the content in a way that makes sense but with elements like pictures, lists, tables etc. all intertwined with the actual text the outcome may not be perfect. As the script writers don't work according to common standards, it's very hard to optimize the document parsing as improving scripts from one editor may make the outcome worse for others.

When designing this import functionality, our main goal was not to make it perfect (as that's simply not possible with an undefined format) but rather to make it as convenient as possible for all formats. When analyzing scripts it became apparent that although the formatting may be different with each script, the internal structure doesn't change throughout the script. You'll see what this means in this example:

You can see that there's always the cue's timecode, the character name and then the text for this cue. This pattern repeats itself throughout the script. To streamline the import, you can simply set the pattern "start TC - character - text" to the script pattern textfield in the middle controller bar. Click the "+" button to add a new pattern element, click the "x" button to remove an element or drag the elements around within the field to change the order.

When you now click on a timecode line with the Alt-key pressed, ADR Master will associate these lines with the correct properties according to script pattern set in the textfield.

To create a cue from these lines, you can now click the first of the four buttons in the middle bar (New Cue from List Selection) or use the shortcut Shift+N.

You can now add additional information like the cue number or notes. You can also set the start and end timecode of the cue here. To do that you can either use the controller elements to the left of the timecode fields, type the timecode in manually or just grab the start and end timecode from the DAW if attached. The current DAW selection is displayed next to the in and out point textfields and you can take that as in and out either by using the button or the shortcut Cmd+F8. You can also just take the currently displayed video frame as the cue's in point (Cmd+F9) or the cue's out point (Cmd+F10).

When all information is correct for the cue, click the second button in the middle bar to commit the cue to the actual cue list and clear the controls (Commit Cue and Commit Cue Controls, shortcut Shift+C). Alternatively, you can also use the third button (Commit Cue) to only commit the cue without clearing the controls. This can come in handy if the cue has rather long text and if you want to split it into two for easier handling. In that case you can use the last button (Clear Cue Controls) to clear the cue controls to continue.