Perhaps you are an assistant editor tasked with ingesting and syncing a batch
of Broadcast Wave files recorded in the field.. You try to sync by timecode, but
you notice that each file has a different timecode offset. Then, on one
particularly long take, you notice that the audio starts in sync, but slowly
drifts out of sync.
Despite the best of workflow intentions, things go wrong. Settings are misunderstood
or miscommunicated; editing software is upgraded or changed. Stuff happens.
Fortunately, all does not have to be lost. Depending on what you need to
edit, report or listen to in a batch of Broadcast Wave files, there is a utility
Here is a brief overview of the BWF utilities that we've found useful:
|BWFWidget Pro w/ BWF-O-Matic
|iXML Metadata Reader
- BWF Manager
Works with: BWF files from all recorders (up to 8 tracks)
Comments: Made for getting BWF files into or out of the Fostex DV40 and DV824,
and works with files from all manufacturers. Useful for batch creating poly
files if they were delivered in mono. Also useful for splitting a large poly
into mono files.
- BWF Splitter & BWF Combiner
Publisher: One-N Corporation
Price: $99.00 (each)
Works with: BWF files from any recorder, up to 24 tracks
Comments: Although pricey, this pair of utilities has a clean interface and gets
the job of (you guessed it) splitting and combining BWF files in batch mode VERY
- BWF Timecoder
Publisher: One-N Corporation
Works with: BWF files from any recorder
Comments: This ingenious utility will create a SMPTE LTC track based on the
timestamp of the BWF file. Perfect for transcription services that get BWF files
from the field with no timecode track, and also for creating music video
playback masters for non-BWF playback devices (e.g. GarageBand) - simply
plug the “audio out” of your computer into a timecode reader or slate.
- BWFWidget / BWFWidget Pro / BWF-O-Matic / BWF-D-Base
Publisher: GoodSound / Courtney Goodin
Price: BWFWidget: $49.95 / BWFWidget Pro w/BWF-O-Matic: $99.00 / BWF-D-Base:
Works with: BWF files from all recorders (up to 24 tracks)
Comments: BWFWidget is handy for viewing metadata, and has a large timecode
window which can be dragged to an external monitor for “poor man's” playback
slate on music videos.
BWFWidget Pro can view and edit metadata and create PDF reports, as well as
correct for pull up/down issues. It is also able to vari-speed playback while
adjusting the timecode playback window.
Finally, BWFWidget Pro has feature specifically designed for transcription: It
can batch encode and playback MP3 files with timecode, and can automatically
copy the timecode value to the clipboard whenever the file is paused (thus
facilitating timecoded transcripts). BWF-O-Matic can split and combine BWF
files, and BWF-D-Base can create a database of all sound related media within a
- IXML Metadata Reader
Publisher: Gallery Software
Works with: BWF files with iXML
Comments: Useful for verifying metadata stored within the iXML of a BWF file.
(available at http://soft.aaton.com/swcantar)
Publisher: Aaton SA
Works with: BWF files recorded by the Aaton Cantar
Comments: Any editing room or post facility that deals with Cantar created BWF
files should download this utility immediately! This free utility can manipulate
metadata, mix, rename, split, combine and rotate Cantar files, and create .pdf
Publisher: Maggot Software
Works with: BWF files from all recorders
Comments: Like a lot of the free software listed here, ReMetacator can change
the TC frame rate and sample rate stamp. What’s unique about this software is
that it can also change the BWF chunk header to correct for Deva and Avid
incompatibilities (among other issues), and make it’s changes in batch mode
across multiple files.
- Wave Agent
Publisher: Sound Devices
Works with: BWF files from all recorders (up to 12 tracks)
Comments: Can batch rename, split, combine and create reports from BWF files.
Can view and edit metadata, including timestamps and pull-up/pull down
correction. Extremely useful for troubleshooting Avid and FCP issues involving
drifting time code. In addition, the playback mixer can be used to “audition”
mixes of takes, even from mono files. Perfect for loggers and assistant editors
needing to verify track contents.
For a case study of solving a BWF problem using some of the above software, see the Anatomy of a BWF SNAFU feature in this month's issue