EDL import

Import of EDL files in Ardour?

Current EDL status on various open or closed free applications:
Shotcut supports EDL export(js): https://forum.shotcut.org/t/mlt2edl-script-error-fix/55/28
Flowblade will soon support EDL export(py): https://github.com/jliljebl/flowblade/issues/252
Natron(VFX) might support EDL import: https://github.com/MrKepzie/Natron/issues/1170
Blender supports EDL import(py): https://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Extensions:2.6/Py/Scripts/Import-Export/EDL_Import Blender supports Ardour export(py): http://blendervelvets.org/en/blue-velvet/
Davinci supports EDL import/export.

In the kdenlive forum there s also a discussion how it would be possible to have a exchange file format, especially for exchanging audio and video with Ardour. …

In before paul or x42…


As a serious response to calimerox though, why wouldn’t that format just be Ardour’s session format? It is open, XML, and not the most difficult to understand, though many things in it are measured by audio samples IIRC which is far more accurate than many video editors. Personally I have toyed around with seeing if i can write a plugin for Lightworks to do exactly this honestly rather than deal with AAF or OMF.


The thing is that EDL is a very simpel format, which the links above hopefully indicates, and since Davinci supports edl import, floss NLEs like Shotcut, Flowblade, Kdenlive and OpenShot, would only have to implement export of one format if Ardour supported import of EDL, that is. This way videos edited in a variety of free open sourced programs could be color graded in the free Davinci(needs heavy hardware for editing video) and the audio could be edited in Ardour.

About the format: http://www.digital-intermediate.co.uk/DI/DIconform.htm

EDL parsing in c++: http://edl2aaf.cvs.sourceforge.net/viewvc/edl2aaf/edlaaf/edlaaf/
EDL parsing in python: https://github.com/AdricEpic/python-edl
Blender EDL (CMX3600) import code: https://git.blender.org/gitweb/gitweb.cgi/blender-addons.git/tree/HEAD:/io_sequencer_edl

@ seablade lol i like the cartoon :wink: I ll mention that over in the kdenlive forum!


Yes EDL is very simple, but also somewhat limited as well. Don’t get me wrong, I would appreciate at least EDL, but it would also be nice to be able to render out a video clip with it and the raw audio and take those direct into Ardour. For instance EDL has no way of exporting a rough track for instance or mix, so if I am working with one or two others that are editing the video and have a basic thought on audio, they can’t convey that on an EDL.

Honestly the Ardour session format really isn’t that difficult either when you get down to it. It gets LONG, especially on complex sessions, but if just transferring audio files with no editing, it is fairly simple.


Well, I my eyes the choice is between EDL(too simple to carry all information, but easy to implement), AAF(carries all information, but too complicated to implement) and making up a new format… If more Video-NLE projects should be inspired to implement a new export format, it should be as simple as possible and have as much effect as possible. I know that Blender has Ardour export(py): http://blendervelvets.org/en/blue-velvet/ But implementing that doesn’t solve the need to export to Davinci Resolve too(which imports edl).

Btw. EDL files have an option to add additional info to each clip like " * From clip name: XXX.mov" and I guess that can be expanded to " * Volume: " and such…

I don’t believe you can point to any documented standards for “EDL”.

If you can, point me at them. If it really exists, it is not clear why AAF (let alone OMF) exists.

ah, you already included links, sorry. once i am more regularly online, i will take a look at them. I mostly concur with Seablade’s comments above.

Standards for CMX 3600 EDL file format: http://xmil.biz/EDL-X/CMX3600.pdf
With a strict number of characters pr column.

The alterations are done in comment lines following a clip. Eg. " * From clip name: "
These lines are ignored when importing if those features are not supported, so adding these lines doesn’t break the format.

Eg. Color grading info can be added: http://www.niwa.nu/2013/05/color-decision-list-using-edl-and-ccc-files/

The same way can audio/sound decisions lists be added to the format.


Btw. EDL files have an option to add additional info to each clip like " * From clip name: XXX.mov" and I guess that can be expanded to " * Volume: " and such...

Which then you end up leaving behind the strength of EDL because:

  1. Not everyone will support that

  2. You are no longer talking a ‘simple’ file anymore, and in fact structured XML would likely be easier by the time you get into automation.


FinalCut manual describes how to set audio levels in EDLs:


An EDL can store notes, indicated by a line starting with an asterisk (*), between event lines. Notes can be used to clarify events for the editor receiving the EDL, and can include information that the EDL cannot store directly. For example, an EDL can’t directly store audio levels of a clip, but the audio level can be stored in the EDL as a note. In the EDL Export dialog, you can choose to export one of the Master Comments 1–4 or Comments A–B.

001 002 AA/V C 02:10:42:13 02:11:16:18 01:00:00:00 01:00:34:05

  • OPACITY LEVEL AT 02:10:45:20 IS 0.00%(REEL 002)
  • OPACITY LEVEL AT 02:10:49:12 IS 100.00%(REEL 002)
  • AUDIO LEVEL AT 02:10:43:07 IS -INF DB(REEL 002 A1)
  • AUDIO LEVEL AT 02:10:51:16 IS +0.00 DB(REEL 002 A1)

So the usual hack of adding metadata as comments. Ugh.

It is interesting to see that there actually is at least one “standard” for an EDL format. I wonder how many there are in total. One of the reasons I never looked into it was the strong impression that the phrase “EDL” described a concept rather than a specific format. It is also interesting that AAF exists (and OMF before it), supporting the idea that for many (many) things, EDL format is just insufficient/inadequate.

I’m still not really 100% clear what Ardour users would gain by being able to import/export via EDL.

Adding EDL support has been on my Ardour ToDo list since about 2008. Mainly for automatically importing and cutting and aligning audio (dialog) from edited video. No meta-data (level, x-fade etc) just 4 point edits. So far it never never got beyond some quick perl scripts to generate Ardour Sessions to get a job done. No direct integration into Ardour.
Time to raise the priority a bit, I suppose

@42 Thank you for taking it into consideration. I’m trying to help out with the Shotcut and the Flowblade implementations, so let me know if I can help out, provide EDLs, info to understand the format or do tests.

@ x42
I looked at your Sodankyla EDL code and it looks like you’ve on top of the EDL stuff back then. :slight_smile:

Btw. now Flowblade(from next release) will export EDL: https://github.com/jliljebl/flowblade/issues/252
Unfortunately we found out that there are bugs in the Blender EDL import code, so the way of importing an EDL in Blender and then use Blendervelvets script to export to a Ardour session will result in inaccurate timings.

Is it possible to code Edl import in Lua?

I had a quick glance at the Lua scripting option, but couldn’t see any import operations covered.

Added by paul:-
" I’m still not really 100% clear what Ardour users would gain by being able to import/export via EDL. "

I must admit, I’m puzzled by this too. I’ve spent most of my life working in the television industry but it’s well over 20 years since I last saw anyone using an EDL.

From what I can remember about EDL’s they essentially describe the relationship between linear (longitudinal) formats (usually tape). But does anybody still use tape for video recording? It certainly doesn’t get used by the high end broadcasters any more - and even at domestic level, it’s rare to find anyone who still owns a VTR (e.g. VHS a recorder).

So assuming you were given an EDL nowadays… how would you access the actual video?

For 16mm and 35mm film EDL is still the standard. You [usually] get a one-light scan which has a matching timecode burnt in. I did a couple of short films like that (soundtrack in ardour)
…but hardly anyone works with real film anymore.

EDL is the lowest hanging fruit, when it comes to exporting from video editors(most of them export edl) and importing the edited project in Ardour. As mentioned above AAF and OMF are also options, but probably to complex for anyone to bother implementing in Ardour. Of course stems could be exported/imported, but those very limiting.

If you don’t agree on EDL as a valid path, my question is what workflow would you guys recommend if people video editing in Shotcut or Flowblade wants to edit their audio in Ardour?