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Using Mac .caf Files

Jan 21, 2011 12:17 PM

How to?

 

I've got a ton of Mac .caf audio files sitting in Garage Band that I want to use in Premiere for PC.  I can get them on the PC, but Premiere can't use them--at least in its current state.  Is there any way to use them WITHOUT having to convert to WAV or MP3?    

 
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 21, 2011 12:27 PM   in reply to Toomany3

    Try changing the extension to .AIF or .M4A; no idea if that will work, but I suspect this is just an Apple-tastic custom container for PCM or AAC audio. If that doesn't work, you'll probably be able to open them in Audacity and convert them.

     
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    Jan 21, 2011 1:28 PM   in reply to Toomany3

    I'm only familiar with Garage Band by name, but I would anticipate that it would have several file format/CODEC options. What are the other ones?

     

    Also, is .CAF possibly a format for perhaps loopology? See the replies down this THREAD.

     

    Sounds a bit like SmartSound's formats, that allow the SmartSound Libraries to be used in their programs, or plug-ins, and is not a format that other programs can use, however, one can easily Export to PCM/WAV from, say Sonicfire Pro 5.

     

    You might just have to use the CAF files IN Garage Band, then Export from it.

     

    Good luck,

     

    Hunt

     

    [Edit] Here is another THREAD on CAF files, and using Garage Band to do the conversions. Be sure to scroll past the ads and download buttons.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 21, 2011 1:35 PM   in reply to Toomany3

    Hmm... might be a job for VLC. Do you have a smallish CAF file you could upload and link to somewhere? I've got some kung-fu to try on it... bwa ha ha...

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 21, 2011 3:36 PM   in reply to Colin Brougham

    Actually, your earlier suggestion of Audacity is one that appeared in several threads on CAF files. That would be one of my next choices, if Garage Band does not work with CAF files, and Export/Save_As PCM/WAV, though it sounds like it does.

     

    Good luck to the OP,

     

    Hunt

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 24, 2011 12:31 PM   in reply to Toomany3

    I might have figured out a way to losslessly batch convert these so that they'll open up in Premiere; let me know if you didn't find another solution.

     

    I only have one test file I'm working with, and it sounds like there is some variability in what is actually packaged in the CAF file, but it's worth a shot... free, too!

     
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    Jan 24, 2011 12:40 PM   in reply to Toomany3

    No worries Before I go all crazy with a tutorial for something that doesn't work, do you have a short sample of one of the files that I could play with? Doesn't need to be more than a few seconds; shoot me a PM if you have an upload location or I can give you access to my FTP. If it's less than 5-10MB, email would work too.

     

    As mentioned, I've found that there is all sorts of variability in these files; this is predicated on my research, but not actual testing. I only have one to work with at the moment, and while I thought you could find EVERYTHING on the Internet, apparently CAF files are exempt from that rule

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 24, 2011 1:21 PM   in reply to Toomany3

    Cool; got 'em, and they'll work with my solution! I'm assuming you're doing this on Windows, but it should work on a Mac too.

     

    1. Get MPEG Streamclip for your OS here: http://www.squared5.com/
    2. Once you've open MPEG Streamclip (no install needed), select List > Batch List. The Batch List window will appear.
    3. Click the Add Files button at the bottom of the window, and navigate to the folder where your CAF files are saved.
    4. The CAF files will not appear by default, so in "File name" box, type (without quotes) "*caf" to make them appear. When they do, select them all (Ctrl+A works) and click Open.
    5. A dialog will appear asking you to "Please choose a task;" from the dropdown, select the "Save As" option. No need to check the other options; just click OK.
    6. When you hit OK, you'll be presented with a folder/file browser window; navigate to your destination folder, and click OK.
    7. You'll then see a window that says "File open error: unsupported file type." Do not despair Simply click "Open Anyway."
    8. The next window will ask you to select a file format; choose MOV and click OK.
    9. Finally, after all that, the files will be added to the Batch List window with the parameters you just set. Simply hit the Go button, and watch the files fly!

     

    The conversion should go very quickly, because there is no re-encoding happening. MPEG Streamclip is simply splitting the CAF container open, extracting the streams, and rewrapping them in an MOV container. They'll also be named the same as your originals. The CAF files are encoded with the Apple Lossless Audio Codec, which is a legitimate codec in QuickTime, on Windows, and even in Premiere, but the CAF container cannot be split open by anything but QuickTime (at least on a PC). MPEG Streamclip is an extremely capable front-end for QuickTime; it does just about everything QuickTime Pro does (and more, like batching) for free.

     

    EDIT: Actually, I just noticed that your CAFs were encoded with AAC audio; the test clip I had was ALAC. Nevertheless, they import just fine.

     

    Anyway, you will end up with a pile of MOVs with no video, but with ALAC audio streams. These import perfectly well into Premiere, and you'll have done so losslessly; compare the file sizes and you'll see that they are within a few KBs of the CAF files.

     

    Hope that works for you!

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 4, 2011 10:49 AM   in reply to Colin Brougham-u9E3Ff

    I LOVE YOU!!!! Just made the switch from Final Cut Pro (Mac) to Premiere Pro CS5 (Windows) and thought I lost all of my audio content from Final Cut Suite. This saved the day!!! Thank you so much. Love free tools, honest advice, and people going out of their ways to help others.

     

    Another way to do this without compression (I assume MP4 would attempt compression) would be to change Step 5:

    Currently step 5 is to choose "save as" and then choose "MOV" or "MP4" (video containers).


    You can instead choose "Export Audio" and then choose AIFF (or AAC, MP3, or MP2). Guaranteed working in Premiere Pro CS5. Doing the rest of the conversions now!

     

    Thanks again guys for this awesome thread and the help.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 4, 2011 11:08 AM   in reply to iimagine_creation

    Glad you found it useful I'm all about flying, stabby ninja stuff like this

     

    Another way to do this without compression (I assume MP4 would attempt compression) would be to change Step 5:

    Currently step 5 is to choose "save as" and then choose "MOV" or "MP4" (video containers).


    You can instead choose "Export Audio" and then choose AIFF (or AAC, MP3, or MP2). Guaranteed working in Premiere Pro CS5. Doing the rest of the conversions now!

     

    Actually, this is backwards: the reason I suggested MOV (and Toomany countered with MP4) is because the Save As options don't recompress--the Export options do. This mirrors the Save As vs. Export functionality in QuickTime Pro. The Save As option will simply rewrap the existing streams into a new container; Export recompresses the stream (even if you set the settings to be exactly the same) and puts it in a new container.

     

    Another option in this would be to use the Save Track > Save Audio Track command; that will extract just the audio to an M4A file, which will indeed import into Premiere Pro as well.

     

    Have fun!

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 4, 2011 11:12 AM   in reply to Colin Brougham

    VERY good point. Now that I'm looking at my newly converted files they are most definitely compressed. Damn! I will just go back and do it again as .mov

     
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    Sep 16, 2013 9:40 AM   in reply to Toomany3

    For those recommending batch conversion solutions, you can do this easily in Adobe Audition.

     
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