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Final Cut Pro X
The latest version of FCP from Apple.


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Old August 19th, 2011, 07:06 AM   #31
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Re: Real World FCP-X.

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There were two warning signs to me which direction "X" was headed; One, when it was announced that the guy who created iMovie 6 that everybody hated was developing FCP X and; Two, during the first public release of the feature set that FCP would "automatically fix white balance/camera shake/exposure..." etc.
I hate when things float around on the Internet and a vast majority are still uninformed. "That guy" isn't known for creating iMovie 6, but for creating Premiere and then creating Final Cut Pro. His name is Randy Ubillos.

The second thing is that automatic isn't bad. In fact, every automatic feature in the software doesn't apply itself. It just analyzes. Then you can turn in on or off per clip to see if it did anything you liked.

With all the gripes, Final Cut Pro X can ingest, sort and preview your clips faster than 7, Premiere CS5 and others. Everything else will come in time. I do want to export or round-trip to Motion or AE or even Logic. I hate that you can't do that. Everything else seems like minor complains of using something new. And I have minor complaints about every piece of software, especially CS5, not because it's new but because there are still some bugs they have never fixed.

:-)
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Old August 19th, 2011, 08:20 AM   #32
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Re: Real World FCP-X.

I am just finishing three projects with X next week. All for serious clients but for very different purposes. When I have time I will summarize the experience, positives and negatives.

However I will leave with this thought: FCPX was designed by a set of very, very smart but very stubborn people. Back in 2008 Apple put a help wanted ad for a working video professional (not a software programmer) to oversee the development of what became X. That ad (which I answered but was never contacted) remained up for over a year. The more I work with the program the more I feel that if they ever actually hired someone for that position that they were routinely ignored or were a team "yes" person afraid to say anything to raise the ire of Ubilios (who might be the nicest guy on the planet for all I know). Anybody who is surprised by Apple's ingrained stubbornness hasn't paid much attention. That said anyone posting here could advise Apple on how to improve the solid foundation of X. The fixes are clear.
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Old August 21st, 2011, 04:44 PM   #33
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Re: Real World FCP-X.

Can't wait to read your experience with X.
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Old August 23rd, 2011, 10:17 PM   #34
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Re: Real World FCP-X.

Three projects:

1) 20 minute DVD loop for federal agency. Content: various short films produced by high school students delivered in various edit-unfriendly formats (h264, WMV). This was an interesting job to try on X. Some of the films were in weird frame rates (31fps for example) and mis-exported aspect ratios. This would be problem in FCP7 as well but I know what to do there. First I tried to work with the raw files in an HD timeline but that proved to overwhelm X so I used Compressor 4 to convert everything to ProRes. This took almost no time and I went back to work. Unfortunately the WMV files didn't transfer the sound (the video looked fine) so I used MPEG Streamclip to make ProRes file which had the audio and looked just as good. Afterwards I easily constructed the program with graphics titles imported from Photoshop. Fixing the messed up aspect ratios was easy in the Inspector window with the X/Y scale adjustments although X lacks the simple ratio adjustment of FCP7. A few minor audio adjustments which were easy to accomplish. I sent the completed program (unrendered, I have turned background rendering off) to Compressor 4 and created MPEG/AC3 files for DVDSP as it needed loop programming.

A simple job with some difficulties outside the scope of either X or 7. Verdict: X worked fine, no net gain or loss versus 7.

2) Test web series for major publisher, for internal use only at this point. The project consists of short programs containing single answers extracted from longer interviews. Each interview generates four or five short programs in a series. Each series has it's own opening and closing which is identical, only an title card containing the question and the footage of the answer changes from program to program. After creating the openings and closings which was relatively easy for this project using the title generator and some graphic stills provided by the client I set about skimming the interviews for suitable material for the programs. The method of creating favorites within a single clip to isolate potential material proved to be very useful and easier to use then markers in 7. Unfortunately writing in the note column of the Clip browser is an erratic thing, sometimes you can, sometimes you can't. I am not clear why. Needs to be fixed. Where X really shined here was in the Replace function. All I had to do was duplicate the first completed program and drag the clip for the next program into the previous clip selection. X asks how I want it replaced, I picked the standard replace function and the new clip is placed in the timeline complete with previous transitions intact and the timeline length adjusted accordingly. A quick test of the transitions, perhaps a small adjustment, change the question title and it's done. Very efficient for this job and the result impressed the clients.

A modest, perhaps simple job but not without importance. Verdict: X was an improvement over 7 for the specifics of this job.

3) A 40 minute documentary for internal purposes for a client. Rough material consists of 7 hours of interviews shot on HDV, various bits of video footage from iPhones, consumer still cameras and DVDs. Capturing the HDV footage from a Sony camera was easy and without any problem. The odd files from phones and still cameras had to be dealt with on a file by file basis. Some just dropped in, others needed conversion in Compressor. X uprezed the footage very well. The client provided timecode numbers of potential footage which was easy to access by skimming and using favorites made picking clips out of large file captures simple. Building the project was mostly easy and the magnetic timeline became very useful once I got the hang of it. The same with "L" & "J" split edits, once you understand the method it becomes easy. A sticking point is when I wanted to remove a clip that had still overlays or titles but keep the stills. Here I had to convert the clip to a "Gap" to keep the shape of the timeline otherwise overlays will disappear or the timeline will collaspe in strange ways. This project used a lot of stills and music files. Stills are not the easiest to work with but no worse than 7. Animating movement is not well implemented as the key frames are hard to turn on or off. Where in 7 once you started key frames in a clip every time you changed a parameter in the course of a clip 7 adds a new keyframe. In X you must initiate a new key frame in the inspector before changing a parameter for animation. Prevents accidental keyframes but annoying when I was used to the other method. Unfortunately the key frame button highlights with the same color as an activated keyframe, confusing. Part of the documentary had a live music performance but with horrible audio. The producer had a professionally recorded version of the song which was at a slower tempo. Thru the Retiming editor I was able to slow down the video footage to the recorded music by dragging the end of the clip using the audio waveforms on the timeline as a guide. The footage slowed down nicely. Very nifty. Audio control on the interview clips was easy via the inspector. No more splitting the files to isolate non-microphone tracks, just switch to dual mono and shut a track off. If I wanted to manipulate the two tracks separately I turned the clip into a compound track and separated the audio tracks there. That way I never lost sync in the main timeline. There are many audio options in X such as a 31 band EQ immediately available for every clip. There are several useful preset pan filters as well. The draggable audio fades available on every clip in very nice. The color corrector is OK but I don't like the way it's arranged and you can't type in values, only drag sliders. The same issue is with other adjustment sliders, some you can type in values but none have single increment buttons. Why? Makes no sense. The waveform monitor is good but way it is displayed is limited. It's not resizable as in 7. Unfortunately, just like 7, X slows down when you add a lot of stills to the timeline, I'll have to think of a work around the next time. The credit title scroll generator got goofy when I tried to have different font colors and sizes within the roll. It did work but not without strange behavior. The font color picker is incompletely programed compared to the vastly inferior titler in 7. Frustrating. The finished product came out very well on BluRay and DVD.

A decent experience even when interrupted by having to consult the X help file to get up to speed on certain functions. Verdict: I would definitely choose X again for another documentary if I was going to complete the audio myself. Sending the audio out to an audio shop at this point would require a costly third party option that I might get if the budget was there. Until multi cam comes to X, I'll stick with 7 for those jobs and those jobs only (like in two weeks for a public television program). Otherwise X was wonderful for scrubbing footage and trimming edits on the timeline. The magnetic timeline is 80% there, very very useful. Media management is much better than 7 but oddly implemented. The included filter, effects, sound effects and title templates are everywhere from tacky to excellent but I'm glad they are all there. Frankly Apple needs to address the odd deficiencies of X that aren't even in the realm of highly advanced editing. I found that quitting and restarting the program helped performance on the documentary when I would notice functions slowing down. In 7 I never had to do this but I do remember that 6 and earlier would occasionally need to be closed but not like X presently does. The smaller X projects never needed rebooting so perhaps it's a project size issue. Certainly X is using many more resources live than 7 does.
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Old August 29th, 2011, 04:24 PM   #35
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Re: Real World FCP-X.

William,
Thank you very much for sharing your experience.
I am planning to start with Larry Jordan"s tutorials next week with fcpX istalled on my laptop. It is obvious that on FCPX if you try to use your intuition you can lose time. So I'll start with tutorials and move on slowly, I am pretty confident that the moment I get in use with FCPX way of working I'll install it on the edit stations and start tu use it on a regular basis.
Thanks again for your input,
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Old September 12th, 2011, 09:43 PM   #36
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Re: Real World FCP-X.

A very good review/opinion of FCP X

https://www.editorsguild.com/Magazin...ArticleID=1016

I am being approached to edit a dramatic feature in the coming months and I am not comfortable initiating the job on X until Apple activates XML import/export. It's the color correction and special filters that I am worried about although X is certainly good with these features. There are just many more options available in 7. If the job happens soon I will use FCP 7 but I will miss the footage organization in X.
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Old September 12th, 2011, 11:16 PM   #37
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Re: Real World FCP-X.

I have a hunch we will see an update to FCPX within the next two weeks or so. It might impact your decision. Apparently Apple met with some VARs (why VARs I don't know) at IBC and said some things that those are under NDA about.
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Old September 13th, 2011, 05:39 AM   #38
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Re: Real World FCP-X.

That is curious. Perhaps they are worried about the long history of hardware/software sales that went with FCP.

Hopefully the promised update is soon.
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Old September 13th, 2011, 06:04 AM   #39
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Re: Real World FCP-X.

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Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
I have a hunch we will see an update to FCPX within the next two weeks or so. It might impact your decision. Apparently Apple met with some VARs (why VARs I don't know) at IBC and said some things that those are under NDA about.
There is a guy over on another forum who is a Apple Certified Master Trainer, quite switched on with FCPX and helpful, he posted just recently:

"Apple has told a fellow trainer that we should see updates in Sept and Oct. We'll have to wait and see what happens."

I guess that ties in with you are saying.
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Old September 13th, 2011, 06:21 AM   #40
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Re: Real World FCP-X.

Personally FCPX is almost ready for 100% of what I do. The issues I have are with stability. For example if you have any "bad" fonts that can make the titling inspector unstable and cause FCPX to crash. That is NOT professional grade behaviour.

I've yet to edit a complex timeline with FCPX due to these stability issues but I am confident it will provide me with a great way of putting together my material (PSC, Cinema Direct, etc) and it would have saved me lots of time on ALL of my previous projects (shorts, features, fiction and non-fiction).

For me, FCPX represents the digital equivalent of cutting and splicing physical film, which I am very familiar with having been through the Super8 days.

J-cuts and L-cuts are extremely easy compared to previous NLE I have used (all the way back to Ulead Mediastudio) - this alone is a killer feature for me because I seem to do so many.

I just don't trust FCPX stability to invest time in anything but simple projects right now.

I do agree that this is more like iMovie than FCS - however, iMovie would always drive me nuts which is why I went with FCS eventually.

With FCPX, I believe Apple is making it even easier for an artist to express himself with motion picture, not harder.

I think Apple is taking this position because they know those who prefer the FCS way (with a high degree of collaboration with other departments) will go with Adobe. Let's not forget that FCS has been pretty stagnant the last few years (as have most other NLE, reaching a plateau of editing features and GUI presentation) and a bunch of FCS/FCP developers were fired/left a few months ago. It's almost like Apple were cutting Adobe some slack to get CS5(.5) up to speed from Carbon to Cocoa or whatever it was that made Adobe leave the Apple platform for a few years (probably they thought Apple were doomed along with the rest of the tech industry). Apple have waited until there are alternatives on their platform before killing FCS (even though I hear FCS has been partially resurrected in terms of purchasing/support).

For me, Adobe CS is just too much. I'm a simple guy when it comes to my own projects, an auteur.

As for Hollywood features - even Walter Murch is back on his Avid.

Differentiate or die - I think we can all agree that FCPX is at least different.

But, yeah, FCPX has been a PR nightmare. Which has led to mindshare.
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Old September 13th, 2011, 10:13 AM   #41
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Re: Real World FCP-X.

About VARs.
It was likely Apple, not the VARs that setup this meeting. Given that FCPX is designed to sell hardware, I think Apple is interested in keeping VARs in that loop. I personally believe you're going to see some new directions as part of FCPX. I think a MacPro redesign with hooks into a server based solution. FCPX metadata seems pointed toward some very sophisticated control, not included in FCPX.

I don't think Apple is intentionally ceding ground to Adobe. It's just a byproduct of Apple's rebirthing of FCPX in a new strategy. It will be very easy for those moving to Premiere to go back to FCPX if/when the time comes. Only Premiere left Mac, not Photoshop or After Effects so there was no "doom" involved. When Premiere left, it had undergone a major rewrite and FCP1 left little room for Adobe to get a foothold in the Mac NLE market.

FCPX has a couple feature implementation issues that go far beyond broadcast/feature markets. Multicam, which Apple has already said it will add and, handling of Dual Mono. It handles the latter poorly. Even Expand Audio/Video doesn't show two audio tracks. You have to Detach Audio in order to have control of both tracks in the timeline. This also means Dual Mono isn't handled in the Precision Editor. There are workarounds but they're all awkward.

Apple also needs to make a better case for Connected Clips and Secondary Storylines over Tracks.

BTW amongst the rumors is that SoundTrack Pro, or equivalent, may resurface soon. It may simply be Logic Pro X in the App Store.

Apple needs to get the APIs out to plugin developers as well.

I suspect the next couple of updates will bring on FCPX like gangbusters. The first one coming in the next couple of weeks will be telling. I suspect by November it'll be much clearer where Apple is headed.

This isn't iMovie Pro by a long shot. A more elegant GUI doesn't diminish what's going on under the hood.
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Old September 13th, 2011, 10:46 AM   #42
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Re: Real World FCP-X.

Connected clips and secondary story lines were beyond me at first but once I figured it out (connected clips at least) they are very, very useful especially when working with splitting audio tracks into dual mono tracks. It's not the ideal way to work with those audio issues but it works.

This is why I wonder if Apple ever had a working videographer in the development loop. Anyone who shoots interviews solo will have at some point recorded two different mikes on the stereo tracks and needed independent control during the edit. I just filmed and edited a multi cam interview with a seasoned news pro (he's on every night on a cable network and has a booming voice) and a interviewee who could barely talk due to an illness. That was easy to adjust in 7, in X besides the lack of multi cam I'm not so sure how happy I would have been.
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Old September 13th, 2011, 05:44 PM   #43
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Re: Real World FCP-X.

I'm finding not being able to have multiple tracks is a bit... limiting, if not annoying. If I correct some footage and I want other clips to have the same brightness, contrast, color-correction, or whatever, I'd just drop clips on a track I set up with those settings. Now I have to copy the first clip's attributes, then drop those on each and every subsequent clip I want to match. That seems like the hard way to do it, and it increases the likelihood I'll miss one.
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Old September 13th, 2011, 09:50 PM   #44
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Re: Real World FCP-X.

You can save your own presets in the color board.
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Old September 14th, 2011, 08:22 AM   #45
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Re: Real World FCP-X.

Yes, I understand that. But I would still have to apply those presets to each individual clip, rather than having them applied automatically if I had the presets on a track.

It's not impossible to work around. It's just not as well thought out as some of FCPX's other features.
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