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Old November 18th, 2013, 02:23 PM   #1
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What is your XDCAM Workflow for FCP X?

I'm looking at FCP X again before starting a big project. After reading and trying to absorb it's alternative way of handling files, I'm wondering what workflow people are using for FCP X and XDCAM. In FCP 7, the XDCAM FCP plugin let me browse all my BPAV folders as if they were reels and provided a powerful way of trimming it into one or more files, adding text to what would become the .mov's file name and FCP properties. And then it imported it in the background.

I'm not see that capability in FCP X and I'm not sure how to adapt it to FCP X and it's keywords/tags.

Does Sony's XDCAM plugin for FCP X do what it did in FCP 7 or is it only rewrapping the BPAV files into a .mov underneath FCP X's import?

What's your XDCAM workflow for FCP X?
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Old November 19th, 2013, 05:00 PM   #2
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Re: What is your XDCAM Workflow for FCP X?

Boy, this place is deserted. Anyway, I found a review of Sony's XDCAM plugin that only recently shipped during NAB 2013. Looks like the multi-subclip and file naming features of the FCP 7 L&T plug-in have been stripped out:
Sony launch their PDZK-LT2 XDCAM import plugin for FCPX and upgrade XDCAM Browser - fcp.co
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Old November 19th, 2013, 10:47 PM   #3
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Re: What is your XDCAM Workflow for FCP X?

I don't have an XDCAM camera but do have a Canon XF series which shoots a similar codec. The Canon XF plugin for FCPX does allow me to set in/out points and import whatever I choose, although it doesn't allow for renaming each imported clip.

This may partly be by design, as FCPX offers really powerful organizational tools based on keywords instead of file names.

fcp.co is another great FCPX resource site...
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Old November 20th, 2013, 07:49 AM   #4
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Re: What is your XDCAM Workflow for FCP X?

@David thanks. Maybe FCP X can only do one subclip so the XDCAM FCP X plugin is dumbed down. The thing about file names is that the keywords used in the file name are available outside of FCP for use at other times and other computers. It makes it easy to find stuff for use in other applications as well. Also, it happens at the very same time that you looked at the clip to decide whether you want to import it or not.

Sorry if this is a noob question but does FCP X Importing let you put in keywords at import time while the clip is fresh in your mind or do you have to go over all the clips and watch them again in order to keyword them? I've looked an only find examples of the slower method adding them in a second pass through the footage.
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Old November 20th, 2013, 08:20 AM   #5
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Re: What is your XDCAM Workflow for FCP X?

Since I have only used the Sony XDCAM transcoding application to get the odd XDCAM files into FCPX on rare occasion I have kept quiet on this topic. When you create a new Keyword category in FCPX, the application immediately has an import button available in that category so you can bring the files in right then. However I find it better to arrange my files first into folders on the hard drive and title those folders to a keyword category I haven't made yet in FCPX. Then when I import the entire folder I check the option to make folders into automatic keyword categories and it's done. The one problem I have with FCPX is that you can't Import directly into a keyword category after the initial time. You have to drag it in later. An earlier version of FCPX allowed you to do that but for some reason it was taken away.
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Old November 20th, 2013, 08:33 AM   #6
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Re: What is your XDCAM Workflow for FCP X?

http://www.larryjordan.biz/fcpx-import-and-organize

...gives a much better explanation that I can. But, no, you can't apply keywords on import. As explained, if your files are on your computer and/or in folders, this gives many options. I suppose you could make a separate Event for each keyword, then choose the Event you want on import of each clip (or portion of a clip). A much requested feature is to be able to directly import from camera or card to Keyword collections rather than just to Events.

But, applying keywords after import is pretty powerful. And with skimming you don't really have to watch the clips again. Just set up the keywords, assign keyboard commands to them, and go. Skim, hit I, skim, hit O, hit keyboard command. And of course clips can be in multiple keyword collections if desired.

I'm not a keyword power user. Most of my projects are small, self-filmed and not on an intense deadline. But, those who ARE experts on it consider FCPX's keywording and organizational features to be stronger than any other NLE.

And of course the rumored update coming next month may even change all this by merging Events and Projects into Libraries. It will be very interesting to see what that brings.
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Old November 20th, 2013, 10:14 AM   #7
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Re: What is your XDCAM Workflow for FCP X?

I don't know what you mean by odd XDCAM files. Among other things, those files let you scan the footage and see exactly what your WB, iris, shutter, color profile and more were all during the the shot. Putting the keywords in the file name at import time was a way to have keywords in FCP 7 which as you know had no concept of that. But I get how FCP works and doesn't support keywords at import. The FCP X way is to do the tedious processing of the files twice. The folder scheme is some other workflow I never would use. Sounds like it's there for folders created by other apps like iPhoto and iTunes. Anyway, I get it. Thanks.
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Old November 20th, 2013, 04:14 PM   #8
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Re: What is your XDCAM Workflow for FCP X?

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Dixon View Post
...But, applying keywords after import is pretty powerful. And with skimming you don't really have to watch the clips again. ....
Can't hear the audio while skimming. Skimming is just another technique done during import and later. Setting Keywords at Import time need not be mutually exclusive with doing them later. Setting keywords and tags at import time is faster than another pass. Ditto setting multiple subclips at import time. But I get it. FCP X doesn't have these capabilities.
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Old November 20th, 2013, 06:25 PM   #9
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Re: What is your XDCAM Workflow for FCP X?

You turn audio skimming on in FCPX and you can hear it after import but not in the import window. You can see the waveform and play/hear the files in the import window if selecting a smaller portion of the file is important.

"Odd XDCAM files" as in receiving drives with XDCAM files that are divorced from the original file structure. It happens more often then not for me unfortunately. These I need the Sony XDCAM program to transcode. Anyway it's good to see that there is a FCPX plug-in from Sony now although the cameraman who has been recently sending me files switched over to Panasonic from Sony so I don't know when I'll need it.

What is the difference if you create a keyword set by selecting all the files you just imported and dragging them in then or setting it before? It's work you have to do at some point. The same with sub clips. I can take a clip and assign several keywords to different parts of the clip by selecting an in/out points and dragging it to the keyword collection. Or if dragging is too much work, I can assign key strokes to specific keyword collections. A doc I am working on now, I have keywords assigned to the interviews by name but also by topic for specific sound bites within the interviews. It's a better way of working to organize content for me, maybe not you but that's why there are different programs.

And... to correct a point I made earlier, you can't import directly in keyword collections at all in the most recent version. It worked before but would sometimes cause the program to do very minor strange things. Apparently Apple disabled that although they neglected to disable the import button coming up in an empty keyword collection.
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Old November 21st, 2013, 12:03 AM   #10
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Re: What is your XDCAM Workflow for FCP X?

@William - I do hear audio during skimming in the import window but do not see waveforms. Do I have to turn that on somewhere? Maybe that's a factor of my Canon XF import plugin.

@Les - it sounds like you're talking about multiple (sub clip) selections from a single clip on import. Just select the first range you want, then Command-drag to select as many more as you want, then click Import Selected. Apologies if I've misunderstood.

On general key wording - as William described so well - adding them later gives many more options and greater power but not everyone needs that. But it seems that the more complicated the project, the more useful it could be. And another way to avoid 2 passes is to just import everything and then keyword - you don't even have to wait for the copying and/or transcoding to finish. Depending on a project's usable footage to rejected footage ratio, this may take a lot more drive space though.*

But, to each his own. And as I said earlier, the impending update may change a lot of this.

*I do have an advantage in that my Canon XF100 clips are 50mps 4:2:2 mpeg-2 in a .mxf wrapper. FCPX considers these unnecessary to transcode, and in fact will NOT transcode them - the option is grayed out. These clips would triple in size in prores so that saves a lot of drive space. The very similar XDCAM may be handled the same way.
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Old November 21st, 2013, 07:36 AM   #11
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Re: What is your XDCAM Workflow for FCP X?

Thanks for explaining all this. My comment about skimming and audio was that skimming, to me, is little different than scrubbing. You may hear the audio wiz by or see the waveform but unless you play the clips all over again at normal speed, you can't cut up or keyword a talking head based on what they say. Processing the clips at import time is standard workflow and the FCP X tutorials recommend it and make the point that this is a way to get rid of stuff you just don't need.... reducing complexity and disk space requirements (lots of complaints about FCP X not handling complex projects).

Anyway, I don't mean to be critical but I want to understand how the workflow changes. In FCP 7, in a single pass through the clips, I log keywords in what ends up to be the file name, mark a sub clip as good, leave comments in the Note field, and mark as many subclips as I want. That goes into a queue and the import happens in the background. Audio can also be converted to dual mono. There's no transcode needed as XDCAM is recognized as a native format. After import, another pass is not needed and Import is the pass where I listen to the audio and maybe break up the clip into subclips. Subclips can also overlap. Looks like the attenuated import capability in FCP X means having to to go through the clips in two passes. IMHO, it's a step backwards and strong negative because duplicating a tedious process ... but I get it. I know there's additional capability in the editor but I can't think of any reason you couldn't keyword in the import as well as in the editor and surpass FCP 7 capability. Maybe one day Apple will beef up the Import back. It strikes me as dull and a naive view of workflow.

Importing everything sounds brute force. But just so I understand and am willing to waste all the storage space, once the files are imported, how do you actually get rid of unwanted pieces of a clip so they aren't in the bin?
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Old November 21st, 2013, 08:53 AM   #12
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Re: What is your XDCAM Workflow for FCP X?

<<Thanks for explaining all this. My comment about skimming and audio was that skimming, to me, is little different than scrubbing. You may hear the audio wiz by or see the waveform but unless you play the clips all over again at normal speed, you can't cut up or keyword a talking head based on what they say.>>

Well, I use a combination of skimming, regular playback, and single framing with arrow keys for selection, so I do feel like I can quickly cut up things as exacty as I need. But on import I usually just grab footage I think there is a chance I might use plus a bit extra for handles.

<<Processing the clips at import time is standard workflow and the FCP X tutorials recommend it and make the point that this is a way to get rid of stuff you just don't need.... reducing complexity and disk space requirements (lots of complaints about FCP X not handling complex projects).>>

Yes, I only import part of what I shoot also. I was just offering that as an alternative to two passes. I don't agree with the complex project complainants.

<<Anyway, I don't mean to be critical but I want to understand how the workflow changes. In FCP 7, in a single pass through the clips, I log keywords in what ends up to be the file name, mark a sub clip as good, leave comments in the Note field, and mark as many subclips as I want. That goes into a queue and the import happens in the background. Audio can also be converted to dual mono. There's no transcode needed as XDCAM is recognized as a native format. After import, another pass is not needed and Import is the pass where I listen to the audio and maybe break up the clip into subclips. Subclips can also overlap.>>

Well, I don't know what to say other than that X will not let you do it this way. You have to do all that after import. And I can't tell you if that's by omission or by design. I do so little in the import pass that I don't find it onerous at all. I also don't mean to be critical - you have every right to want to do a certain workflow. I will however say that not being able to keyword on import is a factor in X that I have never seen anyone mention before. I used 7 from 2003 to fall 2011 but never used this feature. Did it truly do the import in the background, as in, you could be editing in 7 during the import, or do you just mean as a batch unattended?

<<<...but I can't think of any reason you couldn't keyword in the import as well as in the editor and surpass FCP 7 capability. Maybe one day Apple will beef up the Import back. It strikes me as dull and a naive view of workflow.>>

I have no idea if the database based concept of X makes doing all this in the Import window impossible to add as a feature or not.

<<Importing everything sounds brute force. But just so I understand and am willing to waste all the storage space, once the files are imported, how do you actually get rid of unwanted pieces of a clip so they aren't in the bin?>>

It *is* brute force, despite drive space being so cheap now. Again, I don't do this, but was just brainstorming for ways to avoid 2 passes. However, you do have a point - once footage is in an Event, you can "reject" sections of clips, but it just hides them and doesn't delete them. That's a feature that I do wish they would add. Currently you can only delete entire clips, and of course only if they are not being used in a Project.

For example, I'm in the final stages of a family project - converting 45 old Hi8 tapes to DVD. Yep, hours and hours of boring school plays and soccer games with 6 year olds. The "clients" wanted every second of footage from every tape, so I had to import everything. Now to save space I'm wanting to delete about 95% of the footage and only keep the best moments for my family archive. So, the best way I could come up with is:

open hour long clip from the FCPX Event-->Original Media folder into QuickTime Pro 7
Cut the parts I don't want (thank goodness j,k,l,i,o, and Cmd-x work)
Save As from QT with different file name directly back to the Original Media folder
Finder-drag the new shorter clip to the Event name to make it show up in the FCPX Event
Delete entire original clip and empty trash (assuming any Project using this clip is already deleted)

Takes a while, but despite being only standard def, the files are prores and I'm deleting up to 10 GB per tape. To me that's worth my time. But frankly the time consuming part is deciding which footage to keep, and for me, that time is about the same whether done before import, after import, or after the project is finished.

Anyway, best of luck with your journey into FCPX - I do hope it works out to be your NLE of choice long term.
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Old November 21st, 2013, 03:51 PM   #13
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Re: What is your XDCAM Workflow for FCP X?

@David, thanks for the informative responses. Attached are the Log and Transfer window from FCP 7 I've used with XDCAM with it's powerful naming capability we have used effectively for manually keywording in FCP 7. In combination with the Set Logging Bin capability, the clips end up nicely keyworded and organized in one pass. I also included an example of a bin showing the manual keywording showing the color coding so you can find color coded at a glance, clicking, filtering or popups. The import happens in parallel with working on the next clip so at worst, you have to wait only for the last clip to import. I don't know how much of it was Sony's doing vs the standard FCP 7 plugin but I switched from HDV tape to digital media and Sony at the same time.

Right now, I'm reluctant to plow through the footage twice; that's hours sometimes. Thanks again.
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