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Old August 30th, 2009, 01:30 PM   #1
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Naf starting a stills-heavy project, need set-up suggestions

Im an avid editor (3 oscar winning docs) but total fcp naf. Im starting a new project in FC which will be a 30 min doc using many, many stills & also canon HV20 video footage (24 cine).

Whats BEST FCP SETUP for a final theatrical digital projection and some dvds along the way?

Also, how can I best prep stills (parameters) in photoshop and control their length bringing them into FCP (or is their length entirely a function of FCP?)

(Also #2, what are best tutorial videos in FC.)
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Old August 30th, 2009, 03:32 PM   #2
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For theatrical digital projection you should be quite safe with ProRes or ProResHQ unless you have a very, very robust system then 10-bit Uncompressed is the way to go.

FCP can do a decent amount of still manipulation but very sharp high-res stills with hard lines need to be blurred in Photoshop a little bit or you might get some harsh aliasing artifacts. Stills always work better in After Effects for me, you have much more control with pans, tilts and zooms in AE. And AE is excellent at down rezing high-res photos.
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Old August 30th, 2009, 05:47 PM   #3
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You can set the default still duration in user prefs.

Batch resize your pictures so they're bigger than your canvas (if you want to do movement) but no more than twice as big... FCP does weird things with huge pictures. Also, don't sharpen your pix before bringing them into FCP.

Here's a good tutorial on stills in FCP: Compression Session: How to Tame Those Flickering & Vibrating Still Photographs in FCP by PF Bentley - The Digital Journalist (February 2007)

If you don't put any movement on your stills, FCP is trouble-free and takes care of everything.

However, if you start setting keyframes and moving on stills, you'll eventually have problems.

If you're doing a lot of movement (ken burns style) you are better off using a plug-in whose name I can't remember but which allows much easier ease-ins and ramping.

Field dominance will mess you up if you're on an interlaced timeline and you try dissolves or movement over video... I still haven't solved that one but it can be cured by putting a small amount of motion blur on the photo.
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Old August 30th, 2009, 06:29 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Chuck Fadely View Post
you are better off using a plug-in whose name I can't remember but which allows much easier ease-ins and ramping.
Noise Industries' Pan and Zoom plugin. It's free.
Noise Industries - Pan and Zoom
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Old August 31st, 2009, 08:57 AM   #5
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Just remember that if you use one of those third-party plugins and go to an online house to finish, they're going to need it, too.

You set the stills length by adjusting the freeze frame length in your user prefs.
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Old August 31st, 2009, 10:31 AM   #6
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I would second the idea of building your sequence in 1080/23.98p ProRes (perhaps HQ is overkill, since your HV20 footage is only 8-bit to start with). Convert all your HV20 footage to ProRes before you begin editing.

The Final Cut Pro > User Prefrences > Editing > Still/Freeze duration only sets the default length that imported stills come in at. You can always change the duration later, in the Viewer or on the timeline. Reset to your own taste.

Be aware that .psd's always import into FCP as a Sequence, even if they are only one layer. Weird, I know, but this allows you to animate separate layers of a multi-layer Photoshop doc by default. This becomes a big pain, as you cannot follow the usual workflow of opening in the Viewer, then editing to the Sequence. I would use high-quality .png's instead.

Instead of using the (handy, but limited) NI filter on your stills, why not consider using Motion? You will not only have the ability to do any kind of P&S you want, but also to build in 2.5D when the need arises. Motion plays very nicely with ,psd's, doesn't have any of the rendering/still handling snafus that FCP has, and has an easy roundtrip workflow with FCP. Also, if your post house has FCP, they already have Motion, as well.
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Old August 31st, 2009, 02:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Anderson View Post
I would second the idea of building your sequence in 1080/23.98p ProRes (perhaps HQ is overkill, since your HV20 footage is only 8-bit to start with). Convert all your HV20 footage to ProRes before you begin editing.

The Final Cut Pro > User Prefrences > Editing > Still/Freeze duration only sets the default length that imported stills come in at. You can always change the duration later, in the Viewer or on the timeline. Reset to your own taste.

Be aware that .psd's always import into FCP as a Sequence, even if they are only one layer. Weird, I know, but this allows you to animate separate layers of a multi-layer Photoshop doc by default. This becomes a big pain, as you cannot follow the usual workflow of opening in the Viewer, then editing to the Sequence. I would use high-quality .png's instead.

Instead of using the (handy, but limited) NI filter on your stills, why not consider using Motion? You will not only have the ability to do any kind of P&S you want, but also to build in 2.5D when the need arises. Motion plays very nicely with ,psd's, doesn't have any of the rendering/still handling snafus that FCP has, and has an easy roundtrip workflow with FCP. Also, if your post house has FCP, they already have Motion, as well.
Well if you click on the PSD and then hit return/enter instead of double clicking it,
it will open in the Viewer and you can edit to the Sequence....unless I am
misunderstanding what you are saying, which is very possible. :-)

The biggest reason to use the NI filter instead of motion, is I think, TIME. I know
an editor putting together a doc using a bunch of still photos...hundreds of them.
Going into motion to animate each one is a pain. Using the NI plug in is much
faster in this case.
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Old August 31st, 2009, 03:10 PM   #8
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Scott,

PSD files will import as a sequence if your original PS file has layers. Once imported into FC you can then animate the individual layers of that PS file from with in FC. I've been doing some titling like this.

But if you have a single "flattened" PS or TIFF image file, it will not import as a sequence, just a file when brought into the timeline that will be the length that you set up in the preferences as described above. I think the default is 10 seconds.

This is how it's been working for me. Unless I'm missing something.....
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Old August 31st, 2009, 04:02 PM   #9
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Thanks for the corrections, guys. Yes, single layer .psd's act just like other stills, and you can drag even multi-layer .psd's into the viewer, and work with it just like any other clip.

Posting before thinking...
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Old September 1st, 2009, 10:00 AM   #10
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Thanks all!

A pleasure to have such expertise offered so quickly. Setting up as you all suggest, thanks for mentioning NOISE plug-in. I simultaneously have to learn much more of FCP and Motion, so please expect many more questions down the road. Thanks again. MG
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