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Old September 12th, 2006, 09:37 AM   #1
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Officially Made the Switch: Many Questions Follow

Well my switch from the PC platform to the Mac is officially complete. I finished up the last wedding I was working on so I moved all my PC stuff off the desk and moved the Mac Pro, Cinema Display, etc in it's place.

I'll be starting my next wedding edit this week entirely on the Mac system with FCP Studio. I've been training like a mad man for the last 2 months but I'm well aware there is a difference between taught knowledge and "applied" knowledge (aka experience). Here's hoping for a snag-free edit.




Anyway this official "transition" so to speak brings up a bunch of new questions. I'll do my best to organize my thoughts/questions:


1) FTP software; I've been using CUTE FTP for the PC for the last few years. I love it's straight-forward easy to use interface. I don't believe CUTE is available for the Mac so what is the best alternative(s).

Does OSX has built-in FTP support and if so is it enough for basic uploading and managing server content?



2) Graphic Editing/Processing/Sorting software; Several times a month I'm required to sort through thousands of high res. still images and calalog them into bins of keepers and trash. I've found ACDSee Pro to be the most intuitive and powerfull program to handle this sort of organizing. I know Photoshop CS and a host of other programs can thrumbnail images but they all seem to have a great deal of overhead and run terribly slow. Not only is ACDSee fast, it has the ability to view each image FULL Screen and use the scroll wheel on the mouse to advance to the next image. There is a keystroke you hit on the keyboard to "tag" the image then I can simply go back to my "tagged" bin and move the selected images to a remote folder to be designated as the "keepers".

Can Aperature function like this? I know it has a rating system with stars, but does it have a quick and easy way to scroll through images and tag them as keepers with a quick keystroke? On a somewhat unrelated note I was messing around with Aperature last night and it doesn't seem to have a zoom tool, to zoom past 100 percent. I know it has a magnifying tool, but no way to zoom the image beyond 100 percent as a whole?

Lastly I need Photoshop CS2 as well but have been holding out on buying it till they release a universal binary version. Any idea of when that will be available?



3) NTFS compatability; I connected an external drive to my Mac last night. Beings it was formated NTFS for use on my PC I only expected to be able to read the data, not actually drag the files to the Mac Pro. To my delight I was indeed able to drag the files over without a hitch. Oddly, I don't remember being able to do this with an NTFS formatted partition on my Mac Book Pro when I was dual booting it with Boot Camp.
What's the verdict on this? Why didn't it work before but now works fine? (Not that I'm complaining)



4) Vegas DV-AVI Compatability on FCP Timeline; I used the method described in #3 to move some DV-AVI files off my external drive on to my Mac Pro. I've done this in the past and was able to simply drop them directly into a FCP timeline without a hitch. Last night I was able to do so but it threw a warning message that read something like "Media Performance Warning- files are not optimized for FCP so it is suggested you recapture or use media manager to create copies". It also mentioned something about decrease in performance for multiple streams. Odd...I never got that warning the first time I tried it on my Mac Book Pro. Now the Mac Pro desktop seems to be complaining a bit. Well I pressed on anyway and dropped those files on the timeline and they indeed gave me the dark grey bars (ie "Compatable"). I did a little bit of cutting and it seemed fine.

I'm getting ready to start an ENTIRE wedding edit using these Vegas captured AVI files- will this become a problem in the future? Any idea why FCP on the Mac Pro desktop threw this warning message and my Mac Book Pro laptop didn't?



5) Motion Tab in FCP; I was experimenting with animating photographs in FCP (simple Ken Burns style). I noticed that if I use the "Show Wireframe" option the biggest difference between doing it in Vegas with Pan/Crop and doing it in FCP with Motion is the fact that FCP's Motion tab doesn't automatically give you the initial keyframe.

For example in Vegas's Pan/Crop you simply move your playhead to the end (for example) and drag the bounding box to create a zoom, and poof your done. I tried that in FCP only to realize I zoomed the clip- but for the ENTIRE length (ie it had no starting keyframe). So if I'm understanding this correctly- you had to add an initial keyframe to whatever attribute your going to animate. In other words if I'm going to do a zoom and a slight twist I have to add initial keyframes to "scale" and "rotation"...is this correct?

Another difference I noticed was Vegas tends to try and conform the file when dropped in the timeline. In other words if it's a half res WMV or MPG1 it'll scale it automatically to fit the timeline's resolution. I dropped an iPod res MPG4 on a DV-NTSC timeline in FCP and it displayed as a tiny little video floating in a larger black frame. Understandable beings it's not matching the res of the sequence preset. However what's the best way to get it to fit the screen? Simply use the "Scale" dialog under the Motion tab?



6) Workflow For Keeping Projects on External Drives; I'd like to keep the majority of my FCP projects tucked neatly on their own external hard drives. This enables me to take the project with me on the road if necessary to continue the project on my Mac Book Pro.
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Old September 12th, 2006, 10:10 AM   #2
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FTP;
check out transmit by panic I've never used it but Leo Laporte from MacBreak gave it good reviews
http://www.panic.com/transmit/

Graphic Editing/Processing/Sorting software;
Mess around with iPhoto it may do what you want or it may not I only use it for storing my personal photos, but you can zoom in (I'm not sure if you can go more that 100%) and apply keywords and sort groups into different albums. With Photoshop I'm not sure about when they plan to release a universal version, if you have it for windows you could use it with boot-camp and wait to get the Mac version, but I'm using it on an iMac and I don't really notice any major performance issues.

NTFS compatability;
The Mac OS can read only an NTFS not write so you can't add any new files from the Mac Pro to that drive. The Mac can read and write to FAT32 if you need compatability with windows.

Vegas DV-AVI Compatability on FCP Timeline;
You should be all good to edit with these clips if they don't need rendering now they won't need rendering later you could try adding the same effects to one of these clips and one captured in FCP to see if there is any difference in realtime playback, but otherwise you are safe to ignore that warning.

Motion Tab in FCP;
You are correct you need to set the initial keyframf for each parametre you want to animate and then move the play-head to where you want the animation to end. You can set the parametres in the motion tab by typeing in the values or by turning on wireframe and moving them around in the canvas.

To uprez a small file the wireframe is your best bet is to download MPEG Streamclip which is useful for pulling video off DVD's and stuff like that but it can open a lot of video files and export them to your editing codec (DV, HDV etc.) that way when you import it into Final Cut it won't need any resizing or rendering. Of course if you're pressed for time and you just need it quick resizing in the motion tab works fine too.

Workflow For Keeping Projects on External Drives;
To do this when you hook up your drive open up Disk Utility which is located in your Applications-Utilities folder. Select your new external drive and go to the erase tab. Give your drive a name and format it with OS Extended Journalin OFF. Journaling basically helps your Mac get back to where it left off after a crash but for media drives you want that off because it can slow down performance. Then on each of these drives create a folder called "Final Cut Pro Documents" and then inside of Final Cut set your drive as the scratch disk each time you want to work with a different drive. Final Cut will then see your Documents folder and place everything correctly in there.

Hope that helps and welcom to the cool (nearly) crash free side of editing!

BTW check out mac.softpedia.com for a bunch of freeware and shareware and subscribe to Larry Jordan's free FCP newsletter and check out his site its got a lot of great resources.
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Last edited by Nate Schmidt; September 12th, 2006 at 01:54 PM.
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Old September 12th, 2006, 11:36 AM   #3
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Nate, thanks for the prompt and comprehensive response. There was one question I forgot to ask. I have two HDs in my Mac Pro. Anytime I install a program the secondary drive has a red exclamation mark on it with a message stating "Software must be installed on a system drive". I thought this was only the FCP Studio Suite but I installed Aperature, Toast, Flip4Mac, etc last night and each and every program gave me the same warning. On a somewhat related note under disc manager the secondary disc is listed first- is that normal? Shouldn't the system drive be the first in the chain or does it matter? I DID reinstall the OS fresh when I got it- in order to opt out of installing the heaps of printer drivers, language files, and unwanted iLife software. Maybe something relating to this messed it up....just thinking out loud.



1) Yes, I DO remember seeing the Video PodCast featuring Transmit. Thanks for the heads up. How do I access OSX's built-in FTP interface?

2) I've stayed away from iPhoto because I've been told when you "import" images it actually makes duplicate copies of them on your HD rather thanthe program simply pointing to them in their original position.

I'm not sure if Aperature works in this way but to me that's an awefully inefficient way for a program to work- especially when your dealing with thousands of 12 megapixel images.

I'll have to read up on some of my litterature on Aperature. It's all so overwhealming. I've been focusing all my time on learning FCP first and foremost.

I'll probably end up picking up CS2 beings I'll be able to get the special upgrade pricing when the UB version comes out.

3) I guess copying a file from an NTFS to a Mac formatted drive doesn't tie into not being able to "write" to the disc beings it's really reading (ie copying) the data. For some reason I remember NOT being able to do that before on my Boot Camp partition- though I'm sure I'm mistaken.

4) Yeah I'll have to test it with a bonified FCP Catpured .mov file to see if there is any difference once the effects are piled on. I'm sure the native .mov file will hold up longer but if the DV-AVIs don't cause any performance issues during the edit I suppose I'll be fine.

5) One thing I forgot to ask was how do I add keyframe to more than one attribute at a time. I distinctly remember being able to add a keyframe all the way across the board vertically with a single click...but have since forgot how I did it.

6) So what your saying is each time I connect a different drive I have to go into "System Preferences" and change the default scratch/render/etc discs back to the externals again?
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Old September 12th, 2006, 01:53 PM   #4
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1) I've never actually done any FTP so I'm clueless as far as that is concerned ;)
2) You're right iPhoto copies the photos and places them in its own directory, not sure if Aperture does that
3) To add a keyframe to an individual parametre just double click your clip to load it into the viewer, go to the motion tab and click the little diamond icon next to the parametre you want to animate.
4) Sorry I said that wrong, you only have to change the scratch disk setting when you capture any new footage from tape once you've done that FCP will remember where the footage is stored.
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Old September 12th, 2006, 06:35 PM   #5
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For FTP, try Cyberduck, a stangely-named free ftp program which I use constantly.

For image browsing, Photo Mechanic by Camera Bits is the photo industry standard on the Mac. Very fast and extraordinarily powerful keyword and iptc captions.



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Old September 12th, 2006, 06:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen Elliott
Nate, thanks for the prompt and comprehensive response. There was one question I forgot to ask. I have two HDs in my Mac Pro. Anytime I install a program the secondary drive has a red exclamation mark on it with a message stating "Software must be installed on a system drive". I thought this was only the FCP Studio Suite but I installed Aperature, Toast, Flip4Mac, etc last night and each and every program gave me the same warning. On a somewhat related note under disc manager the secondary disc is listed first- is that normal? Shouldn't the system drive be the first in the chain or does it matter? I DID reinstall the OS fresh when I got it- in order to opt out of installing the heaps of printer drivers, language files, and unwanted iLife software. Maybe something relating to this messed it up....just thinking out loud.
Certain programs need to install specific software on the system drive. You can experiment with moving the application from the application folder to the second drive and see if it works. Some of the programs you mentioned are system specific extensions (Flip4Mac) that must be installed on the boot drive. You should have enough room on the boot drive that you can leave the programs there.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen Elliott
1) Yes, I DO remember seeing the Video PodCast featuring Transmit. Thanks for the heads up. How do I access OSX's built-in FTP interface?
Transmit is a very good program and the demo will let you do all your ftp work for a limited time. OS X's FTP interface is in the "Go" pull down menu under "Go to Server". It's a limited option, works for downloading but you'll get a message to purchase a third party program to upload anything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen Elliott
2) I've stayed away from iPhoto because I've been told when you "import" images it actually makes duplicate copies of them on your HD rather thanthe program simply pointing to them in their original position.

I'm not sure if Aperature works in this way but to me that's an awefully inefficient way for a program to work- especially when your dealing with thousands of 12 megapixel images.

I'll have to read up on some of my litterature on Aperature. It's all so overwhealming. I've been focusing all my time on learning FCP first and foremost.

I'll probably end up picking up CS2 beings I'll be able to get the special upgrade pricing when the UB version comes out.
iPhoto is not designed for what you want to do. There are several programs that are, the browser in CS2 comes to mind for "lightbox" work. A great shareware program is "PhotoReviewer". It doesn't have a lightbox function but it's an excellent slide show viewer with the ability to copy or move or delete images.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen Elliott
3) I guess copying a file from an NTFS to a Mac formatted drive doesn't tie into not being able to "write" to the disc beings it's really reading (ie copying) the data. For some reason I remember NOT being able to do that before on my Boot Camp partition- though I'm sure I'm mistaken.
Try a flash USB2 drive for easy file transfers. You can find 2gb for $35 these days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen Elliott
4) Yeah I'll have to test it with a bonified FCP Catpured .mov file to see if there is any difference once the effects are piled on. I'm sure the native .mov file will hold up longer but if the DV-AVIs don't cause any performance issues during the edit I suppose I'll be fine.
If you are going to be using certain AVI files often consider rendering them to QuickTime. It'll be easier in the long run.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen Elliott
6) So what your saying is each time I connect a different drive I have to go into "System Preferences" and change the default scratch/render/etc discs back to the externals again?
Yes if you intend to do any new capturing. Otherwise FCP remembers the file path.

You can do the initial capture on your internal hard drives and then manually or using Media Manager in FCP, copy the project (and all media files) onto the external drive. Once that is completed successfully you can erase the media files from the internal drive and launch the project from the external. Reconnect the files (which should be about four steps) and edit from the external drive from there on. I don't work this way but I have friends who do and are very happy.
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Old September 13th, 2006, 12:24 PM   #7
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FTP - OS X has a command line (Terminal in OS X terminology). THat is the only way I know of to access FTP in a standard OS X INstallation. I use Interarchy.

FOr Photo browsing, you may want to Try Graphic COnverter which should be in your applications folder (an OEM version)
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Old September 14th, 2006, 10:54 AM   #8
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Glen, if you don't mind me calling you out, it's nice to see you here from the Sony Vegas board. I've enjoyed the stuff you've cut on Vegas and posted online--some of the best work I've seen in your field (serious). Anyway, it's nice that you are here because I'm currently "cheating" on Vegas (which I love) by lurking around on these FCS boards and I'd be very curious to get your feed back as a Vegas user. My hand might be getting called for a client in the very near future that will require me to switch to FCS.

The things I love about Vegas: open free-form timelines, ability to zip around with nice shortcuts, auto clip dissolves, being able to solo tracks, render to new tracks, and the fact that it started life as an audio app and has a different feel than FCP/Avid/Premiere are the very things that scare me about FCS because FCS seems *rigid* to me.

How has it been so far, editing wise, compared to Vegas? No offense to FCS, but I've always felt Avid's and FCP's timelines are kind of old-school (video on top, audio on bottom) and not, for me personally, the way I like to work. With that said, there are soooo many advantages with Final Cut Studio that's hard to not make the switch.

Thanks in advance.

Jeff
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Old September 14th, 2006, 01:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Krepner
Glen, if you don't mind me calling you out, it's nice to see you here from the Sony Vegas board. I've enjoyed the stuff you've cut on Vegas and posted online--some of the best work I've seen in your field (serious). Anyway, it's nice that you are here because I'm currently "cheating" on Vegas (which I love) by lurking around on these FCS boards and I'd be very curious to get your feed back as a Vegas user. My hand might be getting called for a client in the very near future that will require me to switch to FCS.

The things I love about Vegas: open free-form timelines, ability to zip around with nice shortcuts, auto clip dissolves, being able to solo tracks, render to new tracks, and the fact that it started life as an audio app and has a different feel than FCP/Avid/Premiere are the very things that scare me about FCS because FCS seems *rigid* to me.

How has it been so far, editing wise, compared to Vegas? No offense to FCS, but I've always felt Avid's and FCP's timelines are kind of old-school (video on top, audio on bottom) and not, for me personally, the way I like to work. With that said, there are soooo many advantages with Final Cut Studio that's hard to not make the switch.

Thanks in advance.

Jeff
Oh man, where do I start. It's a mixed bag- Vegas does some things better and FCP others. No doubt the audio processing ability of Vegas is LIGHT YEARS ahead of FCP but FCP doesn't "try" to be an audio app. That's what Soundtrack Pro is for. Speaking of which that program is incredible- I'd have to say I favor it over Forge.

Overall in a fight to the death it end in a complete draw. The factor that tips the scale in FC's favor is the fact that it's part of a whole SUITE of programs. Final Cut Studio is an incredible tool when all the software included is considered.

I can write a more detailed breakdown of what I like better on Vegas and what I like better on FCP but I warn you it could be very VERY long.
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Old September 14th, 2006, 02:00 PM   #10
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The suite aspect is what I like about FCS as well--I want tighter integration with other stand alone apps that specialize in doing one thing and doing it well. Vegas is a jack of all trades... king of, well... you know.

Thanks for the feedback. Is it true that you have to render dissimilar files before previewing? Do those renders "stick" with the clips or do they lose their rendered status? Did it take you awhile to get acclimated to the interface? Will this hurt me, mentally and physically, to wrap my head around the UI?

I need to spend more time in front of this program, obviously.

-Jeff
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Old September 14th, 2006, 09:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Krepner
The suite aspect is what I like about FCS as well--I want tighter integration with other stand alone apps that specialize in doing one thing and doing it well. Vegas is a jack of all trades... king of, well... you know.

Thanks for the feedback. Is it true that you have to render dissimilar files before previewing? Do those renders "stick" with the clips or do they lose their rendered status? Did it take you awhile to get acclimated to the interface? Will this hurt me, mentally and physically, to wrap my head around the UI?

I need to spend more time in front of this program, obviously.

-Jeff
Yes FCP is not as lenient in regards to file formats and/or mixed timelines. However when you render something you don't lose it if you nudge it a single pixel to the left or right. It is smart enough to hold the link until something happens that INDEED requires re-rendering (ie adding filters, compositing clips on a higher track above it, etc). Even if you composite a clip above it and it doesn't totaly obscure the pre-rendered clip on the timeline- it will only show a render bar for the portion that the clip on top is overlapping the rendered clip below. In other words it's fairly inteligent unlike Vegas where you lose the ENTIRE render file if you so much as breathe on it too hard.
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Old September 14th, 2006, 09:12 PM   #12
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FTP - OS X has a command line (Terminal in OS X terminology). THat is the only way I know of to access FTP in a standard OS X INstallation.
True. Remember that underneath the slick user interface, the Mac is just a BSD unix box. If you're comfortable in the unix shell then just fire up the terminal application and you'll be right at home. As an old-fashioned unix hacker, this is one of the things I love about MacOSX. I just use the traditional command line version of ftp, but it's not for everyone. Heh, I also use the vi editor to build websites, and I use Pine for my e-mail :-)
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Old September 14th, 2006, 10:11 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen Elliott
Yes FCP is not as lenient in regards to file formats and/or mixed timelines. However when you render something you don't lose it if you nudge it a single pixel to the left or right. It is smart enough to hold the link until something happens that INDEED requires re-rendering (ie adding filters, compositing clips on a higher track above it, etc). Even if you composite a clip above it and it doesn't totaly obscure the pre-rendered clip on the timeline- it will only show a render bar for the portion that the clip on top is overlapping the rendered clip below. In other words it's fairly inteligent unlike Vegas where you lose the ENTIRE render file if you so much as breathe on it too hard.
I am curious why some programs are lenient about file formats and others are not. I am also curious why FCP can track rendered files and other programs can not. FCP couldn't do that in the earliest versions. You would think that the competing companies would see these useful capabilities and jump to programming it in. What is preventing these improvements? Apple surely knows that we are entering into a file format Tower of Bable era and that the solution is to open up the timeline in regards to file formats. That would be a good use of the quad processor Mac Pro as apparently Final Cut barely puts a dent into a dual-core Mac. And the Vegas programmers must know that re-rendering entire files is very old school.
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Old September 14th, 2006, 11:04 PM   #14
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Glen,

Download a demo copy of iDive. It's a great media cataloging application. The first one I have found that will correctly read the anamorphic flag in DV and correctly format the aspect ratio of a frame grab.

I use Yummy FTP but as you can see, everyone has their favorites.

Also, I highly recommend you install iLife '06. It's not a waste of disk space. Garage Band 3 does some really cool stuff! You are right about iPhoto making a dupe of your original files when you import them. I think the expectation was that folks would be doing most imports to iPhoto from their camera's flash memory card so they make a copy that stays on the system drive.

You'll continue to discover nifty little things about OSX as I have been doing for the past year and a half. ;-)

-gb-
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Old May 21st, 2007, 05:30 PM   #15
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Okay, now that some time has passed, was it worth it to make the switch?
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