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

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Old July 1st, 2011, 08:38 AM   #1
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One Hour of Intimate Time with FCPX

So last night i bought and downloaded FCP X on my MACBook Pro Core Duo 13 inch with 4Gb of ram.

After an hour of taking some JVC HM100 Quicktime XDCAM 35 m/bs clips, a couple of shots shot on blue screen, also in the same format, and editing as if on a small commercial here are questions/concerns that have nothing to do with professional vs. non professional , but how can i edit with this.

I plan on spending most of the 4th really running through it's paces and i will be coming back and asking some questions. Also I have listened to 2 webinars and some Larry Jordan preview clips in order to get up to speed fast. Again, after looking at here at work, we have some to the conclusion that it won't work for our needs because the Event windows limitations for previewing footage is limited to only one window. We have projects that have hours of footage and typically have at least 7 to 15 bins open in Avid.

But, I'm looking at using for a small family project about my dad (a little documentary for the family) and small projects for my church. But here are my questions:

1. How go you fade from black on a key: I used the chroma key effect with a steel background and the blue screen. It keyed pretty good right off the bat (but it doesn't have near as many controls as I'm used to in Specta matte in Avid. But seems to key better overall than FCP7. I tried using the multi layer approah and the background didn't show up, I then nested the backgfround on toop of the key and it worked. However, when i added a cross fade to fade from black the background disappeared during the fade.

2. On an audio clip (music) how do you get rid of the waveform clip in the event browser, I know it is audio. I don't need the big waveform. I tried turning waveform off and the skimmer but no avial. What am i doing wrong here?

3. Also, when I turn off the skimmer, it doesn't come back when i toggle it on. This happened consistently.

4. Does the precision editor play and trim dynamically with ability to hear audio? It difficult to be precise with the basic storyline trimmer so when I double clicked on the transition the precision editor expands (cool) so i can see incoming and outgoing, but I coildn't hear audio. it seems it is an extension of skimming which isn't precise. And skimming stopped working, so am do i have something turned off??

5. Is there anyway to mix down multiple audio tracks into a single stereo track? This woulkd be really useful at least to keep the storyline from getting too cluttered. Do I create a coumpund clip??

From this point on I'm not going to compare FCPX with Avid. But, rather see if an old dog can learn new tricks.

Let me know if you guys have answers, David
David Parks: DP/Editor: Jacobs Aerospace at NASA Johnson Space Center
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Old July 5th, 2011, 10:13 AM   #2
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Re: One Hour of Intimate Time with FCPX

After spending the weekend on and off eidting with FCPX. FWIW, not that my opinion matters, but here's my issues with FCPX along with a few things I like.

1. Trimming: There isn't a trim mode "set' (a seperate operational window) that allows true dynamic trimming. The timeline trimming is useable but it took a lot of back and forth until the trim was what I wanted. For example. I want to edit out a single word, and it took 10 tries. Not because I didn't understand the trim function itself, because I couldn't hear the audio. Just a lot of clicking and dragging.
This is bread butter stuff for my demands as an editor. Just doesn't provide allow for precise trimming,

2. Revising a title already in the timeline. Already a big hurdle in FCP and something that is a piece of cake in Avid, Premiere and Vegas. You can search for a title and do a replace but not (that I can tell edit the title and keep the previous version.

3. Organization of content is different. I do like how i can edit a project from footage from other events so it is pretty flexible. However, the twirling down and "almost windows explorer approach to file/event on the far left of the interface,,,it's management is a throw back to what we hated about the old windows explorer. This is very ironic to me. The skimming is okay and pretty fast.

4. Background rendering is good, but I haven't figured out whether it is good or bad too optimize media. Performance was very good but when I finshed editing, I checked the renderer and it was still optimizing. So, i left the project, came back and it wasn't rendering. So was it done?? Or did I only partially create a bunch of unuseable files in Prores?

5. The interface. The interface is always important, but I try not to let it be the end all to how I edit. While there seems to be too much clicking around (need to learn keyboard shortcuts) I thought the interface fit nicely on a single notebook screen. However, it would be nice if they had taken a more "bin" approach to layout of footage, In FCP X I can only see at most 8 clips at a time when Avid and Premiere I can have a seperate monitor with multiple bins open allowing me to display hundreds within my eyeline. It just makes for much faster editing.

6. Effects: Somewhat of an improvement over FCP but the Inspector window has large text guides and I found myself having to scroll down a lot lot looking for parameters. Keyframing was easy. Chroma keying is better.

7. Color Correction: I don't like the color board as much as three seperate windows. But I can see where a first time editor would like it. I just have to get used ot it. But there needs to be window for a reference frame comparisons.

8. Which brings me to my one huge beef. The analysis of footage for color balance. I tried using this feature and not once did the footage look good. In fact, it seemed to look worse. I even took good footage and FCPX made it look green and very washed out. I have no idea what standard Apple used for this.

Overall, it is what it is. A program for a market that is not me. I'm thinking about getting my money back because I have Avid and it has always been fast and flexible for me. I then again I might keep it for personal projects and demos.

FWIW, Cheers
David Parks: DP/Editor: Jacobs Aerospace at NASA Johnson Space Center
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