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Motion as an online finishing tool

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Alan Okey
Motion as an online finishing tool
on Dec 18, 2008 at 11:18:15 pm

I do most of my compositing work in Combustion, which is a great app, but like After Effects, it relies on RAM cache playback and doesn't make nearly as much use of the GPU as Motion. I've used Motion for creating single shots quickly, but I've never really gotten too far into its capabilities.

I recently completed a short project for a marketing company that involved lots of moving, layered stills of samples of their print work. Final Cut totally chokes on this kind of workflow, especially if you're using larger images (1K or bigger), which is necessary if you need to zoom in to an image with reasonable quality. The motion tab in the FCP viewer is a blunt instrument for doing any kind of subtle movement - smooth scaling, ease in/out behavior, etc. For rough previews FCP was fine, but when I went to render anything it seemed to take forever. It's just not optimized for manipulating large stills efficiently.

My system is an early 2007 Mac Pro, 2x2.66 dual core CPUs, 2GB RAM, 4-drive 2TB SATA RAID 0, ATI X1900 XT GPU. Motion seems to run great on it, and I'm wondering if it would be possible to export an entire timeline from FCP into Motion for realtime finishing.

The producer I was working with wanted to see realtime playback of high-quality rendered graphics while hearing the audio track, and didn't want to wait 10 minutes for a render after every change. Since I don't own a Smoke, I was wondering if Motion could handle the task. That is, can Motion play back an imported FCP sequence with audio in realtime, or can it only handle individual shots with no audio?




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Ben Heusner
Re: Motion as an online finishing tool
on Dec 19, 2008 at 6:27:11 am

Hi,

The short answer is "yes". With the strong understanding that depending on your source footage and the effects you use that your realtime performance is not guaranteed.

A few workflow tips: Try to work with the smallest stills you can. That's to say, if you're working in SD and not zooming in much past 100% then you don't need to be working with 4K files. Scale them in Photoshop prior to bringing them into Motion.

Work with smaller sections, then piece them together later. It also helps to identify any section where the render starts to choke. Which leads me to...

Render out from Motion. Don't be tempted to render in FCP. Especially with large stills, rendering Motion projects in FCP seems to be a little tempremental. I've experienced frequent crashes, badly rendered frames and a host of nastiness. Render out from Motion and import back to FCP seems to be more solid.

That should get you started.

All the best,
Ben

Curious Turtle Professional Video
Training | Editing |Support

http://www.curiousturtle.com


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Alan Okey
Re: Motion as an online finishing tool
on Dec 19, 2008 at 7:10:20 am

Thanks for the tips. I'm already on board with optimizing stills before import, but it's good to know about rendering workflow.

I imported the sequence of the project I finished in FCP and checked it out in Motion. It was, frankly, a mess. I suspect that Motion doesn't like nested sequences. The project was huge, and in some cases the keyframes for certain motion parameters were totally out of whack. For example, one group that occurs about a minute into the piece had its motion keyframes right at the beginning. Crossfades didn't survive the translation, as there were no opacity keyframes. Also, in some places a clip or still was split over two different groups, seemingly arbitrarily.

I'm guessing that it would be much better to start a project in Motion by importing the finished audio track and then building everything on top of it within the application rather than trying to import FCP sequences.




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Ben Heusner
Re: Motion as an online finishing tool
on Dec 19, 2008 at 11:02:26 am

[Alan Okey] "I'm guessing that it would be much better to start a project in Motion by importing the finished audio track and then building everything on top of it within the application rather than trying to import FCP sequences."

That's definitely what I'd do. You can get yourself in the weeds too quickly when you start factoring in transitions and nested sequences. As you've found out :o)

Cheers,
Ben

Curious Turtle Professional Video
Training | Editing |Support

http://www.curiousturtle.com


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