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Working on first documentary, need advice getting started on editing -- re: FCPX, organization

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Thomas Haffey
Working on first documentary, need advice getting started on editing -- re: FCPX, organization
on Aug 19, 2014 at 12:12:34 am

Hi there, brand new to the forum. Been doing DSLR photography for a while now, but have recently been expanding into video also. I'm looking for advice on moving into the editing side of things now. First a bit of back story, and I apologize for the length.

Had a last minute opportunity come up, so I've spent the last week on the ground filming a small town bike rally primarily on 5Diii with 7D pickups. External audio was run through a Tascam DR-40 (so stereo ambient sound there mostly) along with an AT875 shotgun. I logged right at 110 on-camera interviews and a ton of good looking footage of the bikes, vendors, events, etc. Around 2,000 files of 350 GB of audio and video saved on the hard drive ready to play with. I have done no conversions or work on any of files yet, just straight copy overs from the cards.

I am basically sold on FCPX over Premier based on cost primarily. I've done a bit of reading about the vs. between them, and I feel like FCPX will be the way to go for me. I am looking to purchase a new iMac and FCPX soon for this project, but I have not yet done it, so I don't currently have FCPX to explore.

In the past, I have used Movie Maker and iMovie for some basic fun video projects, so editing isn't entirely foreign, but I've never done anything nearly this extensive, nor had external audio to sync. I did not do myself any favors as I was not using a clapboard or setting sync points very often, so I know there is going to be a lot of trudging through the files trying to understand what I am listening to. I would also like to be able to catalog, sort, tag my audio and video files so I have some way of searching for detail bike shots, interviews, concert footage, etc. Does FCPX provide some sort of way of doing this natively, or should I seek out some other app or program? Push comes to shove, I know I could manually load it all into Excel, but that would be a major time suck.

Basically, I am looking for some advice on getting started on the editing journey, best practices, FCPX issues to prepare for, etc. Any and all help is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Thomas


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Steve Crow
Re: Working on first documentary, need advice getting started on editing -- re: FCPX, organization
on Aug 19, 2014 at 4:10:04 am
Last Edited By Steve Crow on Aug 19, 2014 at 4:43:13 am

One of the strongest benefits of FCP X is the meta tagging functionality including such things as roles. I'd suggest you really dig deep into the meta tagging capabilities of FCP X. For instance, you can assign multiple keywords to a single clip and can even assign ranges to show what part of the clip the keyword applies to. Naturally you can favorite clips to allow you to quickly identify which takes are the ones you want to use.

Naming and labeling each clip with the camera (Camera A or B if you are using two cameras), the angle (wide, closeup, extreme closeup) and the location or subject is a best practice I'm told is the way to go but not something I've yet disciplined myself to do.

Learn about creating "Auditions" and making multi-cam clips too.

One tip: make sure your preferences are set to use folder names as keyword collections since you said you already spent some time organizing your clips at the finder level.

Another great tool you might check out is called LumberJack

http://lumberjacksystem.com/

which is designed as a tagging tool supplement to FCPX. While it is designed to be used on set to tag clips as you record them, you can also use Lumberjack to tag video files with meta information that you've already captured - they are very easy to import into FCP X.

This discussion of FCP X talks a fair amount about roles and tagging - well worth the look through:







Steve Crow


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Thomas Haffey
Re: Working on first documentary, need advice getting started on editing -- re: FCPX, organization
on Aug 19, 2014 at 2:12:58 pm

I appreciate it, Steve! I'll definitely run through the video when I have the time to devote. I'm glad to hear that FCPX may be able to handle all the organization I'm going to be needing. I may have misspoke, but no they are only currently sorted at all by day of filming, no other meta or tagging yet. I'm assuming the same tagging system can apply to audio files also?

Another question: I've seen conflicting reports about whether I need to transcode the .mov's before using FCPX? As I said, they are currently sitting as straight copy overs from the CF cards, so if there's something I need to do before getting FCPX, I could be working on that now. Or I have seen that in the input dialog of FCPX that it may have options. Just looking for best practices and efficiency. Thanks.


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Steve Crow
Re: Working on first documentary, need advice getting started on editing -- re: FCPX, organization
on Aug 19, 2014 at 3:40:32 pm

Thomas - you can transcode automatically upon import (in the background) or any time afterwards. Some people don't bother ever transcoding their H.264 encoded files and find FCP X can edit them just fine in their native formats but others find that the transcoding into ProRes really speeds up the editing process - I guess it depends on how beefy your Mac is and what you personally can live with in terms of response times.

FCPX can also create Proxy files on import or whenever which are lower resolution versions of your media to edit with - great for working with older Macs.

There's also a neat thing were you basically create a digital copy of the CF card within FCPX itself and then FCPX protects that digital version of your card so that nothing can ever change the contents of it - but you can still read the files into your editing system. I forget what they call that. Personally I always hang on to the original, physical, cards until the project is done and I am always a bit nervous to format and re-use them even though I manually make copies of the entire card structure and back those up to two drives.

Definitely start thinking about your backup strategy.

Steve Crow


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