FCP X and Digital Broadcast
Hi all! After years of stalking the cow, i've decided to sign up and pose a question that I need to be answered.
I've taken a month to fully absorb, read up and even toyed around with FCP X. After all that, I can only conclude that a professional broadcast editor is as professional if he is able to work with what he has.
I admit that the key features not included in FCP X really shouts, "I am not full on pro for the pros". I also have to admit that it does help alot with alot of other video editors who are do-it-all, overworked and under appreciated.
I am still deciding between Adobe Production suite or Fcp X + motion + compressor. Both sort of functions as an 'island'.
Here is my question and think about it:
Is FCP X use-able for Digital Broadcasting?
This is assuming that:
you have a tight a$$ budget and you have editors who are proficient in FCP and Motion. (proficient in AE and Ppro too)
Knows the Basic Broadcast Standards (visual and audio)
Output is all Digital. No tapes of any kind.
It is all going digital, although i believe that tapes are still here to stay and shall never leave due to archive. (...but the digital outputted shows are backed up digitally too)
FCP X still has a long way to go but it seems to me that it is heading in what seems to be the right direction. Whether it will be fit for feature films, I don't think so but who knows.
My traditional deliverables when I send out a spanking new 23minute show for broadcast is usually visuals, 2-channel stereo mix, 1 channel SOT/VO (or rather sans music and sfx) and 1 channel music and sfx. All on a DB tape that is sent to the channel but now, it is all turning digital in hard drives. To submit seperate channels or clean versions, all i have to do is to duplicate my FCP X project and change my duplicated project into a Clean version with diff audio mixdowns (sot/vo sans music/sfx and one more solely music/sfx). Am i right?
Sad but this is how it will be... To send seperate files in a HDD to the broadcast channel. I thought FCP x wldnt be useful till I sat down and thought about it.... An plus i am now working for a digital broadcast channel.
Monitoring interlacing is another problem though because I usually encounter those problems when i view a show on a crt tv (as in when i watch a broadcasted show at home) but when it comes to lcd and digital broadcast tv.... What you see on you computer 'monitor' (not the image on your canvas) is almost what you get.
So again... My question is if FCP X is use-able for Digital broadcast?
Is it for usage for the future of digital broadcast? Where the channel is streamed via internet and if we're still lucky, tradional transmisson.
You can output full res ProRes, why not?
Since you can't get a native video output from FCPX via a video card from a company like AJA, Black Magic or Matrox, using FCPX for "broadcast" is very sub-par if not crazy.
The lack of track-support for audio-work makes output to tape impossible if your broadcaster has special requirements here. Disregarding that, looking at an all-file-based workflow you still can't monitor potential interlace issues or accurate colors through FCPX in its current state.
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Just output it as proress and just convert it to whichever format your Digital Broadcaster wants right?
While it is true that you can't monitor your cut properly, they could always have this feature added in. This is seriously needed in order to properly vet your cut.
The trackless part is crazy if you need to output to tape. If they somehow suggest using 'tags' to output to different channels then... They are really throwing analog out the window. How hard is it to leave audio tracks in FCP X?
Aside from this, if your output is digital then I don't see a problem except that for now you cannot even have a video output to your broadcast monitor.
Why not just output a full rez Quicktime file - Import that into FCP-7 - open the scopes - tweek things to your hearts content - heck, use the broadcast safe filter if you aren't comfortable adjusting to scopes and are paranoid about illegal levels - and upload THAT resulting file for broadcast?
I'm betting all this stuff will come to FCP-X in pretty short order. But the interim steps aren't that hard in the meantime.
Just a suggestion.
"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Conner
[Bill Davis] "Why not just output a full rez Quicktime file - Import that into FCP-7 - open the scopes - tweek things to your hearts content - heck, use the broadcast safe filter if you aren't comfortable adjusting to scopes and are paranoid about illegal levels - and upload THAT resulting file for broadcast?"
That is often now that many programmes are colour corrected/graded.
A digi beta is output and sent to the graders.
ALL request an EDL of the edit, (think about it you have to go through marking every cut/dissolve effect point before you can add a grade. ( automatic shot change exists but can be a bit iffy.)
No paranoia the programme WILL get rejected by broadcasters if not in spec
With the notion of "just outputting a full res file from FCPX and tweak it in FCP7" you sort of kill the idea of FCPX being viable for broadcast work. Yes it's possible, so is iMovie or Keynote or any other QuickTime-based app.
The broadcast safe filter in FCP7 is very poor. I'd avoid it as much as possible. Might be it works in NTSC-land but not in PAL. Also, the FCP7 scopes can be unreliable at times.
Never the less, here you're talking about using FCP7 for what should be done in FCPX but can't in it's current iteration.
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No interlace monitoring means you really can't deliver to a broadcaster.
So... not useable, I'd say.
FCPX isn't really designed for broadcast. It doesn't have the features (EDL, OMF, external monitoring etc.) Can you use it? Maybe, depending on your situation but I wouldn't because editing a broadcast show is a mission critical operation. Your deadlines are usually hard and fast and you don't want to get hung up on a lot of crazy workarounds especially in the final days just before delivery. I'd say FCPX for broadcast is pretty much out of the question at least until FCPX v2.0.
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I believe that once they DO make actual external monitoring possible, it could be used for broadcast.
In its current version, we cannot do proper audio post fixes, export out for color grading and monitor for interlacing and proper color.
In my previous-previous workplace, I used a TV logic monitor but also depended on my own computer monitor for color correction as I do some print ads from time to time and I do calibrate my monitor (or maintain it each month to make sure I am getting proper color).
I think it would be a waste of time to send an FCPX edit to FCP7 just to tweak colors when you can tweak colors in FCPX. If you know what the broadcast safe levels are then I don't see the point of doing so, also that broadcast safe filter is crappy in my eyes. I prefer to just adjust it to broadcast safe levels myself.
My question here is Digital broadcast actually. Like streaming to your TV via broadband internet.
Once they AT LEAST add in:
export to XML, EDL & OMF
re-insert at least some form of track base for the audio so that we could actual output audio for Audio Post properly.
then I believe that FCPX could be used for traditional broadcast. Just imagine duplicating projects so that you could export the audio tracks individually for audio post.
Also remember that some broadcasters in the world rarely give a shit if you color grade or not, as long as everything is broadcast safe then it is ok. *coughnewscough*
I find that importing iMovie into FCPx as a cool thing as directors/reporters/producers could do a base cut and then send it over to the editor for FCPx. iMovie is free right?
Once they fix things then I believe that FCPx will be a very cool editing tool.
Once they fix things then I believe that FCPx will be a very cool editing tool
Correct. The problem a lot of "nay sayers" at the moment feel is this will take years rather than months. Just look at how slow FCP development was from FCP 6 > FCP 7 and now FCP X. It's also a bit worrisome if Apple hasn't thought of basics like i/o from the start, but maybe they have.
Time will tell.
For digital broadband delivery "anything goes" in terms of monitoring. I'd personally still opt for working against a proper broadcast monitor as colors, gradients and tone will be spot-on. Most computer monitors are iffy in this regard.
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[Ewan Lim][Erik Lindahl] "Once they fix things then I believe that FCPx will be a very cool editing tool."
Keep in mind, all that Apple has committed to are a few vague statements and no timeline. It certainly appears as if broadcast monitoring may never come to FCPX.
But, really, if you're going to talk about future, pretend versions of the software - you have to compare it to future, pretend versions of Adobe and Avid. And who hasn't dreamed about the rich, paradigm shifting capabilities of the future, pretend Lightworks?
about apple and not giving a proper timeline... well that is true.
without the features that everyone has been saying that we need, which we obviously do, FCPx isn't ready for proper broadcast.
When we think about the future, 'pretend avid and adobe' products will definitely be far ahead of FCPx if Apple updates FCP as 'fast' as they usually do. IF Apple does get up to speed on Broadcasting needs then FCPx will definitely be my choice.
As for the now, I actually do prefer Adobe Production suite (CS5.5). Since Ppro does seem like its a mix between Avid and FCP. The plus points are also the fact that you can bring in other Adobe project files into Ppro, such as AE and Photoshop. I'd love to go back to editing on Avid but I actually have to do some minor graphics from time to time so Ppro would be a good choice for me. (Now comes the part where I have to convince people that getting CS5.5 is really worth it as FCS3 is EOL. How long can we stick to it before it stops working with updated Mac OS?)
Well, it seems that the answer to my initial question is pretty certain and that without proper external Monitors, we still can't use FCPx for any kind of broadcasting at the moment. Be it traditional broadcasting or upcoming digital broadcasting. Even if we wanted to use it for web videos (such as youtube or some form of viral marketing), we still won't be able to use FCPx even if we want to keep up the standards.
If the updates you speak of were ONLY up to Apple, then I'd have to say it will be a LONG time before you see them come. Why would they worry when it is the highest grossing app they have ALREADY? Since it appears that those updates most speak of that would bring it to "professional" are going to be reliant on 3rd party developers, then it might come quick.... if Apple releases the hooks.
Any one care to hazard a guess as to when that might be?
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