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Can FCPX easily do this kind of conforming work?

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Chris Harlan
Can FCPX easily do this kind of conforming work?
on Nov 8, 2011 at 5:35:43 pm

Okay, I created a temporary trailer-length promo from locked, but unfinished picture--DVCproHD--to be shown at MIPCOM. Now, I need to conform this work to finished picture--ProResHQ--and audio stems for purposes of both broadcast and ancillary sales. There are numerous filters--some of which I will retain and adjust, some of which had to do with temp picture quality and will need to be tossed--and a DIA/SOT track that has about 66% enhanced audio that I wish to keep, and about 34% that I wish to replace. The master I'm working from has a stereo mix, an M&E mix and a 5.1 mix over 10 tracks. The audio stems I have are from a different version of the master that was constructed for a different market, with some additional scenes and some scenes cut. I will retain all my added SFX and MU tracks.

In FCS, this process is an easy: A) I make an EDL of the video track and Stereo mix, and than import it in the proper ProResHQ timeline. I do this to strip out all filters, CODEC metadata, and levels metadata. B) I then paste the entire contents of the temp DVCproHD timeline into a new ProResHQ timeline, and then C) paste the video track from the EDL timeline directly above. I then go shot by shot, replacing the footage--discarding the filters I don't want, keeping those I do, making adjustments for speed, etc. I then repeat the process with the Stereo mix, though with side by side timelines instead of track over track. I then use the timecode overlays to line up any remaining audio I wish to replace--say, four or five bits--from the DIA/SOT stems. I do this, in this case, because the stems are actually from a different version of the movie, and do not line up, but can be figured out by an offset from each commercial break. Then, I mix and I'm done.

It is a fast and efficient process, but very granular, in that I have direct contact with every element I am replacing.

Is this something that is easy to do with FCP X? I'n genuinely asking, since I don't know the deeper recesses of FCPX. So, how do you conform easily?


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T. Payton
Re: Can FCPX easily do this kind of conforming work?
on Nov 8, 2011 at 6:21:37 pm

Just to clarify, did the footage originate in DVCProHD or ProResHQ?

Where do you have the current edit in FCP 7 or FCP X, or just an EDL?

------
T. Payton
OneCreative, Albuquerque


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Chris Harlan
Re: Can FCPX easily do this kind of conforming work?
on Nov 8, 2011 at 6:41:41 pm

[Timothy Payton] "Just to clarify, did the footage originate in DVCProHD or ProResHQ?

Where do you have the current edit in FCP 7 or FCP X, or just an EDL?
"


I don't think the original format is germane to my question. I have no idea what the feature originated on, though probably 2K. The DVCProHD locked-picture was undoubtedly just a dump from an Avid. The ProResHQ master is the property of my client (a very large International television conglomerate).

I'm already done with the conform. I'm not asking how to do it. I've been doing it for years. I was laying bare my process in FCS. I want to know how someone would theoretically tackle such a problem in FCP X. For a theoretical answer, you can assume that the original temp trailer was cut using FCP X from an Avid dump and than has to be conformed to a new FCP X master.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Can FCPX easily do this kind of conforming work?
on Nov 8, 2011 at 7:29:40 pm

First of all, thanks, Chris. There's nothing like talking about reality. This is a great case study.

[Chris Harlan] "I don't think the original format is germane to my question. "

It kind of is. If using cam masters, then going from proxy to high quality is literally a preference change provided that you made proxies and high quality versions on ingest. If you didn't, then you'd have to transcode to the HQ media, which is also a fairly easy process in X.

In your case, where you are conforming two separate sources, you'd have to do a lot of hand matching.

This job probably isn't totally suitable for X as there's no EDL, but since it seems to do a lot of hand matching anyway, you could just simply replace the elements that you need in the X timeline from the HQ master. I'd assign Roles to the orig edit as "original audio/original video" for the stuff that you will no longer need. You could throw the video from the original edit up above as connected clips to gaps and then add the HQ media to the primary, until you needed it to be a secondary, then you'd throw it in a secondary. Once complete, you could mute the "Original" roles and check it out.

As far as the filters, FCPX allows copying and pasting the filters you need, so you'd select what you want to keep, turn off the ones you don't, then Copy > Paste Effects. Works for audio keyframes, too.

Then you can assign Roles to the stems, you will then have your mutlitrack export however you need it.

Basically, it's the same process, just no EDL guide track, unless I'm missing something.

Jeremy


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Chris Harlan
Re: Can FCPX easily do this kind of conforming work?
on Nov 8, 2011 at 8:51:11 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "Basically, it's the same process, just no EDL guide track, unless I'm missing something.
"


I think you ARE missing something. The EDL pulls all my cuts for me (in order and to the frame), and syncs up DIA/SOT from all sources other than the stems. If it weren't complicated by a mixture of filters I could just do the whole thing automatically. It only took me 15 minutes using the EDL import, whereas fitting by hand would probably take half a day. Syncing the bites from the mismatched stem is also very easy using the timecode window.

I have to do this kind of stuff all the time. From all sorts of sources. From all sorts of people. At all different levels of completion. My guess is that FCP X is an absolute FAIL at this kind of work, but since I haven't gotten in as deep as some here I'm asking if there is something I'm missing. See--though it is seldom mentioned here--its stuff like this that will keep it out of Hollywood.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Can FCPX easily do this kind of conforming work?
on Nov 8, 2011 at 9:03:16 pm

[Chris Harlan] "It only took me 15 minutes using the EDL import, whereas fitting by hand would probably take half a day."

Yeah, there's no EDL in FCPX. I thought we all knew that. That's why we said it's not suitable.


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Chris Harlan
Re: Can FCPX easily do this kind of conforming work?
on Nov 8, 2011 at 9:14:29 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "[Chris Harlan] "It only took me 15 minutes using the EDL import, whereas fitting by hand would probably take half a day."

Yeah, there's no EDL in FCPX. I thought we all knew that. That's why we said it's not suitable.
"


Certainly, I know that. What I'm asking is HOW do you do a conform from disparate sources in FCP X?

Can you? Forget about the EDL. Let's say that my project was nowhere near as complicated. Let's say my project was very straight forward--which it is often not--and all I have to do is conform the temp trailer to a finished version with video and audio from the new master, which has matching timecode to my temp source. Can I do something that simple and essential in FCP X or do I have to conform all by hand, one shot at a time?


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Can FCPX easily do this kind of conforming work?
on Nov 8, 2011 at 9:24:32 pm

[Chris Harlan] "Forget about the EDL. "

I explained (as did Tom) how it's done. There's no EDL, there's no reconnect.

You can do the edit in FCPx, then translate it out back to FCP7 if you want for further interchange.

You must take pleasure in hearing me say this, but hear it is for the fourth time this thread, FCPX is not suitable for this job at this time.


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Chris Harlan
Re: Can FCPX easily do this kind of conforming work?
on Nov 8, 2011 at 9:35:35 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "You must take pleasure in hearing me say this, but hear it is for the fourth time this thread, FCPX is not suitable for this job at this time.
"


Jeremy, I get no pleasure in that. I'd like FCP X to become something that is useable for me. As I go along in my daily workflow, I often think, gee, how would you do something like that in FCP X? So, I asked. I thought there might be a work-around or some clever way of reassigning content at the level of metadata, but apparently there is none. I wasn't trying to pester you. I'm just trying to understand something fundamental that is beyond my level of experience with FCP X.

This is a major thing. It is not as obvious as no video out, or tracks. But this, alone, will derail FCP X for any industrial scale use. That's sad.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Can FCPX easily do this kind of conforming work?
on Nov 8, 2011 at 9:53:20 pm

Sorry, I thought since you understood FCPX's shortcomings, you were just taunting.

Certainly a direct file replacement conform is not in the cards for FCPx today.

One of the things that it is truly odd to me is that in an effort to make sure that nothing goes offline or gets mislinked, Apple not only made the media management bullet proof, it is buried under 20feet of Earth which is under 100 feet of bedrock, and sometimes can't support all that pressure and collapses. In an effort to be strong, it crushes itself. There's no relinking to a different/replacement file, except for still frames, which oddly allow external modification without throwing them off course in FCPX.

Odd.

To me, it appears this is not complete, to others, it will appear as a half assed attempt by Apple to destroy life as we know it.


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Chris Harlan
Re: Can FCPX easily do this kind of conforming work?
on Nov 8, 2011 at 10:12:15 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "Sorry, I thought since you understood FCPX's shortcomings, you were just taunting.
"


Sorry, man. You should know that despite our rocky introduction to one another, I've come to respect your work here. Being a long-time FCP fan, I don't want to give up on X, but I can't really use it or play with it much, currently, so I follow along here and try to stay abreast of things. I had some idea that conforming would be a difficulty in FCP X's current state--because I couldn't think how to do it--but I was far from sure. I had to allow for the likely possibility that there was something I was missing, which is why I posted the example.


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Steve Connor
Re: Can FCPX easily do this kind of conforming work?
on Nov 8, 2011 at 10:24:26 pm

[Chris Harlan] " had to allow for the likely possibility that there was something I was missing, which is why I posted the example."

Sadly you're not and it doesn't seem to be a feature on the glimpse of a roadmap Apple have offered us.

It would clear a lot of things up if Apple just came clean and told us exactly where they are aiming FCPX.

"My Name is Steve and I'm an FCPX user"


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Can FCPX easily do this kind of conforming work?
on Nov 9, 2011 at 2:55:41 am

[Chris Harlan] "Sorry, man. You should know that despite our rocky introduction to one another, I've come to respect your work here."

Wow. That means a lot coming from you! Thank you, Chris.



[Chris Harlan] "Being a long-time FCP fan, I don't want to give up on X, but I can't really use it or play with it much, currently, so I follow along here and try to stay abreast of things. I had some idea that conforming would be a difficulty in FCP X's current state--because I couldn't think how to do it--but I was far from sure. I had to allow for the likely possibility that there was something I was missing, which is why I posted the example."

Now, I get it and it makes perfect sense. Again, thanks.

Truthfully, in FCPX I see a lot of potential (for our shop's use), and some of that is just a few tweaks away. A bit more control here, some more user control there, a third party solution up there. I like most of FCPX.

With the absence of no reconnect, for me it really is the most puzzling facet in the whole of FCPX. It is a major part of this new foundation, and it's about the only thing that isn't adding up, even with my overbearing optimism.

It won't allow many work flows of exporting, rewrite and reimporting from other databases/applications. It is one of the very few areas in FCPX where I see a major roadblock, not just feature incompletion blues. In my naïveté, perhaps there's some other reason for this that isn't clear to me at the moment. I'm not ready to give up quite yet either.

Thank you (again) for a great case study.

Jeremy


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Tom Wolsky
Re: Can FCPX easily do this kind of conforming work?
on Nov 8, 2011 at 6:23:03 pm

You don't. In FCPX you would basically have to rebuild the project from scratch by hand. I've done it, but it took two machines, one for the FCP7 project and one for the FCPX project, manually taking input from one machine and loading it into the other.

All the best,

Tom

Class on Demand DVDs "Complete Training for FCP7," "Basic Training for FCS" and "Final Cut Express Made Easy"
Coming in 2011 "Complete Training for FCPX" from Class on Demand
"Final Cut Pro X for iMovie and Final Cut Express Users" from Focal Press


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Can FCPX easily do this kind of conforming work?
on Nov 8, 2011 at 6:32:23 pm

What's your source? P2? Tape? What's your master? Just an HQ file?

Jeremy


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Chris Harlan
Re: Can FCPX easily do this kind of conforming work?
on Nov 8, 2011 at 6:48:17 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "What's your source? P2? Tape? What's your master? Just an HQ file?
"


My source is a single file--probably an Avid dump with locked picture--on DVCproHD. The master I have to conform to is a ProResHQ file with separate audio stems that do not completely match picture.


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Ben Scott
Re: Can FCPX easily do this kind of conforming work?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 11:23:23 am

if you are doing this regularly I would suggest you get a copy of catdv, I imagine it will do what you are looking for, but cant be sure

certainly with fcp7 and catdv it would most likely work

get the demo
give it a go


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Chris Harlan
Re: Can FCPX easily do this kind of conforming work?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 3:37:48 pm

Ben, while I'm always happy for a suggestion, I cannot see how CatDV would make this particular part of my work flow any easier than it already is in FCP7, which is pretty darn easy. And, I cannot see how it would help at all in FCP X. Perhaps I'm wrong. Could you elucidate?


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Can FCPX easily do this kind of conforming work?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 3:44:41 pm

I'd be willing to try it out.

Chris, give me just a general sense of the files from your example.

The "offline" file is how many audio tracks?

And the "online" file is how many?

And you said tc matches, or actually it doesn't, right? The final file is longer because of the commercial breaks?

I was actually going to see if this was possible through FCPXML as well, simply reattach the new file to the old timing.

Jeremy


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Chris Harlan
Re: Can FCPX easily do this kind of conforming work?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 3:56:03 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "I'd be willing to try it out.

Chris, give me just a general sense of the files from your example.

The "offline" file is how many audio tracks?

And the "online" file is how many?

And you said tc matches, or actually it doesn't, right? The final file is longer because of the commercial breaks?

I was actually going to see if this was possible through FCPXML as well, simply reattach the new file to the old timing."


Now, that's an interesting thought. Do the exchange outside then program then reimport. I'd find that an acceptable solution.

In the particular example I gave, the temp file is DVCproHD, the finished project is ProRes HQ. Timecode matches, but length does not. Audio-wise, we are only concerned with channels one and two as a stereo SOT track.

I also have the non-matching audio stem, but since I put that in by hand using FCS's timecode overlay, lets ignore that for now.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Can FCPX easily do this kind of conforming work?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 6:35:13 pm

[Chris Harlan] "Now, that's an interesting thought. Do the exchange outside then program then reimport. I'd find that an acceptable solution. "

Thanks for the info, Chris. When I get some time, I'll give it a whirl.

Jeremy


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Can FCPX easily do this kind of conforming work?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 10:36:11 pm

All right.

First, I have no idea what the hell I'm doing in CatDV, although I can see it's pretty awesome.

I was able to Export an FCPXML, import to CatDV, attach a new piece of media to the sequence, reexport as FCPXML and import that to FCPX in no time.

But

The sequence came in as 25p to FCPX

The media is not offline, but it's all black meaning there's nothing to play back.

Oddly, all info in FCPX points to the new/proper file (which would be your "finished" file, Chris).

More testing is needed. Sort of encouraged, though.


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Chris Harlan
Re: Can FCPX easily do this kind of conforming work?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 7:31:32 am

Sounds like it is an intriguing start. I'll certainly be interested in anything you find if you venture further.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Can FCPX easily do this kind of conforming work?
on Nov 14, 2011 at 3:33:23 pm

Well, after more playing around, it seems that this isn't working, but that doesn't mean it won't work some day. Sound familiar?

I tried the exact same process with an FCP7 timeline, and it works, so I know the process is correct.

There must be some sort of error in the XML that is generated by CatDV, or FCPX sucks. One of the two (or both).

I'm going to try and post on the Cow forum and see if I can get more of a response.

I wish I knew XML, I'd try to do it that way.

Jeremy


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Chris Harlan
Re: Can FCPX easily do this kind of conforming work?
on Nov 15, 2011 at 9:09:26 am

[Jeremy Garchow] "Well, after more playing around, it seems that this isn't working, but that doesn't mean it won't work some day. Sound familiar?

I tried the exact same process with an FCP7 timeline, and it works, so I know the process is correct.

There must be some sort of error in the XML that is generated by CatDV, or FCPX sucks. One of the two (or both).

I'm going to try and post on the Cow forum and see if I can get more of a response.

I wish I knew XML, I'd try to do it that way.

Jeremy
"


Hey, you gave it a shot. We learn more every day. Thanks for taking a look!


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