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Remaining enhancements

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Oliver Peters
Remaining enhancements
on Feb 8, 2012 at 3:27:36 pm

The update has some nice features, but there are still plenty of future enhancements needed. Excluding things like the timeline paradigm (unlikely to change) or performance issues (will probably improve), I see this list as items that need to be addressed by Apple.

1. Add second viewer like the Angle Viewer or scopes.
2. Better audio editing/mixing tools and processes.
3. Better method and better performance when you work with a large number of active projects (sequences).
4. Process for collaborative editing in shared environment.
5. Roundtrip to Motion.
6. Direct OMF export or Send to Logic / audio roundtrip function.
7. Control of Attributes (copy, paste, remove selected attributes).
8. Better control and indication of sync/out-of-sync clips.
9. Batch processes for application of source-based effects and exports.
10. Autosave Vault for incremental back-ups.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Kevin Patrick
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 8, 2012 at 3:35:07 pm

This may be implied in 3 and 4 ...

A better method to manage which Events and Project open when you launch FCP X. Like Event Manager. (sorry Event Manager)


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Mark Dobson
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 8, 2012 at 5:10:28 pm

Great list.

I would add:

1. Ability to increase the size / length of the viewer window in the Event Library when in list view. It's quite hard to navigate a long clip accurately when creating favourites etc. If one could zoom in to a solo clip it wold save a lot of time.

This window is now the de facto 2nd viewer - well certainly for processing clips on ingest.

2. Ability to be able to nudge or position graphic / text elements in the viewer when creating composite images.

3. Ability to access the timeline options via keyboard short cuts. So that one can quickly switch between the different options / sizes.

4. A switch to turn off all images in the project library. Don't really need to see thumbnails all the time and they really slow things down. If you can turn them off in the timeline and event browser why not in the project library.

5. An in app facility to share / export compound clips from timeline to Event library.

6. The ability to split / resize all of the various windows in the app just like we could in FCP7. Even with 2 monitors the timeline is not big enough for complex compositing etc.

so really just re introducing some basic UI conventions from FCP.


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Andy Neil
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 8, 2012 at 5:20:56 pm

I suspect any "second" monitor like the angle viewer will be only for specialized tasks and not as a basic clip viewer.

Regarding 2: Roles based mixing tool. The ability to double click a clip and show all independent audio channels (similar to Avid's "step in"), edit them independently and then collapse back to original clip view.

My list (in addition to your fine suggestions):

Fix Open in Timeline so that when done from the project, clip opens to the matched frame point.

Fix Loop Playback so that if you're adjusting an audio or video effect the playback continues to loop even when making adjustments.

Be able to hold a key down when slipping a clip that prevents a connected clip from moving as well.

Shortcut key for trim window access so keyboard trims are easier.

Ability to "collapse" multiclip so that audio can be broken away and video can be slipped without affecting audio.

Windows layouts that can be saved. And have FCPX remember layout when angle viewer or scopes windows are active.

User-defined criteria for search/smart collection. Ability to add any metadata category to search.

Definable "Work Area" (like AE) where portions of a timeline can be exported.

Andy

http://www.timesavertutorials.com


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Craig Seeman
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 8, 2012 at 8:09:12 pm

[Andy Neil] "I suspect any "second" monitor like the angle viewer will be only for specialized tasks and not as a basic clip viewer."

Given what they did with the Angle Viewer, I don't think it would be too far fetched to see a "Gang" feature since that's needed and I can't see another way around that.

I think what will also happen is better contextual use of the 2-up view.
For example, currently trimming by mouse calls the two up but if you trim by keyboard, no 2-up. That should change (one hopes). BTW FCP7 behaved that way as well but it was less critical because you had Viewer, Canvas.

I don't think Apple has much motive, given the GUI philosophy, to have an alway on Viewer Canvas. I do thing Gang and Contextual 2-up are viable though.

One way to look at it:
1) the need to see two things in motion such as Angle in Multicam and Gang.
2) the need to compare a changing point to a stationary point in time.

Apple's bifurcating the function that was always on Viewer Canvas for more contextual purpose.



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Simon Ubsdell
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 8, 2012 at 8:20:29 pm

[Craig Seeman] "Given what they did with the Angle Viewer, I don't think it would be too far fetched to see a "Gang" feature since that's needed and I can't see another way around that."

I will be really interesting to see how soon they address this. It's an absolutely critical function for many of my workflows that simply cannot be done without.

I'm not surprised they got around to multicam as soon as they did because it's an on-the-surface-sexy, sell-more-units-to-unsuspecting-punters type of gimmick that they would see the advantage of devoting some time to, even if not the time necessary to actually make it work as it should in the more demanding real-world situations that we actually encounter.

Ganging, however, is deeply unsexy and probably only required by a tiny handful of editors. How quickly they get around to it will tell us a lot about their real priorities. I'd expect a lot more superficial flashy nonsense to appear before that.

Simon Ubsdell
Director/Editor/Writer
http://www.tokyo-uk.com


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Craig Seeman
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 8, 2012 at 8:59:36 pm

[Simon Ubsdell] "Ganging, however, is deeply unsexy and probably only required by a tiny handful of editors. How quickly they get around to it will tell us a lot about their real priorities. I'd expect a lot more superficial flashy nonsense to appear before that."

What I find interesting about 10.0.3 is that it wasn't all flash. Some of the under the hood stuff, even if still a work in progress (Photoshop layers) show attention to improving core functions. Remember the scope is another one (but obviously they have to get to multiple scopes).

It would be interesting to speculate what flash vs what core professional features will appear throughout the year. My guess is it'll be a mix of flash and core. They'll have to be at least one flashy feature for each quasi major update but they'll be key core features as well. Was XML 1.1 flash? No, but it opened the door to a third party utility 7toX. I think we'll see a year of primarily catch-up features. After all multicam is an old feature, reintroduced and improved to fit the new paradigm . . . with good old Viewer Canvas Ganging.



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Simon Ubsdell
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 8, 2012 at 9:22:53 pm

[Craig Seeman] "Some of the under the hood stuff, even if still a work in progress (Photoshop layers) show attention to improving core functions."

I'm afraid that "Photoshop Layers" was just another bit of flash, as I'm calling it - see this thread for more details:

http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/344/7866

In its current form it has pretty limited value, though it clearly has bragging appeal at a certain (not terribly advanced) level.

I don't want to see more of this kind of stuff - I want to see features that work properly/have been thought through before they are bolted onto Frankenstein's neck.

Simon Ubsdell
Director/Editor/Writer
http://www.tokyo-uk.com


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Andy Neil
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 8, 2012 at 8:55:26 pm

[Craig Seeman] "Given what they did with the Angle Viewer, I don't think it would be too far fetched to see a "Gang" feature since that's needed and I can't see another way around that."

Exactly my point. The specialized use of a second monitor, but not one that sits there all the time. Gang can be useful, although Simon is correct in that not many editors require that functionality.

I'd be more interested in a 3-up monitor for color correction.

Andy

http://www.timesavertutorials.com


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Ben Scott
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 8, 2012 at 9:51:38 pm

  • ganging
  • colour wheels
  • copy paste effects that isnt useless
  • avcintra MXF export and metadata exports for UK tapeless delivery
  • template driven tapeless delivery e.g. clocks through templates
  • outputs for M&E that work and more control over audio mixing
  • Midi controllers
  • hue curves
  • on screen feedback for keyboard based trimming like mentioned above
  • noise removal
  • metadata driven auto colour correction and audio mixing/cleanup
  • decent auto colour correction that can be modified
  • storyboard editing like imovie (its got something that has a lot of promise that should be available e.g. metadata driven editing)
  • subtitling workflow from STL files and improvements
  • all fields searchable in the smart collections e.g. log notes
  • metadata mapping from tapeless formats
  • event metadata templates/stat points
  • RED camera support
  • decent tracker or support for mochapro
  • default audio tracks as stereo not surround
  • default keep in/out in event browser, not the dumb loose my in outs
  • some more of the useful community filters e.g. FCP.co ones incorporated as core


not a lot to ask


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 8, 2012 at 8:13:14 pm

Great list, Oliver - absolutely agree about all of this.

For anyone thinking re: no.6 that xto7 is a complete answer to the whole OMF question, please note the issues I have had with my first attempts at using it for audio:

http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/344/7958

OMF is absolutely critical and it has to work impeccably every time under all circumstances, something that FCP legacy managed far better than AVID ironically. Third party solutions which may or may not work under all circumstances are worse than useless in a time-sensitive professional environment.

So my only quibble with your list would be moving OMF right up to the number one slot. And while we're at it, let's have OMF import as well which is the one thing that I still really like about Media Composer.

Simon Ubsdell
Director/Editor/Writer
http://www.tokyo-uk.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 8, 2012 at 9:23:46 pm

This is absolutely the same list I have been keeping.

Performance/stability should be A-#1. 10.0.3 did not improve performance for me, that's for sure.

I would also add,

- Change the motion x,y attributes from a weird percent number to actual pixels, and have values update accurately (scaling an image in the viewer doesn't always update the scale value in the inspector).

- Tighter audio timeline organization (and no, it doesn't have to be tracks).

- Fix the ratio of audio size and video size of the clip in the timeline and allow me to adjust it (Just like I could adjust the physical height of tracks in FCP7).

- The ability to physically edit the name of a Role.

- Ability to work with multi audio track sources in context of the timeline (a more specific version of your second request). Expanding clips should show all available audio tracks instead of a fake compound audio clip

- Ability to trim/manipulate multiple selections of clips at once instead of one at a time or compound dance.

- An option to turn off all the GUI animations.

- Ability to use preentered metadata as easily as you can use the current FCPX metadata set.

- A multichannel audio mixer of some variety

- More non-QT native format support (pretty please).


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John Heagy
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 8, 2012 at 9:46:21 pm

That's a good list.

I would add:

Read embedded "Reel" in QT files. It's in the General Info view for pete's sake!

The ability to export metadata in the xml via whatever is included in the General Info View or new XML View.

A preference that will direct Render files somewhere other than the Project folder.

John


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Brad Davis
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 8, 2012 at 10:08:59 pm

I doubt we will see OMF directly in FCPX ever again. In the article previously posted by the 7 Editors take a look at FCPX...OMF licensing is owned by AVID. This would drive up the price of the software. I honestly think the entire exercise of FCPX was to purge all the 3rd party licensing built into years of Final Cut Studio iterations so that Apple can own and manage the base software. However, I am sure, someone out there will develop an OMF solution through the App Store that will deal with the licensing separately (in addition to many of our transcoding/exporting quirks we deal with in this medium.


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 8, 2012 at 10:14:22 pm

[Brad Davis] "I doubt we will see OMF directly in FCPX ever again. In the article previously posted by the 7 Editors take a look at FCPX...OMF licensing is owned by AVID."

You may well be right - but if the makers of the forthcoming XtoPro can afford the licence how is it that Apple cannot?

Possibly a bit cash-strapped, would be my guess ...

Simon Ubsdell
Director/Editor/Writer
http://www.tokyo-uk.com


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Brad Davis
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 8, 2012 at 11:09:47 pm

My guess...They want to keep the price of the App at $300 and if you want that level of functionality you can buy it from someone else and they pay the licensing fees. Hence why the Pro Tools app is $99


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 8, 2012 at 11:16:47 pm

[Brad Davis] "if you want that level of functionality you can buy it from someone else"

And if you don't want to have that level of functionality you're just the kind of editor that Apple has been aiming for all along.

Frankly I am astonished at how few of the posters on this forum (virtually none, apart from Michael Gissing that I know of) seem to have the slightest interest in getting their audio out of their NLE and into ProTools (or other pro-DAW of your choice) to be able to mix their final audio with the right tools, in the right room with the right monitoring.

Everything I do needs this kind of mixing and I don't have the option of not doing it this way. Think yourself lucky if for you this is just an unnecessary luxury that you can happily do without.

Unless and until Apple provide this functionality as a built-in feature that works with rock-solid reliability, FCPX will remain just an amusing toy for that apparently diminishing sector of the market that has to deliver high-end audio with their pictures.

Simon Ubsdell
Director/Editor/Writer
http://www.tokyo-uk.com


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Michael Gissing
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 8, 2012 at 11:24:29 pm

To be fair Simon, Jeremy Garchow and quite a few others have said OMF export needs to be a priority and is holding back them being able to use FCPX on much of their paid work.


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Michael Gissing
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 8, 2012 at 11:29:44 pm

What is also likely is that DAW manufacturers will eventually respond to FCPs XML and work out how to directly import from XML. Fairlight has had XML import from FCP7 for a while.

Of course in audio and picture post we need a system that can create a properly Media Managed version with just the shots plus handles and a stable robust XML. I think it may take some time for any sort of robust standard with FCPX XML, as it is also alpha development in beta software. How's FCPX Media Management?


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 8, 2012 at 11:37:09 pm

[Michael Gissing] "I think it may take some time for any sort of robust standard with FCPX XML, as it is also alpha development in beta software."

I think this is at the root of the problem right now. I think there are going to be many teething problems to be got through with FCPXML before it all settles down enough to get us reliable audio export of the kind we have come to expect.

Simon Ubsdell
Director/Editor/Writer
http://www.tokyo-uk.com


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 8, 2012 at 11:31:53 pm

Fair enough, Michael - I definitely overstated, apologies.

I agree that Jeremy and one or two others have expressed a small but not especially vocal reservation about this.

But I don't think the list is as long as all that.

And quite a few seem to be happy with the notion of some potentially unreliable third party solution, which may be here today and gone tomorrow, and may not even work reliably today.

For me FCPX doesn't even begin to become an option until this is emphatically and unequivocally resolved - and I don't see any sign of that happening yet.

XtoPro may change that, but then again anything is possible and everything is uncertain ...

Simon Ubsdell
Director/Editor/Writer
http://www.tokyo-uk.com


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Michael Gissing
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 8, 2012 at 11:41:38 pm

XtoPro makes an AAF I think. For sound post people AAFs require paying AVID a license fee.

An alternative which is possible right now is xto7 which lets you bring the project into FCP7 and then export an OMF from their. If an when any editor brings me a FCPX job, I will explore that route.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 8, 2012 at 11:52:43 pm

I'm not sure it's a given that OMF requires a licensing fee and if it does, whether that's a significant fee. Besides, Apple already provides OMF via Logic. Avid and Apple also have a current (new) relationship, because Avid licenses the ProRes codec from Apple. If Apple were to do anything, they should probably go with AAF since that's the current standard with ongoing development.

The downside of third parties is that Apple takes no ownership of the features. We've already seen how this has burn the AD ProExport plug-in and others. Third party developers are often quicker to respond to issues, but they also have a smaller development team and a smaller beta tester pool (although I don't think Apple does enough beta testing of these products compared to other manufacturers.)

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 8, 2012 at 11:56:56 pm

[Michael Gissing] "XtoPro makes an AAF I think. For sound post people AAFs require paying AVID a license fee."

XtoPro is not available until the end of February - it will not support levels, pans or transitions at that date. Who knows how well or not it may perform? I'm not betting the house on it just yet ...

[Michael Gissing] "An alternative which is possible right now is xto7 which lets you bring the project into FCP7 and then export an OMF from their. If an when any editor brings me a FCPX job, I will explore that route."

This route is not a remotely plausible option at present, as I have discovered today:

http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/344/7938

Way too many very serious issues that mean it's completely unusable, unless all you want to carry over is audio that was originally tied to video (and wasn't even detached).

We need a solution from Apple, one that we can beat them over the head about when it doesn't work. For some reason, I feel bad about beating tiny third party companies over the head when their products don't work ...

Simon Ubsdell
Director/Editor/Writer
http://www.tokyo-uk.com


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Oliver Peters
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 8, 2012 at 11:57:44 pm

[Michael Gissing] "For sound post people AAFs require paying AVID a license fee. "

I don't believe that's true. AAF and MXF are administered by the AAF Association. The license fees go to them, not Avid. Quantel, Autodesk, Avid, Adobe, Panasonic and others (probably also Apple) are part of this association. A significant part of the AAF spec stemmed out of OMF (originally an Avid development) which was integrated into AAF. Avid basically donated the IP to the AAF Assoc to get the ball rolling for AAF.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Michael Gissing
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 9, 2012 at 12:58:22 am

Thanks for the clarification Oliver. Either way I get OMF in and out with Fairlight for nothing and AAF requires a $500 license. As there is nothing I want that AAF does over OMF I see no reason to pay.

The other advantage of OMF is that it is static. I disagree with Jeremy about third party apps and converters having lived through the horror that was the early days of OMF. Once it became legacy it became robust.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 9, 2012 at 1:11:32 am

[Michael Gissing] "The other advantage of OMF is that it is static. I disagree with Jeremy about third party apps and converters having lived through the horror that was the early days of OMF. Once it became legacy it became robust."

Oh, I completely agree! The same reason EDLs are still quite valuable. A known, broad standard that can still be tweaks as needed.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 9, 2012 at 1:19:17 am

[Michael Gissing] "The other advantage of OMF is that it is static. I disagree with Jeremy about third party apps and converters having lived through the horror that was the early days of OMF. Once it became legacy it became robust."

I hear you, and it will remain robust, unless you hit the 2gig limit.

What changed is how you need to extract that information from a timeline, which will require the knowledge of the underpinning of any host application. It is developers, and not necessarily Apple, that will shed light on what needs to be down in order to make Axel, or fcpxml more robust, in my opinion.


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Michael Gissing
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 9, 2012 at 1:26:05 am

The 2 gig limit is only an issue if an OMF uses embedded media. FCP chose this methodology but it is quite possible to have a tiny OMF composition file and a separate folder with media file, none of which is likely to exceed 2 gig.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 9, 2012 at 1:57:14 am

[Michael Gissing] "The 2 gig limit is only an issue if an OMF uses embedded media. FCP chose this methodology but it is quite possible to have a tiny OMF composition file and a separate folder with media file, none of which is likely to exceed 2 gig."

I know and understand your point, and that's fine if all of your audio is always spearate/double system. It's not always practical as audio is embedded with QTs a lot in the case of fcp from either tape capture or tapeless sources.

I'd rather send a smaller embedded media file, but again perhaps that's just me.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 9, 2012 at 12:37:40 am

[Michael Gissing] "To be fair Simon, Jeremy Garchow and quite a few others have said OMF export needs to be a priority and is holding back them being able to use FCPX on much of their paid work."

This is 100% true for me, but I think I hold a fairly unique view in the role of third party interchange and workflow support.

In a nutshell, I welcome it, even though there's risk involved. I'll explain.

I've used third party workflow tools for years in fcp legacy.

-Mxf4mac/p2 flow being a huge one (turns fcp into an MXF powerhouse, ala premiere)

-Automatic duck pro import AE being another

-Spherico film tools

-VideoToolShed

-Digital Rebellion

-XDCam Transfer

-canon EOS E1

-Glue Tools more recently

-RedCineX, and a few XML tools that complimented it before RCX matured.

And now 7toX will probably become important with a little more X maturity.

I don't mind third party solutions. Things don't always work, or something changes, or my workflow/footage needs a bit of customization. It is right here that having a small, responsive third party company to deal with shines, and shines brightly. Third party has always been a major strong suit with fcp, but maybe people don't see that as a strong attribute. I don't mind it, as I'm very used to it.

Also, it is from these developers and workflow forumulists that holes and bugs within the underlying language of fcp get discovered and therefore squashed. Fcp7 would not be the strong app without the help of the above mentioned companies/people, along with the many others that aren't mentioned. One will never see this in a press release, some of the fixes might get mentioned in release notes (but not really), and I don't mind paying these small companies for their hard work in making something better behind the scenes. Some of them have direct acess to Apple ProApps. It is the way Apple has worked for a very long time, and for better or for worse, it had developed fcs3 in to what it was untill it's EOL. My view is that third parties made fcp better even if some people don't realize it.

Now, the flip side of that is there are other NLE developers that take these certain responsibilities in house, and that's fine too. If something is broken, it might take longer to fix, the communication might not be as direct, but once it is fixed, it is in the program probably for good, or at least as long as it's relevant. It is beta tested, it is rolled out, it is taken care of with resources and know how.

I've had issues in the past with workflow/third party developers and have received multiple debug builds within hours. It's hard to get that kind of service from a bigger company, but it also means there's more risk in things not working quite right in the future. Automatic Duck is the case study for that, and MXF4mac isn't looking very good at the moment since Quickitme is ever so slowly being phased out. I don't know what will come of that. Anyone that develops a QT component is scratching their heads at this point. Fcpx itself seems to be in between QuickTime and av foundation, just have a look at the new beta drivers that capture companies are in the process of releasing. They aren't qt based.

I look at my past NLEs, namely Avid in the mid 90s, and Media100 for the rest of the decade until the early millennium. All of that media and work and interchange is gone. Those projects we're either upgraded back then or are sitting on a iomega jaz drive never to be returned. I don't miss them, and my work life has been just fine.

There is no question, this absolutely exhausting mess of a release is something that many people who work like this don't appreciate, and from my view, that is completely understandable. There are developers that have been left to figure out what's next.

At the same time, I had suspected that Apple was still interested in a few pro users, and with every release of fcpx, it becomes more apparent. Yes, it's going to take some time before its truly mature, and yes, it's going to be a bumpy road if you decide that Legacy doesn't serve your needs for the immediate future, for whatever reason. For me, it has happened before (although willingly) and it will probably happen again. We have a small shop, we are fairly nimble, we are lucky that we can adapt fairly quickly to changing tides. Others aren't in this situation, bigger facilities and freelance session/project editors to name a few. Apple has certainly burned many bridges here.

I do believe that third party developers, if they remain interested, will make X in to a stronger application once again. It is also important for us users to send meaningful feedback to Apple, and send it often.

Jeremy


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John Heagy
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 9, 2012 at 1:26:41 am

I'm with Jeremy on this. I much prefer dealing with small companies over Apple, the same way I prefer talking to a person over a brick wall.

One other feature I didn't mention is reference movie export from FCPX. Though that would first need to be possible in AV Foundation which it isn't currently.

I'd love to see QT open sourced by Apple.


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Michael Gissing
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 9, 2012 at 1:36:12 am

You still are at the mercy of Apple. They tweak a spec in XML, it breaks something for the third party developer. So you may enjoy the tech support of the third party but they have to trust Apple to warn them of anything before publicly breaking third party software.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 9, 2012 at 2:00:55 am

[Jeremy Garchow] "I don't mind third party solutions. Things don't always work, or something changes, or my workflow/footage needs a bit of customization. It is right here that having a small, responsive third party company to deal with shines, and shines brightly. Third party has always been a major strong suit with fcp, but maybe people don't see that as a strong attribute. I don't mind it, as I'm very used to it. Also, it is from these developers and workflow forumulists that holes and bugs within the underlying language of fcp get discovered and therefore squashed. Fcp7 would not be the strong app without the help of the above mentioned companies/people, along with the many others that aren't mentioned... My view is that third parties made fcp better even if some people don't realize it."

[Michael Gissing] "You still are at the mercy of Apple. They tweak a spec in XML, it breaks something for the third party developer. So you may enjoy the tech support of the third party but they have to trust Apple to warn them of anything before publicly breaking third party software."

I agree with both of these statements.

Interchange capabilities certainly improved from FCP4 (when Apple introduced XML) to FCP7, but FCP was pretty mature by version 4.

FCPX is young, and the data model is apparently still a work in progress (as evidenced by the changes between 10.0.0 and 10.0.3). Also, FCP Classic had the advantage of working in basically the same manner as every other time-based media platform on the planet. FCPX's approach is unique, which adds an extra layer of complexity to interchange.

Once FCPX development is no longer a moving target, I think robust third-party extension will be reasonable.

All that said, I'm sympathetic to Simon's point that Apple should handle at least some of this, too. EDL and OMF/AAF are not esoteric workflows; they're table stakes for collaboration.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Oliver Peters
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 9, 2012 at 2:15:12 am

[Walter Soyka] "FCPX's approach is unique, which adds an extra layer of complexity to interchange."

What seems to complicate this is that there's no clear definition between audio and video clips and the nature of connected clips, primary storylines and secondary storylines. In the "standard" approach, it's clearly defined what's audio and what's video and where they go onto either video or audio tracks. And each of those types of tracks have specific attributes and they are defined in the same way for all of the tracks of that type on a timeline.

FCP X breaks these conventions, so as you look at some of the various translation results, there's often little rhyme or reason as to why clips are assigned to the primary storyline or some other place. At the moment, for better or worse, it appears that IA is really the entity developing those specifications. Hypothetically, if Boris came up with their own Xto7 or 7toX transfer tool, the resulting translations might look completely different from those of IA. That's why I think it's important for Apple to take responsibility.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 9, 2012 at 3:33:42 am

[Oliver Peters] "Hypothetically, if Boris came up with their own Xto7 or 7toX transfer tool, the resulting translations might look completely different from those of IA."

But isn't this true when going from any track <-> trackless (or layer) based system?

My fcp timelines look way different in AE. I know, completely different apps and uses, but same idea.

Fcpx's timeline is unique, so the resulting translations might be unique as long as the stacking/layer order is correct, to honor correct playback/composite/nest/whatever.

Again this type of thing doesn't bother me as I frequently use the duck to AE and the timelines are different, but my intent is still there in the two different environments (minus audio of course, so it's not a direct comparison).

In pro tools, audio engineers frequently rearrange what I've done in fcp, but they understand my intent.

I haven't tested everything, but my what I've sent 7toX so far, all of the intent is there, even if it looks different from my fcp7 timeline. As long as there are no glaring omissions (travel mattes/plug ins/things that simply don't translate like some audio weirdness due to X's weird audio handling), the timelines playback the same from both NLEs. And if they don't, there's a bit of clean up to do, but nothing horrendous when considering this was thought to be impossible on January 30.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 9, 2012 at 2:28:29 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "But isn't this true when going from any track <-> trackless (or layer) based system?"

No. Look at the placement of clips going from FCP to AE or Media Composer using either AD or Boris. The results are very similar, because there's a common language. Not the case with X, because Apple has not defined the language of the translation. Therefore (hypothetically) one company's translation results might be wildly different than another's.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 9, 2012 at 2:38:31 pm

I would agree to disagree. The common language is time and layer order.

I understand what you're saying, but they won't be that dramatically different, in my opinion.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 9, 2012 at 2:52:41 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "The common language is time and layer order. "

Which is absolutely non-existant in FCP X, especially with audio.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 9, 2012 at 3:05:53 pm

[Oliver Peters] "[Jeremy Garchow] "The common language is time and layer order. "

Which is absolutely non-existant in FCP X, especially with audio."


I'd say this was definitely one of the biggest issues. Automatic Duck for FCPX had a big problem with detached audio (which never got resolved) and it's clear that the biggest issues with Xto7 are audio related and reflect the utterly alien paradigm and what needs to be circumvented to translate it properly.

My acccount of my experience with Xto7 and audio is buried in another thread on the Techniques forum so I hope you don't mind if I repost here as it's germane to the discussion:

A fairly straightforward sequence over just over two minutes duration, these are some of the problems:

1) All the video came through more or less OK but one clip (no different in source from various other successfully transferred items) was one frame long and used only the very last frame of the source video - not correct in either case.

2) A lot of the source audio was from an 8-channel source of which I only used one mono channel in the edit. These mostly came through as 32-channel clips - yup, that's right 32!!! The FCP7 sequence had 99 tracks and would doubltes have had more if it had been capable of seeing them.

3) Wherever the audio had been detached from the video (a necessary step in this instance), it did not get translated.

4) The biggest problem however was that the majority of the audio came from two separate non-sync sources, both of them stereo AIFFs/WAVs. Quite a few of these clips didn't make it through the translation process at all. Of those that did, all of them use the first frame of the source for the first frame of the edited clip.

Just to clarify all of the non-sync audio (i.e. from any audio source that wasn't tied to video) came in using the first frame as the source timecode in each case.


Simon Ubsdell
Director/Editor/Writer
http://www.tokyo-uk.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 10, 2012 at 2:57:58 am

Agree to disagree.


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Paul Dickin
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 9, 2012 at 9:54:32 am

[Walter Soyka] "...but FCP was pretty mature by version 4. "
Hi
4.1.1 actually, which came Dec 2003 after a NAB announcement/demo and summer delivery of 4.0.0, which was broken out of the starting gate. I think there were two or three further unstable iterations, before 4.1.1 which worked.
As FCP v4 was the first native OS X version it sort of paralleled FCP X's 64-bit/AVF first-versionness.

And actually in your golden-glow hindsightedness you are really referring to v4.5, which took over 15 months to arrive after the v4 announcement.

So what is going on now is just the same old same old, except all the noisy people were Avid then.
FCP editors stuck with v3.0.3 (OS 9) or 3.0.4 (OS X) for paying work because they were very stable, until 4.1.1 was seen to be working ;-)



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Walter Soyka
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 9, 2012 at 2:05:51 pm

[Paul Dickin] "4.1.1 actually, which came Dec 2003 after a NAB announcement/demo and summer delivery of 4.0.0, which was broken out of the starting gate. I think there were two or three further unstable iterations, before 4.1.1 which worked. As FCP v4 was the first native OS X version it sort of paralleled FCP X's 64-bit/AVF first-versionness. And actually in your golden-glow hindsightedness you are really referring to v4.5, which took over 15 months to arrive after the v4 announcement."

Sorry, Paul, I was very unclear when I called FCP "mature." I didn't mean bug-free, or even feature-complete.

I won't argue your points on bug releases, but I will argue the arrival of major features. OS X support came in FCP3 [link]; while FCP4-7 may have been compiled for OS X only, they were still written against the Carbon API, which Apple introduced for OS 8 and extended through OS 9 and OS X. FCP Classic was never ported to Cocoa (OS X's native API). XML was introduced in FCP v4, as I stated.

Rather, I was trying to say that the internal architecture itself was pretty mature and stable by v4, in the sense that it was apparently seeing more maintenance than redesign. Even by FCP7, you could still crash with a KGCore error, even though the product hadn't been Key Grip since 1998.

This was a plus for third-parties, who had a stable platform to develop around, and a minus for Apple, who ultimately found it so limiting that they had to scrap it entirely and start from scratch with FCPX.

Architecture is important, and difficult. It needs to be stable (in the sense of unchanging) enough that others can develop for it, but flexible enough that it doesn't bind your hands as you try to add features to meet unforeseen needs. You need to balance forward potential against backwards compatibility.

Look at Apple and Microsoft to see two different (but both valid) philosophies on this. Microsoft has historically prioritized backwards compatibility, lowering re-development requirements on developers, but also slowing innovation. Apple's innovation comes at the cost of requiring frequent re-development, and Apple is very willing to pass that cost on to their third party developers.

Back to FCPX. It's changed enough under the hood since its release seven months ago to spawn two releases of XML and break Automatic Duck. FCPX 10.0.3 definitely represents progress over 10.0.0, and with much progress still to be made, I'm not suggesting that Apple should slow down. I'm just saying that the product and possibly its architecture is in a period of very rapid flux right now and represents a moving target for developers.

This in turn passes risk on to users for critical and basic workflow features like interchange. That's what I'd like to see a hybrid approach; let Apple take responsibility for the basic, industry-standard interchange fundamentals like EDL and OMF/AFF, but let third-party developers handle other workflow tools as Jeremy has outlined.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Oliver Peters
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 9, 2012 at 2:30:23 pm

[Paul Dickin] "4.1.1 actually, which came Dec 2003"

OMG! Four versions in 4 years. How could that possibly be without the App Store ;-/

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Craig Seeman
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 9, 2012 at 3:51:22 pm

Apple's versioning system is different now. Two of the three .0x updates have introduced new features. Of course one can say the App store is just a variant on Software Update but major changes that resulted in authoring and shipping disks make distribution more cost effective for Apple and possibly more time effective.

The question is could the major features .01 and .03 have been rolled out in the old Software Update method or would they have been held cumulative for an author and ship update. It's personal judgement but it would seem to me that it would have closer to a year for those (and possibly additional features) to have been rolled into an FCP 2 release. At the time I remember 1.25 followed by 2 being the first two subsequent releases. I think they took a bit longer than FCPX going to .01 and .03.



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 9, 2012 at 2:05:46 am

[Michael Gissing] "You still are at the mercy of Apple. They tweak a spec in XML, it breaks something for the third party developer. So you may enjoy the tech support of the third party but they have to trust Apple to warn them of anything before publicly breaking third party software."

This the way it's always been. Remember when that QT/iTunes update caused all that pain a few years ago?

The third parties will be able to respond mich more quickly, and it is up to us to be smart users and make sure it's safe to upgrade. It's been this way since as long as I can remember.

Although not 100% reliable, some developers have early access as well. 7toX is an example.

Jeremy


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Chris Harlan
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 9, 2012 at 6:22:24 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "This the way it's always been. Remember when that QT/iTunes update caused all that pain a few years ago?"

Oh man, memories of that still make me a bit sweaty. That, and the Night of the Murder of the eSata Cards.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 9, 2012 at 6:34:30 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "This the way it's always been. Remember when that QT/iTunes update caused all that pain a few years ago?"

[Chris Harlan] "Oh man, memories of that still make me a bit sweaty. That, and the Night of the Murder of the eSata Cards."

Going even further back, remember the iTunes 2.0 installer that erased hard drives [link] from 2001? That was an unpleasant surprise...

The advantage of single-vendor support is a nice idea, but no one catches everything in testing.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 9, 2012 at 11:43:43 am

Really interesting post, Jeremy - which I have to say has made me change my mind to some degree. Andreas Kiel made a very similar point recently about how third parties pretty much invisibly helped FCP Legacy become what it was.

The only thing I would say is that it is very clear to say the least that FCPX is a very different more complex beast than Legacy ever was.

To use a car analogy (for a change - we used to get loads of car analogies but now it's all baseball, baseball!), Legacy is like my old Triumph Spitfire that I pretty much took to pieces and rebuilt without being much of a mechanic because the underlying principles were so basic and accessible to a layperson. Conversely, with the modern car where everything is computer-controlled, you can't hope for a non-professional to be able to do anything other than change the windshield washer fluid. Everything else requires you to go back to the dealership where they have the specialized tools and knowledge.

Legacy was fundamentally fairly simple and legacy XML made it relatively easy for third parties to build robust solutions. By contrast, FCPX is massively different to anything we have seen before and FCPXML seemingly still needs a lot of work. There is clear evidence that third parties are struggling, especially in the area of writing translators.

Phil Hodgetts I think said that writing the 7oX translator was like translating from English to Spanish via Mandarin, or something like that. That's what's of concern to me here. The levels of complexity are many orders higher than developers have been used to in the past and I think the ride is going to be rough for some time to come, at least in terms of translators.

Simon Ubsdell
Director/Editor/Writer
http://www.tokyo-uk.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 10, 2012 at 4:02:03 am

[Simon Ubsdell] "Phil Hodgetts I think said that writing the 7oX translator was like translating from English to Spanish via Mandarin, or something like that. That's what's of concern to me here. The levels of complexity are many orders higher than developers have been used to in the past and I think the ride is going to be rough for some time to come, at least in terms of translators."

There are some incredibly smart and talented people out there in the developer realm.

I have faith that it will get better through hard work and letting Apple know what is needed.

It is up to Apple to care, but from what has been presented, it looks like they might be giving this a bit of a shot.

I agree that things are more complicated. We are ever increasingly more dependent on specialized technology. Even though things are getting "easier to use" from a user stand point, that means much more complexity behind the scenes. This is true of most technology and not just NLEs.


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Andreas Kiel
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 10, 2012 at 7:55:02 pm

Interesting thread.

All good points.

Here some points from me as I am one of those 3rd party guys who fixed some of the lacks of the old versions with some custom tools.
All over the years FCP existed there had been problems, sometimes massive ones, sometimes frustrating one, sometimes missing ones (cause the world changes all time).

Version 4.1 changed the world because of the XML introduction. But it was a really buggy version and XML was very basic. But it opened the app (and interaction with it) to a lot of people/developers around the world.
I had been the first who published a public version of an XML based app.
Because of my work with BWAV files since FCP version 1 which used Batch Lists for metadata (anyone remembers?) or EDLs (what's that?)and ALEs to import files I was introduced to Helana Ju at Apple. She was head of development for XML all over the years and she was very responsive and a good friend for several of us. That helped the developer community to grow and helped FCP sales to grow as well.
A lot of third party stuff changed the way of communication between apps and collaborative workflows.

Preparing for X there was a more or less different development group who had to follow this new kind of paradigm of X, which was (and still is) a challenge. They are very busy and less responsive therefore.

Even though XML seems to affect only a hand full of users it's a good example to learn about FCPX's internal structure and as Simon mentioned it's damn complicated - far away from the way his Spitfire can be handled.
There is finally a lot of house keeping to be done by the Apple guys to bring the parts together into a working interchange format.

Take an example which was mentioned above by Ben Scott:
subtitling workflow from STL files and improvements

When XML import/export was supported by X it took me 3 days to publish basic solutions for that, they are free because they don't make sense in a professional way and they can't make sense until a massive change within the XML handling will happen (or there is an API for the project structure).

I know several developers who gave up for now to create workflow apps - I didn't, but it's a kinda frustration here.
Several of the developers complaint about missing Apple Events which formerly made their apps working seamless with FCP. This doesn't exist anymore and won't exist anymore, because it doesn't match with the Sandbox stuff Apple requires (that was posted by Greg who works with Philip on all the cool IA apps).

Another problem is that good old QT is dying and AV foundation is not really there , this makes it even more complicated.

So currently all you can do is to use X, if it works it's fine - if not write a bug report (not a feedback). For a bug report you need to be a developer - that's free. But writing a bug report is handled different from feedbacks, you get a ticket ID which can be tracked.

And even if people complain they have to pay 299 bucks for a beta - it's way cheaper than the mxf4mac/P2Flow bundle 3rd party stuff Jeremy used to use with FCP :)

Andreas

Spherico
http://www.spherico.com/filmtools


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 11, 2012 at 1:37:16 pm

Hi Andreas

Really interesting and informative post.

I think quite a few of us speculate in ignorance (OK, at least I speculate in ignorance!!!) about all this, so it's really great to hear from someone really well informed who has been wrestling with it from the inside and trying to come up with the solutions that we are all looking for.

From what you are saying it definitely does look like a bumpy road ahead, but hopefully talented people like you and Greg and Phil can find ways of taming the beast!

Simon Ubsdell
Director/Editor/Writer
http://www.tokyo-uk.com


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Andreas Kiel
Re: Remaining enhancements
on Feb 12, 2012 at 1:25:51 am

[Simon] ... it definitely does look like a bumpy road ahead ...

Here from the X-files :):)

Anybody noticed that same time the FCPX stuff somehow started, Apple took the Apple Beatles albums on iTunes?
This implied they got access to the songs from the Beatles. They planned to integrate a start up sound for FCPX like you was able to do in OS 5,6,7 etc. They planned a start up sound that was a portion of the Beatles "The long and winding road".
Unfortunately there was nobody at Apple who did remember how that was done those times of the old OSs. So the current users only got an app which on start up takes a while to load Compressor Support and Templates.

Andreas :)

Spherico
http://www.spherico.com/filmtools


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