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My closer look at FCPX

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Greg Andonian
My closer look at FCPX
on May 31, 2012 at 9:35:16 am

Ok, so, in that other thread that asked if your perception of FCPX has changed after a year, I said that I still thought of it as a souped-up iMovie and was criticized for making assumptions without looking at X close enough, and letting the internet do the work for me. So today I took a trip to the Apple store to take a closer look at FCPX and really try to understand things better.

My arrival at the store was a bit jarring- I headed for the table where the iMacs usually were, but when I got closer I noticed it was now filled with iPads. Then I took a look around, and realized nothing was where it was last time I was there, and I felt disoriented. After a few seconds of looking around, I realized that what they had done was reversed the whole layout of the store- it was now a mirror image of what it had been the last time I was there. I then thought, "Geez, this is ridiculous- I just wanted to come check out FCPX, and now they want me to put aside everything I knew about how this Apple store works, and start from scratch..."

So after realizing what had happened I located the iMac table and went over and fired up FCPX. When I did that it brought up that Audi promo that they used in the demo, so I poked around in there a bit.

One thing I really wanted to understand better was the whole issue of the persistent in and out points. I'd looked at this a while back when I was there, but wasn't able to make sense of it.

I remember a while back there was a monolithic thread about this, in which Jeremy said that it wasn't a big deal at all, you just need to create a favorite, and it will stay persistent. I remember him saying, "You hit I, you hit O, you hit F".

So I tried it, but nothing seemed to be happening. I was expecting the yellow outline to appear around the favorite area, but it didn't- so I wasn't sure how to use the persistent favorite I had created. I noticed the "mark" menu flash when I hit F, so I thought maybe there was something in there that I was supposed to do- but couldn't find anything. Then I thought, wait- FCPX is really big on metadata and keyword collections- I bet there's a keyword collection called "Favorites" that shows up when you make these, and you go in there to access them. So I looked, but there wasn't one. I was really surprised by that. I knew I'd created a favorite, but it was nowhere to be found. It seemed after being created it had simply disappeared, and had gone up into favorites heaven...

After a few minutes of wondering what the heck was going on, I noticed there was a faint green line above the area that I had turned into a favorite, and when I clicked on that, I DID get the yellow rectangle I had expected to see. I was then able to drag the favorite area onto the timeline. I then created a few more favorites.

At this point I figured I was doing pretty good. Having mastered the art of persistent favorite creation, I had probably gotten further into FCPX than a lot of other people. I still thought it would be better if the clip retained at least the last favorite that was created before clicking on another one and coming back, but I liked the idea of being able to save multiple in and out points in a single clip.

Then I found a flaw in the new approach. I wondered what would happen if two favorite segments overlapped. Would they both still be accessible? How would X handle this? So I set a new in point in the middle of one of them, and a new out point a bit beyond the end of it.

When I hit F, the new favorite merged with the one it was overlapping, and they became one single favorite. I was really disappointed by this. What if you DID want to have two overlapping sections of a clip saved as individual favorites for some reason? or you wanted to save two versions of the same section of footage, but have one be longer than the other? I began to think that it really would be better if you could save each favorite by giving it a name and having it show up in a keyword collection.

There were several things on the timeline I took a closer look at too, but to keep this from turning into a novel I'll save those for another post. I'll close by saying I'm glad I took the time to look into X further. I feel like I have a better understanding of what's going on over there, and there ARE some things I like about it. There aren't enough of them to pull me away from Premiere, but there are some...

______________________________________________
"THAT'S our fail-safe point. Up until here, we still have enough track to stop the locomotive before it plunges into the ravine... But after this windmill it's the future or bust."


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Tony Brittan
Re: My closer look at FCPX
on May 31, 2012 at 11:14:09 am

Glad you're taking a closer look. You might want to go ahead and grab the free trial of X and actually use it for something small that includes some of your regular workflow in order t really get an idea of how it would work for you. The instore demo is just playing with something they've done. And you're standing there...in a store...with distractions and a unreal sense of what you're doing.

I've been using to more and more and starting to like it! All while learning Avid and PP CS6.

Tony Brittan
Island Shore Peoductions
Posted from iPad, please excuse typos!


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Greg Andonian
Re: My closer look at FCPX
on Jun 1, 2012 at 6:05:17 am

Tony Brittan You might want to go ahead and grab the free trial of X and actually use it for something small that includes some of your regular workflow in order t really get an idea of how it would work for you

That would be cool, but I can't do it right now, because I don't have a Mac that's capable of running it. My main computer is a self-built PC. I also have a PowerMac (with FCP 5) and a Mac Mini, but they're both PowerPC-based.

______________________________________________
"THAT'S our fail-safe point. Up until here, we still have enough track to stop the locomotive before it plunges into the ravine... But after this windmill it's the future or bust."


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: My closer look at FCPX
on May 31, 2012 at 1:27:50 pm

First of all, Greg, I commend you on actually taking a stab at this and trying to understand it, in an Apple Store no less.

I hope to have a response back to you with pictures sometime soon.

A few quick things, favorites can't overlap. Yes, they have some rules, but they are decent ones in my opinion when you factor in the other sorting and selection tools in X.

A favorite is not a keyword collection. If you want a keyword collection of "favorites" then you'd create a keyword called "favorites" and start there. Favorites play a different role. They can be temporary or static depending on your source footage and editing style and encompass one piece of media. Keyword collections span many pieces of media.

I can't thank you enough for posting this. You have shown some insight as to why this might be confusing to some folks. I feel like this might now a real dialogue instead of trying to fight my way out the corner.

I'm not saying X is perfect, Greg, it's not, but it is fundamentally different.

Thank you, and more later.


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Elizabeth Watkins
Re: My closer look at FCPX
on Jul 12, 2012 at 5:05:20 pm

I marked 100's of favorites in a project and one day, all my green marks disappeared! Can anyone help. I'm 7 months into editing a documentary on 6 Pearl Harbor survivors and I really need my favorites!

Thank you


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Richard Herd
Re: My closer look at FCPX
on May 31, 2012 at 2:31:54 pm

Next time do this.

Skim a clip hit I. Skim a bit further hit O.
Then hit Q.
Then click the clip in the timeline and hit SHIFT-F.

(Nice post, I laughed at the mirror image conceit!)


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Michael Hadley
Re: My closer look at FCPX
on May 31, 2012 at 2:35:31 pm

Kudos for dipping your toe in the water, but...

I recommend downloading the free trial and cutting a couple of personal non-paid projects to get a feel for it. It is a different program and until you spend some time with it, you won't get it and won't be able to benefit from its many strengths.

Funny thing, though, it wasn't until we actually started cutting real paid projects that our learning curve escalated and we really began to understand X's pros and cons.

Is it perfect? Nope. But it is pretty good. And some of things it does well it does very, very well. IMHO, it makes editing faster and somehow more fun, which is not something I could say about FCP 7.

An hour playing with it in a store is bound to be frustrating. You've got to put in a few days with it at the very least to even see if you like what it's good at and can put up with what it is still lacking.

The one thing that gives me some assurance about the future with X is that they have improved/updated it very rapidly. I'm hoping for another update in June (one year anniversary, right?).

Good luck.


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Richard Herd
Re: My closer look at FCPX
on May 31, 2012 at 3:24:42 pm

[Michael Hadley] "non-paid projects"

What? Free? If that's actually the case, I have some footage a client needs editing. I'll keep the fees, and you can learn ;)


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Mark Dobson
Re: My closer look at FCPX
on May 31, 2012 at 3:20:42 pm

[Greg Andonian] "Then I found a flaw in the new approach. I wondered what would happen if two favorite segments overlapped. Would they both still be accessible? How would X handle this? So I set a new in point in the middle of one of them, and a new out point a bit beyond the end of it.

When I hit F, the new favorite merged with the one it was overlapping, and they became one single favorite. I was really disappointed by this. What if you DID want to have two overlapping sections of a clip saved as individual favorites for some reason? or you wanted to save two versions of the same section of footage, but have one be longer than the other? "


Hi Greg,

It is possible to duplicate the clip in the event folder and apply 2 totally different sets of Favourites to the 'same' clip. Or to duplicate it twice etc etc.

This enables you to overlap your selections or favourites.

As I do not use FCPX to import files, but reference media on my drives, this workaround does not result in data being replicated.

I hope you are able to spend more time with FCPX, it took me a long time to reorient myself from FCP7, but I'm now really enjoying the time I spend editing with this program.


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Andy Neil
Re: My closer look at FCPX
on May 31, 2012 at 3:28:12 pm

[Greg Andonian] "When I hit F, the new favorite merged with the one it was overlapping, and they became one single favorite. I was really disappointed by this. What if you DID want to have two overlapping sections of a clip saved as individual favorites for some reason?"

This is where thinking of favorites as persistent INs/OUTs leads to some confusion. But if you consider that in any other NLE, you only get the last IN/OUT saved, then you are still ahead of the game even if you can't overlap favorites.

I try to imagine favorites in terms of cutting a film. In a typical single camera shoot, there may be many takes of the same scene. As you go through your footage, you find that some takes are better than others so you favorite those takes, and reject the ones that are completely unusable.

In that scenario, you are creating favorites of sections of the footage, not specific INs/OUTs which makes sense that you'd want a consolidation of overlapping favorites.

In places where you want to have overlapping INs/OUTs, a standard keyword will work. Keyword collections can overlap and you can label them specifically to your needs if necessary. They are also nearly as simple to create as a favorite.

Andy

http://www.timesavertutorials.com


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Richard Herd
Re: My closer look at FCPX
on May 31, 2012 at 3:34:18 pm

[Andy Neil] "and reject the ones that are completely unusable"

You can also range select footage and delete it and it becomes rejected. Then you can choose to display "hide rejected." The footage doesn't go away, it just gets marked with a red bar.

A couple of other niftiness:

In the timeline Range select some stuff then hit CMD-R.

In the timeline select a clip, hit CTRL-S. Then range select some audio and adjust the audio level.

With two clips in the timeline select a couple clip, hit CTRL-S, then, drag the picture.

In the preference window, CMD-, select the editing option to "show detailed trimming feedback." Back in the timeline, double click the between to clips to reveal the Precision Editor.

Oh yeah, dirty little secret: There are tracks in X. They are called secondary storylines.

These things, for me, have made editing very very fast. Just yesterday I cut a thing in Premiere Pro and it was obvious (from a cutting point of view) how efficient X is.

The other stuff like media management is pretty cool too and personally I like 3rd developers creating things like 7toX, xtopro, and clipexporter.


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Clint Wardlow
Re: My closer look at FCPX
on May 31, 2012 at 4:00:33 pm

[Richard Herd] "Oh yeah, dirty little secret: There are tracks in X. They are called secondary storylines."

The question I always had about this is: how well does precision editing work in secondary storylines? Or if I place something in a secondary storyline (say a long audio clip) that sets the rythym of the video, how easy is it to cut the primary and other secondary to fit beat within.


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Andy Neil
Re: My closer look at FCPX
on May 31, 2012 at 4:24:24 pm

[Clint Wardlow] "how well does precision editing work in secondary storylines?"

Precision editing could be improved in secondary storylines. The precision editor itself only opens in the primary so if you like trimming that way, secondaries are more difficult. However, trim tools and tops and tails all work perfectly fine which is how I trim anyway. Although I'd like the 2-up monitor to be active whenever I'm using the trim tool whether I'm dragging or using keyboard shortcuts.

Also, I would like a keyboard shortcut to toggle between primary and secondary storylines; that would help quite a bit.

But to answer your second question, it's easy to trim video in the primary to the beat of a song in a secondary.

Andy

http://www.timesavertutorials.com


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Clint Wardlow
Re: My closer look at FCPX
on May 31, 2012 at 4:36:03 pm

[Andy Neil] "Precision editing could be improved in secondary storylines. The precision editor itself only opens in the primary so if you like trimming that way, secondaries are more difficult. However, trim tools and tops and tails all work perfectly fine which is how I trim anyway. Although I'd like the 2-up monitor to be active whenever I'm using the trim tool whether I'm dragging or using keyboard shortcuts.

Also, I would like a keyboard shortcut to toggle between primary and secondary storylines; that would help quite a bit.

But to answer your second question, it's easy to trim video in the primary to the beat of a song in a secondary.

Andy"


Cool, thanks Andy.


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Richard Herd
Re: My closer look at FCPX
on May 31, 2012 at 9:38:11 pm

I refuse to use the term workaround because it's really technique :)

I cut the picture first, then lock it. Then I use the Jim Giberti Technique to create secondaries. Then I dump effects and music into those tracks, err...I mean: Secondaries. They stay where the are. They are not relative. It's a common misconception. If I want to precision edit and not disrupt the relative position, then I Copypasta the clip as an attached clip , then I hit "P" and that turns of magnetism, and I re-place the clip into the secondary.

It's really not so clever to be honest. My first step in any editing is to "remove the cat from the keyboard"; "turn the computer on." What I mean is, what I said above is pretty banal (excepting the Giberti Technique, a brilliant insight!). It's just how the software works. In Legacy, it's like saying, first you have to unlock track 2, hit shift-L, edit, resync...blah blah blah.

can't believe anyone read this far


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Tim Wilson
Re: My closer look at FCPX
on Jun 1, 2012 at 12:03:56 am

[Richard Herd] "I refuse to use the term workaround because it's really technique :)"

I've always hated the word "workaround." If it works, it works. Because lawdy knows that plenty of "here's the power user secret" techniques, even basic "this is how it works" techniques, are more annoying than some "workarounds."

Besides, at this point, how many straight-line workflows are left? Just ask somebody whether intermediate format or mixed format all-native on a single timeline is the way to go, and stand back -- assuming that we even mean the same thing when we say "timeline."

If it works, it works.

Tim Wilson
Associate Publisher, Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW Magazine
Twitter: timdoubleyou



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Richard Herd
Re: My closer look at FCPX
on Jun 1, 2012 at 6:13:02 am

[Tim Wilson] "here's the power user secret" techniques,"

Actually, that's what brought me to the Cow in 2005. I needed to figure out how to morph one character into another, and my friend said there's an After Effects reshape tutorial on the Cow. Since my actual last name is Herd, I was sold! I even bought some products from the advertisers!!

Shane's P2 workflow was also very useful, circa 2006.-ish. He may be appalled to know that I still use his organizing technique in FCP X. Only, I use the Finder and Folders as bins and then select the option "import folders as keywords." Another dirty little secret: Keywords ARE bins.


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Greg Andonian
Re: My closer look at FCPX
on Jun 1, 2012 at 6:28:29 am

Richard Herd my friend said there's an After Effects reshape tutorial on the Cow. Since my actual last name is Herd, I was sold!

This made me laugh... :)

______________________________________________
"THAT'S our fail-safe point. Up until here, we still have enough track to stop the locomotive before it plunges into the ravine... But after this windmill it's the future or bust."


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Steve Connor
Re: My closer look at FCPX
on Jun 1, 2012 at 7:53:55 am

[Richard Herd] "Another dirty little secret: Keywords ARE bins."

Exactly! Also events are projects and projects are sequences. The different names seem to offend some people.

Steve Connor
"The ripple command is just a workaround for not having a magnetic timelinel"
Adrenalin Television


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Jules bowman
Re: My closer look at FCPX
on Jun 1, 2012 at 8:00:23 am

Yes. Me.


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Steve Connor
Re: My closer look at FCPX
on Jun 1, 2012 at 8:12:09 am

[Jules bowman] "Yes. Me."

I wonder how difficult it would be for Apple to offer an option to revert some of the nonclementure of FCPX to that of Legend, surely it's only a few text string changes?

Steve Connor
"The ripple command is just a workaround for not having a magnetic timelinel"
Adrenalin Television


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Jules bowman
Re: My closer look at FCPX
on Jun 1, 2012 at 8:20:37 am

Thing is Steve, why did they change it in the first place. I bet you don't like FC10 BECAUSE you work in an event, you like it because of how it works.

Even Bill (well, perhaps) won't argue FC10 is great BECAUSE of the new naming convention (though he may start now!)


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Richard Herd
Re: My closer look at FCPX
on Jun 1, 2012 at 9:14:48 am

Just to spite you Jules, Bill will [Jules bowman] "argue FC10 is great BECAUSE of the new naming convention".

apple owes you at least a free i7, x, compressor, and motion.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: My closer look at FCPX
on Jun 1, 2012 at 4:29:26 pm

[Jules bowman] "Thing is Steve, why did they change it in the first place. I bet you don't like FC10 BECAUSE you work in an event, you like it because of how it works.

Even Bill (well, perhaps) won't argue FC10 is great BECAUSE of the new naming convention (though he may start now!)"


Not sure if you care about this, but here it is: http://www.philiphodgetts.com/2012/05/some-thought-on-events-and-keyword-co...


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Greg Andonian
Re: My closer look at FCPX
on Jun 1, 2012 at 6:24:37 am

Andy Neil This is where thinking of favorites as persistent INs/OUTs leads to some confusion. But if you consider that in any other NLE, you only get the last IN/OUT saved, then you are still ahead of the game even if you can't overlap favorites.

Yes, I thought about that, and that made it seem pretty cool again. But then I got to thinking, in Premiere I can do this same sort of thing by creating subclips- and with those I can save overlapping segments individually.

At the end of the day, isn't this whole favorites thing just a new approach to subclip creation? or am I missing something here?

______________________________________________
"THAT'S our fail-safe point. Up until here, we still have enough track to stop the locomotive before it plunges into the ravine... But after this windmill it's the future or bust."


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Andy Neil
Re: My closer look at FCPX
on Jun 1, 2012 at 4:20:43 pm

[Greg Andonian] "At the end of the day, isn't this whole favorites thing just a new approach to subclip creation? or am I missing something here?"

You could be forgiven for thinking so, although I would actually argue that keyword collections more appropriately encompass the utility of subclips, and favorites is something slightly new with some overlap into the subclip paradigm.

One of my most common uses for favorites though, is one that might necessitate subclips in another NLE. When I have VO narration for a piece, there are good takes and bad takes. I like to be able to go through the entire clip and favorite out the best takes and then grab them all and drop them into the timeline at once.

In FCP7, I would just lay them into the timeline one at a time instead of bothering with subclips, but then scrubbing back through the clip looking for a particular take was time consuming. But I resisted using subclips because of match back issues, and all the extra button presses that were required to getting back to my VO. FCPX made it much simpler to section off pieces of a clip without extra clicks and I could keep plugging away.

In the end, there's not a ton of differences, but enough to make favorites more inviting than subclips.

Andy

http://www.timesavertutorials.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: My closer look at FCPX
on Jun 1, 2012 at 7:25:22 pm

[Greg Andonian] "So I tried it, but nothing seemed to be happening. I was expecting the yellow outline to appear around the favorite area, but it didn't- so I wasn't sure how to use the persistent favorite I had created. I noticed the "mark" menu flash when I hit F, so I thought maybe there was something in there that I was supposed to do- but couldn't find anything."

There are a couple of ways to view favorites after you have marked them. One is by the little green lines like you have already found, similar to this:



Another way is to sort the browser by favorites, you do that by hitting control f. Every range that was favorited now becomes its own little "clip" in the browser like this:



To get back to all of your clips, you sort the browser by all clips (control-c).

Yet another way is to put the browser in list view, (command-option-2, although I have mapped it to just "2") and all the favorites are listed in each clip after you twirl down the arrow:



[Greg Andonian] "At this point I figured I was doing pretty good. Having mastered the art of persistent favorite creation, I had probably gotten further into FCPX than a lot of other people. I still thought it would be better if the clip retained at least the last favorite that was created before clicking on another one and coming back, but I liked the idea of being able to save multiple in and out points in a single clip.

Then I found a flaw in the new approach. I wondered what would happen if two favorite segments overlapped. Would they both still be accessible? How would X handle this? So I set a new in point in the middle of one of them, and a new out point a bit beyond the end of it.

When I hit F, the new favorite merged with the one it was overlapping, and they became one single favorite. I was really disappointed by this. What if you DID want to have two overlapping sections of a clip saved as individual favorites for some reason? or you wanted to save two versions of the same section of footage, but have one be longer than the other? I began to think that it really would be better if you could save each favorite by giving it a name and having it show up in a keyword collection. "


Yes. Favorites cannot overlap. This is where you have to figure out how to use them. In and out points in FCP7 don't overlap either. They simply get recreated.

As I mentioned earlier, I use favorites as both a more permanent place holder, or a temporary one. If they are more temporary, I am constantly clearing the favorite by clicking on it, and hitting the "u" key. When I do end up saving them, it's usually from a clip that has more than one take in it. I will usually favorite the whole take from beginning to end, then favorite the next take in that clip. If I do need to further define that range, I usually just throw it in the timeline as a connected clip and edit it "q". Or, I will add a marker "m" that breaks up the favorited range even further. Markers will stay until I delete them. So even if the favorites get moved, lost, stolen or broken, the marker will stay there until I specifically delete it. It will also travel down to the Project as well.

You mentioned that if you want a "keyword collection" of your favorites, you can actually do this, but it takes a few seconds to setup.

You create a "Smart Collection" and call it "Favorites". You then tell it to search for "all" criteria, add the "ratings" tag, and make sure "Favorites" is selected from the drop down list.

This will then make a keyword collection that will automatically take every single favorite from your project and display them in the "Favorite" Smart Collection. As you add/take away Favorites, they will be added/taken away from the Smart Collection.

Here's a picture on what that dialog looks like:



You can also set a number of criteria for smart collections. Here's another picture:



Each one of those criteria on the left also has more options once you add them, like here's the "Format" function:



You can search for reel number, frame rates, is or is not, audio sample rates, etc, etc.

If you want subclips of all of your best moments from a whole shoot, you can simply make a keyword called "Best stuff ever" or whatever you want. You can then range away on any clip, overlapping or not and simply applying the keyword. You then click on the keyword collection, and all of those ranged clips will be present in that keyword collection.

These methods are very personal and you will have to find out which methods work best, maybe they are none of these at all. I think it is important to understand how favorites, keyword collections, and smart collections all work and how they differ.

If this is of no use, sorry to have bothered you, but maybe it will give you something else to look at when you go back to the Apple store and the iMacs have been rearranged. Again.

Jeremy


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: My closer look at FCPX
on Jun 3, 2012 at 7:12:32 am

I just re-read this post and realized there were some inclarities in my writing.

I am not a trainer, but rather someone who edits.

I apologize if that pictured post added more confusion.

Jeremy


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