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Oliver Peters
FCP X and film editing
on May 5, 2013 at 12:36:49 am

Some more thoughts to chew on....

It strikes me that FCP X uses a design that is more akin to film editing than previous NLEs. The storyline/connected clip paradigm mimics a newsfilm/documentary A-Roll (dialogue) / B-Roll (cutaway) approach. Same for magnetic timeline and other aspects, which are very film-like. The level of metadata you can add to a clip is the ultimate "code book" for assistants.

So, it makes me wonder why editors who started on film are still hanging onto Avid. Look at TouchEdit on the iPad. Developed by an "Avid" editor, yet more like X than Media Composer. I suspect it's just familiarity and trust. But some of the things that were critical to Avid and film - like negative cut lists and matchbacks - are no longer needed for most digitally-acquired films.

If you started learning an NLE today coming from strictly a Moviola/KEM/Steenbeck training, then I suspect FCP X would feel more "right" to you. Media Composer is deep and powerful, but often more complex than needed. Most Avid editors overlook this, since they have grown up with the software as it evolved. Wonder if that would still be true if both apps started from scratch today.

One interesting indicator will be how Lightworks Mac stacks up in film editor use versus FCP X.

- Oliver

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


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Lance Bachelder
Re: FCP X and film editing
on May 5, 2013 at 3:51:58 am

Agree with you Oliver - but think the folks who will like FCPX the most are those who've used nothing else. I'm currently "polishing" 2 completed feature films in X - one which was brought in from 7 and one which has lived in a couple of NLE's last of which was actually FCPX. My biggest gripe with these full timelines are they are a lot more sluggish than I'd like - I had to go back and re-export the 7 show in 4 separate reels to get it up to speed. I really think FCPX is fine for long form work but only if it's done from scratch and in a very careful and organized way. I've already experienced your prior issues with media management...

After playing with Lightworks on the PC and seeing the Mac version at NAB I do think it's the most filmic NLE I've seen since my flatbed days in the 80's - it's by far the most flexible and customizable NLE I've ever seen and perfect for long form narrative work - I plan on giving it a serious go on a future project.

Lance Bachelder
Writer, Editor, Director
Downtown Long Beach, California
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1680680/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1


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Craig Seeman
Re: FCP X and film editing
on May 5, 2013 at 1:30:50 pm

While I was never a film editor, I started editing in the early 80s on linear systems. One reason I like FCPX is that it's magnetic timeline and connected clips and secondary story lines feels like a much more natural progression than track based editing. It's why I've posted previously that I've been looking for an NLE like FCPX since the early days of Avid.

As a former linear editor, I really like FCPX's Timeline Index. For all of FCPX's "radical" approach, that feature is a very good rethink on a very "traditional" linear edit list. It's like an EDL with metadata features.

In some respects, for me, it's as if Apple went back to 1990 (the early days of NLEs) and did a "what if we branched it in a different direction."



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Franz Bieberkopf
Re: FCP X and film editing
on May 5, 2013 at 2:53:06 pm

Oliver,

I'm not sure of your premise here, but I thought I'd write to clarify some of your references.

It's clear to me that FCPX was developed around two fundamentals: A/B editing and browser-based editing.

The A/B editing as a model has been discussed before:
http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/335/21027#21054
http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/335/41526#41644

There seems to be at least 2 distinct meanings:
- from broadcast, where A/B referred to source decks
- from film neg cutting in 16mm, where shots had to alternate from one roll to the other

I'm not familiar with your "newsfilm/documentary A-Roll (dialogue) / B-Roll (cutaway) approach" and I'd like to hear more about that process and your experience with it - it would represent a third meaning predating but similar to the broadcast meaning. Still, it seems very specific and certainly did not inform "film editing" as a whole, where rolls of film were not typically organized that way.

I could only find one discussion of this history, and it's not very authoritative, so I'd be interested in more info if you have it.
http://www.theindiefilmblog.com/history/the-history-of-the-term-b-roll

By "browser-based editing", I mean the approach to editing where the browser is used as the main organizing and selection space; this in contrast to "sequence-based editing" where almost all organizing and selecting is done sequences. I think there's an argument that "sequence-based" editing is more rooted in the history of film editing, but I don't know how conclusive that is. It seems that FCPX was developed around browser-based editing.

I have talked about this before as well:
http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/335/49642 (most recent)

Given the above, I find your comparisons of FCPX and film editing a bit unclear.

Franz.


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Andy Neil
Re: FCP X and film editing
on May 5, 2013 at 6:30:20 pm

[Franz Bieberkopf] "I'm not familiar with your "newsfilm/documentary A-Roll (dialogue) / B-Roll (cutaway) approach" and I'd like to hear more about that process and your experience with it - it would represent a third meaning predating but similar to the broadcast meaning."

From the news perspective, A-roll refers to the interview footage that makes up the bulk of news stories. The spine of a news pkg are the VO and Interview bites called, "SOTs" which tell the news story. B-roll are the shots of video which illustrate the story. They cover black holes and often go atop the SOTs. If you look at this structure, it's one that lends itself extremely well to FCPX

You place the VO and SOTs in the primary storyline, and then just connect all the broll above. This news structure also has a lot in common with documentary films who often rely on narration and interviews to drive the story.

In a lot of ways, this structure is also ideally suited for docu-style reality TV.

Andy

http://www.timesavertutorials.com


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Franz Bieberkopf
Re: FCP X and film editing
on May 5, 2013 at 6:50:05 pm

[Andy Neil] "From the news perspective, A-roll refers to the interview footage that makes up the bulk of news stories."

Andy,

Yes, you and I have posted about precisely this before. (links above)

Oliver was referring to this specifically as a "film editing" paradigm, where I associate its roots with broadcast (where its ideological meaning followed on from the practical roots of having two source decks). That is what I was asking about.

Franz.


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Oliver Peters
Re: FCP X and film editing
on May 5, 2013 at 8:54:02 pm

[Franz Bieberkopf] "[Andy Neil] "From the news perspective, A-roll refers to the interview footage that makes up the bulk of news stories."

Oliver was referring to this specifically as a "film editing" paradigm, where I associate its roots with broadcast "


We are basically saying the same thing and I realize it may have regional differences. In news, it's a bit of a hybrid. When news stories were cut on film you typically ended up with an A-roll reel (dialogue, a la the "radio cut") and a synchronized b-roll reel for cutaways. The A-roll reel's audio was striped on the picture edge. Both would be sync-rolled in two projectors and the director would switch between. This is similar - but not identical to - A/B-rolls as the term is used by film labs for printing.

My point was simply that the primary storyline concept is similar to the A-roll ("radio cut" track) in the news scenario, when news stories were cut on film.

- Oliver

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


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Franz Bieberkopf
Re: FCP X and film editing
on May 5, 2013 at 8:57:37 pm

[Oliver Peters] "When news stories were cut on film you typically ended up with an A-roll reel (dialogue, a la the "radio cut") and a synchronized b-roll reel for cutaways. The A-roll reel's audio was striped on the picture edge. Both would be sync-rolled in two projectors and the director would switch between. This is similar - but not identical to - A/B-rolls as the term is used by film labs for printing."

Oliver,

Live switching sync-ed projectors? This I did not know about. I would be interested in further details.

Franz.


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Oliver Peters
Re: FCP X and film editing
on May 5, 2013 at 9:01:37 pm

"Live switching sync-ed projectors? This I did not know about. I would be interested in further details."

Push the start button for both projectors (parked on the 2-pop). Director makes the cut or dissolve at the video switcher based on the timing cues written on the script.

- Oliver

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


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Franz Bieberkopf
Re: FCP X and film editing
on May 5, 2013 at 9:09:42 pm

Oliver,

I think David Roth Weiss was referencing this in one of those old threads when he talked about passing negative through film-chain projectors.

http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/335/21071

I can't find much about this stuff in a quick search.

But - and this is more germaine to your original post - these are all broadcast paradigms - not film. Even in your description - the "radio cut" - comes to us from broadcast history, not film history (except as it has served broadcast).

A/B editing is a broadcast conception of what editing is, and this is what has informed FCP X design.

Franz.


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Oliver Peters
Re: FCP X and film editing
on May 5, 2013 at 9:31:06 pm

[Franz Bieberkopf] "I think David Roth Weiss was referencing this in one of those old threads when he talked about passing negative through film-chain projectors."

News stories were generally shot on reversal stock. Film chain projectors were typically far too damaging to run a lot of negative. They usually only ran reversal or prints. That's why the industry moved to flying spot scanners like the Rank to transfer negative for commercial uses other than news.

[Franz Bieberkopf] "A/B editing is a broadcast conception of what editing is, and this is what has informed FCP X design."

Well, in this context yes. But A/B-rolls are also a lab construct, where film negative can be assembled as single-stand (one reel with opticals inserted for dissolves) or checkerboard A and B reels, which run through an optical printer and dissolves are created by the printing process.

In linear videotape editing, it means something completely different again. If you had to dissolve to a shot on the same videotape reel, you had to make a copy of that shot, which was frequently referred to as a B-roll.

So, yes, the A/B-roll term is an imperfect analogy at best ;-)

- Oliver

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


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Franz Bieberkopf
Re: FCP X and film editing
on May 5, 2013 at 9:42:16 pm

[Oliver Peters] "Well, in this context yes. But A/B-rolls are also a lab construct, where film negative can be assembled as single-stand (one reel with opticals inserted for dissolves) or checkerboard A and B reels, which run through an optical printer and dissolves are created by the printing process."

Oliver,

This was my point above, though.

In 16mm neg cutting, the A/B roll designation was a technical distinction. Any given shot in roll A or roll B had no reason for being in that roll other than the technical necessity of checkerboarding (alternating) between one roll and the next, strictly mechanically.

(As a side note - prints from A/B neg rolls were usually contact prints, not optical.)

The A/B roll designation that came to us from broadcast was no doubt in the first instance a technical designation, but quickly developed an ideological component - shots in the A roll carried a different weight or meaning or function from shots in the B roll.

To this day, "B roll" means something that has been quite separated from the physical, technical reality. That meaning comes not from the mechanical necessity of A/B film neg rolls, but from the broadcast use of "cutaways for the radio edit".

These are two very different meanings with different histories, and I felt your reference to the broadcast meaning as "film editing" was unduly confusing.

Franz.


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Oliver Peters
Re: FCP X and film editing
on May 5, 2013 at 9:46:24 pm

[Franz Bieberkopf] "To this day, "B roll" means something that has been quite separated from the physical, technical reality. That meaning comes not from the mechanical necessity of A/B film neg rolls, but from the broadcast use of "cutaways for the radio edit".

These are two very different meanings with different histories, and I felt your reference to the broadcast meaning as "film editing" was unduly confusing."


I see where you are coming from. For me, it was a paradigm created by cutting news stories on film. Definitely different than cutting a feature, for example. I wasn't necessarily being that literal, I guess.

So does that mean that you think a track-based system more closely approximates feature film-style editing?

- Oliver

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


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Franz Bieberkopf
Re: FCP X and film editing
on May 5, 2013 at 9:59:36 pm

[Oliver Peters] "So does that mean that you think a track-based system more closely approximates feature film-style editing?"

Oliver,

I think that's a bit of a skewed question.

I suppose the short answer would be that a track-based timeline (or "open timeline" as David Lawrence likes to call it) is distinctly not based on A/B editing. In a way, it sort of asks the user to bring a model to it. Many, no doubt, brought A/B editing to it. FCPX, on the other hand, has the A/B model built in as a starting point (even if editors might transcend it).

I suspect that sequence-based editing (outlined above in contrast to browser-based editing) may, indeed, have a closer affinity with film editing past, but I don't think I could make that claim without hearing from a lot more film editors of yore.

Franz.


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Oliver Peters
Re: FCP X and film editing
on May 5, 2013 at 10:11:07 pm

[Franz Bieberkopf] "I suspect that sequence-based editing (outlined above in contrast to browser-based editing) may, indeed, have a closer affinity with film editing past, but I don't think I could make that claim without hearing from a lot more film editors of yore."

Unfortunately all of these models don't relate well to actual film editing devices, because of mixing and visual effects. The types of things that NLE-based editors are called on to do would be impossible in the Moviola/KEM/Steenbeck world. Today we have to edit both "vertically" and "horizontally", which never used to be the case. In that sense FCP X is more or a "horizontal" construct.

- Oliver

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


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Oliver Peters
Re: FCP X and film editing
on May 5, 2013 at 8:58:18 pm

[Lance Bachelder] " My biggest gripe with these full timelines are they are a lot more sluggish than I'd like - I had to go back and re-export the 7 show in 4 separate reels to get it up to speed."

I completely agree. My biggest fear with X is the sluggishness with large projects. I still feel that the UI is not as responsive as other NLEs due to the inherent animations and frequent updating of the event databases. Ignoring skimming, all other UI actions are slow to me, on every machine I've tested, including the newest iMacs. And video randomly stutters to the viewer because of how refresh is handled.

- Oliver

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


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: FCP X and film editing
on May 5, 2013 at 11:30:25 pm

There are times early on in the edit when I don't need effects or precision and I set my main monitor like this:



Along with an AJA connected video monitor, it provides a very intimate, almost tactile view of the footage and timeline, with one main source of watching video in the external video monitor.


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Oliver Peters
Re: FCP X and film editing
on May 6, 2013 at 12:16:22 pm

That's cool, but you can do the same thing in Media Composer or Premiere Pro. I tend to use the list view, which gives me one selected clip as a filmstrip. In a 2-monitor set-up, I can spread this across the width of the display. That gives you a pretty good overview of the whole clip without any skimming. With waveforms, it's easy to identify the start of each take when you have multiple takes in one clip.

There's been some discussion of browser-based versus sequence-based organization. I don't think X locks you into a browser-based approach. Personally, I use the event organizing very lightly. For me editorial decisions are all about juxtaposition and that only happens in the edited timeline.

The much lauded database in X is very much like Media Composer. Sometimes a bit more elegant, but also less powerful in many ways. Premiere Pro's bin organization isn't as strong, unless you really tie it to a transcription. That adds a new dimension, which could prove to be the best of all. Too early to tell.

Oliver

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


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: FCP X and film editing
on May 6, 2013 at 3:07:54 pm

[Oliver Peters] "That's cool, but you can do the same thing in Media Composer or Premiere Pro. "

Mmmmm...ok.

You can certainly set up the footage and timeline stacked on top of each other, but the programs don't operate like each other.

[Oliver Peters] " I tend to use the list view, which gives me one selected clip as a filmstrip. In a 2-monitor set-up, I can spread this across the width of the display. That gives you a pretty good overview of the whole clip without any skimming. With waveforms, it's easy to identify the start of each take when you have multiple takes in one clip."

But that's it. In this view that I have, I can easily switch between list and chiclets (I have remapped those to 1 and 2 respectively). In the chiclet view, I can easily skim through all of the footage and since the window is so big I have a very visual and tactile relationship to the footage, I can also mark favorites or ranges and then sort the Browser by those ranges with more keystrokes. It find it easy and creative. If I need more granular view of the footage, I switch to list view, but when I have a mass of footage that I looking through, I find having the footage with the timeline below, and one video viewer which is the external video monitor, to allow me to be very focused on the footage at hand. I tend to save the granular (editing) stuff for the timeline anyway.

[Oliver Peters] "There's been some discussion of browser-based versus sequence-based organization. I don't think X locks you into a browser-based approach. Personally, I use the event organizing very lightly. For me editorial decisions are all about juxtaposition and that only happens in the edited timeline."

I agree. I don't think FCPX locks you to one way or another. Tab based sequences would help here, but it's not impossible to create "selects reels" in FCPX and choose from them. As a matter of fact, when making compound clipped selects, they also become a skimmable asset in the Event Browser. It is very flexible if you ask me, but I can see how someone might not feel that way.

Jeremy


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Franz Bieberkopf
Re: FCP X and film editing
on May 6, 2013 at 5:27:21 pm

[Oliver Peters] "There's been some discussion of browser-based versus sequence-based organization. I don't think X locks you into a browser-based approach. Personally, I use the event organizing very lightly. For me editorial decisions are all about juxtaposition and that only happens in the edited timeline."

[Jeremy Garchow] "I don't think FCPX locks you to one way or another. Tab based sequences would help here, but it's not impossible to create "selects reels" in FCPX and choose from them."

Oliver, Jeremy,

I certainly haven't imagined any "lock-in". But it seems evident in the split between events and projects, for example, and in a focus on the tagging and selection tools that FCPX took a browser-based process to model the software on.

For purposes of an example, I've just counted: on the current project, I have over 500 sequences organized in about 15 projects (I'd guess another 50-100 sequences before I finish). (This is slightly atypical in that I usually only have maybe 5 projects.) Nothing that I've read encourages me to attempt this in FCPX, to say nothing of the compound clip/event and project/project library split. (Contrast this with PPro, where I find the possibility of importing timelines from various projects into one "meta project" collection - I'm interested to experiment with that).

If I were using X, I'd spend almost no time in the events (after import) unless I worked with compounds. (Pending questions - why work with compounds and not projects? Why work with projects and not compounds?)

One project I'm consulting on is using my approach in X, but he's got far fewer sequences and he's only now headed into territory where those will start to multiply. It'll be interesting to see how that works out.

Franz.


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Oliver Peters
Re: FCP X and film editing
on May 6, 2013 at 5:32:52 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "
You can certainly set up the footage and timeline stacked on top of each other, but the programs don't operate like each other."


Your image shows the event in a icon view and you talked about playing through them and having that be displayed on your video monitor. Media Composer has had such a feature since the original 7.0 days - over a decade ago.

[Jeremy Garchow] "I can easily skim through all of the footage and since the window is so big I have a very visual and tactile relationship to the footage, I can also mark favorites or ranges and then sort the Browser by those ranges with more keystrokes. It find it easy and creative."

Agreed.

One feature though that no one can touch (yet) is Avid's ScriptSync. Granted, I don't use it, but editors that do, swear by it. One key sortable idea - adapted from the Ediflex Script Mimic routine - is to highlight a line in the on-screen script and have the software play through each take for coverage at that line, thus comparing one after the other automatically.

- Oliver

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


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: FCP X and film editing
on May 6, 2013 at 6:49:14 pm

[Oliver Peters] "Your image shows the event in a icon view and you talked about playing through them and having that be displayed on your video monitor. Media Composer has had such a feature since the original 7.0 days - over a decade ago."

It's not the act of playing back footage on a monitor, it is the way you can use the footage in the Browser, add it to the timeline with no patching, make a few selections and sort by those selections in the Browser, and then go back to the main footage with a keystroke without having to arrange new panels/windows/bins.

It's the whole package, not just one element, that separates this process from other NLE's, at least in my experiences with it, and of course, my opinion.

[Oliver Peters] "One feature though that no one can touch (yet) is Avid's ScriptSync. Granted, I don't use it, but editors that do, swear by it. "

Yes, that would be a very nice feature. Although, on my last script based piece I edited with FCPX, I didn't have (or need) the pieces to be synced to a script, but the use of Auditions to stack and relate different takes became a very useful tool in the supervised edit sessions.

With the combination of something like script sync, it would be pretty sweet.


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Richard Herd
Re: FCP X and film editing
on May 6, 2013 at 4:31:38 am

This thread is best of the cow. Lots to contemplate, here.

for your consideration: Events=Dailies.


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Michael Aranyshev
Re: FCP X and film editing
on May 6, 2013 at 8:03:25 pm

[Richard Herd] "for your consideration: Events=Dailies."

The similarity is superficial. When editing I don't care about the date and time the footage was shot. I care about the scene number. And all FCPX metadata automagic is totally useless here.

When preparing for editing I do care about the date and time the footage was shot but for the single purpose: match picture takes with sound takes. And all FCPX metadata automagic is totally useless here again.


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