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FCPX: A Lesson in Language

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Philip Bowser
FCPX: A Lesson in Language
on Nov 12, 2014 at 12:19:22 pm

FCPX re-invented the wheel in a number of ways. Whether that wheel is as effective as previous wheels is still up for debate, however you can't deny Apple's courage and determination to change the NLE game and explore new solutions to classic problems. One of their most daring feats in my opinion is changing the English language and the underlying principle that makes a language effective: the meaning of words.

PRIOR TO APRIL 2011:

Project: noun - an individual or collaborative enterprise that is carefully planned and designed to achieve a particular aim.

Event: noun - a thing that happens, especially one of importance - a planned public or social occasion.

Timeline: noun - a graphic representation of the passage of time as a line.

Sequence: noun - a set of related events, movements, or things that follow each other in a particular order.


Some may argue they're "bold", others may say "confused", but I think we all know that Apple would say, "What does 'confused' even REALLY mean?"

As much as I love FCPX and use it daily, there are some things, like the fundamentals of language, that don't need re-inventing.

Philip. Bowser


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Oliver Peters
Re: FCPX: A Lesson in Language
on Nov 12, 2014 at 2:46:29 pm

FWIW - some of this was already there in iPhoto and Aperture. The use of the term Project to equal sequence was already started by Sony Vegas Pro. I'm in the camp that believes they shouldn't have changed accepted terminology, but that's the choice they made. I'm now forever struggling with what to call a project (as in a production or session), which now equates to the Library. ;-)

Oliver

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


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Shawn Miller
Re: FCPX: A Lesson in Language
on Nov 12, 2014 at 6:21:43 pm

[Oliver Peters] "The use of the term Project to equal sequence was already started by Sony Vegas Pro."

If my middle-aged memory serves me correctly, I believe that Vegas used the term project in the usual sense (a container for everything you might put on the timeline). I don't believe Vegas even had sequences or multiple timelines. The workaround was that the user could import another project as an asset and use it like any other media file. :-)

Shawn



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Oliver Peters
Re: FCPX: A Lesson in Language
on Nov 12, 2014 at 6:29:14 pm

[Shawn Miller] " I believe that Vegas used the term project in the usual sense (a container for everything you might put on the timeline)."

It's both. A project has a single timeline. You can open multiple instances of Vegas, each with a single timeline. I think their rationale is from the DAW world. So a timeline is basically analogous to a "track sheet".

- Oliver

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


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Shawn Miller
Re: FCPX: A Lesson in Language
on Nov 12, 2014 at 6:47:02 pm

[Oliver Peters] "[Shawn Miller] " I believe that Vegas used the term project in the usual sense (a container for everything you might put on the timeline)."

It's both. A project has a single timeline. You can open multiple instances of Vegas, each with a single timeline. I think their rationale is from the DAW world. So a timeline is basically analogous to a "track sheet".

- Oliver"


Yes, you're right. I think I was confusing Vegas with Encore. It all seems to blend together after a while. :-)

Shawn



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Brett Sherman
Re: FCPX: A Lesson in Language
on Nov 12, 2014 at 2:56:28 pm

I don't think you'll find much disagreement that the terminology of FCP X sucks. But it's not much of a barrier to getting things done.

At the beginning of the FCP X release, they thought they were going to change the structure of file management for video editing. Dividing footage storage from timeline editing. So I think that's why they came up with the Project/Event structure.

Now as it turns out that was a miserable failure for a lot of good reasons. But they sort of had to keep the nomenclature. I agree that "Project" is a terrible term. It really should be "Timeline" or "Sequence". "Event" I'm less opinionated about. Often my usage actually is an "event" per "Event." But sometimes not. "Bin" would probably be better.

I still think "Projects" should be able to be stored outside of the events within the library. It sort of mucks up the division between sequences and footage. But whatever.


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David Mathis
Re: FCPX: A Lesson in Language
on Nov 12, 2014 at 4:05:19 pm

It took me sometime to figure out what Apple meant when first jumping into the reinvented wheel. Prior to this change and coming from an Avid background getting started with prior versions of Final Cut Pro was easy. Then came changing the terminology, for whatever reason, followed by confusion. To me a library should be a project, the timeline a sequence. I am neutral on events, though slightly leaning to bins.

Apple took a bold, different direction with X, mainly good.


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Gerry Fraiberg
Re: FCPX: A Lesson in Language
on Nov 12, 2014 at 3:45:59 pm

Three years in and I don't think about it much anymore. Except when talking to my Avid editor colleague and I have to translate. :-)



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Scott Witthaus
Re: FCPX: A Lesson in Language
on Nov 12, 2014 at 5:02:52 pm

[Gerry Fraiberg] "Three years in and I don't think about it much anymore."

Exactly. You just deal with it and move on.

Scott Witthaus
Senior Editor/Post Production Supervisor
1708 Inc./Editorial
Professor, VCU Brandcenter


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: FCPX: A Lesson in Language
on Nov 12, 2014 at 7:23:19 pm

Pre Libraries, Event and Project didn't make much sense, and it seemed like a half hearted attempt to bring together certain aspects of other Apple applications where the Event term is used.

Now with Libraries, it makes much more sense, but you have to take in to account the way that FCPX works.

If you use Snapshots in X, it could be argued that there's really no reason to ever change the name of the current *clears throat* Project you are working on. I think that's the big difference. X assumes that you are going to make multiple videos from each set of media (or Library) and each video is it's own project. FCP7 and other NLE's assume the the project is the over arching definition of all the media inside of it. I think with films, the project term makes sense, but when you look at news or new media, commercials, and reality television, a library is actually a more apt name, and certain Projects come out of the different Library of media.

So the Library contains all of the elements (Footage, sequences, sync stuff, etc), the Event contains sub directories of that stuff for further organization, and from there, you have Projects. Each Library, or even each Event can have different Projects (or you can have an Event full of Projects which is what I usually do).

Many times, we cut different versions from the same material. Instead of "ThisVersion_v1...ThisVersion_v100" I keep the Projects as "ThisVersion" and then snapshot along the way to save any different versions that I may need to go back and revisit. Then I start a new Project for "ThatVersion" and snapshot that one.

I then keyword Projects to the most recent (or keyword other important snapshot versions) and then I keyword all the old Projects as "zOld Projects" and delete them out of the "recent" keyword.

I rather like the nomenclature, but you do have accept the terms as they are, and not what they were, and that may not feel necessary.


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Richard Herd
Re: FCPX: A Lesson in Language
on Nov 12, 2014 at 9:48:19 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "X assumes that you are going to make multiple videos from each set of media (or Library) and each video is it's own project."

Righto! The databasey stuff! Many databases that can be shared. There is an old thread around here somewhere, wherein the entire thing was discussed.

Apple used language to refer to the new stuff with new terms because the databasey was new.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: FCPX: A Lesson in Language
on Nov 12, 2014 at 10:15:26 pm

[Richard Herd] "There is an old thread around here somewhere, wherein the entire thing was discussed. "

Just one old thread? Craziness!


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Bill Davis
Re: FCPX: A Lesson in Language
on Nov 12, 2014 at 5:28:03 pm

Yes, because words should never CHANGE or adapt, dammit.

We should still totally reserve "AWEFUL" to indicate full of wonder NOT "really bad"
We should still totally reserve "GAY" to mean what it does today, NOT how Cole Porter used it.
We should still totally reserve "BROADCAST" to mean the sowing of seeds by hand - NOT, uh, TV and stuff.
We should still totally reserve "BULLY" to mean "exceptional" ala Teddy Roosevelt, NOT "that kid."

And we should definitely all remain NICE about all this - which i'm informed originally meant ignorant or silly.

That's my storyline and I'm sticking with it.

; )

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Andrew Kimery
Re: FCPX: A Lesson in Language
on Nov 12, 2014 at 5:35:33 pm

Meh. Annoyed me at first but not worthwhile to get worked up about, IMO. I also find them calling applications just "Color" or "Photo" annoying but, hey, that's Apple.


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Michael Gissing
Re: FCPX: A Lesson in Language
on Nov 12, 2014 at 6:34:57 pm

I used to tease my father by saying the sure sign of getting old was complaining that language was deteriorating not evolving. To counter he would point out that forced change, common in advertising and politics was designed to obfuscate and was not evolution but subversive and undesirable.

He had a point. A forced change to language that reduces effective communication should fail to survive the evolution of language. As someone who works in collaboration with editors, directors and producers clear definitions matter and gratuitous change of meaning muddies things. So far the relatively minor uptake of X in my area of post has been by other dinosaurs who can translate when we talk about basics like projects and sequences.

And given that dinosaur is a word that means terrible lizard and my colleagues are not terrible or reptiles I am evoking the Bill Davis common usage definition. The fact that most actual dinosaurs were neither terrible nor reptilian means the word is no longer useful as an accurate descriptor to science and can be happily appropriated.

Like Bill I wish to reserve OARFUL to mean satisfied full feeling when rowing against the tide.


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Shane Ross
Re: FCPX: A Lesson in Language
on Nov 12, 2014 at 6:11:13 pm

One of my favorite bits of script writing lately...from the show SLEEPY HOLLOW:

Ichabod: Do you know that in my day, the word "awful" meant awe inspiring And the the term "intercourse" meant conversation?

Abbie: So if I went out with a guy and we had 'awful intercourse,' we'd be going on a second date?

Ichabod: Disconcerting...but yes.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Bill Davis
Re: FCPX: A Lesson in Language
on Nov 12, 2014 at 6:28:17 pm

THIS is why we should give money to qualified scriptwriters.

They're better at this stuff than everyone else.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Darren Roark
Re: FCPX: A Lesson in Language
on Nov 14, 2014 at 9:06:03 pm

I think I remember around the time Apple bought Final Cut from Macromedia Avid made a statement about how similar the interface was and that the naming of projects and timelines were a copyright infringement. They didn't end up suing.

Macromedia chose the terms used in FCP, so it may have been difficult to sue Apple for something they didn't do themselves. Is it possible that they had to rename everything in FCP X as to not violate the copyright as this is the version that is completely Apple created?

Now I must watch Sleepy Hollow..


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Oliver Peters
Re: FCPX: A Lesson in Language
on Nov 14, 2014 at 9:34:27 pm

[Darren Roark] "Is it possible that they had to rename everything in FCP X as to not violate the copyright as this is the version that is completely Apple created? "

No. I don't believe it's either copyrighted or trademarked. I had this discussion with Avid when Adobe released Premiere 5 (1st one) way back when, since it used the same style of interface and nomenclature. At the time the Avid folks told me that was an oversight on their part. Even so, I'm not sure they could have if they'd tried, since the concepts were and are so universal.

- Oliver

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


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Tim Wilson
Re: FCPX: A Lesson in Language
on Nov 14, 2014 at 10:14:08 pm

My guess: they sat in a conference room with a whiteboard and said, "What would we do if we were designing this thing from scratch? We don't owe anybody anything, so ignore what anybody else has done. Including us. What's the Apple-iest way we could do it?

That's what Mac was, after all. Torching Apple's position as market leader with Apple II, a position they never regained. Compatibility with anyone else, including ourselves? No idea what you're talking about.

In fact, Apple as a Mac sales business is a middling success at best. They hovered on the brink of disaster for years. As late as 2003 (or 4?), their stock never reached double digits.

Being a Mac maniac in the 90s was exhausting, let me tell you. Init conflicts, System 7 (again with the incompatibilities!), EOL'd product lines -- printers, scanners, cameras (what? You didn't have an Apple QuickTake? I had TWO). We still loved what we loved, mind you, but we wondered when it was going to be fun again.

What changed Apple's fortunes, and ours, was when Apple stopped acting like a computer company trying to be compatible with everyone. The turning point was iTunes on Windows, allowing Apple to sell iPods to the whole world. (Check it out. The stock started climbing nearly that very day.)

All of which Apple did while still choosing a path of their own making, with little regard for industry conventions. ANY industry's conventions, whether music players, phones, or computer software and hardware interfaces.

NOW we're talking fun.

The fact is that FCPZ (aka, FCP Zombie) was conventional, ie, very much in keeping with industry conventions. Even ProRes was Avid DNxHD, four years after Avid did it.

As a result, FCPZ was one of least Apple-y monstrosities ever unleashed on the faithful.

And FCPX is one of the Apple-iest. Which it was never going to be if it adhered to any meaningful convention.

So I don't think that they had any interest in what Avid or Macromedia or Apple itself had ever done. I don't think they intentionally TRIED to do something different either. I just don't think they cared.

Of course the guys doing this thinking came from this world, and stories are still being told similarly enough over time that they couldn't burn EVERYTHING to the ground, but again, burning EVERYTHING to the ground on purpose requires them to have paid closer attention to the past than I think they did.

Or to coin a phrase, rather than think "compatible" or "conventional," they decided to think "different."

Arguably, in this area, for the very first time.


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Oliver Peters
Re: FCPX: A Lesson in Language
on Nov 14, 2014 at 10:22:35 pm
Last Edited By Oliver Peters on Nov 14, 2014 at 10:23:09 pm

[Tim Wilson] "Or to coin a phrase, rather than think "compatible" or "conventional," they decided to think "different."
Arguably, in this area, for the very first time."


Or in a nutshell, it's Randy saying, "What do I really need to cut my vacation scuba diving videos?"

- Oliver

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


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Scott Witthaus
Re: FCPX: A Lesson in Language
on Nov 15, 2014 at 1:11:24 pm

That's right. And Avid dismissed FCP as a little "wedding video" tool. And they got their asses handed to them in a few short years. Three years ago with the release of X, they dismissed it as non-professional and if you are a "pro", Media Composer is the only tool for you. Amazing how that corporate arrogance can remain in a company that is burning cash and struggling to make any kind of profit.

Scott ( non- "pro")

;-)

Scott Witthaus
Senior Editor/Post Production Supervisor
1708 Inc./Editorial
Professor, VCU Brandcenter


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Herb Sevush
Re: FCPX: A Lesson in Language
on Nov 17, 2014 at 4:27:35 am

[Tim Wilson] "FCPZ was one of least Apple-y monstrosities ever unleashed on the faithful."

Actually I'd give that award to Itunes. Which is still a monstrosity, but I'm guessing blowing it up and designing it from scratch might actually cost them some serious coin. Better to do that with Pro Apps.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


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Herb Sevush
Re: FCPX: A Lesson in Language
on Nov 17, 2014 at 4:29:10 am

[Bill Davis] "Yes, because words should never CHANGE or adapt, dammit."

Language evolving naturally and a single company redefining language are not the same thing.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


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Bill Davis
Re: FCPX: A Lesson in Language
on Nov 25, 2014 at 1:30:26 am

[Herb Sevush] "Language evolving naturally and a single company redefining language are not the same thing."

Well, so I guess when a single company actually creates something that works functionally differently from the original, they just have to keep using the same terminology?

A "storyline" has a specific meaning in X. In X we also have timelines, but the terms have different use cases and actually are applied differently. A qualified X editor understands this.

Just as nobody "owns" the definition of an EVENT. "Event shooters" often shoot weddings, but "Event marketing" has almost nothing to do with weddings.

This whole "the names are wrong" is just the general pissyness of a specific class of editors who didn't want THEIR way of doing things to change and were resistant to adaptation.

It wasn't good for them. So they argued it wasn't good for anyone else.

They were wrong.

Because there are still plenty of traditional NLEs where they can keep using those terms.

FCP Legacy HAD to go away because Apple didn't think it was good enough to compete for the next era of editing.

As we've now seen, if you want traditional language and a traditional timeline - there are choices out there for you. If you want to adapt to new language and new ideas, thats out there too.

Thou hast a poor petition, m'lord. Hie thee away, and thinkist thou upon it.

; )

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Oliver Peters
Re: FCPX: A Lesson in Language
on Nov 25, 2014 at 1:41:17 am
Last Edited By Oliver Peters on Nov 25, 2014 at 1:42:31 am

[Bill Davis] In X we also have timelines, but the terms have different use cases and actually are applied differently. A qualified X editor understands this. "

Technically that's not correct. In X you have a timeline window, but what we commonly understand as timelines, Apple has chosen to call "projects". See, language can be confusing ;-)

- Oliver

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


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Herb Sevush
Re: FCPX: A Lesson in Language
on Nov 25, 2014 at 2:24:08 am

[Bill Davis] "Well, so I guess when a single company actually creates something that works functionally differently from the original, they just have to keep using the same terminology?"

Apple can call a color with zero luminance "white" and I'm sure you would be able to justify it. They can call silence "grapefruit" and rename a dissolve a "penguin." It's their software, they can do whatever they want. I, on the other hand, have the right to bitch about those choices and complain about how it effects the wider workplace, both within and without the wonderful world of Apple. But by "bitch" I mean "to shower with praise" because I too can evolve language.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


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