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Huge favour to ask

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Tom Sefton
Huge favour to ask
on Jan 23, 2015 at 10:34:32 am

Could anyone out there in cow land do me a massive favour.

We are just embarking on a new project and not being hugely experienced in FCPX - I've used it for small projects where appropriate, I need someone with a similar system and good experience.

We are producing huge amounts (at least 7hrs per day for 5 days per week for 10 weeks) of 4K UHD r3d files at 25p and 9:1 compression. Each file needs to have an external audio track synced, then cut up into 3 minutes to 40s tracks and then batch exported from a single source file, to multiple output files in the same folder with a unique prefix/suffix to a Pro Res LT codec.

Can anyone let me know how streamlined this process could be in FCPX, how the workflow could be made faster on FCPX and what sort of encode times I would see for a file of around 10 minutes in the r3d format above, to a ProRes LT codec (this helps me multiply up and down for minutes and hours of encode times)?

The system I am working on for this project is a new Mac Pro 6 core, with 32GB Ram, D700s and all media is stored and then encoded back to a G tech G studio XL drive running at RAID5. I'm happy to buy another system to share rendering (we have Macbook Pro's but I want to use Mac Pro systems for encode and edits). But, not until we have a workflow in place.

I've tested with Adobe CC, and although realtime editing and previews are fast, the export times with Adobe media encoder are terrible - 5hrs plus for a test 10 minute segment....

With DaVinci Resolve, the encode times are great - almost realtime, but the editing process isn't fast enough and the playback is choppy. It has a great option for multiple file output from single source file, and makes good use of the D700 graphics cards.

Wondering if FCPX might be a good option for what will be a hugely rewarding, high profile but challenging project for us.

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Eric Santiago
Re: Huge favour to ask
on Jan 23, 2015 at 2:17:03 pm
Last Edited By Eric Santiago on Jan 23, 2015 at 2:37:34 pm

I would like to give a detailed answer but honestly, my experience working with over 800 R3D and equal amount of WAV files from a 744T prove to me and most of my colleagues that FCPX is more than capable at handling heavy data.
Now 10 minutes R3D to transcode/render is pretty tiny compared to what Im used too.
I did that on a Mac Pro 2012 and wished I had done it on the D700s at work.
Your gear list is more than capable for what you want to do.
The above workflow I did with original footage residing on a SAS>GTECH eSPro 12TB system. And used another esPro 8TB as backup.
I did a fair amount of testing with FCPX to Avid (final NLE destination) by adding Resolve 11 in the middle.
There was some hiccups but I got the files over and no issues.
Now as far as Proxies and Optimize goes, I dont use this option as much as I should.
For some reason Ive been living on the edge with the R3Ds untouched.
Now of course I had to give it a go but I did this with a different movie I worked on.
It was only about 200 R3D clips (short short) and so far the editor (Director/Writer) is loving the Proxy route on his 2012 iMac.
He is using a LaCie Thunderbolt drive.
Once he's done, I will get it all back to R3D level and send to Resolve.
Crossing fingers :)

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Noah Kadner
Re: Huge favour to ask
on Jan 23, 2015 at 3:14:40 pm

And that process can be automated to run as soon as footage hits the drive. Also proxies can be built outside of FCPX and used to replace R3Ds while editing is ongoing.

Shameless plug- this is the precise sort of integration we do all day long- drop us a line via my signature if you'd like a helping hand.


Call Box Training

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Ronny Courtens
Re: Huge favour to ask
on Jan 23, 2015 at 5:37:29 pm

Hey Tom,

We regularly deal with similar projects, and I can say FCP X handles these extremely well. If your video and external audio are both recorded with locked time code you really should have a look at Sync-N-Link. This little app will save you tons (and I mean TONS) of time during the synching process.

If you need specific workflow guidance I absolutely recommend contacting Noah or Sam at FCPWorks to assist you with this project. They're the best.

If you have general questions you can always e-mail me at ronnycourtens(at)mac(dot)com, I will be happy to help you out. I would also be interested to know more about this project, possibly for a behind-the-scenes article on

- Ronny

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John Kaley
Re: Huge favour to ask
on Jan 23, 2015 at 4:49:18 pm

Just a quick note about the Adobe Media Encoder export times. Make sure you send the sequence through the Queue. At the bottom of the main tab there is an option under "Renderer." Make sure this is set to "Mercury Playback Engine GPU Acceleration (OpenCL)"

Those 700's will kick in and that thing should output like bananas through a monkey.

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Tom Sefton
Re: Huge favour to ask
on Jan 24, 2015 at 11:59:25 am
Last Edited By Tom Sefton on Jan 25, 2015 at 2:08:45 pm

Hi all

Thanks so much for your input. I think it is worth me getting in touch with you Noah - I'll try and drop you a line this coming week. At the moment the workflow I have is to load the days media into Premiere, make all the edits and then ripple delete the cuts together so the timeline is filled with a single layer of short clips, before exporting an EDL and an OMF that I import along with the media pool to DaVinci. This then allows me to create two batches of exports for multiple clips from a single source media that goes to different folders on the target RAID. DaVinci is exporting at around 16fps - so not too bad on encode times to ProRes LT.

Sorry - one thing I should have said...the project is a stereoscopic 3D film and we have good experience of the quicks3d plugin with Adobe, hence the initial preference to use this....We are creating this much media because there are 4hrs from the left cam and 4 from the right....

I have the Mercury Playback Acceleration GPU switched on in Adobe Media Encoder, but it isn't making a difference to the encode times - still hugely long compared with RedCine X and Resolve.

If FCPX can allow me to import the media without requiring optimised media rendering, do realtime editing on the r3d files (even with reduced resolution for playback, just enough to check sync), allow preview of side by side stereo 3D files, export multiple clips from a single source file from one timeline for the left and one for the right at anything close to realtime export....I'm there, and Ronny, I'd be glad to give you more details about the project for an article. It's just starting to get publicity in the UK and we should be finished with the filming process late in 2015. I don't mind purchasing a few plugins for FCPX to help with the project, as we have put faith in apple hardware and thunderbolt storage so I'm in too deep to move to anything else now! Kind of holding off buying another Mac Pro as we were wondering if there might be an update to the hardware in early 2015...would be mightily annoying if this were to happen after we spent another £6k.

....excuse the beard I've grown....!

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