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So Inspirational & so lacking

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Frank Stäudtner
So Inspirational & so lacking
on Jun 30, 2011 at 4:14:45 pm

Hi everyone,
first post ever & here it goes:

"confessions of an inspired quick & dirty editor"

For over 15 years I have been working with many editing systems. Starting out on AVID, tried Premiere, Edius and others. What I have learned is that each system has its strengths and weaknesses. For big documentaries with tons of footage, who can beat AVID? Through the years my job has become more and more centered around shorter 30sec to 5min trailer-like-clips that ideally convey a lot of emotional impact.
Around 2004 I discovered Edius and was blown away by the creativity it sparked in me. I was able to tryout transitions, different effects, stack effects on top of each other, target colors and effect these,... and still have some sort of real-time playback. For that time that was really amazing.

Then eventually I upgraded and started using Final Cut. Although I enjoyed the added features and media management it's just did not inspire me. I'm someone who likes to play and try out things and experiment and get inspired by combinations of looks & effects.

The old Final Cut just did not inspire me. I felt it was tedious & took to many clicks to play around with effects and transitions and get the creative juices flowing. Loved "color", love grading, but I rarely found the time to do the round trip.

Now after many years for the first time there is a software: Final Cut Pro X (alpha!!) which really inspires me again. It is so easy to stack effects, play with different combinations and some very useful transitions, fast grade shots , ... and with a little taste & gusto you can create something outstanding very quickly ; and even more important the near realtime performance is just phenomenal and invites PLAYING.

so no matter what, for me:
FCPX - INVITES TO PLAY AND EXPERIMENT.

I know guys there is a lot missing! And apple will have to deliver! No question here.
But I know that with this software; I am a more inspired editor and I am able to create short emotional trailers & promos with ease, fun and joy; it just gets my creative juices flowing.

Nevertheless Apple! :
Deliver what is expected of you and fix it into something really great!

For me FCPX brings FUN back to editing;
unless you need one of the missing features, that is ;)

all is good

frank,
sonicVision.de


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shawn Bockoven
Re: So Inspirational & so lacking
on Jun 30, 2011 at 5:04:59 pm

Now that you mention it, we are playing and learning. We are exited to show each other what we did. I'm starting to like this ship.


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J Hussar
Re: So Inspirational & so lacking
on Jun 30, 2011 at 5:40:55 pm

Congrats on your first post.

You made think about my position. You honestly did. Most battles here don’t inspire me much, but your comments did.

You made me re-consider what editing is....

Well, first the basics - past goes to future, not the other way around. Time is linear - that’s fact. Also editing video is not the same as making interactive media, we aren’t editing a website, we are making a crafted, timed video/film, we aren’t asking the viewer to re-time the clips for us, or make our edit decisions, we time it for them. We control timing, it’s what we’re paid for. Our ability to know how to present information in a linear fashion is what we do.

For me, most of my editing is done in my head. Many times I need to get away from the machine and think about contrasts, symbols, juxtapositions, etc. I will try things and I adjust lengths of shots and transitions to give the impact I am looking for. I must find and organize the media I need for what I am doing. So here are my issues.

I need access to my media, wherever it comes from. So as many sources as possible - for the time being that includes tapes. I need access to all media to be easier for me. That helps me creatively. FCPX limits my sources. I don’t like limits.

Second, I like to work sequences separate from the main body of the work, effectively I like multiple sequences all in one project, some are just thoughts, sometime I like to make a bizarre experiment sequence and then pull pieces from that into main sequence. One sequence at a time isn’t enough for me. It limits my ability to experiment and not get stuck with an experiment gone wrong. I don’t want to think about saving a million separate projects. I want to keep my variations at my fingertips in one project.

Not having that limits me.

Ultimately I am not interested in a ‘cool interface’ - I don’t buy anything for a pretty interface, I buy software as a tool that works well - I am only interested in creative output. I need a controllable interface - I don’t need an interface to entertain me. I hope it is aesthetically pleasing, one reason I like Apple, but that’s it.

This is not the first time someone has attempted to make quantum leaps - in the nineties there was an interface designer named Kai Krause who made ‘artistic’ interfaces. The problem was, you had very limited control of them, it was horrible. People who liked playing around, rolling the dice on their output enjoyed them, people who knew what they were after did not. This ‘quantum leap’ in interface design died off fairly quickly because the interface was for Kai, not for us. I feel FCPX is for Randy Ubillos, not for us.

If FCPX would stop worrying about trying to be style over substance I would embrace it. Limiting my ability to be the creative controller is my main issue. I don’t consider making me fit the ‘program’ a good answer. I control the program, not the other way around.

I hope they fix FCPX and expand it’s abilities. I would like FCPX to be an app without limits - but I feel in it’s present form it will only let me do what it wants me to do. Not very creative at all.

Finally - I want some concrete evidence that Apple will take the training wheels off it - I’d like an official statement. That’s all I am saying.

And again, thank you for inspiring me!



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Chris Kenny
Re: So Inspirational & so lacking
on Jun 30, 2011 at 5:59:26 pm

[J Hussar] "I need access to my media, wherever it comes from. So as many sources as possible - for the time being that includes tapes. I need access to all media to be easier for me. That helps me creatively. FCPX limits my sources. I don’t like limits."

Not being able to capture tape directly into the application hardly means you can't edit media that originated on tape.

[J Hussar] "Second, I like to work sequences separate from the main body of the work, effectively I like multiple sequences all in one project, some are just thoughts, sometime I like to make a bizarre experiment sequence and then pull pieces from that into main sequence. One sequence at a time isn’t enough for me. It limits my ability to experiment and not get stuck with an experiment gone wrong. I don’t want to think about saving a million separate projects. I want to keep my variations at my fingertips in one project."

You can have all of your versions at your fingertips in FCP X. Just create a bunch of projects and stash them in a folder in the project library. You can open more than one at a time and flip through them easily. about the only thing you can't do is show two sequences at once.

Apple really should have just called the new 'projects' 'sequences' instead. It would have saved a lot of confusion.

[J Hussar] "If FCPX would stop worrying about trying to be style over substance I would embrace it. Limiting my ability to be the creative controller is my main issue. I don’t consider making me fit the ‘program’ a good answer. I control the program, not the other way around."

I'm not trying to be in any way insulting or patronizing here, but I really don't think you've quite wrapped your head around the magnetic timeline yet. You're just not describing the kind of thing that it is. This post might help a bit.

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

You should follow me on Twitter here. Or read our blog.


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J Hussar
Re: So Inspirational & so lacking
on Jun 30, 2011 at 6:14:12 pm

I will take a look - I am willing to make the effort - it probably isn't obvious, but I actually would like to like FCPX! I was a big booster of it to friends before I saw what they left out on release.

It's funny, as I consider this launch by Apple - if they had just spent the time trying to make the transition easier they probably would have bought a lot of good will!

It amazes me that they didn't stop to consider the backlash - even on OSX's introduction they kept a classic layer so you could open your OS9 apps all the way through 4 releases up to OSX 10.4 Tiger. That's why people didn't bolt!

And why didn't Apple know film production people are the crankiest people on earth?



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Aindreas Gallagher
Re: So Inspirational & so lacking
on Jun 30, 2011 at 6:17:27 pm

[Chris Kenny] " I really don't think you've quite wrapped your head around the magnetic timeline yet. "

dude seriously. that phrase needs to get retired like we had to retire lens flares temporarily in the nineties. Nobody is allowed to say:
I really don't think you've quite wrapped your head around the magnetic timeline yet.

The pope is issuing a papal interdiction on that phrase right now. The UN is going to block funds. That phrase is off. the. menu.
We have brains, we've all noodled around a fair bit at this stage and had a think - so that phrase is off the menu, its no longer about some hypothetical thing you somehow get and the other person doesn't - its about the individual reaction of the editor to where apple has chosen to take the timeline.

phrase off the menu it be. off. totally off. ree-moved.


http://www.ogallchoir.net
promo producer/editor.grading/motion graphics


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Chris Kenny
Re: So Inspirational & so lacking
on Jun 30, 2011 at 6:26:05 pm

[Aindreas Gallagher] "We have brains, we've all noodled around a fair bit at this stage and had a think - so that phrase is off the menu, its no longer about some hypothetical thing you somehow get and the other person doesn't - its about the individual reaction of the editor to where apple has chosen to take the timeline."

People simply keep saying things that are incoherent with respect to the way the magnetic timeline works. It's like, to borrow Craig Seeman's analogy, asking what kind of hay the car eats. You can safely assume anyone asking that question hasn't quite wrapped their head around cars yet.

What we're seeing is almost exclusively "This doesn't work like a standard multitrack editor, so it's taking away my control". What we're not seeing is detailed critiques of the clip-relationship model vs. the multitrack model, with concrete examples of how the former is supposedly worse for fundamental editing operations. If those start showing up, I'll stop pointing out that people don't seem to understand the magnetic timeline.

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

You should follow me on Twitter here. Or read our blog.


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John Chay
Re: So Inspirational & so lacking
on Jun 30, 2011 at 6:28:29 pm

If it's anything like iMovie than it's really not that special.




http://www.john-chay.com

Editor/Videographer


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Aindreas Gallagher
Re: So Inspirational & so lacking
on Jun 30, 2011 at 6:39:46 pm

[Chris Kenny] "asking what kind of hay the car eats."

aaaaaaa.... well maybe the car should eat hay! mm? you know, like a corn biofuel.
or maybe we should stop marking car metaphors! how exciting would it be if that stopped?
(Although I do find plenty of craigs observations fascinating)

Anyway i would still advise retiring the "if only you could wrap you head around it, if only you could share the celestial light of understanding that now floods my brain, dear god its full of stars, the colours .. ohh the humanity"

anyway sorry that was a tad hyperbolic but - "This doesn't work like a standard multitrack editor, it's taking away my control" well maybe that's just right you know? It could very well be over-simplistic, throwaway and wrong, ignoring the new worth of the new methodologies, but then again, maybe a truly exposed non-magnetic multitrack editor trumps everything in terms of control. Maybe it doesn't, but that statement could be true. Likely as not the professional market will decide the question with their feet. If i"m being totally honest - I don't actually think I've given it enough of a shake of the stick myself, but sure we'll see.


http://www.ogallchoir.net
promo producer/editor.grading/motion graphics


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John Berpskin
Re: So Inspirational & so lacking
on Jun 30, 2011 at 8:46:52 pm

I can honestly say that after a week of using it I am starting to enjoy some of the features on it (background rendering/transcoding - meta tags/THE SPEED/etc) I think Apple has a long way to go with options but I see several spaces on the tool bar! And it's true that when i got back to FCP it feels slow and archaic. Don't know why...just does.

And for some reason the interface reminds me more of Sony Xpri than Imovie.


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Jonathan Dortch
Re: So Inspirational & so lacking
on Jun 30, 2011 at 11:09:29 pm

The fundamentals of the magnetic timeline seem pretty simple. Connection based clip arrangement. This could feasibly be a circle with a spiraling playhead and connections stemming out. It's just not because the horizontal timeline makes sense. That's the problem. The timeline in FCPX "looks" the same it just doesn't function the same. Could this same connection feature could be achieved with track based editing, with independent video/audio parameters?

What is the benefit of being able to arrange video clips beneath the primary Storyline? The playhead still feeds from the Storyline above. How does one benefit from being able to place audio inside or above the primary storyline? Why do secondary Storylines lose all ability to composite, but secondary Storylines are required for transitions? To me this just comes across as confusing and sloppy. It feels like an incomplete thought, different for the sake of being different, not a superior function.

A track based system allows broad locking, classification, and on/off ability of elements. I can lock a music track for music video editing. I can easily and universally turn on/off bugs or graphic elements. I can easily and universally classify audio elements in an edit. If the audio solution in a trackless system is tagging each individual audio effect -- talk about a time waster.

I'm curious to what a feature or documentary film "Magnetic Timeline" would look like. Would it be thousands of elements slopped around with no care or consideration for visual representation or placement?

What exactly is the drawback to a track system? It's worked pretty damn well for the last 20 years. Why not keep the track convention AND add the keyword metadata in lieu of labels? Everything I love about FCPX can be adapted into the conventional, proven NLE track system.

I'm all for any system that speeds up my daily workflow, but this whole timeline in FCPX comes across as a gimmick, breaking the very functional, simple concept of track based editing.

JONATHAN DORTCH
BLACK WOLF CREATIVE


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Chris Kenny
Re: So Inspirational & so lacking
on Jun 30, 2011 at 11:59:05 pm

[Jonathan Dortch] "What is the benefit of being able to arrange video clips beneath the primary Storyline?"

This lets you leave clips that are conceptually part of the primary storyline in the primary storyline, but still composite them over other clips, if necessary.

[Jonathan Dortch] "How does one benefit from being able to place audio inside or above the primary storyline?"

Sometimes there's sound but no picture. With the relational clip model, you'd have to attach audio to a gap slug in these cases. Just being able to place it directly in the primary storyline is more natural, I think.

[Jonathan Dortch] "Why do secondary Storylines lose all ability to composite, but secondary Storylines are required for transitions?"

My guess is that this is just a bug, based on the fact that opacity still works for clips in secondary storylines.

[Jonathan Dortch] "If the audio solution in a trackless system is tagging each individual audio effect -- talk about a time waster."

Not at all, because you can tag them in batches before they're edited in. If you have an SFX library imported as an event, for instance, you just tag everything in it SFX to begin with. Now drop clips in anywhere, and they've still got that tag.

[Jonathan Dortch] "I'm curious to what a feature or documentary film "Magnetic Timeline" would look like. Would it be thousands of elements slopped around with no care or consideration for visual representation or placement? "

We keep hearing these theories about how the magnetic timeline will supposedly ruin everything for long, complex edits, but it actually provides far more organizational support. On a feature project, for instance, you can easily turn scenes into compound clips, at which point your main sequence is nothing but a series of clips with names like "Scene 1", etc. I have literally no idea where people are getting this idea that the magnetic timeline is messy. It seems to me it actually discourages some of the sillier things I've seen editors do with tracks over the years.

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

You should follow me on Twitter here. Or read our blog.


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Michael Aranyshev
Re: So Inspirational & so lacking
on Jul 1, 2011 at 1:07:37 am

[Chris Kenny] "On a feature project, for instance, you can easily turn scenes into compound clips, at which point your main sequence is nothing but a series of clips with names like "Scene 1", etc."

And what that would accomplish exactly?


[Chris Kenny] "Not at all, because you can tag them in batches before they're edited in. If you have an SFX library imported as an event, for instance, you just tag everything in it SFX to begin with. Now drop clips in anywhere, and they've still got that tag."

This is very simplistic and remote from practical. Try instead this:
Production sound comes to me in BWF-poly files with a track for each character, a boom, an M+S pair and a production mix. I sync them to the picture takes and go on cutting the scenes. The production mix track is usually good enough so I just mute all other tracks. But I don't delete them becuse when picture is locked I have to export each 2000 ft reel with all the sound. Almost every cut in there is either J- or L-cut so it is all arranged in the checkerboard fashion. There is also some M&E but this doesn't complicate matters. So how exactly do I tag my production sound and how long would it take me? What if the budget is shifted from sound editorial to picture editorial and I need to give the sound editor more sophisticated stems?

By the way you participated in both threads I posted this question.


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Andrew Richards
Re: So Inspirational & so lacking
on Jul 1, 2011 at 1:05:28 am

[Jonathan Dortch] "What exactly is the drawback to a track system? It's worked pretty damn well for the last 20 years. Why not keep the track convention AND add the keyword metadata in lieu of labels? Everything I love about FCPX can be adapted into the conventional, proven NLE track system. "

The drawback is in how it has evolved to be used. The tracked timeline was conceived as a visual metaphor for compositing. That's it. It had no other design intent. Video over other video was "on top" and if made translucent or cropped or whatever it revealed what was underneath. Audio tracks are analogous to tracks on a mixer and there is not a top-down hierarchy to them. Overlapping clips mix together on output or they can be "patched" to outputs.

Over the years this ubiquitous track-metaphor convention gave editors a structure with which they could create a de facto set of organizational rules; lower thirds on V3, B-roll on V2, SFX on A3&4, NAT on A5&6, etc. But what if you needed to composite between to lower thirds? Or what if you wanted to use the tracks to mix audio in the timeline? The informal structure breaks down and all the "control" everyone keeps harping about becomes a series of workarounds to jam the work into the arbitrary track rules.

Yes, tracks are a convention, and the magnetic timeline throws them out. The end output is still one video track and a fixed set of mixed down or split audio tracks. The traditional timeline is just a metaphor, nothing more. The magnetic timeline is just a new metaphor.

There is no technical reason I can imagine why the magnetic timeline couldn't support "views" that visually remix the metaphor on the fly and present a more traditional track layout, and this would be very useful. Imagine the audio connected to the main storyline with the click of a button rearranging and collapsing itself into virtual tracks based on the timeline's particular outputs that will have different metadata tags assigned to them. Dialogue on A1&2, SFX on A3&4, NAT on A5&6, Music on A7&8, etc. You could use that view for master mixing, soloing output busses, and generally visualizing your outputs. Apple should do this, and I'm going to suggest it to them in a Feedback.

Best,
Andy Richards

VP of Product Development
Keeper Technology


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Jonathan Dortch
Re: So Inspirational & so lacking
on Jul 1, 2011 at 2:48:44 am

[Andrew Richards] "The drawback is in how it has evolved to be used. The tracked timeline was conceived as a visual metaphor for compositing. That's it. It had no other design intent. Video over other video was "on top" and if made translucent or cropped or whatever it revealed what was underneath. Audio tracks are analogous to tracks on a mixer and there is not a top-down hierarchy to them. Overlapping clips mix together on output or they can be "patched" to outputs."

I'm totally clear on all of that :) But how does the "Magnetic Timeline" convention change this? The visual mechanisms remain unchanged. There is still a top down hierarchy, only without track representation to provide a further order of organization/classification. Maybe I'm just missing something on this, but how does the Magnetic Timeline change anything about the visual representation of the edit besides adding "connections" with a more robust nesting capability, while removing tracks that we all used to help classify elements and easily manipulate them on a broad scale.

Without a "track," what is the process for reliably locking or preserving elements into their vertical hierarchy? I mean, as an simple example, how would one take a 4 sec bug graphic and reliably extend across the entire edit in X? Extend it in a compound clip and place as high as possible in the Magnetic Timeline connected to the first clip? Aren't height properties loose and have the potential fluctuate depending on how broadly you're manipulating vertical elements further down the edit?

In classic FCP I can throw that bug on top, duplicate to end of edit, lock it, and be on my merry way in about 5 seconds.

In that same vein, is there ANY mechanism for "locking" visual elements in FCPX?

[Andrew Richards] " But what if you needed to composite between to lower thirds?"

I'm not sure what you mean, but I think if I needed to composite between a shot and a lower third I would just raise the lower third to a higher track I usually put them pretty high up for this reason, and compress unused tracks if necessary. Same thing would happen here if you put a text layer above your storyline, correct? Would need to raise the text connection above the video?

JONATHAN DORTCH
BLACK WOLF CREATIVE


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Frank Stäudtner
Re: So Inspirational & so lacking
on Jul 1, 2011 at 1:42:05 pm

@ J Hussar;

great :) nice it inspired you; you inspired me with your perspective;

these are exciting times as the "good" features of FCPX will in return push Avid & Adobe to integrate similar features & interactivity;

Over time it will be a win-win situation for all of us....

In the meantime I will have to use both FCP 7 & X :)


all is good

frank, sonicVision.de


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Ted Levy
Re: So Inspirational & so lacking
on Jun 30, 2011 at 9:46:34 pm

Emotional trailers and promos?


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Bob Woodhead
Re: So Inspirational & so lacking
on Jul 1, 2011 at 1:01:36 am

".... in a World..."

I'm misty-eyed already... ;)


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