Of locked bins and collaboration
So Adobe teased new collaboration features coming to PPro including being able to lock bins:
And Blackmagic keeps pushing it's collaboration features with the latest version of Resolve (which includes things like lockable bins and lockable timelines):
And as far back as 2012 we've seen evidence of collaborative editing appearing to be possible in FCP X (but to date Apple obviously hasn't pulled that trigger):
And Avid's collaborative functionally, of course, goes w/o mention.
Obviously this sort of functionality has to come from Apple itself, not outside developers, so does the group think that collaborative features in X are actively in play behind the scenes or is this another niche itch that Apple doesn't want to scratch? While the framing of the Hollywood Reporter article is about Adobe looking to woo big budget, feature film editors I think that artificially narrows audience that uses collaborative features.
For example, as everyone likes to point out, gear keeps getting cheaper, faster, and better which means setting up a multi-editor environment is no long the cost prohibitive, complicated process it used to be. Just plug some iMacs into a Jellyfish and, boom, you're off to the races, right? I think the breadth and scope of multi-editor environments would surprise most people. A lot (nearly half) of my career has been spent working in New Media and almost all of that has been in multi-editor environments utilizing shared storage to make web vidoes. Even many boutique many places that I've visited are setup that way too. Now not every place will need the same level of collaboration that a feature film might, but even just a little goes a long way.
I spent years using FCP Legend on an Xsan with a dozen other editors and we made it work (though it wasn't always pretty), but when I switched jobs and went back to using Avid in a shared storage, multi-editor environment I immediately remember how great it was to have multi-user done right. It smoothes over so many pain points that you aren't really aware of until they are gone.
I hope X breaks out some nice collaboration tools eventually because it will benefit a lot of their users (not just those with big budgets on the coasts).
A true collaborative FCPX environment would be very welcomed for my high school class. I could see how awesome a learning experience it would be to have my students capture to a central location, edit their own project, and then edit someone else's project seamlessly.
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Adobe showed off this feature at Edit Fest. It's based on using multiple projects, but that's pretty much what we did with FCP 7...only better because things lock.
BUT...I wonder if it has the same issues that FCP 7 had...and that is not being able to match back to footage across projects. If your footage was in one project, and your sequence in another, you could not match back to the bin the footage came from. That was a major issue.
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[Shane Ross] "Adobe showed off this feature at Edit Fest. It's based on using multiple projects, but that's pretty much what we did with FCP 7...only better because things lock.
BUT...I wonder if it has the same issues that FCP 7 had...and that is not being able to match back to footage across projects. If your footage was in one project, and your sequence in another, you could not match back to the bin the footage came from. That was a major issue."
I missed this at Edit Fest. Did they have a stand/booth someplace?
My guess is that any required media that doesn't already exist in your project will be copied into it when you import a sequence from a different project (similar to how PPro does it now). FCP Legend was an odd duck in that media the Timeline didn't have to reference back to media in the Browser Window. You could have a FCP project full of edited timelines, but not a single piece of media in the Browser. Hitting match frame would get you the "This piece of media is not in the Browser, would you like to add it?" dialog box. Even in Avid if I give you a bin with just a timeline in it all the media for the timeline is in the bin too, it's just hidden by default (IIRC).
They had a station set up in the cafeteria. I checked it out after lunch. You and the others were lost in conversation at the table.
As for the media being copied, that "feature" (I call it a "bug") was addressed in the latest version. You can import sequences and NOT all the media that is in it. So I don't think that's it.
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[Shane Ross] "As for the media being copied, that "feature" (I call it a "bug") was addressed in the latest version. You can import sequences and NOT all the media that is in it. So I don't think that's it."
I thought the bug was PPro would sometimes duplicate media erroneously when you imported a sequence.
For example, if you had clip 8675309.mov in Project B and you imported a sequence containing clip 8675309.mov from Project A, PPro is supposed to recognize that 8675309.mov in the Project A timeline is the same as 8675309.mov in the Project B Project window and link them together (for lack of a better term). If clip 8675309.mov *did not* already exist in Project B then PPro would automatically import the missing clip when it imported the timeline. Otherwise the clip would be missing from the timeline. And I mean totally missing as in there is a empty, black hole in the timeline, not 'media offline' missing. It's not like the old FCP where you could have a timeline full of clips but no corresponding media in the Browser window.
The bug I thought Adobe has been battling was that sometimes PPro wouldn't recognize that 8675309.mov already existed in Project B so it would import another copy of it and you'd be stuck with two copies of 8675309.mov since PPro saw each as a unique piece of media.
[Andrew Kimery] "so does the group think that collaborative features in X are actively in play behind the scenes or is this another niche itch that Apple doesn't want to scratch?"
Niche. There is such a big market that cares not about multi-editor workflow. The thought of that kind of horrifies me, so count me in on that big market.
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[Andrew Kimery] "Obviously this sort of functionality has to come from Apple itself, not outside developers, so does the group think that collaborative features in X are actively in play behind the scenes or is this another niche itch that Apple doesn't want to scratch? While the framing of the Hollywood Reporter article is about Adobe looking to woo big budget, feature film editors I think that artificially narrows audience that uses collaborative features."
FCPX was built from the ground up to offer features never before found in a NLE. Collaboration features are very old school and very Avid like in nature. I only wish all editors could look to the future of editing as opposed to wanting old worn out features that embrace an old school paradigm.
I kid I kid. I was trying to sounds like a certain FCPX user : )
I don't need those features but I know many others do. I can see the merit of adding such features. I don't player hate new features that I myself don't use. Having said that I hope they fix the bugs in Premiere Pro : (
The Resolve collaboration features are interesting in that they allow multi users to be in the same project but doing very different tasks like grading and sound editing/mixing whilst others are doing editing. I will be very keen to see if there can be a remote web based hookup for collaboration. Adobe Anywhere? was promising that but did it ever happen and if so does it work properly?
The fact that three out of four major NLE companies think collaborative workflows have merit says there most probably is a reasonable market, particularly as Adobe and Blackmagic take user feedback seriously and have much more active update and development regimes.
[Michael Gissing] "Adobe Anywhere? was promising that but did it ever happen and if so does it work properly?"
It's around, but when it initially released it was a hardware based solution which made cost a huge barrier to entry. I don't think it's exclusively hardware based anymore, but I think you still have to subscribe to Adobe Teams which is separate from CC (so another cost barrier). Even then, the collaboration is more or less everyone working on their own projects and then hitting a button to share changes to the other users (who have to hit a button to accept those changes). This inevitably leads to conflicts that have to be resolved which leads to more headaches. This was acknowledged in the Hollywood Reporter piece and seems to be something Adobe hopes to fix with these new changes.
That's why I'm not really a fan of any collaboration that's based around each user working on their own 'version' of the project. Avid, AFAIK, is still the only NLE where everyone is really working in the same project. Yes, I know there are multiple ways to skin the cat, but Avid's approach is very versatile, robust and obviously time tested. That's not to say others should just try and clone it, but it should be closely examined to understand why it is such a good approach.
[Michael Gissing] "The fact that three out of four major NLE companies think collaborative workflows have merit says there most probably is a reasonable market, particularly as Adobe and Blackmagic take user feedback seriously and have much more active update and development regimes.
Agreed and whenever someone talks about X being used on a feature film or X being used in a facility in Europe with two dozen seats my thought is that those users could use these types of features. My rule of thumb is this, if your situation can benefit from having shared storage then your situation can benefit from having an NLE with collaborative features.
[Andrew Kimmery]"Avid, AFAIK, is still the only NLE where everyone is really working in the same project."
My understanding of the Resolve collaboration is exactly that. Multiple users accessing a single shared project.
[Michael Gissing] "My understanding of the Resolve collaboration is exactly that. Multiple users accessing a single shared project."
Mine too. You can have a different user on each "page". 1 edit, 1 color, 1 mix, 1 media etc....
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[Charlie Austin] "Mine too. You can have a different user on each "page". 1 edit, 1 color, 1 mix, 1 media etc...."
In the videos I've seen you still have a similar dynamic to Adobe's solution where changes are pushed/published and then must be accepted in order to be applied, but that's for the pervious versions of Resolve. I'm not sure how things have changed in Resolve. Looking forward to hearing from people as they start to use it in the wild.
I don't understand that if you are still editing and are not done, how can someone mix audio while the edit is not finalized. Wouldn't you have to wait for picture lock before mixing audio? I can see doing audio and color at the same time.
[Brian Seegmiller]" I don't understand that if you are still editing and are not done, how can someone mix audio while the edit is not finalized. Wouldn't you have to wait for picture lock before mixing audio?"
The process of tracklaying, including cleaning up dialog tracks can be started during the edit process. Generally with docos, I insist on a locked cut before starting audio post but in some circumstances both happen at the same time with lots of hours spent reconforming between the NLE and the DAW. Feature films are notorious for this and also often distributors or execs want to have temp mixes to view scenes. In those circumstances there is already a huge overlap but the reconform process is very messy. By having the process happening in the edit app, the editor also gets to see how timing and pacing work with a much more developed sound track. This is useful but not so useful when it takes so much time and effort to reconform and the temp mixes have to be imported into the NLE. This ugly step is removed by having it all happening in a shared project in one app. Same goes for grading.
Next important example is re-versioning. Happens on nearly every doco in my world. The Feature version, ARTE 52 minute, Discovery 52 minute, BBC 48 minute etc etc. By having the reversioning in the one app, all that needs to be tweaked are mix and clip transitions in the shortened version. Otherwise there is the ugly process of comparing EDLs for example using third party software to produce a change list which the sound editor then has to redo all the changes, then tweak the mix and clips at the cuts.
So yes it's a double bonus having the processes overlapping in one shared project rather than across different platforms as they currently do.
Thanks Andy. Always interesting to see opinions presented and comparisons made.
I can see why he has made his choice and I can see that he is prepared to change it later as software evolves. I must say I am surprised that he bothers to point out the money difference because that is just a triviality for working professionals compared to the big picture of using the best fit software. I spend so little on hardware and software compared to 20 years ago that it has become a minor expendable compared to other costs.
Brian, it reminds me of an alternate way I used to do collaboration 20 years ago using a DAW called dSP. It had collaboration software that enabled multiple users to work simultaneously in the one project over the network, all sharing a common RAID with all media. This meant each user could track lock and be working away say on dialog while another was cutting the music or FX. Each would save and that would send an update message. This was true single project collaboration.
The alternate way was to have people work on separate copies just like in the video you linked. Auto save was set to a short cycle and I could import specific tracks from the auto saves which I could see over the network. No-one needed to close their individual projects just like this. It had some advantages in that it was totally robust where the true shared project collaboration would sometimes not update reliably. However, it was a work around to the true single project collaboration which was superior but a tad flaky.
So this workaround collaboration is clever but not as versatile and powerful as the collaboration tools in Resolve and as I understand it Avid and Pr. For example, the idea of in Resolve having a sound editor and colorist working on the project as it is being edited doesn't require having to go to a separate version, open it and then copy paste anything to update. In the case of grading whilst cutting, this simply wont work as the graded footage may not have the latest shot trims. Certainly useful and a similar technique I used 20 years ago in my networked DAW facility.
So Patrick Southern posted a short video on the new collaboration features in PPro for ProVideoCoalition.
At first blush I'm skeptical of how smoothly this is going to work in the real world. The video skimps on the setup details, but it appears that users create multiple projects and then import those individual projects into a Master Shared Project. The individual projects and the individual folders can then be locked/unlocked so users don't overwrite one another's work. It seems like a kludgy attempt to mimic Avid where the PPro Master Shared Project is analogous to an Avid Project and the PPro projects that reside inside of the Master Shared Project are analogous to bins in Avid.
A couple of other things bugged me as well. Not being able to set In/Out points in a locked folder/project is a pretty notable limitation, and being able to create folders that aren't sharable has a high probability of creating confusion/frustration.
Peter Wiggins wrote an article about a dev called Arctic Whiteness that made an app to help smooth over some FCP X collaborative pain points called, Final Cut Library Opener (with help from Mike Matzdorff ). Curious as to what others think (it mainly seems to automate a process that otherwise has to be done by hand).
Almost interesting to mention that in the article Peter calls collaborative workflows "... the killer feature for NLEs in the ever expanding video production business." and says that, "... Apple has built the necessary project architecture that will allow collaborative workflow in the future." so maybe there is enough interest in the FCP X community for Apple to finally pull the trigger on collaborative editing in X?
[Andrew Kimery] "Almost interesting to mention that in the article Peter calls collaborative workflows "... the killer feature for NLEs in the ever expanding video production business." and says that, "... Apple has built the necessary project architecture that will allow collaborative workflow in the future." so maybe there is enough interest in the FCP X community for Apple to finally pull the trigger on collaborative editing in X?"
To me, factor one has always been the re-build of X directly on top of that SQLLight Database and how it exposes more than most NLEs of the manipulation of the App to the end user via accessible in the app tools.
Then there was the huge Roles addition - was basically inventing a new way to handle audio I/O without linear tracks - so it's now potentially got some new plumbing that might eventually assist with collaboration as well.
Now we have Wes Plate and Tim Dashwood on board - both with skillsets that can be seen to fit in the overall "collaborative" bucket.
Finally, there's the mother of all Apple development efforts in potentially enabling collaboration in Apple Pro Apps - the iCloud server farms they own and run.
It seems like everything in the FCP X first decade can be viewed as laying foundational building blocks that will eventually support some type of collaborative workflow. But who knows. I could be totally wrong on every single totally speculative count of this whole thing.
And probably am.
Only time will tell.
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I agree that there are certainly signs that point to Apple adding more collaborative elements to X, and I also agree that we just have to wait and see what Apple does.
I guess life would be pretty boring if we knew all the answers. ;)