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Film workflow ideas

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Oliver Peters
Film workflow ideas
on Jul 9, 2013 at 7:06:57 pm

I'm contemplating cutting a low budget indie using FCP X. But I'm also evaluating PProCC and MC7. At this moment, it's still a toss-up. FWIW - I have no qualms about doing this in FCP 7 and have done this exact type of project before in FCP 7 on this exact same gear. So I know I can punt and go to 7 if I have to - or in Avid, but I'm looking for an alternative.

This will be largely a two-cam RED shoot with double-system sound (8-10 ch. bdct wav files). The A camera will at least have a mix for reference. I anticipate 50+ hours of source media. The files will be externally transcoded to edit proxies (in RedcineX Pro for the RED files) and later relinked in Resolve. I am trying to avoid using synchronized clips because of performance concerns. But the need will be there to link or add the multi-channel audio files at some point in the process, before sending OMF or AAF files to the ProTools editor/mixer.

My other concern is how X will perform once I get the total amount of media in for the entire film. Looking for strategies with the Event(s). Keeping some of the media hidden - by working one reel at a time - is not an option.

Systems will be 2010 MacPro Quads with 8GB RAM and ATI5870. Might get budget to bump up the RAM. There will be two stations (editor's and assistant's). Editor's station has MAXX Digital RAID and KONA card. These will be mirrored with the assistant prepping for me and also potentially cutting some scenes. So sharing strategies also have to be worked out.

Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions before I pull the trigger? Thanks.

- Oliver

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


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Film workflow ideas
on Jul 10, 2013 at 1:07:32 am

-I'd get the RAM, even if you personally have to buy it.

-Does the audio have matching tc? If so, look in to syncing in RCX. Synced clips in FCPX don't carry tc (all clips start at 00:00..), and FCPX multiclips that do carry tc have issues with XML/Resolve. You can aways conform back in RCX to whatever you want and generate multiple interchanges if you need to. RCX also offers manual audio sync.

-50 hours doesn't seem like that much material. You can always break off smaller parts if needed, but I'd keep it all in one Event, and backup. I find the making duplicates in FCPX is an easy way to backup, even though it takes a little longer.

-Sharing can be done through Project XML ( if you don't want to dupe Events/Projects), but it will create new Events. You can always copy the material you need over (keywords and such) and modify Event references from the imported/shared event to the Main Event(s).

-Test. Then test again.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Film workflow ideas
on Jul 10, 2013 at 1:29:48 am

[Jeremy Garchow] "Does the audio have matching tc?"

Unknown. Production starts in two weeks. If things go according to plan, the two REDs (A&B cams) will have matching code (but I bet it will drift and won't be perfect). But there will also be extra cams, like 5D and GoPro and Epic. These may not be important for sync sound. Don't know till I see it.

[Jeremy Garchow] "50 hours doesn't seem like that much material."

True, but I've had X bog down with a lot less.

[Jeremy Garchow] "Sharing can be done through Project XML ( if you don't want to dupe Events/Projects), but it will create new Events. You can always copy the material you need over (keywords and such) and modify Event references from the imported/shared event to the Main Event(s)"

Sort of my plan if I don't bail and just stick with MC7.

- Oliver

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


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Film workflow ideas
on Jul 10, 2013 at 1:32:04 am

[Oliver Peters] "but I bet it will drift and won't be perfect)"

RCX has methods to deal with this, but they are manual, not automagic, including offsets.

[Oliver Peters] "Sort of my plan if I don't bail and just stick with MC7."

Jump on in, the water is tepid. :)


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Oliver Peters
Re: Film workflow ideas
on Jul 10, 2013 at 1:39:43 am

[Jeremy Garchow] "Jump on in, the water is tepid. :)"

Although the challenge is admittedly attractive, this is low budget. If I get in and X becomes a road block, I eat it time-wise. Media Composer is rock solid, as is FCP 7.

- Oliver

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


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Film workflow ideas
on Jul 10, 2013 at 2:03:38 am

But how much fun is stable? It is not as fun as fast and loose, in spite of any hangovers.


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Bill Davis
Re: Film workflow ideas
on Jul 10, 2013 at 2:39:03 am

What Jeremy said.

Look, if you just need to get it the dang project done. Nobody here's gonna give a second thought if you just do it with a package you already know you can depend on.

Using X (for you right now) would be as much about personal growth and experimentation as it would be about just editing the darn movie.

So , in my mind, the reasons to try X would be...

A - X is Apple's future and that Apple will remain a truly significant player in editing in the next 10 years
or B - that the new bifurcated process represented in X where the association of the Event Browser database with the editing module opens up new possibilities in agile, in-program editing organization that MIGHT help you with a project like this (or not!) hard to tell in advance!
or C - you just want to know more about how X works on a practical level doing the kind of work you do.

Then it makes a lot of sense to use X.

Only you know which mode makes the most sense.

Nothing wrong with playing it safe and just getting the darn job done well and on-time. That's the bread and butter of our entire industry.

And nothing wrong with taking a chance to dive more deeply into either X (or Premier for that matter!) - whichever you feel will best prepare you for how you see editing evolving in the next few years.

You not only have multiple good choices, you have a large community on the Cow that will be happy to help you overcome stumbling blocks - no matter which path you take.

Exciting times to be an editor, I say!

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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Mike Most
Re: Film workflow ideas
on Jul 10, 2013 at 2:34:53 pm

FCPX will likely be fine and an interesting experience -- provided you don't use multicam clips if you're planning to reconform in a color grading program (Resolve or anything else). If you think you will use multicam, you'll be much happier in Avid, where you can collapse them and eliminate groups before sending the AAF off for a Resolve conform.


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Michael Garber
Re: Film workflow ideas
on Jul 10, 2013 at 5:00:44 am

The last two projects I worked on were commercials - the first was a 2-camera multicam shot on Alexa (800 clips total) with lots of slow-mo and 5D footage. The second spot was a single cam shot on RED.

Both spots were shot with matching timecoded audio and video. I used Sync-n-Link to match everything up. Very fast and easy to use. If there is any sync offset, it will handle it based on you telling it the number of frames.

I recommend keeping the media in it's own folder and not allowing FCP to import the footage into the Events folder. This will keep the events and projects "multi-user friendly."

With the RED footage, open up all the clips in REDCineX first and save all the RMDs into the native folders. This way, if you make any changes to them in FCP, they will port over to Resolve.

I think it's best to let FCP handle the proxy transcoding.

Can't say that I recommend the Mac Pro with the 5870 card. If they can spring for a new iMac, then go for it. I was editing with the native RED R3Ds without transcoding on the iMac and also on my rMBP without any problems. Just some slow renders. But *very* fast renders with the Alexa 4444 footage.

I had some issues with spots that used the Alexa-based 2-camera multiclips. Major system slowdowns. This was possibly because I had a 3rd angle with footage from the 5D. That issue has gone mostly unresolved.

On the project shot on RED, I was very meticulous in the way I logged. Skimmed every shot and keyworded based on scene. Then I added the Scene_Take# into the keyword's notes field on each shot, especially if it was a series.

I'm just coming off both of these projects tonight and stepping on a plane in the wee hours of the morning. So I'm just throwing a bunch of info without reading it back. I'd be happy to elaborate more if you want to contact me directly.

Michael Garber
5th Wall - a post production company
Blog: GARBERSHOP
My Moviola Webinar on Cutting News in FCP X


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Mathieu Ghekiere
Re: Film workflow ideas
on Jul 10, 2013 at 8:48:28 am

Hi Oliver,

difficult to say. You are working with an older Mac that can't completely leverage the power of FCPX (or vice versa).

I have an older 2010 iMac 8GB RAM at home. It does just okay, with FCPX.

We have tricked out Retina MBP's at work, 16GB RAM, 1GB VRAM. They are a DREAM to edit on. Rock solid with FCPX 10.0.8. I'm always surprised with the speed of these things.
Yes, even working with R3D material over an Ethernet-connected server, and even making proxies in FCPX is going fast on the Retina's.

But if you are having problems once in a while on FCPX on your hardware, you know you will curse probably many times. You also will be glad a couple of times you went with FCPX, I still think it's an unbelievable strong contender in many cases.

I don't know if you have seen Sam Mestman's tutorials on working with R3D material and Resolve and FCPX and Audio workflow in FCPX... But I would *really* recommend them. They are free, and they aren't the typical beginners stuff.

http://themovieswemake.com/tutorials/

Pick out all the ones that are about R3D's, Multichannel audio, Davinci, Compound Workflow, etc. ...
Even if you know about how to work with it, I've found his tutorials to have small but very good workflow tips. It's not so much about: "how do you do this", but more: "how can you use this".
Let us know how it goes!


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Oliver Peters
Re: Film workflow ideas
on Jul 10, 2013 at 4:34:25 pm

Thanks for all the input so far. Feel free to keep it coming. No decisions yet. RAM upgrades are a good possibility, but changing to iMacs would be a no-go. One hitch in working R3D's directly in X is that I potentially won't have enough storage to have the complete set of R3Ds online. Plus conversion will be through a RED Rocket card. I really don't see a big benefit to generating proxies in X versus RCXP, since I'm never going to access the R3D files for any finishing within X. Am I missing something here?

Also there will be no multi cam. I treat these two-camera shoot as unique takes anyway. Besides, I've found you are lucky if you get 25% of the b-cam material to be useful. It's a director thing. They think they need it these days. Editors hate it. Framing and lighting is usually not great. Just more stuff to wade through. ;-)

- Oliver

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


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Michael Garber
Re: Film workflow ideas
on Jul 10, 2013 at 5:03:32 pm

Not sure of the positives or negatives of creating proxies in RCXP and matching back to the R3Ds for color, so I can't add to the conversation there.

Disclaimer- I haven't taken a full project from X to Resolve, so I don't know of the pitfalls. I've just tested it out in short test sequences to see if it would port over to Resolve. It seemed to work just fine. But those sequences were very simple. My guess (and hope) is that Resolve 10 will be even better at importing X timelines.

My understanding is that the plus side of letting FCP deal with it is for the sake of simplicity. Import the files, let FCP do the transcode while you're working or at night. Switch to proxy mode to work. When you're done, switch back and export an FCPXML to Resolve. You can also edit the RMD raw data in FCP if you choose.

To save on drive space, one trick you could do is to uncheck Copy Files to FC Events Folder. You could import the R3Ds from an external drive, perform the proxy transcodes - which always default to placing the files in your event (you can't change their location outside of the event you are working from). When that's all done, switch to proxy mode. You should be able to then unmount the R3D media drive and be good to go.

When you're ready to conform, just re-mount the drives with the files in their original directories and switch back to original media in FCP X. As I'm sure you know, test test test, then proceed with caution ;).

Michael Garber
5th Wall - a post production company
Blog: GARBERSHOP
My Moviola Webinar on Cutting News in FCP X


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Film workflow ideas
on Jul 10, 2013 at 5:10:46 pm

My thoughts about using RCX as the prep/conform system is that if you do want to bail from FCPX, you can do so fairly easily, with everything already in sync.

Jeremy


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Sascha Engel
Re: Film workflow ideas
on Jul 21, 2013 at 7:23:27 pm

Hi Oliver,

I'm in the same dilemma than you, just having a stronger computer. What did you decide to do? I'm curious to hear.

Greetings,

Sascha Engel
TIME BANDITZ Productions
http://www.youtube.com/taikang


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Oliver Peters
Re: Film workflow ideas
on Jul 21, 2013 at 8:31:00 pm

[Sascha Engel] "What did you decide to do? "

It's not a simple choice as this is a school that I also work with in an advisory capacity, plus run an annual editing workshop and participate as a working pro on some of the films that have been produced as part of the program. Any purchasing decision I make should benefit the program and not just this single project.

They currently have FCP7 and ideally I would have liked them to end up with PProCC, Avid MC7 and FCP X. In total, this would give them the best overall options. In evaluating the needs, Creative Cloud was ruled out because the way the purchasing process changes, because of the subscription model, means that the decision won't happen in time for this production. That leaves Avid and FCP X.

With the attractive EDU pricing for Avid, it puts X and MC on relatively even footing price-wise. Since I'm at the beginning of their fiscal year (when the money is still available) I have been able to proceed on both fronts - FCP X and Avid MC. Plus the extra utilities required for an X workflow. My intention is to cut the film in X. If things go horribly wrong I have FCP 7 and/or MC 7 to fall back on. Both would be solid options.

My rationale in choosing X is that most of the work has to be done in-house, which means I have to train students as assistants. X offers the easiest integrated solution for RED footage (the format of this shoot), plus I have an easy way to do 2K if the director/client feels the need for that. Honestly, I've flip-flopped a couple of times before settling on X. At this point, I am crossing my fingers that it was the right choice.

I have also bumped up the hardware on the editor and assistant stations by bringing the RAM to 32GB and replacing the boot drive with an SSD.

- Oliver

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


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Sascha Engel
Re: Film workflow ideas
on Jul 21, 2013 at 8:44:01 pm

Great, could I knock on your door in case I have some Workflow Qs?

Sascha Engel
TIME BANDITZ Productions
http://www.youtube.com/taikang


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Oliver Peters
Re: Film workflow ideas
on Jul 21, 2013 at 8:49:22 pm

[Sascha Engel] "Great, could I knock on your door in case I have some Workflow Qs?"

Sure. When I get done in a few months, I'll have a blog post about the film and the process.

- Oliver

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


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Sascha Engel
Re: Film workflow ideas
on Jul 21, 2013 at 8:51:29 pm

Well, I get the material in 2 days, so I might knock on your door already then :-)

Sascha Engel
TIME BANDITZ Productions
http://www.youtube.com/taikang


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Oliver Peters
Re: Film workflow ideas
on Jul 21, 2013 at 9:05:45 pm

e-mail me off-list if you need to:
oliverpeters (at) oliverpeters (dot) com

- Oliver

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


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Sascha Engel
Re: Film workflow ideas
on Jul 21, 2013 at 9:12:28 pm

Great. Will do! Thanx a million!

Greetings,

Sascha Engel
TIME BANDITZ Productions
http://www.youtube.com/taikang


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Jacob Brown
Re: Film workflow ideas
on Jul 10, 2013 at 6:52:01 pm

Hey there Oliver. I'm editing a feature right now in FCPX on a retina MBP. So I am not having performance issues, but I think maybe you could try loading a ton of media and running some tests. And I would highly recommend keeping the RED files on a seperate drive that you can unmount when you are editing with proxies.

In general you should definitely try to work within FCPX for everything. The work arounds never work.

For example, you are going to have a really hard to time adding HQ audio in half way through the edit. There's no easy way to do this automatically. Will be a manual process. By hunch is you will not see much of a performance decline working with synch'd clips.

As far as events workflow....I find that you are much better working with as few events as possible. Inevitably clips from one reel need to edit together with clips from another reel. Plus your keywords are event specific and if you get deep into keywording it really helps conceptualize the edit.

I've dealt with a million headaches over last 6 months and am wiser for it now and really loving X.

j


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Helge Tjelta
Re: Film workflow ideas
on Jul 11, 2013 at 12:17:39 pm

Hi Oliver.

Get as much RAM as possible. And a new and good GFX card… FCPX will use it a lot, and DaVinci will also.

About audio, XtoPro will give you enough over to either ProTools or Nuendo, both works fine.

FCPX main feature is metadata (keywording), such a blessing.

Just try to use a ref.mic for audio on all cameras for easy sync, and you should be up and running.
Also a good RAID.

Helge


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Eric Santiago
Re: Film workflow ideas
on Jul 22, 2013 at 7:17:51 pm

Oliver have any updates on this project?

Got a question and wondering if you have the same set-up as I do.

Currently installed FCXP 10.0.8 in same Avid Symphony Mac Pro/Resolve/RCXPro workstation.

For some weird reason, playback at FULL DEBAYER is stuttering in FCPX.

We can do it fine at HALF in FCPX but not full.

Now we see the stutter in the editing displays which are Dual Apple 30s running off a ATI 5870. The beefy part is two QUADRO 4000s and ROCKET housed in a CUBIX XPANDER.

I havent had time to try and feed the R3D via FCPX into BMD SDI > Flanders.

Are you using the ROCKET with FCPX at all?


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Oliver Peters
Re: Film workflow ideas
on Jul 22, 2013 at 9:08:14 pm

[Eric Santiago] "Oliver have any updates on this project?"

See my comments upstream. The film just started shooting today and I'm just now working out some workflow kinks. As of today, there's still a chance it could go MC7. Final decision tomorrow - the first day of dailies. A bit more testing and then we'll pull the trigger for real.

[Eric Santiago] "For some weird reason, playback at FULL DEBAYER is stuttering in FCPX."

I have a Rocket card on this Mac Pro. I intend to cut with proxies, though. I have no intension of cutting a film with native R3D. Grading, maybe. I only had a test clip, though, and that played fine. I tested 4K media in both a 2K and an HD timeline.

What sort of stuttering are you seeing? I was playing through a Kona at 29.97 (Panasonic monitor wouldn't take 23.98) and noticed random frame jumps once every minute or so.

[Eric Santiago] "Now we see the stutter in the editing displays which are Dual Apple 30s running off a ATI 5870. The beefy part is two QUADRO 4000s and ROCKET housed in a CUBIX XPANDER."

This Mac Pro has ATI 5870, RR, Kona and SATA/Mini-SAS cards. All internal. No expander. I also tested clips in MC7 with the RR and Kona. Also fine.

- Oliver

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


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Eric Santiago
Re: Film workflow ideas
on Jul 23, 2013 at 1:33:45 pm

Thanks Oliver for replying :)

The stutter is at FCPX playback using FULL DEBAYER.

The video playback is basically bunk at this point.

At HALF it does great but kinda defeats the purpose of having the ROCKET.

I hope its not the CUBIX setup thats causing this.

I will have a test run with a ROCKET housed in a Mac Pro very soon.

I can only get a feed to the FLANDERS from BMD EXTREME 3D via HD-SDI using RCXPro in the CUBIX set-up.

I will have to do more testing to get ths config working with FCPX.

We dont have any issues using a rMBP/MAGMA/ROCKET config with FCPX.

Thanks again Oliver and have a great workflow :)


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Eric Santiago
Re: Film workflow ideas
on Jul 25, 2013 at 1:19:26 pm

tested the ROCKET in a Mac Pro PCI slot.
full debayer all good.
it could be the CUBIX causing the slow down or maybe OS versions.
they both have the same FCPX/RCXPro/firmware.
even when using the DeckLink to the Flanders bypassing the BOB ROCKET, we get the poor playback using full debayer from FCPX.


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