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Feature Length Show in FCPX...

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Michael Angelo
Feature Length Show in FCPX...
on Jul 26, 2013 at 6:20:33 am

Hello gentlemen,

I'm prepping/loading all of my media for a feature documentary film into FCPX, been testing for weeks, hit a million walls, busted through some but thought I'd reach out and see if you folks had any input. I feel like the RED workflow makes sense and I'm using this article as a resource:

http://www.moviemaker.com/diy/movies-better-fcp-x-red-feature-film-workflow...

Given the film is totally out of pocket most of the footage is 5D and that's where my inquiries lie. Here's what I've got cookin' so far:

SINGLE EVENT VS MULTIPLE EVENTS FOR A 90 MINUTE FILM?
Given the volume of material for a feature, I find it dangerous in any application to place all of your clips in one event, bin, folder or otherwise. I've seen FCPX posts from folks that swear by it but very few of those people seem to be cutting long form ie a 90 minute film. Overwhelmingly what I've seen is that it is best to break the show into at least a few events and if necessary run Event Manager X to load only the events you need. Does anyone out there have experience with the long form work flow they can share?

IS IT POSSIBLE TO DO KEYWORD SEARCHES OR CREATE SMART COLLECTIONS SOURCING FROM MULTIPLE EVENTS?
For the life of me can't find a way to search for media from all the events at once? Seems crazy to do all that meta data entry, key wording, and not be able to make shared smart collections or at very least search among multiple events. If the system struggles with two many clips in one event and I split it into multiple events out of necessity, that would mean repeating the search for every event, doable but not ideal. Anyone find an elegant work around? My intuition screams "feature request" ;(

PROXY WORK FLOW SHARING MEDIA BETWEEN AN iMAC AND MACBOOKAIR SEEMS TO BE THE WAY TO GO
I discovered this work flow playing with things on my own between two systems because I will be working remotely without AC and mini drives without power can only hold 2TB. Basically by having a mirrored drive with only the proxy media on my portable system and simply swapping the updated "CurrentVersion.fcpevent" files back and forth all seems to work. Others are using this technique as can be seen on this thread. http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/335/40812 Anyone else having luck doing this for a long format show or know of any pitfalls?

WORKING WITH PRORES LT IN FCPX BEST PIPELINE?
I'm committing to a ProRes source and conform for the 5D footage and plan to over cut the RED in a Smoke online at ProRes HQ. From what I understand FCPX only transcodes at ProRes 422, is there anyway around this? I can't find a way so I intend to import without copying media to events folder, sourcing from a ProRes LT folder on same drive as Events Folder and have generate proxies on. Since FCPX can't convert 5D to ProRes LT what's the best Transcode? I've found Compressor (gamma correction on or off ) and Grinder result in huge color shifts. QT7 Pro same problem, not as bad, but still unacceptable. The best results I've seen are using the old Final Cut Pro 7 and the Canon EOS Plugin. Not perfect but the closest. I have read some threads that it may truncate some footage but have yet to confirm this. Any other solutions out there people recommend?

LONG FORM EDITS AND FCPX STABILITY?
I've read there's a consistent crash when switching back and forth between proxy mode and original/optimized media for projects that source from large events or projects that are too long. I was thinking of breaking up the edit into 3x 30 minute parts given the number of threads I've seen about this problem. To be honest I am VERY concerned about the stability of FCPX for the film but I am dedicated to seeing it thru given the 64bit architecture, relational database editing, learning a program with more potential for growth, etc. Anyone have FCPX long form editing experience, advice and techniques regarding stability?

THANKS FOR ANY FEEDBACK!
Been combing thru threads, the internet, video tutorials, testing the %#$& out of FCPX and above are the remaining hurdles just getting the show loaded. Been taking a FCPX basics course from various FCPX Certified Trainers to help come up with a work flow directly from the source, hopefully I'll have some good advice to share too. I really appreciate your feedback and have benefited greatly over the years from Creative Cow forums and contributors.

Thanks so much!

Michael

"A life without cause is a life without effect." -Dildano


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Ronny Courtens
Re: Feature Length Show in FCPX...
on Jul 26, 2013 at 9:01:23 am

It gives me pleasure to see someone carefully preparing a project like you do instead of jumping into it unprepared and then blaming the NLE whenever something goes wrong ((-:

Q1
Depends on your system. FCPX handles large Events reasonably well but the larger your Event the more strain it will put on your system resources. RAM is a crucial element when working with large Events.

Also depends on your doc. We do quite some long-form docs. Most of these can easily be divided into specific topics. In such cases it's easy to create multiple Events with only the media required for these topics, and to create a separate Project for each topic as well. Use Event Manager X to hide any Event you don't need for the Project you are working on.


Q2
Yes and no.

Yes you can do a search on multiple Events. Just CMD-select the Events you want to search. You will get a Filter window equivalent to the one you get for creating a Smart Collection. Enter the appropriate data to filter your search and FCPX will only reveal the clips that match your criteria. At the bottom of the Filter window you will see a "New Smart Collection" button. Do not press this button because it won't work with multiple Events selected. Which brings us to the "no" part of this question:

No you cannot create a Smart Collection that applies to multiple Events.


Q3
I have never done this, so I cannot speak out of experience here. But in the thread you have mentioned I think Jeremy has given some great tips. Test it out before jumping into the deep.


Q4
Why ProRes LT? In my town you can get arrested for transcoding highly compressed DSLR footage to another lossy format such as LT for editing (-:

Seriously: LT is not bad but especially if you are going to do some external finishing work on the footage 422 will hold up better. Even more if you are going to mix this footage with RED footage converted to ProRes HQ. I would optimize to ProRes 422 straight within FCPX and create your Proxies at the same time. Best and fastest workflow I know. BTW what format are you shooting with the D5? All i, IPB or H.264?


Q5
Breaking up long projects into different parts is always good practice, in any NLE. FCPX can be a hungry beast, but on a fast and clean system you should not worry about stability unless you are working with complex compositions involving non-optimized third party filters on a long timeline. For narrative or doc projects stability should not be an issue, providing your system is up to the task.

I'm sure others will chime in with more detailed tips and workflows. This is just some general stuff I can think of right now.



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T. Payton
Re: Feature Length Show in FCPX...
on Jul 26, 2013 at 5:16:43 pm

I would contact Sam directly. He doesn't consulting and if this is a paying gig, it would be worth picking his brain on collaborative workflows and of course long format projects.

http://wemakemoviespost.com

For what it is worth, I have edited 2 student features in FCPX and working on a third, and here is some of my thoughts.

Events
------------
I have found that using a small amount of events for different tasks works best. Here is what my events look like:

1 - Dailies - self explanatory, but here is all the principle photography and sound. All syncing happens in this main event. The assistant editor lives in this thing, logging, setting roles, naming audio channels, syncing with the shot logs, and handles all the creation proxies for everything.

2 - Reference/Color Grades - mainly for later in the pipeline. Stills get stored in here as well as creating color grade references to load up in the event browser. Great to getting references from the director on mood, look, etc. We will sometimes put clips from other films there too if there is a pace the director is going for.

3 - Effect Shots - Anytime I'm doing a effect shot in a compound clip I put in this event. That way I can edit the compound clip in the event and it will update in the timeline. Also, when a effect shot is locked, I'll just export the compound clip as a master file, to cut down on the processing needs later in the game.

4 - Score/SFX - I'm still debating if this is a good idea, but just to keep things out of dailies as much a possible, I keep my score and foley here. Production sound was part of priniple photography so I will end up in Dailies.

5 - Reels - optional. IF I decide to use compound clips to whole scenes (which is a big if), I'll put them in a separate event. Last time I made 3 "reel" events.

6 - Chapter Exports - Use for string outs optional. more below.


Projects
---------------------
I edit in Proxy. Is flawless for everything but video with alpha channels. You'll thank yourself for editing in proxy. I can edit on 7 year old MacBook Pro in proxy and it moves like butter.

At minimum I break down the show into multiple reels, not just for performance issues, but for organization.

This latest film is broken down into 20 chapters. (the writers divided it up that way) Therefore I'm going to start the edit with a project for each one of these chapters. For a string out I'll just export each chapter individually (goes really quick if you have your keyboard shortcut setup and are working in proxy) and bring those into a chapter export event and assemble into a project. If I have updates on a chapter, I'll export and then use relink event media to swap out the new chapter. Once the preliminary edit is done, I might move to a different workflow most likely with a project for each reel (30 minute ish each)

In the past I have edited each chapter in a compound clips, and then done a string out, but with the new 10.0.6 reference compound clip this should be handled carefully to prevent event bloat and performance issues. I"m personally going to try staying out of long compound clips for this film.

Grading / Audio Sweetening
-----------------------
For these student films we just grade and audio sweeten in FCPX, frankly because I like the challenge and everything is kept in one place. But defiantly test your external grading and audio workflow to make sure your color grader, and audio mixer is good with your workflow.


Stability
----------------
I've never lost anything in FCPX in the last 2 years. (Okay one time I got some corrupted PDFs and it caused a kernal panic and the event got hozed, but I had was able to use the backup event db). The last student film something happened the last few days of editing that caused slowdowns but that was probably because I updated to 10.0.6 on those last few days. Not a good idea. Should have obeyed the command "Thou shall not update thy NLE mid edit".

With the film currently in production I'm using an App called Backups for Final Cut Pro. It is making backups every 15 minutes to a separate drive of my database files only. Then every couple of days, I use it to make a "snapshot" of all media and the databases to yet another drive offsite.

I can't guarantee you will have smooth sailing, but frankly there is no guarantee of that at any time. I have 2 of these under my belt and I'm confident FCPX can handle it. Talk with Sam however, he has done many more long shows.

------
T. Payton
OneCreative, Albuquerque


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Michael Angelo
Re: Feature Length Show in FCPX...
on Jul 28, 2013 at 7:07:27 am

Sorry for the delayed response gentlemen, FCPX keeps crashing once I switched to transcoding optimized media and struggling to deal with back lash many hours each day.

Meanwhile thank you both so much for your generous responses, so very helpful. Hopefully this dialogue will be helpful to others too. Here's some feedback:

RONNY COURTENS

Q1 - SINGLE EVENT VS MULTIPLE EVENTS FOR A 90 MINUTE FILM?
Running a iMac 3.4 Ghz i7, 16MB of RAM 8TB Thunderbolt GRAID at home office, taking a 1.8 GHz i5 with external 2TB USB on the road for the proxy version of show. Hopefully this will be enough fire power with no real effects within FCPX on the show at this time. I would love to do multiple events but did not explain that my big issue is is doing keyword searches among multiple events (see Q2)


Q2 IS IT POSSIBLE TO DO KEYWORD SEARCHES OR CREATE SMART COLLECTIONS SOURCING FROM MULTIPLE EVENTS?
Meant to say I'm struggling to find a way to do a keyword search among multiple events. Say for example I break the imports into 10 logical Events and I want to see all the shots with 3 specific characters, at 2 common locations plus another criteria across all my Events. That would be 5 keywords that I would like to use to pull media from within 10 Event Libraries. When I put a key word in search field it doesn't pull anything up. I guess that leaves smart collections which do not work across events meaning I'd have to create 10 Smart Collections one for each event? I'm so very new to this work flow so please excuse my ignorance…


Q3 - PROXY WORK FLOW SHARING MEDIA BETWEEN AN iMAC AND MACBOOKAIR SEEMS TO BE THE WAY TO GO
Will test once I get show loaded and posts any valuable results


Q4 - WORKING WITH PRORES LT IN FCPX BEST PIPELINE?
OK Ronny you sold me. I compared the ProRes 422 LT I created using FCP7 EOS plugin and the ProRes 422 FCPX makes. Straight up 422 seems to maintain some very subtle details LT lost, so I'm taking the highest signal path, may make a big difference on a large projection. Neither look the same as the original of course and both introduced artifacts. I already got my first batch of the film successfully loaded via external ProRes LTs via original plan, FCPX cranked out all proxies in one batch no problem, but dove in again starting from scratch.

So after archiving my ProResLT work and Event folder, I began the workflow of letting FCPX transcode optimized media and proxies at the same time. It's been crashing like crazy, usually at the "validating files" phase and sometimes mid transcode when I try smaller groups of files. Basically I have everyday of shooting in it's own folder on my HD with a specific reel name (ex: A014_121205) and the 5D clip files are inside. I put them at root level of the folder ignoring the DCIM/100EOS5D structure so FCPX would pick up the folder name and automatically make keywords. I tried switching things up and making everything the standard DCIM/100EOS5D folder structure (like the FCP7 EOS plugin demands) still crashes. Other factors were that in some cases there are "Stills" folder inside each reel from that I shot that day, pulled those out, still crashing.

It's possible that some clips I used "File Mod" to change the creation date could be the problem (some originals were lost so changed the creation date on my back ups to reflect approximate shoot date as FCPX sorts events by date). Took these outta the mix, still crashing. One folder with 9 original unmodified 5D camera files crashes on import always, so maybe there is some clue there in those files.

I like the idea of doing it the way FCPX prefers by letting it create optimized media, I've seen many posts pushing for this. Despite the pain and time loss I still would like to make the software work as intended, any ideas? The BIG QUESTION is what in God's name do you do when the application crashes MID transcode? When you relaunch it is clueless where it left off and I find my self manually comparing files to the Events folder, eeesh. You've been so generous with your time so no prob if you don't respond.


Q5 - LONG FORM EDITS AND FCPX STABILITY?
This show will be pretty straight forward in FCPX, most of the effects are down stream in Smoke, AE, Nuke, etc… Thanks Ronny, your time and energy is so very appreciated!




MR L. PAYTON

Really appreciate the referral to http://wemakemoviespost.com I will explore the site tho this is a no budget gig currently and may not see financing till further down the line if at all. Thanks so much for putting so much energy and time into your response. Here's some feedback:

Events
------------
I really appreciate your thoughts and love your organization!! You totally reminded me can't wait to get FCPX running stable enough to pull in an assistant(s). Thankfully the project's got some attention and there are volunteers.

Projects
---------------------
Like the "relink event media to swap out the new chapter" tip, that so smart among many of your other points. I'm a bit worried about your compound clip concern. I'm running 10.0.8 so maybe better than 10.0.6 per your comment? I often have 4-5 cameras rolling and was thinking of syncing them all and doing Multicam editing. Wonder if the same challenges will ensue. Hmmm…

Grading / Audio Sweetening
-----------------------
I've been a Flame artist for 15 years so going to color in Smoke. Planning on testing the FCPX XML out to Smoke for mac 2013 path once I stop FCPX from crashing on import. In addition have a friend at Skywalker Sound so hopefully they will help me test a Pro Tools load in. So far there doesn't seem to be an AAF out of FCPX so was thinking of going FCPX XML to Smoke then export AAF out of smoke into PT. Still in the import trenches so all of this is simmering with in reach on a back burner ;)

Stability
----------------
Your "App called Backups for Final Cut Pro" tip is spot on. Been really lamenting dealing with the way FCPX does it, will definitely look into this, thak you.

Whow Mr. Payton, great perspective on workflow in general, always refreshing to the mind to see someone else's style. Really so very generous of you to share all this valuable info!

Michael Angelo

"A life without cause is a life without effect." -Dildano


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Ronny Courtens
Re: Feature Length Show in FCPX...
on Jul 28, 2013 at 9:57:43 am

Michael,

You say FCPX keeps crashing while importing.

When you have a lot of media to import and you want to create Optimized and Proxy media it is better NOT to do this during the import process.

First import all your media.
Then group-select all your imported clips in the Event Library, R-click the selection and choose Transcode Media. You will see that this will make your workflow much faster and without crashes.

Bit in a hurry now, I will get back to you about the search issue.



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Michael Angelo
Re: Feature Length Show in FCPX...
on Jul 29, 2013 at 2:02:16 am

Thanks for feedback Ronny.

No sweat on reaching back enjoy this glorious Sunday.

Things are a bit worse as it's crashing when I select any clips in Event Library even after clearing out any that were incomplete. Some crashes directly after launch finishes. Gonna reinstall software, explore permissions issue and other recommended procedures below then try ur suggestion.

http://fcpx.tv/troubleshooting.html

Hope u r having a great weekend!

Thanks

MA

"A life without cause is a life without effect." -Dildano


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Ronny Courtens
Re: Feature Length Show in FCPX...
on Jul 29, 2013 at 9:24:20 am

Michael,

I'm sorry you are experiencing these importing issues. If it is possible for you I think it would be best to clean up your system like you say, then start again from scratch. Let's first get these importing issues out of the way, then we tackle the next steps.

What worries me in your reply is that FCPX usually crashes at the "validating files" phase. As I see your footage is coming from a 5D this reminds me of numerous reports about importing issues with FCPX and 5D footage. We don't work with DSLR footage very much, so I know Tim and other people on this forum will be able to give you much better advice on this matter.

Based on the information you have given so far I think you might be more successful if you imported just the individual H.264 clips instead of the entire folder structure. As you have a separate folder for each shooting day you could create a keyword collection for each day and import all video clips of that day in the collection. Once all your clips have been imported you can then create Optimized and Proxies from within the Event Library. I think this should work without any issues. But that's just my opinion, I would wait a little while until someone else chimes in.



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T. Payton
Re: Feature Length Show in FCPX...
on Jul 29, 2013 at 4:35:24 pm

Something is really up with your system if you keep getting crashes. We just finished Day 12 of shooting, importing hundreds of audio and video clips a day. Zero crashes or problems at all (and that is on an ancient 2007 MacBook Pro).

We are doing DIT in FCPX too. Creating camera archives in the background, removing silent channels, grouping audio, etc. No problems.

Concerning some crashes. I was a little unclear, are you copying your 5D files to a external drive first and then importing into FCPX, or are you importing straight from the card?

Compound Clips - the concern is placing an entire chapter or reel in a compound clip. That is what can cause your event database to "bloat" and case performance troubles. Using compound clips as an editing source is FANTASTIC in FCPX, works great!

------
T. Payton
OneCreative, Albuquerque


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Michael Angelo
Re: Feature Length Show in FCPX...
on Jul 30, 2013 at 9:19:26 am

Thanks for the responses... I did get further by reinstalling FCPX plus my system etc. Still pretty disastrous so created another thread:

http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/344/22497

Meanwhile Mr. Payton I'm working from HD that have CF cards copied onto them. Ronny after much experimentation leaving the folder structure seems more stable in my case.

You gentlemen have done so much thank you for your responses. If you decide to chime in any more maybe do so to the new thread as it's more bullet point concise and can hopefully help others now or in the future ;)

Cheers

MA

PS If I ever get this thing loaded am looking forward to editing with FCPX!!

"A life without cause is a life without effect." -Dildano


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