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Slow motion in fcpx for music video

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Jim Kehoe
Slow motion in fcpx for music video
on Sep 1, 2013 at 6:30:21 pm

Hi guys!

I am shooting a music video and want to use slow motion within a clip. I was told 720p 120fps achieves some of the best and smoothest slow motion however my footage will be 1080p 24 fps (was told that gives it a cinematic feel), but with 24 fps the slow motion will not be up to par. What do you guys recommend? I've tried shooting some stuff in 1080p 60fps and the slow motion looked "ok" but I want clean results. Just don't know how to yank a slow motion portion of a clip from a clip that is 1080p 24fps. Any help would be very appreciated thanks guys!


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Oliver Peters
Re: Slow motion in fcpx for music video
on Sep 2, 2013 at 2:33:15 am

Shoot with a camera that can record at 120fps like an Alexa. Edit at 24fps, which means the slomo will be very slow. Speed up if you need to get close to real-time. 5X = "normal" speed. Use Twixtor is you need to go slower than 120fps.

An example:


- Oliver

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


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Jim Kehoe
Re: Slow motion in fcpx for music video
on Sep 2, 2013 at 2:40:22 am

Olivia!

Great video! So you're saying shoot the entire music video at 720 120fps? What would the timeline settings be? 1080 24fps? Since I'd export for 1080p right? Let me know if I understand this correctly. Again I'm going for a cinema look but using some slo-mo in clips. Thank you!


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Oliver Peters
Re: Slow motion in fcpx for music video
on Sep 2, 2013 at 3:24:50 am

Thanks.

Shooting specs depend on the camera you have available. This video was shot with an Alexa shooting 1080p/120fps. The camera "timebase" is set to 23.98fps, which means that clips played in FCP X (or QT for that matter) will play in slomo, based on a "normal" speed of 23.98 (24p). If you have a camera that can only operate at 720p at such a high recording rate, then your timeline might be 1280x720. It can be 1920x1080, if you are OK with scaling the image larger to fit the 1080 raster.

The important part is that the camera electronics can set a record rate versus a timebase. If your camera doesn't do that, you'll have to conform the video to 23.98 using Cinema Tools or using a slomo speed in FCP X. If you conform in CT, the app is simply changing the file header info to tell apps to play this file at 23.98 instead of the recorded rate of 30, 60 or 120fps. This is a common need when you use an HDSLR like a Canon 7D, which can shoot 720p/60, but you want it to be slomo in a 23.98 sequence.

If you are mixing "normal" (23.98) and "overcranked" (120fps) clips, how you record it will depend on how many things need to have a very fluid slomo look. If you have a lot of slomo shots or do not know which are going to be played in real-time versus slomo, then one option is to shoot everything overcranked and speed up some clips to play normal speed. Part of this choice will be how much lipsync you have. A 5X speed-up of 120fps will maintain lipsync on a 23.98 timeline.

- Oliver

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


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Jim Kehoe
Re: Slow motion in fcpx for music video
on Sep 2, 2013 at 3:28:27 am

Hey Oliver!

I am using a GoPro 3 Black Edition


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Oliver Peters
Re: Slow motion in fcpx for music video
on Sep 2, 2013 at 1:49:34 pm

[Jim Kehoe] "I am using a GoPro 3 Black Edition"

Too bad. A good camera for stunts, but not great for standard video, especially if you want a filmic look. Lens choices, intraframe motion blur, highlight handling and compression are all less than ideal. Good luck.

- Oliver

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


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Jeff Kirkland
Re: Slow motion in fcpx for music video
on Sep 2, 2013 at 8:40:33 pm

Unless of course you're just up for a challenge or specifically want that GoPro look :-)

Jeff Kirkland | Video Producer | Southern Creative Media | Melbourne Australia
http://www.southerncreative.com.au | G+: http://gplus.to/jeffkirkland | Twitter: @jeffkirkland


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Jim Kehoe
Re: Slow motion in fcpx for music video
on Sep 2, 2013 at 8:42:56 pm

Hey Jeff, I'd say up for the challenge :) i am still deciding whether to cut in 24fps or 60fps, i really like the cleanliness of 60fps, but still want that minor film look for the slo mo shots..


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Jeff Kirkland
Re: Slow motion in fcpx for music video
on Sep 2, 2013 at 10:00:39 pm

For me it's an easy choice - I pretty much always want the film look, and so do my clients. There's one or two exceptions but not many these days. At the end of the day with the Hero3 you don't have that much control so you take what you cam get :-)

If you think you want slow motion but haven't been able to do enough pre-production/storyboarding to know exactly which shots, I'd shoot it all 60fps or faster and cut it on a 24p timeline. You can conform the 60pp footage after the fact and you'll always get a better result than using FCPX's retiming tool/optical flow/whatever on 24p footage.

Jeff Kirkland | Video Producer | Southern Creative Media | Melbourne Australia
http://www.southerncreative.com.au | G+: http://gplus.to/jeffkirkland | Twitter: @jeffkirkland


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Oliver Peters
Re: Slow motion in fcpx for music video
on Sep 2, 2013 at 10:05:28 pm

[Jim Kehoe] " i am still deciding whether to cut in 24fps or 60fps,"

If you want it to look filmic, then there is no other option than 24 or 25fps. 60fps will look like video.

- Oliver

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


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Jim Kehoe
Re: Slow motion in fcpx for music video
on Sep 2, 2013 at 10:21:37 pm

Yea.. i hearya Oliver, and not to sound like a broken record (just trying to understand this...) if i want slow motion, i set up a project in FCPX to 1080p 24fps, then shoot the footage at 24fps, and then shoot separete clips for slow motion at 60fps, drag that into the timeline, click "conform" (right?) and then...? Thanks for putting up with my questions :) i guess i wont be able to do slow motion on a part of a clip that is shot at 24fps, i'll have to plan it out separately with the 60fps footage, right?

Thanks a lot Oliver!


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Jeff Kirkland
Re: Slow motion in fcpx for music video
on Sep 2, 2013 at 11:48:55 pm

You can do slow motion on the 24fps clips but you'll be faking it, essentially making up frames that aren't really there. Which is fine for some shots and looks awful on others.

If you shoot at 60fps and put it on a 24fps timeline, you are essentially playing 24 of those 60 frames in a way that keeps the clip playing back at normal speed. When you conform the clip, you tell FCPX to play all 60 frames which means it has to play back in slow motion.

And it will look much better because they'd real frames, not fake ones.

Jeff Kirkland | Video Producer | Southern Creative Media | Melbourne Australia
http://www.southerncreative.com.au | G+: http://gplus.to/jeffkirkland | Twitter: @jeffkirkland


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Oliver Peters
Re: Slow motion in fcpx for music video
on Sep 3, 2013 at 12:25:58 am

[Jim Kehoe] "if i want slow motion, i set up a project in FCPX to 1080p 24fps, then shoot the footage at 24fps, and then shoot separete clips for slow motion at 60fps, drag that into the timeline, click "conform" (right?) and then...?"

I think you already got another answer, but yes, you basically have it right. Except... In FCP X there is no "conform" function. There is in Cinema Tools, which modifies the file metadata. If you stick to just inside FCP X, you will have to change speeds with the Retime tool. Yes, you can shoot all at 60 and then manipulate the speeds within a 24fps timeline, but that's the hard way.

[Jim Kehoe] " i'll have to plan it out separately with the 60fps footage, right?"

Planning is essential in all productions. ;-)

- Oliver

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


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Jeff Kirkland
Re: Slow motion in fcpx for music video
on Sep 3, 2013 at 1:00:36 am

Unless I've missed something that makes it less effective than other methods, choosing the clip then going to the menu and selecting 'modify>retime>conform speed' will conform the clip to whatever fps it was shot at.

Jeff Kirkland | Video Producer | Southern Creative Media | Melbourne Australia
http://www.southerncreative.com.au | G+: http://gplus.to/jeffkirkland | Twitter: @jeffkirkland


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Oliver Peters
Re: Slow motion in fcpx for music video
on Sep 3, 2013 at 1:08:05 am

[Jeff Kirkland] " selecting 'modify>retime>conform speed' will conform the clip to whatever fps it was shot at"

You are correct, but this is actually a different conform process than what I meant or what Cinema Tools does. In X, it's a slomo function that requires rendering. I do believe, I explained you could do it in X's Retime tool. In CT, the header metadata for playback frame rate is changed and then that file simply plays natively at the slower speed in X without rendering.

- Oliver

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


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Jeff Kirkland
Re: Slow motion in fcpx for music video
on Sep 3, 2013 at 1:13:16 am

Thanks Oliver - I guess that's why I was asking... I had assumed that the FCPX option was performing the same function as CT - changing the metadata - just virtually in the database rather than 'physically' in the file.

Jeff Kirkland | Video Producer | Southern Creative Media | Melbourne Australia
http://www.southerncreative.com.au | G+: http://gplus.to/jeffkirkland | Twitter: @jeffkirkland


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Jim Kehoe
Re: Slow motion in fcpx for music video
on Sep 3, 2013 at 5:27:31 am

Hey Oliver and Jeff, and after I drag the 60 fps into 24 fps timeline and hit "conform", how would I get the 60 fps footage to be normal speed again But still having 24fps look? (since "conform" slows it down to 40%)?


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Jeff Kirkland
Re: Slow motion in fcpx for music video
on Sep 3, 2013 at 8:15:40 am

If you let FCPX do the conform then it's just a matter of setting the clip back to 100% speed and it will play at the normal rate.

Jeff Kirkland | Video Producer | Southern Creative Media | Melbourne Australia
http://www.southerncreative.com.au | G+: http://gplus.to/jeffkirkland | Twitter: @jeffkirkland


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Jim Kehoe
Re: Slow motion in fcpx for music video
on Sep 3, 2013 at 9:01:34 am

Gotya, so i will just drag it to 100% (from the 40% it conformed it to) after I conform so it plays normal but still has the 24p conform. Thanks guys!


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Bret Williams
Re: Slow motion in fcpx for music video
on Sep 3, 2013 at 6:44:48 pm

You'll get the orange line. Which doesn't mean a render is required. It basically means that an adjustment has been made. Certainly a half decent mac should play back full quality without rendering required. In any case, probably less time than copying the file and sending it to cinema tools. I much prefer keeping it all in house where I'm linking to the original media or even a proxy of the original media where I can turn the conform on or off at will.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Slow motion in fcpx for music video
on Sep 3, 2013 at 7:13:38 pm

[Bret Williams] "In any case, probably less time than copying the file and sending it to cinema tools"

CT's conform is an instant process and one you would do to the file BEFORE import into FCP X. Leaving it up to FCP X is fine, as long as you don't need to roundtrip to another app for grading. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Some outside grading houses will not accept lists with source clips that have been slomo'ed.

- Oliver

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


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Bret Williams
Re: Slow motion in fcpx for music video
on Sep 3, 2013 at 9:02:42 pm

Well it's always something isn't it? What do Avid and Premiere users do without CT? I know Premiere can interpret footage just like AE and that's appealing. I assume no render there. Does Avid have a tool?

I guess if Resolve didn't want a slomo clip, then one could export the clip and reimport. Locking in the frame rate.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Slow motion in fcpx for music video
on Sep 3, 2013 at 10:05:15 pm

[Bret Williams] "Does Avid have a tool?"

You would import the file into a separate project of that same frame rate (720p/59.94). Then open that bin into the editing project with your target frame rate (1080p/23.976). Then you have frame rate control. There's also a console command Ignore Qt Rate, but I'm not sure what it does in this case.

- Oliver

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


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Bret Williams
Re: Slow motion in fcpx for music video
on Sep 4, 2013 at 2:14:13 pm

Seriously? That sounds horrible.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Slow motion in fcpx for music video
on Sep 4, 2013 at 2:30:08 pm

[Bret Williams] "Seriously? That sounds horrible."

I don't disagree, but this is only a recent phenomena brought about by consumer cameras shooting at high frame rates and then being used for slomo. That pretty much started with the introduction of the Canon 7D.

Nearly all professional video cameras (Varicam, Alexa, Epic, RED One, C300, etc.) have built-in file structures and metadata that tells the NLE to play the file at the timebase frame rate, instead of the recorded frame rate. So if I shot 60fps (over 24p) with an Alexa, Avid would simply import it normally as a native 24p clip with slomo playback. It would treat it just like "overcranked" film. Same as FCP 7 or FCP X.

I realize that HDSLRs and GoPros are used for professional applications, but neither is a "professional video camera" in terms of standard, professional video features. As such, any use in these situations requires some compromise in workflow or quality.

The procedure I described above for Avid isn't just for this situation, but also how to deal with PAL/NTSC mixes, 24p into 60i and so forth.

- Oliver

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


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