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Flattened XML export?

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Mathew Farrell
Flattened XML export?
on Jul 24, 2017 at 12:17:57 am

Hey Groovers,

Working as a colourist, perhaps the hardest part of my job is conforming big timelines from the likes of FCPX to bring into Resolve.

One of the standard colour workflows is to ask the editor very nicely if they can tidy up the timeline and flatten it as much as possible, then kick out an XML and a reference prores. It's mind boggling that none of the NLEs seem to have a "flattened XML" output, whereby effectively only what is seen in the program monitor, and heard in the speakers, makes it onto the XML. This would make life SOOOO much easier for colour and audio post, cheaper, etc.
Does anyone know of any software which does this, or neat tips and tricks for create better XMLs for your dear post peeps - or even good communication tips for what to ask of editors to help them give a grader what he needs?

Mathew Farrell
flowstate.com.au


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Flattened XML export?
on Jul 24, 2017 at 3:10:22 pm

This is a good idea, but might be prone to error, especially with any sort of composite or text.

FCPX is really decent at making a fairly flat timeline (I make them all the time before sending to color).

You select a clip you want to collapse down in the the primary and choose option-command-down arrow. Audio is preserved. With practice, you could write up a little instruction sheet to your FCPX editors. It's a pretty easy process.


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Shane Ross
Re: Flattened XML export?
on Jul 24, 2017 at 7:02:56 pm

Yeah, we just need to make sure that the editors actually do this. I get many compound clips from FCX and I need to undo them manually myself, to discover 2-3 video clips mixed in with text. Sure, I can do this, it's just that I'm more expensive than the editor. But I tend to do this anyway, as FCX timelines come in so messy anyway...because Apple doesn't believe in tracks. I need to scour the timeline and move all the text up to higher tracks that I tend to undo many Secondary Timeline compounded clips in order to make sure things go where they should while I'm at it.

Sorry, it's still the thing about FCX that bothers the crap out of me. I like things neat and tidy, and to have text just sitting on top of clips, or combined in secondaries is just messy.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Flattened XML export?
on Jul 24, 2017 at 7:10:07 pm

If Roles are placed properly, you can even select all the text at once using the TL index, and either compound or secondary it with a few key strokes, you an also detach and delete all audio with a few keystrokes as well.

I always export audio and text as separate elements before going to color, and simply lay in one track of text, one track of audio. The text is used for placement only, and then I relay when I get it back for color.

All the rest of the video is neat and organized in to as few layers as possible.

Takes nothing but a few minutes to do this in FCPX.


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Shane Ross
Re: Flattened XML export?
on Jul 24, 2017 at 7:19:58 pm

Text and audio separate? Hmmm...guess I have to try that. I like having text with the picture so I'm sure it's lined up properly, but that export you laid out might work too.

The smoothest project I had from FCX to Resolve happened to be prepped by the best FCX assistant editor in the business. Everything linked up properly (well, stills always an issue, but we have a solution for that), the text was separate...reference QT for audio (as we have a pro mix that delivers stems later)...and then a separate full res QT export that's stills only. If there are any plugins or transitions used in the cut that won't transfer, I request a full res QT export of the project as well. Well...I always ask for that, just in case.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Flattened XML export?
on Jul 24, 2017 at 7:27:29 pm

[Shane Ross] "Text and audio separate? "

Yes. First I make an AAF from the approved timeline. Then I dupe the timeline to make a color submaster. If the text is simply alpha over video, I export the text as PR444, reimport, and then lay it in over the video (and delete any original text filters or clips). I detach all audio, export, reimport, delete all the audio, and lay in the flattened audio file.

This make a much cleaner XML to color, and usually leaves the colorist with exactly what they need plus a little extra (like text, and audio. Audio is usually never used). It also make relinking back to FCPX much easier because I consolidate the file in Resolve to PR444 w/handles and no audio. The files I get back form color have no audio, so I simply relink to the graded files, add in my original titles/compositing, lay in the final mix and master.

Pretty easy.


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Shane Ross
Re: Flattened XML export?
on Jul 24, 2017 at 7:45:24 pm

Ah...yeah, you have it down. I never round trip back to FCX...the final is rendered out of Resolve for the stuff I do. Guess I should toy with sending it back. I wonder how the text would hold up? I have to tweak what I get from FCX...

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Flattened XML export?
on Jul 24, 2017 at 7:54:00 pm

[Shane Ross] "Ah...yeah, you have it down. I never round trip back to FCX...the final is rendered out of Resolve for the stuff I do. Guess I should toy with sending it back. I wonder how the text would hold up? I have to tweak what I get from FCX..."

Most of the stuff I send to color goes through Baselight, I just use Resolve to consolidate/trim the media, and send an XML back to FCPX of that consolidated timeline (for later relinking in FCPX to the graded media).

Text doesn't hold up super well, and audio round trip is a disaster, although I haven't tried Resolve 14.

What does hold up really well are speed changes and speed ramps.


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Mathew Farrell
Re: Flattened XML export?
on Jul 24, 2017 at 10:16:25 pm

Thanks for the thoughts, guys.

Shane, it sounds like we have very similar workflows, outputs, and FCPX gripes. I appreciate that roles can be used, as Jeremy points out. I'll also point out that there was nothing intrinsically wrong with layers, and they were more obvious to less disciplined editors. e.g. an editor would have to go out of his way to throw the text into a unique role. I too like to try an export straight from Resolve for small-crew projects. Don't add a return-trip conform if you don't have to.

Jeremy, thanks for the hot tips on opt-cmd-down, and busting out text via the index. Awesome! Do you mind talking a little more about your text outputs you send to colour - do you send baked, alpha channel text? I haven't mucked around much with alpha'd video. I ask for the above reason of exporting finals from Resolve, and not having to go back to the NLE.
I'm also really keen to hear how you use resolve to consolidate. That would be a neat (and slightly different) trick.

Mathew Farrell
flowstate.com.au


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Flattened XML export?
on Jul 26, 2017 at 12:20:10 am

[Mathew Farrell] "Do you mind talking a little more about your text outputs you send to colour - do you send baked, alpha channel text?"

It wholly depends on the project, but usually, if it's alpha text or graphics, I export only those things as a ProRes 444 (using Roles to export). I reimport that export, lay it on top in my color submaster timeline, add a "Temp GFX" Role to it, then I delete the original graphics out and make an XML of the timeline with flattened graphics and necessary video files, as well as flattened audio which I explained last time.

I then take that XML to Resolve, clean up any weird compound clips that Resolve makes, and then I start the trim; render every video clip at ProRes444, and trim all with 2 second handles. I also disable the temp graphics clip during this process. I then take the XML Resolve makes and import that in to FCPX to check that the render went well. If so, I export yet another Fcpxml and then I translate it using Xto7 to a xmeml that Baselight can read.

Then I get renders back from color, I open FCPX and choose that last timeline that was imported from Resolve, and I relink the video to the graded files. I then copy and paste the original text/gfx back in from my approved timeline and redo any composites if necessary. I then add the final mixed audio and make any masters I may need.

It sounds complicated, but it's not too bad. I wish FCPX could trim media, but it doesn't (and wouldn't help me anyway because FCPX wouldn't relink to files without audio which is what I receive from Baselight). I wish Baselight would take fcpxml but it doesn't. ☺ So, I use Resolve's great media managing skills to their advantage and work around FCPX's strict relinking rules. It took me a while to figure this out, but now it's pretty solid. It's not 100% perfect all of the time, but 90% of the time it works all of the time. ☺


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Mathew Farrell
Re: Flattened XML export?
on Jul 27, 2017 at 11:42:42 am

Jeremy, that's super solid of you to share, thank you. I'm getting a project out the door, so I'll digest this later, but I wanted to say thanks before I forget.

Mathew Farrell
flowstate.com.au


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Flattened XML export?
on Jul 27, 2017 at 3:16:24 pm

[Mathew Farrell] "so I'll digest this later, "

It's a bit to digest, especially written and me probably leaving out a few crucial little steps. ☺

If you have any questions when and if you do get around to it, let me know.


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