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Andrew Johnstone
Custom workspace in FCPX
on Jul 3, 2018 at 7:49:19 am

Chums,

I have resisted FCPX for as long as has been humanly possible, but now that BBC are rolling it out across the regions, I have no choice.

I am stuck on several points, but one of the most irritating things that I cannot figure a fix for is how to layout my workspace across dual screens in a way that will allow me to resize windows as I want them.

What I am essentially after is 'two up' editing with the timeline (or whatever it is called now) below on on screen and my rushes bin on screen two, dragged to fill half the screen so I can have the script visible in Word on the other half of the screen.
Andy

Andy Johnstone
Wild Dog Limited
film & multimedia production
http://www.wilddogworld.com


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Steve Connor
Re: Custom workspace in FCPX
on Jul 3, 2018 at 12:47:10 pm

[Andrew Johnstone] "I have resisted FCPX for as long as has been humanly possible, but now that BBC are rolling it out across the regions, I have no choice.

"


Resistance is futile I'm afraid ☺ BBC rolling out FCPX across the regions?

Bad news is that you can't do that in FCPX I'm afraid - unless I'm mistaken? You can only resize the "Primary" window


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Oliver Peters
Re: Custom workspace in FCPX
on Jul 3, 2018 at 6:39:32 pm

[Andrew Johnstone] "I have resisted FCPX for as long as has been humanly possible, but now that BBC are rolling it out across the regions, I have no choice."

Out of curiosity, since it looks like you are an outside production company vendor to BBC, why does it matter? Are they mandating that you also work in FCPX for your projects?

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Scott Witthaus
Re: Custom workspace in FCPX
on Jul 3, 2018 at 9:03:40 pm

[Oliver Peters] "Are they mandating that you also work in FCPX for your projects?"

Compatibility would be my guess.

Scott Witthaus
Visual Storyteller - FCPX, Premiere
https://vimeo.com/channels/1322525
Managing Partner, Low Country Creative LLC
Professor, VCU Brandcenter


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Andrew Johnstone
Re: Custom workspace in FCPX
on Aug 10, 2018 at 8:07:54 am

Sorry I have ignore this thread as I have been shooting and away on me hols...

The reason I am using FCPX is that I rough cut the film in my studio, then take it in to the client for a final cut with one of the in house film editors. This is a workflow I have used successfully for years with FCP7. FCPX leaves me cold. I posted a Q and some 'statements' on another thread yesterday about how I feel about the app.

After that I got stuck into my third project on FCPX. On this one I shot Sony Slog and I have about 2 hours worth of rushes so far , plus GoPor clips and some diary cam.

What i have learned about FCPX is that while it says it can handle any media, it actually can't and it converts everything into ProRes for the edit. I have tried 'leaving files in place' but if the files are inside a Sony Card file format the app won;t have it and they have to be ingested. On my previous film I struggled with P2 files and I have a colleague who struggled with Canon log files. The net result was to use Edit Ready from Divergent to transcode everything and/or to ingest into the library. As a reult my library folder on this new project is over 400mb in size.

So there is no benefit in using FCPX over 7 in terms of data storage. What i can say is that once everything is in a format that FCXP likes, it is quick on it's feet and colour grading Slog on the fly is very fast.

BUT...I still have significant issues with the app. Window layout droves me nuts but I have a solution now. The app still does not remember I have a dual screen though and each time I open it I have manually move things from my main display to the external monitor.

As for the other issues I have with the programme....I will not mention them here, but they are legion...

Thanks for all you helpe on the layout thing. And yes you cannot lay the edit windows out as you would like. WTF???!

Andy

Andy Johnstone
Wild Dog Limited
film & multimedia production
http://www.wilddogworld.com


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Joe Marler
Re: Custom workspace in FCPX
on Aug 10, 2018 at 2:31:40 pm

[Andrew Johnstone] "What i have learned about FCPX is that while it says it can handle any media, it actually can't and it converts everything into ProRes for the edit. I have tried 'leaving files in place' but if the files are inside a Sony Card file format the app won;t have it and they have to be ingested. "

FCPX can handle Sony XAVC-S and many other formats without transcoding. What you're describing is not conversion to ProRes but re-wrapping and copying to the library or designated media folder. I haven't throughly tested XAVC-L or XAVC-I, but for XAVC-S, I imported 12 terabytes of documentary content using "leave files in place" without re-wrapping or transcoding. It worked fine.

The problem is you must copy the video files out of the card folder before doing the import. We do that anyway in the field during offloading. We also rename all the files, appending a globally unique serial number.

It is considered poor form to copy the media files out of the folder because of the risk some metadata files might be needed. For AVCHD this should never be done due to an I/O performance issue in FCPX. However with XAVC-S it works fine. For other formats, I don't know.


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Michael Hancock
Re: Custom workspace in FCPX
on Aug 10, 2018 at 3:35:30 pm

[Joe Marler] "The problem is you must copy the video files out of the card folder before doing the import. "

You can also navigate to the MXF or .mp4 files (depending on the camera you have) at the finder level and drag them in, bypassing the Import window, which allows you to Leave Files in Place without having to break apart the folder structure. This works for a handful of cameras.

----------------
Michael Hancock
Editor


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Andrew Johnstone
Re: Custom workspace in FCPX
on Aug 13, 2018 at 7:36:39 am

[Michael Hancock] "
You can also navigate to the MXF or .mp4 files (depending on the camera you have) at the finder level and drag them in, bypassing the Import window, which allows you to Leave Files in Place without having to break apart the folder structure. This works for a handful of cameras."


Yes, but I am not sure that this then brings in any/all meta data for the clips that are stored in the native file structure of whatever format you're using. P2 saves audio files in its own little folder in the camera file and so the only way to get this into the system was to convert the rushes to ProRes.

The other clips that we had issues with were from JVC Enviro (11?? I think that is what it was called) handy cam that we have given to one of the contributors for use as a diary camera. Again the file structure meant that FCPX would not play with it, so again it had to be transcoded.

It is easier to work with the app once you have discovered that for all its whizz bang claims, it is not as clever as it thinks it is or as Apple would like it to be.

Andy Johnstone
Wild Dog Limited
film & multimedia production
http://www.wilddogworld.com


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Scott Witthaus
Re: Custom workspace in FCPX
on Jul 3, 2018 at 9:59:39 pm

[Andrew Johnstone] "What I am essentially after is 'two up' editing with the timeline (or whatever it is called now) below on on screen and my rushes bin on screen two, dragged to fill half the screen so I can have the script visible in Word on the other half of the screen."

Certainly not as flexible (right now) as Premiere, but there are a lot of options (under the Window dropdown) for the second display and the workspace and then each of those can be saved as presets.

Best advice: don't try to make X into Premiere, Avid or FCP-Legacy. Learn the software the way it was designed to work. You will be much happier in the long run and not look back (I know I am).

sw

Scott Witthaus
Visual Storyteller - FCPX, Premiere
https://vimeo.com/channels/1322525
Managing Partner, Low Country Creative LLC
Professor, VCU Brandcenter


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Oliver Peters
Re: Custom workspace in FCPX
on Jul 3, 2018 at 10:02:08 pm

[Scott Witthaus] "Best advice: don't try to make X into Premiere, Avid or FCP-Legacy. Learn the software the way it was designed to work. You will be much happier in the long run and not look back (I know I am)."

Go back and re-read what he's trying to do:

"dragged to fill half the screen so I can have the script visible in Word on the other half of the screen"

This has nothing to do with making one NLE act like another. It's an app UI issue as to how it interacts with the OS.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Eric Santiago
Re: Custom workspace in FCPX
on Jul 3, 2018 at 10:36:02 pm

I remember years ago there was a screen utility that would allow you to have multiple desktops.
I don't remember if you were to be able to scale one over the other.
I too would like something similar but almost every workstation I'm at has on average two computers with dual displays each.


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Scott Witthaus
Re: Custom workspace in FCPX
on Jul 4, 2018 at 12:49:14 pm

[Oliver Peters] "Go back and re-read what he's trying to do"

I know that Oliver. As I said in my reply, it is not like Pr. So what he exactly wants from the system may not be there. However, it seems he is just getting into X so there are some options he may want to look at. I’m not bashing any other product.

The line of mine you “quoted” had nothing to do with his set-up, just advice on how to use a system that he has been resisting. This is not the debate forum rather a techniques forum. I think advice here can be a good thing.

Scott Witthaus
Visual Storyteller - FCPX, Premiere
https://vimeo.com/channels/1322525
Managing Partner, Low Country Creative LLC
Professor, VCU Brandcenter


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Oliver Peters
Re: Custom workspace in FCPX
on Jul 4, 2018 at 1:16:29 pm

[Scott Witthaus] "This is not the debate forum rather a techniques forum. I think advice here can be a good thing."

This isn't a question of debate. It's a need an editor has, regardless of the app. Answering the question with a solution, or just saying it just can't do that, is sufficient. Telling someone they aren't using the app correctly is insulting.

So then tell me - if I have the FCPX UI spread across two displays, how do I also see a document in another app at the same time? That's sort of fundamental when addressing a client's notes or comparing the edited cut against a script, for example. The fact that I can adjust the size of the UI panel on one screen, but not the other, would seem to be a design issue. The only answer I've found with FCPX is to print out the script and compare paper to screen or use a single screen workspace.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Scott Witthaus
Re: Custom workspace in FCPX
on Jul 4, 2018 at 5:00:24 pm

[Oliver Peters] "Answering the question with a solution, or just saying it just can't do that, is sufficient. Telling someone they aren't using the app correctly is insulting."

Where did I say he was using the program incorrectly? I have no idea how you are reading that in my response. I simply am giving tried and true advice to a person starting out on X.

[Oliver Peters] "So then tell me - if I have the FCPX UI spread across two displays, how do I also see a document in another app at the same time? "

Me? I have an iPad. I put the script on that. Or look at some of the other second display options. The fact is that apparently exactly what he wants isn’t in X right now. He has to use X now. So he adapts. Here are some ideas. We are not debating limitations of any one software, rather helping someone solve a problem. BBC ain’t gonna change because of this forum, so let’s help him out. Just pointing out perceived UI design deficiencies is not of any help.

Scott Witthaus
Visual Storyteller - FCPX, Premiere
https://vimeo.com/channels/1322525
Managing Partner, Low Country Creative LLC
Professor, VCU Brandcenter


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Oliver Peters
Re: Custom workspace in FCPX
on Jul 4, 2018 at 5:16:28 pm

[Scott Witthaus] "Where did I say he was using the program incorrectly?"

"Best advice: don't try to make X into Premiere, Avid or FCP-Legacy. Learn the software the way it was designed to work. "

[Scott Witthaus] "We are not debating limitations of any one software, rather helping someone solve a problem."

Agreed. So the answer is that he can't do what he wants to do.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Oliver Peters
Re: Custom workspace in FCPX
on Jul 4, 2018 at 6:11:05 pm

Andrew,

Since you can resize the primary display and you can rearrange workspaces, here are two options. It is also possible to change which is primary through your system display preferences. So the left or right image can be reversed from what you see here, if your OS menu is on the left screen.





- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Andrew Johnstone
Re: Custom workspace in FCPX
on Aug 14, 2018 at 8:33:20 am

Thanks Oliver and thanks all for comments on this thread.

I have settled into a way of working with FCPX that works, but still leaves me tearing my hair out over certain issues with this app.

I have a working layout now that is fine, if inflexible. My 24" studio monitor is running the edit windows and timeline (or whatever it is called now)



My Right hand screen (main iMac screen) is for all my bins. I find, because I can't scrub through clips in the viewer window, the most useful layout is to have the clips as a list, with the long preview window at the top of the list.



My script is running on my laptop and I can swing my mic (on a pivoting arm thing) down to record guide VO. Doing this is a lot easier now as this weekend I rebuilt my studio desk, replacing my old desk with a built in 2m wide workstation, "custom designed by a master-craftsman" (errr....me!)

What drives me potty is that even though this workspace is saved on my system and I am the only person using this machine, FCPX does not re-open at the start if the day with the workspace laid out properly and I have to manually drag one of the windows on to the LH monitor and then drag it to size. Anyway, when I have completed this house keeping at the start of the day things work well.

Someone mentioned that FCPX does not transcode, but 're-wraps' data and stuffs it in the library. I would say 'semantics' - the bottom line in that the app likes to deal with data in its favourite flavour and It's ProRes. When you have everything ingested, it flies through the work in a way that Premier struggles as it is managing data on the fly. Premier requires a much more powerful machine. I can't grade in Premier on my system (2013 iMac) but grading my S-Log Sony FS7 rushes in FCPX works fine. The machine stutters form time to time, but that is mainly because it is pulling data from my Gtech thunderbolt project drive.

So on balance, speedy working (once you have done your ingesting and housekeeping) in FCPX is good. Where the system falls down is in the crappy way editing is implemented. All this guff about the magnetic timeline is just so much guff. Premier has a magnetic timeline that is so much better than FCPx because you can ignore it when you want to, there is still a 'track tool' that enables you to move everythign down the time line if you need to open up space (rather then the very clunky 'insert gap' tool in FCPX. Better yet, when you place a clip into the timeline in Premier the rest of the media stays where you want it to stay rather then hopping all over the place and requiring you to make adjustments. In FCPX I have yet to find out how to do a simple three point edit.

Premier maintains all the elegant simplicity of a classic NLE with simple tools like being able to add an audio fade between two clips by simply highlighting the edit, hitting ctrl+Click and selecting 'apply default transition' to the edit. The FCPX solution requires, detaching audio and applying a video transition (or one solution is 'buy a plug in'.....agggggh! Third party/User created plugins...! Don't get me started!) etc...Now try to relink the audio clip with the video clip...

The way FCPX keeps audio all pegged together is quite clever, but trying to pick up the fade handles on the ends of audio clips is really annoying and of course the is no Pen tool for quick key framing (Cmd+K on the highlighted clip with the playhead). Grrrrr!

I have managed to get to a point when I can cut a film on this system and I am over the major bumps in the road. That major bump was accepting the fact that it is not a clever as it thinks it is...

Andy

Andy Johnstone
Wild Dog Limited
film & multimedia production
http://www.wilddogworld.com


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Joe Marler
Re: Custom workspace in FCPX
on Aug 14, 2018 at 12:40:18 pm

[Andrew Johnstone] "I can't scrub through clips in the viewer window, the most useful layout is to have the clips as a list, with the long preview window at the top of the list...

FCPX does not require you load one clip at a time into a source monitor to scrub. It uses a different conceptual model. The skimmer lets you rapidly scrub through any clip in the Event Browser. Normally there's a single viewer which auto-switches between the timeline and Event Browser display, but you can toggle on/off separate displays with CTRL+CMD+3.

In the Event Browser, there are pros and cons to filmstrip mode vs. list mode. Unlike "hover scrub" in Premiere, the FCPX skimmer is extremely high performance and can display the skimmed clips in the viewer. You can use JKL to skim from one clip to the next in filmstrip mode, if View>Browser>Continuous Playback is enabled.

The overall concept is you rapidly skim through clips in the Event Browser, mark favorites, rejects, and keywords -- based on *ranges*, not clips, then switch the filter to "Hide Rejected" with CTRL+H. After the prep work, you then (and only then) proceed to the timeline phase of editing. For more details, see "Warp Speed Keywording": https://www.provideocoalition.com/warp-speed-key-wording-in-final-cut-pro-x...

[Andrew Johnstone] ...when you place a clip into the timeline in Premier the rest of the media stays where you want it to stay rather then hopping all over the place and requiring you to make adjustments...

In FCPX you can easily do an overwrite edit by pressing D: https://support.apple.com/kb/PH12539?locale=en_US


[Andrew Johnstone] ...In FCPX I have yet to find out how to do a simple three point edit...

I frequently do three-point edits in FCPX: https://support.apple.com/kb/PH12636?locale=en_US&viewlocale=en_US

[Andrew Johnstone] ...add an audio fade between two clips...The FCPX solution requires, detaching audio and applying a video transition (or one solution is 'buy a plug in'.....agggggh! Third party/User created plugins...! Don't get me started!) etc...Now try to relink the audio clip with the video clip...

While FCPX could be improved in this area, you can easily do an audio-only cross fade without using a 3rd-party plugin: https://www.provideocoalition.com/day-7-28daysofquicktips-2018-apply-toggle...

Re detaching audio, this is often not necessary for things like a split edit:

https://support.apple.com/kb/PH12635?locale=en_US&viewlocale=en_US

You can also do dynamic trimming and apply audio-only cross fades without using the mouse, as shown in MacBreak Studio #434:

https://www.provideocoalition.com/mouseless-dynamic-trimming-in-final-cut-p...


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Ronny Courtens
Re: Custom workspace in FCPX
on Aug 14, 2018 at 2:58:48 pm

Hi Andrew,

I am quite familiar with the implementation of FCP X at BBC and I know many, many people who have gone through the same learning curve as you are going through now. But you are a very experienced editor and, in spite of your obvious bias against FCP X, I see that you are quite capable of finding your own ways to make the application work for you. Good!

I do notice there are still quite a few things that you completely misunderstand, simply because you haven't worked with X long enough. Joe has already cleared out some of these, but I would warmly advise you to get some deeper training on how FCP X really works. There are many excellent courses online. The Beeb also has in-house FCP X training sessions on occasions, but I think that's for internal editors only.

If you would be going to IBC in September, I will be very happy to schedule a meeting with you and give you a few hours of one-on-one advanced training for free, based on your personal workflows and questions. I have meetings there with lots of people from the BBC, you will be in good company (-: Just drop me an e-mail: ronnycourtens@mac.com

- Ronny


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Andrew Johnstone
Re: Custom workspace in FCPX
on Aug 15, 2018 at 8:21:24 am

Ronny,

Thanks for your kind offer of help.

I actually had a one hour one to one session with Jas one of the BBC trainers who was down from Brum in Plymouth yesterday and it was very useful. I have ironed out several issues for me. One of the interesting things seems to be that FCPX works better with snapping on than Premier does as it minimises the magnetic timeline's tendancy to make clips hops about in the work space - somethign that really annoys me! I am used to putting a clip in a spot and it stays where it is put..! #oldschool

I am afraid I am utterly auto-didactic and I have to find my own way of working and I have to wrestle with the beast until it is tamed, but Jas' help was bang on and I have had to sheepishly admit that FCPX is not a shit as I first thought. (You won't find me admitting that publicly on a forum though...ooops...!).

Part of the issue is how the BBC has set up it own workflow & media storage) which make sharing projects between users harder than it might other wise be, but we plotted a work around for that.

I am still not convinced that I will abandon Premier Pro yet for longer form projects or for work that has to go out to post/grading, but I have been impressed with how easy and fast it is to grade Slog footage in FCPX. The system is fast, even on my creakingly old iMac, but with the timeline now over 10 mins, the system is slowing down as I am pulling so much data off my Thunderbolt 2 project drive. The only solution to this I think is some new kit.

Anyway, thanks for your offer of further help and I'll drop you an email of the forum.

Andy

Andy Johnstone
Wild Dog Limited
film & multimedia production
http://www.wilddogworld.com


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Andrew Johnstone
Re: Custom workspace in FCPX
on Aug 14, 2018 at 2:23:31 pm

Just back from a really interesting session with one of the trainers for BBC.

I find my self hating FCPX less than I did a few short hours ago which is a good ting. The 'range' tool is a clever thing and being able to select audio roles for each track in a clip is very clever. So perhaps I'll end up liking this app more than I thought I might (it seems quite a few do) but I stand by the point that forcing so many people to go through so much paint to learn to cut on this platform was probably not a great idea.

Andy

Andy Johnstone
Wild Dog Limited
film & multimedia production
http://www.wilddogworld.com


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Oliver Peters
Re: Custom workspace in FCPX
on Aug 14, 2018 at 2:37:18 pm

[Andrew Johnstone] "I find my self hating FCPX less than I did a few short hours ago which is a good ting."

My feeling is that FCPX is relatively counter-intuitive for experienced editors. But with time it's got a lot of good selling points. These are things a good trainer can definitely help with. However, there will still be quirky things that have never been fixed since day 1, but you'll learn to live with those minor bugs. It's a feature! ☺

Good luck.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Tangier Clarke
Re: Custom workspace in FCPX
on Aug 15, 2018 at 4:47:51 pm

Andrew I hear you on the pain of learning it and Oliver you are so spot on with regard to difficulties experienced editors may face. I grew up on AVID, then FCP 7, then FCP X while using Premiere when needed. Even with the very buggy FCP X v.1 that my job tested in our workflow, after a week my productivity was so vastly greater than it had ever been. I was astounded. I expected marginal differences coming from FCP 7, but it was no contest; particularly when I let FCP X be it's own thing and stopped trying to fit it into the mold of other previous NLEs. I've been using it so long now and generally satisfied, that I look back on my years of FCP 7 now and wonder how I got along like that. Such is the nature of change I guess...if you're willing to embrace it. This is not to say that there aren't features I miss (using T on the keyboard to select everything forward for instance), but it was clear Apple was leaving the many editorial conventions behind now that the had the OS level power of AV Foundation and Core Data, and had a clear pathway in this media/data convergence era. I will say though that folks who learned AVID [Media Composer] seemed to have a better grasp of low level video technical details. Modern apps seem to hide those now and just handle things for you so you can get on with it.

Good luck.


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Tangier Clarke
Re: Custom workspace in FCPX
on Aug 15, 2018 at 4:35:29 pm

Would this not be capable using the macOS feature to split the screen between two apps? I've done this using FCP X - having a document on one side and FCP X on the other; rarely would I do this though since I use two monitors generally.


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