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Re: CHALLENGED! Making transition from FCP7 to FCPX

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Andrew Johnstone
Re: CHALLENGED! Making transition from FCP7 to FCPX
on Nov 28, 2018 at 9:12:23 am

I posted at some length higher up on this thread and expressed my dismay at some of the features of FCPX that I did not like very much.

Since then I have cut several pieces for TV and fed news cuts from the field and got to know the system pretty well. I have overcome my frustrations with the sticky timeline and with audio mixing/fades etc. In fact because my main client (BBC) uses FCPX for all its news and regional feature/docs, I have not touched premiere since cutting a 1/2 hour doc in Jan and my subscription has lapsed. I can;t afford to have various edit packages lolling about on my system, costing me money if I am not using them - this has always been my beef about subscription based software. It does not take into account the needs of many users.

But back to FCPX...I really like the ease with which you can grade in FCPX and there are clearly benefits to the system converting content to a flavour that it prefers. But its data management is also a major headache for me now.

In Premiere Pro, my main issue was system speed. My current machine does not have enough RAM or a faster enough Graphics card to render & grade as fast as I would like in Premiere. But other than that it works brilliantly reading directly form the source file. All my rushes are copied directly to a mirrored Thunderbolt RAID and I can work directly from that. I appreciate tat there are downsides to this workflow, a mirrored raid is not as fast as a single RAID and there is also the danger of drive failure from overuse. But in Premiere I can start work the minute the material is put on the RAID and the project files are relatively small when it comes to archiving.

FCPX however is a different issue. And this is GRIPE 1:

While I can, in theory ingest material into a 'library' (a 'project' in old money...why did they change the names...!) and 'leave files in place' FCPX does not in practice let me do this with material from my FS7. It sees an Sony card file structure as the card it self, not the copy of a card and the only option I have is to ingest the material into the library.

Example: a recent 10 minute wildlife film, shot in Slog , created over 481GB of project data on my project drive (I run a single thunderbolt drive for projects - a legacy from FCP7)

Problem: Now, not only do I have a back up of the original rushes on my mirrored RAID, I also have a duplicate of all the material in the film's 'library'. All the music for the film (which I store on my project raid) also gets copies into the library. This creates a massive storage night mare and means that to archive my projects I have to buy terrabytes of harddrive space - much more that I needed for Premiere. And don't under estimate the time it takes to copy all this material to external drives either. I am copying as I type.

GRIPE 2: The size of the FCPX project files creates a massive issue for my system. I filed two news package from the filed the other day. The lunchtime package was fine. But when I came to cut the package for the evening show, my 13inch MBP ground to a halt. I have found with FCPX that you really have to let it sit and munch away at everything before you start cutting on my system. Even on the much faster Macs at the BBC, the background tasks grind to a halt if you are cutting.

The bottom line for me is that I need to throw even more money at Apple and at the external hard drive mfrs to get this edit package to whizz along.

There are lots of benefits to this system, but unless I am doing something wrong the data management is a real headache.


Andy Johnstone
Wild Dog Limited
film & multimedia production

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