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Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration

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Oliver Peters
Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 23, 2020 at 3:42:47 pm

Productions from Adobe just announced. Collaborative workflows in Premiere Pro.

https://www.provideocoalition.com/premiere_team/

https://theblog.adobe.com/introducing-productions-coming-soon-to-premiere-p...

Come on Apple.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Tom Sefton
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 23, 2020 at 4:15:00 pm

Adobe keeps rolling out the updates, as per usual, but they keep breaking. Didn't a recent one stop any files being able to be exported from Premiere or Adobe Media Encoder?

So pleased to have moved away from that NLE for the time being.

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Oliver Peters
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 23, 2020 at 5:04:32 pm

[Tom Sefton] "Adobe keeps rolling out the updates, as per usual, but they keep breaking. Didn't a recent one stop any files being able to be exported from Premiere or Adobe Media Encoder?"

Everyone's updates always break something. The above is incorrect, except probably in a few isolated cases. I have some minor issues with the current version of Premiere Pro, but those could also be related to the trash can Mac I'm using, which is really hitting its design limitations big time.

FCPX 10.4.7 broke captions, but that was fixed again in 10.4.8. The first release of color wheels in FCPX was fairly incorrect in its math, which was quickly patched with the next release. It happens to everyone.

I've been on Adobe CC at the current shop with multiple systems for numerous years. I update CC pretty much right after these updates are released. Very few complaints on my part or those of any of our freelancers. Every now and then something comes up, but not any more or less than with other NLEs, including FCPX.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Devin Crane
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 23, 2020 at 5:31:56 pm

10.4.7 Broke captions? That's news to me.



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Oliver Peters
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 23, 2020 at 5:46:31 pm

[Devin Crane] "10.4.7 Broke captions?"

Yes, but in a limited case. If your sequence was long, like over 3 hours, captions quit displaying after a given point. This was repeatable and verified with Apple. Obviously a limited use case, which is always the issue for developers who need to track down these bugs.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Tom Sefton
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 23, 2020 at 11:23:00 pm

I’ve seen tens of editors having to roll back because they can’t export anything at all, and a recent update to 2020 is forcing a runtime error for some dissolves and transitions which is only solved by not working from a server. Something seems inherently wrong with premieres code for such huge problems to arise from an update?

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Oliver Peters
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 24, 2020 at 12:01:07 am

[Tom Sefton] "I’ve seen tens of editors having to roll back... "

Beats me. That's not my experience and I've been using Premiere Pro for years. I currently manage 9 systems with shared storage and it's been rock solid for us for years. Yes, the occasional quirk, but nothing that is unusual for software.

But more to the point, what's your feeling about collaboration in FCPX?

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Tom Sefton
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 24, 2020 at 12:03:30 am

It’s....difficult.

However, if you integrate frame.io well and work with exports and uploads of xml files, it can work very nicely.

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Oliver Peters
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 24, 2020 at 12:09:41 am

[Tom Sefton] "However, if you integrate frame.io well and work with exports and uploads of xml files, it can work very nicely."

I work with Frame and I just don't see how that's applicable. PostLab Cloud gets you close, but it's still not the same, because it's a check-out/check-in process. My concern is not long-distance collaboration. It's for multiple editors working in the same facility. That's what the Adobe solution is all about. It basically gives Premiere editors an Avid-like process.

I agree that current methods with FCPX are functional, but they are a workaround. I'd rather see Apple do something that would work correctly. Not because I can't work without it. Rather, it's just another roadblock that affects whether I can get other editors within the facility to have any interest in X at all.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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greg janza
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 24, 2020 at 4:16:35 pm

[Tom Sefton] "I’ve seen tens of editors having to roll back because they can’t export anything at all"

These are localized problems.

The vast majority of Adobe Premiere issues that get posted to online forums are system incompatibility related and not software bugs. The posters almost always think that it's Premiere bugs triggering their problem but after further analysis of their system setup, storage, etc. many of these so-called "bugs" have nothing to do with Premiere itself. That's not to say that Premiere isn't riddled with bugs. It is. But it's misleading to suggest that each new rollout of Premiere is a minefield of new bugs.

I'm currently working at a company with six edit suites all running Adobe CC and for the most part the main problems that have arisen are related to permissions issues on the SAN and not Adobe Premiere bugs. And I would argue that our situation is the norm and not the exception.

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Brad Hurley
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 23, 2020 at 5:41:02 pm

Apple may think they ticked that box when they introduced Frame.io integration. Yes, it's not built in and it's an extra cost, but that's consistent with the "ecosystem" approach Apple has taken where missing features are provided by third parties. On the other hand, Apple has been gradually bringing some of those features into Final Cut, such as noise reduction, better color grading tools (and hopefully they'll add tracking for masks etc. before too long), so maybe built-in collaboration tools will come.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 23, 2020 at 5:51:29 pm

[Brad Hurley] "Apple may think they ticked that box when they introduced Frame.io integration."

Not even close. Right now if I have two editors working on the same production, I have to have 2 separate Libraries and use a temporary "transfer" library to move files between. While that is serviceable for most FCPX clients, it's a stumbling block for many others. Ironically, I feel like Apple's first approach, when Events and Projects were separate data files, was actually closer to getting them there than what we now have.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 23, 2020 at 9:10:24 pm

I’d vote for multiuser collab too. It’s seems like it would be doable.


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Neil Goodman
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 24, 2020 at 3:22:09 am

with how much all of the 4 major NLE's are borrowing from each other these days - i cant figure out why the other 3 just dont copy Avids multiuser approach?


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Oliver Peters
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 24, 2020 at 2:31:09 pm

[Neil Goodman] "i cant figure out why the other 3 just dont copy Avids multiuser approach?"

That's basically what Adobe has done. Avid Bin file = Premiere Pro project file.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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greg janza
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 24, 2020 at 4:06:56 pm

[Neil Goodman] "i cant figure out why the other 3 just dont copy Avids multiuser approach?"

I share your bafflement. When I worked for production companies that made series television, it was all Avid systems and the editors were able to work quite easily together on shows because of the fantastic multiuser function within Avid. This has been a feature in Avid for many years.

Why is this so challenging to implement in other NLE's?

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Oliver Peters
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 24, 2020 at 4:24:07 pm

[greg janza] "Why is this so challenging to implement in other NLE's?"

Because from the very beginning, Avid designed a file and database structure that turned out to be conducive to collaboration. Whether this was out of necessity, foresight, or dumb luck is unknown. (Maybe some early Avid folks will see this thread and chime in.)

Unfortunately, this was not the case with Premiere or Final Cut. Adobe has figured out a way to get around that with this new feature. I had also thought the original FCPX format (before Libraries) would make this easier. But the bottom line seems to be that neither Apple nor Adobe started with a data format that made this easy.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Tim Wilson
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 31, 2020 at 7:47:15 am

[Oliver Peters] "from the very beginning, Avid designed a file and database structure that turned out to be conducive to collaboration. Whether this was out of necessity, foresight, or dumb luck is unknown. (Maybe some early Avid folks will see this thread and chime in.)"

I can tell you that it wasn't dumb luck. I only worked at Avid from 2003 to 2006, but when I was working at Boris FX before that, I worked with Avid folks a LOT, and have certainly carried on many conversations along these very lines with my former Avid colleagues in the years since I've left.

Every product, even terrible ones LOL, start with the question, "Who is this for?" Avid knew from the beginning that they weren't aiming for the whole wide world with Film Composer, the product's original name. They were aiming for offline film, knowing that visual effects, finishing, and audio post and more would follow after picture lock. After all of that was in hand, negatives would need to be cut. So everything about the product was designed to work in THAT environment, sharing information in lots of different directions.

This makes it sound way too simple though. Think about the simplest film production back in the late 80s when all this was happening -- sure, one shooter, one editor, but there's still going to be a couple of sound people (sound editors, sound mixers, music composers), the title house, and the negative cut. At minimum, a dozen people are going to need bullet-proof interop. In practice, for a picture of any size, it might need to scale up to HUNDREDS of people who needed to know lots and lots of information about lots and lots of things. For a VFX-heavy contemporary thing, THOUSANDS of people, but still, yeah, even for a mid-size picture in the late 80s, early 90s, no major VFX, we're still talking about scores of people.

This meant two very, very basic things. One, without a massively scaling database whose reliability stayed the same no matter how big it got, there was no product that could answer those needs at all. More simply, no database, no products, no company.

Two, Avid had to develop massive communications channels between lots and lots of companies, some of whom were competing with Avid, and most of whom were competing against each other, because there was no such thing as a project that could be completed in one manufacturer's ecosystem. The databases had to scale virtually infinitely in the horizontal direction, across companies and previously otherwise isolated silo workflows, as well scaling vertically in complexity.

Now imagine trying to create an interop infrastructure that spanned film labs, film cameras, sound recording devices, sound editors, music, graphics, visual effects, negative cutting, and all the layers of management around them -- with ZERO help from OS-level resources. This was before QuickTime. There were no OS-level resources for playing audio or video files. There was no industry-wide audio or video formats at all. No industry-wide metadata wrappers for these kinds of files.

In practice, nearly all of these problems were solved less by computer coding (although there was plenty of that) than by spreadsheets. This equals that. So it all ultimately feeds databases.

The 1995 merger between Avid and Digidesign, makers of Pro Tools, had a business component -- we'll take a bigger slice of the movie production pie if we control the leading tools for cutting pictures and cutting sound -- but I assure you that there was a massive interop component. Both companies realized that were times when either the picture editing team or the sound editing team would say to the other , "But I need YOU to develop THIS for ME, NOW, even if it doesn't matter to YOU, even if it will cause problems for your teams trying to meet the needs of your actual customers" -- and there needed to be somebody at the top saying, "I'm not asking you. I'm telling you. Do it."

Somewhere in here, along comes video. The desktop video revolution was well underway at Radius, Adobe, Media 100, and others, but none of that had anything to do with Avid. They weren't trying to revolutionize the WORLD. They were focused on a very specific community, with very specific needs.

Well, again, in practice, the early nonlinear days of video production with regards to episodic TV shows in particular was basically the same as film production. Most shows were still being shot on film, even in front of a live studio audience. The basic problems became more complex because of things like multicam -- oops, wait, which turns out to be NO PROBLEM AT ALL when viewed as a DATABASE issue. Each camera is just a stream. "We know how to play streams. How many you want?" That's why Avid had multicam so early, and so robustly. THIS community needed it.

There was also never an issue with Avid multicam and mixed formats. I don't know that anybody has yet done multicam as robustly as Avid had on the first day. I remember the first time we threw HD sources into the same multicam group as SD sources, different sizes for all of 'em. It just worked.

That was actually the conversation, too. "Q: What do you think will happen if we try this?" "A: (Shrug.) Should just work. We'll engineer something if we need to, though." And it DID just work! Because as far as the application was concerned, it was a database problem. "Tell me where you want the streams. Tell me the output size. I don't need to recalculate on the fly, because IT'S ALL IN THE DATABASE."

I could go on like this, but I'll add an example in broadcast. Think about election results, or a batting average or QB rating that's changing over the course of a game. There's not a human in the broadcast truck doing that math, and typing it into the broadcast graphics system. Those graphics are reading databases from someplace far, far away, and building pretty pictures on the fly.

And as anybody can tell you who goes to the Avid booth at NAB, there's a huge portion of it devoted to breathtaking graphics, virtual sets, and all kinds of stuff for news and sports -- really truly sci fi stuff that you should absolutely NOT miss, just because it's neato to look at -- and it's alllll being driven by databases. You want humans to be ABLE to touch these things, but if a human NEEDS to touch it after the templates are set, then no sale.

Swinging back to shared storage for a sec: I was at Avid when they launched the first ISIS (Infinitely Scalable Intelligent Storage) shared storage system -- wisely renamed NEXIS not a minute too soon. LOL (ISIS was still just a goddess and a rockin' Dylan tune back in the early aughts.) The first iteration was 128TB, which was crazy huge at the time -- nobody else had anything even vaguely this large for video production -- and the first question from the audience at launch was, "When can we have more?" It got a huge laugh, but a bunch of hands went up as people said, "I'd like more" "I NEED more" and so on.

And it wasn't just the size, it was the engineering that went into it. Triple redundant everything, but also a metadata controller that could scale up virtually infinitely -- ie, the ability to reliably handle a DATABASE whose scale might approach infinity.

So I said to the VP of Post, wow, this is clearly a hit. People really want this. Why are we not selling it to people like Visa? They need massive storage with infinitely scaling databases. He said, "Yeah, but the databases are doing the exact opposite thing.

"At Visa, they have lots of little files. Each individual transaction is tiny, and Visa needs to fly through billions of 'em as fast at they can. Their database is optimized for lots of little files, the faster the better.

"Our database," he says, "is optimized for fewer numbers of huge files, the smallest of which are many orders of magnitude larger than a Visa record, and they have to be delivered predictably, at the same pace. Too fast or too slow are both unacceptable. A smaller number of massive files, with the dimension of specifically-paced speed."

We talked about this in more detail than is relevant here (say it ain't so!) -- but he concluded, "That's why nothing about what we're doing with infinitely scalable storage is applicable to anyone outside the world of media production. The databases just won't line up."

I could go on, but hopefully you get the point. EVERYTHING about Avid's development, from long before the first product shipped, was ENTIRELY built on the rock-bottom understanding that there is no company, and there are no products, without a wall-to-wall, top-to-bottom, infinitely scalable information infrastructure, one that's specifically tuned to media production.

This also gets to some of the reasons why you can't use SPEED specs as the primary vector for choosing video storage. Maximum burst speed is irrelevant if you can't do the right thing with regards to pacing. That's why the storage that's optimized for live playout to air -- doesn't need random access or multiple points of exit, but DOES need bulletproof delivery of one stream through one pipe -- is different from editing storage that needs to go in multiple directions with tons of random access, and so on.

Nobody who's doing anything at a high level is trying to do EVERYTHING at a high level. Some stuff, they're not trying to do at all. That's how you get to be at a high level.

I haven't even gotten into the specific toolsets for the USE of Avid's products, but they're developed with the same focus, always asking, "Who is this for?"

One of my favorites (developed by our friend Michael Phillips) is the quarter-frame slip. That means nothing unless you're working with three-perf film -- that is, three perforations per frame. The audio is synced FRAME accurate, but where IN the frame is it synced? It could be synced to any one of four places (the ones on either side of the the three perfs), no more, but no less. So you might need to shift every piece of video in the reel by a quarter frame to sync up precisely.

And the cool thing is that, because the database is robust, do it on one clip, and every clip in the reel now has that offset added to it at whatever number of quarter-frames you've incremented, whether or not it's in your bin. When you do grab it later, it's ready to go. Slick!

Obviously, if you're not doing two-system recording, or working with film prints, you'll never touch this feature. But there was a stretch of time where nearly EVERYBODY who used an Avid, whether for movies, TV, spots, or whatever -- touched this feature. It's the kind of thing that builds generational loyalty, because editors see THOUSANDS of these little, tiny, bizarre features that say, "We know who you are. You are our only audience."

(You know, a couple of those features have escaped into the wild. Multicam, Bin-locking....another was what came to be known as script-based editing. I have stories about these that I'll save for another day.)

Anyway, I mentioned earlier that even terrible product managers ask the question, "Who is this FOR?" The good ones also ask, "Who is this NOT for?"

There's a boatload of features that Avid didn't chase, sometimes to the infuriation of part of their customer base, because they fell into the category of, "Yeah, a valid market, a MASSIVE market, but that's not who we're developing for." You HAVE to answer BOTH questions if you're going to last. Who is it for, and who is not for.

Apple isn't in the business of creating its own obstacles. They've done it sometimes, just like every company does, but Apple does it less often than most. That's why they're Apple. They don't chase the newest features, and they definitely never want the most features. They want the ones that meet the needs of who their stuff is FOR, and they leave a lot of money and opportunity on the table by rigorously refusing to develop anything for people who their stuff is NOT for.

So I don't have much to add to what people have already said about that on this thread. Apple has only showed a small if still meaningful interest in film-oriented workflows over the years (certainly the purchase of Cinema Tools is a good example) and shared workflows in general (during Xserve and FCP Server, yes, but the demise of those says all that it needs to), and barely any interest at all in anything that scales (to borrow a phrase) "to infinity and beyond". No disrespect. It is what it is. Third parties are making a lot of cool things possible, and that's gonna be the story for, well, maybe for forever.

Nothing about what Adobe is doing with the Productions or Adobe for Teams strikes me as fundamentally incompatible from a structural point of view....although, I'll be honest, looking at the Catalina warnings thread, it appears that Apple is doing some things with permissions in particular that might in fact make some of these kinds of distributed databases not work in practice. Or if they could work, only with Catalina clients, which suggests that it'll be mighty easy to break down the road. That's just not Apple's game.

I think one reason that they don't have to chase people outside their targets is the realization that, once they hit YOUR target, there may be nothing to make you budge. Jeremy's quote along those lines resonates -- paraphrasing, "I'd love to have this kind of collaboration, but no way that the lack of it will make me jump to something else." Something like that, and certainly plenty of other folks have said similar things.

I think Apple is relying on that dynamic to continue to give them the air cover to NOT pursue a lot of things that THIS market would like to see....but I think we've all pretty well wrapped our heads around the concept that some parts of our lives are fully outside of a lot people's targets. LOL

That said, I'm curious to hear more from X-ers about the kinds of collaborative tools you'd like to see from Apple, what you'd do with them that's different than what you're doing now, and if really, truly, any of it would make any difference to you in any ultimate sense, whether they show up or not.

Anyhoo, I'm readin' more than writin' these days, even if it looks like I've tried to make up for all of it in just one post. LOL I'll try to be around a little more often, and maybe make some of the posts a little shorter.

SOME of the posts, a LITTLE shorter.

Peace,
Tim


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Joe Marler
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 24, 2020 at 3:43:48 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "I’d vote for multiuser collab too. It’s seems like it would be doable."

If well implemented, this is one of the most useful features possible. The value is not restricted to large high end post-production teams who are co-located using a NAS. A two-person independent documentary team which is geographically distributed and intermittently connected to the internet could also benefit. There are more of the latter than the former.

However Adobe's announced collaboration approach evidently is based around (1) Timeline locking and (2) Shared local storage - IOW a co-located team using a NAS.

With FCPX, lots of work happens in the Event Browser before touching a timeline, so some integrated collaboration of that work phase is needed. Also a collaboration approach is needed for distributed teams which are not co-located.

The problem is achieving this in a reliable, simple, truly effective implementation is really hard. It would essentially be a distributed database capable of reconciling various editor inputs. In the FCPX workflow it should allow multiple people to rate and keyword material, then resolve the conflicts. Picture something like MergeX but more elaborate, fully integrated, with conflict resolution backed by FCPX UI support.

Moving from the browser to the timeline, Resolve already has timeline merge capability. This essentially does a "diff" of two different timelines and graphically displays the similarities & differences. FCPX collaboration would ideally include something like that.

While it may see simple, there are various technical issues like distributed deadlock and livelock. Testing and supporting collaboration functionality is very difficult.

FCPX is based on the SQLite database -- but that is a single-user code library, not a multi-user database engine. How to get from that to a reliable multi-user implementation is unclear. Resolve can optionally use a PostgreSQL database server, but their code must be designed for that. You can't just take a single-user app and move it to a multi-user database.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 24, 2020 at 3:53:31 pm

[Joe Marler] "A two-person independent documentary team which is geographically distributed and intermittently connected to the internet could also benefit."

That's essentially what PostLab Cloud does.

[Joe Marler] "However Adobe's announced collaboration approach evidently is based around (1) Timeline locking and (2) Shared local storage - IOW a co-located team using a NAS. "

True. They already have Team Projects, which is cloud-based collaboration. So this is in addition to that.

Honestly, Apple could take the very simple first step, which would be the ability to open a Library in read-only mode when someone else has it open (first person to open a Library gets write permission). Then from that, being able to move/copy material between Libraries. The next level would be to drill just a bit deeper and do this at the Event level. But in fairness, FCP "legacy" could never do this either, so it's probably never been a priority for Apple and may never be.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 24, 2020 at 4:21:16 pm

[Joe Marler] "While it may see simple, there are various technical issues like distributed deadlock and livelock. Testing and supporting collaboration functionality is very difficult."

Are you saying Apple can't handle difficulty?


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Joe Marler
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 24, 2020 at 6:04:53 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "Are you saying Apple can't handle difficulty?"

I'm just saying (depending on the implementation) this would be a different type of difficulty than Apple is accustomed to. E.g, you don't see any Apple machines on this list, therefore all the experience obtained in this rigorous environment by shaking out bugs in threading, file system, transaction management, etc. is missed: http://www.tpc.org/tpce/results/tpce_last_ten_results5.asp

For a very simple coarse locking implementation, it's less difficult. But locking a library doesn't buy you that much. Locking a project doesn't do anything for the large % of work that takes place in the Event Browser. Locking an Event is better than a library but that provides less functionality than MergeX does now.

Adding more fine-grain concurrency and conflict resolution makes it more beneficial but it becomes exponentially more difficult to implement. It would vastly expand the required test matrix and entail an ongoing test and support burden.

Maybe there's some middle ground which gives some truly useful collaboration but is extremely reliable and not so expensive to test and support. Google Sheets seems to work fairly well in multi-user collaboration, but Google has lots of experience doing that. I'm sure Apple is considering the cost/benefit ratio of various FCPX collaboration schemes.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 24, 2020 at 6:08:53 pm

[Joe Marler] "I'm sure Apple is considering the cost/benefit ratio of various FCPX collaboration schemes."

Apple's philosophy has been about empowering the individual. Given that, this feature may simply not fit their goals.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Joe Marler
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 24, 2020 at 7:52:41 pm

[Oliver Peters] "Apple's philosophy has been about empowering the individual. Given that, this feature may simply not fit their goals."

I fully agree. I’d like to see some type of collaboration in FCPX, and Resolve and Premiere adding this creates some competitive pressure. However it’s just not in Apple’s DNA, historically speaking.

I would more readily expect some kind of greatly improved AI-type media analysis. That might include more advanced subject analysis, or maybe built in transcription. Various things like that would preserve the single-user focus. However those are also difficult to execute at a truly useful level. There’s a tendency for them to be like Siri on Mac - something used in marketing demos but which many users disable.


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Tangier Clarke
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Feb 4, 2020 at 12:04:36 am

Joe I agree with you on this point "I would more readily expect some kind of greatly improved AI-type media analysis."

I would consider Apple to implement something like an AI-based method of marking when the slate claps on a video with no audio guide track; something that would make the process of manually having to sync video with no timecode and no audio waveforms to match to recorded audio with (I hope) at least a similar time stamp.

I look at what Adobe did with the AI reframing and again, it's another one of those 'c'mon Apple get with it' moments. I am so accustomed to seeing Apple employing ease of use features in a range of their products that it's striking to see them not implement features from other NLEs. Though surely they have their reasons and definitely their priorities. Of course we have be mindful of the memory and energy overhead any feature may cause on the (plugged in) system. I'd wager some features Apple wants to make available to mobile devices like laptops and iOS devices...eventually.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 24, 2020 at 7:55:57 pm

[Joe Marler] "Maybe there's some middle ground which gives some truly useful collaboration but is extremely reliable and not so expensive to test and support. Google Sheets seems to work fairly well in multi-user collaboration, but Google has lots of experience doing that. I'm sure Apple is considering the cost/benefit ratio of various FCPX collaboration schemes."

Apple''s document applications also have multiuser collaboration.

I know what you're saying, it's hard and I can appreciate that.

But it's doesn't seem like a crazy ask.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 24, 2020 at 8:18:05 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "But it's doesn't seem like a crazy ask."

I would refer you to my blog interview with Steve Bayes about the product development process. ☺

https://digitalfilms.wordpress.com/2019/11/09/a-conversation-with-steve-bay...

Apple is always balancing what features benefit the greatest number of its users against the R&D time. There's another issue at foot, however. That is the OS itself, which has increasingly become more locked down. This in turn may affect what you can and can't do with collaboration in FCPX. For example (spitballing now), what if the Pro Apps team knows that security will get even tighter in an upcoming version of the OS? In that case, it might be counter-productive to build in a collaborative feature now that might break at some point in the future.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 24, 2020 at 9:41:30 pm

[Oliver Peters] "In that case, it might be counter-productive to build in a collaborative feature now that might break at some point in the future.
"


Well sure, but then by that metric, might as well not build anything complicated at all.

Didn't you call for them to "step up"? :)


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Tangier Clarke
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 28, 2020 at 7:11:00 pm
Last Edited By Tangier Clarke on Jan 28, 2020 at 7:12:37 pm

Oliver I was going to post a thread called "Does this disturb you?" or something to that effect until I saw your post. The announcement of Adobe Productions does give me sincere concern. As much as I love FCP X, that Apple still hasn't built in a robust multi-user workflow seems to be giving Adobe even more room to get further entrenched in the workplace. Granted I udders understand that technology over the years has gotten to the point where you don't always need more than one editor and one person can do many things. Could it be that Adobe is going directly after AVID with this update and in one way or another ignoring FCP X and it's potential. It still seems to be built around co-located teams with a NAS as Joe mentioned. This his is yet another thorn to deal with for us FCP X advocates. I don't mind using Premiere Pro, but I don't prefer it. We still have yet to see how it works in real practice, but that it's available at all is great news for those who prefer PPro even with the persistent bugs it may have.

I read that announcement and for a brief moment saw the light dimming on FCP X, but it still lets me work more fluidly and faster than PPro and DaVinci for now. Apple has make great strides, but these incremental improvements aren't enough to quell my angst about it's survival at times.

I prefer not to go back to tracks...forcibly.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 28, 2020 at 8:25:37 pm

[Tangier Clarke] "Could it be that Adobe is going directly after AVID with this update and in one way or another ignoring FCP X and it's potential. It still seems to be built around co-located teams with a NAS as Joe mentioned."

I think the very simplistic answer is that Avid and Adobe are going after one type of customer and Apple after another. In super-simplistic terms, the "filmmaker" crowd versus the "YouTube" crowd. I don't mean that literally, nor do I mean to imply professional versus non-professional.

There is certainly some overlap and I think Apple would be more than happy to have as many "pro" filmmakers on board as possible. But there are probably way more solo editor/preditor types and enthusiasts using FCPX than Media Composer or Premiere. That sets the agenda for ProApps development. Look at other comparisons: Logic versus ProTools, Motion versus After Effects. They each seem to carve out their own market sectors.

Since the launch of FCPX, the development has steered away from the direction of increasing complexity, which was the path of FCP "legacy." Multi-editor collaboration on-prem is complicated and so, it might simply not benefit the marketing aims of Apple.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Tangier Clarke
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 28, 2020 at 8:51:30 pm

Very good and thought provoking points Oliver. Thank thank you.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 29, 2020 at 3:48:25 pm

[Tangier Clarke] "Apple has make great strides, but these incremental improvements aren't enough to quell my angst about it's survival at times"

I think another thing to be on the lookout for is Resolve. Right now you can get a nearly full-featured version for free that's good up to 4K UHD. For the one-man band shops, it will do just about everything. For $300, you get the full version, which is largely on par with a mix of FCPX, Motion, Compressor, and Logic Pro X. Plus it's cross-platform.

For anyone without emotional attachments to any of the 3 "A" NLEs, Resolve is a no-brainer. Any working editor that I speak with, regardless of NLE, when asked, "Which other system are you interested in moving towards?" always points to Resolve. Even the biggest FCPX fans acknowledge BMD's fast development pace compared with everyone else, especially Apple.

And if you hate tracks, there's the Cut Page. Not quite as good for editing as FCPX, but it has some better features to compensate for its shortcomings. And you can start your rough cut there and then move to the Edit Page to finesse it.

Sundance now includes a couple of films creatively edited using Resolve. If you look at only finishing (i.e. "online editing"), then Resolve has a much bigger percentage. So they are clearly the "next big thing."

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Tangier Clarke
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 29, 2020 at 5:47:08 pm
Last Edited By Tangier Clarke on Jan 29, 2020 at 5:54:03 pm

Oliver I agree. I have been using Resolve to get more familiar with it. If I had to choose another NLE of choice of the ones available it'd be Resolve. However Resolve has always been that app that is feature rich, but does't perform as fluidly nor as intuitively as FCP X. There's really a stark difference between FCP X and other NLEs in my opinion. Often to get similar performance on other NLEs, I'd have to have a more robust computer than FCP X requires. I am sure others may have different results based on the media they're working with and their workflows. I've also often felt that I wish Resolve and FCP X would just have a baby already and get it done. In my heart of hearts what I mean by that is I wish FCP X would incorporate many of Resolve's features, not the other way around. I don't know how many ways I can say it though. I loathe [now] a track-based NLE even though I still use it in Premiere Pro and Resolve. As great and as many features PPro and Resolve have, they just don't get out of my way the way FCP X does. I even wonder sometimes how I got along with FCP legacy for so many years, but that's just a matter of perspective of course; hindsight now.

I wish Apple was a little more transparent about the FCP X direction and if they're just comfortable where they are. With every feature added to PPro and Resolve at their price points respectively (subscription included) i just can't help but feel like the FCP X is getting strangled slowly. Yet, with all of the added features and capabilities of other NLEs that FCP X either doesn't have or relies on 3rd party tools to achieve, I find that those capabilities have yet to be deal breakers for me to jump ship. At the end of the day FCP X just lets me work so fluidly that to date I haven't gotten that experience on another NLE. I fully recognize though my perspective is correlated to the type of work I am doing or anyone is doing for that matter. My latest is an indie feature called Jezebel just released on Netflix (shameless plug). If I were working in teams more regularly and had to do more color work more often then of course I'd likely be in PPro (reluctantly) or Resolve because let's face it - where are you going to find a studio running FCP X with PostLab and Color Finale 2 and a Jellyfish (at least)?


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Oliver Peters
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 29, 2020 at 6:13:23 pm

[Tangier Clarke] "However Resolve has always been that app that is feature rich, but does't perform as fluidly nor as intuitively as FCP X. There's really a stark difference between FCP X and other NLEs in my opinion. Often to get similar performance on other NLEs, I'd have to have a more robust computer than FCP X requires."

My experience as well.

[Tangier Clarke] " I wish FCP X would incorporate many of Resolve's features, not the other way around."

Yes. For me that would be an audio mixer.

[Tangier Clarke] "At the end of the day FCP X just lets me work so fluidly that to date I haven't gotten that experience on another NLE."

And that is probably where Apple is coming from. I actually think the ProApps division is hampered by Apple's overall marketing policies and priorities more so than actual product development.

On another note, please contact me off list (website in signature). Thanks.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Tony West
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 29, 2020 at 9:51:10 pm

[Tangier Clarke] " If I were working in teams more regularly"

When I look at Apple marketing, to me they are all about empowering the individual. When it come to film, music, or art. Making the person who is an outsider and lacking the support of a huge team feel like "You can compete on your own". "Don't have super big money and means?, We got you"

They used Billie Eilish last year and I don't think that was by accident. She speaks publicly about making her album in a bedroom in her house and now she is on top of the world. It's, you can be like her......from your bedroom to record Grammy wins.

I think the whole collaboration with a bunch of people almost goes counter to that on it's face. I agree with the points Oliver made when he wrote about the marketing team.

When I collaborate with people on X, I'm on the front end. I start the library and bring in the footage that I shot. I tag and organize things and sometimes set up grades and sound work as option in events. Then I hand that library off to the editor in another location and I'm done. Works great if you are not trying to have the same library open at the same time. I think most people work that way anyway. Someone preps footage and organizes and then someone cuts, then someone grades then sound. I think people do that all the time with X. Do your part, get out and then the next person comes in and so on.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 29, 2020 at 10:19:04 pm

[Tony West] "Do your part, get out and then the next person comes in and so on."

But what if someone could be editing while you are organizing?

Also, we often work on the same “job” with multiple people. There might be three or six different finished exports that come out of one job or pool of media.

Many times in spots we make :06s from the :15s from the :30s from the :60s from the :120s.

It would be great if all of that could be done inside one library instead of duping a library and keeping track of which cut is in what library.

It’s not a deal breaker, in no way shape or form are we switching to Pr, but multiuser collab would be very welcome and would sell a boat load more Macs.


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Tony West
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 30, 2020 at 2:39:47 am

[Jeremy Garchow] "But what if someone could be editing while you are organizing? "

They could be, but how would they know what to edit? I'm not done with the footage yet : )

All joking aside, I would welcome it also and agree it would go a long way for groups like yours Jeremy, I was just speculating on why I think it hasn't been a top priority for them.

I think their aim has been empowerment of individuals first, and so much of what they do points to that. Hopefully they will add it, but like you, I'm going to keep on with it either way.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 31, 2020 at 4:25:57 pm

[Tony West] "I think their aim has been empowerment of individuals first, and so much of what they do points to that. Hopefully they will add it, but like you, I'm going to keep on with it either way."

There has been a shift, though, of Apple talking to the serious professional.

The landscape is different since the last time Apple brought a true upgradable workstation to the table. Collaboration is nearly everywhere. Platforms like frame.io, Slack, Google Docs (Or Apple Docs), even Vimeo, or Microsoft products these days, but collaboration and team participation is almost a must. It is also sometimes, a mess. Large Slack groups can become nearly impossible to find that one document, or link, or note or conversation that you need.

Sure, editing is different, media is different, but how different? Postlab makes what I assume to be, the best solution out there right now for FCPX, and it is great for 'distributed' teams and presents an easy interface and trackable database of who is doing what. On shared storage where editors are in the same network, the permissions are handled already by the OS, so Postlab Cloud, while still cool with a very easy way to keep things organized, becomes less necessary. Postlab Cloud is a cloud based product, showing it’s biggest intended audience.

I don’t know if you have watched many of these influencer videos on the MacPro unboxing’s and all that, but these teams of people shoot on Red, have networked storage, and require a few people to work on what amounts to, 30 minute informercials. These seemingly 'self-powered' simple productions are somewhat involved. I would imagine multiuser collaboration would be very welcome in FCPX for even the Youtube influencer.

In our productions, there is more of a need to get a piece out quickly as a teaser, or a need to send a few clips to someone else, or get media out for transcription nearly immediately, before we even start organizing for the job we were initially contracted to do. It’s a bunch of pre-post production, if that makes sense. It requires more than one editor, and it would be really welcome to see multiuser collab in fcpx on networked storage for people who work in the same building so that initial busy work can be done at the same time as the work being started for the flagship pieces that will eventually come out of that production. More and more finishing and audio are accepting fcpxml as well, which helps keep things streamlined with easy interchange.

FCPX is really creative software. I’ve tried and tried to like other programs that have collaboration features, but for all of us in the office, it’s hard to step away from fcpx. Although, I do wonder at some point, if multiuser collaboration doesn't show up, when will we obsolete ourselves?


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Tony West
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 31, 2020 at 5:27:55 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "I don’t know if you have watched many of these influencer videos "

I have Jeremy and that's part of how I came to my conclusions. This video with Jonathan Morris on "collaboration" in X is a perfect example.
Two things jump out at me, 1. They mention that he has Apple's ear 2. The way he describes his collaborative workflow near the end of it. He describes just what I wrote, jumping in and out with other editors. I understand why he has their ear, he has millions of viewers but he doesn't seem to be complaining about not being able to work in the same library. The opposite, he's talking about how much he "Loves" it. My point is, if they are listing to him say that, are they more likely to change it or not? I'm not privy to what he says to them offline, maybe he is telling them something different but I suspect not.
This is not to say that Morrison can't benefit from being able to work in the same Library, I'm just saying if HE were telling them that it might go a long way.

I have spoken with editors who cut some of the top feature films in Hollywood and some of them are working remotely. I figure if they are doing it on that level and small groups are, how soon before almost everyone is scattered about. It seem that's what groups like Frame IO and maybe your Postlab are betting on.

The elephant in the thread is, is the future trend working in groups in the same building or remotely? If it's the latter, what does that workflow look like?









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Oliver Peters
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 31, 2020 at 5:58:32 pm
Last Edited By Oliver Peters on Jan 31, 2020 at 6:04:24 pm

[Tony West] " but he doesn't seem to be complaining about not being able to work in the same library"

We shouldn't lump "collaboration" into a single workflow. There are a lot of different needs for ways to collaborate (on premises) depending on what you are doing. For example, in the "YouTube influencer" scenario, the workflow is about the same as multiple commercial or corporate video editors - and for that matter, broadcast news, too. You want to pull from a pool of media, but you aren't all cutting on the same overall project. You may be cutting alternate versions, different videos from common sources, or something entirely unrelated. FCPX/Resolve/Premiere Pro/Media Composer can let you do that now and easily if everyone is connected to a shared storage system.

The next level is where you have different editors working on sub-projects that are interrelated to one larger campaign or production. There's where FCPX falls short. For example, editor A has a cut of something that editor B can use within his edit - B-Roll stringouts for example. In the current version of Premiere (without any of the current or future sharing methods), editor B can open editor A's project (while editor A is working on it) in a read-only mode and copy that stringout into his or her own project. That cannot be done in X today without using the workaround of a transfer library - or by editor A closing his library so editor B can briefly open it.

The third level is complete collaboration. Multiple editors/assistants/other artists all working within the same "master" project file. That's where Avid excels and what Adobe is trying to attain. For example, the assistant editor syncing/organizing scene 2, while the editor is concurrently cutting scene 1.

It's this third level that I suspect we will simply never see with FCPX. It was never attained in FCP7 either. I could be wrong, but it just doesn't seem like a feature that Apple has interest in. In fact, the direction Catalina has taken the OS will make this much more difficult, so that's a level of complexity that ProApps simply might not want to fight.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Bill Davis
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 31, 2020 at 7:01:22 pm

[Oliver Peters] "We shouldn't lump "collaboration" into a single workflow."

Bingo. My thesis for years now.

I also resonate with the discussion of differing needs for differing levels of employers or users.

Tangier's Billie Eilish nod is very relevant to my thinking. If the myth makers are to be believed, Billie and her brother had the initial EP that launched her career done exclusively on stock MacBook tools in the brothers' bedroom. When things utterly blew up success-wise, the two of them tried recording in a "real" studio - but from what I read, that change lost them as much as it gained in terms of creative flow.

Who knows where it will go from here. But the genesis of the success wasn't a "production house" in this case. It was personal expression enabled by very personal tools.

Collaboration implies distributed effort. The "production" mentality can certainly involve the application of creativity - but as we all know from spending hours just managing files, it also might not.

How far each of us wishes to position ourselves away from - or adjacent to - the actual creative rather than mechanical nexus of the business — is going to be more and more a personal choice.

The excitement is that you can now work "for the house" for your 40 hours. Then come home and work "for yourself" with the same level of production capabilities that ONLY the studios used to have.

That's a very good thing, IMO.

Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.


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Tony West
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 31, 2020 at 8:48:49 pm

[Bill Davis] "Tangier's Billie Eilish nod is very relevant to my thinking."

That was actually me Bill. The other brother ; )


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Tony West
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 31, 2020 at 9:02:52 pm

[Oliver Peters] "[Tony West] " but he doesn't seem to be complaining about not being able to work in the same library"

We shouldn't lump "collaboration" into a single workflow. "


I'm not. Jeremy already listed examples of how it would improve his workflow and I acknowledged that in the same post.

"This is not to say that Morrison can't benefit from being able to work in the same Library" see?

My point was that Morrison is in their ear, and unless you and Jeremy are also, we may not get the change.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 31, 2020 at 10:47:15 pm

[Tony West] "I'm not."

I didn't say you were. It was a general comment to point out that one person's collaborative needs may be different than others. Morrison's needs are different than that of a feature film team, for example.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 31, 2020 at 9:51:32 pm

[Tony West] "I have Jeremy and that's part of how I came to my conclusions. This video with Jonathan Morris on "collaboration" in X is a perfect example."

I skipped to the end, and yes, no doubt shared & centralized storage does change the way you work and definitely eases some aspects of collaboration. But then after you get used to that, you realize there could be more...

[Tony West] "The elephant in the thread is, is the future trend working in groups in the same building or remotely?"

There's a kinda flippant, but easy answer, and the answer is, "yes". ☺

As entities (corporate, agency, whatever) gain in media requirements, usage, and delivery , a central pool of media and access to it, is more and more necessary as the 'media department' takes on more and more responsibility. But you may also need freelancers or outside agencies that will need access to that data as well, pulling from the same content and making all new uses with it. So it really is growing in both directions.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 31, 2020 at 10:57:15 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "[Tony West] "The elephant in the thread is, is the future trend working in groups in the same building or remotely?"

There's a kinda flippant, but easy answer, and the answer is, "yes". ☺"


Well, as someone who works in that environment on a daily basis, I can firmly say that now and in the near future there will be a much greater need for on-premise collaboration (i.e. editing, etc) than remote collaboration (i.e. cloud-based editing).

Certainly the need to move assets around the globe via the "cloud" will increase, but this is typically a passive process. To have clients actively and interactively involved in the post-process via the cloud (excluding review & approval and pulling down deliverables) is a pure pipe dream. I can't get the majority of clients to understand how to properly use Frame's system or even send me a shareable DropBox link on the first attempt. So good luck with that remote part ☺

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Feb 1, 2020 at 1:08:25 am

[Oliver Peters] "I can't get the majority of clients to understand how to properly use Frame's system or even send me a shareable DropBox link on the first attempt. So good luck with that remote part ☺"

I have the opposite experiences. I work with a lot of agencies. Some of the rising creative directors come from a post background, in that the used to push the buttons now they tell people to push the buttons what to do. In that process, the conversations we have are creative as well as technical. We can talk big picture, and we can talk software process. There are clients out of town that want to reach through the phone and work my computer. If we had remote collab, we could do just that. They show me exactly what they want, or get it started, and I finish. It could also help in our own edits where the clients, like yours, aren’t as familiar with process. We could collab, under the same roof, or remotely, and help each other.

No, not every client is like this, but more and more will be.

Side note, frame.io is not user friendly until you show someone how to comment, and then it’s very user friendly, at least that’s been my experience. The comment action isn’t obvious to everyone who has not used it.

There is simultaneous need for local and remote collab.


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Tangier Clarke
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Jan 29, 2020 at 10:34:12 pm

It's the simultaneous in the same library workflow that is sought.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Feb 4, 2020 at 2:13:21 pm

PostLab update:

https://medium.hedgeformac.com/taking-the-re-out-of-relinking-2d983c5c839d

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Joshua Pearson
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Feb 4, 2020 at 4:28:35 pm

I had a brief fling with FCPX back in 2014-2015... cut an Oscar-nominated doc "What Happened, Miss Simone" on it and rather enjoyed it... except collaborating with the assistant was a pain. The our facility totally dumped FCPX becasue of the collaboration issue, as we often work on doc shows with two or three assistants and 3 or 4 editors... so we switched to Premiere and Avid.

I had to learn Avid from scratch at age 50, having originally learned on Premiere in the early 90s and FCP 1 thru 7... it was tough. But now I am spoiled rotten by two things about Avid:

1) ease of multi editor collaboration

2) SCRIPT SYNC!... we are lucky that we have budgets that allow for transcription, even in the FCP 7 days, and I had struggled for years to create workarounds to get ScriptSync-like features, such as pasting paragraphs into FCP7 markers which then become broadly searchable, etc. etc... even had a guy build some custom software for FCP7 back in 2015... and I was always shocked that no other NLE had this feature... so when i finally got on Avid, it was like my dream come true. All those wasted years!

We even pleaded with Apple reps who came to our shop during the Simone film to implement some sort of transcript integration, and they nodded their heads, but i guess they didn't care... i get it, we are not their target audience etc. etc.. but still! I'm amazed no other NLEs have built-in transcript integration.

There's lots of thing I could crack wise about in Avid (needing to render reverse clips? what century are we in?... though i hear its in the new version which we cant use yet), but I will never move from Avid until transcript integration happens elsewhere.



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Tangier Clarke
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Feb 4, 2020 at 4:54:32 pm

Joshua I think many of us are on the same page in some ways. Some features are so unique to an NLE and particular workflow that it's hard to move onto other platforms. Script sync for you is like roles for me. I can't say it enough. I do not like track-based NLEs anymore. I still use them. I just don't prefer them. Keywords (smart ones too) over bins for me. Realtime effect preview without even applying it, smooth playback, and fluidity of moving around the app...sign my up. That's what FCP X is for me. Believe me, there are features from other apps I'd like FCP X to have like the PPro shape tool, AI reframing, perhaps even script sync, wider search options (grep-like) and more robust collaboration. Yet no other app just gets out of my way and let's work almost as fast as I can think the way FCP X does. Granted it's an app who's development is fine tuned for Apple hardware.

My career hasn't been built on having to work collaboratively with several editors often. I've been in post for about 18 years now and was one of the last classes in film school to use, touch, and splice celluloid film. I am not saying I don't work collaboratively with other editors, but I haven't had to simultaneously that much compared to the amount of time I work on my own before sending content to post sound and graphic designers. It seems like the content we're editing, the workflows we're a part of really dictate the tools we use; not to mention the embedded workflows and egos paired with unwillingness to try something new and in some workplaces.

I commend you for learning AVID after the others. That is a feat for sure.


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Tim Wilson
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Feb 5, 2020 at 4:58:35 am

[Joshua Pearson] "cut an Oscar-nominated doc "What Happened, Miss Simone" on it and rather enjoyed it"

And I enjoyed the documentary! Fantastic stuff that I can heartily recommend to everyone here!








[Joshua Pearson] "The our facility totally dumped FCPX becasue of the collaboration issue, as we often work on doc shows with two or three assistants and 3 or 4 editors... so we switched to Premiere and Avid."

As sorry as I am to hear about your troubles, what I love about this is that it flies in the face of what is way, WAY too often the default narrative around here, that people who work with Avid (and Premiere to a lesser extent) are too old, scared, tired, etc., -- especially ironic because the folks who regularly post here are the oldest in the entire COW (Google tells us that our average age is late 20s across all forums, definitely not the case in this one LOL) -- without leaving room for the possibility that hey, maybe it's about a tool's fitness for the job.

(While also making room for the many folks here who regularly work with multiple systems.)

Which means on another level, it's not even necessarily about preference.

[Joshua Pearson] "I will never move from Avid until transcript integration happens elsewhere."

I spoke some about the origins of Script Sync in my overly-long reply to Oliver above, stories I learned when I was on the Media Composer team at Avid just before I came to work at Creative COW. You're far from the only editor and/or facility that I've heard this from.

You've been in the COW long enough that you know that I'm not only NOT an "Avid above all" kinda guy, but was actually one of the earliest and loudest supporters of FCPX. I predicted in writing that Apple would sell 10 million copies the first year (oops! LOL), remain the ONLY public supporter (certainly here; maybe anywhere) of Apple's EOL'ing of FCP (which I felt like they'd already done at least 3 years before they actually announced it), and predicted that the workflow advantages it offered had the potential to actually move the needle for FCPX in Hollywood in ways that FCP never could.

I was right about that last one actually, but the net net is that Avid has even MORE market share in Hollywood than before, and you've landed EXACTLY on some of the reasons why.

Script Sync is uniquely built for heavy lifting, and Media Composer is uniquely built for collaboration (again, the history of which I discuss above). Even when people prefer FCPX's feature set, they find too much value in the ways that Avid understands and supports widescale collaboration to be able to stay away -- again said with no disrespect toward FCPX, which remains uniquely suited to a whole lot of other things.

And equally with no disrespect to frame.io, or what looks like a very robust feature set in Adobe Productions, or indeed the many folks who are using FCPX collaboratively right now. It can be done...but Avid's been building toolsets for collaborative editing for over 30 years now, though, and have gotten pretty good at the version of it specifically attuned to making movies and TV shows. Anyone who's worked in Avid AND those others will tell you, they're not the same.

None of which has anything to do with age, intransigence, failure to understand, fear, or any other negative trait that some folks here so often ascribe to anyone whose needs differ from theirs. Apple certainly understands that they're not making FCPX for everyone. I have no idea why so many Apple customers refuse to accept this.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Feb 5, 2020 at 1:59:37 pm

[Tim Wilson] "but the net net is that Avid has even MORE market share in Hollywood than before, and you've landed EXACTLY on some of the reasons why."

One huge issue that keeps people in the Avid fold is that Avid has gone to great lengths to maintain forward and backward project compatibility. This is something no one else does. Of course, they aren't always successful and naturally it can't be perfect, because of OS changes.

Just this week I've had a client approach us about project updates on a job done 13 years ago in FCP "legacy". I have a bazillion project files from that original job, but ugh! I don't even have an active machine anymore that can open the files. Avid, OTOH,... You get the picture.

[Tim Wilson] "Script Sync is uniquely built for heavy lifting, and Media Composer is uniquely built for collaboration (again, the history of which I discuss above). "

Along with Steve Hullfish, I've probably interviewed more feature film editors than others and most are Media Composer users. When the question about ScriptSync comes up, it's often a division based on working styles. Some would never want to be without it and others are just 'meh' as to whether or not it's useful to them. I've spoken with some editors who admit to driving their assistants crazy prepping dailies for ScriptSync and then never really use it.

Like range-based selections and keywords in FCPX - some editors think it's the greatest thing ever and others just don't work that way and prefer to organize in the timeline.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Tim Wilson
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Feb 6, 2020 at 1:16:52 am

[Oliver Peters] "Along with Steve Hullfish, I've probably interviewed more feature film editors than others and most are Media Composer users."

Me too! By a long shot, and not at ALL because the project was brought to me by Avid. One of my all-time favorite interviews with an Avid editor came to me directly from Apple (somebody who works at One Infinite Loop, no less), and others have come from people like Amazon inviting me to speak to any number of below the line artists -- but there's just no getting away from how overwhelmingly that community has solidified around Avid, at least partly in response to Avid overwhelmingly focusing on that community.

I come at this a couple of ways. I remember being there when they said, "How can we go after [insert name of market vertical here]?" and my reply was, "You need a product as well suited to that market as Media Composer is to film and TV"......typically followed by.... "which we don't." LOL

So yeah, even at Avid, I adamantly refused the notion of "try to get everyone to use what your thing." It's a colossal waste if the end result is that people buy the thing and it's a bad fit, and we know in advance that it's unlikely for more than a few market verticals to line up on MC's feature set as well as film and TV. There definitely are some (science, certain kinds of corporate / military / enterprise production that need large-scale collaboration, etc.), but there are a few, and not more than a few.

Contrast this with Apple visiting Joshua. Apple understands who's in Hollywood. They understand those workflows. They take those requests face to face, by the dozens if not hundreds, and decline to develop that way. GOOD FOR THEM. This is exactly why FCPX is so well suited for the things it IS suited for. I CELEBRATE that FCPX isn't optimized the same way Media Composer is, and I think everyone should.

Including celebrating all the people for whom FCPX is a very, very bad fit, exactly as Apple intends. Strokes, folks -- all different.



[Oliver Peters] "Like range-based selections and keywords in FCPX - some editors think it's the greatest thing ever and others just don't work that way and prefer to organize in the timeline."

As usual, you said it better and more succinctly than me. ☺ I believe in Script Sync, and showed it at what must have been 50 non-Avid user groups I was invited to, maybe more -- but you've got to do a LOT of work to set it up. If you don't have a bunch of assistant editors, it's useless. But I saw some reality production guys who'd had 30 cameras going around the clock for a month perform what might as well be magic with Script Sync.

It's really just one of a handful of examples, though, you're right -- just as limited and specific as range-based selections in FCPX. The larger point is that any number of Hollywood folks could build a long list of Avid-unique features at least as long as any FCPX-specific list that anyone here would create, and both would be equally valid.

That's what I'm talking about. Equally valid outcomes for companies who develop for equally valid if only nominally similar target markets.

You could even state it in reverse: there's an inverse relationship between FCPX's suitability for YOU and it's suitability for anyone whose work is different than yours. The less like your work theirs is, the less suitable FCPX is for them.

You could equally validly swap in "Avid" there. Or Resolve, or Premiere, or (heaven forbid) cars, clarinets, or guitars.

This is not by accident. It is by design. That's why the further you get from a Hollywood-style workflow, the less suited Media Composer is to you. Nobody here seems to have any problem with that notion, so why so much angst about the same truth for FCPX applied in the same way?


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Oliver Peters
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Feb 7, 2020 at 2:14:31 pm

[Tim Wilson] "This is not by accident. It is by design. That's why the further you get from a Hollywood-style workflow, the less suited Media Composer is to you. Nobody here seems to have any problem with that notion, so why so much angst about the same truth for FCPX applied in the same way?"

I think that's a very key point in the ongoing arguments around FCPX. Apple made the decision to service/create a new and emerging market of content creators.

They were willing to move away from an existing market, because 8 years ago, that market was adequately services by others using the Mac platform. That was less secure when the original FCP was acquired by Apple.

In contrast, Avid has generally catered to an existing market. Adobe tends to have a foot in both camps. Blackmagic is taking a page from Apple's playbook more so than from the others.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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greg janza
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Feb 7, 2020 at 4:33:11 pm

[Oliver Peters] "Blackmagic is taking a page from Apple's playbook more so than from the others."

The fascinating thing about the continuing Blackmagic improvements is that they're in effect taking FCPX completely out of the NLE equation. The market I work in is dominated by Adobe but if that market was to soften the most logical/probable replacement NLE is Resolve.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/tmprods
tallmanproductions.net


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Tim Wilson
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Feb 7, 2020 at 10:33:18 pm

[Oliver Peters] "In contrast, Avid has generally catered to an existing market. Adobe tends to have a foot in both camps. Blackmagic is taking a page from Apple's playbook more so than from the others."

In fairness, Avid created that market in some substantial ways. Anyone else is free to go after it, and some people obviously are. I remember one year when I was working for Avid at NAB, I watched a then-VP at Adobe poke my then-VP of Post in the chest and say, "We're coming for you next." They added support for feet and frames immediately after that, but found that there's ultimately more to it than that...and indeed, Productions may be getting closer to the heart of it.

More interesting, I think Adobe has gone even harder than Apple at social media creators, and they've done it more broadly. Some of it is invisible to us because it's happening outside the US (Behance), in the photography market (Fotolia), and both below and adjacent to the folks who frequent the COW. They've built a dashboard into Premiere Pro that allows you to upload once to a variety of platforms (Facebook, Insta, Snap, etc), WITH ANALYTICS RIGHT THERE.

We haven't really spoken about how seriously Adobe is taking analytics. It's now almost a third of their revenue, and is putting them head to head against companies like Nielsen for tracking streaming.

And you might say, "What does that have to do with the influencer in her bedroom?", but the way they get to be influencers is by building and tracking their audience, and being able to pitch it to brands in ways that include stats about engagement. But certainly for brands working at enterprise scale, this component of Adobe's development is creating the kind of stickiness for them that Script Sync and collaborative editing have for Avid.

(And frankly, so has the subscription model. A bane for folks here, perhaps, but for anyone who's doing business at any scale, the tax advantages of subscribing to software make any non-subscription options a non-starter.)

I hadn't thought to mention this earlier, but pointing people again to your terrific interview with Steve Bayes, it's easy to forget for how very long he was the product manager for both FCP and FCPX. Having literally written the book on Avid when he worked there (his Avid Handbook was certainly how *I* learned Media Composer, and never left my desk when I worked there), there's nobody who would have been better positioned to build in Avid-ish features than the father of Avid Symphony....but why would he? It wouldn't have been relevant, and that interview goes into a lot of tremendously insightful specifics about why.




[greg janza] "The market I work in is dominated by Adobe but if that market was to soften the most logical/probable replacement NLE is Resolve."

I'm always going to find Blackmagic's approach here endlessly fascinating, just from the perspective of a longtime fan of the industry if nothing else. They're not having to work to serve investors, and Grant is only interested in having the business make enough money for everyone who works for him to have a good life (which includes NOT working around the clock), to have enough money to do the next fun thing he thinks of, and that's about it. So piling in more products and features for free, or close to it? No problem.

But there are a lot of business and enterprise-scale Adobe customers who need the collaborative features that the paid versions of Resolve provide, but who won't budge until they can subscribe. Same for film productions who categorically refuse to own anything. The business entity of the film production isn't around long enough to amortize anything, so it's write it off now, or never. (Seriously, the tax advantages of subscriptions are HUGE.)

I think that Blackmagic is leaving those opportunities on the table, but I'm also inclined to think that Grant's okay with that. His ambitions may well not include creating another layer of financial and development infrastructure to chase what's ultimately a narrow-ish slice of the larger pie. I'm also willing to bet that Blackmagic's 2020 NAB booth will once again be the biggest at the show, and that rather than wheel and deal in back rooms, Grant will once again be front and center on the floor, looking forward to hearing whatever is you think he needs to hear.

I do think a lot about my days as an editor, and think about what's happening now through that lens more often than the lens of my life as a corporate weasel, even if I talk about that perspective more here. Yeah, it's been a while since I edited for a living, but it was the longest career of the many I've had, and other than managing bookstores, my favorite gig in some ways. The combination of Resolve with the Mini panel would have made a huge difference in the work I was doing, which included hours and days using keyframes and the pen tool to build masks for grading in Boris FX and After Effects because I couldn't afford Resolve as it was configured in the 90s. LOL

I definitely remember people saying, "Here comes DV, nobody's ever going to do color correction ever again," which is equally obviously both true and not true. But I certainly don't feel a need to stop people in the street *(ie, social media LOL) and yell at them about their failure to understand the value that integrated grading on dedicated hardware provides. I don't honestly think people need persuading about anything. They blink and decide, and the whole point of that observation is that the blink is almost always right for them. People need to trust that first blink more, not less. The agony of evaluation is a distraction, and tends over time to take you further off course.

My larger point in this forum has always been that most people get most places in their lives without overthinking this stuff. It's just that in this forum, we tend to psychoanalyze the OTHER guy's choice (he's too afraid to choose FCPX, his ego is wrapped up in it his old way, he doesn't understand what's really here, etc) without imagining the possibility that our own fear, ego, and inflexibility or whatever traits we ascribe to THEM might be exactly how we wound up here ourselves.

Probably not true for you, though, and probably not true for the other guy either. That doesn't make it any less fun to talk about the differences between these toolsets, and the kinds of work they enable, and how the tools and the companies that manage them could all be doing better. On the contrary, it's MORE fun to talk about when we remove relative judgements that go any deeper than the blink of an eye.


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jeff arballo
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Feb 12, 2020 at 6:43:24 pm

I would love for FCPX to add collaboration. I don't really care what editing platform you use, if you can make it better and have an easier workflow, why not do it.

We did a 2 hour doc and there were so many times I would have loved to have collaboration and yes we used Frame io but its not the same. I don't want to have to go to a third party app to do it. Ive been a FCP user and a FCPX user from the beginning and would hate to leave it. I've also used every editing platform out there so I've know what they can do.

I've recently started learning Resolve, which we may use for our next project, That's only if I don't see something new in FCPX at NAB this year. I've noticed other NLE's taking good ideas from FCPX and integrating them into their NLE's now it's time for FCPX to do the same, take what the others are doing and give editors what they are asking for. Ive seen it over and over and that is collaboration.


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Joshua Pearson
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Feb 14, 2020 at 4:44:54 pm

Nice discussion. Tim, I loved your deep essay about Avid... so interesting to hear inside info like that.
I also spent a couple years on Media 100 back in the mid 90s... the Media 100 card for $2000 was the bait, the amazingly affordable option to the hugely expensive Avid at the time... i used it with early Premiere at first but then kind of dug the Media 100 software, even though it only let you have two tracks of video!!! I cant actually remember why I liked it... maybe Premiere was crashy and Media 100 was more solid?... ah, the 90s.



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Tim Wilson
Re: Time for FCPX to step up - collaboration
on Feb 14, 2020 at 9:00:29 pm

[Joshua Pearson] "kind of dug the Media 100 software, even though it only let you have two tracks of video!!! I cant actually remember why I liked it... maybe Premiere was crashy and Media 100 was more solid?... ah, the 90s."

Thanks for the kind words!

I was a Media 100 customer too! It being a small world and New England tech being rather incestuous, I was hired at Avid by a guy who knew me from when he worked at Media 100 and I was a customer, and all three years I was there, I sat next to still another guy who worked at Media 100. I regularly bumped into Media 100 folks, and helped bring on one of the most publicly-identifiable Media 100 people, Marianna Montague, who's now filling the same customer advocate role at Avid. VERY small world.

Anyway, yes, as editors, we loved the bullet-proofness of Media 100 relative to the (pre-pro) Mac version of Premiere. Even though Windows came later, in 1996, Premiere on Win + hardware from people like Matrox with DigiSuite ran like a dream. Mac, closer to nightmare, not least of which was no support for drop code, so your 30 second spot would be a full frame out of sync by the end. Completely not usable for broadcast at that point....but hey, to this larger conversation, that wasn't the point of Premiere THEN.

The difference with Avid wasn't price for me. The Media 100xs was only a few thousand less than a very, very similar featured Avid Xpress system, both in the $30,000-ish range. The difference was intent. Media 100 was focused on providing the highest quality images possible (the company started as an optical tech company, Data Translation), whereas Xpress was an unholy marriage of focused on offline and the lowest image quality they could get away with.

It had to do with being made with a different audience -- film, since even the TV market that Avid was aiming for was still mostly shooting on film -- and I was all video, all the time. I also had no clients or collaborators who cared about Avid, so even though Avid had something in the right price range for me, and had plenty of features that Media 100 didn't, it was the wrong set of product priorities for ME. I spent all of about 90 seconds figuring this out. LOL And I was right.

That's why these questions have never seemed trivial to me. The notion of "we're developing for THESE customers, and to succeed, we CAN'T develop for THOSE customers" is so foundational that it can't be separated from feature requests. It may well be the case that for FCPX to be what you need it to be, that you'll have to rely on third party solutions to address any needs for specific kinds of collaboration, epic-scale film, what have you.

So, behind the question of "What do you want Apple to do for you?" is "How do you want Apple to understand itself, and what tradeoffs are you willing to make for Apple to be who you need them to be?"

Which is also why I find the notion that you're NOT making tradeoffs when you choose ANY product or platform to be so delusional. You're also choosing what's NOT going to happen for you. Of COURSE there's no way that every NLE can work in every context. It's impossible, and even if it was possible, it would be a genuinely bad goal. LOL

In fact, my favorite thing about this forum is the extent to which it has become a place for people who do in fact use multiple toolsets to talk about all of them in relation to each other. The more the merrier, sez me, but there's really not much to say if we can't be honest with each other about what each one precludes as much as we talk about what each of them offers.

Understanding that somebody else's reality is different from mine isn't a reason for either of us to dismiss the other. Ideally, it's an opportunity for empathy, and for us to gain greater insight through multiple perspectives.


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