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FCPx in local TV

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Ben Edwards
FCPx in local TV
on Jan 16, 2012 at 3:32:06 pm

Hi,

Do people think that FCPx would work well in a small TV setup (i.e. 2 edit stations). This would be for cutting fast turn around news and magazine programs. Is it possible to turn round stories fast? What are the possible problems/shortcomings.

Ben

--
Ben Edwards - Freelance Filmmaker
http://www.funkytwig.com


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Steve Connor
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 16, 2012 at 3:35:23 pm

What format is the footage coming in?

Steve Connor
"FCPX Agitator"
Adrenalin Television


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Ben Edwards
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 16, 2012 at 3:42:16 pm

We are talking a new station so a format that works with FCPx would be chosen. I was quite surprised when I heard FCPx was being considered hence the question here.

Ben

--
Ben Edwards - Freelance Filmmaker
http://www.funkytwig.com


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Craig Seeman
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 16, 2012 at 3:56:19 pm

If you're shooting AVCHD, it'll be very fast. I think it's a very good news cutter. There are a few here who seem to be doing similar work with it. If you're shooting XDCAM it's hurry up and wait for Sony to deliver direct support. The next FCPX update (should be soon) should get it over some the hurdles it still faces. It's keyword/metadata based media organizing could be great for news although it still needs some more control over access/media availability.



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Ben Edwards
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 16, 2012 at 7:58:28 pm

Are you saying with AVCHD everything is not transcoded into ProRes. Apples's ProRes fetish is my main issue. If I understand correctly the ProRess ingesting has to be finished before the final project is output.

--
Ben Edwards - Freelance Filmmaker
http://www.funkytwig.com


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Craig Seeman
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 16, 2012 at 8:18:19 pm

I've ingested AVCHD and haven't bothered to transcode. You don't have to transcode to ProRes. Not even in the background . . . assuming a reasonably fast system.



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Ben Edwards
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 16, 2012 at 10:11:42 pm

"I've ingested AVCHD and haven't bothered to transcode. You don't have to transcode to ProRes. Not even in the background . . . assuming a reasonably fast system."

OK, I thought FCPx did this automatically.

--
Ben Edwards - Freelance Filmmaker
http://www.funkytwig.com


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Craig Seeman
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 16, 2012 at 10:35:23 pm

You can enable or disable a background transcode to ProRes.
One of the things that impresses me is how well it handles AVCHD on a reasonably fast system.
It'll also handle DSLR H.264 files as well without transcoding.

I do wish it could handle XDCAM EX without a rewrap to .mov. Sony is working on that.



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 16, 2012 at 10:50:08 pm

[Craig Seeman] "You can enable or disable a background transcode to ProRes.
One of the things that impresses me is how well it handles AVCHD on a reasonably fast system.
It'll also handle DSLR H.264 files as well without transcoding.
"


In my experience AVCHD gets rewrapped to mov, FCPX doesn't use anything natively unless it's already a .mov.

It's just a rewrap, not a transcode. AVCHD files end up being h264 .mov.

You can still edit right away as footage is being rewrapped, though which bodes well for those 20 minutes edits that have been talked about here.

I don't know how you would have done this with FCP7 as the transcode to ProRes is a time killer.

Jeremy


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Craig Seeman
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 16, 2012 at 11:04:28 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "In my experience AVCHD gets rewrapped to mov, FCPX doesn't use anything natively unless it's already a .mov."

True. If I look in Original Media, the files that came from AVCHD show as .mov.
But the files that were imported as H.264 .mp4 still show as .mp4 (these are recordings from live streams that I sometimes have to work with).



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 16, 2012 at 11:22:34 pm

[Craig Seeman] "But the files that were imported as H.264 .mp4 still show as .mp4 (these are recordings from live streams that I sometimes have to work with)."

Very true. You could also change .mp4 to .mov and they'd still work.

I guess its hard to define AVCHD as theres a couple of iterations.

The one I have is af100 footage which is in its own MTS structure.

That needs a rewrap in my experience.

I really really hope FCPX allows non rewrapped media in a future update, and also allows the simple hires/lores transcode feature. Best of all worlds, that would be.


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Ben Edwards
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 16, 2012 at 10:59:23 pm

People have used the term reasonably fast system a few times. Is 2x2 3Ghz considered reasonably fast in this context?

Ben

--
Ben Edwards - Freelance Filmmaker
http://www.funkytwig.com


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Lance Bachelder
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 17, 2012 at 7:43:52 am

Yeah make sure you have approved OpenCL graphics cards. I'm using ATI 5770 I picked up at Frys in a 2.1 MacPro (old) and it runs great. Card seems to be doing most of the work while editing.

Also re-wrapping XDCAM stuff to .mov goes pretty fast using the Sony software as a stand-alone app. I did a bunch of XDCAM 422 and it went very fast and runs great inside FCPX.

Lance Bachelder
Writer, Editor, Director
Irvine, California



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Darren Kelly
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 18, 2012 at 8:39:21 pm

So Craig, what you are saying is the FCPX DOES transcode avchd to prores, it just does it quickly in the background. That's a different answer to the the one you gave, which said it doesn't have to transcode.

It does.


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Craig Seeman
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 18, 2012 at 9:14:45 pm

[Darren Kelly] "So Craig, what you are saying is the FCPX DOES transcode avchd to prores, it just does it quickly in the background. That's a different answer to the the one you gave, which said it doesn't have to transcode."

You can have it transcode or not. It's a preference setting. It works just fine if you don't transcode though assuming a reasonably powered system.

In fact if you want to talk about iOS AV Foundation innovations, consider that your iPhone or IPad with iMovie is editing H.264 (no transcode) on those devices.

Personally I haven't yet found the need to transcode. AVCHD, H.264 .mp4, H.264 .mov all work in FCPX just fine. No transcode.



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 18, 2012 at 9:20:48 pm

[Darren Kelly] "So Craig, what you are saying is the FCPX DOES transcode avchd to prores, it just does it quickly in the background. "

You have a choice.

You can rewrap to "avc1" (h264) .mov.

You can transcode to ProRes, or Proxy which takes longer than the rewrap.

All of that happens in the background. you can edit while transcoding, for example.

Jeremy


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Craig Seeman
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 18, 2012 at 9:29:22 pm

Although I'll add that I'm finding the H.264 .mp4 isn't even being rewrapped. MTS is though.



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 18, 2012 at 9:36:53 pm

[Craig Seeman] "Although I'll add that I'm finding the H.264 .mp4 isn't even being rewrapped. MTS is though."

mp4 is basically h264 mov. You cannot play mts in Quicktime, for example, but you can with mp4.

Would you call mp4 AVCHD? I guess I wouldn't, but what the hell do I know.

I would say the mp4 is AVCHD encoded, but it's not AVCHD. I think AVCHD needs the transport stream wrapper.

Jeremy


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Craig Seeman
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 18, 2012 at 10:44:22 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "mp4 is basically h264 mov."

Different metadata but close. Actually .mp4 is the same as .m4v. You can just change the extension. You shouldn't do that though between .mp4 and .mov. Quicktime can handle both though.

I guess to be precise AVCHD would be AVC/H.264 in an MPEG-2 Transport Stream. AVC itself can have any number of extensions.



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 18, 2012 at 10:50:54 pm

[Craig Seeman] "I guess to be precise AVCHD would be AVC/H.264 in an MPEG-2 Transport Stream. AVC itself can have any number of extensions."

Yes.

Jeremy


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Andy Neil
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 16, 2012 at 6:33:06 pm

There are a couple of elements that actually make FCPX a worthwhile choice for editing news.

The primary storyline paradigm is well suited to cutting news quickly (using it as a voiceover track). The database structure can make broll hunting quite a bit easier. But the key advantage is how graphics packages can be integrated through Motion and easily attached to stories in FCPX.

Obviously, FCPX doesn't currently have video output for either monitoring or edit to tape so once it's in FCPX it has to stay digital. Presumably that isn't an issue for your news operation.

The biggest disadvantage would be it's instability since it's a fairly new program. It's not a big disadvantage since I've had lots of experience working in a news environment with new and unstable technologies, but it's something to be aware of.

Andy

http://www.timesavertutorials.com


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Brian Mulligan
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 16, 2012 at 6:59:46 pm

No one in Local News has time to keyword clips and database before they edit. Most broadcast editors edit visually.

Brian Mulligan
Senior Editor - Autodesk Smoke
WTHR-TV Indianapolis,IN, USA
Twitter: @bkmeditor


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Andy Neil
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 16, 2012 at 7:32:03 pm

[Brian Mulligan] "No one in Local News has time to keyword clips and database before they edit."

Maybe not while editing a news story, but you could organize an event of stock footage with keyword collections to easily browse and find video broll for news stories. FCPX's database structure could make that extremely useful.

Also, there was a post somewhere on the forum here talking about how FCPX keyword collections were being used for sports IN GAME for quickly organizing plays and players for finding and cutting teases and promos.

There seems to be this persistent thought that creating and maintaining keyword collections is hard, or requires a lot of typing. Neither is true. If you have time to drag and drop, you can organize with keyword collections.

Andy

http://www.timesavertutorials.com


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Marvin Holdman
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 16, 2012 at 7:46:12 pm

One thing that hasn't been mentioned is deliverables. What are your playback system requirements? If it is some form or mpeg, then you might have problems getting it out of FCPX, especially if it is somewhat proprietary. That being said, you will probably end up with some flavor of encoding software, if that is the case. As mentioned before, the single task of "cutting a news piece" can be easily accomplished via FCPX. The question you need to ask is, will it work in the big picture for your longterm goals (data management, scalability and legacy compatibility).

The choices are many, but the consensus I glean from this forum is that FCPX has promise, but is not quite there. Do you want to gamble your future on an unknown? Some will say that FCS had a slow start, but that was a different time, and a much different company.

Good luck.

Marvin Holdman
Production Manager
Tourist Network
8317 Front Beach Rd, Suite 23
Panama City Beach, Fl
phone 850-234-2773 ext. 128
cell 850-585-9667
skype username - vidmarv


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Ben Edwards
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 16, 2012 at 7:56:10 pm

The deliverable will be onto Freeview (DVB-T) which I believe is MPEG-4. I believe the idea is to used dedicated transcoding hardware. As this is a startup, and if FCPx is the chosen option, the other components will be built around this.

Ben

--
Ben Edwards - Freelance Filmmaker
http://www.funkytwig.com


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Michael Sanders
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 17, 2012 at 2:12:02 pm

Hi Ben,

Is this for one of the new Local TV channels in the UK?

What people are asking is what are you going to play it out from? i.e what format is your transmission suite working in?

FCP X can delivery Quicktime mov files which can go directly to some servers but if you want to play out to tape etc that's a different ball game.

FCP X in this environment could work well as its very cheap and runs on cheapish computers (iMac's etc).

For US cousins: The Local TV channels in the UK are the brain chilld of our culture secretary James Hunt, have extremely small (even by UK standards) of coverage and viewers and thus very low budgets and running costs.

Michael Sanders
London Based DP/Editor


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Craig Seeman
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 16, 2012 at 7:48:44 pm

[Andy Neil] "If you have time to drag and drop, you can organize with keyword collections."

I think a lot of people miss this bit of info. Dropping a clip on a keyword collection tags it. Once you have the collection, it's about as easy as dragging to a bin. Often, if you're marking in and outs for any purpose it can be as little as a keystroke to tag that.

My own hunch is that Apple is going to be extending the management side of this further on the server/san side of things. Just a hunch but it just "screams" for that sort of capability given the metadata capabilities. Good large library management would be a great feature.



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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 16, 2012 at 9:10:28 pm

It's a very good point that keywording is a simple as drag and drop. The hard part is a keywording system which get created, then consistently used, by the multiple users in a broadcast facility. You've got Photogs cutting packs, you've got producers cutting packs, you've got anyone who happens to be on staff covering the weekend cutting packs and stories - unless one person comes up with the system to use, it will become a nightmare in a matter of days.

Case in point - the database used to log news stories for playback had keywords in it. In their skewed, knee-jerk logic (or lack thereof), the News producers called the first instance of the story "Hanover Robbery". As soon as a suspect in the robbery was nabbed, the story, and clips were called "John Doe Suspect", with no reference at all the "Hanover Robbery".

While it's all a nice thought, remember that this is a News department, used to running around like chickens with their heads cut of, and, as soon as a story airs, flushing their brains, so they have no thought in mind except what the next story is going to be. And don't even talk about having an archivist (which is exactly what is needed to develop a good, usable keywords system). They use interns for producers half the time. The only big budget is for the News Director, Assistant News Director, and Chief Photog. Anyone else can make more at McDonalds.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Andy Neil
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 16, 2012 at 9:58:48 pm

I was the chief editor for the Fox affiliate in San Diego from 2000-2007. In that time I oversaw the use and integration of both Avid and FCP edit bays, 7 years of news and stock footage archives for a facility that was one of the first news operations in the country who operated with a tapeless to air workflow. I think I know a little bit about the issue asked by the OP.

I say this so you know my suggestions regarding the FCPX database are not suggestions in ignorance. I know EXACTLY how a news operation works and I still believe, FCPX can be a valuable asset in that workflow (depending on whether it can overcome the issues I stated above).

[Joseph W. Bourke] "News producers called the first instance of the story "Hanover Robbery". As soon as a suspect in the robbery was nabbed, the story, and clips were called "John Doe Suspect","

That happens everywhere, but it also has very little to do with what I was talking about. The news stories themselves (written, not video) as well as connection to their respective airchecks were archived in our iNews system. We also had an independent search engine that could parse the iNews database an return stories to users which would give date and aircheck info based on simple boolean keyword searches.

What I was talking about was the creation of a stock footage library which is very necessary in the cutting of news. Generic footage of city buildings, police, money, locations, etc. in which many news stories rely upon. That kind of database, controlled and maintained by the edit staff themselves can be easily created, and organized. I did that myself with the help of my staff of 9 editors. We came up with a system and stuck to it (more or less). It wasn't all that difficult.

And having a sports system with collections containing plays and players over the course of a season is not only doable, but an excellent way to quickly access shots for a daily broadcast.

You talk about how difficult a proposition it is to do something like this when you have Photogs and producers cutting packages, but the problems you mention are the exact same issue you have with tape based archives, except for one thing. If someone forgets to put a clip into a keyword collection in FCPX, you can still find that clip in the event, or events, or search with metadata automatically created upon injest. What do you do when a reporter or producer decides to hide a tape on their desk?

Andy

http://www.timesavertutorials.com


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Ben Edwards
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 16, 2012 at 10:18:30 pm

Andy,

Thanks a lot for that. Archiving is defiantly a bit issue and the workflow/technologies needs to cater for this, and I guess in some ways the size of the station is not relevant. I guess being ably to quickly find cutaways is the key thing here.

Lots to think about,
Ben

--
Ben Edwards - Freelance Filmmaker
http://www.funkytwig.com


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Andy Neil
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 16, 2012 at 10:27:46 pm

My main concern for you is enterprise level DAM for your facility. I'm making assumptions here, but since FCPX is the editor they're looking at, I suspect that this will likely be a fairly tapeless facility shooting on either cards or discs which means long-term archive will likely be some kind of server based system. Our station was switching over from tape to this when I left.

FCPX might be able to handle a simple stock footage library using collections for day to day editing, but keeping track of years worth of stories and airchecks will require separate management software. The question is, will the two databases ever be able to talk to each other, or will it be able to read metadata tagged by FCPX? Or vice-versa even?

It may not be entirely necessary to merge those workflows since you can use a DAM to find and access footage which can then be simply added to an event for editing, but it's something to consider long-term as FCPX matures.

andy

http://www.timesavertutorials.com


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 16, 2012 at 10:23:46 pm

No disrespect meant, Andy - I'm talking from experience as well - fourteen years at an ABC affiliate which could never get out of its' own way in terms of organizing footage - stock or otherwise. The way they found all the years of stuff on tape? The chief photo had been there for 15 or more years, and could put his hands on any shot in the morgue. The tapes were somewhat categorized on the shelves, at least by year, then a label on the tape and a log inside, so there was always a good chance of finding what you needed.

What's required of a keyword system is someone who manages, polices, and teaches that system, to the multiple users in the facility, who have neither the time, or often the desire, to learn anything new. Maybe Fox does things right - we had a system in place which would do exactly what you're talking about - given the time spent to create keywords, then teach the "producers" fresh out of school why they should care whether you could ever find a shot again. We didn't have "editors", per se - that was a secondary job for the producers, photogs, and whoever else happened to be sitting around between newscasts. I'm glad the system worked for you - but it never can without a staff which is paid enough to care whether it does. Maybe in the major markets - we were in the Boston ADI - but that didn't help. And we were a non-union shop, which meant that there could have been plenty of cross-training to teach the fine points of the AP automation system. The employees were too busy surfing the web, congratulating each other that a package made it to air, or reading the paper, to be bothered to improve their craft.

But bear in mind that in the world where the everything had be able to be digitized for several years, there were still tape ops on every news cast. The News department was deathly afraid of changing anything which showed a semblance of working.

I've been out of the broadcast industry for just over two years, and even in the years I was in broadcast, I used a keyword system to successfully track hundreds of thousands of graphics on our servers. I even created and policed the folder structure on our servers, but it was an uphill battle against those who always wanted the "Teds stuff", "My Stuff", and other inane nomenclature. On many shifts you had to know the folder structure of the graphic artist who was off to find the elements you needed. I'm saying there's a perfect world, and there's reality.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Marvin Holdman
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 16, 2012 at 9:25:47 pm

Craig Seeman - "I think a lot of people miss this bit of info. Dropping a clip on a keyword collection tags it."

Not to be contentious, but I think many of those people you think "miss" simply require more data that the system, as it exist, will allow. Attaching an "interview" or "broll" moniker to a clip is handy, but a far cry from the amount of information needed to create a practical database of searchable footage. That being said, I agree that Apple realizes the need when they state partnerships with companies like Square Box. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, they have deemed it necessary to pitch their history in exchange for their vision.

One of the very important aspects of starting a data system such as this is being able to anticipate the future needs of such data. Kinda hard to plan for this when the company you deal with refuses to give provide any sort of a roadmap for doing so. Perhaps, in time they will, and those who are just starting up will benefit greatly, but... in the meantime it would seem Apple has put themselves in the position that experience should be penalized. Guess that's one way of "leveling the playing field" to create a broader market. Totally legal in business. Ethically questionable, but who really thinks that "business ethics" hasn't become an oxymoron, in this day and age?

Marvin Holdman
Production Manager
Tourist Network
8317 Front Beach Rd, Suite 23
Panama City Beach, Fl
phone 850-234-2773 ext. 128
cell 850-585-9667
skype username - vidmarv


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Craig Seeman
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 16, 2012 at 10:15:16 pm

[Marvin Holdman] "Not to be contentious, but I think many of those people you think "miss" simply require more data that the system, as it exist, will allow. Attaching an "interview" or "broll" moniker to a clip is handy, but a far cry from the amount of information needed to create a practical database of searchable footage."

I agree. I would never keyword like that. It's very easy to create keywords specific to people, events, locations. FCPX is especially good at using multiple keywords for a single clip as well. What's missing is better facility level management features and I would think (hope) that that's on the way.

[Marvin Holdman] "One of the very important aspects of starting a data system such as this is being able to anticipate the future needs of such data. Kinda hard to plan for this when the company you deal with refuses to give provide any sort of a roadmap for doing so."

One would hope that they would at least say, we're developing server level management for all that metadata. I don't know if revealing that would give competitors and advantage, knowing that was in the works.



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James Mortner
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 18, 2012 at 6:05:16 pm

agreed, I could really use a system like that


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Andrew Rendell
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 17, 2012 at 1:43:25 pm

If we are talking UK, then Ofcom are specifying quality assessment for DVB-T as defined by the ITU for digital broadcasting (e.g., the 5 point assessment scale and various technical things). So to do fast turnaround you really need to have scopes/PPM/full quality monitoring in the edit. Is FCPX sorted for those things yet?


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James Mortner
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 19, 2012 at 1:31:17 pm

Andrew , you dont NEED these things anymore, everyone can edit and send to telly on their ipads and it all magically happens for you !

Stop being stuck in the past with your old ways of doing stuff, join the revolution

/sarcasm


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Matt Tureck
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 19, 2012 at 5:33:42 pm

Are we the only ones in news that still have to deliver in split channel? We need to keep reporter track on ch.1 and mix everything else onto ch. 2.
How have people here managed that in a timely fashion using X? I know I can go into the inspector and pan everything accordingly, but that takes time.
Thanks

Matthew Tureck
Editor
The CBS Evening News


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Andy Neil
Re: FCPx in local TV
on Jan 19, 2012 at 5:43:46 pm

No. We would archive in split channel, but mix out to air. For VOs and SOTs we could send those files mixed because anchor VO was mixed in downstream. However, for pkgs with recorded reporter track, we'd send one mixed version and one archive version in split channel.

In FCPX, you'd be able to accomplish that using the Roles feature. There's no need to pan tracks. I just created a tutorial which shows how that works here:

FCP X INs and OUTs: Roles

Andy

http://www.timesavertutorials.com


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