FCPX editing advice
Been running a small car related youtube channel for a couple of years. Only started using FCPX around 6 months ago and getting to grips with it a bit now. Wondered if anyone here had any advice on how I can improve the videos (stuck with the presenter unfortunately).. so both editing advice or even suggestions on how I can better film and generally produce the videos. It's a car blog so don't expect amazing visuals...Here are a couple of recent ones you can see to get an idea:
thanks in advance.. I do all filming myself so resources are limited..
I think it's a very credible piece of work for a one-man band operation. You do a pretty good job of using edits to move the eye around and give a sense of motion to what are mostly locked-off, static camera shots.
I'm not saying you need to add a bunch of jib and slider moves, but they would make a nice bit of "seasoning" here and there. One thing you might consider, if using 4K cameras, is shooting a little looser framing than normal, then adding synthetic camera moves like pans and crops and even occasional zooms in post, with a 2K final product. This gets you *some* of the effect of the slider-type shots without the expense and bother of the actual gear.
There are a good number of cutaway and b-roll detail shots to not just break up the static narrative, but to emphasize certain points. I was expecting a mirror or gopro XCU detail shot of the under-body weep holes under r the Mercedes, when you talked about them, but you didn't show any.
I personally like the technique of moving the body of the presenter into and out of frame as a transitioning device, and not just always cutting from one shot with the guy in it, to another shot with the guy in it. See any episode of "Good Eats" for inspiration, because Alton Brown is masterful at this.
Nice work on getting clear audio all around outside and inside the car: many people who do this kind of work don't do the audio as well as you have. That said, it might benefit from a bit more tweaking in EQ and compression, but this is a subjective observation on my part.
The Bin Laden joke fell a little flat for me.
I think the overall pacing could be sped up just a tad, but again, this is subjective.
Not much you can do with an English sky, shy of sky replacement, but I did see you add what looked like a grad filter effect on one shot and I'd encourage more of that for making the sky less blah.
Overall, looked pretty good to me.
It sounded like some of your audio was done later to add to the edit. You could tell it was recorded in a different location. Try to record that audio in the same place as the other audio. Some of the shots of the logos on the cars were to abrupt for me. Also, maybe add some music but than again vlogs are raw in nature, so maybe music will take that feel away. Otherwise good video.
Thanks for the feedback! you are right some voiceovers were added later.. I also need to work on this. To make them sound the same as the original footage is near impossible also in terms of time, as I would have to record on my mic and recorder and then transfer back to the laptop where I edit. They would still not sound the same and just too time consuming as this is really something I do in my spare time... but I think they can be made to work better. If you look at Top Gear stuff they often cut to voiceover and it works very well.. but they do it better than I do!
You're right about music but in past videos people have complained that it is too intrusive, I maybe need to work it in without it getting in the way too much. Thanks!!
For a one man team, I think the production values are quite good. From a technical FCPX point of view, it looks solid. From a viewers point of view, I thought the dialog was very repetitive and became boring. If I were the editor and had a free hand, I would have the dialog transcribed, them make a paper edit of the dialog and pick out the key statements and assemble it. It might be half as long and twice as interesting. If you could film the car going past the camera or the car from another car that would spice it up visually. Also recording how the car sound outside the cabin would add something or record what it sounds like when it starts up.
Some years ago, I did a video about my Mustang. Not as high production values as yours, but Youtube users seem to like it. It is called Crush or Restore - A 65 Mustang Story.
Thanks Claude, fantastic film this.. love the long story and the fact you went to see the car once it was done! Glad it was saved.
I did actually film the car going past the camera and it was in the film 3-4 times.. maybe you did not make it that far?
I would like to have more shots but since they usually involve me leaving cameras on the side of the road you can appreciate that it is time consuming and risky for me to do it..
I agree pacing could be improved.. again see my comment above, if the rust thing was shortened it would increase pace and reduce repetition.
Sound: Now here is the crux. I've been trying for ages to work out a reliable system to record engine noise on the go and i've yet been unable to do so. It seems to work differently for every car depending on how loud the exhaust noise is and how much wind passes over the camera/mic location. Not been able to crack this one yet and experimenting is not cheap as it involves some rather expensive microphones. Car start up can be done fairly easily, have used that in some of my vids.. but not this one.
Thanks again for the feedback!
Thanks for the positive feedback. The 4K filming with simulated slider shots are a good point, unfortunately I bought new camcorder a couple of months back and did not then see the need for 4K.. regret it now.
You're right on the underbody.. I was going to do that and just forgot. Always under time pressure. This whole thing was filmed in 2 and half hours, including the road shots where i had to leave cameras on the side unattended and sweep past.
I was also unsure on the Bin Laden joke, I was actually looking for a pic with a nice looking old gent but he came up in my google search! Funnily enough only had one other comment on that and it was someone who liked it. Just goes to show we all have different tastes and it's impossible to cater to everyone, but I agree it was a bit meh!
You re also right on pacing, I filmed the rust section wrong, I should have just filmed series of snippets of me reappearing around different parts of the car pointing at areas.. showing how many there are. That would have been quick and funny and sped up the rest of the pace.
Thanks for the interesting reply mark! I have posted a more in-depth response but it seems to be locked in as a duplicate post, hopefully it will be released soon as the mods see it.
Overall you’re doing really well.
But now you are at the “devil in the details” zone. And if you want to push farther up the quality curve, you can’t let the small things go by.
Two examples that caught my eye:
First video at :10 seconds in the car looks nice but YOU are a murky blob relative to the backlit scene. That’s unacceptable. The audience looks to people first - even before the car. You need to make sure humans are exposed properly. Today’s cheap LEDs can be ganged and run off batteries and flagged to keep spill off the car - so practical lighting to get your face a couple of stops brighter would be one solution. Another would be to soft matt your face and push it brighter IF your shot has the latitude.
What’s not acceptable is to let an on-camera presenter be under-exposed relative to the image in the frame.
The other is easy to fix inside X, but it’s the kind of thing you need to train yourself to see and address. 2nd video at :20 when you drift on the car logo - the horizon line is skewed. It’s a tiny step to push a bit and rotate the shot a couple of degrees to create a more pleasing frame - but that’s the type of small detail you need to learn to see and fix.
Again, overall you are doing very, very well. Now quality improvements get tougher because like the stuff I noted they aren’t “obvious” until you train yourself to see them.
Keep up the good work!
Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.
To fix that face lighting issue in post, I have great success all the time using the "spot" effect in FCPX to add virtual fill light to faces and place subtle lighting emphasis on people in all kinds of scenes. Be sure to use the feather and amplitude controls and adjust to taste, while keeping an eye on your scopes, of course. It's not as fancy as a "power window", but works fast and intuitively and does the job in many situations. It's saved a few entire shots for me under various scenarios, and the cost (free) fits your current budget:-)
Mark and Bill,
Thanks for the great advice on lighting.. I have used the spot feature on my latest vid (below) in a couple of sections.. unfortunately having led's is not an option as I need to keep things simple on these brief filming sessions, they are already loads of work as is and I do it in my spare time.. but the spot effect does help!
Have taken notice of what you've all said and this is my latest vid.. I think my best. Still not perfect by any means, particularly lighting and some editing.. but I had 6 hours to edit it only so this is the best I could do.
As advised I've tried to: 1. Avoid repetition 2.More external shots 3.better lighting 4.lots of movement 4.some engine noise
Very frustrating though that I'm still having very limited success on Youtube relative to quality. My channel is growing but only at about 150 subs per month, need it to be a lot better than that really and it should be. I know I'm not the best presenter but I'm ok and there is so much worse out there both in terms of presenting and production with much more success, not sure what I'm doing wrong.
Latest vid with your advice taken into account:
Find a sunnier country to film in :)
"Traditional NLEs have timelines. FCPX has storylines" W.Soyka
That would be ideal!!
Any idea from anyone or any tips on how I can get more traction on youtube? It's really difficult getting increasing subscribers. Up to just over 2000 so far but there are channels with much worse stuff and way more subs..