APPLE FINAL CUT PRO: Apple Final Cut Pro X Creative Community Conversations FCP Legacy FCP Tutorials

Thinking about making the switch to FCPX

COW Forums : Apple Final Cut Pro X

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Cal Thorley
Thinking about making the switch to FCPX
on Jun 26, 2020 at 1:52:20 am

Hi there.
Just after a few opinions if you'd be so kind.
I'm an ex FCP legacy user. Hung round for the initial release of FCPX but as the bulk of my work is a TV series at a time, not being able to plug in a reference monitor or export an OMF was a problem. I jumped across to Premiere which has done the job pretty well ever since. Mostly.
Why I'm in a FCPX forum writing long winded posts is that Premiere has never performed that well. Unless I win the lottery or sell a kidney I'm generally at the lower end of the scale on a beefed up iMac. Currently a 2017 5K 4.2i7 with the Radeon 8gb GPU and 24gb ram, running a Blackmagic IO. Oh and a couple of Promise Pegasus2 thunderbolt raids.
Premiere has always struggled for me with anything too far from 1080 50i or 25p.
It might play h.264 off a gopro or drone OK to start with but as the sequences get over a few minutes it starts to get really laggy, dropping frames, etc. It's the same for 4K or high frame rate stuff. Gets worse as the project gets further along and dropping playback res only mildly improves things. It sometimes gets better with updates and much worse after others. And I've spent days on forums trying the usual fixes. The fix is to transcode anything outside the norm to ProRes 1080 25p.
Anyway, that's the background stuff.
My work is changing a bit and looking to start fresh on completely new material so I won't need to retain access to older projects as much. I'm wondering if it's the best time I'll ever get to move to FCPX.
And the main reason being that performance. I see videos of FCPX playing 4 streams of effect laden 4K backwards on little more than a toaster with an Apple sticker. So I'm hoping I might see some benefit too.

I realise the easiest way is to just jump in and get started but with time not on my side I just wanted to ask a few questions first, if anyone can help advise from their experience?

I don't need 4 streams of 4k backwards but the ability to edit 4k with a mix of native XAVC, H.264, and ProRes is more my deal. Does my setup sound like it'd do that with FCPX? And not just 2 min clips. Hour long timelines if need be.

Much of my editing is b roll over interview, timed and punctuated by music so certain benefits of the magnetic timeline might not be helpful as I'm introducing a bit of 'breathing space' rather than back to back clips. From what I've seen that means I'd be using the position tool instead a lot. Does that work well or would I be ignoring a major reason to use FCPX?

Also, much of my editing traditionally is in separate projects. In PP I 'online' my episodes by creating a new project and copying and pasting the other finished smaller project timelines into the master one, before further editing and colour work, graphics etc from there. Does FCPX allow me to work in a similar method of compartmented edits? I presume it must but just haven't seen any mention.

And audio export for audio post? ie. Pro Tools. It sounds like plugins might be the go there and labelling each piece of audio. How laboured is that process? It sounds a bit more painful than my current method of just throwing V/O on one track, IV on another, music on another, etc, etc and then that carries over to an OMF. Especially on an hour long show.

Any other tips or headaches that may await me?

Thanks very much for any advice!
Cal


Return to posts index

Lawrence Eaton
Re: Thinking about making the switch to FCPX
on Jun 26, 2020 at 3:29:03 am

Cal,
I’d take a look at this mini series





Maybe it’ll answer some of your questions?

Lawrence


Return to posts index

Cal Thorley
Re: Thinking about making the switch to FCPX
on Jun 26, 2020 at 7:18:38 am

Awesome, thanks. Will check it out!
A lot of the videos I watched weren't aimed at more long form editing so this looks ideal.

Cheers.
Cal


Return to posts index


Oliver Peters
Re: Thinking about making the switch to FCPX
on Jun 26, 2020 at 1:57:58 pm

Here's a link to the full set of videos:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgFm0z5RkLU2rEd4TTRst_A/videos

This is also good:







- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


Return to posts index

Joe Marler
Re: Thinking about making the switch to FCPX
on Jun 26, 2020 at 2:12:59 pm

[Cal Thorley] "...2017 5K 4.2i7 with the Radeon 8gb GPU and 24gb ram...I don't need 4 streams of 4k backwards but the ability to edit 4k with a mix of native XAVC, H.264, and ProRes is more my deal. Does my setup sound like it'd do that with FCPX? And not just 2 min clips. Hour long timelines if need be."

I have the same machine, and have edited large documentaries pulled from 130 4k multi-camera interviews, mostly 4k XAVC-S.

While FCPX is a lot faster on XAVC than Premiere is, that is simply a difficult codec. XAVC-S and XAVC-L are Long GOP and just difficult to decode. XAVC-I is faster and smoother. Of course ProRes is lightning fast.

In general XAVC Long GOP needs transcoding to proxies for the smoothest performance -- even on FCPX. The FCPX proxy system is somewhat fragile since the original disk volume and pathname is burned into the library and there is currently no relink. However it is usable. You can also externally transcode and re-link to manually-created proxies, then re-link back to the full res material for final export. Anything like that should be carefully tested before committing.

I have the latest versions of Premiere and Resolve Desktop, but mostly use FCPX. Resolve has been greatly improved in recent versions and is nearly as fast as FCPX on certain things.

FCPX is very strong at skimming through lots of media and content organization. But you must understand the overall design philosophy and intended workflow. You don't throw a bunch of stuff on the timeline, rather carefully curate the material in the Event Browser, marking rejects, favorites and keywords. Then you use the database & query features to pull the clips you need. Only *then*do you put those on a timeline.

The magnetic timeline has its own behavioral characteristics and it's important to understand the overall design intent, not try to wrestle it into submission.

The previously-listed video tutorials are a good place to start.


Return to posts index

Oliver Peters
Re: Thinking about making the switch to FCPX
on Jun 26, 2020 at 6:43:20 pm

I would add, based on my daily experience with Premiere and a lot of experience with FCPX and Resolve, that mixed codecs on the timeline will always be an issue depending on your expectations.

Premiere in particular has issues with the BMD i/o hardware. You might consider turning off Mercury Transmit playback, which feeds your external display, and see if that helps. Depending on the display, you can connect it as an external desktop display and feed video directly to it for external monitoring. This still uses Mercury Transmit, but bypasses the BMD i/o hardware. I do that with both Premiere and FCPX and it makes a world of difference.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


Return to posts index


Cal Thorley
Re: Thinking about making the switch to FCPX
on Jun 26, 2020 at 11:53:46 pm

[Oliver Peters] "I would add, based on my daily experience with Premiere and a lot of experience with FCPX and Resolve, that mixed codecs on the timeline will always be an issue depending on your expectations.

Premiere in particular has issues with the BMD i/o hardware. You might consider turning off Mercury Transmit playback, which feeds your external display, and see if that helps."


Hi Oliver.

Thanks for the reply.
Interesting re the BMD i/o. I have tried it without but not too much difference. It was a similar experience with my last Matrox i/o too so I still wonder if a lot of my gripes are with Premiere's performance on the mac. Especially as the experience seems to change every second PP update!

I'd hoped I'm not expecting too much with mixed formats but maybe I am. 4k in any form is unusable once you get over 10 min mark or so. And in 1080 any H.264 is the same. It just starts acting up any time the playhead gets anywhere near it.
It's frustrating when you watch multiple streams of 4k clips on youtube playing flawlessly on what I think are lesser machines. And I can't get it to do fairly simple 2 track edits without wanting to throw it out the window.

I guess I'm at the stage where if I still like what I see at the end of these tutorials. I'll just have to pick a project and dive on in.


Return to posts index

Cal Thorley
Re: Thinking about making the switch to FCPX
on Jun 26, 2020 at 11:41:04 pm

[Joe Marler] "While FCPX is a lot faster on XAVC than Premiere is, that is simply a difficult codec. XAVC-S and XAVC-L are Long GOP and just difficult to decode. XAVC-I is faster and smoother. Of course ProRes is lightning fast."

Hi Joe. Thanks for that.
I use XAVC-I and that's been the one PP actually does seem to get on OK with. Well, in 1080 anyway, not so flash in 4K.

Thanks for the feedback re the timeline. Yes, certainly a different means of approach although I can see it working for me from what I've seen on those earlier posted tutorials.


Return to posts index

Mark Suszko
Re: Thinking about making the switch to FCPX
on Jun 27, 2020 at 1:21:03 am

FWIW, some people *do* just throw stuff onto the FCPX timeline, ignoring the very detailed pre-logging process. And it works pretty great. I know that's not the official paradigm, but a lot of what I get to work with is short, news-cutting type work with a very limited pool of shots, a setup that doesn't benefit as much from the "pre-grooming" of the ingested material, and for that kind of thing, FCPX in trained hands is lightning-fast, the magnetic timeline really helps and the positioning tool is intuitive as well. A point in Adobe's favor is, my premiere setup renders the same prores files a lot faster than FCPX seems to, and I can't figure out why.

I'd def agree you should also check out Resolve. But I was in exactly the same boat as you were; I just stuck it out as Apple kept iterating FCPX and now it is quite mature and capable. I dabble in premiere but it feels like grandpa's Buick to me. Every time I wanna add a transition or crop something and have to go thru Premiere sub-menus, I grimace and say: "oh, come ON!".


Return to posts index


Joe Marler
Re: Thinking about making the switch to FCPX
on Jun 27, 2020 at 12:25:07 pm

[Cal Thorley] "I use XAVC-I and that's been the one PP actually does seem to get on OK with"

You generally shouldn't have major performance problems with XAVC-I -- IF that's the only codec you're running. You previously mentioned using mixed codecs including 4k H264 from GoPros or drones. Those are highly compressed and difficult to edit.

When problem solving it's important to "divide and conquer". As a test remove all BMD video hardware, external audio hardware, and any associated drivers, use only XAVC-I, and try the same project or editing steps which previously caused problems. If that works, then add either the H264 material or BMD hardware -- one step at a time, carefully testing and examining performance at each stage.

If it is slow with XAVC-I and no BMD hardware, then examine what effects are being used.

First disable background rendering in FCPX Preferences. Then delete all cache files with File>Delete Generated Library Files>Delete Render Files>All. Then select your timeline clips with CMD+A and do a one-time render with CTRL+R. Examine the performance then.

If it's still problematic, make a snapshot duplicate of your project (aka timeline), open that and strip all effects using Edit>Remove Effects. If that is fast, then repeat the process but strip effects from 1/2, then 1/4, then 1/8 of the timeline -- each time rendering the timeline with CMD+A and CTRL+R -- until you locate the problematic region and what effects are in use.

Some compute-intensive effects like Neat Video can slow things down, no matter what codec is used. There are also some cases where certain combinations of effects preclude FCPX from using cached render files. If you ever see a case where a fully rendered timeline (ie no render dots) is sluggish, it could be that situation.

Excluding any issue from effects or BMD hardware, certain material will be sluggish to edit on any Mac. This includes 4k H264 from a GoPro or DJI drone, Sony 4k XAVC-S or XAVC-L, Panasonic 4k 10-bit 4:2:2 All-Intra from a GH5, S1, S1H, etc, 4k 10-bit 400 mbps HEVC from a Fuji X-T3, etc. Panasonic's 8-bit 4k H264 is considerably smoother, esp on a 2017 or later iMac which uses Intel's upgraded "Kaby Lake" version of Quick Sync.

The latest version of Premiere on the same Mac hardware is much slower at those difficult codecs, esp. regarding lag time to JKL input. Resolve Studio 16.2.3 is generally equal to FCPX or even faster in some cases. But even Resolve on a 10-core Vega 64 iMac Pro will struggle on the difficult codecs.

For a brief shining moment around 2010 it seemed like Adobe's Mercury Playback Engine on then-current hardware was going to eliminate any need to transcode material to a mezzanine codec. Then 4k arrived along with a bewildering variety of Long GOP codecs, some of which can bog down almost any machine. This is further exacerbated by the diverse "zoo" of hardware acceleration techniques - Quick Sync, UVD/VCE, NVDEC/NVENC, T2 -- each of which has multiple versions with varying capabilities, used in various ways by each NLE.


Return to posts index

Cal Thorley
Re: Thinking about making the switch to FCPX
on Jun 28, 2020 at 7:34:45 am

Thanks Joe.

I'll load it up a bit and see how FCPX goes.
I'd like to be working in 4K (or even 4K on a 1080p timeline - scaled down rather than transcoded to 1080)
If FCPX can handle 4K XAVC-I without being a slug then it'll be doing better than PP.
I know H.264 isn't much fun to unpack so if I need to transcode any footage off my Sony A6300, drone, or gopros then I can live with that. It's always going to be a small percentage compared to the FS7 material which is still my main camera.

If I have to transcode the XAVC-I then I may as well just stick with Premiere.

Fingers crossed.

Thanks again.


Return to posts index

Joe Marler
Re: Thinking about making the switch to FCPX
on Jun 29, 2020 at 3:07:58 pm

[Cal Thorley] "If FCPX can handle 4K XAVC-I without being a slug then it'll be doing better than PP.
I know H.264 isn't much fun to unpack so if I need to transcode any footage off my Sony A6300, drone, or gopros then I can live with that. It's always going to be a small percentage compared to the FS7 material which is still my main camera.

If I have to transcode the XAVC-I then I may as well just stick with Premiere."


In my tests you likely won't need to transcode XAVC-I. XAVC-S and -L are another matter -- at least on current Macs, although there is some variation.

The current limitation is efficiency of hardware-accelerated decoding and how that's used by the NLE. For these codecs Premiere does a horrible job on current Mac hardware. FCPX is a lot better, but on the iMac Pro which apparently uses T2 decoding, it's still sluggish. On 2017 and later iMacs it's somewhat smoother, and the 2019 iMac and MBP 16 seem a little better still. This is probably from incremental improvements to Intel's Quick Sync. Resolve is also pretty good.

Longer term I think the new ARM-powered Macs may have a big advantage, but nobody knows for sure. At least Apple will gave total control over hardware accelerators and the ARM design favors greater use of these due to the smaller chip real estate consumed by the CPU core.


Return to posts index

Eric Santiago
Re: Thinking about making the switch to FCPX
on Jun 27, 2020 at 12:18:25 pm

[Joe Marler] "You don't throw a bunch of stuff on the timeline, rather carefully curate the material in the Event Browser, marking rejects, favorites and keywords. Then you use the database & query features to pull the clips you need. Only *then*do you put those on a timeline."

So true. I see this practice in Premiere with all my colleagues and clients just drives me nuts when I inherit their projects :P
In FCPX I sometimes use subprojects (timelines), secondary and even compound clips as an artboard for scenes. Still not as easy as legacy timelines and sadly you can still make a mess of things :P
I get in the habit of creating temp compound clips from the assembly and tinker in that to avoid messing up things.

Back to this subject.
Give FCPX a trial run.
Keep an open mind and don't get caught up with old habits.
It's an awesome tool :)


Return to posts index

Cal Thorley
Re: Thinking about making the switch to FCPX
on Jun 28, 2020 at 7:37:48 am

Thanks Eric.
Time to jump into a project and start making rookie mistakes in a new program!


Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2020 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]