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Thursday
Apr182013

Managing my FCPX Sound-effects library

It´s been a while since my last tutorial. FCPX is in 10.0.8 already now and much is written about it. I saw a few posts around about how people manage certain assets. This tutorial here explains how I manage my soundeffects in FCPX on several machines.

FCPX comes with several cool features for selecting sound. 


You can connect directly to your iTunes library and you can connect directly to the Apple Loops that come with Garage Band and also the Final Cut Pro Soundeffects. All these options are within the effectsbrowser of FCPX. 

The problem I have with these options - apart from copyright issues -come up once I switch machines. Will my iTunes library work, will the files be in the correct Apple Loops directory and will they be up to date? How do I manage the library on 3 machines?

I am a messy person, so I guess the files will not be up to date and be spread around my Desktop machine, Macbooks and client-machines. That is why I did not go this obvious and built-in route. 

If you like the iTunes and playlist idea and have someone managing it and have no private media in iTunes, check this workflow presented by Magic Feather Inc http://www.fcp.co/final-cut-pro/tutorials/1017-superb-walk-through-tutorials-on-making-trails-with-final-cut-pro-x-on-shared-storage

I went another direction.

I have tons of Soundeffects bought from 3rd parties. And then a few. 

My plan was to create one event that just handles these soundfiles. 

I created a SparseDisk-Image called “FCPX_SoundEffects” (if you want to know the advantages of sparsediskimages and how to make one, google it or click the link above as John Davidson from Magic Feather explains it well.

 

 I mounted the diskimage FCPX_SoundFX and simply copied the soundfiles in there; sorted in folders by me or by vendors. 


Ok, now comes the part where I go a different way than many others: I open FCPX and create an event _in_ this Image. I call it also "FCPX_SoundFX".

 

 

Since the Event is within this image I will be able to carry it with me wherever I go and to whatever machine I go. It has about 15 GB of FX-wavs and -aiffs. I always have a mobile FW800 drive with me that contains Motion-Templates and stuff I need regularily and now these effects also.

 

During Import I unclick “copy media to event”, hence only reference to the files within the Diskimage. But I do click on “Import Folders as Keyword Collections”. This way my folder structure stays. 

   

I have favourited the ones I really like and can therefore search for them easily. You can also add notes to find the special ones fast (I have 400 Swishes and wooshes....)

Ok, now you ask if I carry all these effects into every filmproject that I do. No, of course not. What if I only need 5 of them in a film? 

To make sure these 5 effects and only these 5 are in the particular event all you need to do is drag the particular sound onto the event you want them to be in.

 

In the screenshot I drag “Flame pass” and “Glass crashing FX” into my "Testfilm" event on another drive. FCPX will create references of the effects already with the according keywords (!) in the second event.

In this case, FCPX created the keyword “Wooshes” in the Testfilm event.

!!!BUT!!! The files are only referenced! FCPX did not move or copy the files into the event!!!

 

This means, if I open the "Testfilm" event without my FCPX_SoundFX diskimage, I will miss the media. So giving the event to a client could be a problem. Ever heard of red "missing media"-icons?!

Therefore you need to select the new event (in my case “Testfilm”) and in the File-menu select “Organize Event Files”! 


This will copy the media from the "FCPX_SoundFX" diskimage into the event you are working on.

  

You see now the files are not showing the little arrow, they are actually copied into the event. 

I usually always copy all my media into my events, because that way I have a) a backup of my media within the event (which gets backed up also) and b) know I can open the event anywhere. So these extra wav-files don´t hurt my harddrive-space.

 

If you have events with lots of referenced footage from different drives this approach might not be your best way. But it is for me on most occasions.

 

Wednesday
Oct242012

FCPX 10.0.6 Update-Zusammenfassung in deutsch

Mit dem Release von FCPX 10.0.6 hat Apple endlich seine Versprechen vom April eingehalten.

FCPX muss seit seinem Launch im Juni 2011 einiges an Kritik am professionellen Sektor einstecken. Wir waren Pioniere mit einem relativ großen Sport-Doku-Projekt, das wir bereits im Juli 2011 mit FCPX 10.0.0 (sprich NULL) produzierten. Dabei hatten sich einige Kritikpunkte aus der Szene bestätigt, aber viele der absolut revolutionären Features von X waren es unserer Ansicht wert das Projekt durchzuziehen. Wir sind mittlerweile zu 99% auf FCPX unterwegs, das eine Prozent sind alte Projekte die mittels 7toX plu-in in FCPX portiert werden.

Nun hat Apple mit der Version 10.0.6 nochmals einiges nachgelegt, damit auch Umsteiger sich schneller zurechtfinden.

 

Die Highlights:

- IMPORT: ein Importfenster, das keinen Unterschied macht, ob man eine XDCam Struktur oder gerenderte Animationen im Ordner hat. XDCam, R3D, XF-codec, P2....

- SOURCE: man hat auf Drängen vieler einen "Source-Viewer" als Option eingebaut, damit kann man einen Frame in der Timeline anzeigen und daneben wie aus FCP7 gewohnt einen Clip aus dem Event/Ereignis anzeigen und sich den Schnittframe suchen. Dieser neue Source-Viewer hat auch seine eigenen Videoscopes! Ich persönlich habe den Bedarf nicht gesehen, aber Optionen kann man nie genug haben.

- CLIPAUSWAHLEN: Längst fällig war die Möglichkeit In und Out zu setzen, ohne diese zu verlieren, wenn man den Clip verlässt. Es ist nun möglich nicht nur eine Range sondern mehrere in einem Clip zu speichern und diese erst später als Favorit zu markieren oder ihnen ein Keyword zuzuweisen. Das ganze ist auch nur mit Tastaturbetrieb und natürlich bereits im Import-Fenster möglich.

- ATTRIBUTE: Endlich erlaubt FCPX alle Attribute die man einem Clip gegeben hat (zB Effekte, Animationen, Deckkraft, Lautstärke etc) ausgewählt an andere Clips zu übertragen (also zB nur die Deckkraft und Lautstärke, ohne Effekte). Falls man Keyframes gesetzt hat können diese relativ interpoliert oder absolut übernommen werden.

- TON: Bei Clips die mehrere Tonspuren haben kann man diese nun ausklappen und einzeln bearbeiten (ALT-Doppelklick auf Tonspur) und mit Effekten wie Kompressoren versehen. Unglaublich wichtig! Wenn man fertig ist, einfach zuklappen und die Timeline bleibt sauber ohne mit allen 8 Spuren von jedem Clip zugemüllt zu sein. Dazu noch ein paar Features: man kann zB Tonspuren im Infofenster umbenennen (zB Darstellernamen) und auch ausblenden.

- FLEXIBLE CLIPS: Apple hat auch das Problem gelöst, dass bei Slip und Slide Schnitten, die Connected Clips immer mitgezogen wurden. Mit einer Zusatztaste (die ich mir erst manuell in der Shortcut-Liste holen musste) kann man diese Funktion aktivieren. Der Englische Command heißt "Override Clip Conections". Ich weiß nicht wie der in deutsch lautet, meine Macs sind alle in Englisch.....Jedenfalls kann man jetzt zB ein Interview aus der primären Storyline wegnehmen und sogar löschen, ohne die verbundene B-Roll zu bewegen.

- EXPORT: drastisch verändert! Erstens wanderte das MENÜ in die Ablage. Dafür gibt es jetzt einen Export-Button im UI. Apple gibt die üblichen Exportziele an, wie youtube, vimeo und diverse Disks etc. Aber es gibt die Möglichkeit sich selbst Formatziele und sogar "Bundles" zu bauen. So kann man für Kunden A einen Vimeo, BluRay und ein e-mail exportieren und beim Sender B gibt es ein ProRes422 sowie eine DVD. Man kann die exportierten Dateien mit Metatags versehen usw. Also das ist mittlerweile extrem mächtig. Und DAS BESTE: alle Exports laufen im Hintergrund. FCPX wird keine Exportfenster mehr öffnen und die Arbeit aufhalten. Der Export passiert im Hintergrund und man kann weiterarbeiten oder ein neues Projekt starten.

 

Es gibt noch einige Features wie den Drop-Shadow Effekt und viele kleine Tweaks im User-Interface. Im großen und ganzen fühlt sich FCPX mittlerweile schon fast erwachsen an und wird mit diesen Features noch schneller und noch intuitiver als es schon war. Der Export im Hintergrund ist zB ungemein cool. Man kann den Export starten und sich währendessen an die Schnittliste machen ohne Zeit zu verlieren.....

Wednesday
Oct242012

"under the hood" features in FCPX 10.0.6

Top 3 "not so obvious" features of the update:

1. Export happens in the background. When you export, doesn´t´matter to what format, FCPX will not have an export dialogue, but it will start in the background. You can work on the project or open another one. FCPX just got faster again....
1a: Bundle export. You can create bundles for different clients! One wants youtube/XDcam and a DVD, the other one wants vimeo, BluRay and an e-mail for confirmation......all in one button.

2. Dual viewers can have their own scopes
2b: While we are at the UI: the dividerlines between window-regions can be grabbed easier. I constantly had problems resizing the event library around...works MUCH better now

3. Flexible anchoring keeps the connected clips in place no matter what. When go to "Position Mode" and take a clip from the primary away, the connected clips stay and are now connected to a gap-clip. This is very close to what traditional editing was like, for those who can´t get their head around ripple modes and connected clips.

Monday
Aug132012

How to bring "best of" together in FCPX

What if you have several events on different drives with some highlight-clips in each, but you want all of that in one event to edit from there or to bring along only those "best of" shots?

We just had that issue and tried a few things. One works ;-)

We tried to simply drag the keyword-collections to a new event. You can do that, but all you do is create a new keyword in the second event. No clips follow.

When you try to merge events you lose your smart-collections. Not good.

When you move clips to another event in the same drive.....the clip changes its reference to a new event and is gone from the original event! BEWARE!

 

So here´s what you do: set up an event "Highlightshow" on a drive. In your events you might have a keyword "best of event A/B/C" (my keyword here is "-aaaatest").

Select all clips in it and drag them onto the event "Highlightshow". Do this with the wanted clips from all your events.

FCPX will now COPY all clips with all their keywords and green favourite-bars to the new event/drive.

You can of course immediately edit away, because the copying happens in the background.

Now some might ask what with events on that drive. Well, events can happily live next to each other. So If you have 4 events on 4 drives and use one of those drives as the one for the event "Highlightshow", you simply drag the clips out of both events from that drive. There is no other way without messing with the original event.

Saturday
Jul212012

Conforming 50p without Cinema Tools

edited for FCPX 10.1!

At our productions we often shoot overcranked, which means we shoot at a higher framerate than 25 to get a slow-motion effect. I like 32 frames-per-second, but 37 and 48 are also nice. The highest in normal cameras is 60fps, the RED, the F55 and even the GoPro3 can go to 120 and higher.

The letdown of overcranking-mode is usually the loss of audio-recording. So I often use something like 720p50 as recording mode, so I can have the audio and record in 50 frames-per-second. During the edit I then decide if I want the normal speed, the audio and/or the slow-motion. Mind you our normal timelines are at 25 frames-per-second. So the 720p50 material sticks out a bit and needs special treatment to actually be interpreted as 720p25.

In FCP7 to go the correct way of conforming the clips 720p50 clips so they play in slow-motion you would have to identify them, duplicate the original clips (to keep them untouched), then import the clones into cinema-tools (which was part of the Final Cut Studio product) and conform them (which is a destructive process!) and then re-import into FCP7.

In FCPX....much easier.

Here is a clip from our recent Peakbreak production.

The Inspector says it is a 720p clip at 50 fps.

In the 720p25 timeline it behaves like a normal clip (and would also in a 1080p25 timeline). But it would be resized of course. Here is the timeline setup:

The clip as approximately 25 Seconds; that´s the original time of the live-action.

Now comes the trick: Go to MODIFY > RETIME > AUTOMATIC SPEED (I mapped the letter "4" for this menu-item) - beware the Screenshot is 10.0.x - it is not conform anymore but automatic (stupid but that´s what it is)

And voila: without a roundtrip to cinema-tools and without any destructive messing with my quicktime or in this case XF-file, the clip is running in 25p now (doubling its length).

I have used this method also with 29.97 and 24fps material and it works visually flawless. But especially in conforming from 30 down to 25 you need to adjust the pitch of the audio!