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FCPX 10.1 my top 3 used features

Better late than are the 3 features in FCPX 10.1.2 that I use in almost EVERY project.

I do not mention the new (since 10.1) library structure here. It is obvious this structure changed a lot of workflows in the right direction and leaves us a lot of flexibility in terms of media management and every project is handled to its best and fastest output now in my edits. Mostly with external media.


So here are the three features:

1. Show Used Media Ranges in Browser


I mean this is a small feature, but it is just used basically on every clip! Even if the clip is sitting idle, it is affected by this.

Since 10.1 FCPX allows us again to see which part of our clips has been used in the currently open timeline. This is a huge deal and was missing before. If you look at the screenshot you see I now have ranges, favourites and used media highlighted on my clips. Great way to have an overview of your raw footage.

2. Blade-Speed

Blade-Speed is FCPX's way of speedramping. And it is simply more visual and faster to edit than the old way we did it in After Effects, Motion or FCP7. You set your in and out and then simply drag the parts of a clip to the duration you want them to be. FCPX will create a ramp which you can adjust of course also. I use it in EVERY project, not only sports, but also to extend a smile, a face a logo on the wall of a house, even on just works great.

3. Project Snapshots

FCPX 10.1 has many great new features and it is hard to nail it down to three, but as number 3 I use this feature. The reason why a snapshot is nice: it just gives you a piece of mind when versioning an edit. The main difference between "Duplicate" and "Duplicate as snapshot" is the latter simply locks down the project/timeline. Everything in it stays as it is. No matter what. 

If you simply duplicate a project and have compound clips and multicams etc in it, then some changes to those might ripple down to your projects. This is sometimes exactly what I want (e.g. when grading a compound or adding audio touches to a multicam), but sometimes it is NOT what I want. So a snapshot is a lockdown. I often do both! A snapshot and a normal duplicate. This helps when a client wants something from 3 edits back. You can look at exactly the edit she/he got 5 days ago.


One thing I DON´T LIKE in 10.1:

The project browser was removed and now this is a mess! I have no visual overview over my projects anymore. If you come from another NLE this is no big deal, but if you were used to awesome project browser of FCPX 10.0.x then you miss it. My workouraund to at least see my projects is a smart collection that shows all projects with a click, instead of scrolling al the way to the top of my bins. Others make events for Projects only....guess it makes sense for them, but is a workaround.

Update 10.1.2:

One thing I DON´t LIKE about 10.1.2

I like to sometimes have different Folders in my media-folder (e.g. one for each Camera; especially when they are mixed formats andneed to be re-wrapped and can´t be "left in place"). In the Import dialogue they removed the option to add different Media-Import Locations. I can do this in the Library Inspector now, but that is an extra step. The Library Media Location is now like the capture scratch in FCP7, which very fast becomes messy.


The Transfer-Library workflow in FCPX

I got several questions about a workflow between a local FCPX Library and an external editor who uses the same library. Well since FCPX 10.1 this is a bit easier (although it worked before).

The problem some have is the fact that renderfiles end up in the library, so it seems not possible to send the Library when it contains a few projects with renders and/or optimized media.

One way to send projects and even eventmetadata (e.g. keywords) from one editor to the next is via XML.

This works fine. But some simply don´t trust XML or maybe there are instances when XML doesn´t properly translate (heard of messed up audio-levels) or you are just oldfashioned and want to copy Projects and no code-gibberish.

Here comes the Transfer-Library into play.

1. The Setup: I have a directory with my footage in it. I create a Library (e.g. called "TheLocalLib"). When I import footage into the library I leave the footage in place (FCPX calls this "shared media" - exactly what we want). Some camera-ingests you cannot leave in place, but need to point at a location like our footage directory (e.g. when editing XFCam or XDCam). It is only important NOT TO COPY into the library itself (then it is "managed media" and that means trouble in this particular workflow here)!

Now you can start organizing footage, create smart and keyword collections etc.

2. When it is time to give work onto an external editor I copy the library in the Finder to an external drive (or into the cloud....) and even rename it (e.g. "TheExternalLib"). I also copy the footage-directory to that drive. After all once the footage will have to be copied.

2.a. If you only want to give away portions of a job, you could either create a special event with that part of the footage in it and copy that event into a new library!

Or if you already started editing and created a project, copy only that project and its footage to a new library!

3. Ok, what do we have: A local library with footage in a directory and an external drive on another continent with an identical library and footage. Now the editor on the other side of the world starts working and wants to share his results:

The external user creates, what I called here, the "HandOverLib". I usually call the one event it contains "TransferProjects". Now external user simply drags the project he/she wants to share to the TransferProjects event.

FCPX will tell you it only copies managed media and you can even choose if you want the Optimized/Proxy media or not. Usually not and the LocalLib will have it or recreate it.

4. Now the filesize: Let´s say the external editor rendered effects in the timeline etc. This can lead to big libraries depending on the amount of projects and rendering needed. But with your handover library you can minimize the filesize. FCPX will at first copy the Project only, it might start rendering depending on your preferences, but before you send the library, you can delete all project renderfiles (and when you select the event also the event renderfiles).

I have a small project here and the event only has a few clips and the rendered timeline is 2,5 minutes only, so your handover might be bigger, but still you see the difference in sizes between the original library and the handover. A real handover library might grow to about 30MB or more depending on the length and complexity of your project, but it is still easily shared in minutes. 


5. On the local machine you simply drag the TransferProject onto your local library/event - FCPX will immediately recognize all footage - and you are ready to render if needed and work on it.



FCPXGrill podcast

I had the honour to chat with Chris Fenwick, the creator of the FinalCut-podcast "FCPXGrill" about my early FCPX projects and what new workflows FCPX 10.1 will bring.

Check the podcast (I appear in Episode 13) here.




FCPX has finally grown up

As you all know my favourite NLE of choice is Final Cut Pro 10 (short FCPX) which is now actually FCPX 10.1.

Well 10.1 takes care of some bad habits especially in terms of media management.

I do a lot of same-day-edits where several editors use the same material and one edits a newcut, one makes a webclip and maybe a third has to make rushes for a certain network. Until now we had to throw drives around the room with different footage on them or we had the cameramen select their own stuff before delivering only their best shots to certain editors and only interviews to others. It was working and I could have used a network, but we couldn´t be in the same event anyway. NOW things are different. Because in 10.1 you can have the media on one NAS and the editors make their libraries from that media. No need to copy it several times to different machines. If you have a XSAN you can even be in the same library at the same time AFAIK!

This for me is the biggest upgrade in 10.1 beside all the other stuff like Blade-Speed, Snapshot-versioning, rolling audio in J-L-Cuts, new stabilizers etc.

I will post tutorials and my top-3 features soon. Stay tuned.

Here is the full new-feature list from Apple for 10.1:

  • Optimized playback and rendering using dual GPUs in the new Mac Pro
  • Video monitoring up to 4K via Thunderbolt 2 and HDMI on select Mac computers 
  • 4K content including titles, transitions, and generators
  • Libraries allow you to gather multiple events and projects within a single bundle
  • Easily open and close individual libraries to load just the material you need
  • Option to import camera media to locations inside or outside of a library
  • Automatically back up libraries to a user-specified drive or network location
  • Project Snapshots let you quickly capture the project state for fast versioning
  • Audio fade handles on individual audio channels in the timeline
  • Add precise retime speeds by entering them numerically in the timeline
  • Non-rippling retime option
  • One step Replace and retime
  • Custom project frame sizes
  • Through edits displayed on all clip types
  • Join Through Edit command removes bladed cuts to clips in the timeline
  • Detach audio with Multicam clips in the timeline to manipulate audio and video separately
  • Make video- or audio-only edits into the timeline with Multicam Clips as sources
  • Blade and move audio in J- and L-cuts
  • Ability to roll audio with J- and L-cut splits open
  • Option to hide the Event browser to gain more screen space for viewing
  • Native support for .MTS and .MT2S files from AVCHD cameras
  • Used media indicators on source clips
  • Improved performance with large projects
  • Improved performance when modifying or adding keywords to many clips at once
  • Easily move, copy, and paste multiple keyframes
  • Option for the linear animation with Ken Burns effect
  • Improved image stabilization with InertiaCam and Tripod mode
  • Import photos from iOS devices
  • Proxy and playback quality controls accessible in Viewer menu
  • Support for portrait/landscape metadata in still images
  • Effects parameters, fonts, and text size included in XML metadata
  • Improved support for growing media and edit while ingest
  • API for custom Share operations using third-party software
  • FxPlug 3 with custom plug-in interfaces and dual-GPU support
  • Share directly to YouTube at 4K resolution
  • Share directly to Chinese video sites Youku and Tudou
  • Spanish language localization 

Final Cut Pro X version 10.1 also improves overall stability and performance, and addresses the following issues:

  • Loading a library from a SAN is significantly faster
  • You can eject drives after the libraries on those drives are closed
  • It is much easier to move clips with transitions in the timeline and lift them out of the Primary Storyline with transitions preserved
  • Clips can be trimmed completely out of a timeline when using the rolling trim function
  • Media management functions can be cancelled with undo
  • Quitting the application cancels background processes
  • 5.1 surround sound audio originating from a camera as AVCHD will no longer be down mixed to stereo during import
  • If you have transcoded RED RAW files to ProRes through a third-party application, you can relink to the original RED files within Final Cut Pro
  • Transform correctly maintains linear motion on all keyframes



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

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.