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Entries in tips (2)


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!


FCPX "find me if you can" Tips&Tricks


new update June 13th

Apple does not explain all features in FCPX. Apparently nobody reads manuals, so Apple doesn´t even make a decent one. In this post I will try to show you a few hidden features.

BEWARE: I am using a german keyboard. So some shortcuts might not work with yours. I anyway suggest everyone should go through the COMMANDSET and you will find some commands you never knew existed in FCPX! 

But now on to some tips:

8. Keeping track of plug-ins

I have a Mac Pro and a Macbook Pro. Depending on my travel situation I often edit on the Macbook and finish the projects usually on the Mac Pro. In the course of an edit we keep creating and publishing titles, generators and effects in Motion or we buy/download plug-ins on the go. The problem is, when you get to the second machine the plug-ins/titles/generators etc are missing!

My solution is simple and demands a little discipline. Whenever I publish or install a plug-in or effect I also copy it into my DROPBOX. The effects-templates are always stored in your "username>movies>motion templates" where you find this view:

In the DROPBOX I created a folder with the same structure and it is easy to find the necessary tools there.

Some plug-ins (like e.g. mFlare) need to be uninstalled in one machine before being used in the other, which is a problem sometimes. But most can be used on several PCs as long as they don´t run simultanously

7. Some tricks to speed things up if you feel FCPX slows down

- get 16GB RAM at least

- turn off waveforms in the Event until you need them; the event will update the thumbnails much quicker

- on IMPORT turn off any of those automatic tools. Auto-Balance, only uses renderpower for nothing. All this can be done later and much more efficient only on the parts that are actually in use. You can also import without optimizing first until you feel your machine has trouble playing back h.264. You can then still choose "File->Transcode Media"

- in the timeline you can select clips by hovering the mouse and pressing "C", no click needed. This way the playhead stays where it is and you can turn clips on and off - even while the playhead carries on -  with "V". "C"-"V" is one of my favourite combos these days.

- set your commands for Trim-Start and Trim-End and Trim-to-selection. With me these are "1", "2", "3" and they accelerate my editing sessions.

- If you have several layers of clips above each other press CMD-S to turn on "clip skimming". This way you don´t skim the top layer, but the clip you are actually skimming over. You will also see the timecode of that particular clip, instead of the projects timecode.

In the screenshot below you see the playheadat 5 seconds. You also see the toplayer has a green field. But in the connected clip you see the skimming line  a few frames later and the corresponding timecode of 15:08:50. The effectlayer between them is not visible. That´s clip-skimming and very helpful.

- if you have a hard time getting used to a trackless timeline, simply create secondary storylines or compound clips for certain "tracks" like the Lower 3rds, Sound FX, Music etc. In the image below you see a compound clip handling a certain role of audio. You could do that to all of the roles. But after a while I got used to roles and the item list, so giving up on tracks altgether ;-)

- selecting projects without going to the project browser: instead of heading back to the project browser every time, you can press the "back to last project" and HOLD the mouse button! Now the recent projects pop up. This also works in the forward way (see screenshot)




6. Open Clip in its own Timeline

The command "OPEN CLIP in TIMELINE" opens a clip and all its audiotracks into a seperate timeline, where you can adjust the audiotracks without getting them out of sync. Turn tracks on/off or adjust their levels etc.

I mapped this to CMD- ^ as open timeline and SHIFT- ^ to close this timeline again

^ is on my keyboard right above TAB. On an US keyboard, that is the tilde key. ~

5. 3-point editing the FCPX way

Shift-R / Option-R….your new 3-point editing tools. Select a clip or range in the a clip or set the In Point in a clip in the event and use Shift- or Option-R to REPLACE (replaces with the whole clip from the event) or REPLACE FROM START (replaces the length of the clip in the timeline). If you add SHIFT you can do it backtimed!

You can also press I (IN) and O (OUT) anywhere in the timeline just like in other NLEs! Now select the In for any clip in the event and hit Q to send this clip as a connected clip to the timeline in exact this I-O region.

Now here´s a cute trick: try this in any other NLE. Let´s say you have a great shot of audience cheering and want to put it somewhere. Select the In-point in the event. Now play through your timeline and while the playhead passes a good spot (some shakiness in a cam?) hit "I", the playhead plays on...when ready hit "O"...then hit "Q"....FCPX will play on, but it will also have put a connecgted clip into your I-O-region. And it will play on.

I can imagine a sitcom editor who watches through his show and drops laughter in on the fly without ever stopping the playhead.......

4. Moving clips vertically e.g. from Primary Storyline to Second Storyline

I read people complain you can´t move clips in a "Tracks" manner.

Normally If you just grab a clip and lift it "up" (or down!), the magnetic timeline will close the gap and stuff might get out of sync.

If you use "ALT-CMD-arrow up" the clip goes up vertically and get replaced with a GAP clip - the rest of the timeline stays untouched. 

This works also in the other direction! Select a clip and use "ALT-CMD-arrow down" and the clip will slide down. But watch out: as a feature the audio of the clip that was in the primary before, will be pushed down as a connected clip. So the audio will stay consistent even if you replaced something in the primay storyline.


3. Use Auditions for ending-versions

If you have a final clip for your ending with a certain sound-effect and graphic/logo/slogan connected above and below and your client wants different versions....use auditions instead of totally new project-timelines.

take the final clip in the event and drag it above the "Add to Audition" and connect the different sound-effect graphic/logo/slogan to it. Changing the Audition-clip will now change the clips connected to it.

I made "CTRL-ALT-right arrow" my shortcut to switch through auditions 

2. Copy/Paste ColourEffects without other effects!

Many people complain (and I agree) that FCPX does not allow to copy/paste selected effects from one clip to the next. Whenever you do so you apply ALL effects to the new clip. This includes the Audio-effects. So when you have different resizing and compressor settings on one clip and want to copy the resizing, you also paste the wrong compressor settings into the audio.

At least (and not many people know this) you can copy/paste the COLOURBOARD effect alone. So this command only pasts your colour-correction with its masks to another clip. All other effects and the audio stay untouched. Here´s how:

Go to the menu of "Final Cut Pro" and select "Commands..."-> Customize

Now search for the word "APPLY". You will find 3 commands that "APPLY the Colour Correction to previous clip" second last and third last clip.

This is not might wanna take some clip that is on the timeline 50 cuts earlier. But you can workaround it and it is a hint that are many features hidden in the command-set. Go look through it!

1. Audio Equalizer AUGraphicEQ in the Mac OSX Section of the EQs:

When you open theAUGraphic Equalizer it comes with a 10-band control-panel.

Did you know you can switch this to a 31-band panel?


Beware ....switching between them resets it. So if you want to use 32-bands on a clip....make sure you stick to it!