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Entries in tutorial (4)


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.



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.



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.


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!