Tag Apple

Tag Apple

Apple Presos from LACPUG – Final Cut Pro X 10.3

December 13, 2016 Tags: , , , , ,
featured image

FCPWORKS was honored to co-produce a very special LACPUG event with Michael Horton featuring Apple itself presenting the latest features of Final Cut Pro X 10.3 and the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. This took place on November 30, 2016 at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre in Hollywood.

First up, this clip showcases tons of new features and workflows with Final Cut Pro X 10.3 being used in the production of a profile of Japanese botanical artist, Azuma Makoto:

Use these links to see a specific highlight:

Next, this clip showcases 10 tips and tricks for Final Cut Pro X 10.3:

Use these links to jump to a specific tip:

  1. MXF Wrapped ProRes
  2. Continuous Playback
  3. Fade Handles
  4. Searching for Metadata types in the Timeline Index
  5. Dual Rolling Trim for Connected Clips
  6. Fast Vertical Navigation
  7. Multi-clip trim to Start,End,Playhead
  8. Source Timecode Effect
  9. Use iXML to Automatically Create Audio Roles
  10. Voice Over Automatically Assigns Role
  11. Full Height Inspector

Ok technically that was taking it to 11 tips…

Following the Apple Presentation, our own Sam Mestman presented a comprehensive soup to nuts Final Cut Pro X shared storage workflow featuring the Lumaforge Jellyfish. To see that video, please visit this link.

FCPWORKS couldn’t be more proud to help showcase not only Final Cut Pro X itself but also some of the behind-the-scenes stars from Apple itself demonstrating the software’s awesome capabilities. Bookmark this site for the latest FCPX workflows and news. To learn more about FCPWORKS and how we can help you, please visit this page.

final cut pro x 10.3

10 Must-Have iPhone 6 Tips for FCPX Editors

December 29, 2014 Tags: , , , , ,
featured image

Noah here.

As some of you might know, our typical FCPWORKS workflow services involve building FCPX editorial solutions around high-end 4K acquisition gear from RED, AJA, Blackmagic, ARRI, etc. That being said, we’re also firm believers in the philosophy of Chase Jarvis, “The Best Camera Is The One That’s With You.”

Some of the FCPWORKS team put this philosophy into action during a recent trip to Tokyo to attend the InterBEE trade show (where we learned all about the coming 8K future, more on that in a later post). On more than one occasion, we went to a great bargain sushi place near our hotel called Sushi Zanmai.

We decided to commemorate the place by shooting an impromptu episode of fellow FCPX consultant and trainer Chris Phrommayon’s YouTube restaurant review show, “You Try Now.” The challenge: we only carried an iPhone 6 and 6 Plus for cameras. To our eyes, this all turned out pretty well, but decide for yourself with the embed below and then read more all about our observations. Be sure to click on the gear on this clip and change the playback resolution to 1080p for the best quality:

This experience gave us lots of insight into ways that Final Cut Pro X editors can optimize their workflow with iOS footage. The camera on the iPhone 6 isn’t going to replace the 4K gear above, but it’s actually quite good and compares very favorably with other purpose-built 1080 HD camcorders.

The following suggestions can make the most of the camera’s capabilities so that when you get into editing with Final Cut Pro X you can achieve the best possible results.

10 Must Have iPhone Tips for FCPX Editors

  1. Use Focus/Exposure Lock. The iPhone has a great automatic focus/exposure meter but if you leave it on automatic you may find it riding the exposure and focus up and down within a shot. This could ruin a take if it happens during a key moment. So, watch the shot as you capture and if you notice this happening simply tap and hold on the screen on the subject you want to be exposed and focused on and the exposure/focus will lock for the next shot.
    iPhone 6 AE Lock
  2. Shoot Steady. Nothing screams amateur like shaky, handheld footage. Shoot with a an iPhone tripod if you have one, or brace the phone against a table, chair, or doorway. You can also hold the phone closer to your body and take shorter steps to maximize steadiness. The iPhone 6 Plus has built-in optical image stabilization that is quite good. Combine this with some judicious application of stabilization in FCPX and you can achieve nice, smooth camera moves that may fool some eyes into believing it’s a dolly or jib shot.
  3. Shoot Long Takes. A common camera phone habit is to start action at the moment you begin recording and cut right as you stop recording. But this can really limit your editing choices in post-production. Instead, start rolling, then count off a few seconds to yourself and then start the action. When the action has completed, count off a few more seconds and then stop the recording. You’ll be very happy to have those extra handles of useful footage, especially when you’re trying to fit a long voiceover onto a montage of shots in FCPX.
  4. Get the 128 GB model. The iPhone 6 shoots 1080/30p H.264 at approximately 18Mbps. This results in file sizes of around 135 MB per minute or about 8 GB per hour. Considering you’ll likely want to carry your own music, movies and lots of other apps on the same iPhone, leaving plenty of extra storage space for video is a great idea. Get the 128GB model. (It has a better resale value too.)
  5. Do Slow-Mo in Post. The iPhone 6 offers slow-motion modes of up to 240 frames per second. Unfortunately, in order to achieve these higher frame rates, the camera samples less of the sensor area (this is common on high speed cameras). The result is lower resolution in slow motion shots. You won’t notice this as much on the relatively small screen of the phone itself but it’s painfully clear when you look at the footage on an HD monitor back in FCPX. The built-in optical flow based slow motion in FCPX is a very good alternative. So, shoot full 1080p 30 (or switch to 60p if you are certain the shot will be slowed down).
  6. Watch the Color Temperature We found that the iPhone shoots a bit cool in terms of color temperature and responds well to a bit of judicious Color Board application in Final Cut Pro X.
    iPhone6 Tips Sushi
    Be mindful of mixed lighting sources as you shoot. And don’t use the onboard light unless you are literally in pitch blackness without it, as it produces a flat/deer-in-the-headlights look.
  7. Add Voice Notes While Shooting We were shooting a lot of b-roll/montage footage where we knew we wouldn’t use the audio being recorded with the video. So, we’d just annotate the video vocally as we shot. For “You Try Now“, it was “this is the dish we’re about to eat, this is how it’s made, etc.” This was much faster and simpler than stopping recording to jot down written notes. And when you edit in FCPX you can replace that temp audio with cleanly recorded voice over.
  8. Record Secondary Audio with Voice Memos We’re assuming only stock iPhone applications for this article, so this one is a freebie. Later in this article we’ll discuss additional apps but the Voice Memo app is a nice way to get audio-only clips. If you want to get the background ambience of a particular location to later lay over an entire montage, grab a quick minute or two of clean audio with the Voice Memos app and you’ll be all set when you get to the edit in X.
  9. Transfer Everything At Once The iPhone 6 Lightning connection is unfortunately limited to USB2. Even though the H.264 clips of the phone are smallish, they still take a long while to transfer into FCPX. Set aside enough time to transfer everything you shot for a particular project in one go- ideally during a long break or even overnight. You can always delete unused shots later but it’s better to get everything transferred first and then move onto the edit.
  10. Optimize on Ingest Do this for for better editing performance and quality. The H.264 long-GOP clips created by the iPhone can be played natively in FCPX but you’ll find performance suffers a lot as soon as you add filters/transitions/color grading due to the increased processing/encoding required. If you optimize to ProRes on ingest, this only has to be done once per clip and from then on the editorial performance will be much better. The lower spec’ed machines like Mac Minis and MacBooks will benefit from this the most. Make sure that the Create optimized media option is checked on import.

Other Apps

Movie Pro Recorder
We said earlier we’d assume a ‘stock’ iPhone but maybe you want to extend your toolkit a bit. Here are some other useful iPhone applications for video production:

  • MoviePro Recorder Enables 2K resolution and higher bitrates along with a host of manual controls and uncompressed audio. Filmic Pro also deserves a mention. You should test these apps carefully before committing to a workflow with one. The clips use up more space and might cause compatibility issues depending on the frame rates and resolutions you select.
  • Hyperlapse from Instagram Admittedly these clips are already getting a little cliche/gimmicky but they can make a great intro/outro to a location and the built-in real time image stablization is quite impressive.
  • Sun Seeker Technically this is a not a video/audio app per se but if you’re working on location stripped down with minimal gear, knowing the precise location of the sun throughout the day can be incredibly useful for planning out a shoot.

Hardware

One key benefit of shooting video with an iPhone is staying lightweight and agile, but here are a couple of optional pieces of hardware that will add production value without too much extra weight.

  • Olloclip is a relatively lightweight lens adapter that gives you fisheye, wide angle, and macro options with great build quality. The current model is one-size fits all for both iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. So you can share one between two cameras if needed. Adds immensely to the optical variety of shots you can achieve with the iPhone.
  • Mikey Digital Let’s face it, the onboard mic on the iPhone is decent but like any onboard camcorder microphone it will never take the place of actual professional microphones for post-production usable sound. The Mikey will get you one step closer to that ideal while keeping your kit bag relatively light.
  • Fly X3 Gimbal Gyro-stabilized gimbals are all the rage now both with drones and handheld units costing into the thousands of dollars. The X3 is a very compact and relatively inexpensive ($330) unit for the iPhone 6 (but not the 6 Plus unfortunately). Looks very promising if you’re doing a lot of high motion/active sports work.

iPhone 6 Fly X3

Conclusion

When the first iPhone came out in 2007, it didn’t even have the ability to shoot video clips. I’d have been hard to convince back then it would ever replace even the most modest consumer camcorder of the time. With the latest iPhone 6 and 6 Plus however, the game has changed. The video quality possible with the onboard sensor and in the case of the Plus, optical image stabilization is quite impressive.

The iPhone 6 tips we’ve shared in this article can help optimize this quality and prep for Final Cut Pro X. We’re not quite ready to stop shooting 4K with awesome lenses for good but when the image need not be of pristine quality and/or you want to travel light, this is a great option. And for easy b-roll for projects, the iPhone 6 is also a no-brainer. Please share additional tips you’ve found and productions you’ve made with your iPhone in the comments.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

FCPWORKS Noah Kadner

FCPWORKS Noah Kadner

This blog post contains the personal musings of FCPWORKS’ Marketing Director, Noah Kadner. Prior to joining the company, Noah spent several years at Apple where he worked with internal Workflow and Editorial teams in support of Final Cut Pro X customers. Noah also directed a feature film available on iTunes called Social Guidance and wrote “RED: The Ultimate Guide to the Revolutionary Camera.” Noah’s ongoing career goal is communicating digital post-production workflows to experts and enthusiasts alike.You can follow him on Facebook or Twitter at @FCPWORKS.

Submitting Better FCPX Feedback to Apple

December 4, 2014 Tags: , , , ,
featured image

Noah here. As some of you might know, before coming over to FCPWORKS I worked for Apple on the Final Cut Pro X team. What was that like? Well, unfortunately most of what it was like (other than awesome) I can’t reveal due to a non-disclosure agreement I signed and also my own wish for Apple’s surprises to stay secret. But I’ve spoken openly about one of my areas of responsibility during my time at Apple: reading incoming user feedback about Final Cut Pro X.

That’s right, when you “Provide Final Cut Pro Feedback” within FCPX itself or via this feedback form, actual human beings on the other end read it. For a while, I was one of those humans on the other end. So I thought you might like to know how you can tailor your own feedback to be as effective as possible. I found FCPX feedback generally fell into 3 main categories: Bug Reports, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about using the application, and Enhancement Requests (ERs) asking for a new feature.

Let’s break down each of these types of submissions:

Bugs

No application is perfect and FCPX is no different. It’s a deeply complex application tuned for very high performance. And let’s face it, pushing multiple streams of 4K+ video along is a herculean task that drives Apple to the limits of hardware development. We probably wouldn’t have a new Mac Pro if FCPX were not around to make use of it. That being said, bugs do happen and feedback is an excellent way to communicate them to Apple and make sure they know about them.

Now here’s the real trick: in order for a bug to be potentially fixed it first has to be reproduced. In other words, a bug you’re reporting should be repeatedly reproducible. If it can’t be reproduced outside of your own system then it can’t be analyzed. And if it can’t be analyzed, it can’t be fixed. Here are some tips for reporting bugs in the most effective way possible:

Observe the bug. What exactly happened? Did FCPX crash? Did you lose some data? Did your computer freeze? Did you see a graphical glitch of some sort? What did you expect to happen vs. what did happen? Make some notes; the more details the better. You never know where the key to understanding the problem may lie.

Are you alone? Check the discussion forums that I mention a little later in this article and look for others having similar issues with FCPX. If you can’t find anyone else discussing anything even remotely similar to the problem you’re experiencing, then it’s quite possible it’s unique to your system. Are you up to date on Mac OS and FCPX updates? Are you running any 3rd party virus scanners or firewall software? Are you running any hacks on your system or working with any unusual media formats or codecs? If not and your Mac is still covered under an Applecare warranty, it may be worth bringing your system into an Apple Store and having it looked over for any hardware-specific problems that could be related to the issue.

Can you reproduce the bug? What were you doing in FCPX when the bug occurred? If you try to do the same thing again does the same bug occur every time? Can you distill it down to a specific set of steps that consistently cause the bug? If you can, then you’ve successfully isolated a potential bug. Go to the user feedback form and enter the following information:

  • A precise description of the bug.
  • What you expected to happen vs. what actually happened.
  • Any error messages you received from FCPX or OS X.
  • Clear, concise steps for reproducing the bug.
  • Any specific plugins, media types, 3rd party applications you’re running that are above and beyond a ‘stock’ App Store install of FCPX.

Also, please be sure to accurately enter all of the form’s other fields about your hardware specifications and your software/OS versions. You’ll find most of this information via the About this Mac option in the Apple menu. All of this detail will be a major help in making your bug report as informative as possible. And keep it objective. Venting about your frustrations with a bug ultimately doesn’t help it get fixed any faster. And all of this makes the work of those humans at Apple I was talking about earlier a little easier and a little more efficient.

FAQs

For FAQs in general, the FCPX feedback form is actually one of the least efficient methods for getting help because as it states clearly, “we cannot respond to the comments you submit.” On the other hand, Apple as a company has an army of folks at Apple Stores and online via Applecare whose job is precisely to help you. You’ll find a ton of great info right within the app itself via the Help menu. You can also download a detailed user’s manual as a PDF here.

That said, FCPX is a very specialized app used by professionals like you and me and learning is a group effort. So you’ll often get more detailed answers from peers. Some excellent places to ask questions about using Final Cut Pro X are the forums at Apple Support Communities, FCP.CO, Creative Cow, and on the Facebook FCPX Editors Group. You’ll often find that your exact question (or another very close to it) has already been asked and answered by searching for the subject on Google, which indexes everything above (except the Facebook group).

So keep this all in mind with FAQs. If you want help with the application there are plenty of resources out there that can get you an answer very quickly. The feedback form just isn’t really one of them.

ERs

Just about everyone has an opinion about new features they’d love to see in Final Cut Pro X. I send enhancement requests in myself from time to time as I continue to explore new workflows. But before you do send in your ER, I recommend taking a few things into consideration:

Is your dream feature already well-known? I.e. FCP 7-style tracks instead of the magnetic timeline, Motion round-tripping, Batch Exporting and the like. You’re probably not alone in sending in those requests in during the years since FCPX’s launch back in 2011. If your ER falls potentially into this category you should probably add a specific reason why you personally need it instead of you “miss it from FCP 7.”

Does your ER already exist? See the section on FAQs above. If you’re especially new to the application you might find that the feature you’re asking for already exists. Google for it first and/or spend a few moments looking through the manual to confirm it’s not something that’s already in Final Cut Pro X. Perhaps it’s something recently added in a update and you just haven’t discovered it yet.

Or maybe there’s a 3rd party plugin or application that offers the same functionality. Sure, it would be great if you didn’t have to spend extra money for something that you feel should be included directly within the application itself. But if you need something urgently enough for a workflow now, most plugins are a real bargain. Here’s a great resource about many of the available plugins for X.

Does your ER have wide appeal? Think about how many other users might benefit from your desired feature. If your ER is highly specific to your workflow and wouldn’t be of much use to anyone else, the likelihood of it being prioritized for FCPX is low. Think about the 5th wheel on a car. It might look cool but beyond that it’s probably not too likely to happen… On the other hand if it’s a feature that you think might help many other users of FCPX then it’s definitely worth submitting.

Now, if you’ve gotten through these considerations and your ER still fits the bill, you should go ahead and send it in. The more explanation you can provide about your ER and what problem having the feature would solve for you, the better. Provide examples via links if you think they’d help. If an illustration or screencast would help, take the time to make them. You can then include a link to Dropbox, Vimeo, YouTube, etc. Take your time and make your voice count.

Apple Loves Feedback

fcpx feedback marked
These are my personal suggestions for submitting better FCPX feedback to Apple. The humans on the other end are really thoughtful people and they truly do want you to be happy with the product. To be honest, these same recommendations also apply to just about any other product Apple makes iMovie, Logic Pro X, OS X etc. (and really same goes for any decent manufacturer).

On the same note, I found another blog post discussing this subject with some great recommendations over at CNET. And here’s a frankly hiliarious look at the life of feedback sent into Apple as a PDF slide deck. (Finally when in doubt on any sort of feedback, you should consult Wheaton’s Law.)

Hope this all helps.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

FCPWORKS Noah Kadner

FCPWORKS Noah Kadner

This blog post contains the personal musings of FCPWORKS’ Marketing Director, Noah Kadner. Prior to joining the company, Noah spent several years at Apple where he worked with internal Workflow and Editorial teams in support of Final Cut Pro X customers. Noah also directed a feature film available on iTunes called Social Guidance and wrote “RED: The Ultimate Guide to the Revolutionary Camera.” Noah’s ongoing career goal is communicating digital post-production workflows to experts and enthusiasts alike.You can follow him on Facebook or Twitter at @FCPWORKS.