Tag fcpx

Tag fcpx

FCPX Creative Summit 2017

August 10, 2017 Tags: ,
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It’s that time of year again, the FCPX Creative Summit is set for October 27 – 29, 2017 in Cupertino, CA. Produced by our good friends over at FMC, the Summit is rapidly turning into the must-attend event for anyone heavily invested in Final Cut Pro X. Some intriguing highlights:

  • Visit the Apple Campus and hear from the FCPX Product Team about the future of the platform and share your feedback. Last year, Apple used this event to announce Final Cut Pro X 10.3. (This may very well include a visit to the new Apple Park campus.)
  • Meet and network with other Final Cut Pro X users. Mingle with other attendees, speakers and great exhibitors that will join us for Expo Night and other networking events.

And some of the key sessions this year include:

  • Data Visualization in Final Cut Pro with Alex Gollner.
  • Fixing and Mixing Audio in FCPX (and only FCPX) with Abba Shapiro.
  • Building a Motion Graphics Toolkit in FCPX with Steve Martin.

Last year, Apple used the FCPX Creative Summit as a platform to unveil Final Cut Pro X 10.3, the biggest update to the software in years as well as offering a hands-on area for the then brand-new Touch Bar MacBook Pros. Who knows what surprises are in store this year. To learn more and register, please visit the official site and take advantage of our special discount code, FCPWORKS17 for a 10% discount off your registration package.

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.

Final Cut Pro X Events @ NAB 2017

April 12, 2017 Tags: ,
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Looking for Final Cut Pro X related events during NAB? Here’s the list of key items not to miss in Vegas, curated by our good friend Richard Taylor at FCPX.TV.

Post Production World Keynote: Editing at the Speed of Thought
Sunday April 23| 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM 
Moderated by Apple, Thomas Grove Carter and Dave Cerf
Panel discussion on techniques for reducing the time spent ingesting, tagging, sorting, organizing, rendering and exporting in post production. Including a look at the movie FCPWORKS co-produced in Final Cut Pro X, Everything Else.
Las Vegas Convention Center Rooms N249-N251

LumaForge: Faster, Together Stage
All day Monday, Tuesday, & Wednesday April 24-26

Three days of back-to-back, short and to the point, presentations and panels
Some of the smartest and most innovative people in post-production
First come first served. Registration prior to arrival is highly recommended
Across from the Las Vegas Convention Center at The Courtyard Marriott

Final Cut Pro X in the Fast Lane FCPWorks and Ripple Training
Monday, April 24th, 2017 from 5pm-6:30pm
This is FCPWORKS’ main event during NAB 2017:a special edition of FCP Exchange at NAB 2017 for Final Cut Pro X post-production professionals
Apple Product Marketing showcasing professional workflows and case studies utilizing Final Cut Pro X.
Tips and tricks to maximizing Final Cut Pro X from pros and developers.
Networking and interaction with fellow FCPX editors and enthusiasts.

Las Vegas 
Convention Center, Room S219 

Sixteenth Annual Las Vegas SuperMeet
Tuesday, April 25, 2017 – 7PM – 11PM (doors open at 4:30PM for SuperMeet Digital Showcase)

We’ll have a special presentation from Thomas Grove Carter of Trim Editing on his music video workflow.

Mingle, Network, Enjoy a few cocktails and party with industry peers while learning latest trends in collaborative editing workflows
RIO Hotel – Pavilion Ballroom 3700 W. Flamingo Road Las Vegas
Tickets required and it will most likely sell out 

LumaForge Workflow Suite @ The Encore
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday April 24-27
Cross platform workflow on Mac, Window’s, & Linux machines running the latest NLE’s, VFX, finishing, and audio software. And developers of some of the most popular post plugins showing off their latest updates and apps.

 

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.

DJI Inspire 1 Pro Raw Review

April 5, 2017 Tags: , , , ,
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In the last decade DJI has revolutionized the aerial photography and video industry. When they introduced the Phantom they introduced aerial video and photography to an entirely new atrarket.

Working with the Phantom 2 with a Zenmuse X3 gimbal since 2014 we rarely used it as the images and operability of the drone just didn’t live up too the level of production we hoped. In 2016 though at Jamestown Films we took the step though to purchase the Inspire 1 X5R. Based on some previous experience with it we were confident we could reach the quality we needed for our productions.

DJI Inspire Pro 1

 

When Inspire 1 was introduced in November of 2014 with the X3 camera we were immediately excited with the capabilities the drone could offer its pilots. When they upgraded the camera in early 2016 to the X5 and X5R it made us wonder just how competitive the Inspire 1 X5R would be with larger drones that could fly with a full camera system. We have seen a long time drone operator switch from full camera system commercial drones to the Inspire 1 X5R. He told us that it is the best decision he ever made.

First Impressions:

Lets take a look at the DJI Inspire 1 X5R. If a pilot comes from a commercial drone like the Matrice, they will first notice the compact case that the Inspire 1 comes in. If the pilot comes from a Phantom, they will notice this huge brief case that they will now have to lug around. The Phantom is more portable, but lacks the image and operability that the Inspire 1 gives you.

The Inspire 1 drone is more competitive with the Matrice and should be compared to the Matrice system. The Inspire 1 X5R requires far less equipment to operate. We loved that we didn’t have to drag cases for the gimbal, drone, camera and lenses around to obtain a high level arial image.

Inspire 1

Operating:

The Inspire 1 X5R includes one battery, two remotes, an Inspire 1, and the X5R camera which comes in a separate hard case within the Inspire case. To truly operate and shoot for a day you will need more than one battery. Each battery has about a 35min of flight time. I like to have at least 3 batteries for straight forward shoots where I wont need to have multiple takes. But, If the shots are more complicated and needing multiple takes I would prefer to have 5 batteries or more.

The main controller operates the drone with DJI GO app available on iOS or Android. DJI has made an excellent app that turns your phone or iPad into a first-person view, also known as an FPV, monitor. Your iPad or iPhone isn’t just a monitor, you can set focus, exposure, check histogram and get all of the information that you could ever want right at your finger tips. This app makes it a pleasure to be both the pilot and camera operator.

When operating in dual remote, where one person is the pilot and the other is camera operator, the camera operators remote piggybacks off of the pilots remote receiving a video signal from their controller. Both the pilot and camera operator share a camera view. This can become a problem in two ways. 1.) if the operator is far away from the pilot the FPV starts crashing and makes controlling the drone difficult. 2.) As the camera operator moves the camera around, as a pilot, you loose all sense of direction often times making getting the shot near impossible.

The Inspire 1 drone generally operates though with intuitive ease, making it a pleasure to fly and operate as a pilot in single operator mode. The dual operator mode needs some major improvement, which have been answered by the recently announced Inspire 2. For example, they add a flight camera that is just for the pilots FPV, while having the ability to view the shot in a smaller window. And more object avoidance sensors.

DJI Inspire 1

Image:

The X5R is capable of capturing incredible images for such a small camera. The specs for this little camera are impressive with 12 stops of dynamic range and a 4K raw .DNG recording option. The quality is absolutely amazing. While recording raw it also records a .mp4 reference file for reviewing the shot or quick access.

Color correcting and grading the raw images produced by this sensor is, well, Inspire-ing. The ability of the image to bend and not break makes it able to match many high end cameras. We’ve seen this footage cut in with RED Scarlet-W and an Alexa Mini footage with ease.

One drawback to be aware of is that this is not a low light camera. Its sensor is micro 4/3s and noise can become significant if you go too far up with the ISO or need to lift the the exposure too much on an underexposed image. Great thing though is that with the raw data in the .DNG files, the shadows, though grainy, can be recovered. We’ve had good results with the Neat Video plugin de-noising the image for an excellent low light end result, but it adds more steps and time to post production.

Zenmuse X3

Examples from a couple of projects we’ve worked on recently where we used the Inspire 1 Pro RAW:

MOUNTAIN TRAILS FINE ART | JEFF HAM (quite a few shots at the beginning):

FIBER FIX (shots scattered throughout):

 

Workflow:

As great as the benefits of raw are, there is one big drawback. That is the post production workflow. For one thing, raw files take up a lot more drive space. So plan accordingly. After a shoot you remove the proprietary DJI SSD from the X5R base and insert it into a DJI dock. You have to then open DJI Cinelight (for Mac) or DJI Camera Exporter (for Windows) and from there either transcode to whatever flavor of ProRes you would like, or export the raw footage to folders of raw .DNG files. This process can take a long, long time. Hours. The files unfortunately can not be accessed through the file browser before processing through Cinelight. So, there is no drag and drop option with the Inspire 1. This has been addressed with the Inspire 2 and we’re hoping that functionality comes to the Inspire 1 as well via firmware update. This is the biggest draw back to the X5R. It adds so much time to the offloading workflow that shooting all day in raw requires multiple, expensive, DJI SSD’s.

FCP X DRONE FOOTAGE SCREENSHOT

We prefer to get ProRes 4444 XQ out of DJI Cinelight for three reasons. One, ProRes is a great editing codec. It has great playback performance and renders quickly. Two, 4444 XQ maintains near raw quality. Many features films are shot directly to 4444 XQ. Three, FCP X, unfortunately, does not have true image sequence, imported as a clip, support. There’s a simple enough compound clip workaround, but if you have many shots that gets annoying. If you are someone on Windows prepping footage for someone on FCP X then output to .DNG sequences. Then the editor can run those through Compressor or DaVinci Resolve to create ProRes 4444 XQ clips. Luckily the Inspire 2 RAW has addressed and simplified the whole workflow and can now record directly to ProRes!

The Inspire 1 X5R is an excellent drone system that spanned the market gaps between low and high budget video.

Closing thoughts:

The Inspire 1 X5R is an excellent drone system that spanned the market gaps between low and high budget video. It over lapped into the high end commercial drone world. The affordability and portability of the Inspire 1 make it, for most people, a first choice when considering which drone to purchase. This drone’s ability to fly at high speeds and with precision makes it a great pleasure to operate, but the lack of a pilot FPV makes dual operation difficult. We absolutely love operating this drone and believe that it is a unique and boundary breaking tool for the media world.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

This guest blog post is from Braden Storrs and Patrick Newman.

About Braden Storrs:

I’m a Utah based editor and video creative. As post production manager at Jamestown films I’ve had the chance to work with some great people on great projects and continually improve our techniques and workflows in an ever changing digital landscape. I am also the creator of the Final Cut Put X Editors Facebook group and can can be found at @thefcpeditor on Twitter. I love trying to elevate each project a little more then the last. In the end, I’m a storyteller.

Braden Storrs

 

About Patrick Newman:

I am a DP located in Salt Lake City, Ut. Over the past year I worked at Jamestown Films with their wonderfully creative team. “The Story Teller” has taught me about story telling side of cinematography and the roll it plays in creating an excellent story. Jamestown gave me the chance to grow rapidly as a DP in the commercial world. This has given me the chance to work with just about every camera in the industry, helping me perfect my technique as a DP.  Recently I have moved on to DP a few feature documentaries over the 2017 summer. Find me on instagram @patricknewman170

Patrick Newman

FCP Exchange @ NAB 2017

March 21, 2017 Tags: ,
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FCP Exchange continues at NAB 2017 . This special session produced with Ripple Training takes place at the Convention Center, Room S219 Monday, April 24th, 2017 from 5pm-6:30pm. Some highlights:

  • Apple Product Marketing showcasing professional workflows and case studies utilizing Final Cut Pro X.
  • Tips and tricks to maximizing Final Cut Pro X from pros and developers.
  • Networking and interaction with fellow FCPX editors and enthusiasts.

Join the Exchange!

For more information and to register, please visit:

http://www.fcpexchange.com

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.

Apple Presos from LACPUG – Final Cut Pro X 10.3

December 13, 2016 Tags: , , , , ,
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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.

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Recommended Editing Books for Final Cut Pro X and more

November 14, 2016 Tags: , , , ,
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Here’s a list of recommended editing books to help you become a better editor.

Recommended Books for Editors

Are you brand new to editing or a seasoned pro? Perhaps your skills lie somewhere in between. Regardless of where you might be in terms of experience, everyone can benefit from additional knowledge and you don’t have to go to film school to really educate yourself. Here are some of Noah Kadner from FCPWORKS’ favorite picks for books to help you master both the art and craft of editing.

Final Cut Pro X-Specific Editing Books

Let’s begin with some key books on the subject of editing with Final Cut Pro X itself. Of course these aren’t updated to 10.3 just yet as it’s so new. However, in terms of overall workflow and editorial philosophy these are all still highly useful and valid:

Final Cut Pro X 10.2

Apple Pro Training Series: Final Cut Pro X 10.2: Professional Post-Production
By Brendon Boykin

Brendon’s book is awesome (I love working with this guy) and chock full of tips gleaned from years of working both with X and with previous iterations of Final Cut Pro. You can also use this as a workbook toward becoming Apple Certified as a Final Cut Pro professional or even a trainer. Study well though, that final exam is quite tricky!

Final Cut Pro X: Pro Workflow: Proven Techniques from the First Studio Film to Use FCP X

Final Cut Pro X: Pro Workflow: Proven Techniques from the First Studio Film to Use FCP X
By Michael Matzdorff

Mike was an assistant editor and full-bore post-production guru for Focus, the 2015 Will Smith movie which had the honor of being the first major Hollywood movie edited in Final Cut Pro X. This is a deep dive into Mike’s editing room where he shares his tips and tricks for handling all of the deliverables you may run into while making a complex project with FCPX. I fondly recall Mike working his tail off on this tome, it’s a labor of love for craft.

From iMovie to Final Cut Pro X: Making the Creative Leap

From iMovie to Final Cut Pro X: Making the Creative Leap
by Tom Wolsky

This book is still in the hopper but I’ve known Tom for so long and trusted his every word in regard to Final Cut Pro, that I suspect this book will be the real deal. FCPX sometimes gets knocked as ‘iMovie Pro’ but experienced users know there’s much more to it than that. That said, many new editors come to FCPX as a stepping stone up from iMovie. Tom’s book is aimed squarely at them. Tom’s previous iteration of this book has 5 stars on Amazon…

 

History of Editing Books/Traditional Filmmaking

So now that we have the mechanics out of the way, let’s delve more into the artistry. These are books from seasoned filmmakers haring their decades of knowledge. Although post-production technology is in a constant state of evolution, the deeper thinking behind the creative calls goes largely unchanged. Here are some of the best both in terms of the authors’ movie credits and their innate ability to spin magic from the barest building blocks of production:

In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing

In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing
By Walter Murch

Walter is the grandaddy guru of editors and until recently a huge proponent of Final Cut Pro. Perhaps the latest 10.3 update will help bring him back into the fold.

The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film

The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film
By Michael Ondaatje

Walter again, this time collaborating with writer Michael Ondaatje give a master class discussion of the artistic tenets of his movies and storytelling approach. Along the way, you’ll receive a treasure trove of insight into classics like American Graffiti, The Conversation, Apocalypse Now, The Godfather Saga, The Talented Mr. Ripley and The English Patient.

Rebel without a Crew: Or How a 23-Year-Old Filmmaker With $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player

Rebel without a Crew: Or How a 23-Year-Old Filmmaker With $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player
By Robert Rodriguez

Though Robert Rodriguez’s focus was initially more on low budget production, a key aspect of of his success is shooting specifically for the edit. Mastering frugality in production will pay huge benefits once you get into the editing room.

On Directing Film

On Directing Film
By David Mamet

Mamet’s rapid fire dialogue style is not for everyone’s tastes but his renown as a screenwriter and filmmaker are hard to deny. Learn from his challenges and his triumphs.

Making Movies

Making Movies
By Sidney Lumet

Maybe you haven’t heard of Lumet’s varied directing credits including Twelve Angry Men, The Pawnbroker, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Network, The Verdict and more. But you’ll be hard-pressed to find a smarter filmmaker who’s able to communicate all of his experiences and knowledge in such generous ways.

Story

Story
By Robert McKee
McKee is one of the most popular screenwriting teachers and the results speak for themselves. His graduates have written among other films: Air Force One, The Deer Hunter, E.R., A Fish Called Wanda, Forrest Gump, NYPD Blue, and Sleepless in Seattle.

Film Directing Shot by Shot: Visualizing from Concept to Screen

Film Directing Shot by Shot: Visualizing from Concept to Screen
by Steven D. Katz

Katz breaks down the visual language of filmmaking, specifically by treating the frame as a three-dimensional object ready to bend to the demands of your screenplay. Via mastery of this language you can go well beyond spoken dialogue to communicate your story directly to your audience’s shared subconscious.

Respect for Acting 2nd Edition

Respect for Acting 2nd Edition
By Uta Hagen

Yes we said this list was about editing but if you’re cutting any sort of narrative project (or want to get the best out of documentary subjects) you need to know something about the process of acting in order to unlock the best possible performances during post. Uta’s method may be old school but this book is full of acting insights you can follow through into the cutting room.

Practice Makes (Almost) Perfect

Modern NLEs like Final Cut Pro X make it easier than ever to make a cut between two pieces of media. Knowing when and why to cut is the true art of editing. It’s a skill set that will serve you well on any NLE platform. We hope you’ve enjoyed our brief survey of books on editing and filmmaking. Please let us know if we’ve missed any of your favorites.

Zoom F8 and Zoom F4 Audio Recorder Review

November 11, 2016 Tags: , , , , ,
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FCPWORKS’ review of the Zoom F8 and Zoom F4 Multitrack Field Recorders and why they’re so awesome for Final Cut Pro X.

Zoom F8 and Zoom F4 Audio Recorder Review

A Final Cut Pro X Audio Powerhouse

Zoom’s F4 and F8 audio recorders offer some pretty amazing specifications and can create automatic audio subroles for Final Cut Pro X. When compared to higher-end timecode-enabled recorders like the Sound Devices 744T, which go for $4K and up they are actually a real bargain at $999 for the 8 (with 8 tracks)and $649 for the F4 (4 tracks).

Some key specs:

  • Up to 24-bit/192 kHz audio resolution.
  • Super-low-noise microphone preamps for professional audio.
  • Discrete, locking Neutrik XLR/TRS combo connectors for all kinds of wired and wireless mics.
  • Time code generation with 0.2 ppm accuracy (unheard of before in this price range or anywhere close).
  • Dual recording on two SD/SDHC/SDXC cards up to 512 GB each
  • Metal chassis that feels solid as a rock but weighs in at a very friendly 2.27 pounds.

For a closer look at the Zoom F4 and how it works, check out the official product video:

Starring Roles

What truly excites us about the F8 and F4 is their support for iXML metadata. With iXML you can name each track something useful on the Zoom and that name will automagically become a Final Cut Pro X subrole upon ingest into Final Cut Pro X 10.3 and up and can be visualized very clearly via the new Audio Lanes layouts in 10.3. Out of the box, each track is named intuitively enough Tr1, Tr2, Tr3 and so forth.

Tracks in Zoom F8

So even if you do nothing but hit record, you’ll automatically have each track neatly sorted in Final Cut Pro X from ingest through to final mixdown.

subrolesmenu

The one and only trick is making sure your Final Cut Pro X ingest preferences are set correctly for handling iXML metadata. To accomplish this, first launch the Media Import window with File>Import>Media. Then in the Audio Roles section click the checkbox for Assign iXML track names if available:

Ingest Assign Roles

Automated Mixing

So just think of the possibilities. Sure you could leave the Tr1, Tr2 nomenclature intact and be able to see all of those channels discretely in the timeline by activating audio lanes and getting the benefits of track assignments without having to actually organize them yourself. Or you could take it to a whole different level by adding more specificity.

Some suggestions for metadata track configuration:

  • Name for characters: Bob, Linda, Narrator, Doc Subject 1, etc.
  • Name by Mic Type: Lav 1, Boom 1, Wireless 1, etc.
  • Name by mix type: Direct 1, -10dB pad, etc.

The Zooms also allow you to do all sorts of bouncing of individual tracks to others for confidence recording at different pad levels and the like. There are really limitless possibilities and the best part is you can do this directly on the Zoom by editing the metadata via the built-in display. Or if you’re in a bit of a hurry to get into production, you can stick with the default track names and rename them as subroles in batches later within FCPX after ingest.

Subroles Timeline Index

Finishing with A Zoom

The bottom line is you get an incredible amount of metadata organization with the Zoom F4 and F8 because the iXML from the original tracks to subroles will continue to live on as you edit clips into sequences, nest into compound clips and the like. It’s like having an assistant sound editor working alongside you to quickly group and organize all your tracks— only everything happens automatically.

Roles Visualized in X

You can just focus on making good edits and when it’s time to do your exports- you can again use the subroles to quickly make sub-mixes and do exports with precisely the audio you want to hear in your final exports.

We think the Zoom F8 and Zoom F4 are essential pieces of kit for your Final Cut Pro X production package. They’re very easy to operate, record very high quality audio and are perfectly complementary to Final Cut Pro via the iXML to subrole ingest power.

Zoom F4

DJI Osmo Mobile Review for Final Cut Pro X

November 2, 2016 Tags: , , ,
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In this article, read our DJI Osmo Mobile Review and learn how to use it with Final Cut Pro X.

Going Steady

For those of us shooting and editing our own projects, there’s a constant tradeoff between compact, portable (and affordable) production gear and final image results. One production category that has seen a lot of innovation in recent years is camera stabilization— specifically 3-axis automated brushless gimbals.

These devices steady compact cameras (as well as smart phones) to produce incredibly smooth handheld shots, previously requiring a complex and expensive steadicam rig. Here’s a quick working definition from DroneFlyers:

The word gimbal can be used to describe any adjustable camera holder designed to keep the device level. It uses brushless motors (powerful and quiet as well as long lasting) to adjust the position of the camera. 3-axis describes that the camera is adjusted in all directions – up/down, left/right and forward/backward (3 dimensions or, as we call it, the real world).

And here’s a quick demo video to show what footage can look like with and without a stabilizer:

 

With that out of the way, let’s take a quick overview at some of the better known camera gimbals currently available:

•Quick Gimbal Survey

The Feiyu G4 Plus 3-Axis Brushless Handheld Gimbal is one of the more popular smartphone gimbals. It’s a bit unfriendly on the Mac side and is aimed more at the PC world as evidenced by the hoops you need to jump through in order to update the firmware. It doesn’t include it’s own iPhone app and when we get to the DJI Osmo later in this review you’ll understand why this is a problem.

Feiyu G4

However, the G4 can capture really nicely stabilized shots and the handle has the ability to shift into several modes combining roll and tilt with stabilization. Since it relies on the smartphone’s camera app you can shoot with the iPhone’s built-in camera app or grab one of the higher end ones like MoviePro. This is a greater starter rig to help get your head around what is possible with a gimbal.

If you prefer to shoot with a compact camera such as a GoPro instead of a smartphone, Feiyu also offers the Feiyu Tech G4 3-Axis Handheld Gimbal. This unit is slightly less expensive and simplified specifically for these smaller units vs. the G4 Plus. As it has no onboard app at all, your workflow route to Final Cut Pro X will depend on the camera itself and which format it shoots.

In terms of the GoPro to Final Cut Pro X workflow , you’re starting with highly compressed MPEG-4/H.264 files which are great for capture but pretty lousy for editorial. So you’ll want to follow a simple workflow: First copy the entire card structure to your system. Then ingest into Final Cut Pro X and optimize media.

•DJI Osmo Mobile Review

Finally, let’s look at the DJI Osmo. The first thing you’ll notice about the Osmo is the level of finish compared to a lot of other brushless gimbals. The Osmo is built like a tank and feels more like it belongs on the instrument cluster of a sports car rather than its selfie stick cousins.

DJI Osmo Mobile Review App

This is also trickle-down technology from DJI’s bread and butter drone/quadcopter products like the Mavic Pro. But what really sets the Osmo apart from the rest of the gimbal pack however is the app that comes with the product: DJI GO. This app is actually used for several of DJI’s products including the Osmo 4K which includes its own camera vs. a smartphone mount.

What’s awesome about the app is that it enables object tracking. This means you can select an object in the frame and while you move around it, the app will automagically control the gimbal to keep the position of that selected object centered. This means you can achieve super sophisticated multi-axis camera moves with very little effort.

DJI Go Object Tracking

DJI Go Object Tracking

You can achieve super sophisticated multi-axis camera moves with very little effort.

•Taking it for a spin

The Osmo Mobile includes hardware controls to start/stop video recording, shoot still frames, reset the gimbal to neutral and control pan/tilt.

DJI Osmo Mobile Review controls

DJI Osmo Mobile Onboard Controls

For this next portion of my review, I shot some video. In the following clip you can get a taste of how the Osmo operates both in stabilization mode and in object-tracking mode shooting in the highest 4K resolution my iPhone 7 can muster (then down-converted to 1080p for this demo). Take a look:

 

 

•Back to Final Cut Pro X

Once you’ve got your amazing shots, here’s where things got a little bit clunky but workflow is what we do. The DJI GO app is great for syncing up the gimbal to the video but you’ll need to jump through a few hoops to get those shots over to FCPX intact.

Using DJI Osmo footage in FCPX

Osmo footage back in Final Cut Pro X.

Number one concern is that DJI expects you to edit directly in the app. There’s a couple of issues with this: their editing functionality is super basic and barely good enough to slap a few clips together. Second and more importantly you’re taking a major hit in quality because you are unwrapping and rewrapping MPEG4 video in the editor and the resulting image quality.

So getting clips from the phone to your Mac is a little more cumbersome than it should be. GO stores each clip in its own library rather than automatically going into the phone’s photo library. And you have no other way to get shots out other than getting them to the phone library first. And instead of just multiple selecting of every clip you want to save in one step, you instead have to open each clip and manually hit save. Hopefully DJI will address this in an update.

DJI GO Save Image

Saving an image with DJI GO is a little painful.

Once the clips are saved to the device’s library you can get them onto your Mac the usual iOS ways. If you happen to be near your computer I highly recommend using AirDrop, it’s super fast and you’ll be ready to drop the results into FCPX right away and get cutting. Otherwise you could sync through Photos or even email yourself clips. And that’s about all there is to it.

Airdrop back in OS X

Airdrop back in OS X

•Executive Summary

Next-generation camera stabilization products like the DJO Osmo Mobile can add a huge level of production value to your video content. This can translate into higher satisfaction with your clients and the ability to produce better content than you previously thought possible. With just a little tweaking, you can make the footage available for use in Final Cut Pro X. It’s just a quick Amazon order away, give it a shot so to speak. If you do, please sound off in the comments.

MacBook Pro Storage Solutions for Final Cut Pro X 10.3

October 27, 2016 Tags: , , ,
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In this article, we’ll survey Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C professional MacBook Pro storage solutions for Final Cut Pro X 10.3.

The New Way

We’ve been here before: Apple removes a venerable interface standard in favor of innovation and elicits a spectrum of reactions. But let’s ask an honest question: do you in 2016 have a serious need for floppy drives, SCSI ports, CD-ROM burners or Firewire? Or have updated technologies taken their place and improved over their original function? For most of us, that answer is yes.

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•Bold Moves

With the 2016 MacBook Pro, Apple has taken its boldest leap yet (well maybe after that earphone jack on the iPhone). By removing the USB ports, Thunderbolt/Displayport ports, SDHC card slot, HDMI port, heck even the MagSafe power connector from the previous generation, Apple has gone all in with USB-C/Thunderbolt 3. You need to know that USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 in its native form is blazingly fast and opens up an incredibly versatile swath of options via dongles,hubs and adapters to connect to legacy devices.

USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 in its native form is blazingly fast and opens up an incredibly versatile swath of options via dongles, hubs and adapters to connect to legacy devices.

thunderbolt3

CNET wrote about the advantages of Thunderbolt 3 and here are some important factors to digest:

  • The Mini DisplayPort connection type has been ditched in favor of a USB-C connection type.
  • All Thunderbolt 3 cables will work as USB-C cables.
  • All USB-C cables will work as Thunderbolt 3 cables as long as they are good quality cables.
  • Thunderbolt 3 has a top data transfer speed of 40Gbps as long as the cable is 0.5m (1.6 ft.) or shorter.
  • For 1m (3.2 ft.) or longer cables, Thunderbolt 3 supports passive (cheaper) ones that have a top speed of 20Gbps, and active cables (more expensive) that retain the 40Gbps speed.
  • Thunderbolt 3 is backward-compatible with earlier versions of Thunderbolt, but due to the new port type, adapters are required to use legacy Thunderbolt devices.
  • Any USB-C device plugged into a Thunderbolt 3 port will function normally.
  • Since Thunderbolt 3 devices use discrete Thunderbolt chips to function, they will not function if plugged into a USB-C port.
  • All versions of Thunderbolt allow for daisy-chaining up to six devices together to a host and in addition to data, can also carry HD video and audio.

The key takeaway is you don’t need a huge box to hold multiple interface types anymore. This is one connector and one nice compact laptop to rule them all. So let’s dive in first to converters that get you USB-C on one end and just about any legacy device on the other.

•USB-C Adapter Options

The MacBook Pro is not the first Mac with pure USB-C ports. That honor goes to the 2015 MacBook, in many ways the spiritual predecessor to the MacBook Pro. This is a little ironic, as advanced features and interfaces generally debut on the flagship MacBook Pro and then trickle down to the Air/MacBook.

But as you know Apple likes to shake it up. So, that yearlong period since the USB-C MacBook’s debut has lead to a variety of USB-C adapters and hub you can use to greatly expand your interface options as well as support all of the gear you already have. Here are some of the better ones:

anker-premium-usb

Anker Premium USB-C Hub with Power Delivery is a tiny unit, styled to fit well with the MacBook Pro and focusing on greatly expanded USB-3 ports and power delivery. If you’re willing to go all in with USB-3 hard drives and many Thunderbolt 2 drives are multimode, this is a solid opening option that won’t set you back much.

usb-c-dock4-caldigit

CalDigit USB-C Docking Station promises full Thunderbolt 3 cross-compatibility and giving you MacBook Pro audio i/o, Ethernet USB 3.1, HDMI and more. As CalDigit is long known for being Mac-focused, the Docking Station will even connect to an Apple Superdrive for those legacy DVD and CD burns some of us still have to deliver.

hootooshuttle

The HooToo Shuttle 3.1, with its silver finish and rounded edges is clearly styled to look right at home next to Apple devices. It offers power passthrough, HDMI, USB-3, HDMI and SDHC ports. This would be a solid option for the traveling videographer/photographer as so many DSLRs and compact camcorders rely on MicroSD/SDHC cards.

apple-usb-c-multiport-adapter

Apple’s own Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter succeeds mainly on its compactness. With just one port, charging and HDMI connectivity this is more aimed at increasing the relatively paltry amount of ports on the MacBook and probably not as useful for the MacBook Pro.

•MacBook Pro Storage Solutions In Depth

So now you can see the clear path toward leveraging your existing peripherals with your shiny new MacBook Pro. But let’s say you’re ready to make the leap into purpose built storage for higher levels of performance than previously possible.

•Thunderbolt 3 Native Solutions

•LaCie

LaCie is a storage provider long associated with Apple, you’ll find their stylish external Rugged and D2 Thunderbolt 2/USB-3 hard drives on the shelves at the Apple Store. For Thunderbolt 3, they’ve come up with the 12big Thunderbolt 3. As the name implies, this is a stack of 12 hard drive bays connected to a Thunderbolt 3 bus. You can count on this low footprint setup to achieve read speeds of up to 2600MB/s.

lacie-12big-thunderbolt-3

Of course the 12big is intended as a single user, direct attached storage device. So if you’re of the lone gun variety of producer this is right in your wheelhouse, as opposed to a larger workgroup needing to share. You can daisy chain up to 6 12bigs to each other via Thunderbolt 3, which results in a whopping 576TB of total very high speed storage space.

•Promise Pegasus 3

Promise’s Pegasus line of RAIDS has always been among the top-rated go to direct attached storage solutions and is perfectly suited to Final Cut Pro X. With the Pegasus3 and SANLink3, Promise has upped the ante to full Thunderbolt 3 compatibility, for up to 40 Gbps throughput.

pegasus3-thunderbolt-3

Let’s unpack that for just a second. 40 Gbps throughput is a doubling from Thunderbolt 2’s 20 Gbps throughput. In practical terms we like to think of streams. The R2 was already capable of multiple 4K ProRes streams in Final Cut Pro X. With the doubling of throughput we can only expect to see a nice bump on the number of streams with the R3. That means more angles of multicam, more live effects/filters, you name it.

•Symply

It would be impossible to mention Promise on the one hand without mentioning its newly merged partner Symply on the other. Symply launched in April at NAB but a lot of its team members hail from the likes of Quantum, Active Storage and even the original Apple Xserve team. With that kind of pedigree you’d expect some next level products in the mix and Symply has done its homework.

Symply Share

Of interest to the Final Cut Pro X editor are the SymplySTOR and SymplySHARE  solutions which are tailored to function both as single user direct attached storage and as shareable NAS network devices, both leveraging the full power of the Thunderbolt 3 standard. Check out a video about Symply here.

Think of the SymplySTOR as a Pegasus on steroids with Thunderbolt 2 and 3 connectivity, easy device management via iOS/Apple Watch apps and up 64TB of RAID storage. Intended as an onsite ingest and edit/DI playout solution, SymplySTOR brings robust performance ready to roll to the new MacBook Pro. SymplySHARE takes that power to the next level by connecting it to the network as a modular dock for the SymplySTOR.

SymplySHARE enables up to 8 Thunderbolt 2/3 workstations and 20 10Gb IP clients to share a single or dual SymplySTOR units over a network. With Xsan and StorNext protocols, the SymplySHARE brings enterprise class performance much more into the reach of small and mid-sized production teams. If you are running a production facility that’s been used to sneaknet and NAS level performance, this is a way to get almost all of the power of very high end SAN solutions at a fraction of the price.

•Thunderbolt 2/Ethernet Solutions

•Lumaforge Jellyfish

Lumaforge is another newish player to the storage business with an intriguing Final Cut Pro X pedigree. Created by our own Sam Mestman and backed up by his formidable expertise in Final Cut Pro X. Jellyfish is highly optimized for the app (though not limited to it). With ShareClient, a custom volume mounting app, Jellyfish is designed to be as easy to setup as a directed attached drive while offering the sharing power and flexibility of a NAS solution.

LumaForge Jellyfish

The Jellyfish 4K variant is rated for simultaneous 1600 MB/s (12.5 Gbps) reads across a mix of 10GbE and 1GbE connections while simultaneously ingesting over a 10GbE connection with no interruptions in playback. While this is well below Thunderbolt 3’s 40 Gbps throughput in practice it’s well within the parameters for sufficient 4K ProRes streams for multiple Ethernet connected users simultaneously. Sam’s provided a friends & family discount: just mention FCPWORKS to receive 10% off any Lumaforge system. More info here.

•QNAP

QNAP’s TVS-882T is a hybrid NAS/DAS that channels the Thunderbolt connection as a network interface, providing connectivity across the network. It does interfere with other Thunderbolt traffic on the same bus. So if you are planning to use this model for shared storage it needs to be on a MacPro with its multiple Thunderbolt ports. Check out our article about those ports for more details.

QNAP 882

On the subject of workflow, the QNAP is a great deal for the money and offers the promise of a NAS in a Thunderbolt case. Configuring the network share for OSX/FCPX is not the easiest setup in the world but you only have to do it once.

That’s just a taste of what is out there and more to come on the horizon on the connectivity front for the new MacBook Pro and Final Cut Pro X.

The USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 interface standard for the MacBook Pro is a clean slate for content producers.

•The Bottom Line

The USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 interface standard for the MacBook Pro is a clean slate for content producers. If you are interested in upgrading your performance to the next generation there’s plenty to work with here and much more to come. Whether you’re at the one-person band, multiuser enterprise facility level or somewhere in between- this single laptop can become your high speed content creation hub. We hope you found our guide to MacBook Pro storage solutions informative and we’ll continue to update it as new Thunderbolt 3/USB-C gear appears. Please sound off in the comments.

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YouTube Influencer FCPX Tutorials from ipsy

October 18, 2016 Tags: , ,
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If you spend any time on YouTube (and really who doesn’t) you might have heard of ipsy Open Studios, the production platform created by Michelle Phan to enable cosmetic and beauty consultants to turn into YouTube Stars and Influencers. More on the runaway success of ipsy over at Fast Company. Well it turns out, they also love to use Final Cut Pro X to create content.

Topics and stars include:

  • Add Third Party Effects by Cydnee Black
  • Export a Thumbnail to YouTube by Madeline De La Rosa
  • Record Voiceover by Lynette Cenee
  • Retime Video by Cydnee Black
  • Create a Video for Instagram by Michelle Phan
  • Color Correct Video by Michelle Phan
  • Create a Title by Madeline De La Rosa

Enjoy these clips and learn how to use FCPX from some highly knowledgeable makeup professionals:

 

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.