Was fortunate enough to spend some time with Phillip Hodgetts from Intelligent Assistance last week and we had a longer discussion about Lumberjack, his amazing tool for real time logging and pre editing in FCPX.
I had watched him demo it, and had even taken it out on a test drive with our How We Make Movies Podcast a couple weeks ago… and I had some miconceptions/issues on the first go round with it.
Anyway, there were a few things I noticed as I talked with him…
First, for some reason it had taken me forever to finally work up the nerve to try it out on a real project… it was like I was afraid of it somehow. The concept had seemed easy enough to me… but there was something about it I couldn’t wrap my head around… and I realized that while talking with him I was actually just over complicating everything… I was making the app and the process harder than it needed to be.
Second, things that are obvious to Phillip Hodgetts are not obvious to the rest of us. After him answering two of my questions, literally everything else about the app made sense.
Third, I had some misconceptions about the app (for instance, I thought that wireless was required to do logging), that simply aren’t true.
So, with that in mind, here’s a quick roundup of things you should know about Intelligent Assistance’s Lumberjack System that maybe you didn’t know before (I didn’t):
- The Content Creation Date Sync thing is ridiculously easy – Forget timecode and slates, etc. if you’re using lumberjack. Just tell your cam ops to set the clock on their camera to the same time as the Lumberjack App and you’re good to go. If you want a really good insurance policy, you should have all your camera ops make their first shot of the day be an image of the Lumberjack logger screen (where the exact time is listed). You should have nothing else to worry about after that.
- Sync your multicam clips in FCPX first and then send to Lumberjack – I asked him whether you could have the metadata applied to multicam clips… the answer is yes… and what you should do is bring your footage into FCPX first, make the multicam clip, and send out the XML containing the multicam clip into the Lumberyard App, and it will apply your logging info to the multicam clip.
- The Lumberjack Logger (Web) is different than the Lumberyard (OSX App) – While you’ll be doing all of your logging through the web/IOS App, you’re going to still need the OSX app to do the XML interchange.
- You can still log if something happens to your wireless – Basically, if you’re experiencing problems with slow wireless (like I did on my first shoot), if you create your event ahead of time, you can still log through the IOS App, get done what you need to get done, and hook up to the Lumberjack Server when your wireless situation improves. You are not a prisoner of your wireless network while using Lumberjack. Just use the IOS App. This was a big misconception for me.
- You can use Lumberjack after you’re done shooting or with old footage – The IA guys just but into beta their new Backlogger App where you can log footage you’ve already shot (or catalog video masters you’ve finished for things like Promo departments).
Anyway, for all the info you need about getting going with Lumberjack, check out the newly published Quick Start Guide… and if you have any problems, Phillip and Greg are awesome with support.
If you haven’t checked out Lumberjack yet, and you’re doing a lot of Doc/reality/non-scripted work… it’s probably going to become your new best friend.
There’s no reason to be afraid of it. It’s easier to learn than you think.