Monday, April 15, 2013

Cutting with FCPX for broadcast, week 1

Good evening everyone,

You've guessed correctly...So little time and sooo much to say about FCPX in a broadcast environment. Indeed, as a proof, I am writing this post as I am editing using FCPX.

FCPX interface

The last 10 days have been very busy. Aside of adapting to an ever evolving FCPX workflow I also deployed a SAN (Storage Area Network) using sanMP (multi platform management software by Studio Network Solutions). 

Before anything, you should know that neither Event Manager by Intelligence Assitance nor Xfile Pro by will work on SAN volumes. (Thank you to for the referral). 

So why am I working with a SAN? Simply because it allows me to share volumes with my team. Therefore when you go this route, when a version of an episode is done, a producer could open it on his workstation and create his text for any voice over needs while a post production assistant could export it for feedback to the the network. To make a long story short, a SAN usually multiplies your post production force by 4 to 5. Not bad at all. For inquiries about SAN products contact the folks at Studio Network Solutions and mention my name (I've been reselling their products for almost 5 years now).

So let's talk about the workflow and the huge amount of media I have to log, de-rush as well as edit with two co-workers. Before the SAN was up and running we made 3 copies of our HDD containing all our footage because we had to find a way to share our projects and keyword collections. However the workflow explained below should only be applied for those who do not work with a SAN.

Therefore, as we did work with a SAN on Episode 01, I had one assistant editor adding keywords to all the media located on a clone of the HDD I am using fro editing. We've preselected keywords together with the copyrighter/producer during the production so that:
a) we don't end up with a few hundred keyword collections
b) we have a clear target of what we need.

We've been utilizing the following keywords and it's been quite successful so far:
EP1, EP2, EP3 (...) EP9, Q (for quote or sound bite), Characters Names (such as John, Bobby and so on), Day, Night, Adventure, Challenge.

Once the key words are applied to FCPX events located on the HDD utilized by the assistant editor

FCPX keyword collections
Such as those...

You have to find a way to retrieve those keyword and bring them into your events located on your HDD.

In order to retrieve those keywords and somehow "transfer" them to another HDD containing the same events with the same media the only solution we came up with is to select the events one by one, copy them to another volume, then merge them as one event entitled "Episode 01" and voilĂ .  Unless someone can come up with a better solution, please let me know.

Finally, in order to avoid long period of time while copying your events, I'd suggest that your transcode all your medias to Proxy (ctrl + click your event). You'll be amazed how fast FCPX will process your media. I had mp4 clips shot with contour cameras (up 1 hour long) that I tried to transcode using compressor and after a few hours I gave up because compressor would just hang. I then gave it a try within FCPX with the ctrl+click shortcut

ctrl+click an event in order to access the transcoding FCPX window

And it took FCPX about 15 minutes to transcode it. I then selected all my events and transcoded all the Episode 1 media. It took 4 hours for FCPX to transcode everything in Proxy. The configuration I am currently using this one (for the week-end only because I worked from home last night in order to advance)

My iMac FCPX workstation configuration

Anyhow, this week we'll be using the SAN (3 year old Promise Vtrack) ran by a 3 year old Xserve who's in desperate need of more RAM which will be added this week.

At last, I am still and constantly being attacked by other editors who still think FCP7 is the way to go. I have to admit, as a  certified trainer for both FCP7 & X I wish FCPX would have a built in timecode window (not the generator timecode window trick), and I really really really wish FCPX could show the timecode overlay in the event viewer...

All right, so far EP01 is at 22 minutes and I need another 3 minutes in order to be done. My deadline is in 48 hours (excluding sound mixing, grading and effects). 

Before I go, the X2Pro plug in works perfectly for both LOGIC (yes logic) and ProTools, but that is another post.


Joachim Levy
Motion Picture Director & Editor
 Certified Trainer FCPX & 7

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