Archive for the ‘ Film ’ Category

Troubleshooting Final Cut Pro X

I’ve spent nearly all my editing time with Final Cut Pro X the past few weeks, and it’s tough to go back to FCP 7 (thankfully we have 7toX to help with converting our legacy FCP 6/7 projects to FCP X). I haven’t run into any problems, but if you do, there are plenty of answers, help and even apps to troubleshoot FCP X and keep things running smoothly. I linked to a brief troubleshooting guide from Apple recently, but this will present links to more extensive help guides.

1. Apple’s Final Cut Pro X support page, which is full of troubleshooting tips and tricks, forums, links and more. Also, be sure to check out the FCP X official specs page, plus minimum system requirements, and more. There are some white papers, too, including FCP X for FCP 7 Editors and FCP X Xsan: Best Practices. Submit your honest and helpful feedback to Apple about FCP X — they ARE listening, as Richard Townhill assured me recently.

2. Richard Taylor of FCPX.tv has a massive list of troubleshooting tips and tricks, and it’s extensive and very helpful.

3. Digital Rebellion has a set of Pro Maintenance Tools that can help keep Final Cut Pro X running smoothly. It’s a suite of apps that includes Preference Manager, Project Repair, Plug-In Manager, FCS Remover, Compressor Repair and many more. It’s affordable, and a must-have suite of apps.

4. 100 Final Cut Pro X Questions Answered, from last July, but still worth a look.

As with my Final Cut Pro X third-party plug-ins and apps, training and certification pages, I’ll keep this troubleshooting page updated with links and tips.

7toX Works Perfectly

So I was editing in some projects that were started in Final Cut Pro 7 in 2011, and today was the day to put them to bed, get them uploaded to a website that’s launching soon. After about 4 hours, I was getting frustrated with waiting for FCP 7 to finish rendering, the time it took to export a QuickTime conversion, having to move clips around manually to avoid collisions and so on. For the fifth and final video, which was A-rolled with a little B-roll, I wanted to work faster. After working exclusively in it, I knew that using Final Cut Pro X would make my life a lot easier. Prior to that, I’d spend maybe 65% of my editing in FCP 7, the rest in FCP X. It was time to use 7toX, Philip Hodgetts and Gregory Clarke’s terrific new app.

So I exported an XML file from FCP 7, did the conversion in 7toX — it happened fast, then opened the project in Final Cut Pro X. (Here are detailed instructions on Assisted Editing’s website.) Pretty much everything transferred over without a problem, except some Boris Title 3D credits I did. No problem, I deleted them and used FCP X’s titling feature to take care of it. It had to render, of course, which it did in the background (and was very fast). I finished B-rolling, and even let FCP X do some intelligent color correcting, which I then touched up manually.

I know, I know, why did it take me so long? I guess I just resisted the temptation to start transferring legacy FCP 7 projects to FCP X, because there’s always that worry that I may end up having to do more work to clean things up, which I didn’t on this particular project. I resisted at first, but I’m glad I finally did. 7toX works, and it works great.

Final Cut Pro X Troubleshooting Basics From Apple

Apple has published a troubleshooting basics guide with plenty of links for pro editors to access, in case they’re having trouble with the revolutionary NLE. You can access it here on Apple’s support page. There is plenty of good information, including how to back up FCP X Events and Projects, supported media formats and cameras, and much more. These are the basics, but you can always get more help and troubleshooting tips from the Apple Support page and forums, websites and forums like Digital Media Net (plus their forums), DV Info Net, FCP.co and others.

Hat tip: FCP.co

RED EPIC-X With Filmmaker Jeremy Wiles

I had a chance recently to meet with Jeremy Wiles of Creative Lab in West Palm Beach, Florida, to check out his RED EPIC-X, learn his production and post-production workflow (he uses the latest version of Premiere Pro for Windows) and essentially get to know the EPIC-X. I did a write-up of it over at Digital Producer, so check it out!

New Final Cut Pro X Plug-Ins, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 For Videographers

The floodgates have opened, and we’re getting a TON of quality Final Cut Pro X plug-ins and third-party apps. I’m actually going to be reviewing some of them soon, but I wanted to share some links to the latest and greatest for FCP X. My friend Graeme Nattress (who works at RED) has released Levels and Curves for FCP X, and you’ll need FxFactory to purchase it (or try it out), same with his excellent Film Transitions plug-in. Irudis has released their free Tonalizer/VFX LITE (similar to their PRO version) plug-in, and the legendary Twixtor is now available for FCP X. FCP.co discusses how it compares to FCP X’s Optical Flow. Also, FCP.co talks about ClipExporter, a very affordable app that will get a single or multple clips out of FCP X for visual FX purposes, etc.

My good friend and colleague took at look at the new Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4, and its capabilities for videographers. I like Lightroom 4 a lot, and feel that its video capabilities are terrific for photographers shooting some video, but mostly pictures. If you’re a heavy-duty videographer and editor, and you love Adobe, Premiere Pro is terrific for organizing and editing pretty much any video format.

Sorry I have blogged lately, but I was out of town, then playing catch-up. Back to the usual FCP X and other film/video/TV blogging!

Sync Your Audio And Video Quickly With PluralEyes

I did a review of Singular Software’s excellent PluralEyes, which syncs video and audio from separate sources, quickly and easily. It’s remarkable software, and I love that if you have footage from multiple cameras, it can sync, and if you wish, replace the audio with a clean track! It’s available for Final Cut Pro X and FCP 7, Premiere Pro, Avid Media Composer, Sony Vegas Pro and EDIUS. Check out my review of PluralEyes at Digital Media Net.

Final Cut Pro X Certified Pro Training And Certification

I edited on Final Cut Pro versions 1-7 for nearly 12 years when FCP X came out last summer 2011. I was never certified, and I learned from a variety of sources, including training videos, books, friends and colleagues, and more. I never got certified in FCP, even though I could easily have done so. Now that Final Cut Pro X has been out for about eight months now, and as I use some training material, I’m going to work towards getting trained and certified as an FCP X editor.

What made me decide to do this? I’m not fully sure, but stepping into FCP X brought me back to the fall of 1999 and very early 2000, when I was not only learning how to use FCP 1.0, but I was also editing my first feature film Skye Falling. In those wild early days of FCP, there wasn’t much in the way of support, but it was growing. Nowadays, there are many great Final Cut Pro resources, and a lot of great training options (click on that, because it’s extensive), so why not get certified? I consider myself a good editor, and I have a strong feeling folks are coming back to check out FCP X with the great 10.0.3 update, that it’s a great time to be a certified Final Cut Pro X editor.

The Final Cut Pro X Certifications

There are two types of certification that Apple offers, Associate Certification and Pro Applications Certification. The Associate is similar to the Pro Applications level one certification, as you learn the same things and use the recommended FCP 101 and FCP 200 course material. Once you pass the exam — here’s the exam prep guide — you’ll be a Final Cut Pro X Level One Pro Applications certified user, or if you take it at home vs. in an Apple authorized training center, you’ll receive the Associate Certification. From there, you can learn more advanced techniques, use the recommended FCP 300 training material and take the FCP X Level Two exam (prep guide coming soon, according to Apple). For me personally, I am going to do the Pro Applications Certification, Levels One and Two.

Ways to Train

There are several ways to train, either in an Apple authorized training center (see below), or on your own using the Apple Pro Training Series: Final Cut Pro Xby the great Diana Weynand (I own the Kindle version,good price and you download the special content), along with the Apple Pro Video Series: Final Cut Pro Xwith Steve Martin (the editor and instructor). There is the new, Apple Pro Training Series: Final Cut Pro X Advanced Editingcoming soon, by Michael Wohl and others, along with several other Apple-certified books, like Apple Pro Training Series: Keying and Compositing in Final Cut Pro Xand the Apple Pro Training Series: Final Cut Pro X Quick-Reference Guide (Apple Pro Video Series).The books are very important, because that’s how the certification happens. I also recommend using some other training material, including Larry Jordan’s video series on FCP X. There are a ton of great FCP X training options out there!

The other ways to learn FCP X for certification is to visit an Apple authorized training center; you can find a location here on Apple’s site by typing in your zip code or address. These training centers will take you through instruction, working with the software and exams to become a level one and level two certified FCP X user. The ones in Florida that are Apple authorized training centers include Future Media Concepts in Orlando, Go4Cast in Port St. Lucie, InstructUs in Tampa and Florida State College in Jacksonville. Surprisingly, there is nothing in Miami. By the way, I spotlight Florida, because this is where I call home, and I’d like to go to Go4Cast, since it’s closest to me. Future Media Concepts has training centers around the country, which is great! These centers use the Diana Weynand book as part of the curriculum. The only downside is the price, which can push into the thousands of dollars if you’re going for the two levels of certification.

Motion Certification

There is Motion 5 Level One Pro Applications Certification, too, and you can use the Apple Pro Training Series: Motion 5 (here’s the Kindle version, which costs less),the recommended preparation material and study with the exam prep guide, then take the exam at an Apple authorized training center. They also offer training, too, if you wish to go that route.

Move Over RED, JVC’s Affordable 4K Camera

That’s right, JVC announced the small, handheld professional 4K camera, GY-HMQ10, at CES in January 2012, and it’s going to cost $5,000. It has a 1/2.3-inch backlit CMOS sensor with 8.3 million active pixels shooting in 3840 x 2160, at 60p, 50p and 24p. The HMQ10 uses the Falconbrid picture processing technology to handle 4K acquisition and image processing without needing sn external device for storage. with that workflow, you would need to process the 4K clips in your NLE or other software. It also ships with a fixed, high resolution lens made for 4K resolution, at F2.8, plus the ability to record up to two hours on four 32GB SDHC cards (you need all four SDHC cards to shoot in 4K), full 1920 x 1080 HD resolution (only 1 card needed), a high resolution touchscreen LCD (920,000 pixels) and a quality viewfinder (260,000 pixels). And a whole heckuva lot more. You should check out JVC’s page on the GY-HMQ10, and read the press release here. It should be available in the spring, either March or April 2012.

The 4K sensor powering the JVC GY-HMQ10.

I’m very excited about this affordable 4K camera, and it’s fitting that JVC is introducing the world’s first sub-$20,000 (or so) 4K cinema camera. While 2003′s JVC HD10 wasn’t the greatest camera (I bought one that summer — here’s a film I directed shot on it, featured in a few film festivals), it launched HDV which contributed many of the HD compression techniques we know and use, such as those for Sony, JVC, Panasonic and Canon HD camcorders, along with HDSLRs like the Nikon D5100 or the legendary Canon 5D Mark II. I have a feeling the quality will be excellent, and I’m looking forward to cutting the 4K footage with Final Cut Pro X, which can handle 4K editing without a problem. It captures via MP4/H.264, and JVC includes a software program for Mac to make it easier to import and convert the footage via a single USB cable. Cool!

JVC compares 4K to 1080p

It’s interesting how the 4K video is captured onto the required four 32GB SDHC cards, which JVC explains (and more) on the GY-HMQ10′s technical page. Essentially, it shoots 144 Mbps (Megabits per second), variable bit rate, and the 4K image is actually split into 4 separate pieces, if you will. Each one goes to a different card, as illustrated below:

How the JVC GY-HMQ10 records 4K video to four 32GB SDHC cards.

JVC’s Archive and Merge Utility software that ships with the HMQ10 4K camera (Mac and Windows) will combine the four video images into one for cutting, though JVC promises near real-time 4K playback from the camera via four HDMI ports and cables. With Mac, it will turn it into a single 4K ProRes video clip, of all your 4K camera footage.

JVC's software will merge the four images together into one 4K image.

It’s making me think also about shooting with the JVC in 24p and converting it in FCP X to 48p, or shooting 50p and converting to 48p. The legendary Douglas Trumbull, James Cameron (for Avatar 2 and 3 at 60p), Peter Jackson (The Hobbit is shooting in 48p) and others see higher frame rates as the next evolution in filmmaking. The higher the frame rate, the more ‘realistic’ the image becomes. Of course, digital projectors will need a special upgrade, but a lot of theaters have gone digital, something I’ve been hoping for since the mid-90s and early 2000s.

So basically, we’re getting a 4K camera for $5000, around the price RED said the original Scarlet was going to run, at 3K resolution, back at NAB 2008. This is in no way any sort of disrespect to RED — the Scarlet has become much better than they originally planned, and the current price is right for those changes. By the way, 4K editing with the RED isn’t hard with their Red Rocket with Thunderbolt and a Sonnet Chassis, a MacBook Air, Windows via Bootcamp (or OX Lion) and Premiere Pro CS5.5, as demonstrated by Dave Helmy via Gizmodo. JVC just makes it easier.

Images courtesy JVC.

Canon Releases Plug-In For MXF Import And Editing In Final Cut Pro X

This news came down yesterday (V-Day), but I’m more than happy to see it! Canon finally released a plug-in for editors to cut and incorporate MXF files in Apple’s Final Cut Pro X. If you’re shooting on or editing footage from Canon’s latest cameras, including the great C300, the XF100, XF105, etc., you’re set! Download the Canon XF editing plug-in here (choose “Drivers and Software”).

Be sure to check out FCP.co for further details, plus information to get it to work on Snow Leopard. Hat tip: My pal and FCP X trainer/guru Ben Balser.

VLC 2.0: Full-Screen Support, Blu-Ray And More

VLC 2.0 New UI, photo thanks to developer Felix Kühne.

Just read on 9 to 5Mac that VLC 2.0 from VideoLAN was announced, and includes some cool new features, including support for Blu-ray (not burning, apparently), fullscreen in OS X Lion and more. Check out the details and see some videos of the new UI on 9to5Mac.com. It’ll be available for Mac, Windows and Linux at their site, in the very near future.

Look who's making a cameo in the new VLC 2.0! Photo from developer Felix Kühne.

I use VLC a little bit, mostly to see raw XDCAM EX files without having to open up the Sony XDCAM clip browser or Final Cut Pro X.