Archive for the ‘Editing’ Category

Final Cut Pro X 10.0.6 Update

From Philip Hodgett’s blog:

Final Cut Pro X 10.0.6 is probably the most feature-rich release since the original one. As well as the features Apple discussed at NAB  2011:

  • Multichannel Audio Editing Tools
  • Dual Viewers
  • MXF Plug-in Support, and
  • RED camera support

there’s more. Much more. Including a feature I wish they hadn’t put in and one I’m extremely pleased they did. I’m ecstatic that selective pasting of attributes is now an Final Cut Pro X feature, but I’m really annoyed that persistent In/Out points made it to this release. More on these later.

There’s a rebuilt and more flexible Share function; a simplified and improved Unified Import with optional list view, horizontal scopes mode (and scope for each viewer), Chapter Markers, faster freeze frames, support for new titling features inherited from Motion, more control over connection point, 5 K image support, vastly improved Compound Clip structure (both functional and for us the XML), customized metadata export in the XML (for asset management tools mostly), and two features that didn’t make it to the “what’s new” list: Range Export from Projects and a bonus for 7toX customers.

All up I count more than 14 new features, whereas Final Cut Pro X 10.0.3 had four (although arguably Multicam and Video out were heavy duty features).

Because of the developer connection, I’ve been working with this release for a few months. We have new versions of 7toX and Xto7 waiting for review in the App Store that support the new version 1.2 XML.

MXF and RED Camera Support

In keeping with their patten, Apple have supported a third party MXF solution rather than (presumably) paying license fees for each sale when only a small percentage of users will use the MXF input (and yes, output) capability. The named solutions are MXF4mac and Calibrated{Q} MXF Import, but apparently there are others. Working with MXF files should not feel different than working with QuickTime files.

Along with RED native support, Apple quietly upped the maximum resolution from 4K (since release) to 5K.

I don’t work with MXF or RED so I’ve had no ability (nor time) to test these functions. I’ll leave that to those with more knowledge.

Dual Viewers

More accurately, the current Timeline Viewer and an optional Event Viewer (Window > Show Event Viewer). You get one view from the Timeline and one view from the Event. I can see how this could be useful at times, although truthfully I never missed it.

Final Cut Pro X's dual viewers
One Viewer from the Event, one Viewer for the Project. (Click to enlarge)

Multichannel Audio Tools

There’s a lot of room for improvement in the audio handing in Final Cut Pro X so the new multichannel audio tools are a welcome step in the right direction.  Initially there’s no visible change, until you choose Clip > Expand Audio Components. With the audio components open, you can individually apply levels, disabled states, pans and filters to individual components, trim them, delete a section in the middle – all without affecting the clips around.

Final Cut Pro X's multichannel audio
No multichannel audio in Solar Odyssey, so I borrowed a test file from Greg used to add support to 7toX and Xto7.

For 7toX, if there are separate audio levels, pans or keyframes on a sequence clip’s audio tracks these will be translated onto the separate audio components in Final Cut Pro X. Similarly for Xto7 the levels/pans/keyframes on the clip’s audio components are translated onto the audio clip’s tracks.

More flexible Scopes

A new layout – Vertical – stacks the Scopes on top of each other. Better still, they remember the settings from the last time used! Also good is that you can open a Scope for each of the viewers.

Final Cut Pro X's dual scopes
Dual Viewers, Dual Scopes and a stacked Vertical layout. If the brightness control was there before, I missed it.

You should note that both those images are 720P at 97% (from the Parrot A.R. Drone 2.0 FWIW). I love the Retina display!

Improved Sharing

There’s now a Share button directly in the interface. More importantly, you do not have to open a Clip from the Event as a Timeline to export.

Final Cut Pro X's share destinations
Share directly from Event or Project.

But what’s that at the end? Why yes, I can create a Share to my own specifications, including anything you can do in Compressor (by creating a Compressor setting and adding that to a New Destination). Note that HTTP live streaming is an option.

Final Cut Pro X's share destinations
Now you can create a custom Share output for exactly your needs.

Final Cut Pro X 10.0.6 will also remember your YouTube password, even for multiple accounts. If you have a set package of deliverables (multiple variations for example) you can create a Bundle that manages the whole set of outputs by applying the Bundle to a Project or Clip in Share. Create a new bundle and add in the outputs you want.

Range-based export from Projects

Another feature not seen on the “What’s new” list is the ability to set a Range in a Project and export only that Range via Share. A much-requested feature that’s now available.

Unified Import

I never quite loved that I would import media from the cameras (or their SD cards) via the Import dialog, while importing Zoom audio files was a whole other dialog. Not any more with the new unified Import dialog. There’s even an optional List View, which is my preferred option. (The woodpecker was very cooperative and let me sneak in very close with the NEX 7.)

Final Cut Pro X's unified Import dialog
The Unified Import dialog, with optional list view like the Event list view, with skimmer and filmstrip view.

Waveforms and Hiding already imported clips are also options. The window now (optionally) automatically closes when Import begins.

Other import options.

Chapter Markers

For use when outputting a DVD, Blu-ray,  iTunes, QuickTime Player, and Apple devices.

Final Cut Pro X's chapter markers
There are now three types of Marker: Marker, To Do and Chapter.

The Marker position notes the actual marker, the orange ball sets the poster frame, either side of the chapter mark. A nice refinement for Share.

In 7toX translation, sequence chapter markers become chapter markers on a clip in the primary storyline at the same point in the timeline.

Fast Freeze Frame

Simply select Edit > Add Freeze Frame or press Option-F to add a Freeze Frame to the Project at the Playhead (or if the Clip is in an Event, the freeze frame will be applied in the active Project at the Playhead as a connected clip). Duration, not surprisingly, is the default Still duration set in Final Cut Pro X’s Editing preferences.

New Compound Clip Behavior

Did you ever wonder why Compound Clips were one way to a Project and didn’t dynamically update, but Multicam was “live” between Events and Projects? So, apparently did Apple. (We certainly did when dealing with it in XML). Compound Clips now are live.

  • If you create a Compound Clip in a Project, it is added to the default event and remain linked and live.
  • If you create a Compound Clip in an Event, it can be added to many Projects and remain linked and live.

By linked and live I mean, like Multiclips, changes made in a Compound Clip in an Event will be reflected in all uses of that Compound Clip across multiple Projects.

Changes made to a Compound Clip in a Project, are also made in the Compound Clip in the Event and all other Projects.

To use the old behavior and make a Compound Clip independent, duplicate it in the Event.

The old behavior is still supported so legacy Projects and Events will be fine.

Final Cut Pro 7 sequences translated using 7toX become these new “live” Compound Clips. If you don’t want this behavior you can select the Compound Clip in the Project timeline and choose Clip > Break Apart Clip Items to “unnest” the compound clip .

Selective Pasting of Attributes

It had to be coming, and I’m glad it’s here. This has probably been the feature from Final Cut Pro 7 I’ve missed most.

Final Cut Pro X's Paste Attributes
Looks familiar! I like the visual clue of which clip the content is coming from, and which it is targeted at.

One of the things I love about Final Cut Pro X is that there are “sensible defaults”. Not least of which is the Maintain Timing choice. In the 11-12 years I spent with FCP 1-7 on three occasions I wanted to use the (opposite) default. Every other time I had to change to Maintain Timing, which is now thankfully the default.

Persistent In and Out Points

You got them. And it’s a good implementation, allowing multiple ranges to be created in a clip. I am not a fan, and wish it were an option. Over the last two months I’ve added keywords to “ranges” I didn’t intent to have because the In and Out were held from the last playback or edit I made. Not what I want. So I have to select the whole clips again, and reapply the Keyword. It gets old after the twentieth time.

It gets in my way more than it helps, which is rather as I expected. Selection is by mouse click (mostly – there is limited keyboard support) so this gets every bit as confusing as I anticipated.

Your last range selection is maintained. To add additional range selections (persistent) hold down the Command key and drag out a selection. (There are keyboard equivalents for setting a new range during playback.) You can select multiple ranges and add them to a Project together. (I’m not sure about the use case, but it’s available.)

Customizable Metadata Export to XML (and new XML format)

Along with a whole new version 1.2 of the XML (which lets us support more features in the XML) is the ability to export metadata into the XML. These are the metadata collections found at the bottom of the Inspector.

Final Cut Pro X's XML metadata view
Select the metadata set you want included in the XML during export.

Remember that you can create as many custom metadata sets as you want and choose between them for export. This will be a great feature as soon as Asset Management tools support it. No doubt Square Box will be announcing an update for CatDV the moment this release of Final Cut Pro X is public.

The new XML format also allows 7toX to transfer a Final Cut Pro 7 clip’s Reel, Scene, and Shot/Take metadata into their Final Cut Pro X equivalents.

Flexible Connection Points

We’ve always been able to hold down the Command and Option keys to move a connection point. What is new is the ability to move a clip on the Primary Storyline while leaving connected clips in place. This is really a great new feature and one I’ve used a lot. Hold down the Back-tick/Tilde key (` at the top left of your keyboard) and slip, slide, trim or move the Primary Storyline clip leaving the connected clips in place.

Titling is significantly improved, including support for the new title markers feature in Motion

As I’m not in the Motion beta I’m not at all certain what this means. I’m sure Mark Spencer will have an explanation over at RippleTraining.com soon.

Drop Shadow effect

Well, a new effect that adds a Final Cut Pro 7 style drop shadow to a Clip. If you’ve got a clip in Final Cut Pro 7 with a Motion tab Drop Shadow applied, 7toX will add the new Drop Shadow effect to it during translation.

Bonus unannounced feature – XML can create “offline” clips

This is great news for developers because previously all media referenced by an XML file had to be available (online) when the XML was imported into Final Cut Pro X. With XML version 1.2 that’s not necessary, so we’ve taken advantage of this in 7toX. The user can relink the offline clips to media files by the usual File > Relink Event Files… command after translation and import.

What else do I want?

I’d like a Role-based audio mixer.

I’d like Event Sharing to multiple users at the same time, with dynamic update of keywords and other metadata between editors. (I do not think I want to share a Project in that way – more sequentially manage with a Project, like Adobe Anywhere.

Apple poised to enrage cable companies with new ad-blocking tech

In a move that is sure to strike fear into broadcasters and advertisers everywhere, Apple (AAPL) is apparently working on technology that would automatically shut off broadcast advertisements in favor of preloaded content.AppleInsider reports that a new Apple patent covers a system of “seamless switching between radio and local media” that will let mobile devices “automatically switch between broadcast content and stored media to offer the user a type of customized content consumption experience.”

So for example, the new technology is capable of looking at a broadcaster’s typical scheduling and determining “when an upcoming broadcast segment or media item is not of interest to the user” before switching off to other content. AsAppleInsider notes, the technology is being developed “to include any audio or video that can be broadcast by a content source and received by an electronic device for playback,” meaning it could encompass both radio and television.

Needless to say, this type of innovation would qualify as “disruptive” for the broadcasting industry, and not in a good way. If recent events surrounding Dish and its “auto-hop” feature are any indication, Apple may be able to look forward to some fresh lawsuits if this technology ever finds its way to production devices.

Source: BRG.com

Quantel and the Rise of Digital Pt1

After 120 years of entertaining audiences, countless movies and pioneering works on the format, celluloid 35mm film looks to be on the way out as the industry picks up the pace to adopt digital for major motion picture capturing, post and distribution.

This month, the IHS Screen Digest claim that 63% of the world’s cinema screens will be digital compared to 2010 where 67% of global screens were still projecting 35mm. This dramatic increase highlights the speed at which the industry is moving toward to digital innovations.

“Since 1889, 35mm has been the principal film projection technology, however, after 10 years of market priming, movie theaters now are undergoing a rapid transition to digital technology, spurred initially by the rising popularity of 3D films,” said David Hancock, head of film research at IHS.

The rise of digital in distribution

Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace was the first major motion picture to be released in digital on June 1999, albeit on a limited number of screens in Los Angeles and New York. In the UK the roots of the digital incursion go as far back as 2005, when 240 digital projectors were given to UK cinemas thanks to the UK Film Council’s Digital Screen Network initiative. Initially, the digital uptake was slow. It was not until 2009 when digital’s prominence became apparent when, for the first time, eleven 3D productions were released and could only be screened with digital projection technology. However, in late 2009 a game-changing event changed the course of digital cinema adoption – Avatar.

James Cameron’s 3D blockbuster demonstrated that what was once a novelty viewing experience could create a viable case for upgrading theatre projection technology to capitalise on audiences’ new found appetite for 3D productions. Jean-Pierre Beauviala, founder of French based motion picture equipment manufacturer, Aaton claims that stereoscopic 3D has “accelerated the demise of film.”

2010 saw a rapid succession of announcements by major multiplex operators in the UK  switching over to digital. Vue Entertainment, one of the UK’s leading operators of multiplex cinemas, partnered up with Sony Europe to install 4K Digital Cinema Projection Systems across its estates. “The transition to all digital screens heralds a new era for cinema offering greater choice…[and will] deliver the very best possible cinematic big screen experience for our customers,” said Tim Richards Vue’s CEO.

In North America the rollout of 4K digital was announced earlier than Europe, however the conversion pipeline is estimated to take up to five years to implement. The biggest theater operators in the land – Regal Entertainment and AMC both signed deals, like Vue, with Sony to install 4K digital technology to a over 850 theaters, comprising 9,628 screens.

Digital from scene to screen

Digitalization is not only experiencing substantial growth in theaters. The progression from celluloid has not happened in isolation but in unison with the introduction of digital throughout the motion picture pipeline. Over the last few years, Digital Intermediate has firmly established itself as the standard workflow for post production. In production it’s the same story. In the last year ARRI, Panavision and Aaton have scaled down their production of film cameras and have strategically aligned their business on the innovation of digital cameras.

This industry-wide shift has affected the biggest players in the image capture business. Eastman Kodak, the iconic 133-year-old photography firm synonymous with film, has seen its profitability deteriorate due to falling revenue from traditional film. However, after unveiling a new, simplified business plan to focus the company’s efforts on its digital offering, its shares briefly rose up 46%. The strategy was not enough to keep the firm out of the headlines and in mid-January Kodak filed for bankruptcy protection from its creditors.

Ted Schilowitz from RED Digital Cinema, a camera company that has been digital since its inception in 2005 points out that “you’ve got to be respectful of what film’s brought to the industry. None of us would be at the level we are at now without Kodak, so you’ve got to give credit where credit is due.” Having said that Schilowitz continues “film is becoming less used as it’s reached its retirement age.”

In the second part of our look at the rise of digital, we examine trends in filming and post using the format and speak to industry heavyweights on pushing the boundaries.

http://blog.quantel.eu/2012/02/the-rise-of-digital-in-motion-pictures-beyond-the-tipping-point-for-film-part-1-of-2/

Avid goes mobile

Avid, maker of high-end digital video and audio production tools, is bringing its “pro-sumer” video editing software to the iPad.

The app is available starting Thursday as part of the Avid Studio suite. The app will run on iPad only, though Avid says it’s exploring other mobile operating systems.

Avid Studio for iPad costs $4.99 to start; after 30 days, the price will jump to $7.99.

That’s still much less than what other current desktop editing applications cost, including Avid’s own Avid Studio ($129.99), Adobe Premiere Elements ($99.99), Apple’s Final Cut Pro X ($299.99), and Sony’s Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum ($59.95).

The iPad app marks the Burlington, Mass.-based company’s first video editing application for tablets. Video editing software generally requires a substantial desktop system or a bulky laptop; using video editing apps on relatively small smartphone screens can be cumbersome. Avid is hoping its app hits somewhere in the middle.

“We’ve seen a shift in how creation is happening, and it’s really happening on almost any device,” said Tanguy Leborgne, vice president of consumer and mobile technology strategy at Avid. “We think the tablet is more than just a consumer device; more and more people are creating on it.”

While Avid says the app captures most of the editing capabilities available on its desktop system, there are some obvious areas in which an iPad editing app would be lacking.

For starters, pro-level editors accustomed to using a large screen for edits will likely feel a tablet doesn’t provide enough screen real estate for real edits.

Also, with Avid Studio on a PC, video editors can export a Flash video file, and burn video files to a CD or DVD. On the iPad, neither of those functions is an option.

Users also likely won’t want to export lots of large, high-definition video files to the iPad and take up storage space on the tablet.

Fortunately, full projects and video files can be transferred to and from the Avid Studio app via iCloud and iTunes. Finished movie files can also be shared directly from the Avid app to Facebook and YouTube.

The idea is that the iPad app and the desktop software are complementary, Leborgne said, so that users who want to create and edit projects on the go can do so, but ultimately preserve them by taking them to the PC.

The Avid iPad app does have some nice features, including an interface that includes a storyboard area and an editing timeline. And while some video editors rely heavily on customized keyboards or a mouse, others might appreciate the ability to pinch and squeeze videos and images to scale them on the touchscreen of the iPad, or the ability to move text and titles around with their fingers.

Avid’s new product comes just a couple days after Apple released an update for its Final Cut Pro X (FCPX) video editing software, which addressed video editors’ complaints about the software’s lack of professional-level bells and whistles. Now FCPX includes multicam editing, advanced chroma-key features and the ability to open up old FCP projects in the new software.

While Adobe Premiere is considered the first popular digital video editing application, it was Apple’s Final Cut Pro, which launched in 1999, that eventually chipped away at the market of video editors using Avid’s high-end system.

Apple’s FCPX also comes at a significantly reduced price from previous iterations of Final Cut Pro, which used to cost around $1,000. Both Avid and Adobe responded to Apple’s new software by offering discounts to users who switched over to their software.

“Both Apple’s product and the pricing strategy were the same thing we’re trying to address here,” Leborgne said. “But for professionals, it relayed to them that Apple was not really focused on the higher end of the market.”

As evidence that some professionals were disappointed with the new FCPX, Leborgne pointed to Hollywood production company Bunim/Murray — the reality TV pioneers dropped Final Cut Pro in favor of Avid.

http://allthingsd.com/20120201/avid-brings-its-pro-sumer-video-editing-app-to-ipad/

Final Cut Pro X yet to be embraced by Reality Producers

Chris Foresman reports from arstechnica.com:

Following the controversial launch of Apple’s completely revamped video editing software, Final Cut Pro X, Avid Media has announced (hat tip to MacRumors) that award-winning TV production company Bunim/Murray is dropping Final Cut Pro in favor of a complete Avid makeover. Going forward, the company will use Avid Media Composer and Avid Symphony for editing along with an Avid ISIS 5000 networked storage system to replace its current Final Cut Pro workflow.

“Due to the large volume of media generated by our reality shows, we needed to re-evaluate our editing and storage solutions. At the same time, we were looking for a partner who would understand our long-term needs,” Bunim/Murray’s SVP of post production Mark Raudonis said in a statement.

The message between the lines is that Apple’s latest offerings simply won’t (ahem) cut it anymore. Earlier this year, Apple completely re-architected Final Cut Pro X from the ground up with a new, modern media handling framework as well as 64-bit support. In doing so, however, it dropped many features that editing pros had come to rely on in their workflows. Apple also dropped its Final Cut Server product after phasing out its Xserveand Xserve RAID storage products over the past few years.

The decision has left many working pros wondering if Apple cares much about the professional market anymore. And, while the company has promised to improve Final Cut Pro X over time, those promises apparently weren’t enough for Bunim/Murray and others who have since migrated to competing solutions from Avid and Adobe. Let’s just say we don’t expect this to be the last we hear about major production companies making the switch.

UPDATE:  12/31/12

Apple has updated the latest version of its video editing software, Final Cut Pro X, addressing some of the complaints video editors had voiced when it was released last June. The updated FCPX now includes multicam editing and advanced chroma-key controls, and supports a new tool for opening up old Final Cut Pro 7 projects.

http://allthingsd.com/20120131/apples-updates-final-cut-pro-x-addressing-video-editors-complaints/?refzone=topics_apple

James Cameron Looking at Edius 3D Toolset

Broadcast equipment manufacturer Grass Valley has introduced a new 3D toolset for its Edius multiformat nonlinear editing software.

“We see 3D production and post projects increasing around the world,” said Charlie Dunn, executive vp products at Grass Valley. “Now anyone working on an Edius system can instantly add 3D post capability to their arsenal of production tools and generate new revenue by expanding their client base.”

In September, James Cameron and Vince Pace’s Cameron | Pace Group and Grass Valley entered into a strategic alliance aimed at expanding the use of 3D in the broadcast industry through technology development.

As part of the alliance, CPG is currently reviewing the Edius 3D toolset with an eye toward incorporating it into a live 3D workflow, according to the manufacturer.

In December, a 30-day preview of the 3D version of Edius will be available online for testing purposes.

source: hollywoodreporter.com

Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing Avid Media Composer 6.0

Full 64-bit power Full 64-bit power

Fast gets even faster with native 64-bit operation, so even when you layer together the most complex effects, things will still feel snappy. Experience smoother playback, faster rendering performance, and better handling with large bins—and say goodbye to the old memory limitations of the 32-bit operating systems.

Experience the "waitless" workflow Experience the “waitless” workflow

With AMA (Avid Media Access), you can instantly access and edit file-based media—including new RED/RED EPIC, new AVCHD, ProRes, QuickTime (including footage from HDSLR cameras), XDCAM, P2, Canon XF, and other formats—without transcoding, importing, or rewrapping files (watch the video). Get a jumpstart on reviewing footage without the wait, and avoid bringing in unwanted material. And as new cameras and formats emerge, manufacturers can create and release their own AMA plug-ins independently from a Media Composer release.

Work with any media Work with any media

File-based media, analog and digital tape, stereoscopic 3D material, film — bring it on. Media Composer offers a wide range of features, workflows, and options that enable you to work with everything, from old-school media to the latest camera technologies. Experience the fastest tapeless workflows in the industry. Capture footage directly from digital cameras. Or add an Avid or third-party video interface to capture from other analog or digital sources. Plus, with support for 4:4:4 HD-RGB color and DNxHD 444, you can work efficiently while preserving the full-quality color detail from beginning to end.

Better performance—and 3D—with Avid hardware Better performance—and 3D—with Avid hardware

For the fastest capture/edit/monitor/output workflows, pair Media Composer with a Nitris DX or Mojo DX video interface and experience hardware-accelerated power that’s second to none. You can now even customize Nitris DX with up to two Avid DNxHD or AVC-Intra chips to fully support stereoscopic 3D and HD RGB 4:4:4 workflows.

Sleek new look and Avid Marketplace Sleek new look and Avid Marketplace

Modern, smart, and sexy. Media Composer has a whole new look, but its familiar editing workflow stays the same (watch the video). Work faster through the tabbed interface (no more window clutter!). Customize window configurations with Workspaces. Browse the Avid Marketplace for stock footage, video and audio plug-ins, software and hardware options, training materials, and more—right from within the app. You can even access user guides and other documentation without having to scour our website.

Work with 3D Work with 3D

Edit stereoscopic 3D material as quickly and easily as you do with standard 2D footage, with a full set of new features and workflows. Capture, edit, and manage the complete 3D end-to-end workflow. Mix and match 2D and stereoscopic 3D clips on the same track. Plus, work with full frame and frame-compatible sources, full-fledged editing tools, video effects, and more.

Go hands-on with Artist Color Go hands-on with Artist Color

Accelerate your color correcting and grading with Artist Color (watch the video). With its highly responsive feel, you can keep your eyes on the picture instead of the interface while you make adjustments. And since you can tweak multiple parameters at once, you dramatically gain more speed and efficiency to complete time-consuming tasks quickly.

Mix in surround sound Mix in surround sound

You want your audio to sound as spectacular as your video looks. Now you can record, edit, and mix studio-quality audio in up to 7.1 surround—right in Media Composer. Not only that, you can share mixes with Pro Tools editors (using AAF), and even record and monitor audio using a host of Avid audio interfaces. (watch the video)

WHATS NEW

  • Get better performance and speed to handle complex editing, now that Media Composer is a 64-bit app (Still need 32-bit? Learn more about Media Composer 5.5)
  • Work with the Avid or third-party hardware you want—with Avid Open I/O, third-party manufacturers can now make their I/O hardware work with Media Composer
  • Manage and edit stereoscopic 3D projects with a comprehensive set of editorial tools and workflows
  • Take hands-on control of all color correction and grading functions with Artist Color (watch the video)
  • Create 5.1 and 7.1 surround mixes directly within Media Composer, or import from Pro Tools
  • Work more creatively with audio with new mixer features and support for additional Pro Tools hardware
  • Work more easily and efficiently—but not differently—with the sleek and sexy new user interface (watch the video)
  • Get full native ProRes support on Mac (encode and decode) and Windows (decode only) for easy integration into any ProRes workflow
  • Instantly access, screen, and edit AVCHD clips and RED EPIC footage through AMA
  • Accelerate your RGB 4:4:4 workflow with Avid DNxHD 444, which delivers exceptional image quality in a low bandwidth format
  • Conveniently purchase stock footage, plug-ins, and more through the Avid Marketplace
  • Get direct access to user guides and documentation from within the interface
  • Access additional ancillary data when working with XDCAM HD material
  • Work more easily with animated effects with many keyframe editor improvements
  • Get Avid FX (Boris RED), Avid DVD, and Sorenson Squeeze in all versions of the software
  • Manage multiple licenses more easily with unified licensing

http://www.avid.com/us/products/media-composer?intcmp=AV-HP-S2

Walter Murch on the demise of FCP

Chris Portal attended the Boston Supermeet of the Final Cut Pro Users and reports:

Walter Murch, a long time Final Cut Pro user, and editor of Apocalypse Now, The Godfather Part III, The English Patient, Cold Mountain, Tetro, among many other films, headlined the Boston Supermeet on Thursday October 27, 2011. It marked his first public appearance since the launch of Final Cut Pro X.

Hemingway & Gellhorn is his latest project for HBO, and is edited on Final Cut Pro 7. The film is a celebration of the tactility of film, yet a film that wouldn’t have been possible without the digitization of film. It uses archive material existing on a wide variety of film mediums, all with different grain sizes, in which actors are dropped in digitally, while trying to preserve the grain of the original element. The film takes you on a roller coaster ride diving in and out of this world, going into the grain and sprockets, and out into the digital world.

His Final Cut Pro project consisted of 22 video tracks and 50 audio tracks, combining sound elements ranging from 8 tracks of dialogue, to 24 tracks of mono and stereo sound effects with and without low frequency enhancements (LFE)!!

Another piece of the workflow was the integration of Filemaker Pro, which he uses to gain a different insight into his film. Using a dependency diagram of sorts, he associates every shot to a specific scene, what music and effects should belong to it, etc. It’s not a time line in any way, but more a view of all the relationships between your media assets.

As far as other equipment Walter used on the project, he used 2 Arri Alexas, outputting to codex materials. The codex downloaded into a ProRes 1280 LT, DPX “negative” (to do the final color timing), and H.264 with internet via PIX (to share assemblies with HBO). There were 5 editing stations, using an XSAN with 28 TB on XRaid running XServe.

There were 1862 shots in the finished film:

  • 482 visually manipulated
  • 227 visual effects
  • 255 repositioned or blown up

While there used to be a rule of not blowing up an image beyond 120% to avoid introducing noise and grain, with the Alexa footage, he was able to take the film and blow it up 240% without being noticeable.

He used FCP7, which he acknowledged may be the last time he uses Final Cut Pro. He considers many professionals to be at a juncture where we need to come to terms with what the software can do in the time the film is being developed.

Walter was in Cupertino when Final Cut Pro X was first dangled in front of a few editors. It was a beta version, and Apple highlighted things like 64 bit support. After that initial exposure to FCPX, he dove into making a film, and it wasn’t until June when FCPX was published that he revisited it. He quickly looked at it, and said he couldn’t use it, wondering where the “Pro” had gone. It didn’t have XML support which he depended on, the ability to share projects on a raid with people, etc. He was confused and wondered what was happening.

He wrote Apple a letter asking what was behind everything that was happening, especially since they had end-of-lifed the current version, as well as a list of things he needed. Like a report card children often get, without XML, Walter explained to Apple that FCPX “did not play well with others”. The lack of tracks was another killer for him. While he doesn’t really need to work with 50 tracks, he does need to leverage the ability to selectively raise or lower the levels very specifically.

Walter sees there having been a shift at Apple over the last 10 years. They have benefited from the professional market, and we all have made a lot of noise about Apple, but starting with the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, Apple has broadened out into a mass-market creature, wanting to democratize capabilities even further.

While Walter is encouraged by the updated FCPX version last month, he hasn’t used it on any real work yet, so he is cautiously optimistic (and still traumatized he says). “Do they love us? No…I know they like us….but they keep saying they love us??”

Things wrapped up with a Q&A, mostly comprised of questions attendees had submitted that evening prior to his talk. A few interesting ones were:

Q: When is it time to walk away from the work?

A: ”When you see dailies, that is the only time you are seeing the images for the first time. There will be no other time for a first. It is the closest you can get to experiencing what the audience will experience. It’s a precious moment. I will sit and watch the dailies in the dark, holding a computer where I’ll type anything the image makes me feel or think, in order to preserve that first moment. Doing so will help clear the fog down the road when you’re feeling you’re getting lost.”

Q: How do you know if a scene works or doesn’t?

A: ”A scene may work on its own, but not in the context of the movie. It can be very dangerous to preemptively strike a scene from a film before you’ve seen the entire film. You can say you don’t agree with where the scene is going, but you don’t know if in the larger picture it may still have a shot.”

Q: Is there one piece of advice you can impart to sound designers?

A: ”Always go farther than you think you can go. Try to bend the literalness. Literalness doesn’t light the fire in the audiences mind. Levitate the film. Ignite the imagination.”

Q: Thoughts on 3D?

A: ”In 2D, your eyes focus on the plane of the screen while they converge towards the plan of the screen, but when you have something coming out of the screen in 3D, you not only need to focus on the screen, but you also need to converge on the detail protruding out of the screen. The mind can do it, but we’re not programmed for it. It requires processing many frames before your mind figures it out, and by then you’ve missed information. It’s analogous to the moment when the fan on your computer starts up.”

Q: If you didn’t use FCP, where would you go?

A: “I’ve used Avid in the past, so I know it well. There are some very good things that Avid has, but I’m also curious about Premiere since I’m interested in technology.”

Final Cut is Dead! Long live Final Cut!

Apple’s Final Cut Pro is the leading video-editing program. It’s a $1,000 professional app. It was used to make “The Social Network,” “True Grit,” “Eat Pray Love” and thousands of student movies, independent films and TV shows. According to the research firm SCRI, it has 54 percent of the video-editing market, far more than its rivals from Adobe and Avid.

On Tuesday, Apple pulled a typical Apple move: it killed off the two-year-old Final Cut 7 at the peak of its popularity.

In its place, Apple now offers something called Final Cut Pro X (pronounced “10”). But don’t be misled by the name. It’s a new program, written from scratch. Apple says a fresh start was required to accommodate huge changes in the technological landscape.

Apple veterans may, at this point, be feeling some creepy déjà vu. You’ve seen this movie before. Didn’t Apple kill off iMovie, too, in 2008, and replace it with an all-new, less capable version that lacked dozens of important features? It took three years of upgrades before the new iMovie finally surpassed its predecessor in features and coherence.

Some professional editors are already insisting that Apple has made exactly the same mistake with Final Cut X; they pointed out various flaws with the program after an earlier version of this column was posted online on Wednesday. They say the new program is missing high-end features like the ability to edit multiple camera angles, to export to tape, to burn anything more than rudimentary DVDs and to work with EDL, XML and OMF files (used to exchange projects with other programs). You can use a second computer monitor, but you need new TV-output drivers to attach an external video monitor. You can’t change the settings of your exported QuickTime movies without the $50 Compressor program.

Apple admits that version X is a “foundational piece.” It says that it will restore some of these features over time, and that other companies are rapidly filling in the other holes.

For nonprofessionals, meanwhile, Final Cut is already tempting — especially because the price is $300, not $1,000. It’s the first Apple program that’s available only by download from the online Mac App Store, not on DVD. All of the programs formerly called Final Cut Studio have been rolled into Final Cut except Motion and Compressor, which are sold separately. Final Cut Express and DVD Studio Pro are gone.)

The new Final Cut has been radically redesigned. In fact, it looks and works a lot like iMovie, all dark gray, with “skimming” available; you run your cursor over a clip without pressing the mouse button to play it.

Once you’re past the shock of the new layout, the first thing you’ll notice is that Apple has left most of the old Final Cut’s greatest annoyances on the cutting-room floor.

First — and this is huge — there’s no more waiting to “render.” You no longer sit there, dead in the water, while the software computes the changes, locking up the program in the meantime, every time you add an effect or insert a piece of video that’s in a different format. Final Cut X renders in the background, so you can keep right on editing. You cannot, however, organize your files or delete clips during rendering.

Second, in the old Final Cut, it was all too easy to drag the audio and video of a clip out of sync accidently; little “-1” or “+10” indicators, showing how many frames off you were, were a chronic headache. But in the new Final Cut, “sync is holy,” as Apple puts it. Primary audio and video are always synced, and you can even lock other clips together so that they all move as one.

In fact, an ingenious feature called Compound Clips lets you collapse a stack of audio and video clips into a single, merged filmstrip on the timeline. You can adjust it, move it and apply effects as if it were a single unit, and then un-merge it anytime you like. Compound Clips make it simple to manage with a complicated composition without going quietly insane.

In the old Final Cut, if you dragged Clip A so that it overlapped part of Clip B, even briefly, you wound up chopping away the covered-up piece of Clip B. But now, the timeline sprouts enough new parallel “tracks” to keep both of the overlapping clips. Nothing gets chopped unless you do it yourself.

Source: David Pogue / NYTimes.com

Apple’s new non-linear editing app plots a roadmap to the future of video editing

by Gary Adcock, Macworld.com

With the release of its hotly anticipated Final Cut Pro X (FCP X), Apple breaks new ground—not just with its flagship video editor’s interface and underlying infrastructure—but with the whole mindset of what it means to be a working professional video editor.

Apple has revamped Final Cut Pro’s hands-on user experience in three major areas: Editing, media organization, and post-production workflow. New tools such as the Magnetic Timeline, Clip Connections, Compound Clips, and Auditions provide a smooth, intuitive editing experience.

With the rise of data-centric workflows and tapeless video recording, organizational tools such as Content Auto-Analysis, Range-based keywords, and Smart Collections work in the background to automate formerly tedious and time-consuming manual processes.

Post production workflows now offer customizable effects, integrated audio editing, color grading, and a host of streamlined delivery options.

With this new application, video pros can no longer follow traditional ways of working.

Clips in FCP X’s new Event Library are sorted by both user-created Custom Keywords (blue icons) and Smart Collections. The latter are created automatically by Content Auto-Analysis during import (purple icons).

Final Cut Pro X, despite its familiar name, is not an upgrade of Final Cut Pro 7. It is a brand new product. FCP X is also no longer part of a suite of applications such as Final Cut Studio, but rather one of a trio of component parts that include Final Cut Pro X ($300), Motion 5 ($50), and Compressor 4 ($50). All are available separately for download from the Mac App Store. There will be no boxed copies.

Rolling

Final Cut Pro X starts off by immediately analyzing your media as it begins to import footage, while at the same time archiving critical secondary information on color balance, motion, rolling shutter artifacts, tracking, and stabilization data on a clip-by-clip basis.

While handling the bulk of analytical information at ingest, FCP X is tagging the files with metadata in a manner that speeds secondary file processing, delivery, and rendering capabilities and vastly accelerates workflow. The heavy lifting of this content is invisibly handled in the background—between the application and the Mac operating system—as a byproduct of the conversion to a fully 64-bit application workflow.

The most profound interface changes to FCP X—beyond the new darker look—are the Event Browser and the Event Library. Importing your content into the app creates a new Event, a virtual folder that holds all of the information about your media: what it is, where it’s stored, and whether it’s from a specific date, place, or client. You can even rate, organize, and show or hide clips from view while accessing tools like Keyword and Smart Collections. Events are created by the application as part of the ingest, in addition to your organizational effort.

When you’re done creating your video, you can use the direct upload options within FCP X to share it on Facebook, Vimeo, YouTube, and CNN iReport. All Apple devices are available as options, as well as Podcast Producer, output for standard definition DVDs, and even Blu-ray devices, directly within FCP X. Plus, the application still offers fully integrated processing with Compressor. Standalone export output options offer all flavors of Apple’s ProRes, H.264, DVCProHD, Apple HDV, and even Sony’s XDCamEX format at 35Mbps and the 50Mbps version of the XDCamHD 422 codec.

Here are the currently available output options for file delivery when exporting your project directly from FCP X.

Magnetic Timeline

Acting as a trackless canvas for your video edit, the Magnetic Timeline allows you the freedom to arrange and re-arrange your media wherever you want. Existing clips on the timeline slide in and out of the way without danger of collision or overwriting a previous edit. They snap into place “magnetically,” dynamically aligning with existing media in the timeline. Despite being trackless, you can easily create multi-level compositions and properly maintain continuity as you move media around in your project. This feature interactively shows you exactly what’s happening in the timeline as you work, so you can easily execute your vision.

Clip Connections and Compound Clips

Designed to maintain the continuity of media in the timeline, Clip Connections are relational links between primary media in the timeline and secondary elements. Content such as titles, B-roll, sound effects, and even music, can be moved and repositioned seamlessly as a single clip, maintaining audio and video sync, and giving you a clear, visually defined connection to your assets.

Alongside Clip Connections and its facility at combining primary and secondary elements into a cohesive unit for editing and filtering, Compound Clips further advances the concept by allowing a complex multi-element group of media to be handled as a single clip. It’s easy. Just select the relevant media and choose Create Compound Clip from the File menu (or hit the Option-G key command).

Compound Clips let you move, duplicate, and handle clips as an individual segment. You can even share such clips across multiple projects or use a clip to apply filters and effects across all combined elements. The Compound Clips feature helps video editors remove clutter and simplify the timeline’s organization, while maintaining media continuity.

This is the Compound Clip when open.

The Compound Clip command offers a vastly simpler timeline that minimizes the additional track and clip information until needed. Think of it as a nested sequence on steroids. This is the Compound Clip when closed.

Auditions

Think about being able to create multiple versions of an opening or closing sequence for different clients or presentations. That’s the power of Auditions. With this feature, you can view various alternative scenes in your video without leaving the timeline. Auditions provides a fast and easy way to preview a number of variations—with any media collection—in real time. To create Auditions, just drag the shots to the same place in the timeline and choose the Add to Audition command. This allows the Magnetic Timeline to handle the sequence continuity and sync.

Auditions lets you dynamically preview multiple clips within the timeline without disturbing any other media.

Content Auto-Analysis and Keywords

Underneath the surface, FCP X mines metadata from your content from the second you ingest footage from the camera. That data stream includes information such as camera type, frame rate, white balance, and a host of other pre-defined parameters.

The Content Auto-Analysis feature can, during import, distinguish individual people, shot types (close, medium, and wide) and rolling shutter artifacts common to many CMOS cameras. It can also rectify stabilization issues with hand-held shots, adjust overall color balance, and analyze and remove excessive audio noise and hum or silent audio tracks from footage.

Much of FCP X’s automatic keyword creation is derived from this media detection functionality. The program uses the information gathered to create keywords and automatically assembles assets into Smart Collections within the Event Library. Thus, while importing your content, FCP X is sorting, categorizing, and auto keywording in the background. In addition to the keywords that the program assigns, you can add or edit your own keywords to identify specific shots in any manner you choose. Since you can have multiple keywords for the same clip, and all of those clips would appear in each search and link to a single original piece of media, you can accomplish faster, cleaner edits.

Applying customizable effects offers you a real-time preview of the effect on your video in the canvas. Note that the thumbnail view in the Effects Window also shows the clip. The new Skimming feature brings added power to the content preview in FCP X.

Another result of this metadata analysis is the ability to create a keyword selection across multiple pieces of media. Range-based Keywords allow you to flag a keyword across all or just small parts of multiple clips. Keywording offers a larger, far more flexible canvas. No longer are you restricted to specific bins or folders.

Content library access

Borrowing a page from its iLife line of consumer apps, FCP X lets you browse all of your attached media and content libraries within the program. View your iTunes, iPhoto, and Aperture content as well as Motion Libraries directly, as well as 1300 royalty-free sound effects offered as a free download, available via Apple’s software update, after you purchase FCP X.

Customizable effects

FCP X provides a wide array of content, including animations, titles, transitions, and effects sequences, all accessible and editable within the application.

Much of this content was created specifically for Apple by Hollywood effects pros and graphic designers. Customizable from the start, these effects allow you to preview a clip by selecting a shot and then using the skimming function to get a true instantaneous, real-time preview—both as a thumbnail and in the viewer—of how your shot will look with that effect applied.

You also have access to all of the transform functions (crop, scale, rotate, and distort) as well as keyframing of those effects without having to jump between different parts of the interface. Effects imported from Motion 5 can be managed to allow you to modify different parts of the program’s new Parameter Rigging feature.

Effects in viewer.

Audio editing

Apple has chosen to fully integrate audio editing into FCP X. Starting with the ingest, the program analyzes content for hum, noise, and dynamic audio changes. It even automates audio sync from an external recorder and the camera, matching audio and video via the waveforms, to connect content and sync it properly. This was formerly a manual process.

With a large library of sound effects and high-quality audio effects plug-ins available in FCP X, you now have greater control of your audio enhancements than ever before. You can access control for sub-frame audio edits as well as many of the available 64-bit versions of third-party Audio Units plug-ins.

Color grading

Whether you need a single-click correction or want to create a stylized look, all color work now happens within FCP X. From the first analysis, color balance and correction are mapped for use, allowing you to quickly match multiple shots in the same group or refine the look of any clip in the Event Browser or the timeline.

The Color Board gives you a dynamic way to make custom modifications to overall color, saturation, and exposure, while allowing keying and masking to be done simply and directly within the app. The Match Color feature offers a fast and easy way to match the overall color, contrast, and look between two different shots to maintain a project’s visual continuity.

The Color Board represents the essence of Apple’s FCP X interface changes. It allows you simple control over exposure, color, and saturation.

Bottom line

Apple’s new Final Cut Pro X has been re-designed from the ground up with a radically different approach—one that acknowledges and uses device and camera data in a manner that has never before been attempted in the video editing environment.

With this release, Apple shows us the future in which data streams from all the devices we work with communicate seamlessly, sharing media behind the scenes. Think of the advantages and possibilities when all the effort you put into setting up a shot or project continue downstream from your camera into post-production, or follow your content when it’s delivered on the web. That’s the promise of Final Cut Pro X. Will that promise be fulfilled?

[Gary Adcock is a Chicago-based consultant who specializes in building workflows for film and television productions. He is the founder and past president of the Chicago Final Cut Users Group, Tech Chairman of the NAB Director of Photography Conference, and a member of the I/A Local 600/ Camera Guild Training Committee, teaching tapeless production techniques and workflows to professional camera operators. His writings and musing can be found at his blog on Creative Cow .]

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