To say that Final Cut Pro X – Apple's long awaited update to Final Cut Pro 7 – caused a bit of a stir when it was released is a massive understatement. Loyal Apple editors had been brimming over with excitement after the company previewed FCP X on the sidelines of NAB at the Final Cut Pro User Groups Supermeet exactly a year ago.
I too was excited; the presentation really opened my eyes to the potential for this software to speed up my workflow. I loved the 'magnetic timeline' and I was particularly impressed with the way it handled large amounts of footage with powerful organisational tools using embedded metadata to identify footage with an unlimited number of keywords. I immediately saw the potential for incorporating it into my editing workflow, especially with regard to media management, and looked forward to getting my hands on a copy.
A full two months passed before Apple released it and the blogosphere was awash with excitement about how this software would revolutionise editing. But once it was released it caused uproar. Apple had removed (or more accurately hadn't yet written in) several key 'professional' features of the software. This rendered the software useless for many more complex broadcast projects, especially projects that needed to be exported for finishing in a professional audio studio or a colour grading facility. The release was heavily criticized by video editors and resulted in several spoof videos.
The reaction was actually quite interesting for those following the furore at the time – the new FCP X forum on the Creative Cow website was ablaze with incredulous editors hysterical at the way they had been treated by Apple. The Creative Cow even started a whole new forum called Final Cut Pro X Techniques so that people who actually wanted to learn the software had somewhere to discuss it away from all the hysteria.
After reading about all the missing features I quickly realised that there wasn't a single one that I ever actually used in my workflow. I was quite amused by all the fuss and I was really keen to give it a go and get stuck into learning the new software.
As is the case with many news shooters, I assume, I am completely self-taught and learnt editing as a kind of necessary add-on to shooting video. I learnt enough of FCP7 to do what I needed to do but I never really learnt it properly as it seemed like there were endless features that I didn't need or use. I decided that with FCP X I would learn it from the ground up and saw this new release as a great opportunity to start afresh.
I work predominantly at The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's (ABC) Beijing news bureau. I normally shoot and edit 5-7 minute news features and I decided to try out FCPX for the first time editing a story that I had a couple of days to work on as opposed to the usual one-day edits I normally do. How hard could it be? I figured I'd run in to a few stumbling blocks but I'd be able to overcome them pretty quickly.
What a disaster! Editing on FCP X with the magnetic timeline is so completely different to FCP7 it took me absolutely ages to do anything. I then had some serious audio issues (due to me not understanding how X handles audio) and had to bale out of X halfway through the second day, despite coming into the office at 7am, rushing to finish the project in FCP7 to meet my deadline. In about 10 hours I had only managed to edit a few minutes of video in X. I got a dressing down from the journalist I work with, who told me I wasn't to use it again until I had learnt it properly. Fair enough!
Fortunately, soon afterwards, I had the perfect project to use as a learning tool for getting to grips with X. I needed to edit a series of videos I was making for the British Embassy in Beijing and had a fairly open ended deadline. I made a point of systematically learning the software while editing these videos. They were for the most part simple edits so they were perfect for learning with. I bought Larry Jordan's FCP X training, which I highly recommend, and watched most of the relevant videos for what I needed to do.
My home office
Every time I learnt how to do something I made a post-it note with the shortcut and stuck it on the wall above my computer. I ended up with about 50 post-its on my wall. They continue to be a handy visual reference as I use the software; the shortcuts vastly speed up your workflow and learning them from day one is definitely the way to go. Here is one of the first videos I edited using X. It is predominantly made up of time-lapses of Beijing and with most of them I re-timed them using X's powerful re-timing tool. This is a massive advance from FCP7's 'change speed' tool and one of the many reasons why I really like FCP X.
Using FCPX in a news environment Once I finally got to grips with the software I started editing with FCP X in The ABC office and I've never looked back. After 10 or so short edits using it I'm now faster at editing on it than I was with 7. Every aspect of my workflow is slightly quicker than before and I certainly think that if you were learning editing for the first time FCP X would be much easier to pickup.
I'm not going to go into too much technical detail here about editing with FCP X. The 'magnetic timeline' is definitely the hardest thing to get your head around, and also how the audio works in a trackless environment, but there are plenty of resources if you want to learn more and as I mentioned earlier Larry Jordan's website and Creative Cow's forums are great places to start. But for the purposes of this article I wanted to highlight three areas of FCP X that are a huge improvement and are particularly useful and relevant to news shooters.
First of all, it is important to understand that in FCP X 'Projects' are like FCP7 sequences and 'Events' are kind of like FCP7 projects (but without the sequences). If that sounds unnecessarily confusing, that's because it is. Apple's famous advertising slogan 'think different' has been taken to the extreme with FCP X but once you get your head around it I think it is actually much better.
The 'Event' Browser For news shooters I think the most significant improvement is the way X handles media. The idea is that you organise everything within X into a series of 'events'. Once you have ingested all your footage into X these 'events' are available to all your 'projects' without having to load it in each time. Within an event you can tag your footage with as many keywords as you like; this in itself is a powerful organisational tool. The way that the Event Browser is designed is essentially a huge database. The significance of this powerful database for news shooter/editors is that the Event Browser can become an incredibly useful archive of all your footage, infinitely tag-able, instantly accessible and perhaps most usefully, instantly viewable. So long as you have enough hard drive space, you can access all your archive with tremendous speed and ease. I have mine set up on a second display (see photo) and I can very quickly scan through the footage I have shot for that story or my archive. There are many different display options and you can chose to have the whole clip represented by an image or every 1,2,5 or 30 seconds 1,5 or 10 minutes. I can pick out shots without even viewing the footage just by scanning over the event browser. This massively speeds up my editing speed, but the main thing is that it has helped me creatively. I am able to quickly and easily find shots from literally hundreds of hours of footage. I've not got there yet but I'm working towards having all the stock footage I regularly use at my fingertips all of the time, and crucially not just the footage I am working with at the time. I'm lucky enough to work with multi-award-winning (including an ACS Golden Tripod) cameraman Rob Hill who has been shooting in China for more than 5 years and I'm slowly but surely getting all his amazing archive loaded on to my system for future use. FCP X is the perfect tool for accessing this archive. On top of this, once you have this archive all loaded in, you can assign all your clips with multiple tags, which means you can have footage appear in various places. The only limit is your imagination. Any given clip can have hundreds of keywords assigned to it.
The Event browser running on a secondary display
Multi-track audio export using 'Roles' When I used to deliver my stories to ABC in Australia using FCP7 I had to make sure that I organised my timeline in such a way that all my interviews and voiceover audio were on one track and all my sync or background sound and music on another. I would then pan the audio of track one to the left and track two (and any other track) to the right. This ensured that Final Cut Pro would not mix the two tracks together upon exporting a QuickTime movie. This meant that when the ABC newsroom in Australia received the file they could split the tracks and then re-mix the sound or re-use the footage for archive or re-edit a shorter version of the story without having the voiceover embedded all over the original footage. With FCP X there is a much cleverer and more powerful way to achieve the same thing, but it is a feature of the software and not a workaround.
When Apple updated Final Cut Pro X with 10.0.2 they added the Role feature and I now use it on every news edit before I export. Basically you can tag different parts of your edit and assign it different 'roles'. Apple describes this feature as exporting customized audio and video stems using Roles metadata. The great thing is that once you have assigned different roles to your edit you can export a multi-track QuickTime file with different parts of your audio on different tracks (up to four distinct audio tracksThe delivery of multi-track QuickTime files is a reality and it is also very easy. There are other reasons to use roles but for news they come in most useful for exporting distinct audio tracks.
Importing from file based cameras Most of us are now using solid-state media to shoot on, whether it be using DSLRs or video cameras. One of FCP X's great features is that once you tell it to import your files from whatever cards you are using, you can start editing with the footage straight away (note: I've only actually used this feature with Panasonic P2 cards; other systems may vary). This means that if I'm pushed for time I can start looking through my footage and picking out shots straight away as soon as I get to my desk and plug everything in. I've had some performance issues doing this but it has come in incredibly useful on occasion. I would still probably recommend ingesting all your media before having a proper edit, but in theory you can basically edit straight from the cards and export before it's even been ingested. This can be a real bonus when you're under a tight deadline.
Me sitting in the ABC Beijing office
There are many other features of FCP X that I really like but for editing news stories quickly and creatively these three s out as the most useful. With the launch of 10.0.4 Apple addressed many stability issues and the software keeps developing from strength to strength. They still have some serious bad press to get over but I reckon that in a year or so everyone will be wondering what all the fuss was about. It is perhaps still not ready to use for long form complex projects (although many people have been using it for those), but I for one am never looking back. FCP7 seems old and clunky when I use it now. I'm not saying that FCPX is better than other editing systems; at the end of the day they are just tools. But for me, working in a deadline-orientated news environment, I find that FCPX lets me express my creativity in a more efficient way than Legacy FCP.
James Bayliss-Smith is a Beijing based Cameraman, Editor and videographer. He works mostly with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Checkout his Vimeo Channel and follow him on Twitter.
The common problem with basic Tripod plates (quick release plates) is that you only have one main screw that attaches to the camera. So obviously with a little force, the camera seems to twist around, and sometimes come loose from the QR plate. This is especially more annoying when using a follow focus system and the lens moves away from the gear. If you look carefully under your camera, you'll find a tiny 'alignment' hole that most QR plates don't utilize.
3 screws to fasten the plate and 2 thread to fasten a quick release plate
The Canon 5D Mark II Anti Twist Plate takes advantage of the alignment hole on the camera to make sure it doesn't shift, and then there are two threaded holes that you would use to mount your QR plate. Yes, you would use both threads in your slotted plate which will prevent the plate from shifting also. If you have the need for a firm stance, check out these anti-twist plates via eBay (click here).
If you're looking to do some remote focus pulling, the wireless systems can be a bit 'finicky'. A Wired electronic remote follow focus system works with a long cable so the camera operator can move about, and the puller can control focus with a remote video screen. This particular one (above) uses a basic '3.5mm stereo' cable for the remote tether. Looking back at some of the older videos, this new electronic follow focus has been a work in progress for at least several months. The final version finally has shown up on eBay with what looks like a similar beefy servo as in the Jag35 kit and starts at only $199 (seen here).
The video above has the Servo mounted on the stiff Zoom ring (not focus ring) to showcase it's strength. There are two different versions available. One with a A/B programmable focus points, and one is just a basic electronic follow focus. The speed of the movement can be adjusted on the remote as well. There's a few other videos showing the effectiveness of programmed A/B stops, and a closer look at the Remote (keep in mind that's the older version ff) on the eBay page (click here).
The other day, engadget posted a story Editorial: Despite shaky 48 fps Hobbit preview, high frame rates will take off. We were all so excited back in 2009 when the Canon EOS 5D Mark II was upgraded to 24fps in a firmware update because 30fps looks "too much like news or a soap opera." What do you think the future will bring? Is 24fps dead? There's a poll question just below the videos… please let us know your thoughts!
If you've kept up with recent discussion (hopefully you haven't been hiding in a hobbit hole somewhere), Peter Jackson is shooting "the Hobbit" on Red in 3D as well as shooting it at 48fps and James Cameron ("Avatar") has been talking about how 48 or 60fps is so much better (watch this 2009 interview where he talks about sports being done in higher framerates – "24 frame display rate is a 20th century idea")
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James Cameron discussing 48 fps (from June 2011)
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Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.
Well actually, the Hobbit preview wasn't shaky, it was smooth — maybe too smooth — and that's the point. "It does take you a while to get used to," Peter Jackson has admitted, referring to the surprisingly fluid motion of his 48 fps movie footage. But is he right to think audiences will even give it a chance? The launch of high frame-rate (HFR) cinema is surrounded by publicity in the run-up to the Hobbit's debut on December 12th, but it equally has a lot going against it. For starters, the film's 48 fps preview wasn't exactly received warmly. On top of that, the video-style appearance of HFR has a long history of being disliked by movie-goers — past attempts since the 1970s have all flamed out.
85 years after the first 24 fps movies, the same number of frames are still going stubbornly through the gate (digital or otherwise) each second, so that must be what "filmic" is, right? Or will we look back on 24fps as the bad old days? Read on to see if these new/old-fangled frame speeds might survive, and though a 48 fps Hobbit trailer isn't available, we've provided a couple of clips to help you judge what two-dimensional HFR looks like.
So what do you think?
I personally haven't seen enough 48fps footage yet to know, but when looking at the Hobbit trailer and watching the samples on engadget, I'm thinking I don't like it. I've certainly seen enough 30fps stuff to know I like 24fps better there, but what about the super high rates?
And to Mr. Cameron's comment in the video above… sure, I want my sports in super high quality, but I don't want my movies to look like video. What about you?
I get a lot of emails about kickstarter projects and I don't always have a chance to sponsor them or post, but this is one that appeals to me – I love to see someone taking barriers and smashing them and just doing what needs to be done.
This is a little different in that the kickstarter is for a documentary about another filmmaker, but it is intriguing… here's the trailer for what the filmmaker is doing in iceland, and then after that is the appeal for kickstarter.
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Invulnerable on kickstarter
Be Creative. No excuses.
It all started in Iceland, where earth meets itself coming and going through volcanoes, glaciers, waterfalls, and more sheep than you can count. If you don't like the landscape, wait a few minutes. It might change. Remember Eyjafjallajökull?
This is the kind of unstoppable creative energy we think of when we tell the story of our friend, Icelandic cinematographer Pétur Kristján Guðmundsson.
So, what is this Kickstarter project all about, and why does it need your help?
It's about making a documentary, Invulnerable, which will follow Pétur's story as he finishes production work on his film HEILD. After a serious accident required Pétur to work from a wheelchair, he has never stopped pursuing his goal of creating the world's first non-narrative film about Icelandic landscape and society.
The documentary will also follow the evolution of Pétur's condition. Pétur is working hard on his rehabilitation, with the goal of using his legs to walk.
We are asking for your help to raise just enough money to pay the expenses of shooting this documentary. Any contribution will help this project to become a success.
Pétur will make HEILD no matter what, in spite of some very serious obstacles, the Icelandic landscape notwithstanding. Living with an unchosen vulnerability, Pétur can't help being who he is: a filmmaker.
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cinema5D has been the "forum for DSLR filmmakers" for 3 and a half years. There's no question cinema5D will always be cinema5D, but with so many new "large sensor" cameras that are or aren't DSLR's I think the time has come to alter that subtitle to represent the large scope of affordable cinema cameras cinema5D serves as a platform.
I need your help to find the best possible subtitle for cinema5D!!! The main purpose of the subtitle is to make new visitors understand where they have landed. Something to keep in mind when you go crazy with your creative ideas in the comments. Thanks for your help!
Old: cinema5D – the forum for DSLR filmmakers Some suggestions from me: cinema5D – large sensor filmmaking cinema5D – the forum for indie filmmakers cinema5D – filmmaking in the digital age cinema5D – digital camera revolution platform cinema5D – my sensor is larger than yours cinema5D – the ultimate platform for filmmakers cinema5D – the forum for digital filmmakers cinema5D – the forum for digital filmmaking cinema5D – the forum for future filmmakers cinema5D – online dating for DSLR lenses
I must admit, I think DSLR was a cool word, while "large sensor" and "indie" really isn't. What subtitle for cinema5D do you guys have in mind?
What's going on? I have heard just about everything as to why the Canon EOS-1D X has been delayed for almost 8 months. I've heard blame being placed on battery approval in Japan, FCC approval in the United States, production issues with certain parts of the camera, serious firmware issues that had to be resolved to name a few. Canon has kept the issues very close to the vest and very few people know the exact reasons.
So?….. Recently I have been told by a couple of people that the version of the 1DX that have reached select AP and CPS photographers are not in fact production cameras, they are preproduction. Canon felt it was important to have the new camera out for Euro 2012 and the Olympics in London. It's suggested that the cameras that are in the hands of these photographers will infact have to go back to Canon and will be replaced with the production model whenever they are ready.
That seems strange, no?
CRs Take The above may be untrue, however an 8 month delay in this day and age is a pretty unique thing. It tells me, and others, that something at the hardware level with the camera is being addressed and has required additional R&D and manufacturing considerations. If the issue was something like a battery or FCC approval, I don't see the harm in just saying that in a press release and getting on with things.
Will the camera hit retailers in June? For the moment I don't have an answer, I haven't heard anything from major retailers about availability in a long time.
This is probably going over everyone's head, but I just saw this on the eBay deals page. A rechargeable USB battery pack that has ports for both 1A and 2.1A outputs. I don't know how consistent the output is, but it peaked my interest because my Asus WiCast (streaming HD video) requires 5V 2A minimum to run, or it's just not going to power up. Right now I have everything working nicely with the Tekkeon battery packs, but they are a bit large to mount with camera.
I tried a number of other USB battery packs for the 5V output, but they just didn't put out the 2A that I need. Maybe this one is different? The Asus probably needs the most amount of power, but if you're using something like the Brite-View HDMI wireless systems, that should that requires less. Anyways, I guess I might be the only one excited for something like this, so just ignore this post, but if you're shopping for a portable battery pack for anything else USB powered, it might be something to look into with the price drop (click here).
That's a 44x Zoom Canon has published a patent for a zoom lens with an equivalent focal length of 24-1060. That's a 44x zoom for those that are counting. Could we see this in the next SX PowerShot camera? A good possibility.
Patent Publication No. 2012-98699
2012.5.24 Release Date
2010.10.7 filing date
Zoom ratio 44.28
13.08 – - 190.43mm f = 4.30 focal length
Fno 2.87 – 5.00 – 7.07
16.50 – - 1.17 deg 37.77 a half angle of view.
3.88 – - 3.88mm 3.33 image height
93.62 – - 137.94mm 94.49 lens length
13 pieces in 10 groups Lens Construction
Two four-sided aspherical
3 UD glass sheet
Group 4 consists of positive and negative positive positive