Archive for the ‘ WORKFLOW ’ Category

My FCPX Location Workflow

It’s been a while since I’ve shared my location workflow and since the release of FCPX 10.1 it’s now a useful tool for ingesting in the field so I thought I’d take a bit of time to detail exactly how I go about managing data when working overseas.

Firstly i’ll list the equipment that I take with me for handling footage. This setup is designed to be as portable and light as possible mainly due to baggage restrictions at airports where every KG counts, especially when you fly using Europe’s budget airlines.

 

Keeping the kit small

My current kit consists of the following:

11″ Macbook Air
Lacie Rugged Thunderbolt / USB 3 Drive
Toshiba USB Portable drive
Nexto NVS2500
Lexar USB 3 Card Reader

 

paul_joy_location_workflow_1

 

Dual Slot Recording = Dual Benefits

One of the great features on both the Canon C300 and C100 is the ability to record to both card slots simultaneously. I use this feature for all of my shooting, it not only offers protection against loss of footage in case of a card failure but it also allows me to process and backup my data more efficiently.

paul_joy_location_workflow_2

 

Connecting everything up

The centre of my setup is the most basic model 11″ Macbook Air. I purchased this little mac just for handling footage but I’ve actually edited in the field with it a few times and it’s been perfectly capable. I normally connect my Lacie Rugged Thunderbolt / USB 3 Drive to the MacBook Air via thunderbolt just because it leaves both USB ports available. If you don’t have Thunderbolt as an option however USB obviously works just as well for the task.

I plug the Lexar USB 3 Card Reader in to one of the USB slots and the other one is used to power my Nexto NVS2500. The Nexto does have a built in rechargeable battery but I prefer to keep it powered via USB during the backup process rather than worrying about how much charge is remaining. Having it powered via the macBook also means one less power brick to worry about.

 

paul_joy_location_workflow_3

 

Ingest & backup

So here’s where shooting to both cards comes in really useful. For each pair of cards I have one goes in to the Nexto which creates a copy of the exact card structure and then verifies it. At the same time the other card goes in to the card reader and I use Final Cut Pro X to import the data from the card into a Library on the Lacie drive. It’s obviously important to make sure both cards contain the same data but if there’s any kind of error or difference between the two at least this way you have the data from both cards.

 

paul_joy_location_workflow_4

The great thing about working this way is that FCPX can be left to create it’s optimised media and do any processing required on the footage. I don’t like to have any rendering done by the macBook so I disable rendering but that’s a personal choice, if you like to work with render files then you could also have that process done for you as well. If required I’ll apply a basic set of keywords to the imported clips while they are fresh in my memory from that days shooting.

One big advantage to working within FCPX on location is if i find I have time I can begin making selects within FCPX and save myself some time during the edit stage.

paul_joy_location_workflow_6  paul_joy_location_workflow_5

The copy of the cards on the Nexto is really just an emergency backup, If for any reason the data within FCPX is incomplete or damaged then I can revert to the Nexto and perform a fresh import in to FCPX.

 

FCPX & Time Machine

As more and more data is imported in to the FCPX Library on the Lacie drive and I spend time adding meta data to it I like to also make a backup of that drive to a second drive using Time Machine. The beauty of Time Machine is that it’s able to look within the FCPX Library and only add items that have been added or changed since the last backup.

fcp-timemachine

 

 

Moving to the Mac Pro

Once I get back to base the real advantage to using FCPX on location becomes apparent. I simply copy the library file from the Lacie over to the RAID on my Mac Pro, open it up in Final Cut and I can continue making selects or start editing straight away. I don’t have to worry about importing cards and waiting for data to be processed, it’s all there ready to go and because I’ve handled the key wording and meta data on location while it was fresh in my memory I can filter my searches and create smart collections easily.

 

library-mac

Keeping the Card Data

Whether I keep the original card media as well as the FCPX libraries varies from project to project, if I do want to keep a copy of the original cards I’ll copy the data from the Nexto. I find that I’m much less inclined to do that these days however, I tend to keep the original media on the Nexto until the project has been completed and signed of by the client, at that point I’m happy to just archive the the FCPX Library and not worry about the original card data.

Once the project has been signed off and delivered I export a Master Pro Res file from each project (timeline) that has been signed off by the client and store those along with the Library File and any other external assets that were used in the project.

I hope that proves useful, if you have any questions just leave a comment.

Motion tracking in FCPX with CoreMelt TrackX & SliceX

I was recently invited to try out the TrackX and SliceX FCP plugins from CoreMelt. I’ve needed to use motion tracking on a few jobs in the past and have always relied on After Effects for the task. The TrackX and SliceX plugins from CoreMelt offer up the ability to do motion tracking directly with the FCP Interface which is a real positive for me.

I’ve only been experimenting with the plugin for a couple of days now and compared to using After Effects it’s extremely simple to get great results. I’m not going to show any examples of my own usage as yet as I’m still learning the basics but here’s a video showing some of the results that can be achieved.

I’ll be posting more of a tutorial / review in the near future showing how the tools within the plugin are especially useful for me but I’d recommend watching the examples below showing what’s possible with SliceX and TrackX.

To find out more about the plugin visit the CoreMelt website

Green screen in FCPX

I thought I’d share this project I worked on recently as going in to it I planned to do the animation parts in motion but I decided to try doing the whole thing directly in FCPX. I was pleasantly surprised how easily FCPX handled the key framing and the green screen key, I did make a few tweaks along the way but in general the keyer in FCPX is really good.

For the graphical elements I created photoshop files with a transparent background and imported them as multi layer psd’s allowing me to keyframe each graphical part separately. Opening and closing the video animation fly outs for each element was a bit of a drag, especially when there were a few elements stacked vertically but the app handled the animation with ease.

[update – 11/02/2014 – 13:24]
As noted by Ian in the comments it’s a little confusing as the hand shown in the video is on a white background. It was shot green screen because the client wasn’t sure if they were happy going with a white background so I had to be able to use imagery or another colour if required.

Timelines in Final Cut Pro X

I’ve been using FCPX as my main editing application for over six months now and with the improvements that Apple have added via updates it has really grown on me. There are a few things that I would like to see improved but in general I think FCPX has made editing for me a much better experience, it seems to get out of the way and allow me to be more creative.

One of the things that takes a little getting used to with FCPX is the way apple have messed with our minds when it comes to naming conventions and how we manage our projects. What used to be Projects in FCP7 are now referred to as Events, and what used to be called sequences are now projects… not one of apples best moves in my opinion.

When using FCP7 or Premiere Pro you get used to creating sequences or timelines within your project but in FCPX the projects are separated from the events and are saved in separate folders. There is however a way to restore some normality to working with timelines in FCPX by utilising Compound Clips for your working timelines.

Compound clips are stored within the FCPX events much like timelines would be with FCP 7 and most of the functionality is the same as it would be in a project. The only exception is that it’s not possible to export an XML file from a Compound Clip, but then it’s a really easy and fast process to copy the contents from a compound clip to a project if you need to do that.

Watch this video from Richard Taylor at FCPX.TV for a great explanation.

Mac Pro RAID setup

I recently posted about choosing a new storage solution for my Mac Pro where I decided to invest in an SAS based RAID system from www.rentaraid.co.uk. Now that the kit has been installed I thought I’d post a quick update about the installation procedure, an issue I ran into and the results so far.

Firstly, here’s a rundown of the kit I ordered and how it’s all setup.  The PCIe card is the Areca AC-1882x 8 port SAS/SATA Raid adapter. This card features two external SAS connectors, each capable of controlling up to four SATA hard drives, hence the (8 port) description. Fitting the card into the Mac Pro is a relatively simple process, at least it is if you’re used to fiddling around with PCI cards. If you’ve grown up on iMacs then you might find this a little daunting but as long as your careful then fitting PCI cards is fairly straightforward.

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