Archive for the ‘ Workflow ’ Category

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

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.

Editing Canon MXF footage in Final Cut Pro X ( FCPX ) without transcoding

I’ve dabbled with Final Cut Pro X a few times since it was released and although I still struggle to understand apple’s weird naming conventions the application does have quite a few things going for it. Multicam editing is fantastic in FCPX, it automatically syncs clips using audio in the same way the PluralEyes did/does in FCP7. FCPX is also great value and with each new version Apple add’s back in features that were sorely missed by FCP7 users when it first appeared.

The one thing that’s stopped me using FCPX more has been that it couldn’t handle the Canon MXF files from my C300 natively. There were plugins available that would import and transcode / re-wrap the Canon footage into more Apple friendly Pro Res files but after using Adobe Premiere Pro for a couple of years I’ve been spoiled by it’s ability to edit directly from the source footage and no longer dealing with duplicate media..

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14 day time-lapse – the result

Last month I wrote about setting up this time-lapse¬†and promised that I would post the results as soon as I could and I’m now able to do so. I’ve had to wait for the footage to be approved by Harley-Davidson so I’m sorry for the delay, here it is.

So as you might remember I decided to set up my GoPro on a Cherry Picker overlooking the event site that was hosting the European Bike Week in Faaker See, Austria. This seemed like the best solution at the time and the initial results looked great.

When I left Austria I left instructions for the cherry picker to be lowered once a day to check that the camera was still functioning and if required to change the card, the latter would only be required once because the 32Gig card installed would last 10 – 12 days by my estimation.

Of the 14 days the camera was running there was really only once where a problem developed, luckily this was discovered in the middle of the day and as it turns out the camera only missed around 4 hrs. I’m not really sure what happened that time, the GoPro just locked up by all accounts, the time-lapse icon and the red light were no longer flashing yet there was plenty of room on the card and the camera was turned on.

When I reviewed the footage after returning from Austria I discovered a much bigger problem, and one that I had not considered. The theory was that if we raised the cherry picker to it’s maximum height each time the camera would end up in roughly the same position, and that part actually worked well, what I hadn’t considered though was that the hydraulics themselves could actually lose pressure over time!

Luckily the main parts of the lift that controlled the height were reliable, it was the very last part of the lift that caused the biggest problem. This last section effected the angle of the camera and each time the cherry picker was re-extended the last section would slowly sag, settling after around fours. The change was only a small one, 2 degrees at most but it was enough to make the results look awful when played back in extreme fast forward.

When editing the footage I had to keyframe these rotations out, I couldn’t totally remove all signs of it in the time I had available but I managed to remove the worst of it. You can still see the evidence in the results though so I’ll chalk that up to a learning experience!

I also wanted to remove a lot of the night time footage and after doing so there was a visible jump in the joins. I ran the results though the warp stabiliser in after effects to try and smooth these out and it did a pretty good job, although again not perfect.

So all in all I learned a lot, the results are not perfect but I’m still happy with them, and more importantly so is the client.

Final Cut Pro to Premiere Pro – six months in

I switched from Final Cut Pro to Premiere Pro CS5 about six months ago and have been using it as my main NLE ever since. Due to Apples recent launch of the not so pro FCPX there’s a lot of FCP users considering the jump to Premiere Pro so I thought I’d give a quick run down of the things that I’ve missed the most from FCP and the benefits I’ve seen.

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