FCPX rocks - sort of....
This time every year I get given a hard drive with around 3000 photos taken by Peace and Hope volunteers from their annual January trip to Nicaragua, the photos are used in presentations to volunteers and supporters at the Spring Conference and ‘Get Together’ at Cliff College in the Peak District. The Peace and Hope Trust (UK) works in and around the deprived area of Bluefields, Nicaragua and aims to ‘Build Brighter Futures’ for it’s residents by building much needed facilities such as schools and clinics and then supplying those with donated equipment shipped out in containers from the UK.
There are hundreds of ‘photo to slideshow’ programs available, the most widely used is probably Microsoft’s Powerpoint but I’ve usually used Final Cut Pro 7. I have used FotoMagico in the past for short presentations that need to be put together quickly but found changing picture durations and syncing photo cuts or transitions to the music beat can be frustrating and I don’t think I’ll be updating it next time round.
My normal way of working is to quickly look at the photos to see what I have to work with, then find a couple of audio tracks to suit the theme of the presentation, then match the photos to the audio. The problem with FCP7 was always the 4000 pixel size limit on photos causing the program to fail to render, it became time consuming finding the photos then converting them to pixel dimensions that FCP 7 would accept, there was always one photo that appeared to drop into the program, work in preview then fail to render causing all sorts of grief!
This year I decided to try FCPX which has no pixel limit on photos, my brief was a ‘3 part, 6 or 7 minute presentation with the photos telling the story rather than using a v/over - the ‘grim’ side of the area, the construction of a schoolroom and clinic and then finishing with a montage of happy, smiling faces. I’d given the Peace and Hope some Royalty Free music tracks to choose from and they came back with 2 vocal tracks and an instrumental.
Although I’ve played with FCPX I’ve produced very little with it still preferring to use FCP7, it’s hard to drop a software program you’ve been comfortable with for nearly 16 years! Looking back at the edit I’m pleased with it overall and the Peace and Hope Trust love it. I did make some errors putting it together, in FCP7 I’d drop the audio track in then edit pictures to it, so I dropped the first audio track into FCPX and it became the Primary storyline as there are no tracks as such in FCPX, I was to find out later I should have dropped a photo in the Primary storyline first then added the audio. I had to look up how to do several things - make a still from a video frame, how to ‘disconnect’ a clip and how to make a gap to fill later, I’m still not comfortable yet using FCPX but it was an interesting experience, the lifting of the 4000px limit was a huge bonus in time saving, the built in ‘Ken Burns’ effect was very useful and the overall speed and quality was impressive, I’ll certainly try to use FCPX more in the future - but I’m still retaining my 10.8.5 and FCP 7!
I’ll post the video here after it’s been played out at the conference next week.