Foxvideo Productions

First edit with FCPX


So……an edit with FCPX, not a working job just an edit from scratch from a previous edit I’d done in FCP 7. First, a little info about my system, it’s a 2009 Mac Pro Quad with 4 internal drives, Drive 1 is an SSD with FCP 7 and 10.8.5, Drive 2 is 10.9.2 and used as a general working Mac (web, email etc), Drive 3 is Time Machine and finally Drive 4 is a clean install of 10.9.2 with FCPX only, I have 12Gb Triple Channel RAM and 5 external drives - both Firewire 800 and E-SATA.

I’d found, and watched some great tutorials on the new features in 10.1.1 on YouTube so I was quite confident in setting up an edit using the new Library features. I hadn't deleted the files from my JVC 700 and my last shoot was still on the card, so opening FCPX I imported from the SD card as a new project. FCPX imported my footage and I then setup my prefs for layout and viewing, I also have a BlackMagic Intensity Pro fitted, so could view my output via HDMI on an external HD monitor.

We all have our own ways of working, there’s nothing that say’s you have to work in a specific way with an edit, personally with this type of edit using FCP 7 (a 2 person ‘chat’ about life and work in general, while one of them is cutting hair) I'd normally drop the whole shoot on a timeline, then go through using Ctrl + V blading the cuts and using Alt+up arrow moving the clips I wanted to Track 2, then delete all the clips on Track 1, close all gaps and then fine tune the cuts dropping cutaways and 'b roll' where needed - I can cut and edit a 5 to 10 minute piece in under 30 minutes, fine tuning, colour correcting, lower thirds etc can then take a further several hours.

The first problems I had with FCPX was the audio which I’d not setup correctly, I'd somehow selected Surround sound rather than Stereo, once fixed I could then select my clips, turn off stereo and select dual mono (I’d used 2 mics). I then used the same technique I’d use in FCP 7, drop the bulk of the shoot in the Primary storyline, blade the cuts, delete sections I didn't want and the magnetic timeline (love it or hate it!) closed the gaps for me. I missed using the normal Ctrl+V I used in FCP 7, so I setup 2 buttons on my 7 button mouse for the blade and pointer tools, then I found a post on the web saying Cmd + B would work, which I'm now using, although working with 2 tracks of dual mono audio in FCPX is an area I'm going to have to spend more time getting to grips with.

Another area I'm going to have to work on is precision cuts, I was used to quickly getting frame accurate cuts in FCP7 and I often cut syllables from words or breaths, but I found it difficult in FCPX without zooming right in on the Primary storyline, again probably user error more than shortcomings of the program, using the waveform in FCPX is not as good as FCP7 or if it is, I've not found a way to view it yet.

To get to the same point as my FCP 7 edit probably took a day and a half, admittedly I was having a play along the way, trying various features of FCPX - colour correction, exposure correction, various transitions etc and seeing what happens if I just click this..…?

Audio crossfades caused me a bit of a problem, I quite often use a 0dB audio x-fade - FCPX doesn’t have one, I did find someone had written one that I downloaded which worked fine, I rarely use transitions other than a dissolve or fade, but this particular edit called for a cross (or smash) zoom transition at one point - FCPX doesn't have one but again someone had written one that I was able to find, download and install. While the program worked flawlessly in use, I did have a 30 second period when everything just froze - no spinning beach ball, no mouse, no cursor, no keyboard commands - nothing, but it all came back just as quick as it had disappeared.

After nearly 14 years using Final Cut Pro, the move to FCPX is going to be neither quick or a piece of cake, but I did like the instant feedback even with my old Mac Pro. The new transitions, effects, audio effects and title / graphics options all offer far more than those in FCP7 although many, I'll probably never use. I only scratched the surface and kicked the tyres this time out, many features of FCPX I've yet to find out how to use - Secondary storylines, Compound clips, Auditions and 101 other features but I'll certainly try them out next time round. I'm in a lucky position with my 4 drive setup, I can keep my rock solid, tried and tested 10.8.5 / FCS 3 setup totally separate from an FCPX install, if I'm in hurry I'll use FCP 7, after an edit I can try the same edit in FCPX, I guess in another 14 years FCP 7 will just be a distant memory, anyone remember Media100......?

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