Former skeptic John Davidson was right there with everyone else when FCPX was released who deemed it a complete disappointment for broadcast pros. Many updates and much experimentation later, he's now a believer: he has FCPX not only running on shared storage for broadcast work, but for John, it does so even better than FCP 7 ever did. Here he introduces a 5-part series, taking you step-by-step from project set-up to delivery, ready to help other broadcast pros get moving with FCPX.
FCPX On Air. Coming Soon.
As many of you know, Magic Feather Inc. has been swimming in the FCPX pool for about 9 months. In that time we've grown to love FCPX. It's changed the way we edit, how we look at editing in general, and had some pretty interesting effects on our creative. How on Earth did we get here? First, let's look at some history.
When FCPX was announced, I was seriously excited. I am a huge Mac fanatic, and X seemed to be exactly what I wanted. Then the app dropped on 6/21 - I couldn't sleep the night before. As soon as it was available, I downloaded it and started to explore. Where were our plugins? Where were OMF exports for audio? Tape deck control? What's this magnetic thing? We were all filled with terror. We couldn't get audio out - this was shocking. Immediately we started posting on forums. Someone at USA saw a post I made and called me for a quick interview. The article ran, and in my lack of sleep haze I made a comment that was picked up on and published.
Read the entire article here: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/products/2011-06-21-final-cut-pro-apple-wednesday_n.htm
But John Davidson, a Los Angeles-based producer of TV promos and commercials, says he won't switch his company over to the new version yet. "It doesn't do a lot of things pros need," he says.
So I, like many others, sat back and speculated in online forums. Despite my frustration, many people seemed to be taking an over-the-top philosophy towards FCPX, Apple, and their plans for the future. Oddly, this was from people who, during previous FCP updates, had said they weren't updating from the current version for months until bugs were worked out. Suddenly, if FCPX didn't work on DAY 1 just like they wanted, they were abandoning ship. At the time, I believe my resolution was that we would keep playing with FCPX as time allowed, that it would mature, and that missing features would come back. We would sit back and continue to use FCP7 until X was ready. Many in online forums would have none of it. Many moved on.
That week I attended the Promax convention in New York. As part of a small group of people allowed to meet the former Vice President, I got a crazy idea. While everyone was thrilled to shake hands with the VP, I saw an opportunity to speak directly to an Apple board member. My voice squeaking, when my turn came, I stammered out that people in broadcast really needed some idea of whether FCPX was going to move more towards broadcast creatives, or was it going to be more of an iMovie pro? He assured me he would look into it. The next day, Apple released their road map for FCPX. Awesome.
"Thanks for saving the climate - but what about Final Cut?"
The entire Al Gore experience can be reviewed here:
Obviously it was coincidental, but I like to pretend Apple released the road map on my account :).
Then a funny thing happened. We got updates. Fast. 10.0.1 came out a few months later. Then 10.0.2. Then external monitor support came with 10.0.3. It was obvious where this was going. By 10.0.4, broadcast monitor support was actually really great. Then in April, one of our network clients who shall remain nameless told us they were looking into moving to X at an unspecified date. That was all I needed to hear. We made the decision to switch, and in May we did. Soon our growing team was learning about event management, sparse disks, motion effects, generators for slates, and most importantly - we were NOT debating whether we should switch. The process of wondering if we should
was hindering our ability to decide whether we even could
. The more we learned, the more we liked. We endured skepticism, but our clients never noticed the switch. We didn't hide it, it just didn't matter. We are not a post house, we are a creative realm where post production occurs as a component of our process. We started to feel like X was made for us.
We had to unlearn much of the last 10 years of concepts regarding post. We agonized over how we should do certain things. We built a server, this helped immensely. We learned how to share projects across machines - and how to do it in a way that doesn't destroy the fabric of the universe. And the updates kept coming in.
And here we are. 6 networks happily supplied with production materials. We've done shoots, promoted movies and shows, and worked with footage that in 7 would have made my head explode. We've done more spots than I thought was possible for us - and we don't have to pull all-nighters to do it anymore. We edit on a variety of systems and there's not much preference which (except for the new 2012 iMac which is insanely fast). We work with iMacs, mac-mini servers, mac pros, and X works with them without a hitch.
You don't believe me.
So we've done something a little special. Deep down the gang at Magic Feather is really a bunch of 12 year olds with mom's camcorder trying to make light saber videos. So we went and shot "fake" promo footage. We use this footage to show you how our server is set up. We show you how to import media and do a little keyword trickery to successfully manage your media in FCPX. We show you how to edit, export, and deliver rough cuts, go to mix, and provide final spots to the client. Most importantly, we made a crazy funny action spot to make the whole thing enjoyable.
Many people participated in this. Fellow flock members Mark Parq, Dan Gordish and my incredible wife Deana put out our best acting chops and creative hats. The supremely talented mixer Mark Bauserman contributed his time. The fantastic Jim Pratt, who you've heard everywhere, donated his best gravelly voice for VO. Finally, Extreme Music donated their ENTIRE MUSIC LIBRARY for us to work with, making everything seem far cooler than it deserves to be.
Thank you all for donating your time and resources to this absolutely silly project. Our goal is to show you that you can do pretty much anything you want to with FCPX now, including things you never were able to do before. While I don't think this is going to end the debate, perhaps it can help enlighten people about just what you can do with a program that we all here genuinely love.
Disclaimer: I own some Apple stock and am completely biased towards Mac applications and FCPX. No one has paid us to create this - it's really just a great excuse to film action scenes with the amazing Sony FS-700.
Stay tuned, and check out our 5 chapter series here:
#1 Setup - FCPX On Air
#2 Importing - FCPX On Air
#3 Editing - FCPX On Air
#4 Exporting - FCPX On Air
#5 Delivery - FCPX On Air
President and Creative Director
Magic Feather Inc.