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FCPX On Air. Coming Soon

COW Library : Apple FCPX or Not: The Debate : John Davidson : FCPX On Air. Coming Soon
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CreativeCOW presents FCPX On Air. Coming Soon -- Apple FCPX or Not: The Debate Editorial



©2013 CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.


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: http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/335/7142#7142
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






John Davidson
President and Creative Director
Magic Feather Inc.


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Re: FCPX On Air. Coming Soon
by Steve Connor
Just stumbled across this comment thread (many not about the article itself), it wouldn't look out of place on the FCPX forum itself.

Once again I have to say nice article John, I'm looking forward to Rob's article about how PPRo and Windows have enabled him to be him more creative.

Steve Connor
'It's just my opinion, with an occasional fact thrown in for good measure"
Re: Article: FCPX On Air. Coming Soon
by Gary Slickman
Another excellent series on production techniques. Thanks John.

I am curious as to why you have chosen to post in this forum considering its contentious, negative tone.
It wasn't long ago that you posted this strong stand castigating the very nature and spirit of this community of contention also know as the "Andreas Fault."

And I quote:

Thanks Steve, I appreciate your opinion. My personal beliefs are that this forum is kind of an insult to users and it's no wonder that the Apple support forums are where most people tend to go for problems and advice (tip of the hat to Tom Wolsky for almost always answering them). I understand this forum gets the cow hits but in order to do what we did I stopped coming to this forum for some time. The endless arguments are disheartening to those trying to learn. I would honestly read something in here and then look down and have to untangle my mind from the seemingly helpful debates that in reality had a sum total negative effect on learning.

It's very un-cow, IMHO. I won't support it with my work.


I guess it's kinda like trying to drive by a car wreck without looking. There is just something visceral, seductive and compelling about witnessing disaster up close and personal.

Re: Article: FCPX On Air. Coming Soon
by John Davidson
Thanks Gary. I think it got posted as an article and placed in multiple forums :). The original was in the Techniques one at first.

Best,
John

John Davidson | President / Creative Director | Magic Feather Inc.
Re: Article: FCPX On Air. Coming Soon
by Steve Connor
[Gary Slickman] "It wasn't long ago that you posted this strong stand castigating the very nature and spirit of this community of contention also know as the "Andreas Fault.""

"The Aindreas Fault" hadn't heard that one!

Steve Connor
'It's just my opinion, with an occasional fact thrown in for good measure"
Re: FCPX On Air. Coming Soon
by Enrico Adonis
I need to do a 6 cam multi edit in FCPX. What hardware would I need.

I tried it but it plays for 2 seconds then stops for 10 seconds etc etc.

I'm editing on a Macbook Pro 15 inch, 8gig Ram, i7 processor 2GHz.

Can anyone help?

Thanks
Enrico
@Enrico Adoni
by Tim Wilson
Hi Enrico,

This thread is for comments on John's article. Please ask your question in the FCPX Techniques forum. You will find lots of help there.

Tim Wilson
Vice President, Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW

Re: FCPX On Air. Coming Soon
by John Godwin
"If you looks at Adobe, pretty much the WHOLE company is working on CS6. Same with AVID and their editing package.
Their survival depends on the success of these products, that's why they are committed.Who at Apple cares if FCP X fails or is a success?
An for an Editor investing into and making money with these products, this is important to look at."

I have a hard time figuring out the motivation for Apple to completely rewrite a major software application just to throw it away and lose money. Why even bother, then?

Best,
John
Re: FCPX On Air. Coming Soon
by Erik Lindahl
Well not quite... Or not at all possibly. It's about a tool that channels your creativity. As you bring up AVID it's a tool that actually hinders mine compared to what I can achieve in FCP Classic or Premimer Pro. It's also why I strongly prefer OSX over Windows.

So no, dissagee. And since a precious poster even could put figures on creativity it would be inteesting to see what the end-result is.

You're correct in the fact some companies live on their tools. This doesn't however mean they make the best tools at all or even tools for everyone.
Re: FCPX On Air. Coming Soon
by John Veron
Hi all,

First of all, I think that John did an awesome job in putting this together.
Most of the comments here show very poor social skills. Shame on you. I mean it.

Now back to you John.
I think a lot of people will find your videos very helpful. I personally am surprised that you bothered with FCPX instead of going directly to CS6, which is much more superior, including Premiere.

IMO, there is not reason for a professional Mac user to stick with any pro- software after what Apple has been doing with Final Cut, FC Serve, Xserve and the MacPro.
The first comment here is actually true regarding all points.

A Windows workstation is way cheaper, up to date and can be fitted with cost-efficient extremely fast GPUs. I don't understand why Apple fans refuse to move on to something better. The CS6 GUI is the same and ii is just a workstation. I mean, the rest of the office can still continue with Apple computers.

If it works for you that's fine.
Anyone else looking to upgrade from FCP7, forget it. Seriously.

Regards,
J
Re: FCPX On Air. Coming Soon
by Rob Ainscough
I'm sorry but this article makes little to no sense. Apple have said time and time again they are moving away from "professional" applications and hardware ... Tom Cook hasn't even fully committed to a new MacPro line yet with vague references to sometime in 2013 ... maybe.

I can use Microsoft Movie Maker (free product) to produce some high quality professional content ... but that doesn't mean I want to. Sure you can make "FCPX" work, you can make any product work if you invest time and energy and money.

However, I've moved on to Adobe PP CS6 on Windows have NO regrets at all, not only does it out perform FCPX in how quickly one can get work done, it provides everything I need in a single package. With PP CS6 now supporting nVidia's Kepler GPUs (GTX 680) the hardware acceleration is far far superior to anything in FCPX or FCP7.

These days I'm doing mostly 4K and 2.7K where projects are done about 45% faster in PP CS6. That's time and money savings ... but hey, I hope more people stay on FCPX or move to FCPX ... less competition for me ;)
@Rob Ainscough
by John Godwin
It's great for you that PP works so well for your needs. As a matter of curiosity how many similar projects have you done in FCPX (after learning it and becoming proficient in it) to arrive at that 45% faster number and to dismiss FCPX?

I actually have CS6 and dip into it from time to time but find my work (well-paid and high quality) goes so well in FCPX that I haven't had to learn PP well enough to make an educated comparison. Oddly, that keeps me from making comparisons.

I'm sure that a lot of intelligent and capable people really enjoy CS6 and I have better things to do with my time than disparage them.

Best,
John
@John Godwin
by Rob Ainscough
John,

Time AND money were saved. The 45% is an average based on start to finish (delivery) which includes "creative testing" in the workflow. Where I gained most time and money are as follows:

1. Time: Rendering performance and GPU acceleration
2. Cost: Moving to alternate hardware platforms for half the cost (64 CPU 128GB AMD based server with SSD RAID 10) $7,000 vs. best MacPro Apple offer $14,000
3. Time: Creative testing 75%

There were obviously some other factors that prompted the move away from Apple, but above is specific to the Time/Cost variable.

#3 creative testing is perhaps one of the most important benefits from moving away from Apple to Windows platform. This is the processing of testing out new ideas because I now have the benefit of rapid results -- I'm able to test A LOT more creative ideas that I would NOT attempt to do with FCPX because of time considerations. And that's key to my workflow, staying "fresh".

But like I said, you can use just about any product and come up with a quality result if you have the time and patients.
@Rob Ainscough
by John Godwin
Well, there've been a lot of threads lately about how when you break it down that the price difference between Mac and PC is mostly a myth, but I can't really make those arguments as my current PC knowledge is pretty thin.

Your other two points seem pretty subjective. I just took delivery of a top of the line iMac and have essentially no render delays or issues or limitations on creative ideas because of performance. What system did you test your similar projects in FCPX with?

Best,
John
@Rob Ainscough
by Randall Tolliver
Rob,

I would like to bring this up as well.

1. As of 10.0.6, FCPX has become about 10x faster at rendering. This is due to using the GPU finally. So i am wondering if your basing it off the old version or new version of FCPX
2. You are ever more right on this one sadly enough. I can understand not waiting around for Apple to release a new Mac Pro. Although, i didn't quite hit 14,000 with your specs, it did get above 10,000. The only thing I will say in apple's defense on this is that FCPX, Motion, and Compressor costs only 400, as a production suite of Adobe costs 1900. And everyone says, since apple is going so cheap that means they aren't really in that professional realm. I have only seen Apple drop their software prices since day one. On every product they make. So to me, this just feels like a trend for them. Leopard costs 129, and now Lion costs 29. They make their costs on computers, as your #2 point clearly shows.
3. creative testing in FCPX is a hell of a lot faster than FCP 7. Background rendering and the 64-bit software makes it so. Examples: I can now see a waveform update after I put an effect on the audio file. It lets me visually see what I am doing to the wave file, letting me be more creative and understand what I am doing a lot better. In FCP 7, I could only change text and text size in a motion template. Now I can change color, where the text sits, and almost every motion parameter that exists. This is definitely an increase in speed for an editor that may not know motion that well. Also, all adobe has is "open in original program...after effects." which is awesome, dont get me wrong. But I have always liked the template idea. Apple has also let me get more creative with color correction, new filters, retiming video, and the idea of compounding clips. I havent messed with PP in a while, but I assume it has the same fuctionalities and going to that software would let me try some creative testing as well. So, I feel like your #3 is equally weighted between PP and FCPX.
@Randall Tolliver
by Rob Ainscough
Hi Randall,

Just want to clarify my point #2 ... the 64 CPU AMD system is a FOUR 16 CPU cores for a total of 64 CPUs (want to make sure you understand I'm talking 64 CPUs and not just about 64bit). Apple do not offer anything equivalent. For $7000 I have a computer that can render about 4 times faster than the best Apple have to offer and I can do it for 1/2 the cost.

I'm assuming this article was produced in an attempt to show that Apple have a "road map" of continued support for FCPX and aren't going to drop the product (like they did with Shake for example). The biggest problem with this article is "where is the hardware road map to go with the software road map" -- when it comes to rendering (video or 3D animation) you really can't just ignore the hardware side (which Apple have done).

The Apple road map I see (which I'm surprised John Davidson hasn't figure out yet) is a move away from Intel CPUs to Apple's own A series. Apple have been buying up chip designer companies at a frantic rate and their A series chips are improving. Apple's relationship with Intel was and is a temporary one. The original move to Intel was for survival of the company in the hardware arena ... remember Apple had no OS leverage back then. Now that the A series is very popular and they have huge iOS leverage you can be sure that Apple plan to extend that to all desktop computers and no longer rely on Intel (which they never really wanted to in the first place). And this my friend will bring Apple full circle and basically fullfill Steve job's dream/vision of Apple.

But for Today's world ... Are the A series processors as fast as Intel's or AMD? Definitely not, they're a mobile CPU ... will Apple ever produce a CPU that can be faster or as fast as an Intel/AMD CPU ... maybe, but not this decade (they're at least 10 years out, maybe more).

So the road map I see for the next 10 years is NOT with Apple. It may change in the future and if that does happen, then I'll change with it. There is nothing with wrong with change for valid reasons.

P.S. I stopped at 10.0.4 FCPX, haven't done the update to 10.0.6 but I honestly doubt I will take the time because "catching up" with PP CS6 on the GPU side isn't enough to justify my trying 10.0.6 -- that and the lack of Apple hardware.
@Rob Ainscough
by Randall Tolliver
I agree with you on #2.

The only thing is is that windows have always been the better option if your wanting more processors. The world is your oyster bar when it comes to the pc. Apple has never really given anyone a beefy computer system. Ask gamers this since 1996! The main thing you get with apple is reliability and less headaches with programs not having the right firmware. And the OS of course. I am in the market for a render farm right now for c4d graphics and I am thinking a few Mac minis, but a 64 core sounds pretty spectacular! Would I be willing to switch, probably not. I am curious if you can use pc computers to render gfx off of a Mac computer. I have heard its not possible, but I'm just starting my research.

As for the a chip series. Apple had always liked being proprietary , and I will hold off judgement on their a series until they get it into a laptop or desktop. The thing about being proprietary is that you can make sure something works the day you ship it out.
@Rob Ainscough
by Erik Lindahl
It would be interesting to see some of your fresh creativity as it sounds like Premier Pro in Windows has revolutionized your world. Please do share!
@Erik Lindahl
by John Veron
This discussion is about tools, not creativity. A 50K violin won't let you perform a masterpiece if you have crappy musical skills.

If you looks at Adobe, pretty much the WHOLE company is working on CS6. Same with AVID and their editing package.
Their survival depends on the success of these products, that's why they are committed.

Who at Apple cares if FCP X fails or is a success?

An for an Editor investing into and making money with these products, this is important to look at.
Re: FCPX On Air. Coming Soon
by Erik Lindahl
Quite nice series I have to say. However, not to be the "cranky Grinch" but the series also highlight some very very odd flaws and workflow issues or rather work-arounds in the way you use FCPX.

- Disc Images I understand is a very neat solution to dealing with the way FCPX sees discs and media. However, it seems this really should if anything be built into the app if this is the "way to do things", don't you think? It seems like two-three odd steps required for an app that is supposed to be easier than anything else out there.

- You sadly don't actually go into at all how the application it self works in terms of editing. This it find a bit sad as I think this is one of the major issues people have with it. How you actually edit in the FCPX way. Where one actually sees you edit you to an almost crazy extent use the mouse and manually seem to correct everything.

- You seem to work around a lot of features in FCPX. For example you don't use projects which seems just crazy Apples design an app that makes you not wanting to use the correct tool for the jobb. I understand why you go with the approach of using compound clips but this clearly highlights some say "issues" with the application. Getting an overview of projects and / or comparing projects in FCPX is very clumsy to say the least where using compound edits seems relatively flexible.

- It would be nice if you touched subjects like FCPX as an editor while you "round trip" to other applications. This can of course be very specific for different users but a few examples would be edit in FCPX > grade in DaVinci > conform for online in FCPX > do VFX in AE / NUKE > re-conform VFX-shots + mixed audio.

All in all though very clever use of keywords with simple things like adding "GFX" to filenames (we always add the tag POST to posted VFX-shots which make them easy to find vs the uncorrected plate).

But nice to see these kinds of posts. We're looking into moving to FCPX soon ourselves.
Re: FCPX On Air. Coming Soon
by al ellis
we are not a post house, we are a creative realm...
theres one for 'pseuds corner'
Re: Blog: FCPX On Air. Coming Soon.
by Aindreas Gallagher
[John Davidson] "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."

that is either hilarious, or tragic.

*edit* I have been transported, along with the post, from the pugilist debate forum - nevertheless, read of it what you will. John may actually have instigated the FCPX roadmap in a lone gun man fashion, or he is making a joke of some sort.

http://vimeo.com/user1590967/videos http://www.ogallchoir.net promo producer/editor.grading/motion graphics
Re: Blog: FCPX On Air. Coming Soon.
by John Godwin
I gather it's hard to identify "tongue in cheek" with one's head up ... well.

Best,
John
Re: Blog: FCPX On Air. Coming Soon.
by Aindreas Gallagher
no no hang on lets really read it -

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.

…. Then a funny thing happened. We got updates. Fast. "


boom.

one man action hero right?

davidson makes things happen.

http://vimeo.com/user1590967/videos http://www.ogallchoir.net promo producer/editor.grading/motion graphics
Re: Blog: FCPX On Air. Coming Soon.
by John Godwin
Checklist:
Shark, jumped. Check.

Best,
John
Re: Blog: FCPX On Air. Coming Soon.
by Aindreas Gallagher
why of course. that does make sense.

http://vimeo.com/user1590967/videos http://www.ogallchoir.net promo producer/editor.grading/motion graphics
@Aindreas Gallagher
by David Eaks
Aindreas Gallagher "no no hang on lets really read it -

"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.

…. Then a funny thing happened. We got updates. Fast."

boom.

one man action hero right?

davidson makes things happen."


What happened to the part of his post which you replaced with an ellipsis? Omitted because it defeats your insult before you even post it? So much for "really" reading it, I guess.


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