|A Creative COW Feature Article
©2007, Jeremy Garchow and CreativeCOW.net
Creative COW Leader Jeremy Garchow is one of the COW's most frequent posters. "I work in Final Cut Pro all day every day," he says, "and often all night too. These are a few of the issues I've found with Final Cut Pro 6. I assume that Apple will take care of these soon, but until then, here are some tips to help you watch where you step."
First of all, there are a lot of really great things about FCP6. ProRes and ProRes (HQ) real time effects are at the top of my list. These are extremely impressive to me, even after using Final Cut Pro for a long time. In my limited use of Optical Flow, it has been better than anything else native to the studio for retiming. With the proper footage, SmoothCam is great.
It seems the ideas and general framework for this new release are there, but the implementation isn’t all the way there yet. I’m spending lots of time on mundane and silly things that have worked for me in earlier versions.
To make sure I was on the right track, I started with a ground-up install on a fresh drive. New OS (Tiger, since FCS hasn’t yet been updated for Leopard), new updates, everything done as I always do that has led to a stable system before.
To be specific, as I write this on November 15, 2007, my configuration is OS 10.4.10, QuickTime 7.2, and FCP 6.0.1
Your mileage will vary as they say, but this is how it’s been working, and not working, for me. I hope this can help you get more out of your time with Final Cut Pro 6.
People will flame the Media manager. The Media Manager actually works. You have to hold its hand through its little journey, but it does work...
...IF you don't have any speed changes. The XML can't really hold/decipher/translate the speed changes.
The workaround is to copy-paste the normal clip (with no speed change) into another timeline, or at the end of your current timeline. That way, even though you’ll have to rebuild the speed change in your online timeline, you’ll have the clip's proper ins and outs when you need to use it later.
Something has changed in how FCP handles interlacing.
As it is now, if you’re working in a progressive NTSC timeline, you have to interpret every single file that is in your timeline, or that you want to put in your timeline, as having a field dominance of None.
This bit me hard the other day. I didn't have time to stop to figure it out when the client was there, so we dealt with a soft picture and kept editing. After the 14 hour client edit session was over, I had to go back and manually change every instance of a clip to a field dominance of None.
These were clips that were captured off of tape and existing CG motion graphics clips. Some of the motion graphics clips had been rendered progressive, which was fine, but some were captured from tape and all video was captured from tape or given to me as 8 bit, 10 bit, or DV NTSC files. All of these clips should have had a field dominance of lower for output, but that's not how it worked.
With FCP 5.1.4 and below, if you put a lower field first clip into a progressive timeline, it played and rendered just fine. Things can work out fine in FCP 6 as long as I remember, every time I put a clip into a progressive timeline, I have to make sure that I set the field dominance to None.
24p and NTSC are not mixing at all. The pulldown pattern that gets rendered when putting a 23.98 movie in a 29.97 timeline is 2224. It looks funky. People I edit with who don't even know what pulldown is ask me why the footage looks so weird.
Final Cut Pro understands pulldown and has been able to add pulldown on the fly since FCP3 over Firewire. Even it means that 2224 is displayed before rendering for faster play out, it should be smart enough to render in 3:2 pulldown if that's what's needed.
The render files have a mind of their own. The other day I found over 120 Gigs of render files buried in the bowels of FCP.
Yep, you read that correctly. 120 gigs!
Well, it turns out that it was an old trick that someone pointed out on the Cow a while ago. (Whoever posted it I thank you tremendously!)
It seems that somehow the render files folder got buried in the contents of the actual Final Cut Pro application bundle. The only way I could get to the render files was to 'Show Contents' of the bundle. I then deleted them and re-rendered.
Things have been better since then, in the sense that the render files are sticking to my scratch drive. But something is awry, and it’s beyond me.
Render files, pt. 2
Every morning I start up, something has come unrendered.
This becomes a huge hassle, especially with all the multi-format stuff as everything needs to be rendered eventually, and then eventually needs to be re-rendered.
Also, I have found that copying and pasting an effect can unrender clips that are totally unrelated to what I'm doing further down the timeline. I can't repeat it, the clips are different when it happens, and it happens very infrequently. Totally frustrating to me, and totally frustrating to my clients who don't want to hear the technical explanation. They just think it's my fault, so I grin and bear it.
One more timeline issue
This one is really weird. The other day I opened my timeline and all of the names of the transitions were gone from the timeline. They played fine, rendered fine, but adjusting them was a pain. I had to reedit in all the transitions to get them to adjust properly. Strange stuff.
Virtual clusters are the most temperamental things on the planet. Some settings work really really well, some grind the 8 core to a halt.
The feedback is deplorable. It usually takes 5-10 minutes before Compressor shows it's compressing and gives me some sort of feedback on time remaining, or feedback that's it's even working at all.
If I turn off virtual clusters, everything works as normal but the compression times sky rocket. If I think about this one too much, I get kind of angry as it definitely feels as if this version of Compressor was released way too early.
I have come up with ways to work around the weirdness, but it's nothing I can post as I just figured it out today and need to test it further for reliability. Stay tuned for updates.
That's the list of weird things for now.
There's a bunch of stuff I'd like to see improved as well, but that's a different article. These things are driving me kind of nuts on a day to day basis. It's really costing me more time than ever in having to go back and fixing all these weird little anomalies.
Have you seen any of these? Do you have workarounds? Or maybe some more issues to add to the list? I'll meet you back at the Final Cut Pro forum to talk it over.