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Don't Fight the Magnetic Timeline!

CreativeCOW presents Don't Fight the Magnetic Timeline! -- Apple FCPX Techniques Editorial


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Fighting the Magnetic Timeline
One of the biggest "issues" people coming from other NLE's still seem to have with FCP X is how the Timeline works. Magnetism! No Tracks! Weird Snorkel Things! Storylines?! It's Crazytown! And while even fans of other NLE's can see the benefits of the FCP X browser for searching and organizing footage, many editors seem to hit a wall in the timeline. If you fall into that category, this little article may help.

This isn't a tutorial, just my experience, so please forgive me if I ramble a bit and gloss over some stuff as I go. And I assume you have at least a passing familiarity with FCP X features and jargon.

Coming from a track based NLE, a quick way to get acclimated to the Magnetic Timeline is to put a chunk of Gap into the Primary Storyline and just cut with Connected Clips. If you do that, X pretty much behaves like an NLE with tracks. And by "pretty much" I mean you can grab or lasso clips, drag 'em around, and they all stay put relative to the sequence time.  You can use transitions as well, FCP X will automatically create Secondary Storylines as needed when you apply them to adjacent connected clips.



Old Skool :-)


Like other NLE's, you can SHIFT-Drag (maintaining horizontal sync) to vertically arrange clips so that -using audio as an example- VO is up top near picture, then SFX, then Music. However, every clip is going to want to stick to the Primary. If you have 5 nicely stacked clips in one section, followed by 2 clips in another... they're not gonna line up horizontally.

Not surprisingly my feeling is... who cares!? But, if you do, you can create empty secondary storylines or use empty titles or silent audio to use as separators. Also, you can put "sequence markers" on these separators, which is kind of nice. I think eventually this workaround won't be necessary, but for now it does the trick.



Tracks?


So... that is how you cut in FCP X by doing everything you can to counteract the magnetic timeline. The thing is... doing that sucks. If you try to use X like 7 or Pr or MC... it will get ugly pretty quickly, which I think is why a lot of people give up on X at first. If you're doing that, stop it! You're doing it wrong. If you use X the way it's designed to work, it's very easy to manage even complex timelines. This is not a "you dinosaurs don't get it!" admonition. All I'm saying is that Embracing Magnetism makes editing fun! My sage advice to you is:

Don't Fight the Magnetic Timeline!


Many FCP X tutorials and how-to videos use simple sequences, nice, long clips and maybe 2 or 3 layers of audio. In these situations, dealing with the clips in your timeline is fairly straightforward. In the real world we often have considerably more going on than that, and that's where things seem to break down if you're used to tracks lining everything up. But the Magnetic Timeline makes dealing with this a breeze if you work with it, not against it.

I usually cut, shall we say... busy sequences. So what follows is a generalized descrition of my workflow on a typical project such as that pictured below. Around 18 stereo clips, or around 36 "tracks".



A Pile Of Clips


I'm not saying this is the "correct" way to cut in X, there is no such thing, but it works for me. I fought against magnetism for quite a while. But over time, I've stopped fighting it, and now have a hard time cutting without it. If you use X like X, it's not a big deal at all. Anyway, no matter how simple or complicated your cut will be, the first and probably most important thing you need to do is:


Set Up Your Roles!

This is really important, as Roles take on the majority of the organizational functions of tracks in other NLE's. If you assign Roles properly, you can use the Timeline Index to mute or solo elements, export split tracks/versions, find and select multiple clips and modify common properties for all of them at once, and a boatload of other really useful things.





If you don't set your Roles up properly, your Project will quickly become an horrific, unmanageable nightmare. This is especially true for audio, as there is generally much more of it in the timeline. I'll talk mostly about audio here, though what follows is generally true of video as well.





The "built in" Roles in any new Library are Video, Titles, Dialog, Music, and Effects. You can create and assign as many Roles and Sub-Roles as you need. I've done that in the picture above. The more detailed your Roles, the more precise your ability to interact with the Timeline will be.

When you import a clip to X, video automatically gets assigned a "Video" Role, and any audio with the video (regardless of what it is) gets assigned a "Dialog" Role. Audio-only clips will sometimes get auto-assigned the correct Role (Music, Effects, etc), but more often than not they default to Dialog. So... Always double check the Role of any clip after you bring it in to an event. Always.

You can assign Roles to clips in the Project timeline via the Inspector, but it will only change the timeline clip(s). This is quite useful later in an edit for creating sub-roles, reassigning audio etc. Do it first in the Browser though, and it'll carry into every project in which you use that source. Changing Roles on a clip in the browser after you cut it into the Project will not change the clips in your projects.



Hey, this isn't dialog! I better fix it.


You can set Roles on multiple clips if you bring in a folder of music or effects or whatever. (as shown above, select multiple clips in list view and click the Role pop-up. Everything selected will be set to your choice). You'll be glad you did.

Since I generally get video with multichannel split tracks embedded in the master file, I also need to set Roles for the embedded stems in my master clips. Select the master clip in the Browser, open it in a Timeline, and set the proper roles for each channel.


1-Open the clip(s)                        2-Select the channel(s)                          3-Set the Role(s)



In addition to allowing you to do a nice split audio output with the click of a menu or two, Roles allow you to Mute, Solo, Locate, Select and Manipulate clip(s). You do this using the most overlooked (IMO) part of X, the Timeline Index. I too will overlook that subject for now, but it's awesome. ;-)

I'll also overlook the other stuff you normally do before starting a sequence... Selects, Favorites, Keywording etc. There are lots of actual tutorials on that. If done properly though, it becomes really easy to find footage you're looking for as you cut. So... now you've got your sources imported, all with proper Roles set, and you've made your selects.


Starting The Cut

First thing I do is create a new Project using the "automatic" setting. I then cut a second or so of my main source video in as a connected clip to auto-set the resolution and frame rate. Nothing unusual here. Just like other NLE's, you can also manually create pretty much any Project Settings you want when creating your project.



No idea why you'd want to, but you can do this if you'd like...


I then drag out the Gap clip that gets created to some arbitrary length, generally longer than I expect the cut to be. I like to stash unused bits and pieces at the end of the timeline as I go, so this leaves some space to do so.





Next I'll delete the random clip, and cut in my handy slate generator. You too can make useful things like this in Motion even if, like me, you have no idea what you're doing. Once the project is created, I set up a usable view. No giant thumbnails, no connections showing, and the lowest basic clip height. Just my preference, you can set it however you like.






I've also made custom shortcuts to switch between the "working" view, and a super minimized view that I use when I need to see everything in the timeline.






Now, Start Editing!

Cutting with FCP X is just the same as in any NLE, you cut stuff into a sequence. ;-)  Just Don't Fight The Timeline. Observe, see how it works, and go with it. It's fun!

For narrative, you may just cut clips into the Primary Storyline and use trim mode to create your scenes. I cut short form, trailers and tv spots, so I generally assemble bits as connected clips, and "flatten" them to the Primary (CMD-OPT-Down Arrow) when they're done-ish. Forget about carefully getting the clips to line up horizontally. Let it go. Just stack and drag and trim 'til they're good and then dump 'em into the primary for fine-tuning.


CUTCOMMIT



Also, leave your sync audio attached to the video where possible. There are valid reasons to disconnect it - cheating dialog, using a sync effect in multiple places etc. - But in general, leave it attached.

You can drag and drop clips to the timeline if you like, and there are plenty of Keyboard Shortcuts. The shortcuts I use most when cutting are Q (connect), W (insert), D (overwrite) and E (append). Use these in conjunction with SHIFT-1 (Audio and Video), SHIFT-2 (Video only), and SHIFT-3 (Audio only). Actually, those 7 commands are really all you need to know to cut in FCP X. They take the place of tedious track "targeting", and get what you want into the timeline.






Once clips are in a Project Timeline, the main shortcuts I use are V (disable/enable the clip or range), OPTION-S (Solo) , CMD OPTION-S (add to Solo group), CNTRL-S (expand audio/video), CMD-4 (open/close Inspector), CMD-5 (open/close FX Browser). There are a zillion more, and again, you can make your own. Spend some time with the command editor, there's some great stuff in there! The Soloing capabilities alone in X are a joy when editing audio.

OK, you've set Roles, Made selects, and roughed in your cut. Time for some fine tuning in... the dreaded Primary Storyline.


The Primary Storyline. Use it.

I said above that the best way to get acclimated to the Magnetic Timeline is to fill the storyline with gap, and cut everything in as connected clips, and maybe even disconnect the audio. Just like track based NLE's. That makes X work kind of like you're "used to" working with separate A/V clips. I also said it sucks, which it does. You can lose sync, you're constanly lassoing/clicking clips, and it's really hard to keep track of things. Here's what that method looks like.





Alternately, you could use connected clips and keep the audio components attached to maintain sync. This is akin to my "rough" stage noted above, but neater. I'd have more overlapping video which goes away when I "flatten" it. However, doing an entire cut like this also sucks.






Or... just stop fighting and use the Primary Storyline.





See? All nice and neat and easy to work with. When you add connected clips, audio or video, you can OPT-CMD-Click connected clips to adust the connection point to a Primary sync point you'd like it to "stick" to. Also, as you drag a connected clip, the viewer will show you the video frame of the primary clip that the connection point is lining up with. It's a great feature, and really nice for "hard" SFX like guns, door closes, etc.






Use the Position Tool (P) to move clips without rippling. Hold the tilde key while adjusting clips (~) to temporarily disable connections.  Press and hold tilde (~) then press SHIFT and release both keys simultaneously to lock connections off. Press tilde again to re-enable connections.  The cursor pictured below let's you know that connections are disabled.





The Primary is awesome once you "tame" it. That's an entire article in itself, but here are the highlights...

A- Keep audio attached and expanded. Expand the components as well if you have a multichannel source.





If you need to break audio off to cheat something, create a compound clip with the audio and video when you're done so it stays locked together. Make a smart collection and you also have all your cheats available as source clips. Very handy! (if you re-use the compound anywhere be sure to select it and choose "reference new parent clip" from the clip menu before you modify it!!)





B- In general, always cut audio and video into your timeline, even if you don't think you need the audio. You can disable it in the inpector or the expanded components (using the V-Key). That way it's there if you need it, you never have to go back to the source.




C- As noted above, take a second as you cut to insure that clips are connected to the correct primary clip. You don't have to do it as you go, but it's just a quick click to do so. That way you don't have to worry about it. Most of the time it's fine, but if you have a clip that begins before the primary clip you'd like it to stick to, it's worth checking...

BADGOOD


Sometimes you'll have a clip that ends before the primary clip it should stick to, like a suckback SFX leading into a hit or something. In these cases, make the clip into a compound clip, step into it and add some gap at the tail, and you can the drag it out in the timeline and connect it to the proper clip. It's also now a source clip in the event if needed again.






D- Use The Skimmer! It may (will) drive you insane at first, but just leave it on. Once you get used to it you'll wonder how you lived without it. The reduction in mouse clicks alone is huge. You'll curse other NLE's you work in for not having it. And Clip Skimming is the best thing since sliced bread.

 

E- There is no E. ;-) at this point just cut away. Select a primary clip to move it and all it's associated clips using the Position tool (which overwrites adjacent clips in the Primary) or the Select tool which Ripples the timeline. In Select/Ripple mode, if all your connections are correct, it's really easy and fast to trim a spot to time, cutdown a :60 to a :30 etc. Like, really easy.

For what it's worth, in my world I mostly use the position tool. Also, in Position Mode, when you disable connections (TILDE+SHIFT and Release) you can select a group of clips that aren't connected, and move them together if you use the arrow keys. For some reason dragging them gets a little weird. I imagine this will get fixed eventually.





I almost never use Select to move clips unless I want to easily swap bits in the timeline and maintain sync.





"But what about all the music I
've cut up?" you ask. "I don't want those clips to move, no matter what I do to picture!!!"Well, that's where Secondary Storylines and Compound Clips come in handy.

Secondary Storylines Are FCP X "Tracks"

Making secondaries is kind of like making a new track in other NLE's. But you only do it if you need one, which you do if you want to put a transition effect between connected clips. If you butt clips together and put transitions on them outside the Primary, X will put them in a Secondary Storyline for you. So... why else would you need one?





A major reason is if you'd like to cut a music bed first, lock it, and edit to that... without having each clip of your music cut move because it's "connected" to the primary clip above it. Or maybe you have a bunch of little clips you want to keep together or easily move as a group. Whatever. Think of storylines as tracks you can move around if you want to.





If you add gap at the front end of a secondary and pin it to the head of your timeline it'll behave exactly like a track, nothing you do in the Primary will affect it. What you can also do, that you can't do in tracks, is expand the audio in Storyline clips and do a nice manual crossfade. so it takes the place of 2 (or 4) audio tracks in other NLE's. You can select and manipulate clips in a storyline just like any connected clips in the timeline.

If you have a music bed in a secondary but you need lose a section or something, just cut the secondary into the chunks you need. Adjust connections and tweak your cut. You can rejoin into a single secondary (shown a couple pix below) when done, though you'll need to make sure the clips don't overlap first.

Storylines are also useful if you want to keep a group of clips together for visual organization. Again, just like tracks. Make new Storylines by selecting a clip and hitting CMD-G. If you forward (SHIFT) delete the clip in the secondary, it'll leave an empty secondary. You can stash it at the tail of your timeline in case you need it for some reason...

Spare "tracks"




Another nice feature is that you can cut your music as separate, connected clips or in multiple secondaries, working on sections as you go and having the sections "stick" to the picture they work with.





After you make any tweaks you need to and it's sort of locked, select all non-overlapping clips and hit CMD-G. Voila! A single "track". The possiblities are endless really.





Compound clips can provide a similar, but more versatile function. Since they only have one connection point, you can do a complex music/picture edit, then just compound it. It'll stay pinned to the head (or wherever you want it to). You can also add effects and level/opacity changes etc. Very cool. They seem like traditional nested clips, but they're not. Think nested clips on steroids.

This... Contains this





Or This...




Becomes This





And I'll say it again, Never detach your sync audio. Unless you need to cheat some dialog or something, leave the sync audio components with your video clips. If you know there's a stem you won't ever need, disable the component in the master clip in the browser. In my case, I hardly ever need the Music from a split source, so I just turn it off in the master clip.





That way, each clip I cut in has the sync Dialog and Effects with it. I can turn either Role on or off in the timeline clip(s) as needed, but it's always there, I never need to match back to a clip to "find" the audio I didn't think I needed. This essentially takes the place of track patching, but you only need to do it when you want to, not every freaking time you cut in a clip.

Oh... one more thing... you may have noticed that FCP X lets you put audio and video anywhere you want in the timeline. There is no real dividing line. One of my favorite things when cutting is literally "throwing" unused/rejected/alternate clips out of the way if I don't need them. I just randomly toss stuff to the tail of my timeline in case I need it later. Try it! Since there are no tracks, you won't overwrite anything and thus don't even need to look to see where it's going. Just maintain visual focus on the area you're cutting. And Clip Skimming makes it really easy to see what each clip in that pile at the tail is without even playing the Project.





I could go on and on until I've written an entire convoluted, incomplete, and confusing manual. So I'll stop here. To sum up... Use the Magnetic Timeline! Learn it's functions. Don't try to make it work like a tracked NLE, use all the features it provides. Experiment. I've found a ton of cool tricks/functions using the scientific "I wonder what would happen if I did this?" method.

FCP X isn't perfect, but what NLE is? There are quirks and bugs and things that will get better... but it doesn't matter. I jump between FCP 7, Pr, and X all the time. I own and try to stay current with MC 8 and Resolve 11, and I've preordered Hit Film 3. I have a problem... ;-) They are all great NLE's, but X really does let me be more creative. Once you're familiar with the FCP X Magnetic Timeline, it just gets out of the way.

There's a misguided meme that FCP X is rigid and inflexible. It's not. It lets me do whatever crazy things I want. It doesn't fight me (much), and I don't fight it (much). ;-) I think that's exactly how any program in which you are creating something should work, Don't you?


 


 

Charlie Austin, Creative COW Magazine

Charlie Austin
Los Angeles, California USA


Charlie Austin is a fancy, award-winning editor. Over the course of his career he has worked as a professional musician, a post production mixer, and worn a variety of hats in film, TV, and live production.

He currently cuts trailers and other advertising for talking pictures in Los Angeles.







Comments

Re: Don't Fight the Magnetic Timeline!
by Charlie Austin
Just using/remapping KB shortcuts of combinations of the Clip Height and Appearance commands. :-)





-------------------------------------------------------------

~ My FCPX Babbling blog ~
~"It is a poor craftsman who blames his tools."~
~I still need to play Track Tetris sometimes. An old game that you can never win~
~"The function you just attempted is not yet implemented"~
Re: Don't Fight the Magnetic Timeline!
by Hugh Chaloner
Hi, I've been using X for quite a while now, generally love it (having spent years on 7 and Media Composer) but I'm still learning. I would love to know more about how you create shortcuts for your "working" view etc. Thanks

http://www.intercuts.com
Re: Don't Fight the Magnetic Timeline!
by Hugh Chaloner
would love to know more about how you make shortcuts to the "working" view etc.
Re: Don't Fight the Magnetic Timeline!
by Tom Fuldner
A year later and this is still one of the most helpful articles on wrangling the magnetic timeline. This has saved me so much time and spared me so much pain. Thank you, Charlie!

Tom Fuldner
Re: Don't Fight the Magnetic Timeline!
by Thanos Papadopoulos
My 'tilde' key doesn't work. when I press it I get a beep (a sound signal like saying it doesn't work.
My fcp x version is 10.2.1

Thanks for the article! It's great.

Fix it in Pre.
@Thanos Papadopoulo
by Robin S. Kurz
Are you using an ENGLISH (U.S.) keyboard? Because if not, then it will most likely be mapped somewhere else, as it is in almost every other language (as it is e.g. in German, since there is no explicit tilde-key). In which case it will beep if nothing is assigned to that key, yes. Simply check the Command Editor (⌥⌘K) and search for "override". It will tell you what the command is mapped to and you can change it if you need/like.

Hope that helps.

- RK

____________________________________________________
Deutsch? Hier gibt es ein umfassendes FCP X Training für dich!
Re: Don't Fight the Magnetic Timeline!
by Ndlela Nkobi
Thank you so much for this. Very helpful. I am excited you are doing the moviola webinar on this next week. I can't wait.
Re: Don't Fight the Magnetic Timeline!
by Stephen Nahroniak
Great article. I will say it took about a 6 months to really get used to the workflow and be completely comfortable behind the wheel of X. Now, I cringe when I am forced to use traditional NLEs.

For those that *still* say that this new paradigm of video editing will never make it's way into the light of anything else besides "web editing", let me say this. I work for one of the big 4 TV broadcasting networks in the United States. We produce all of our shows and content exclusively on FCP X. These are programs that go on air, not just web..

As a show editor, what would normally take me 2 days to put together a 30 minute broadcast takes half the time thanks to the magnetic timeline. Like this subject of this article states, DON"T FIGHT THE MAGNETIC TIMELINE! Seriously, if you go with it you won't look back.
Re: Don't Fight the Magnetic Timeline!
by Craig Shamwell
While the article is interesting in its intent, I can see how some would be more confused. But the reality is, especially for those who continue to criticize and make remarks like "handles audio editing poorly" or "give up my freedom"...these comments are made not because of any kind of 'Dinosaur' syndrome, no! The reality is...Video/Film Editors can be SNOBBY!! For many years, the VIDEO TOASTER, which is now the acclaimed TRICASTER, which many a video and film have been cut on, uses an open track based system in which you can put any media anywhere! In other words, just imagine that every time you lay another clip on the timeline in FCPX...a TRACK is created...."visually" with lines! With TRICASTER, the lines are already there, but it works very similar to FCPX. I am not pushing TRICASTER products, but only making the point that many "Editors" are not really students of the craft of editing. I have never heard of any one of the high end professionals who have used those products for years complain about how the timeline works. And yes there are differences between FCPX and TRICASTER in how they edit, but for anyone to say FCPX's Magnetic Timeline is useless is absurd. I have used X from day one, frustrated and confused as anyone! But I had had some limited experience using an older SD Custom Built Toaster, and loved the ease of freely being able to move media around so "freely". Which is the reason I stayed with FCPX... 'no way could Apple not have been influenced by TOASTER!' and was going to stick it out.
My Projects starts out with: 1.Creating a Project file on the drive where I will keep my media. That file contains files- Music, VO, Video, Images 2. (After creating Libraries and Events) Import those files as Keyword Collections For MultiCam Shoots I create files accordingly and import them as Keyword Collections. I rarely use roles as I shoot and manage most of my projects from beginning to end, so finding footage is mindless using Keyword collections. Editing Audio in the FCPX timeline is a dream for me! I can Duck, Keyframe, Overlap, add effects to any audio track with ease by DETACHING the audio. This is just one of the myths about what FCPX can't do that just is not true! Some complain about moving clips in FCPX, when simply knowing to drag lineally inside the main track makes any other clips move to the right or left, making it easier to see how other clips might work in different sequences. My earlier frustrations were the "Connected Clips"! (the main argument for Editors as far as losing control.) And then there was the TILDE Key! Now connections are the Key to never losing synch, but when you need to delete or move a clip without moving any other clips, pressing the TILDE key when moving a clip has no effect on other clips. Before, deleting a single clip could delete a major portion of your project. So the point is, your creative freedom is actually unleashed with FCPX, by not fearing moving anything in the editing window!
There are so many edits you can do faster and more intuitively in FCPX that are not possible in any other Editor. And even if its not your main editor, for a measly $300 bucks, $400 for the whole suite including Motion and Compressor, it makes no sense not to experiment with it. Its almost like saying, why would I rent an Arri Alexa when I can rent a film camera! Now if I have to explain that one to you....just keep on doing what you are doing! Ok, so don't let me end on that, but seriously my fellow editors, do more research on what has come before FCPX and you might find that FCPX embodies a lot of what has made other NLE's great and a lot more!! Like its Multi-Cam Editor which is stupidly easy to use! Hate it or Love it, Apples Final Cut Pro X will be the "English Language" of NLE's in Global Editing.
+1
Re: Don't Fight the Magnetic Timeline!
by Mateus Ribeiro
Sorry I still can't see ANY REASON to use this [insert offensive word here]. Why would I want to loose all my freedom? I can do whatever I want with Final Cut 7. You don't change a paradigm unless you have a real good reason. And there's none. Tracks were invented for a reason. Magnetic stuff is annoying for a reason. I want to CHOOSE the way I work and not the other way around. They are just yelling "please, use Premiere. Please, please, please".
+1
@Mateus Ribeiro
by Charlie Austin
You don't really lose any freedom, in many ways you have more of it than with tracks. Tracks were "invented" because that was the only way to organize different types of media. (I think we should call them stripes again!) Roles present another, arguably more powerful way. X is different. And unless you actually use it for a while, it's hard to see why that's a good thing. But, if you don't like X, as you point out, there are alternatives. :-)

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~ My FCPX Babbling blog ~
~"It is a poor craftsman who blames his tools."~
~"The function you just attempted is not yet implemented"~
+2
@Mateus Ribeiro
by Bob Carroll
Mateus, I have extensively used FCP7, Media Composer, and Premiere very extensively. Moving to FCPX did require an adjustment period. But now that I understand the way it works, I realize that it actually has MUCH MORE freedom than any of those other non-linear editors. It is my opinion that Apple had very good reasons to change the paradigm. It is actually painful for me to sit down at a workstation with any other non-linear editor at this point, because they are so limited. This is the first semester that I have transitioned to teaching exclusively FCPX. It will be interesting to hear what my students will say about the transition to other editors when they leave here. My guess is that it will be a huge let-down and frustration, because FCPX is so far superior to anything that uses the old paradigm.
+1
@Mateus Ribeiro
by Robin S. Kurz
Sorry, but you've clearly never actually USED Final Cut Pro X and/or understood the whole concept behind things such as the MT, but are rather just parroting the usual "Bah MT!" chatter. Because I for one, as an editor of over 20 years, thought to myself "Why in the world hasn't it been like THIS since day one??" when I first saw it, understood it and started using it. If you can't recognize "the real good reason" in it, then it's simply not for you. Move along then. But guess what? A lot of people get it.

But yeah, let's just invent something ONCE and never improve upon it, so as not to confuse anyone too mulish to learn anything new or change anything. Whether it greatly benefits them and/or others or not. Which is of course why I still drive a Model-T. Why change, right?? :D

But then who exactly is forcing you to change anything? You can stick with the same ol'-same ol' forever if you don't see any advantage in it for you. But there's little that is more hubristic than to act as if just because YOU don't get it that no one does and no one needs it or benefits from it.


- RK

____________________________________________________
Deutsch? Hier gibt es ein umfassendes FCP X Training für dich!
Re: Article: Don't Fight the Magnetic Timeline!
by Bob Carroll
Great article! One of my biggest frustrations with FCPX is the inability to create and save a default set of roles. I run Te production side of a news department. With a dozen workstations on a shared network, and eighty users producing around 45 stories a week - it is not an option to leave a library open at all times. This means that my editors must create roles for A-Roll and B-Roll and Nat Pops every time they create a story. In addition, they must spell these words correctly, with correct capitalization and punctuation every time, in order to make them work with my export preset. Our entire program is staffed by students, so I only have a total of 13 weeks to work with them before training a whole new crew!
@Bob Carroll
by Charlie Austin
Not sure if this would work for you, but I have a "Template" Library, counting a couple events, folders, Keyword Collections that I duplicate, rename, and use every time I start a new job. If you drag a tiny bit of media to it, you can then edit the Roles to whatever you need and they'll stick to it. Beats recreating everything each time I make a library. :-)

-------------------------------------------------------------

~ My FCPX Babbling blog ~
~"It is a poor craftsman who blames his tools."~
~"The function you just attempted is not yet implemented"~
@Charlie Austin
by Bob Carroll
Not a bad tip. I will look into that for next semester. I currently do have templates for other libraries (our bumps, headlines, etc.) It might fit the workflow to use a News template as well. I have, however, found that even simple templates with minimal media take some time to duplicate (usually 2 to 4 minutes.) That kind of time is crucial for a news story on a very strict deadline. Maybe the solution would be to force them to duplicate and re-name the template before they go out on the story in the morning. I appreciate the help.
Re: Don't Fight the Magnetic Timeline!
by Javier Puga
I'm surprised the magnetic timeline is still such a big deal for people. If you're trying to use the FCPX timeline like a different NLE then why not just use a different NLE? All the workarounds seem silly once you start using the software the way it was made to be used.
+3
@Javier Puga
by Charlie Austin
Agree 100 percent, thus my notation that working that way sucks. :-) It does, however, give people who may otherwise not even try X a way to "ease" into it.

But yes, your observation kind of reiterates my point. ;-)

-------------------------------------------------------------

~ My FCPX Babbling blog ~
~"It is a poor craftsman who blames his tools."~
~"The function you just attempted is not yet implemented"~
@Charlie Austin
by Javier Puga
The tracks thing is a little different then the magnetic timeline. To work around the magnetic timeline you could just use the Position tool. Or pop things out of the timeline for free movement. For tracks you need to figure out how to use, as you suggested, storylines, compound clips, and roles.

But it's like keywords vs bins. Keywords are more versatile but less absolute. Storylines and compound clips let you have tracks for sections where you need them and not where you don't. But it's just not as absolute as; this is the horizontal row is where your SFX go.
@Javier Puga
by Charlie Austin
I agree about using the position tool and popping in and out, that's how I work as well as many others I'm sure. Maybe we're saying the same thing... :-)

But you you *need* to use Roles, Storylines and Compounds no matter how you use the timeline. They're all an integral part of how it works, and if you're not using them all you're missing some very important benefits of the X timeline.

-------------------------------------------------------------

~ My FCPX Babbling blog ~
~"It is a poor craftsman who blames his tools."~
~"The function you just attempted is not yet implemented"~
Re: Don't Fight the Magnetic Timeline!
by Al Bergstein
Interesting article. Convinces me I want to have nothing to do with FCPX. Thanks! Not sure what program manager decided that this was the way that the video industry was going to work, but it certainly doesn't seem to be anyone from the old FCP team.

I bought a high priced copy of Aperture from Apple and struggled with it's paradigm for 3 months. Gave up and went to Lightroom which worked like I worked. I bought a high priced copy of FCP 7 and learned it's way of working. Apple then decides that they will create another oddball way of tackling a straightforward and proven way of working, and offer no upgrade path for old work. I wish Apple all the luck in the world, experimental ways of working can sometimes pan out, but I'm going to continue to pass on this.

Al
+1
@Al Bergstein
by Charlie Austin
HI Al, It's actually not "oddball" in practice but yeah, it *is* different. As I said in the article, I work in a variety of NLE's on a daily basis. I miss more features from X when I'm in other NLE's than I miss from the others when in X, if that makes any sense. That's me though, clearly one should use what works best for them. :-)

Also, FWIW, FCP X was created by the same guy that created the "original" FCP. He also created the original version of Premiere. Make of that what you will. ;-)

-------------------------------------------------------------

~ My FCPX Babbling blog ~
~"It is a poor craftsman who blames his tools."~
~"The function you just attempted is not yet implemented"~
+2
@Charlie Austin
by Al Bergstein
Thanks for the insight Charlie. Saying it's different is really what I meant to say. Oddball in that it's a totally different approach, not incremental. I've also worked on a number of NLE's but not FCP, but have tried iMovie, which all the demos of X remind me of. Really didn't like it's paradigm.

Interesting to hear that you miss the features you have in X in other NLEs. I work on Apple computers these days, (again) and love their OS, stable as hell, but find myself not always agreeing with their way of forcing me to work. ie. Windows has much more intuitive power keys. I still struggle trying to remember what should be easy to remember key combinations. Thanks for the comprehensive review though!

Al
+1
@Al Bergstein
by Charlie Austin
You're right, it is a bit of leap. Worth it for me, but there's a kind of wall you need to get through to some extent. In any case, thanks for reading my babbling. :-)

-------------------------------------------------------------

~ My FCPX Babbling blog ~
~"It is a poor craftsman who blames his tools."~
~"The function you just attempted is not yet implemented"~
Re: Don't Fight the Magnetic Timeline!
by Robin S. Kurz
Amazingly comprehensive article. Great work. Thanks!

- RK

____________________________________________________
Deutsch? Hier gibt es ein umfassendes FCP X Training für dich!
Re: Don't Fight the Magnetic Timeline!
by Jerry Duvall
Outstanding article!!!
Re: Don't Fight the Magnetic Timeline!
by Scott Witthaus
Fantastic.

Scott Witthaus
Senior Editor/Post Production Supervisor
1708 Inc./Editorial
Professor, VCU Brandcenter
Re: Don't Fight the Magnetic Timeline!
by Charlie Austin
Thanks Scott. :-)

-------------------------------------------------------------

~ My FCPX Babbling blog ~
~"It is a poor craftsman who blames his tools."~
~"The function you just attempted is not yet implemented"~
Re: Don't Fight the Magnetic Timeline!
by Han VanLitsenburg
A very nice article indeed.
But it also points out why I have not embraced apple and their products over the years. And the same goes for Avid for that matter. Apart from the fact that apple users are extremely biased about all-Apple, Apple always tries to force me to do and use things their way.
As for me I know a few good companies who listen very closely to theis users and try to improve products to serve their customers as best they can. That is what I believe is the difference between being involved in what you put out there, or marketing to sell as much as you can.

Han van Litsenburg,
sr editor
NOS Netherlands
+2
Re: Don't Fight the Magnetic Timeline!
by Craig Alan
Aside from avid and apple the only other major NLE is adobe's, you know the company that is forcing folks into a monthly subscription plan. And whose nle is essentially a copy of Fcp legacy.

I will say that apple is guilty of what u point out when comparing it to legacy products. On the other hand I spend more time using their software and less time trouble shooting my system.

For a NLE editor that is 3 years old it's a pretty developed product.

I hope they continue to develop it and as the article points out maybe improve on integrating different work flows based on need and scale. certainly less rigid than avid. And I Do think that it's very flexible and powerful media management was in response to user feedback.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.
@Han VanLitsenburg
by Craig Shamwell
Yeah Han, you are 180 degrees in the wrong opinion box! You buy Apples NLE and can put it on 3 machines, no ball and chain around your ankle. What happens when those can't afford the subscription, on when you can't be online?? Again I implore those like you to be more of a student of what has become before FCPX, in terms of other NLE's outside the mainstream of what you only know! Try FCPX for 3 months and if you don't like it I'll send you a check for 3bills!!!
Re: Don't Fight the Magnetic Timeline!
by Simon Ubsdell
Outstanding article!

Definitely one to bookmark and come back to.

There's nothing like getting the nitty gritty from an editor who's been slamming X really hard in a demanding environment.

So many useful tips in there. Many thanks.

Simon Ubsdell
tokyo-uk.com
Re: Don't Fight the Magnetic Timeline!
by Ronny Courtens
Great article, Charlie. Funny indeed how we always want to fight new workflows just because they are different than what we always have been doing. Guess that's human nature.

- Ronny
+1
@Ronny Courten
by Charlie Austin
Thanks Ronny, and yes, it sure is. ;-)

-------------------------------------------------------------

~ My FCPX Babbling blog ~
~"It is a poor craftsman who blames his tools."~
~"The function you just attempted is not yet implemented"~
Re: Don't Fight the Magnetic Timeline!
by Dale Robinson
Thanks Charlie,

This would be b-roll connected clips over interviews. I wanted to keep the video of the interview in the timeline. After reviewing the cut I wanted to trim outpoints on some connected clips. So it was a several step processes to trim connected clips and cut back to the interview in the primary at the same point since the primary doesn't ripple when trimming connected clips. Would compounding the b-roll connected clip to the interview on the primary and then trimming be the solution ?

Definitely agree with you on track selection. Don't miss it.
Thanks
Dale

@Dale Robinson
by Charlie Austin
Hey Dale. I think comping the 2 would work great for what you're doing. Though bear in mind the comp will be the length of the longest clip. If the B-Roll is longer than the clip in the primary it'll ripple everything downstream in the TL when you make the comp. Try it out though... As I said, I've found some great stuff using "what happens if..." method. :-).

-------------------------------------------------------------

~ My FCPX Babbling blog ~
~"It is a poor craftsman who blames his tools."~
~"The function you just attempted is not yet implemented"~
Re: Don't Fight the Magnetic Timeline!
by Gretta Wing Miller
I've been using v.X since the beginning (and FCP since v.1.2). So glad you have gone with 'don't fight magnetic TL". I always want to see the connections, tho', and find Opt-W (insert gap) to be the greatest for rippling TL: drag the connected clip to the length you want and then drag the gap to match it. I do think it is harder for those who didn't embrace it at the beginning (altho there were some real hurdles at that point: so much better now) I don't think I did any less studying on v.1 than I have done on V.X: back in the day the hard copy manual and 2-pop.com were the only references. Now, help is everywhere! Thanks for a great article.

Downtown Dailies Service
"I may have been born this morning,
but I've been downtown all afternoon."
Re: Don't Fight the Magnetic Timeline!
by Mark Block
Good article. I'm saving it. I did two jobs (and weeks of tutorials) with FCP X this year and hated it. The production company I've been working for switched over to Media Composer from FCP 7 after our poor experience with X. It was a good decision. However, I may try FCP X again some day soon, so this article will be a good guidepost.

I have one nitpick with the what you said in the article. I disagree with this: "...Never detach your sync audio. Unless you need to cheat some dialog or something, leave the sync audio components with your video clips." I need to patch, cheat and minutely crossfade audio on practically every dialog clip in every video I cut. I'm told its called "Frankenbiting." I find FCP X adds about a half hour a day to my work because it handles that kind of audio editing kind of poorly.

-- Mark Block
+1
@Mark Block
by Charlie Austin
Thanks Mark. Unsurprisingly, I disagree about X not handling dialog editing well. :-)

If you need to *cheat* dialog then, yes just detach it. It's one keystroke and then it works like any NLE really. But any editing that doesn't require slipping sync on your dialog can be easily done by expanding the audio components. You can cut out (disable) the space between words, add little fades etc. I do it all the time as well. It's different, but just as easy as with tracks.

Also the ability to comp your cheats into a single audio clip, or with the video, is really nice, especially if you're cutting words/bits of words/phonemes together. Like a lot of stuff in X, it takes a little bit to get used to. I miss components a lot when I'm cutting in a tracked NLE now though... YMMV :-)

-------------------------------------------------------------

~ My FCPX Babbling blog ~
~"It is a poor craftsman who blames his tools."~
~"The function you just attempted is not yet implemented"~
+2
Re: Don't Fight the Magnetic Timeline!
by Charlie Austin
lol.. it's much less pretzel-ish in practice. ;-)

-------------------------------------------------------------

~ My FCPX Babbling blog ~
~"It is a poor craftsman who blames his tools."~
~"The function you just attempted is not yet implemented"~
Re: Don't Fight the Magnetic Timeline!
by Dale Robinson
Charlie, thank you for this article. I just cut my first X video.
I came back after continuing to read good things and I am now a believer. I have a lot to learn but my biggest difficulty was wanting to ripple the timeline when extending connected clips. What would you do if you wanted to add a second or two to a connected clip at 2 minutes in 5 minute show and you wanted everything to ripple? Thanks Dale

@Dale Robinson
by Charlie Austin
A connected *video* clip? Assuming you don't want to see what's underneath it, I'd just stick it in the primary and extend it. It's a little hard to answer without knowing exactly how you've got stuff laid out...

-------------------------------------------------------------

~ My FCPX Babbling blog ~
~"It is a poor craftsman who blames his tools."~
~"The function you just attempted is not yet implemented"~
Re: Article: Don't Fight the Magnetic Timeline!
by Andy Field
excellent well documented article.....still seems like a lot of pretzle contortions to do what you're used to..but glad it's working for you and others.

Andy Field
FieldVision Productions
N. Bethesda, Maryland 20852
+3


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