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RED AND FCPX

CreativeCOW presents RED AND FCPX -- Apple FCPX Techniques Tutorial


director, editor, www.davidbattistella.com
Toronto Ontario Canada
CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.


With the release of Final Cut Pro X, many were anticipating that there would be NATIVE FULL RED R3D integration in the new software. When that was not part of the release, especially after Apple talked about up to 4K resolution at the Supermeet, it left many people wondering how to integrate RED footage into FCPX projects. The purpose of this tutorial is to help you figure out how you might be able to incorporate footage captured with RED cameras into a project you are editing in FCPX.



Editor's note: FCPX can now handle R3Ds natively.


I have been a big advocate of this workflow which has worked beautifully in the FCS suite. That basically entailed the following.
  • Transcode with RCX or RCX with REDROCKET to DVCPRO HD 720.
  • Edit the footage in FCP 7
  • Lock the Cut
  • Export an XML of the Final Sequence
  • Open the XML sequence in clipfinder and relink to the R3D media
  • Save a new Clipfinder XML
  • Open the Clipfinder XML in FCP 7
  • send the sequence to Color
  • Close the color project
  • Open Clipfinder and run the "fix Color looping bug" with Clipfinder
  • Open the Project in Color
  • Grade from the R3D data in COLOR
  • Export to anything from HD to 4K DPX as the project required.
None of these steps are going to happen with the first release of FCP X.

Why?

Apple has released a version of software that does not allow XML import or export and that cripples many of the best quality professional R3D workflows. To make things worse there is no EDL support in this release making it impossible to use FCP X as on offline edit tool for an R3D finish.

We wait.

But this article is for someone who is using FCP X version one and wants to use footage shot with RED in their project, and it's not impossible. I am going to provide a couple of different possibilities which you can use for your projects which require some or all RED footage.

Basically FCP X is a closed system in the sense that it assumes you are finishing within the software. That means you are grading, doing your sound work and exporting to a file format for delivery. So this article will give you a few ways to deal with that new reality.

Red's free software REDCINE X is available for download at RED.com. You will need this software if you are going to be doing the transcoding on your own.


WORKFLOW ONE: EDIT the R3D in the FCP X timeline


I do not recommend this workflow and for the record I did not recommend this workflow in FCP 7 either. If you really want to edit R3D then I suggest you try Premiere Pro. FCP uses a quicktime wrapper file to translate the r3d media into Quicktime, a format that FCP understands.

To use this workflow do the following:
  • Open RCX
  • Load all of your RED material in a bin
  • In the export tab of RCX chose EXPORT QT wrappers. (this places the Qt wrapper files in the R3D folder and makes them importable into FCP X
  • Open FCP X
  • Chose import files in FCP X
  • Navigate to the folder containing the R3D media and QT wrappers.
Import Files


I know how much the import iMovie offends people.

Then you will see this dialog box where your QT wrappers reside:


RED Footage QT Wrappers


Notice I leave all of the auto analysis unchecked and this is an option with any media you create.


Import


Click import and rock and roll.

BUT WAIT!

You will get this error message because FCP does not recognize R3D files as media, just the QT Wrapper files.


Error Message


Go ahead and continue Import. And then you will see four versions of each shot:

F_PROXY - Full resolution of the r3d file 4K r3d= 4K QT file.
 
H_PROXY- HALF the frame size of the r3d file 4K r3d = 2K QT files
 
M_PROXY - QUARTER of the frame size r3d file 4K r3d =1K QT files
 
P_Proxy - EIGHT the frame size r3d file 4K r3d = .5K QT files



the proxy file


To edit you want to pick one version of the proxy file.

For 4K material I suggest the H proxy and for 2K material I suggest the F proxy. In the 64 bit architecture you will find that M proxies playback best to edit with.

If you insist on going this route then I suggest you edit with H proxies. You might be able to pull it off for a short spot but not likely for longer pieces.


the proxy file


For this lesson I have suggested the H proxy file. Here is a nice feature in FCP X.


David suggests the H proxy file


—Select all of the files that are not _H.

—Once selected hit the delete key to reject the files.


Reject the files


—Then sift your viewer to hide rejected.


Hide rejected


—you now work with the media you want.


WORKFLOW TWO: The one I recommend

If you are going to use FCP X and RED footage and know that you are not going to be accessing your r3d RAW media files, then I recommend this workflow.

I'd like to state very clearly that the whole purpose of capturing RAW media with RED is to have the POWER and Flexibility to manipulate RAW image files at the final polish stage of color grading.

We do live in the world of post and that requires some people to compromise, but my advice is to compromise in the best possible way.


Here is what to do.

Open all of your files in REDCINE X (the program I mentioned at the start of the article.

Set the Color, ISO and GAMMA settings.


Set the Color, ISO and GAMMA settings


Exporting with these settings will give you a flatter image without clipped highlights or crushed blacks that will be easier to grade. I like to use a 5600K balance for daylight footage but it is recommended to white balance the footage prior to exporting.


Open in New Bin Tab


Select the Clips in the bin and select the Prores 4444 Render Preset and click export.


Select Prores 4444 Render Preset


After the renders are complete you are now ready to import into FCP X. So follow the same guides as before to navigate to your rendered footage to hit import.

What you will find is that the footage is quite milky. We like this milky look for grading. Here is an example with the color correction off.


Color Correction off


And here is a quick S CURVE style correction with the NEW Color board. Here, I dropped the blacks and raised the whites in a quick primary luminance correction. See how the waveform filled out and the image is punchier.


S CURVE style correction with the NEW Color board


In this method you are free to edit and to intercut the footage with other material but you will never be going back to the R3D file, you are limited to the twelve bit data you burnt into the Prores 4444 file.

Just to close.

These are the two ways to incorporate RED footage in your FCPX projects. I do not feel that either of them is by any means ideal, but until updates are announced these are the ways to use RED footage inside FCP X.


David

To view the movie that these samples were pulled from, watch Calcio Storico Fiorentino, the thrilling game that has been played in Firenze, Italia for centuries.

 


 

David Battistella, Creative COW Magazine David Battistella
Italy


David Battistella is a Writer and Film Maker. Visit www.davidbattistella.com to learn more.







Comments

@RED AND FCPX
by Eric Sternberger
Today I tried the workflow with the quicktime-wrapping, but the resulting files are all black!!??
Re: RED AND FCPX
by Luke Ogden
Excuse the ignorance but i'm trying to give this workflow a go and can't for the life of me find a prores 4444 export preset in RED Cine X or make one for that matter, I have the option of quicktime as the format but not pro res as the compression type. Is this because the ProRes component isn't installed? I've just purchsed this mac and although I've got trial versions of FCP X and CS5.5 i haven't yet installed FCP 7.
@Luke Ogden
by David Battistella
Check your Library/Quicktime folder to see if the Prores component is installed.

You need to have a purchased version to have it installed.

David

______________________________
The shortest answer is doing.
Lord Herbert
http://vimeo.com/battistella

Re: RED AND FCPX
by Luke Ogden
How is the stability of the second workflow using 4k Prores files? I'm currently trying to cut R3D files "natively" in Premiere and having a nightmare; freezes, crashes, serious lag etc. even with the playback resolution knocked right down.
@Luke Ogden
by David Battistella
Prores and FCP 7 or FCP X is very very stable.

Very stable.

David

______________________________
The shortest answer is doing.
Lord Herbert
http://vimeo.com/battistella

Re: RED AND FCPX
by David Battistella
You are right Ben.

The other workflow not mentioned is to export a flat movie, import to Davinci Resolve and use Scene detection.

None of this is ideal.

Ideal is to finish on a system that reads the R3D directly.

So many shoots involve DSLR camera's mixxed with RED that it is unfortunately the R3D that ends up taking the hit.

This workflows are at best a patchwork solution to people needing to incorporate the footage now.

It is by no means ideal or the BEST RED Workflow at all. I am sure there are people dealing with these mixed footage realities everyday and this is intended to get then best quality out of the RED once the initial compromise has been made.

David

______________________________
Believe me. Everything is a lie.

Re: RED AND FCPX
by Uli Plank
Now that Final Cut professional is dead, have a look at Premiere Pro and Resolve. I'm sure Adobe and/or Blackmagic are working hard at getting direct XML transfer, since version 8 already has XML (works via FCP7).

Director of the Institute of Media Research (IMF) at Braunschweig University of Arts
Re: RED AND FCPX
by Noah Kadner
Unless you're married to the idea of FCP X for better or for worse, you can do this work much quicker in Avid or Premiere as of right now. Hopefully someday soon RED will make use of the now available X SDK and amaze us with new FCP X support. Until then it's a holding pattern for the FCP X + RED disciple.

Noah

Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio with Call Box Training. Featuring the Panasonic GH2 and GoPro HD Hero.
Re: RED AND FCPX
by David Battistella
Noah,

The tutorial is for folks who want to go this route. I did it for a film, so I shared teh tutorial. I have no real opnion on it, just sharing the way to do something the way it exists today if someone "had" to or wanted to.

There are plently of pieces of software tht could do tis, including FCP 7.

David

______________________________
Believe me. Everything is a lie.

Re: RED AND FCPX
by Noah Kadner
Was not knocking it- just stating simple facts, David.

Noah

Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio with Call Box Training. Featuring the Panasonic GH2 and GoPro HD Hero.
Re: RED AND FCPX
by Ben Scott
the r3d workflow was nice in color but the secondaries were always a pain as they ignored the primary room

transcoding to prores4444 isnt a bad solution at all, just makes for a big hit at the start and Id be unsure if any metadata is attached to allow for reconform later in other edit systems (i know theres no way yet to get that EDL XML workflow)


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