Saturday, June 25, 2011

News From Here & There

CreativeLive Edit Contest: Win Vincent Laforet's Redrock Kit
CreativeLive is running a competition; edit together a scene from footage shot during a recent Vincent Laforet workshop and you could win a Redrock Micro rig valued at $3,000.

You have to join Vimeo to be able to download the footage, and upload your entry. Also, the contest is only open to US and Canada residents, although "EVERYONE is welcome to edit their own version of the short film."

The contest deadline is August 12, 2011.
CreativeLive: Complete the Edit - Win Vincent Laforet's Redrock Kit

Sony NEX-FDS100 Loupe Modification
Not particularly happy with the Sony loupe, one NEX-FS100 owner did some re-engineering to make it shorter and more like a Zacuto Z-Finder.
mmfilm: LCD Viewfinder Modification

A nice visual piece shot with the NEX-FS100 by TMDFilms: Vimeo: Soleil's Spring

Update to Sony NEX lens roadmap
For all those Sony NEX-FS100 owners out there, SonyAlphaRumors reports changes to Sony's lens roadmap, including a 24mm pancake lens and the addition of Optical Image Stabilization to the 40mm and 55-210mm lenses.
SonyAlphaRumors: (SR4) New Sony NEX lens roadmap with surprise! The Zeiss becomes a pancake!

Apple to launch upgrade Mac Pro's in August?
Updates have been expected to the MacPro line for a while, and I think the smart money would be that new hardware will come out either at the same time or just after Lion [which is expected in July, right? -Ed]

9to5Mac now says they've heard of a report that includes a 16 cored Mac, though MacRumors is skeptical, noting:
A 16-core configuration would almost certainly come as a pair of 8-core processors, and 8-core Sandy Bridge processors of the server class used in the Mac Pro line aren't scheduled to appear until the fourth quarter of this year as Intel's Xeon E5 line.
Is anyone else concerned by the "final note" in the 9to5Mac article:
a certain Apple executive has reportedly said the following in an email we’ve seen:
Apple is investing heavily into Mac Pro
Isn't that what they said about Final Cut Pro?!
9to5Mac: Apple gearing up to launch upgraded Mac Pro with 16 cores
Macrumors: New Mac Pros With Up to 16 Cores Coming in Late July/Early August?

Thunderbolt drives: Good News, Bad News
AppleInsider has a report on a demo of LaCie's upcoming Solid-State "little Big Disk" Thunderbolt drive, which is expected to be released this summer.

They also note that manufacturers are finding that implementing Thunderbolt is proving more expensive than many had originally thought, and this may delay the release - and adoption - of such devices:
the price of the components required to add a Thunderbolt port to an external hard drive "is roughly equal to the cost of a low-end hard drive itself,"
AppleInsider: LaCie demos "Little Big Disk" Thunderbolt SSD drive coming this summer
AppleInsider: High costs limiting adoption of Apple's AirPlay and Thunderbolt technologies

New Firmware

Changing the Mount on the Zeiss CP.2 Lens
One of the interesting features about the Zeiss CP.2 lenses is that you can switch mounts on them, and it's a relatively easy process. This video at WideOpenCamera demonstrates.

My understanding is that the first time this is done, it should be performed by a professional who has equipment that can check the alignment and work out which shims to use. But once it's been done the first time, then it is relatively quick and easy to switch lens mounts.
WideOpenCamera: Zeiss CP.2 Lens Mount Change From PL To Canon EF.

Interested in Animation?
I just came across this yesterday, Focal Press has an animation website, BestAnimationBooks, where they have been doing weekly short reviews of animation shorts on the internet.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Final Cut Pro X Information & Resources 2

People Are Getting Refunds
Multiple people report getting refunds for Final Cut Pro X. It's unclear what happens to the software once your money is refunded; can the App Store shut down apps?
Apple probably isn't that concerned; they figure that those people will lose it once they move to a new machine or replace the OS as they can't reinstall without the App Store.
EOSHD: Apple refunding pros for Final Cut Pro X

Editor Pow Wow
Chris Fenwick is planning a get-together this Saturday in Oakland California of editor friends to discuss FCPX. He's also looking into streaming it for those that want to follow along at home.
This Saturday at Noon I’m doing something completely different. I’m going to have a few editors gather together at the facility I work at in Oakland California, and we are gonna huddle arround a big 46 monitor, (I think FCPX will run at 1920x1080) and we are going to have a full fledged geek session going over the new Final Cut Pro X.
July 25, 2011 12 Noon Pacific time.
OneOneOne: FCPX - Editor Pow Wow

Project Management Issues
Jeffery Harrell explains his problems with project management in Final Cut Pro X.
Okay, so let’s review here for a second. You have events, which hold shots. You have keyword collections, which act like bins, sort of. Drag a shot from the event to a keyword collection and it shows up in that collection just as it would if it were a normal bin.
jefferyharrell.tumblr: Project management in FCP X: No. Just no
See also my issues: 

Exporting Movies
Danny Greer at Premiumbeat explains how to export movies without going through the Share menu:
Although many of the previous exporting options have been “simplified” in FCPX, exporting a hi-res QuickTime movie remains intact…if you know where to look in the application.
Premiumbeat: In this post, we’ll examine how to export out a high resolution QuickTime Movie out of Final Cut Pro X, as well as the best shortcuts to expedite this process.

Buy (and download) from the App store

Final Cut Pro X: Problems Moving Events

One thing I don’t like about Apple’s iTunes, iPhoto and iMovie is the way they like to take your media and put it where they want to store it. This would be okay if there were easy ways to get around this, but that’s not always the case.

There’s advantages to this monolithic media management; I must admit that my ‘stuff” tends to end up filed all over the place, so maybe having iTunes keep all the music together in one place is a good thing. But when editing video I like to have options about where I put it; particularly when dealing with gigabytes of the stuff. I just don't have a single drive big enough to keep everything in one place.

So I’m not too sure I'm going to like working with the way Final Cut Pro X manages media, particularly Events.

Final Cut Pro X likes to put things in Events. Think of them sort of like bins. Install the app and start it up and it will put the first event in your startup drive.

 Events on two separate drives

If you add media to that Event (in this case, I had some video files on an external file) you can choose whether to copy the existing media to the Events folder - or to use pointers to the media - by checking/unchecking the “Copy files to Final Cut Events folder.” Of course, by default it wants to make copies.

Turning off "Copy files to Final Cut Events folder"

I unchecked that.

Then I discovered that I could move the Event to the external drive using a function within Final Cut Pro X. You do this either by dragging the Event in the Event Browser (oddly, it can be a little prickly), or by clicking the Event to select it and choosing Move Event from the File Menu. When using the menu, a simple dialog appears displaying the other drives on your system, letting you choose where to move the Event.

 Moving the Event from one drive to another

I did that, and then I went to move a second Event and got the message that a background task was running.

I opened the Background Tasks window and discovered it was still copying the Event. This puzzled me, because the event had practically nothing in it; just some pointers to those video files.

You’ve probably guessed by now that rather than simply move the pointers, Final Cut was copying the media itself to the Event on the other drive. That’s particularly ironic as the media was already on that drive!

Now if you’re moving the Event around because you want to copy it to an external drive and send it to someone else, putting all the media together is actually a good thing. But if you’re just managing your projects on your local drives, making copies of the media automatically may NOT be what you want to do.

I wish Final Cut Pro X gave you the choice when you moved the Event.

Conan's Editors Have Fun With Final Cut Pro X

Go to TeamCoco: Conan's Editors Absolutely Love Apple's New Final Cut Pro X

Final Cut Pro X Information & Resources

Installation Advice
Apple recommends that you install Final Cut Pro X on a separate partition to Final Cut Studio (2009) but they also give advice if you want to install them on the same drive:
Apple: Final Cut Pro X, Motion 5, Compressor 4: Installation best practices

Final Word on Final Cut Pro 7 Projects?
Chris Messineo emailed Randy Ubillos about Final Cut Pro X, and got back a reply about the state of project imports:
FCP7 projects do not have enough information in them to properly translate to FCPX (in FCP7 all of the clip connections live in the editor's head, not in the timeline). We never expected anyone to switch editing software in the middle of a project, so project migration was not a priority.

Final Cut Pro X 1.0 is the beginning of a road, not the end.
DVXUser: Email Exchange with Randy Ubillos, FCP X Designer

A First Look at FCPX
In this podcast, Kevin P McAuliffe takes a look at the new Final Cut Pro X and covers some of the basics to get up and running.
CreativeCOW: FCPX - Kicking the Tires - Lesson 1

Using Final Cut Pro X
David Battistella used Final Cut Pro X to edit a short project and posted it. He explains what he did.
CreativeCOW: First Cut with the New Final Cut

David Pogue Answers Some Questions About Missing Features
David Pogue [some people think with help from Apple -Ed] answers some of the many questions/complaints about Final Cut Pro X in this very extensive follow-up to his original first look at Final Cut Pro X.
Complaint: No ability to pause or fork the Autosave. Final Cut Pro autosaves your work as you go. Editors complain, therefore, that they can’t save different versions of a project as they go along.

Answer: You can duplicate your project at any time, thus freezing it in its current condition. Just click it in the Project Library and choose File -> Duplicate Project.
NewYorkTimes: Professional Video Editors Weigh In on Final Cut Pro X

Richard Harrington has posted his own extensive response to David's post, which is well worth reading: My Response to David Pogue’s  “Professional Video Editors Weigh In on Final Cut Pro X”

Most Asked Questions
Still haven't had your questions about Final Cut Pro X answered? They might be in here:
Will the magnetic timeline mess up track layouts for dialog, effects, and music?
Yes, it will. There is no good way around this.
Masteringfilm: The Most Asked Questions About Final Cut Pro X

Rolling Shutter Test
Scott Simmons has posted a test he did of the Rolling Shutter correction.
As you can see it does a good job of getting rid of the skew but the bump that happens makes it mostly unusable. Trying to stabilize it as well made it just a bunch of garbage. Try as I might I couldn't get the bump out
Vimeo: Final Cut Pro X rolling shutter correction test

Making The Switch Easier
Eric Wise provides tips for making a smoother transition to Final Cut Pro X:
5) Creating iteration workarounds. Since you can’t iterate your project progress now that sequences are gone in FCP X, you’ll have to create a workaround. To freeze the state of the project before you move on to the next stage, do a “Save as”. Use your existing naming convention but make sure the project version number is in the suffix
MasteringFilm: 8 Ways to Make the Leap Easier to FCP X

WebVideoChefs is offering a "Getting Started with Final Cut Pro X" webinar on Tuesday, June 28, 2011 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT
Register here: GotoMeeting webvideoChefs

Video Tutorials
Web Video Chefs has started posting some tutorial videos:
Vimeo: How to do a cross dissolve in Final Cut Pro X
Vimeo: How to Sync DSLR Footage with Final Cut Pro X

Dan Allen has also started posting a series of tutorial videos:
YouTube: Final Cut Pro X Basics Tutorial Pt. 1 - Auditioning Clips
YouTube: Final Cut Pro X Basics Tutorial Pt. 2 - Color Correcting / Grading
YouTube: Final Cut Pro X Basics Tutorial Pt. 3 - Precision Editor
YouTube: Final Cut Pro X Basics Tutorial Pt. 4 - Working with Gap Media

Larry Jordan has posted parts of his training online too (from his paid training series):
YouTube: Getting Started: Explore the New Interface of Final Cut Pro X - Larry Jordan
YouTube: An Editing Workflow that Works in Final Cut Pro X - Larry Jordan (preview)

CoreMelt Annoyed at Apple
CoreMelt is obviously not that happy with Apple, posting on their website:
Unfortunately, Apple choose not to give us any information about plugin support in FCP X prior to it's release today (22/6/11). We would like to support FCP X as quickly as possible, but until we have examined the work involved in detail we are unable to commit to any timescale for FCP X support.
then go on to say:
However, let's be blunt, if you are a professional editor that works with R3D or other RAW formats, tape based ingest, has a hardware I/O board (BlackMagic, Kona or Matrox) or needs XML to work with RedCine X or to import from other editors, then FCP X is not yet for you. I suggest you read these article's on Creative Cow which lays out the many areas of FCP X that still need developing:
And link to Walter Biscardi's "What Missing for some pros" article for good measure!
Coremelt: CoreMelt & Final Cut Pro X

iTunes, App Store and Mac App Store

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The last Final Cut Pro X initial reactions

I've tried to put together here a wrap-up of the reactions to Final Cut Pro X. In the future, I'm going to concentrate on how-to's and specific bug reports.

Hands On
Andrew Reid at EOSHD has posted the first part of a hands-on review, going through things he likes and doesn't like. He also includes an important note about Plug-ins:
It seems the reason Apple did not make any noise about plugin support (or even tell developers) is because it’s almost business as usual. Looking at the package contents on my drive, Final Cut Pro X’s system files contain the established FXPlug libraries, updated for FCPX’s new 64bit environment. This means that for most existing FCP7 plugins, a simple recompile and a bit of tweaking might be all that is necessary to get them working with FCPX.
EOSHD: Final Cut Pro X – Hands On Review – Part 1

Another Perspective
Dylan Reeve reviews Final Cut Pro X, the highs and lows, and concludes:
The outcome of all these things is that it is unlikely we’ll see any network TV or feature films edited in FCP X until at least version 2 (whenever that might be) and I suspect we’ll see people in that market look elsewhere as they consider their future post-production investment.

On the other hand, a technology savvy editor can now access some features that might only have been expected in pricey pro applications in the past – for example the colour tools in FCP X have obviously taken a lot from Apple’s Color application.
Crewstv: FCP X Decisions

Who's it for?: Part I
Canon5D Tips thinks that Final Cut Pro X was written for a specific type of user:
Call it Apple biggest mistake if you want but they built this app for people like us. People who shoot-edit-deliver all by ourselves. By simplifying the timeline and media management, they made it even easier for us to edit our clips.
Canon5DTips: Who is FCPX target market?

Who's it for?: Part II
Rob Imbs looks at Final Cut Pro X and thinks it is aiming way too low:
And lastly, we don’t want to see consumer effects in the app. A nightvision goggle effect, scrolling Star Wars font or a “Ken Burns” effect shouldn’t be included. It’s insulting! Editors don’t want to work in an environment where we’re surrounded by things that amateurs use.
LovelyJunkie: FCP X: The Aftermath

Workflow Issues
Michael Kammes looks at the new release from the perspective of someone that has to deal with workflows:
I am a huge fan of Wes and of Automatic Duck. His products, by far, are the most useful out there. But I believe it’s downright dumb to have Duck as the only solution. Would a car manufacturer not build doors, and let a 3rd party do it aftermarket? FCP innovated the open philosophy with XML almost a decade ago. Where did *that* go? FCP X – from a unique perspective

The Waiting Game
El Skid explains why he's going to sit out this release:
Personally, I haven’t bothered downloading it, and I won’t be even considering it for a good long while yet. First generation software releases tend to be horrible facsimiles of the sophisticated toolsets they often become. Switching to MacOsX drove me absolutely insane, and it took a long time for it to win me over.
WideOpenCamera: I, Editor

Philip Hodgetts Interview
Mitch of Planet 5D interviews Philip Hodgetts about Final Cut Pro X in this podcast.
Planet5d: Philip Hodgetts live conversation – the good, bad, and future of FCPX – podcast #44

Who's it for?: Part III
Jon Bryant sees this as a marketing issue and a disruptive change:
I am that “marginal or new” segment. I am the “one man band” who’s beyond iMovie and between Final Cut Pro. I need speed, simplicity, and one day I will need functionality. So eventually in a month or so I will be paying $299 for Final Cut Pro X. Not because of what it is as an editing tool today, but because I know it is a disruptive innovation and as a new innovation it will evolve to include all the pro editing features of FCP7 today. A lesson in marketing? Final Cut Pro X

Change Is Hard
James Cottle looks back at how editing software has evolved, and notes that change is both inevitable, and not always easy.
And this is why I am coining the expression “The Zap Mama Logical Fallacy”. It is a very seductive conclusion to draw that because everyone around you feels a certain way about something, that EVERYONE feels that way. When you are in the middle of a very much self-selected group, conclusions about how the rest of the world feels are highly suspect. So, in the example at hand, a large number video editors, no matter how large or vocal, on the Internet does not reflect the world or the core interests of Apple.
JamesDavidCottle: FCPX, Zap Mama, and the ASR-33 Teletype

Give Us Our Money Back
The International Business Times notes the reaction:
But it seems the product has failed to impress the early buyers as some are even demanding their money back on the Apple discussion forum.
ittimes: Apple Final Cut Pro X first reaction: Unimpressive, ‘Give us our money back'

Reacting to Others
David Tames posts his reaction to comments from Larry Jordan and Philip Hodgetts, and others.
The time has come to look around and play the field, for no matter what happens in the future, one thing is for certain, Final Cut Pro as we know it has come to the end of the line, it is a dead product with no support. We have to consider the tradeoffs of jumping over the chasm between where we are with Final Cut Pro 7 and the promises that Final Cut Pro X will grow up fast enough to meet out needs and fulfill our desires. For now I will continue editing my mission critical work with Final Cut Pro 7 and experiment on short projects with other tools and see what happens.
Kino-Eye: Final Cut Pro X: My first impressions

News From Here & There

It's been an interesting few days, but I'm going to try and get back to other news and goings-on in the video world - while still have some Final Cut Pro X reporting here and there.

Thinking Of Switching?
Grass Valley has announced some upgrades to Edius 6: Grass Valley updates Edius 6 NLE

Follow Focus Review
Mitch at Planet 5D reviews the DSLR Solutions Follow Focus. This follow focus is unusual in that it is a steal ring with two knob/handles that you attach to the lens. I think it costs about $60.
With a separate velcro strip you can mark focus points, and it comes on and off easily, but it's a really different way of working compared to traditional follow-focus units (though it doesn't require rails for attaching it either, so that's a plus.)
Planet5d: podcast #43 DSLR Solutions Follow Focus Reviewed and demoed

RJ Follow Focus
Darren Levine has posted a video review of the $156 RJ Follow Focus."It is absolutely fantastic!"
Overall, this unit is a big win, of course you shouldn't compare it to $1000+ pro units, but it feels like a lot more than the price tag suggests and i feel that many people in the indie budget range will have a hard time justifying paying 2,3,5,8x the price for higher end units.

the most important thing is that the gearbox is great. it has some dampening, which for most of you out there with other budget units will appreciate that it does not freely spin if you give it a whirl. this helps make sloppy lenses feel a bit better.
Vimeo: Sub $150 RJ Follow Focus Review

Note: The other low-cost follow focus to consider is the D|Focus that you can buy through Jag35 for $139.99 (with no lens gears, which cost ~$30 each.) Jag35: D|Focus Version 3

Listec Video Miniprompter for iPhone
Looks interesting; and the camera shoots through a mirror, but it will cost "just" under $500?! Available in the autumn
Engadget: Listec Video Miniprompter for iPhone hands-on (video)

Sony PMW-F3 S-Log vs. Cinegamma
How good is S-Log compared to Cinegamma? Alister at XDCAM User does a quick test:
This was all done very quickly, so it’s not particularly scientific or accurate, but it does prove beyond any doubt that S-Log brings a significant boost to the dynamic range compared to the cinegammas. I estimate it gives you between 1.5 and 2 more stops to play with. 
XDCAMUser: PMW-F3 S-Log and Cinegamma quick look.

Redrock MicroRemote
We're still waiting for the microRemote to appear, but Redrock has posted some updated information to their Facebook page.
The microRemote system has flexible power options and requirements. In general, the microRemote system can be powered in several different ways: by 14.4v batteries through d-tap cabling, by AC power, and in some cases for some components by smaller consumer/camcorder batteries. The microRemote follows established industry power norms for wireless follow focus systems, so if you are familiar with these setups, you will generally have the same or similar setup for the microRemote.
Facebook: microRemote

Finding Funding
Julie Babcock provides some suggestions for those looking for funding for their documentary:
If your potential investors are still interested after your pitch, you’ll want to provide them with a deeper look into your project. The visual map is a one-page treatment of your documentary, and should be kept to one page only! However, you can include a storyboard or anything else that may help fill a visual map of the project.
VideoMaker: Find Funding for your Documentary: Pitch your Idea

Seriously David, What are you drinking?

[UPDATE 2:50PM It appears that David's review is now out of beta. They've posted a new version that includes several changes, in particular noting features that are missing, the applications that are gone, etc. He hasn't noted the bugs he encountered, or the cool new features that are coming, but you can't have everything.
The update: Apple’s Final Cut Is Dead. Long Live Final Cut.
Note: I have corrected the spelling of levelly in my piece.

UPDATE: 4:00 PM And now he's posted a fairly exhaustive piece on missing (and not missing) features: Professional Video Editors Weigh In on Final Cut Pro X

UPDATE 9:00 AM 6/24: Richard Harrington has posted his own extensive response to David's post, which is well worth reading: My Response to David Pogue’s  “Professional Video Editors Weigh In on Final Cut Pro X”

As the story has unfolded, I've been trying to remain as neutral as possible on Final Cut Pro X . Sure, I've been excited to find out what was coming, but as an editing dilettante, the outcome - is it really pro? how good is it? - hasn't interested me as much as the story. I've tried to levelly report on the negative criticisms, as well as the positive ones - when I can find them.

But I was reading David Pogue's column in The New York Times today, and had I been drinking I would have done a spit-take all over the keyboard, because seriously, I don't know what he's on about.

David starts off by describing the problems Apple had when they rewrote iMovie a few years back and changed the interface, and "took three years of upgrades" before they caught up with it's predecessor.

Oh...not a good start...

But wait! David tells us:
Fortunately, Apple hasn’t forgotten. If there’s anything important missing from the new Final Cut, I can’t find it.
That all sounds good, but wait! You can't find anything missing? Do you not have the Internet where you work? Have you not heard about the absence of: Multican, tape ingest, Soundtrack Pro, DVD Authoring, External monitoring, opening older projects, Color...

Sony's Super 35mm Sensor

This graphic from Sony's website shows the size of the sensor used in the Sony PMW-F3 and NEX-FS100 vs35mm Motion Picture Film and the Micro Four Thirds sensor.
Even more important to some photographers is the pursuit of "bokeh," the defocused backgrounds made possible by shallow depth of field.

Of course, that's 35mm motion picture film in the chart. If you're comparing it to the sensor in the Canon 5D Mark II, then that looks like this:

What shouldn't be forgotten is that the size of the pixels in the sensor(s) are different too, but that's a topic for a different day:
That's why Sony developed a new image sensor for the PMW-F3 with pixels that are four times the size of typical DSLR sensor pixels
Sony: Full Super 35mm image size

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A little bit of Final Cut News

Compiling the Problems
Rob Imbs is collecting a list of "deal breakers"
Keep 'em coming guys! "Fellow FCP editors, what are the "deal breakers" for you in #FCPX? I'm making a list."

Daniel Freytag is doing something similar:
Post YOUR personal PRO and CONTRA things about #fcpx here… and I'll make a list.maybe some thing are already solved or

What's Missing
Walter Biscardi reports that:
Found out today #fcpx will never be able to open an #fcp project. Too big a change in project structure.
Which is interesting, as Philip Hodgetts has previously claimed (see MacNN report below) he was told they would be adding that support. As much as I hope Walter's wrong, I wouldn't bet money that Apple is going to add support for importing older projects.

Walter has also written an article at CreativeCOW listing what he sees as wrong with this release: Final Cut Pro X: What's Missing for Some Pros

MacNNFinal Cut Pro X expected to get missing features in updates

Quick Links

Final Cut Pro X: Reaction Around the Web

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
The Digital Rebellion has assembled a good collection of hits and misses in Final Cut Pro X, including:
  • FCPX is FAST. I tried to break it with lots of stacked clips and effects but it played them all seamlessly.
  • It took a long time for multiple marker colors to be added to Final Cut Pro. Now we're back to one marker color again. There are no chapter markers either.
  • Compressor 4 is still 32-bit and doesn't look like it's received an overhaul, meaning that the problems many of us have suffered are likely to continue. I have already had several issues with Qmaster.
While you're there, check out their Most Frequently Asked Questions too.
DigitalRebellionFinal Cut Pro X - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
DigitalRebellionFinal Cut Pro X Frequently Asked Questions

Why We Can't Use Final Cut Pro X
Walter Biscardi and Richard Harrington explain why they won't be able to use Final Cut Pro X in their production facilities in this audio podcast. Notable issues:
  • No physical media, have to have App Store internet connection
  • How does volume licensing work? "It does not appear to me Apple has thought out how people will use this in post-production facilities."
  • Old projects don't come in, and can't have previous version open at the same time
CreativeCOWWhy We Can't Use Final Cut Pro X at Our Companies

iMovie Plus
Paul Antico at Need Creative does a first pass look at Final Cut Pro X, noting it's iMovie-ness and:
Most troubling for someone like me, who tends to export for web/intranets and Blu-Ray (that is, while I am to have footage good enough to show on a 50 foot screen I rarely show on something above, say, the 103" of my home theater) - in other words an independent filmmaker who makes things for people, corporate, web and so forth is that FCPx cannot send out your audio into another program from inside it. To me that's kind of insane.
NeedCreativeIMovie Prosumer Plus = Final Cut Pro X. For Now

Video First Looks
FilmmakerIQ has assembled together a good collection of YouTube first looks at Final Cut Pro X: 10 First Looks At: Final Cut Pro X

Wait, and Wait Some More
Ron Dawson comments about Final Cut Pro X, and not about the tool itself, but about the reaction of creatives to new things, and "our poor impulse control."
I actually read on a Facebook group thread where a very experienced wedding filmmaker was considering “throwing caution to the wind’ (his term) and using FCPX on a same day edit this weekend. (A same day edit is where you shoot and edit a wedding the same day and show a short highlights clip at the reception. It’s an amazing experience, but has more than enough built-in problems you don’t need to add to it by editing with a 1.0 version of an editing program that is missing a lot of key features).
He counsels waiting, and he's probably right, no matter how good or bad the tool is.
BladeronnerFCPX and the Problem with Creatives

Changing Shortcuts
Chris Fenwick at One On One complains about changing shortcuts:
And PLEASE don’t say… “we’ll you know you can always go in and change them in the Keyboard Shortcut Editor. Do you have any idea how many machines I work on in a day, I don’t want to install custom shortcuts every time I sit at a new machine.  Why not just leave the shortcuts well enough alone?
ChrisFenwickFCPX - "I'm going back to bartending"

MacBreak Weekly
Leo Laporte, Alex Lindsay, Andy Ihnatko and Jason Snell, Editr-in-Chief at Macworld discuss the release of Final Cut Pro X in the first thirty minutes of the 6/21 episode. It's more of an overview rather than a detailed discussion.

The general opinion is that it'll do well and be popular, but Apple is jettisoning the high-end. "Apple is a 90/90 company. What do 90% of the people need 90% of the time?"

They say that even though Apple doesn't want to say it, it really is iMovie on steroids. Lots of discussion of basic changes and features. There's some discussion of the licensing, and an interesting note that Motion can be used to create plug-ins for effects in Final Cut Pro X.

"Everybody should play with Motion."

There's an interesting side note about how Apple is able to essentially change directions almost 180 degrees, where as other companies couldn't afford to make such a massive change.
iTunes: MacBreak Weekly

Even More Reactions

Pixel Corps: Final Cut Pro X Live Stream on Thursday at 9PM EST

On Thursday Pixel Corps is going to have a live stream on Final Cut Pro X with Freelance editor+motion graphics artist/FCP and Motion certified Master Trainer/Author Mark Spence, and Steve Martin of Ripple Training, hosted by Alex Lindsay.

Follow Pixel Corps for info.

What Have You Been Smoking, Larry?

I was re-reading Larry Jordan's post from yesterday about the release of Final Cut Pro X [1]. Larry's someone to pay attention to, if only because he's had several weeks to actually play with the software, unlike the rest of us weighing in with our "I've had it for an hour and I hate it" opinions.

But Larry also makes his living doing training for Final Cut Pro, and he obviously has a relationship with Apple[2] that he has to protect: witness his back tracking on the comment that Final Cut Pro X would not be ready for Professional Use, even though I can think of at least 162 people [at 11:30am EDT] who would agree with him. And the article has a lot of honesty in there, particularly the THINGS I DON’T LIKE section.

But what really stuck out on re-reading was this line, about 1/4 of the way down:
To me, this is one of the highlights!
Umm, talk about putting lipstick on a pig! That's a lot like selling electric cars and telling people they can solve the limited range problem by keeping their old gasoline powered car.

I'm sorry Larry, Final Cut Pro X lacking features in Final Cut Studio 3 might be a necessary evil, it may be the first step towards a brighter future, it might even be a little pain for a lot of gain, but being able to still run the previous version? No, that's not a highlight.

And even Apple doesn't recommend installing Final Cut Pro X in the same partition as Final Cut Studio, which sort of negates that highlight completely! [3]

Still, read Larry's article, particularly if you're interested in sound; his "The process of adding an audio cross-fade is dangerous, unintuitive and dumb" should be more than enough to give you pause. And that's not all, he also points out problems with:
  • No Multicam
  • No support for sending a project to audio editors
  • Problems Autosave may cause
  • Clips not remembering In and Out points
and more.

  1. LarryJordanAin’t Nothing Like It In the World
  2. I have a relationship with Apple too; iTunes pays a small percentage on sales linked from the site, but they - so far - don't seem phased by the content of the site. Unlike Sony, who rejected the site [odd, because most of the time, I think people would say I was a Sony fanboy.]
  3. Apple: Final Cut Pro X, Motion 5, Compressor 4: Installation best practices


Final Cut Pro X: The Day After

So how's Final Cut Pro X working out for you?

I haven't had any time to spend with it yet; other than installing it last night. I hope to spend some time playing with it today.

It certainly seems to have struck a chord, though what they chord is, I'm not sure. A huge amount of initial negative reaction, tempered with a bit of "but wait... (it could get better)"

You have to wonder about the current Customer Ratings for Final Cut Pro X on the App Store:

That's pretty strongly divided, with a strong negative!

vs the ratings for Motion 5:

of course, they didn't really change the interface or functionality of Motion that much...

If you are having problems with missing features I recommend running the Adobe Premiere CS5.5 patch for Final Cut Pro X it works really well

And if you HAVEN'T yet bought and installed it, Apple does have a "Best Practices" document:
It is strongly recommended that you install Final Cut Pro X, Motion 5, and Compressor 4 on a startup disk that does not have Final Cut Studio (2009) already installed.
Now you tell us.
Apple: Final Cut Pro X, Motion 5, Compressor 4: Installation best practices

Ten Things You Can Do In Final Cut Pro X
Alex Snelling has posted a list of things you can do in Final Cut Pro X that you might not have realized:
This is a very brief first look at the some of the key features of FCPX from the viewpoint of the professional editor. Not the data wrangler, not the media manager, not the one-stop shop, production-company-in-a-bedroom. The cutter. The Top Ten Editors concerns about Final Cut Pro X


Philip Hodgetts has put out a booklet: Conquering the metadata foundations of Final Cut Pro X
Learn how Final Cut Pro X’s metadata is used for:
Keyword Collections and Smart Collections instead of static bins
Range-based keywords instead of subclips
Filtering instead of the find dialog
reversible Renaming of Clips instead of destructively renaming files to match clip names
PhilipHodgetts: Conquering the metadata foundations of Final Cut Pro X

I'll be posting a roundup of reaction to Final Cut Pro X, as well as my own experiences later today.

iTunes, App Store and Mac App Store

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Final Cut Pro X: The "Un"-Unboxing Video

I had to put together an unboxing video for Final Cut Pro X.

A short video that does show the steps, and also how to redeem your iTunes Gift Cards if you have them...

Final Cut Pro X: The Top App in the Mac App Store

It's hardly surprising that Final Cut Pro X is the top paid app on the App Store today. Motion is number two, but interestingly, Compressor isn't number three. Clearly there are people hanging back on spending the $50 for that one!

App store: Final Cut Pro - Apple® $299
Motion - Apple® $49.99
Compressor - Apple®$49.99

Final Cut Pro X Latest News III

Another First Look
Steve Martin of Ripple Training has posted a fairly extensive "First Look" at Final Cut Pro X:
While FCP X is very promising, it still lacks key features for professionals. (I'm cutting it some heavy slack because I'm taking into account this is essentially a version 1 product built on an entirely new foundation). But the fact remains that there is no professional audio editing capabilities. With many of the features of Soundtrack Pro now rolled into FCP X, I still long for a full featured waveform editor to perform bread-and-butter audio editing chores. This coupled with the fact that there is no built-in way to collaborate with sound editors using ProTools or other DAWs is problematic.
KenStone: Final Cut Pro X - A first Look

Another First Look from Gary Adcock
Gary has done one for MacWorld, and another for the Creative COW:
Apple is keenly aware that FCP X is not ready for professional editing out of the gate. I have been assured both privately and publicly that support for third-party tools by AJA, Blackmagic, Matrox and others will be implemented, but how soon? I know for a fact that many of the FCP developers were all but avoided at Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference (WWDC) in early June.
CreativeCOW: FCP X: Ready or Not, Here it Comes...

  • ProApps QuickTime Codecs. Apple has made available a separate update of codecs for use by QuickTime applications. Apple: ProApps QuickTime Codecs [Not sure if these will work with any other application]
  • While you can keep Final Cut Pro 7 on your machine (and run it) you can't run it concurrently with Final Cut Pro X
  • Looking for a PDF of Final Cut Pro X Help? Go to the Help, click on the Print icon (top right) choose Book | Final Cut Pro Help and then Print to PDF.
  • Rolling Shutter Test: Carl Pendle has posted a video showing the Rolling Shutter removal feature. "It's removed quite a bit of it, but not all": YouTube: Rolling Shutter FCPX
  • Exhaustive Release Notes are posted to Apples site: Final Cut Pro X: Release notes
  • Native editing support does not include MJPEG
  • There are built-in export presets for CNNireport
  • Official: Final Cut Studio, Final Cut Express and Final Cut Server are EOL. Does this really mean there won't be a Final Cut Server X? Apple: Final Cut Server has been discontinued
  • What's so good about Final Cut Pro X again? A reminder about some of the good things from Daniel Freytag: FCPX – Apple changed everything, or not?
  • This first thing you see, when you launch Final Cut Pro X (import iMovie Projects screen): PhilipBloom: Tumblr  

Importing Older Projects?
Jared Abrams says you can import previous projects into Final Cut Pro X:
The new Apple FCPX will overwrite move your older FCP files/projects (See Update) into a folder in the applications folder. I was able to import older FCP sequences to the new FCPX. Although this could present problems for some users. (See Screen Grab).
Wide Open Camera: FCPX First Look. Beetle Spec Spot. Screen Grabs And More

Red Giant on Final Cut Pro X Support:
Apple has not yet contacted 3rd party plugin developers to let them know what the transition plan is for plugins in FCPX.

That’s really all we’ve got right now. We know as much as you do. We’re downloading the software ourselves for the very first time, and as soon as we’ve tested it out and have more info, we’ll give you an update.
Red Giant: Red Room Blog: Final Cut X is Here

Missing Features
The Premiuimbeat blog is keeping track of missing features: Final Cut Pro X: The Missing Features

Second Monitor Support
Michael Beck notes that you can use a second monitor in Final Cut Pro X:

Buy (and download) from the App store: Final Cut Pro - Apple® $299
Motion - Apple® $49.99
Compressor - Apple®$49.99
Get it through these links and support the blog!

Final Cut Pro X Latest News II

Some owners of late model MacPro's are reporting that the App Store won't let them download Final Cut Pro X because the graphics card is not supported! (Final Cut Pro X requires an Open CL card)
You will get the error message:
We could not complete your purchase
your computer's video card does not meet the minimum system requirements
Note Apples Tech Specs:
Mac computer with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor or better
2GB of RAM (4GB of RAM recommended)
OpenCL-capable graphics card or Intel HD Graphics 3000 or later
256MB of VRAM

Display with 1280-by-768 resolution or higher
Mac OS X v10.6.7 or later
2.4GB of disk space

Steve Martin of Ripple Training to appear in Boston July 22
The BOSFCPUG is bringing Steve Martin to Boston July 22. More details to come. BOSFCPUG: Final Cut Pro X Workshops with Apple Master Trainer Steve Martin

First Impressions on Color Features
Denver Riddle took a quick look at the color features in Final Cut Pro X, and while he thinks they are an improvement over the 3-Way Color Corrector, they aren't perfect, particularly the AutoBalance feature:
In conclusion my first impression with playing around with the color correction tool sets is that they will be more than adequate for the beginning/amateur filmmaker, adequate for small/micro budget projects and for editors to show client color corrected proofs, but for medium and large budget projects I would hire a professional colorist or use a dedicated color grading app.
DigitalCinemaFoundry: FCP X First Review: Autobalance Color Simply Won’t Work Adequately

Matt at Matt's Macintosh posted this quick run through of Final Cut Pro X:

Final Cut Pro X Latest News

[UPDATE 11:00AM]
  • If you already have Final Cut installed on your machine, the install moves the existing apps into a 'Final Cut Studio' folder.
  • Just to repeat, Multicam is NOT present in this release. Apple says they are rethinking it and will/may add in a future release
  • Philip Hodgetts First Impressions of Final Cut Pro X
  • Motion 5 will open Motion 4 files (even though Final Cut Pro X won't open Final Cut Pro 7 files.)
Gary Adcock posts a first-look at Macworld: First Look: Final Cut Pro X
On the Creative Cow forum he writes:
FCP X is NOT for Professionals
No Log and Capture, No 3rdParty Plugins, codecs or Hardware today.

No EDL or XML support -in or out at this time.
CreativeCOW: FCPX info from an insider

  • You can run the old version of Final Cut Pro 7 side-by-side with Final Cut Pro X
  • Final Cut Pro X will not open Final Cut Pro 7 projects (though it will open iMovie projects!)
  • A list of supported cameras can be found on Apple's site: Final Cut Pro X Supported Cameras
  • A list of supported file formats: Supported Formats and I/O
  • What's new in Motion 5, apart from the interface? Looks like tighter integration with Final Cut is the primary difference; the interface functionality is mostly the same. ProVideoCoalition: Motion 5: Top 5 New Features
  • After download, another 600MB of sound effects are available as an extra download. Re: FCPX What's in and what's been left out

Buy (and download) from the App store: Final Cut Pro - Apple® $299
Motion - Apple® $49.99
Compressor - Apple®$49.99
Get it through these links and support the blog!

Final Cut Pro X is up!

Wow!  I nearly thought it wasn't going to drop today!

Apple's Press Release: Apple Revolutionizes Video Editing With
Final Cut Pro X

“Final Cut Pro X is the biggest advance in Pro video editing since the original Final Cut Pro,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “We have shown it to many of the world’s best Pro editors, and their jaws have dropped.”

Answering the Questions
Philip Hodgetts answers all his unanswered questions, including:
  • Does Final Cut Pro X really work with native formats or does it transcode?
  • Can I import a Final Cut Pro 7 (or 6) project?
  • Will we be able to switch the Final Cut Pro X layout to a more traditional 2-monitor setup? [NO!]
  • What about Log and Capture/Tape Capture?
and more.
PhilipHodgetts: What are the Answers to the Unanswered Questions about Final Cut Pro X?

Larry Jordan Speaks Freely
A long post with his thoughts. He's going to miss Soundtrack Pro:
Soundtrack Pro, DVD Studio Pro, and Color are not in this release. (LiveType was discontinued when FCP 7 came out.)

We all have our favorites, but I will miss Soundtrack Pro the most.
LarryJordan: Ain’t Nothing Like It In the World

Ripply Has Training.
Big shock here; Ripply releases it's training for Final Cut Pro X
Ripple: Apple Pro Video Series - Final Cut Pro X

Buy (and download) from the App store: Final Cut Pro - Apple® $299
Motion - Apple® $49.99
Compressor - Apple®$49.99
Get it through these links and support the blog!

So Motion is $49.99 and so is Compressor. With no upgrade pricing, if you previously own Final Cut Studio that means you're paying an extra $100 to upgrade this time.

I want that round of applause Apple got at the SuperMeet back!

[UPDATED 9:30AM - rewrote with links to multiple items.]

Monday, June 20, 2011

Final Cut Pro X: The Latest Signs

[UPDATE: The fact that it's Tuesday morning and none of the rumor sites have any word of an eminent release does concern me. They usually have  some idea by now. Maybe it won't be today...]

Short of divining the entrails of dead chickens, we're all desperately wondering; Is Tuesday the 21st going to be the day Final Cut Pro X is released?!

The signs are looking good:
FLASH, BREAKING, EXCLUSIVE: Resellers sent back remaining Final Cut Pro copies to Apple today. Sources: Final Cut Pro X within 10 days.
@markgurman almost convince me. But surely you have more proof?

How about someone from Apple going on vacation for the next two days?!
Subject: Out of office for a couple days
From: Darrin Cardani
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 2011 16:51:15 -0700

Hey FxPlug Developers,

I'm going to be out of the office for a couple days, so I'll be unable to answer questions Tuesday and Wednesday. I'll be back on Thursday.

Darrin Cardani
Source: Apple Mailing Lists: Out of Office via@blakebogosian

Compelling proof! But who is this Darrin Cardani? Are his vacation days truly significant? 

Only time will tell!

If you're thinking of buying Final Cut Pro X, you can support the blog by using this link! - Thanks!

iTunes, App Store and Mac App Store

Hey Jack Kerouac

Just over fifteen years ago I worked on an electronic book: The Jack Kerouac ROMnibus. I did the programming/assembling; putting it together in Macromedia Director 1.0
This CD-ROM project was developed in 1995. It contains the entire text of The Dharma Bums with annotations, selections from other Kerouac works, an archive of Kerouac's papers, a gallery of artwork and related photographs, a timeline of Kerouac's life, a "Beat Family Tree" illustrating the interwoven relationships of the Beat Generation, and a sampler of recordings of Kerouac's work.
The Jack Kerouac ROMnibus

Though it was published by Penguin - and got a good bit of press at release - for a variety of reasons it wasn't a success.

And now, in 2011, here comes: Jack Kerouac's On the Road (A Penguin Books Amplified Edition) - Penguin Group USA, an electronic book that features:
With the complete text of the original 1957 novel at its heart, this digital edition has been curated by Penguin editors, the Kerouac estate, and Beat scholars and includes a set of spectacular features that immerse readers in the book’s backstory and legacy—making for a truly unique literary encounter.
Wow. Looks pretty awesome. We were only 15 years - and the iPad - too soon. The Jack Kerouac ROMnibus
iTunes: Jack Kerouac's On the Road (A Penguin Books Amplified Edition) - Penguin Group USA

News From Here & There

Shooting with the Sony PMW-F3
A great article at HD Magazine about DP Tim Palmer and using the PMW-F3 to shoot We’ll Take Manhattan a drama about photographer David Bailey. This article is interesting because it covers the cameras that were considered for the project, and also outlines the problems they encountered:
What he wasn’t ready for was the route he would have to take to record any footage, “Natively the camera records at a data rate of 32Mbps which is not enough for the BBC who require a minimum of 50Mbps. This isn’t a problem as the BBC’s advice is to record to an external recorder like the Convergent Design NanoFlash that bolts on to the side of the rig. The unit is the size of a pack of cigarettes and is very discreet. However because there is nowhere to attach it to the actual camera a longer set of bars becomes necessary which juts out the back of the camera. This means that the camera has almost doubled in length just to mount a 4”x3” box.
HDMagazine: Sony's F3 Shoots David Bailey Drama For BBC

Small, light rig
Frank Saur shot a documentary on free runner Jason Paul using a Panasonic GH2 and a Gorillapod as the rig:
I use a lot of other HDSLRs, but for this particular project I chose the GH2. One reason is the amazing auto-focus system that is sadly only compatible with the Panasonic lenses. The film was completely shot without external monitor or viewfinder. During the two days of shooting, there was not a lot of time to set up a shot and pull focus. When I found a moment that I wanted to capture I needed it to be in focus in an instant.
DSLRNewsShooter: Free running with the Panasonic GH2 – Frank Sauer shoots the fast moving sport using autofocus

Launching Your Film Online
An excellent article from Andrew Allen that covers what they did when releasing their movie The Thomas Beale Cipher. Includes the launch plan, traffic details, results, and what they learned:
It’s a lot of work. Next time I might think about engaging someone early in the project as PMD—Producer of Marketing and Distribution. This is a newish position that many in the indie-world are getting behind, folks like Jon Reiss, Sheri Candler and Ted Hope. We did it ourselves, but it was tough.
ShortOfTheWeek: How We Launched Our Film Online: The Thomas Beale Cipher

No transcoding with ClipWrap?
One of the BIG problems with Final Cut Pro is that it won't import some video formats; you have to transcode them first. I find this particularly annoying with AVCHD files. ClipWrap 2 claims to rewrap HDV and AVCHD:
Does ClipWrap transcode the footage?
Not by default. In addition to re-wrapping, ClipWrap 1.1 now also supports transcoding. You can transcode your HDV footage into Apple ProRes, Apple Intermediate Codec, DVCProHD, or Avid's DNxHD. You can also down convert to DV.

What about support for AVCHD?
ClipWrap 2.0 adds support for transcoding and rewrapping AVCHD. Please test your specific camera's files to ensure compatibility.
I haven't tried it yet, but they have a trial version so, I'm going to give it a go...
DivergentMedia: ClipWrap 2

Optical Image Stabilization
Ever wondered how the image stabilization in modern lenses works? Camera Technica explains how, and includes a video showing the internals of a Canon 18-55mm lens:
The secret to an image stabilized lens is an internal lens element that is allowed to float off of the original optical axis. While the front and rear elements remain stationary, the internal floating lens bounces to and fro to compensate for the movements of our shaking hand.
Camera Technica: The Science of Image Stabilization Technology

Are digital effects overwhelming the story?
David Denby at The New Yorker looks at the current crop of effects laden movies - Super 8, The Green Lantern and X-Men - and wonders if the effects are now ruining the movies:
But one reason that C.G.I. has become so widespread is that it makes the fantastic available not just to the artists but to the unimaginative and the graceless as well.
Digital filmmakers need to get a few things straight: If there are no rules, there’s no reason to care how the story turns out. When everything is at stake, nothing is at stake
TheNewYorker: Anything Goes


Panasonic GH2 in stock at B & H

The Panasonic GH2 has been popular - and also mostly out-of-stock - but B & H currently has the Lumix DMC-GH2 Digital Camera W/14-42mm Lens (Silver) in stock.