Final Cut Pro X: Compositing 64+ layers in real time

Friday, 01 August 2014

Here's a new video from Gyro (tweeted by @sundsvein) featuring an edit on a Mac Pro using 64 layers of video - each of which was at least HD resolution.

One 14 second sequence had 2,400+ 1080p clips.

The reason we went for Final Cut Pro X as our main (and only) software is because it was bar far the only software that could handle 64+ layers with relative ease, and the way it works with the hardware is crazy


Shows that Final Cut Pro X in combination with a Mac Pro can do real-time compositions that would be hard to do using other systems.



A sign: Vacancy for Assistant Editor with Final Cut Pro X experience

Friday, 01 August 2014

This morning a job listing went up on

We are looking for assistant editors with fcpx experience.
The position will require knowledge in all aspects of editor assisting including:
Prepping for telecine
Prepping for audio mix.
The position will start as a freelance position as needed, with the possibility of a full time position.

The position is at Consulate NYC, a Manhattan-based post production company. We've heard of a London post house using Final Cut Pro X for offline adits of large advertsing campaigns and music videos. It is a sign that Final Cut is also being used in New York - on jobs big enough for editors to need assistant editors. 

It is quicker for an experienced assistant editor to learn Final Cut Pro X than it is for a Final Cut Pro X user to understand the huge range of responsibilities of an assistant editor. More job offers like this will encourage a few forward-thinking AEs to discover more about Final Cut. The more assistant editors with X experience there are, the more likely jobs with large enough budgets to require assistants will consider Final Cut as an element of the production workflow.


Feature film edited in Final Cut Pro 7 and Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Today sees the premiere of 'Sharknado 2: The Second One.' Apart from the obvious high quality of the movie, there's an interesting post production story. The two editors who worked on the film used different editing applications. 

Ana Florit worked in Final Cut Pro 7, Vashi Nedomansky used Adobe Premiere Pro CC.

Scott Simmons asked:

How did you integrate Premiere Pro into a traditional Final Cut Pro 7 workflow?
So here’s how I seamlessly integrated Premiere Pro CC into a FCP7 workflow. 1. Opened the FCP7 Sharknado 2 project in my studio. 2. Relinked to the clone drive and made all assets active in FCP7. 3. Exported XML from FCP7. 4. Imported XML into Premiere Pro CC. 5. Relinked footage inside Premiere Pro CC. 6. Done.

As well as Scott's article on the post process, also read Randi Altman's article on what Vashi learnt about editing comedy from David Zucker:

“Never hang on a reaction too long…” Zucker taught him. “If you milk it, it loses its funny,” Nedomansky explains. “You have to cut away at the right moment, see the reaction to the dialog or action and then come back for more of the original reaction. If you linger, it’s death.”

I wonder if Final Cut Pro X XML will be the next interchange format for post production?

Follow Ana Florit and Vashi Nedomansky on Twitter


Apple patent: Metadata generation from nearby devices

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Today Apple was awarded a patent for a process where when data is created or saved on a device, the device detects nearby devices ('second devices') and offers possible metadata tag options that could be associated with the data:

Identifying the content can include identifying the content that has just been created (e.g., identifying a digital picture right after the picture is taken), or selecting from a list of content that was created when at least one of the second devices was in transmission range with the first device. In the latter case, each content file can be associated with a list of second devices that were present. The user of the first device can have the options of labeling the file with a particular second device or a group of second devices (e.g., multiple labels can be assigned to each file).

The content can have a variety of formats. For example, the content can be a text file (e.g., a text note), a data file (e.g., a spreadsheet), a multimedia file (e.g., a sound recording, a digital image, or a digital movie clip), or in any other format (e.g., a voice mail message, an entry in a data sheet, a record in the database, etc)

For OS X and iOS 8 users, the metadata would appear as tags associated with a file, calendar event, contact or note. For Pro Apps users the metadata would appear as keywords associated with stills, audio and video clips recorded on iOS, OS X and other devices.

Those controlling public devices such as iBeacons could also offer up useful metadata for those creating content in public spaces.


Apple's video conferencing patent

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Apple has been awarded a video conferencing patent for connecting multiple cameras in one location:

Multiple cameras are oriented to capture video content of different image areas and generate corresponding original video streams that provide video content of the image areas.

One part seems to overlap with the way Google Hangouts works:

An active one of the image areas may be identified at any time by analyzing the audio content originating from the different image areas and selecting the image area that is associated with the most dominant speech activity.

The illustrations are interesting - ranging from a TARDIS-like desk to a vertical video display (showing that the video feeds could be sent to devices people view in portrait mode).





Apple Pro Apps Revenue: 2005-2014

Monday, 28 July 2014

For many years most users of Apple's 'Pro Apps' assumed that they were a loss leader for high-end Macintoshes. Very light copy protection meant that many students pirated the software, but that wasn't a problem for Apple. 99.9% of Final Cut Pro users needed a Mac to run the software.

These days Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X users may love their software, but many are worried that Apple might discontinue them at any moment. Pro Apps are such a small contributor to Apple's bottom line, and the transition from Final Cut Pro 7 to Final Cut Pro X has left many people gun-shy. They don't want to bet their livelihood on an ecosystem that Apple may abandon at a whim.

Here's a look at how much revenue Apple probably gets from selling Pro Apps, some worries might be alleviated.  

I saw an article by Horace Dediu of showing the elements that went towards the iTunes group at Apple. Here's one of the graphs:



I took the Pro Apps line item and scaled it up to have a look at Pro Apps quarterly revenues from late 2005 to mid-2014:


Here’s how Apple's Pro Apps launches may have affected quarterly revenues.

March 2006: Intel version of Final Cut Studio (5.1) - not much effect on revenue, the upgrade cost $49.

April 2007: Final Cut Studio 2 and Final Cut Server - a small increase: adding a colour correction application to the suite didn't seem like a big deal revenue-wise, and Final Cut Server didn't ship until April 2008.

September 2007: Logic Studio

There were no big Pro App updates in the first quarter of 2008, but the uptick in Pro Apps revenues could be associated with the January launch of the first new Mac Pro since July 2006.

In 2009, Final Cut Studio and Logic Studio were updated at the start of the 2nd quarter - the following two quarters were down on the first two. January saw the launch of the first 'Unibody' MacBook Pro and February the cheaper 'Nehalem' Mac Pro range. 

It seems the only Pro Apps relevant event in the first half of 2010 was the February release of Aperture 3, but perhaps wider availability of the Core 2 Duo 27" iMac in the first quarter gave Pro Apps a boost. 

Final Cut Pro X was launched in the middle of 2011 - a completely new application that shared only a name with Final Cut Pro 7. After hardware supported first half of the year, Pro Apps revenue went down in the second half.

There was a big leap in revenue in the first quarter of 2012 - coinciding with an update to Final Cut Pro X that many saw as the first  version that started to satisfy Final Cut Pro 7 users. Version 10.0.3 added Multicam clip editing and A/V output amonst other features. Despite the next major version of Final Cut Pro X being released in October, Pro Apps revenue dropped back to the previous year's level. This may have been due to slower Mac Pro sales prompted by Tim Cook's message that the Mac Pro would be updated later in 2013.

That makes the figures for 2013 seem odd. Why did the Pro Apps revenue suddenly rise at the start of the year? The usual fall back in revenue in Q3 was probably offset by the launch of Logic Pro X in July. Since launch it has been in the top two of the App Store 'Top 10 Grossing' chart.

The last quarter is a different story. Lots of pent-up demand for the new Mac Pro (and a major update to Final Cut Pro X) resulted big revenue. These Q4 sales probably reduced the sales that would have happened in Q1 of 2014.

Despite Q2 falling back to 2013 levels, it looks like the relatively small Pro Apps teams are producing tools that will soon contribute almost $2bn a year. Not much compared with most other parts of Apple, but enough to justify keeping the current Apple definition (as mentioned in press releases) the same:

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.


Update 1

Following requests, here's how's figures compare with the revenue results over the same time period for Avid and Adobe:


I used an alternate scale for Adobe as their figures include revenue for all their apps and services. Note that increases in Adobe figures here are twice those of Avid and Apple Pro Apps.

I'll leave it up to others to comment on what caused the changes in fortune for Avid and Adobe.


Update 2

Before publishing this post, I contacted Asymco to ask for precise figures, but there was no response. Following some debate on the Creative Cow Apple FCPX or Not: The Debate forum, Marcus Moore got in touch with Horace Dediu via Twitter.

Marcus reported a little more in his post on the forum.



Rumour: iMovie and Final Cut updates due with OS X Yosemite

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

A report on Apple rumour site 9to5Mac that Apple will launch retina Macs and monitors with the next version of OS X:

Also in the cards for the Mac side, sources say, are at least a couple of next-generation Mac lines. Sources say that Apple is finishing up work on both a smaller MacBook with a high-resolution display and a new desktop computer, either an iMac or a standalone monitor, with a 4K resolution screen.

The post also mentions iMovie and Final Cut:

In addition to the new hardware with higher-resolution display panels, Apple is said to be preparing updates to both iMovie and Final Cut Pro to bolster support for editing, exporting, and importing video taken with 4K resolution-capable cameras.

I'm not sure what more could be done to make iMovie and Final Cut Pro X work better with 4K cameras. Current versions of both have features ready to handle 4K, 5K and more already.

In practice the new versions of the applications are more likely to demonstrate advantages of OS X Yosemite. If we're lucky, Apple might also launch iOS apps designed to work with Macs running iMovie or Final Cut Pro X, such as remote Inspector panel or a workflow assistant.



Final Cut Pro X Subclips tutorials

Wednesday, 23 July 2014 have gathered together a series of subclip tutorials by T Payton. As well as forum posts, the YouTube videos…

should be watched in order. All six add up to about an hour, so grab yourself a coffee!