Adobe Premiere and UK TV post-production

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Yesterday I went to an interesting evening hosted by ITV Studios and Adobe. ITV Studios wanted editors to understand why Adobe Premiere Pro is a now a peer to Avid Media Composer when it comes to editing TV programmes of many different kinds. It was presented as a tale of Premiere vs. Media Composer - Final Cut Pro 7 and X were hardly mentioned.

ITV Studios makes over 3,500 hours of TV every year ranging from soap operas like Coronation Street, dramas such as Poirot and game shows including Come Dine with Me and I'm a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!

ITV Studios Production Modernisation programme

Martyn Suker, ITV Studios Head of Production Innovation, introduced their Production Modernisation programme. ITV Studios is organised as a group of individual TV production companies. That means they didn't need to impose a single huge digital asset management system. There is no need for the 'Mr. Selfridge' drama production team to access the many hours of rushes recorded for 'Come Dine With Me.' However, as nearly all broadcasters will require file-based submission of broadcast shows by October 1st 2014, ITV Studios wanted to define a 'commission to broadcast' workflow standard. 

Instead of an all-encompassing digital asset management system, they decided to use MioEverywhere from Nativ. MioEverywhere is a 'media logistics platform' - a way for information to flow from initial proposal, to production planning, photography, post-production and submission.

One aspect of file-based production that ITV Studios want to get control over is shooting ratios. In previous years producers understood how much footage was being recorded by counting video tapes at the end of each day. If the number of tapes suddenly stacked up, producers knew that something needed to be investigated. Few people can understand how many minutes are stored on an individual camera card. ITV Studios gets producers to consider this problem at a very early stage. Once a programme, film or series is commissioned budgeting includes defining how much media storage will be available to the production. At any stage any member of the production is able to see a graph that shows how much of the storage budget has been used so far.

mio tab

Mio Tab in Adobe Premiere Pro CC

A Mio production workflow amongst other things establishes a media storage limit, standard metadata tags and names the people involved. It uses Adobe Prelude to ingest footage, giving on-set post people the correct set of tags and the chance to do simple sequence stringouts. The clips and sequences then can be accessed in Adobe Premiere Pro. As Premiere can host HTML5-based UI elements from external systems, editors can access a special Mio tab which shows production metadata and handles the approval process. Instead of individually making DVDs in Premiere, Mio handles encoding, file transfer to approvers and import of timecode-based notes from collaborators.

After signoff Mio then prepares the required files for submission to the broadcasters - the required metadata stored as XML as well as a quality-controlled file using the correct codec settings.

Why Adobe Premiere Pro?

The audience at the event was made up of in-house editors and freelance editors. I got the impression that one of the aims of the evening was for the experienced Avid-only in-house editors to take Premiere seriously. The presence of many freelancers unthreatened by Premiere was perhaps supposed to give a strong message to those who haven't needed to learn it yet.

From a technical perspective, the Adobe advantage is that it can most easily fit into non-Adobe workflows. Adobe sticks to providing software instead of attempting to sell production companies and broadcasters full systems from software to storage to networking.

There's currently no way for a third-party system to populate a custom part of the Avid Media Composer UI with information relevant to the current edit. Avid users can export AS-11 compliant video files for submission to broadcasters, but won't be involved in creating the complex XML package that is also needed.

Matthew Gyves, Senior Manager, Professional Video Team, Adobe then gave a great demo of Premiere itself. Here's the order of the features he thought relevant - as he only had 30 minutes:

  1. No rendering needed - no transcoding
  2. Flexible interchange using AAF and Final Cut Pro 7 XML
  3. Adobe Story - using a text transcription from a clip, speech to text means you can select a phrase in the transcription to set an in and out point for the clip
  4. Integration with Adobe After Effects - sending a clip, making changes in AE - instant update in Premiere
  5. Integration with Adobe SpeedGrade - same timeline in grading application, all changes implemented as non-destructive effects applied to clips
  6. Integration with Adobe Audition - fixing an audio problem in a single clip using Photoshop-like 'heal' tool to remove a syllable
  7. Features in After Effects now built into Premiere - Footage stabilisation
  8. Many effects have masks that can track features in footage
  9. Integration with After Effects - If you need to make text changes in a title, you don't have to visit AE. Text now editable in Premiere Pro.

Selling to Premiere to Avid editors

After these two technical presentations, we were treated to a pair of interesting case studies: quick turnaround music TV programme production from Jon Walton of My Little Eye productions and using multicam features to manage multiple takes in a short video, presented by William H. W. Read

For variety, Ben Foakes of We Are One Media gave a presentation about how much could change in post production in coming years. With wider availability of fast internet connections he predicts that production houses will become virtualized: the media and rendering power will be in the cloud - fast connections will mean that editors will use NLEs that transfer commands to the cloud. The cloud will then do whatever media access and rendering needed with the UI on the local computer being updated at 50 frames per second. Adobe Anywhere is a step in this direction.

The last speaker was Ollie Tait, Managing Director of Lambent Productions. He described the first full production that used the new Production Modernisation programme: The Pity of War - a documentary drama starring John Hurt. He explained that the Mio-managed file-based workflow saved them money.

  • Less ingest cost
  • Less storage cost
  • Editor can use low-end system to edit in production office - not locked away in expensive edit suite
  • No tape deck hire, no tapes
  • Biggest saving: no conform costs

An extra expense was the extra two weeks for the editor to get used to Premiere Pro - 6 weeks of editing for an hour-long drama instead of 4.

Ollie described the savings in post production as being enough for a low-budget drama documentary to be able to afford to hire John Hurt. 

Final Cut What?

Final Cut Pro doesn't seem relevant to ITV Studios productions at the moment. The resentment and mistrust of Apple seems to be present three years after Final Cut Pro 7 was suddenly discontinued. One of the main advantages of Premiere over Avid that was presented was the lack of any need to transcode footage - a feature available also in Final Cut Pro X, but irrelevant to those in the room who only took Final Cut Pro in its version 7 incarnation seriously. For many busy freelancers, the lack of layers is still a strong disincentive for them to set aside the hours to learn a completely new editing application.

Despite all the enthusiasm Final Cut Pro fans have, it looks like it will be a long time until their favorite application is a peer to Media Composer and Premiere Pro in UK TV post. In order for Apple to invest in regaining trust and opening up to third-party partnerships, they'll have to see the potential benefit to their bottom line. Will the fact that popular TV shows are edited using Final Cut encourage more people to spend $300 on an editing application? If an extra 20,000 copies are sold, then it will be worth Apple's investment.

In the coming months we'll see if Apple supports a range high-end TV and film productions. In practice that means collaborating with companies like L.A.-based FCPWorks in other parts of the world.

  

Avid, Adobe and Apple NLEs: June 2013-June 2014 feature updates

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

If you are faithful user of a single video editing application, it is a good idea to keep up with improvements that other NLEs have made. In an ideal world competition would prompt features on one system to appear on others, but influence of each company on the other is unlike normal competitive markets.

I'll use Final Cut Pro X terms in some cases (for example Premiere 'sequences' are Final Cut 'projects').

Avid Media Composer

Avid-Media-Composer-Updates

v7.0 - June 2013

  • Dynamic Media Folders - Finder folders that 'listen' for new media content, when added MC creates new events using preset import settings
  • Camera-based (AMA) media is managed - All readable media on a drive can be imported
  • Files in the Finder can be dragged directly into Media Composer
  • Background transcoding and consolidation
  • Choose whether to relink audio, video or metadata tracks - after you've finished editing with proxies
  • Transcode or consolidate camera-based media only
  • Label which timeline clips were camera-based (AMA media)
  • Apply external LUTs to clips
  • Audio mixer elements can be configured
  • Audio plugins can be applied to whole tracks
  • Audio mixer master fader
  • Aspect ratio masks
  • Adjust audio level of clips using timeline window control
  • Buttons to switch library view between list, icon and script view
  • Export to AS-11
  • Markers with duration
  • Move marker from one track to another
  • QuickTime with alpha clips supported
  • XAVC support for 1080p projects
  • iXML metadata support
  • Timeline can scroll vertically
  • Mouse scroll wheel support
  • Editing and sync projects, libraries and clips stored on Avid Interplay servers
  • Send and receive messages between Interplay users

v7.0.2 - September 2013

  • Option to always keep at least one backup - To prevent deletion based on setting of the number of backups of all libraries
  • XDCAM EX 35 Capture
  • Rule-based naming of Dynamic Media Folders

v7.0.3 - December 2013

  • Effects browser buttons to show video or audio effects
  • Add markers at start and finish of marker with duration
  • 24fps sound timecode support in non SD PAL projects
  • Option to warn when resolution of imported media is too low
  • Frame interpretation control when using retimed clips
  • Simplied AAF export - Option to create new clips with video and audio effects baked in and audio mixed down to less tracks
  • More proxy resolutions
  • RED Dragon 6K and Red Rocket card support

v7.0.4 - May 2014

  • New Sony LUT
  • New crash report log
  • New SMPTE HD colour bars

Media Composer | Software v8.0 - May 2014

New licensing options 

  • Option to add NewsCutter features
  • Coloured borders around clips in event viewer that denote the kind of clip they are
  • Clip labels can show whether media is local or mixed resolution
  • Audio mix mode can now have a keyboard shortcut assigned to it
  • Option to choose the response to lasooing a transition: Enter trim mode or segment mode
  • For single viewer mode, you can switch between viewers with a button
  • Alternate edit replaces a timeline clip with a clip with a similar name from a special event
  • Auto tape import - when deck has servo-lock, footage is captured until tape is stopped
  • Satellite mode - 'capture from multiple sources at the same time while recording to tape'
  • Voiceover record
  • Remove clips based on voiceover silence
  • Trim with J-K-L keys
  • Easier access to software licensing information

Adobe Premiere Pro

Adobe-Premiere-Pro-Updates-a

CC 7.0 - June 2013

  • Sync settings - Preferences, presets and settings stored in the Creative Cloud, so you can quickly set up a new machine with the same settings instantly
  • Adobe Anywhere integration - The ability to work with special PC servers that manage group collaboration and distributed rendering.
  • Retina display compatibility
  • Customizable track headers
  • Relinking offline media - Even if it has been renamed or transcoded
  • Duplicate frames - Show which frames have been used more than once in a timeline
  • Closed captioning - Import, edit retime and export subtitles that can be optionally displayed in video plaback devices and applications
  • Multicam auto-syncing - based on markers, timecode or audio
  • Track patching - Choose which tracks in event clips interact with which tracks in your timeline - with the option to store track patch combinations in presets which can be given keyboard shortcuts.
  • Edit unnested sequences into timelines
  • Join through edits
  • Razor tool and Playhead snapping option
  • Enhanced paste attributes - After copying attributes from a clip, choose which of its attributes are applied to the destination clip.
  • Namable nexted sequences
  • Trim-to-zero duration - Remove a timeline clip using trimming keyboard shortcuts
  • Playhead stays with edit point after a ripple delete
  • New clip audio mixer panel - for adjusting the audio of clips (in contrast with the track audio mixer panel)
  • Hierarchical audio plugin-assignment popup menu
  • Audio meter in track headers
  • Volume and pan controls in track headers
  • Assign audio tracks to multiple output tracks
  • Access to AU audio plugins
  • Access yo third-party VST plugins
  • Multichannel QuickTime export
  • External hardware mixer support
  • Improved colour - Apply LUTs (and Adobe Speedgrade .look files) using a colour browser
  • Adobe Story integration - Import screenplays into a panel. Jump to scenes, characters or locations. Select edit points in clips based on transcribed audio.
  • New keyboard shortcuts - Select previous/next clip in timeline, Select clip at playhead, Select all clips between in and out point, Move clip up/down one layer
  • CUDA processing - on systems with compatible GPU cards
  • New codecs within Premiere - MXF-wrapped DNxHD, ProRes, Sony XAVC, Panasonic AVCi200
  • Improved import and export within Avid and Final Cut Pro workflows using AAF and the new codecs
  • Export to tape - using third party SDI tape export devices
  • Switching between audio and video waveform display with one click

CC 7.0.1 - July 2013

  • Duplicate timeline title by option-dragging
  • Lift or extract clips enhancement - works if only an in point or outpoint is selected
  • Cut/Copy/Clear works on in and out points
  • Enable or disable clips using a context menu 
  • Match frame uses selected clip - superceding track trageting
  • Only relink media used in selected project
  • Enhanced EDL export - choose which video and audio layers are included in the EDL amognst other new options
  • Match frame in source monitor to event clip
  • Linked selection toggle - select associated audio and video clips with a single click, or select a clip without selecting its associated clips
  • Reveal source file in Finder
  • Set default project start timecode value
  • Preview source files from the Finder in the source window
  • Match frame enhancements - In source window match frame first goes to the multicam or compound clip, then to the source clip in the event.
  • Offline clips shown in unexpanded tracks
  • Tone generator - Generates bars and tones using different options
  • Open closed caption clip using caption panel
  • Access event clip settings using timeline shortcut
  • Smarter auto-save - Only saves when there arch changes, doesn't skip saves when busy
  • Improved still image timelapse support - choose duration in frames for imported stills
  • Preference to prevent playing a clip again by pressing the space bar if playhead is on last frame
  • Preference to set window focus to timeline after editing clips from events to the timeline
  • Jump between edit points on clips in the event viewer window
  • Clear in and/or out points in multiple clips selected in an event
  • Toggle keyboard focus between event viewer and viewer using keyboard shortcut

CC 7.1 - October 2013

  • Round-tripping between Premiere and SpeedGrade - for colour correction
  • Render multiple projects - select multiple projects in an event and use a command to render them one after another
  • Ripple project markers option
  • Draggable project markers - showing selected frame in the viewer as you drag
  • Back button in library browser
  • Projects appear as thumbnail icon - which are skimmable
  • End of media indicator in viewers
  • Add edit command applies to selected clips - overriding track tragetting
  • J,K,L keyboard shortcuts in Edit to tape dialog
  • J,L shortcuts can playback at faster speeds
  • Using - in the speed dialog reverses the playback of the selected clip - No need to click the reverse speed check box
  • QuickTime exporting supports 5.1 and 8 channel export
  • New metadata columns in event browser list view - Sound timecode and sound roll
  • Clip name options - Each clip can be set to display its project name, event name or source file name
  • Timecode generator automatically uses project timebase
  • Paste a transition to multiple edit points
  • Reset parameter buttons for each parameter in the inspector
  • Metadata display for viewers - source timecode, edit points, media limits, marker comments, clip metadata, sequence timecode
  • Load embedded closed captions on import
  • Support of closed captions in MXF, DFXP and CEA-708 files and QuickTime movies using any codec
  • Display multicam camera angles as track names or clip names
  • Organize and select camera angles to view in multicam viewer
  • Multicam results play in viewer
  • Full multicam clip information from Final Cut Pro timelines
  • New import formats - ProRes 64-bit, Blackmagic Cinema DNG, Native MJPEGs (Canon 1DC), RED DRAGON with ROCKET-X, Panasonic AVC Ultra Long GOP, Phantom Cine, Sony RAW (F65, F55, F5, FS700), Sony XAVC Long GOP
  • New export formats - Panasonic AVCI-100 (50p, 60p), Panasonic AVCI-200, Sony XAVC Intra
  • Export QuickTime formats in 64-bit process
  • Preference to let current editing tool define which kind of edit will be applied to an edit - even if when last selected a different kind of edit was applied (such is ripple or roll)
  • New keyboard shortcut for preferences dialog

CC 7.2 - December 2013

  • Descriptive text in empty Project panel or Timeline panel - such as "Drop Media Here To Create Sequence"
  • Auto-save now saves even if you have recently manually saved 
  • Create sequence by dragging clip to Timeline
  • Export markers as a list
  • Duplicate frame marking improvments - now detects if frames from two different clips using the same media on disk, or have the same tape name and metadata
  • Use Ripple-Delete command for In/Out range
  • Warning to prevent project overwriting - if another editor has opened the project after you and you then attempt to save your work over theirs
  • Multiple library browsers
  • Create new library from project - Using only clips used in the project timeline
  • When showing a multicam clip with one angle in the angle viewer, show it full size
  • In the timeline multicam clip names append the name of the video source angle clip
  • Record voiceovers directly into a project timeline
  • Mosaic effect is now GPU optimized
  • Support for GeForce GT 750M
  • MXF Importer for importing P2 and Canon XF files
  • Natively import AVCI-100 .mov files and smart render the files to MXF-wrapped AVCI-100 files
  • When using third-party transmit tools for SDI display, audio and video remain in sync

CC (2014 release) - June 2014

  • Video effect masks
  • Masks can track objects and features within clips
  • Edit text within titles created in After Effects
  • Apply and modify event clip effects - which change every instance of the clip in any timelines they are used in
  • Access to thousands of Typekit fonts
  • Autosave projects to online cloud
  • Settings from previous version synced to new version
  • Match from from event clip to frame on timeline where clip is used
  • Open timeline clip in event viewer showing frame where playhead is on timeline
  • Change sync of timeline clip, drag back to event to create new clip with new sync
  • Assign multiple keyboard shortcuts to a command
  • Option to use native pixels for stills
  • Viewer option checkerboard background to show transparency
  • Project context menu option to export event clip
  • Option to not display FX icons on clips in timeline with effects applied
  • Preference to set how many frames are moved when using shift-left arrow and shift-right arrow keyboard shortcuts
  • New tool to select clips on all tracks back from clip clicked to start of timeline
  • Named markers
  • Option when importing to create a new folder for new clips
  • Option to prevent importing duplicate media
  • Import Finder folder hierarchy as folders in library
  • Context menu option to make sequences offline
  • Browse After Effects projects and within projects using the media browser
  • Add media folders to list of favourites
  • Maintain audio pitch when scrubbing option
  • Voice-over recording enhancements - Specify pre-roll countdown and sound cues
  • Cross-platform consistency between OS X and Windows versions - video effects and transitions available on only one platform now cannot be applied in CC (2014) projects
  • Faster RED debayering using OpenCL and CUDA GPUs
  • Support for Intel Iris GPUs
  • ARRI AMIRA workflow
  • Blackmagic CinemaDNG metadata support
  • Export to AS-11 for broadcast, Quvis Wraptor DCP, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus
  • Progress bar for dock icon
  • Go Pro lens presets for Lens Distortion video effect
  • Preserve multicam source clip effects when flattening
  • Cross Dissolve transition can now be saved as a preset
  • Change duration on multiple transitions at once
  • Closed captions can be exported as .scc, .mcc, .xml or .stl sidecar files
  • Improved Red Giant Pluraleyes workflows
  • Ability to use Sound Roll and Sound Timecode in EDL export
  • Mosaic effect is now GPU optimized
  • 12 more commands can have keyboard shortcuts assigned

Apple Final Cut Pro X

Final-Cut-Pro-X-Updates

10.1 - December 2013

  • Support of multiple GPUs in 2013 Mac Pro
  • HDMI and Thunderbolt output at frame sizes up to 4K
  • Selected titles, effects, and other media content scaled for 4K projects
  • Libraries, a new way to organize multiple events and multiple projects in a single container
  • Project snapshots - backup projects with frozen disconnected compound clips
  • Media file storage on disk locations external to libraries
  • Direct importation of MTS/M2TS files
  • Used clip range indicators
  • Direct import of photos from iOS devices
  • Support for portrait/landscape metadata in still images
  • More retiming options
  • New clip stabilization method
  • Custom project resolutions
  • Viewer control to choose better playback quality or better playback performance
  • Viewer control to choose source or proxy media
  • Through edits
  • Trim to playhead
  • Trim to clip range selection
  • Video or audio only edits from multicam clips
  • Access to multicam audio for editing
  • Blade audio tracks in J and L cuts to get independent audio clips
  • Roll audio edits in open split edits
  • Share 4K finished videos directly to YouTube
  • New API for customizing Share operations
  • Send Apple Events to Asset Management applications during export
  • FXPlug 3 update to include custom inspector controls
  • Effect parameters, fonts, and text size information preserved in XML files
  • Hide browser option for more workspace
  • New title
  • Cut / Copy / Paste / Delete animation keyframes
  • Custom speeds
  • Option not to ripple the timeline when making clip speed changes
  • Show unused media only

10.1.2 - June 2014

  • More control over optimised media, proxy media and render files in libraries
  • Apply LUTs to HDR and wide-gamut media from high-end cameras
  • A new ProRes flavour: 4444 XQ
  • Faster export of cuts only XDCAM media
  • Fine-grained control over XML export - from individual clips, multiple clips, projects, events or whole libraries
  • Library metadata view
  • Automatically apply keywords based on tags assigned in the Finder 
  • The ability to search for or create smart collections of used or unused media in the current project, compound clip, synchronized clip or multicam clip.
  • A 'Share to Vimeo at 4K' destination
  • Unused range indicators for compound clips, multicam clips and synced clips
  • Tools to support voiceover Audition clips
  • Adjust relaive as well as absolute audio volume of a clip or range within a clip
  • Option to sort events by date or name within libraries list
  • The ability to import a clip by dragging directly to the browser
  • New 'Basic Surround' audio preset
  • Break apart Auditions to see the individual clips on the timeline
  • Using the , and . keys to nudge clips in the timeline now acts as a slide edit
  • Updated version of Final Cut Pro X XML - so a wider variety of information can be exported to or imported from other workflow applications
  • More control of how synchronised clips are generated
  • Much better relinking of missing files
  • When importing from consumer devices choose whether to show photos or videos
  • New text format presets
  • 37 new effects, transitions, titles and generators
  • Paste a copied transition to multiple clips

 

Final Cut Pro X transitions when you don't have enough media

Monday, 14 July 2014

In some situations you'll get this message when you attempt create a transition between two clips in Final Cut Pro X: 

not-enough-media

There are new extra frames after the end of the outgoing clip and frames before the start of the incoming clip for the transition to work with. This applies to compound clips and other kinds of media as well as video clips. 

There are many cases when you won't want Final Cut to ripple trim the clips and reduce the duration of the storyline you're editing.

An alternative is to use an Adjustment Layer to apply an effect to the end of the outgoing clip (or clips) and the start of the incoming clip, and to animate the effect's parameters so the effect is strongest at the first frame of the incoming clip:

Download my free adjustment layer plugin from my old plugins site.

Footage from EditStock.com.

 

 

UK HD TV: Interlace not dead yet

Wednesday, 09 July 2014

From October 1 2014, nearly all UK broadcasters will only accept TV programmes as files - tapes will not be allowed. To help independent TV production companies prepare for 'File Delivery Day,' the UK Digital Production Partnership have agreed on standards for everyone to follow.

The Digital Production Partnership is "funded and led by the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 with representation from Sky, Channel 5, S4/C, UKTV and BT Sport to help producers and broadcasters maximise the potential of digital production."

As well as a guide for producers, there is a full technical specification for post production workflow as well as a minimum metadata set.

An important aspect of the technical standard is for those who like to use animated graphics, transitions, titles and credits scrollers: they must be rendered as interlaced. Even if all the video in a programme is 25 frames per second progressive…

moving graphics and effects […] must be generated and added as interlaced to prevent unacceptable judder.

rules

 

To see YouTube attempt to show the interlaced fields, use the settings control (the cog) to choose 1080p (HD) and then click the full screen button in the bottom-right corner of the player.

In Final Cut Pro X, make sure your projects are 1080i25 and to check that graphics and transitions are properly interlaced, use the 'Show Both Fields' option in the Viewer's pop-up menu.

Project-properties

Show-both-fields-blog

The UK TV file format specification:

Each high definition programme must be delivered as a single MXF OP1a file which conforms to the AMWA specification AS-11 v1.1. The AS-11 file must use the ‘UK DPP shim specifications’ that describe exactly how the file must be constructed to meet DPP requirements

Final Cut Pro X users will have to turn to third parties to handle the video encoding and required metadata. Currently the only product that is available is Hamburg Media's AS-11 Suite

The rest of the specifications (including the standard allocation of 16 audio tracks), read the Digital Production Partnership Technical Delievery Standards document.

 

The demo video features footage from EditStock, a website that hosts rushes from short films you can use to practice the craft of editing, and my free Leaves title plugin for Final Cut Pro X.

 

 

What next for Final Cut Pro X?

Monday, 07 July 2014

I was the guest on today's episode of the FCPX Grill podcast, part of my conversation with Chris Fenwick was about what the 10.1.2 update tells us about the future of Final Cut Pro X.

It seems ungrateful to immediately start thinking about future versions of Final Cut. Even grateful users can't help but think about features and bugs they hoped Apple had paid attention to in the most recent update. It is worth considering now because Apple very rarely hints as to the future of their hardware and software - one of the few times they communicate anything is in the features of the products and services they do release.

As the 10.1.2 update seemed to concentrate on improving the lot of those new to editing and those working on high-end productions, I think the next major update will look at serving the middle of Final Cut's markets.

The following graphs show how Apple's Final Cut updates have served its markets. They show which markets the major new features of each version were aimed at. The left-hand end of the horizontal axis are features that support people who use Final Cut on personal projects, free videos or videos to support their professional lives in other fields (such as photographers, architects and doctors - people who wouldn't describe themselves as film makers first). The right-hand end of the horizontal axis is for features relevant to high-end big budget feature films, TV shows and complex news gathering organisations. The middle of the horizontal axis is 'the rest of us' people who are visual storytellers ranging from videographers to indie film and documentary production companies.

features-for-segments-1

In 2002 Final Cut Pro 3 reached critical mass when pioneering TV shows and feature films took a chance on what most people saw was a prosumer editor at best.

In 2003 Final Cut Pro added LiveType to give more casual users easy access to motion graphics effects without having to invest in learning After Effects. The pros got Soundtrack - an application for sound designers and sound editors and for picture editors who had to their jobs. 'The rest of us' got RT Extreme, which made editing on PowerBooks possible - you could digitise all your DV tapes at a lower resolution and then recapture at full resolution as your online.

features-for-segments-2

In the next two versions there wasn't much for the low end - new editors had the option of Final Cut Express, whose main feature was easier access - a lower price. The middle was built up with features best suited to individual pros. Instead of adding more and more features for the high end, Apple bundled high end applications and improved links between them and Final Cut with round-tripping.

features-for-segments-3

The end of the Final Cut Pro classic range came with Final Cut Pro 7 - which was sold as part of Final Cut Studio 3. The high end was taken care of by popularisation of colour correction with Color 1.5 and 4K RED workflows, and there were a few improvements at the low end with easier online sharing and iChat Theatre for collaboration.

features-for-segments-4

As Apple gave themselves the task to start from scratch (probably in 2007), they had to choose where to focus their efforts - it wouldn't be possible to get to the range of features available in Final Cut Studio 3 in four years. They started with the low end and moved up from there.

features-for-segments-5

Like OS X, Final Cut Pro X was developed in public - many would say the fourth major version of both was the first that could be safely recommended to a wide range of traditional users.

features-for-segments-6

The 10.1.2 update has now got Final Cut Pro X pretty close to where Final Cut Pro 7 was features-wise, although the features in almost every case are implemented in a much more effective way than before. It is much more powerful at the low end, and at the high end Apple is currently leaving high-end colour and sound to other companies.

This is a roundabout way of saying that I think Apple will next fill in the middle of the graph, features for videographers, freelance editors and smaller production companies. They are also likely to use new Final Cut features to demonstrate features of OS X Yosemite - iOS 8 continuity features.

The good news is that although Final Cut Pro X is now being used for a wider range of projects by a much larger constituency of people, there is a great deal of headroom in Final Cut's future.

 

 

Final Cut Pro X 10.1.2 update - all you need to know

Wednesday, 02 July 2014

Today Apple updated Final Cut Pro X to version 10.1.2. Nearly all the new features and refinements Apple announced seem to be about supporting high-end workflows:

  • More control over optimised media, proxy media and render files
  • Apply LUTs to HDR and wide-gamut media from high-end cameras - Apple calls this 'Log Processing'
  • A new ProRes flavour: 4444 XQ
  • Faster export of cuts only XDCAM media (good for TV news and DaVinci Resolve workflows)
  • Fine-grained control over XML export - from individual clips, multiple clips, projects, events or whole libraries
  • Library metadata view
  • Automatically apply keywords based on tags assigned in the Finder - the advantage over folders is that the same media can have multiple tags - such as camera name, location and scene number
  • The ability to search for or create smart collections of used or unused media in the current project, compound clip, synchronized clip or multicam clip.
  • A 'Share to Vimeo at 4K' destination

As well as these features for TV, movies and live events, there are new features useful for a larger range of Final Cut users:

  • Unused range indicators for compound clips, multicam clips and synced clips
  • Tools to support voiceover Audition clips
  • Adjust relaive as well as absolute audio volume of a clip or range within a clip
  • Option to sort events by date or name within libraries list
  • The ability to import a clip by dragging directly to the browser (before you could import by dragging a clip to a specific event in the libraries list)

Final Cut Pro X 10.1.2 information not promoted by Apple

  • The format for Final Cut libraries has changed, if you update them with version 10.1.2, any 10.1.1 or 10.1.0 systems will not be able to read them any more.
  • New 'Basic Surround' audio preset makes panning surround sound easier
  • Break apart Auditions to see the individual clips on the timeline (using Clip > Break Apart Clip Items or Shift-Command-G)
  • 10.1.1 could run on OS X 10.9.0, Final Cut Pro X 10.1.2 requires at least OS X 10.9.2. This also applies to Motion and Compressor.
  • Using the , and . keys to nudge clips in the timeline now acts as a slide edit
  • Updated version of Final Cut Pro X XML - so a wider variety of information can be exported to or imported from other workflow applications
  • You can close all libraries - one does not have to remain open
  • More control of how synchronised clips are generated
  • Much better relinking of missing files. Select the parent volume or folder and Final Cut will now search all sub-folders until it finds the correct files
  • New text format presets
  • There are many new effects, transitions, titles and generators 

Library properties

The inspector can show information about the selected library (also available using the new Control-Command-J shortcut)

library-properties

When you are modify Storage Locations settings, tooltips pop up to show where media, cache and backups are currently stored:

library-storage-locations

When preparing to backup or transfer a library, you now have more control over whether optimised or proxy media is included: 

library-consolidation

Delete 'Generated Files'

In addition to being able to delete render files, you can now delete proxy and cache files associated with projects, events and libraries:

Delete-Generated-Project-Files

Delete-Generated-Library-Files

XML Export

XML export can now include one or more clips only and one or more projects. Final Cut lists the elements to be included in the export at the bottom of the export dialogue box:

export-xml-selection

Volume control

Using a pair of new commands, you can set new volume values without using the audio tab of the inspector:

Adjust-Volume-commands 

Then, with one or more clips selected, you can change audio volume amounts by typing a number into the timeline:

relative-volume

If you use Modify > Adjust Volume > Absolute, the audio level of the clips you selected is set to the new value. If any clips had audio level keyframes assigned, these will be deleted.

Sort events by…

sort-events-by

sort-by

Record Voiceover

The former 'Record Audio' command has more features:

record-voiceover

You can name the resultant clip, hear countdown beeps to aid timing, combine different takes into an audition and choose into which event the audio clips are stored.

If you want to use the keyboard to start voiceover recording, press Option-Shift-A. To stop recording, press the space bar or press Option-Shift-A again.

ProRes 4444 XQ

4444 XQ is a new flavour or ProRes has data rates approximately 50% higher than 4444. Apple have updated their ProRes white paper with more information. ProRes 4444 XQ works on MacOS X 10.8 and newer. To use XQ, you may need to download the ProApps Codecs v1.0.5 installer. This should appear in the Mac App Store when you check for updates after installing Final Cut 10.1.2. If not, you can download the installer direct from Apple.

Apple will promote it as being as good as uncompressed at much lower data rates and good enough for storing camera original media:

xq-better-than-uncompressed

ARRI have announced that the next software upgrade for their cameras will support ProRes 4444 XQ recording.

Surround Sound

A new audio panning mode: 'Basic Surround'

basic-surround-menu

Basic Surround positions the signal in its default channels, with a stereo signal in the right and left channels, and a mono signal in the center channel. The Pan Amount slider setting distributes portions of the signal to other channels and can be adjusted from –100 (left channels) to 100 (right channels).

Import preferences

As imported media can be copied to a location defined by each library (within the library or elsewhere), the file location option is to follow the library setting or to leave the source clips in place.

Final Cut Pro X 10.1.2 defaults to adding keywords to clips based on the tags assigned to their source media files in the Finder (and perhaps using other metadata manipulation applications one day). If you use REDCODE RAW media, the keywords assigned to the clips are based on the tags assigned to the parent folder of the media.

import-prefs

Those options are also available when importing specific clips. In this case the new clips will be imported to the storage location for the "Window Cleaner" library, which is currently set to 'relink test':

media-import-options

Final Cut Pro X XML version 1.4

Once again Apple has updated their data interchange format so more information can be exported from and imported into Final Cut.

  • Libraries and events can be encoded in XML files - but XMLs can no-longer refer to objects in other libraries
<!-- LIBRARY ELEMENT -->
<!ELEMENT library (event*)>
<!ATTLIST library location CDATA #IMPLIED>
<!-- EVENT ELEMENT -->
<!ELEMENT event (clip | audition | mc-clip | ref-clip | %collection_item; | project)*>
<!ATTLIST event name CDATA #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST event uid CDATA #IMPLIED>
  • A clearer way of encoding animated values
<!-- A 'keyframeAnimation' element describes an animation curve using the contained 'keyframe' elements -->
<!ELEMENT keyframeAnimation (keyframe*)>
<!-- A 'keyframe' element describes an point along an animation curve -->
<!ELEMENT keyframe EMPTY>
<!ATTLIST keyframe time %time; #REQUIRED>
<!ATTLIST keyframe value CDATA #REQUIRED>
<!ATTLIST keyframe interp (linear | ease | easeIn | easeOut) "linear"> <!-- interpolation type for point. -->
  • What was encoded in version 1.3 of FCPX XML as a 'shot marker' is now an 'analysis marker'
<!ENTITY % marker_item "(marker | chapter-marker | rating | keyword | analysis-marker)">
  • Analysis markers can encode what kind of shot is in a clip (or range of a clip) and also encode how shaky the shot is
<!ELEMENT analysis-marker (shot-type | stabilization-type)+>
<!ELEMENT stabilization-type EMPTY>
<!ATTLIST stabilization-type value (excessiveShake) #REQUIRED>
  •  Sequences (projects and compound clips) can now be assigned audio layouts and sample rates
<!-- A 'sequence' is a container for a spine of story elements in a sequence project. -->
<!ELEMENT sequence (note?, spine, %audio_comp_items;, metadata?)>
<!ATTLIST sequence %media_attrs;>
<!ATTLIST sequence audioLayout (mono | stereo | surround) #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST sequence audioRate %audioHz; #IMPLIED>
  • Individual multicam clip angles must include basic transform settings (intrinsic-params-video) and not applied to the whole clip
<!ELEMENT mc-source (%audio_comp_items;, %intrinsic-params-video;, filter-video*)>
  • Text in a title can now be set to 'justified'
<!ATTLIST text-style alignment (left | center | right | justified)

'Break Apart' Auditions

If you have created an audition in an event or by dragging multiple clips to a timeline, you can now exchange the audition elements with the individual clips.

Previewing first audition pick:

break-audition-1

Previewing third audition pick:

break-audition-2

After choosing 'Break Apart Clip Items' from the Clip menu:

break-audition-3

The current (third) audtion pick is now in the main storyline and the other picks are attached to it in order.

Search for used or unused media in current item

A hidden feature of Final Cut Pro X 10.1 was when looking for media in the browser you can choose to find clips based on whether they are used in the current project, compound clip, synchronized clip or multicam clip - you could get this view using the Control-U keyboard shortcut. In 10.1.2 you can carry out more complex searches or create smart collections based on whether media is used or not. 

For example you could find all the synchronized clips not used in the current timeline - be it a project, synchronized clip or a multicam clip being edited in the angle viewer.

search-whether-used-or-not

Nudging clips in the timeline defaults to slide edits

If you change the position of a clip in the timeline by entering relative timecode (e.g. typing '+15') or use the ',' and '.' keys to move a clip forwards or back along the timeline, Final Cut now does a slide edit - the neighbouring clips are trimmed to allow for the change.

Before:

slip-1

Pressing Shift-. a few times slides the audition further along the timeline:

slip-2

The '06c-14:5' clip duration is increased and the start of the '04-13:1 1' clip is trimmed off to allow for the change.

Note that as this slide movement depends on the unused parts of the neighbouring clips, if there is no more media to reveal in the earlier clip ('06c-14:5' in this case), the selected clip will not move forward in the timeline.

To get the clip nudge result in previous versions of Final Cut, use the Position tool (press the 'P' key) to either drag the clip, or if the position tool is the current tool, nudging will insert a gap clip before the clip you are nudging:

slip-4-pointer 

More control over synchronized clip generation

In 10.1.2 when you synchronize selected clips in an event, you get a dialogue box that gives you multicam-like controls over how the new synchronized clip is generated:

make-sync-clip

Editing clips between libraries warning

For editors who regularly use clips from one library in another, there is now the option not to show this warning every time:

clips-tween-libaries-warning

Interesting that Apple have spent time on the kind of change that a few editors must have asked for - that hopefully was a task that a single programmer spent a few hours on.

New Plugins

It is interesting that Apple didn't mention the many new effects, transitions, titles and generators included in the 10.1.2 update - it is almost as if they don't want this version associated with any consumer-friendly improvements.

New Effects

Focus

Found in the Blur effects category

effect focus

Graduated Mask

Found in the Keying effects category:

effect-graduated-mask

Streaks

Found in the Light effects category:

effect-streak

Newsprint

Found in the new Nostalgia effects category:

effect-newsprint

Security

Also found in the new Nostalgia effects category:

effect-security

Raindrops

Found in the Stylize effects category - the checkerboard background shows where the effect made the clip transparent - when rendered, these areas export as black:

effect-raindrops

Textures

Found in the Stylize effects category. If defaults to using a wood texture, but you can apply your own using the drop zone:

effect-textures

Decal

Found in the new Text Effects effects category - designed to be applied to connected Titles with underlying video being used in the drop zone:

effect-decal

Stencil

Found in the Text Effects effects category also:

effect-stencil

Visual Echo

Found in the Tiling effects category:

effect-visual-echo

New Transitions

Divide

Found in the Dissolves transition category:

transition-divide

Clothesline

Found in the Movements transition category. Each clip swings as if it is hanging on a clothes line:

transition-clothesline

Color Planes

Found in the Movements transition category:

transition-color-panes

Fall

The outgoing clip falls forwards. Found in the Movements transition category:

transition-fall

Push

Although already as an option in the Slide transition, it is now also to be found in the Movements transition category:

transition-push

Scale

Scales the incoming clip or the outgoing clip up or down. Found in the Movements transition category:

transition-scale

Switch

In the Movements transition category:

transition-switch

Arrows

From the Movements transition category. Choose from Arrow, Round, Square, None and Bevel end caps:

transition-arrows

3D Rectangle

From the Replicator/Clones transition category:

transition-3D-Rectangle

Combo Spin

From the Replicator/Clones transition category:

transition-Combo-Spin

Concentric

From the Replicator/Clones transition category:

transition-Concentric

Vertigo

From the Replicator/Clones transition category. Choose from Arrow, Round, Square, None and Bevel end caps:

transition-Vertigo

Color Panels

From the Stylized transition category:

transition-color-panels

New Titles

Activate

From the Bumper/Opener title category:

title-Activate

Bold Fin

From the Bumper/Opener title category:

title-Bold-Fin

Point

From the Bumper/Opener title category:

title-Point

Stacked

From the Bumper/Opener title category:

title-Stacked

Slate

From the Credits title category:

title-Slate

Thumbnails

From the Lower Thirds title category:

title-Thumnails

New Generators

Beam

From the Backgrounds generator category:

generator-1-beam

Clouds

From the Backgrounds generator category - animates automatically:

generator-2-clouds

Drifting

From the Backgrounds generator category - animates automatically with a choice of dust, spark, puffball, moth and spark particles:

generator-3-drifting

Glimmer

From the Backgrounds generator category - animates automatically:

generator-4-glimmer

Lines

From the Backgrounds generator category - animates automatically:

generator-5-lines

Nova

From the Backgrounds generator category - animates automatically:

generator-6-nova

Rays

From the Backgrounds generator category - animates automatically:

generator-7-rays

Here are the new transitions, titles and generators in action:

In the Divide, Arrows, Color Panels transitions there is a small fault in the built-in Motion template which means the incoming clip is moved to the left by one pixel (when the resolution of the project is 1920 by 1080 pixels) during the transition (In Motion terms: Transition B's anchor point is set to 1,0). Perhaps we'll see version 10.1.2.1 soon!

Commands and keyboard shortcuts

New keyboard shortcuts for the new and modified commands:

  • Open Library - Command-O
  • Library Properties - Control-Command-J
  • Adjust Volume Absolute - Control-Option-L
  • Adjust Volume Relative - Control-L
  • Record Voiceover - Option-Command-8
  • Start/Stop Voiceover Recording - Option-Shift-A (when Record Voiceover window is open)

The new 'Sort Event in Library list' commands can have keyboard shortcuts added using Final Cut Pro > Commands > Customize 

available-for-keyboard-shortcuts

These commands are described as 'Sort selected items...' - perhaps in future other items than events will be able to be sorted using these commands.

New text format presets

Most of the text presets that were included with previous versions of Final Cut have been replaced by more flexible options:

text-presets

Appply these using the pop-up menu above the text box in the Text panel of the Title inspector.

Big improvement in relinking files

Since the reintroduction of the ability to relink missing files to Final Cut Pro X, the search aspect of feature has been limited. In 10.1.2 when relinking you don't have to directly find one of the missing files. You can now select the volume or  folder within which you think the missing files are now stored. Final Cut will search all its subfolders until it finds the missing files.

To test this I copied 8 files stored outside a library to a different drive and deleted the originals. When I restarted Final Cut, the media was marked as missing. I chose File > Relink Files and selected the parent folder of the parent folder where I'd copied the missing files. Final Cut searched through 44,621 files and found the correct 8 copies I made earlier.

Last library can now be closed

Final Cut no longer needs to have at least library open:

Untitled-2

Consumer camera option

If you have video and stills on the camera you are importing from, you can now choose whether Final Cut displays one, the other or both:

videos-or-photos

Better camera colour processing

Higher-end cameras now record colour information using Logarithmic number ranges. This makes it possible to record a much larger range of colour brightness values in the same number of bytes in the media file - a higher dynamic range. Most camera manufacturers use their own way of storing this 'log' information - but some don't encode the metadata in the clips they record to indentify which method they use. In 10.1.2 there is a new menu to tell Final Cut which log encoding to use for a clip.

If clips recorded on high-end cameras aren't displayed using a logarithmic transfer curve, they can look very 'flat' - a milky low-contrast look. All the information for full colour and a full range of brightness from inky black to brighter than the sun is stored in the clip and available for grading. Log Processing is useful to reassure directors, producers and clients that the colour and brightness levels were all captured on location.

Select a clip or clips in an event or on the timeline. Go to the Info tab of the clip inspector. Make sure the metadata view popup (in the bottom-left corner of the inspector) is set to 'Settings' - choose the correct value from the 'Log Processing' parameter menu:

log-processing

Changing the setting of a clip or clips on a timeline changes the value of the source clips in the event and vice versa.

Pasting transitions 

I read in Tom Wolsky's 10.1.2 rundown that transitions that you have copied can now be pasted to the ends of one or more individually connected clips.

You can also paste a copied transition to multiple clips:

paste-transitions

Note that the transition wasn't pasted between the first and second clip of the secondary storyline - that's beacause there wasn't enough media in the clips for the transition to work.

Bug reports

Sadly no software updates are bug-free. Some problems happen on specific setups, others are more widespread:

The good news is that various versions of Final Cut Pro X can work on the same machine with few problems. Whenever the library (or project and event) file format changes, before using Software Update to get the new version, zip the 'Final Cut Pro.app' on your computer (Control-click it in the Finder and choose 'Compress "Final Cut Pro"' from the context menu). If you move that .zip archive to an external drive, you can expand the archive and run the older version of Final Cut when you want to access older projects.

Compatibility with 3rd party products

Final-Cut-Library-Manager

Final Cut Library Manager from Arctic Whiteness has been updated to work with the new library format, as long as users don't store render, optimised media or cache files outside their libraries. Arctic Whiteness are reviewing how to update the utility to take into the account the new library flexibility in Final Cut 10.1.2.

FCP-Backups

Backups for Final Cut Pro by NP Associates works with 10.1.2. They plan to release a small update that doesn't back up sync files.

X2Pro

X2Pro Audio Convert and X2ProLE Audio Convert from Marquis Broadcast have been updated to support Final Cut Pro X XML version 1.4 - these applications converts XMLs into Avid Pro Tools audio sessions.

pro-maintenance-tools

Pro Maintenance Tools from Digital Rebellion has been updated to support 10.1.2.

Red Giant have reported that most of their Final Cut products work with 10.1.2, now including Magic Bullet Looks and PluralEyes 

7toX iconXto7iconChange-List-XiconSyncnlinkXiconProducers-best-Friend-icon

Philip Hodgetts of Assisted Editing reports that 7toX and Xto7Change List X and Sync-N-Link X have been all updated for 10.1.2, Producer’s Best Friend has been updated but there's more to do.

lumberjack

The Lumberjack on-location real-time logging system has added a new mode enabled by the new version of Final Cut XML that 10.1.2 uses

Resolve-11

In the case of Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve, version 10.1.5 cannot read XML 1.4 exported from Final Cut Pro X 10.1.2. A workflow that worked for me was to import the XML into DaVinci Resolve 11 Beta 1. 11b1 exports as FCPX XML 1.3 - which can be read by Resolve 10.1.5 (and Final Cut Pro X 10.1 and 10.1.1). 11b2 is supposed to be more compatible with XML 1.4.

shotnotes X

Shot Notes X - the application that combines logged on-set information with Final Cut Pro X XML - has been updated to support FCP X XML 1.4. 

10.1.2 feature demos and tutorials

Here are some videos that demonstrate some of the new features:

FinalCutProX.net (9:45)

Novedades de Final Cut Pro X 10.1.2 (14:34) - finalcutpro.es

What's New Final Cut Pro 10.1.2 (12:48) - VideoEditOz

FOCUS: FCPX 10 1 2: Le Tour complet des nouveautés ! (54:27)- YakYakYak.fr

FCPX-Update10.1.2 (6:54) - Und wieder gab es ein Update von FCPX und Motion5 ein kurzen Einblick in die Neuerungen seht Ihr hier

FCPX 10.1.2 First Look and Impressions - Karl Reith

Tutorials:

Media management - Guidelines & Operations (16:45), Library Model Overview (8:38) and Choosing a Storage Location for Your Media (17:33) -  free excerpts from Ripple Training's two hour Media Management in Final Cut Pro X tutorial.

Final Cut Pro 10.1.2 Media Management Changes (11:21) - MacBreak Weekly

File Management in FCP X 10.1.2 (9:42) - MacBreak Weekly on how file renaming and relinking have improved

10.1.2 Interesting reports

John Davidson of Magic Feather is very happy with the new 10.1.2 library media management - very useful for workgroups sharing media elements.

Ryan Velin reports in a post at FCP.co that while editing a 1 hour show for Danish TV, he found that 10.1.2 was noticably faster and that XML 'really works'

Larry Jordan on how keyframe editing has changed in 10.1.2.

Alex Snelling (@slackalicefilms) has updated his comprehensive Final Cut Pro X in a Share Environment workflows primer for 10.1.2.

Updated Apple documents

Online help

PDF version of 10.1.2 User Guide

Final Cut Pro X: Version 10.1.2 release notes 

Apple Media Management White Paper - June 2014

Final Cut Pro X 10.1 and later: Back up libraries and archive projects

Hiding Final Cut Pro X 10.1.2 has a delay on external display

Final Cut Pro X 10.1.2: Updating and working with libraries FAQ

About Apple ProRes

ProRes white paper

PDF of Motion 5.1.1 User Guide - very few changes, mainly repagination

PDF of Compressor 4.1.2 User Guide

Apple developer documentation for those wanting add tools to Apple application ecosystems - including Final Cut Pro X

  

Final Cut Pro X XML 1.4 clue

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Today saw the first beta release of Blackmagic Design's DaVinci Resolve 11. Hidden in the executable are some references to as yet unreleased version of Final Cut Pro X's XML format:

resolve-11

 

Apple Awarded 'Second Screen' Patent

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Today Apple was awarded U.S. patent 8,763,060:

A system and method for providing companion content on a device that downloads content associated with a media presentation playing on a media player and displays the downloaded content at times synchronized to time-offsets (from the start of the program) of the presentation by signals from the media player.

This is popularly known as 'Second Screen' media - information you receive on a small personal  device that acts in sync with media playing on a larger, sometimes shared screen.

The Apple method is that a media player (such as an Apple TV) broadcasts information that nearby devices (such as iPhones or iPads) can use to display relevant content. This first figure shows personal devices receiving a content URL and a time offset (from the start of the programme):

Apples-second-screen-patent

Some examples of what personal devices might do given in Apple's patent description include:

- "The current film playing is… Starring ActorName…"

- "Click for the ActorName fan club"

- "Read script of film"

- "View film storyboard"

- "Show closed captions" (would work for translated subtitles)

- Show advert relevant to programme or to personal device user (This is a primary idea in the patent description that says that this method would avoid bad product placement within a film by showing ads on nearby connected devices instead).

- "Like the shirt ActorName is wearing now? Click to buy it now"

- Act as media device remote control

Many people will point out that this isn't the kind of idea that should be patentable, and that there are many examples of prior art. I'm writing about this because this patent provides hints to possible future directions for Apple products and services.

Beyond Second Screens: HomeKit

Not mentioned in the patent description that this idea would work very well with OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 HomeKit integration. As well as affecting media playback and web browsing on hand-held devices with screens, this system could also control HomeKit managed devices.

Imagine allowing a horror film to turn off the lights in your home or even play scary sounds in nearby rooms! 

Future Final Cut Pro X hidden in iMovie 10.0.3

Friday, 20 June 2014

iMovie and Final Cut Pro X are based on the same code. They are updated out of sync. Final Cut Pro X was last updated in January 2014, iMovie in April 2014. As new features were added to iMovie, there’s a good chance the common code was updated as well.

I took a look inside iMovie 10.0.3 to see if there are some non-iMovie elements we might see in a future version of Final Cut.

As iMovie and Final Cut are designed to work all over the world, user interface text is stored in different languages in a part of the application seperate from the code. Here’s text I found in iMovie 10.0.3 that is probably associated with the Final Cut Pro X part of the app.

iMovieHidden

Hinting at LUT management

BMD 4K
BMD Film
Canon Log
ARRI Log C
ARRI Log C (3D LUT)
Sony S-Log2
Sony S-Log3

More control of library element locations

Choose locations to store your Media, Cache, and Backups. Existing Media and Backups will not be moved; Cache can be migrated.
FFInspectorModuleLibraryPropertiesBackupLocationChooseButtonTitle
Would you like to migrate your cache from its current location to the newly selected location?
Migrating Cache
FFMMConsolidateCacheAlertDontMigrate
Some storage locations (Media, Cache, and/or Backups) must be reset.

More feedback during XML export and import

Preparing…
Exporting %@ - %@
Importing Resources
Resource %@ element “%@” is invalid for the attribute “%@”.
Anchored items were ignored because this item does not support them.
This param element was ignored because it does not support the interpolation attribute on its keyframes.

Other

A link between metadata added to files in the Finder and elsewhere in Mac OS:

Select to create Keyword Collections named after Finder tags
Auto Add Spatial Effects
Auto Add Temporal Effects
Deleting the preferences will reset all application settings to their defaults. Libraries will not be affected.
Media is Growing
DNG Backward Version

Apple are strongly encouraging developers to make applications more accessible to people with disabilities. Apple is making their apps more accessible too - which is good news for application automation because Automator workflows, Applescript workflows (and Javascript workflows in OS X Yosemite) can use accessibility descriptions to remotely control apps.

Accesibility descriptions:

Completed Marker
Standard Marker
ToDo Marker
Moment Marker

Motion

The copy of Motion built into iMovie 10.0.3 is very similar to the version in Final Cut Pro X 10.1.1. There are two interesting possibilities for Motion though - an improvement for those who create text animations and also a link from Final Cut to the Mac App Store to buy Motion 5.

Text Sequence Behavior Subselection
Text Sequence Behavior Subselection Start
Text Sequence Behavior Subselection End
Motion Effect Requires Motion 5 Buy Now Button

 

Secret Final Cut Pro X - Movable Markers

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

As I've written before, there are many elements hidden within Final Cut that give hints about possible future directions the application might take.

One feature implemented but not enabled in version 10.1 and 10.1.1 is the ability to move markers along a clip:

It is possible to modify an installed copy of Final Cut to turn this feature on.

Note that there might be a good reason why Apple didn't enable this feature - perhaps beta testers suffered mysterious crashes due to an odd clash of code when the feature is enabled. Maybe they want to make the feature better before making it public (selecting multiple markers, making markers draggable to other clips). I don't know. I made the modification in February on my main Mac with no problems, but I can't guarantee all will be well on your system.

The preference is hidden in a property list document hidden within the application - that means to enable it, you will need to use another application to directly modify your copy of Final Cut Pro X.

How to turn on Final Cut's Movable Markers feature

If you have enough disk space, install Apple's development suite - Xcode. It is available for free from the Mac App Store. If you don't want to use over 2GB of storage, search the internet for applications that can edit .plist documents or 'Property List' files. An example is 'Pref Setter' from Night Productions.

Quit Final Cut Pro X if it is open.

In the Applications folder, control-click (or right-click) the Final Cut Pro icon and choose 'Show Package Contents' from the context pop up menu.

Navigate to Final Cut Pro.app/Contents/Frameworks/TLKit.framework/Versions/A/Resources

Find 'EventDescriptions.plist'

mm where

Drag a copy of 'EventDescriptions.plist' out of Final Cut to another folder or the desktop.

Duplicate 'EventDescriptions.plist' in the Finder using the Duplicate command in the File menu (or option-drag it to a different folder). This unmodified version will help you restore Final Cut if needed.

Open 'EventDescriptions.plist' by control-clicking (or right-clicking) its icon. From the context pop up menu, choose 'Xcode' (I need to do this on my Mac because I have multiple applications that can modify .plist documents).

In Xcode, expand the 'TLKMarkerHandler' section by clicking its grey disclosure triangle.

Expand 'Configuration'

Change the 'NO' to 'YES' by clicking the pop-up control to the right of the 'NO'

mm-change-plist

Save the file to keep the change to 'EventDescriptions.plist' and quit Xcode.

Drag the modified 'EventDescriptions.plist' into Final Cut Pro.app/Contents/Frameworks/TLKit.framework/Versions/A/Resources

You are likely to get an alert stating that 'Modifying “Resources” requires an administrator name and password.' - Authenticate using your password.

When you next open Final Cut Pro, you'll find that you can drag markers along clips and also drag them off clips as shown in the video above.

Please remember MODIFYING THE INTERNALS OF FINAL CUT PRO X CAN DAMAGE IT - be careful with the changes you make. Make original copies of any elements you change in case things go wrong. As a last resort you can delete your copy of Final Cut and go to the Mac App Store and reinstall a fresh copy if needed. To save that time, be careful as you make changes.

Bonus Tip - Less rounded corners in the timeline

Sharp-eyed Final Cut users will notice that the timeline shown in the video looks subtly different: the clip corners are less rounded than in the stock version of Final Cut Pro X. I got this result by changing values in the 'CornerRadius.plist' file listed above in Final Cut Pro.app/Contents/Frameworks/TLKit.framework/Versions/A/Resources - using width settings of 0, 0, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 4, 4 for items 0 to 8.

 

WWDC 14 and Final Cut Pro X: Handoff

Monday, 09 June 2014

During the keynote presentation at Apple's 2014 Worldwide Developer's Conference, they announced that they want to create better continuity between OS X and iOS.

'We believe you should be able to use the right device for the moment' (34:54 into Apple's WWDC keynote presentation) - a task started on one Apple device should be able to be continued on another and perhaps concluded on a third. Apple group together OS X and iOS features that support this idea under the 'Continuity' heading.

The first kind of continuity Apple mentioned was AirDrop. Currently OS X users transfer files easily between nearby Macs using AirDrop. New in iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite is the ability to do the same between Macs and iOS devices and also between iOS devices. 

The bigger news is 'Handoff.' Handoff allows users to use nearby Apple devices that are signed in using the same Apple ID to continue working in the same application. If you are browsing a page in Safari on a iOS device near your Mac, a separate Safari icon will appear past the end of your dock. Clicking that icon will open a Safari window on your Mac showing the web page that is on your iOS device. As well as the icon appearing in the dock, if you press Command-Tab you'll also find the web page represented as an icon amongst the icons of applications running on your Mac.

Conversely, if you are writing an email in Apple Mail on your Mac and double-tap the home button on your iPad to bring up the multi-tasking switcher, you'll see a pane to the left of the home screen that represents the email you are writing in Apple Mail on the Mac. If you tap that pane, you can continue working on your email in Apple Mail running on your iPad (if your iPad is asleep, you'll see an Apple Mail icon on the lock screen, you can swipe up to go to Apple Mail).

Handoff uses Bluetooth LE to transfer information about the task; the information can include internet URLs and links to documents in iCloud.  

More than email editing and web page viewing

How will complex Mac applications support Handoff? Mac apps are likely to be more complex that iOS apps. Opening a web page or editing an email is straightforward. On the Mac, applications will be able to specify a subset of what they can do as being able to be handed off to another device. 

In practice a single Mac application will be able to Handoff activities to different iOS apps. One iOS app could be used to modify images, another could be used for editing text, another for audio waveform editing.

As well as being able to hand activities over so they can be completed on another device, applications can opt to stay connected between devices to work on an activity together. That means an iPhone and iPad can work together on the same data, or an iPad and a Mac can share information live. This is big news for post-production people who like to use iPads and iPhones to control applications on their Macs. All the information you need can be passed to the iOS device - such as current timecode or metadata associated with a piece of media, while tapping UI controls on the iOS device will be able to control the application on the Mac. Current remote control apps running on iOS are limited to simulating key presses on the controlled Mac’s keyboard - Handoff allows iOS apps to be able to directly manipulate the media being edited in your Mac application.

Currently Apple plan that only applications from the same developer will be able to collaborate using Handoff, perhaps if the wider Apple community comes up with enough exciting use cases, Apple will allow cross-developer handoffs.

Most editors don't want to do complex timeline editing on their iPhone, but imagine group of people watching a Mac play out an edit in a screening room. With Handoff, an assistant could make text corrections on an Apple 'Final Cut Pro X Inspector' app running on an iPad, and the text being displayed over full screen video by Final Cut Pro X could change instantly.

Handoff is the current star of Apple's Continuity plans - I'm looking forward to what developers and Apple will do with it, and I'm also excited by what Apple might do next to make Macs, iPads and iPhones work even better together.

Keynote 6.2 update: Applescript not dead - in Pro Apps next please

Wednesday, 02 April 2014

Most post-production professionals don't use application scripting. Scripting is very useful if third party apps want to control NLEs to solve workflow problems.

Apple updated Keynote, their presentation application yesterday. One of the many features is Applescript improvements.

Now you can use an Applescript or an external application to do things like this:

set the transition settings of the current slide to {transition effect:confetti, transition duration:2.0, transition delay:0, automatic transition:false}

Imagine using this kind of scripting in iMovie or Final Cut Pro X.

Ad spots or TV series could be given 'themes' - which could include titles, bumpers and lower thirds. Applescript can make a new presentation using a theme, or have the current design changed by applying a different theme:

make new document with properties {document theme:theme "Gradient", document width:1920, document height:1080}

set the document theme of the front document to theme "White"

You can also use Applescript in Keynote for versioning:

tell the front document to set skipped of (every slide whose contents of its default title item contains "CLASSIFIED:") to true

...a script that sets the presentation not to show any slide that contains the word 'CLASSIFIED' in the title.

The new Applescript elements allow scripts or external apps to create and specify settings for text, graphics, tables abd graphs.

If you want to know more about what Keynote's new Applescript features, download the update and then drag the new version onto the AppleScript Editor application (in the Utilities folder).

Good news for those worried that Apple aren't interested in Applescript any more - and possibly for those who want to have more control over Apple's Pro Apps.

 

 

 

Final Cut Library Manager 1.5: Great new features

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Today Arctic Whiteness announced a very quick update to the Final Cut Library Manager application. Despite version 1.0 only having been launched on March 4th, version 1.5 adds quite a few new features.

Version 1.0 could list all Final Cut Pro X libraries on your system, provide useful information on their composition and launch Final Cut with only the libraries of your choice open. These features were free. If you paid a small activation fee, FCLM could also reduce the size of your libraries by safely deleting proxy media, optimised media and render files.

Version 1.5 is a big update - primarily Final Cut Library Manager can keep a record of every library it sees. That means libraries on external drives, mounted disc images and network locations. Even these drives, images and network locations are no longer connected to your mac, their Final Cut Pro X libraries (optionally) remain in the FCLM list. This is big news for the lone editor with tens of external hard drives and the facility manager keeping their eye on groups working on the same project.

FCLM v1.5

Here is Arctic Whiteness' list of what's changed in the most recent two updates:

1.51

Added a context menu item to show the contents of a library in the Finder.

Final Cut Library Manager now tries very hard to follow libraries and source directories that have been moved or renamed while it's not running.

Improved tracking of libraries that reside inside Disk Images, on USB keys, and on other devices that can't be uniquely identified. Note: You may need to remove and re-add these sources - sorry about that.

Visual feedback is given when trying to select a source that doesn't contain any libraries.

Improved the visual feedback when dragging libraries and sources to the main window.

Missing libraries no longer retain their size information and thus don't incorrectly affect the size display in the correspoinding sources.

Fixed a rare bug that would cause libraries on the system disk to be incorrently listed as missing.

1.52

Added a handy popup view that details the sections in a bargraph when you hover over it.

1.52-update

"Show Library Contents in Finder" didn't work correctly if the Finder was set up to display columns.

Fixed an issue and potential crash when using 2 or more identical harddrives from certain manufacturers.

New Final Cut features and third party developers

Final Cut Library Manager is an interesting example of how editors get new features for their applications. When a new third party application appears, sometimes editors ask why its features weren't already part of their main editing tool. Although Arctic Whiteness weren't asking for much money for their 1.0 library cleaning features, 'free' is always better.

If all goes well, many editors then download the 'missing feature' application. The developer can then improve their tool. They can then add features that the main application are unlikely to add. FCLM 1.5's offline library management system is a good example of this. 

Apple seems to be concentrating on making Final Cut Pro X the application for the lone professional editor. They might have considered including Acrtic Whiteness's advanced library management features in version 10.1, but they were either seen as not a priority resource-wise, or too complex for new editors. In practice, third party developers need to watch out for their apps being 'Sherlocked' by Apple (after seeing the success of third party app, Apple sometimes includes most of its features into a new version of the OS X for free).

Luckily for Arctic Whiteness and Final Cut Pro X users, Apple are unlikely to add the new v1.5 features of Final Cut Library Manager to a future version of Final Cut. Features involving backup management, workflow and group editing. That's where the Final Cut Pro API comes into play.

Over the years Apple have continued to update the Final Cut API (Application Programming Interface) - the way  third party software and hardware works with Final Cut Pro. As version 10.0 was a new application that Apple decided to Final Cut Pro X, the APIs had to built up from scratch. The unheralded feature of the 10.1 update was improvements to the API - whose benefits will become more obvious as third party software and hardware developers launch updates and new products in the coming months. 

Final Cut Pro X: the core of a modular editing system

For many years feature films and TV shows have been shot using modular systems. Panavision, ARRI and RED are modular systems with a camera at the centre. Attached to the camera would be a choice of lenses, film mags, batteries, viewfinders and support systems. 

Final Cut is the equivalent editing application. Although it can work on its own (as long as you have a Mac), editors have the option to add a variety of software and hardware to support their specific needs.

The editing app with the best software and hardware connections has a big advantage over the competition.

 

 

Red Giant Universe: A new VFX plugins subscription community for Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Premiere Pro

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Red Giant have announced that they are changing the way editors, motion graphics designers and visual effects artists access their visual effects plugins.

Red Giant Universe is a new free online community for Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects, Apple Final Cut Pro X and Apple Motion users. Today it hosts 31 free plugins in categories including Blur, Distort, Glow and Generators. 

rgu-plugin-listings

If you sign up for a Monthly or yearly subscription, you also get access to 19 premium plugins

The initial premium plugins are Universe versions of current Red Giant stand alone products. Launch tools include Knoll Light Factory EZ, Holomatrix, Retrograde, and ToonIt:

rgu-premiere-plugins

Here are samples of Universe Chromatic Glow, Universe Glo Fi and Universe Prism Displacement:

rgu-free-plugins

Red Giant say that they'll be regularly adding new free and premium plugins to Red Giant Universe.

What makes Universe a community? Red Giant will use user feedback to determine their development priorities - which of their non-Universe plugins to convert and make available to premium subscribers, and what new features to add to current Universe plugins.

Unlike Adobe's Creative Cloud, as well as monthly premium ($10) and annual premium ($99) membership options, you can buy Red Giant out with a one-time lifetime subscription fee ($399).

Not an Adobe-style migration

Red Giant say that most of the plugins they've sold up until now aren't part of Universe. Their colour, keying and Trapcode plugin suites are still available in the normal way. 

GPU Power

Final Cut Pro X and Apple Motion users are used to the near real-time rendering speed of GPU-based plugins. Red Giant Universe brings that same power to Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects users on OS X and Windows.

The secret to Red Giant Universe is the 'Supernova' tool. This development system uses a javascript-like scripting language to access the Red Giant Universe Library; a collection of image processing libraries whose code is combined together to make cross-platform Universe plugins. As well as using the RG Universe Library to build new free and premium plugins as months go by, Red Giant say they'll also be adding new modules to the code library - so new plugins will have access to more advanced GPU code.

 

No third-party plugins yet…

Sadly Supernova is only available to internal Red Giant developers for now. Supernova looks like an interesting alternative to the model used by the FxFactory system. FxFactory uses Apple's Quartz Composer tool as the basis of its multi-host app plugin development and distribution system. Many developers would probably be more comfortable using Red Giant's scripting language. An extra advantage is that Red Giant Universe plugins work with the Windows versions of Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects.

Although Red Giant Supernova would be a powerful tool for third-party plugin development, FxFactory has many more years experience in dealing with promoting, selling and supporting third-party plugins. Although if I did sell plugins I would turn to FxFactory, the potential success of Red Giant Universe is good news for plugin developers.

Adobe and Apple

Red Giant Universe is also good news for Adobe as it might expand the availability of cross-OS plugins for their applications - at the moment there are more Premiere plugins for OS X then there are for Windows. Universe is also an endorsement of the Creative Cloud software subscription model.

In the case of Apple, Universe means more plugins for Final Cut Pro X and Motion 5. It might provide a little incentive for Apple concentrate a little more on making post production plugins better on OS X than on Windows. If such a comparison is important to Apple, they could produce a Motion 5-based plugin playback system that they could make available to OS X-based post production applications. Imagine implementing a plugin using Motion that could then be used in any AV Foundation-based application. This would help with transferring projects between QuickTime Player, iMovie, Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Premiere, Lightworks, Avid, DaVinci Resolve and Autodesk Smoke. Combining this with an Apple Post Production Tools Store would be a powerful proposition.

Universe is now open for free membership, why not sign up and investigate the quality of the plugins? First the first 30 days you get free access to the premium plugins. this could be the beginning of something big.

 

 

 

How to introduce Final Cut Pro X to children in less than an hour

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

On Sunday I was lucky enough to catch the live stream of episode 47 of the Tech Educator podcast.

The Tech Educator Podcast supports teachers who want to use and teach technology in schools.

Sunday's show was their first on Final Cut Pro X. The main guest was Jon Corippo - an Apple Distinguished Educator who has devised a lesson plan that he uses to introduce Final Cut Pro X to a classroom of children in less than an hour.

Use TrackX to make graphics and text follow moving objects in clips within Final Cut Pro X

Monday, 10 March 2014

In earlier decades many feature films relied on matte paintings to extend sets. They locked off a film camera and filmed scenes though a pane of glass with a painting that was created to make smaller sets look like they were in much larger environments.

In the second half of the 20th Century, optical printers were used to combine filmed footage of a painting with live action film.

Empire-side-by-side

In recent years matte paintings are digital images that are stored and composited with live action footage using computers. Compositing software can detect camera moves in the live action footage and move the graphic file so that the graphics 'track' with elements in the footage.

Up until recently tracking software to cost thousands of pounds and require expensive hardware to perform the necessary complex calculations. Most recently it was only found in high-end compositing applications. Now Final Cut Pro X editors can use a new set of plugins to track objects and camera moves in their video clips to make overlaid graphics and text line up with video that has already been shot.

Here is my sample video of what TrackX for Final Cut Pro X from Coremelt can do:

TrackX greatly reduces the number of workflow stages and opens up motion tracking to editors. It combines great value with ease of use and convenience.

For more information, more sample videos and a download of a 15 day free trial version, visit the CoreMelt website.

For a 84 minute webinar on many TrackX techniques, go to the Imagineer Systems video on Vimeo.

Disclosure: CoreMelt sent me a review unlock code for TrackX. Lucky for me as I was planning to buy it myself. I'd already bought their SliceX masking plugin last year.

 

 

Mac Pro (Late 2013): Resources

Friday, 20 December 2013

Final Cut Pro X 10.1 update: New features, commentary and resources

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Apple updated Final Cut Pro to version 10.1 today.

What's new

The list from Apple's Final Cut Pro X 10.1 online help (my commentary in italics)

Performance and Mac Pro optimizations

Optimization to take advantage of multiple GPUs in the new Mac Pro

- Hidden inside Final Cut: code that distinguishes between CPUs and different GPUs:

* HOpticalFlowAnalyzer2, oflow v1, use display GPU only
* HOpticalFlowAnalyzer2, oflow v1, use aux GPU only
* HOpticalFlowAnalyzer2, oflow v1, use CPU only

HDMI and Thunderbolt output at frame sizes up to 4K (UltraHD and DCI 4K)

Final Cut Pro X 10.1: Mac computers capable of viewing 4K resolution via HDMI

Better playback and rendering performance, plus faster opening of the application and projects

- 10.1 seems to open much faster than before

Improved performance when modifying or keywording large numbers of clips at the same time

Selected titles, effects, and other media content scaled for 4K projects

- You can choose to only show elements scaled for 4K when you are editing 4K timelines:

4K-templates-only

Project and media management

Improved media management with the introduction of libraries, a new way to organize multiple events and multiple projects in a single container

- Apple's white paper on using libraries includes this image:

libraries

 

- For a very interesting PDF on 10.1 workflows for multi-user projects, visit 10 dot 1. Here's a sample illustration:

FCPXInASharedEnvironment FINAL

Project snapshots: on-demand backups that allow you to quickly return to an earlier version of a particular project

Media file storage on disk locations external to the Final Cut Pro X library, making your media accessible in specific folders on a wide range of SANs

- The Consolidate command moves all the files associated with an event (or a library) to an external folder which can be stored anywhere

consolidate files

Direct importation of MTS/M2TS files into Final Cut Pro

- At the request of Seth Hardwick I attempted to import a folder from a Sony MRC1 into 10.1. It didn't work.

Used clip range indicators that show you at a glance which clips are already in a project

Direct import of photos from iOS devices using the Media Import window

Support for portrait/landscape metadata in still images

Playback and effects

Significant improvements in the Final Cut Pro playback interface and powerful new effects features will empower your workflow.

Improved retiming lets you set custom speeds easier than ever—by typing frame rates directly in the interface. You can also create jump cuts at specific frames, replace and retime in one step, and retime clips without rippling the Timeline. For more information, see Retiming clips overview.

A new stabilization method called Inertiacam has been optimized to smooth video footage containing camera moves such as pans and zooms. Tripod Mode creates the effect of a static camera, as if it were mounted on a tripod.

An improved optical flow algorithm makes retiming and frame rate conform speedier than ever. In addition, for Macs with two GPUs, the optical flow algorithm now makes use of both GPUs, providing a more than 2x speed increase over a single GPU.

You can now create custom project resolutions for web video, digital signage, and other nonstandard frame sizes.

- I successfully created a 10,557 by 1080 29.97fps project. The frame rates are currently limited to standard ones, and if you have any clips on a timeline, you cannot change the project frame rate

- Here you can see a timeline that renders ProRes 422 LT and is 102,032 by 1080 pixels:

wide-LT

million-pixels-wide

Doesn't look like there's a limit!

New controls in the Viewer menu let you switch between better playback quality and better playback performance. There’s also a control to switch between proxy media and original or optimized media.

- Very useful for editing 4-5K content in proxy format on less powerful MacBook Pros

And you can now view all pixels of a 2K frame on a MacBook Pro with Retina display.

Editing

Through edits are now supported in all types of clips. The new Join Clips command removes cuts from bladed Timeline clips.

- Some commands have been moved to a new Trim menu - maybe to make space for more trim-related comands in future versions:

trim-menu

The Trim to Playhead command does different things depending on where the playhead is. If it is in the first half of a clip, it trims the start to the playhead, if in the second half, it trims the end to the playhead.

If you use the Range tool to select a range in a timeline clip, the command returns to 10.0's Trim Selection, trimming the clip to match the selection:

trim-selection

You can detach the audio portion of multicam clips in the Timeline to manipulate audio and video separately. You can also make video-only or audio-only edits into the Timeline with multicam clips as sources.

You can blade audio cuts in J and L cuts separately from the video. And you can now roll the audio in open split edits.

If no clips are selected in the Timeline, a white dot now appears on the playhead to indicate the clip whose attributes are shown in the Inspector.

Moving clips with transitions is now easier.

Share

You can share 4K finished videos directly to YouTube.

You can share videos directly to the Chinese video sharing websites Youku and Tudou.

And you can receive notifications on the status of items you shared.

- You can also use Compressor 4.1 to set up a Share Destination that runs an Applescript-based Automator workflow once your movie is transcoded

Audio

Audio fade handles have been added to individual audio channels in the Timeline. For more information, see Fade audio in or out.

Third-party support

Developers can utilize a new API for customizing Share operations.

- Other apps can send an 'Open Document' event to Final Cut Pro to make it import using XML and custom metadata fields to metadata views

- Final Cut Pro can send Apple Events to Asset Management applications during export

If you have an Apple Mac developer account (free from Apple):

- More on third-party application developent for Final Cut Pro workflows

FXPlug 3 has been updated to include the ability to design custom effects interfaces.

- What's new in FxPlug 3.0

- Plugins Human Interface Guidelines

Effect parameters, fonts, and text size information are now preserved in XML files.

About Final Cut Pro X XML Version 1.3

Apple have also defined what metadata stored in MP4 files it recognises.

For Apple developers: Final Cut Pro X - Metadata in MP4

Last but not least

You can now hide the Browser to free up more screen area for color grading and other operations that are improved by larger video images. 

Commentary

There's at least one new title: Date/Time, which appears to support iMovie 10 projects. It shows the time and date the clip it is attached to was created:

new-date-time-title 

It is odd - no controls apart from fade in and fade out. You can't change the typeface, size, colour or position in Final Cut Pro. It is designed to give that 90s 'X-Files' look (as inspired by 'Silence of the Lambs') to a clip.

When opening this title in Motion, there doesn't seem to be a way of getting any clip information from the clip a title is attached to - Final Cut Pro X must modify the title content to show the clip date and time.

To change the time displayed by the Date/Time title, select the clip it is attached to, use the 'Reveal in Browser' command (from the File menu or press Shift-F) to select it in the browser, and use the 'Modify:Adjust Content Created Date and Time…' command to pick a new date and time to show in the connected title.

No special treatment for SAN locations

There is no longer is an "Add SAN location" command in Final Cut Pro X 10.1.

Libraries can be anywhere, including on Storage Area Networks.

Apple on updating from 10.0.X to 10.1.X:

If you’ve been using SAN locations on an Xsan volume, you can click Locate to navigate to and then update SAN location folders. You can select a volume, a SAN location, or any folder containing a Final Cut Projects or Final Cut Events folder, and update it. This creates a new library next to the folder where the original projects and events were located. This manual update can be done at any time; for example, a SAN location may not be connected when you first open Final Cut Pro 10.1

Read only locations

Final Cut Pro X 10.1 will not open libraries that are stored on locked storage locations:

read-only file system

iMovie to Final Cut Pro X 10.1

Final Cut Pro X cannot open iMovie files directly any more. If you run iMovie and Final Cut Pro X 10.1 on the same computer, a new command appears in iMovie 10's File Menu: "Send Movie to Final Cut Pro" - it sends an editable timeline and the required clips to Final Cut Pro. Final Cut creates a new library for the event and project:

New commands

Better Playback Performance
Better Playback Quality
?

Consolidate Library/Project/Event Files - ?

Cut / Copy / Paste / Delete Selected Keyframes - Shift-Option-X / Shift-Option-C / Shift-Option-V / Shift-Option-Delete

keyframeeditingcmds

Custom Speed - Control-Option-R

You can type in a speed or required duration, and choose whether to ripple the timeline or not. If you don't ripple, the sped up section is followed by a gap clip of the required length not to change the overall duration of the project:

custom-speed

Looks like 10.1.0 has a slight fault when it comes to displaying the custom duration control in the right place.

Duplicate Project as Snapshot - Shift-Command-D - ?

The Duplicate as Snapshot command creates a self-contained copy of a project containing compound clips or multicam clips. Specifically, duplicating a project as a snapshot makes copies of the compound or multicam “parent” clips and embeds them in the project so that any changes to other instances of the clips do not affect the snapshot.

Exit Full Screen - You can choose which key stops full screen playback. Perhaps useful for remote control applications that simulate key presses

New Folder - Shift-Command-N - ? - You can organise event keywords and smart collections into folders:

New Library - There is no menu command to create new libaries (to create a new library you go to File:Open Library:Other… and click the New button), but you can add a keyboard shortcut to do this using the command editor.

Open Library

Show Unused Media Only - Control-U - Shows which parts of clips in the event aren't used in the event's projects:

unused-clips

 

Useful Apple links

Final Cut Pro X 10.1

Final Cut Pro X: Version 10.1 release note

Final Cut Pro X 10.1: How to back up important Final Cut Pro X 10.0.x files before updating

Final Cut Pro X: Apple ProRes White Paper

- Very few mentions of QuickTime

Final Cut Pro X 10.1: How to remove and reinstall Final Cut Pro X

Final Cut Pro X 10.1, Compressor 4.1: Adding a "Apple Devices 60fps" destination

Final Cut Pro X 10.1: Adding a destination to Share 4K to YouTube

Final Cut Pro X, Motion 5, Compressor 4: Graphics card compatibility

 

Final Cut Pro X 10.1: Updating and working with libraries FAQ

 

Full online help system for Final Cut Pro X 10.1

 

Final Cut Pro X for Final Cut Pro 7 Editors white paper

 

Other Apple professional applications

Motion version 5.1 release notes

Not many new features in Motion - no new behaviours or filters to support new kinds of Final Cut plugins

Compressor 4.1: Release notes

Logic Pro X 10.0.5: Release notes

 

Full online help system for Compressor 4.1 

Transition to Compressor 4.1 White Paper from Apple

Compressor 4.1 can spawn multiple instances of itself on multi-core Macs

 

Full online help system for Motion 5.1

 

ProRes

Apple ProRes White Paper

Apple ProRes Authorized Products

 

 

Other useful links

Pro Video Coalition: Final Cut Pro 10.1: A Detailed First Look by Steve Martin and Mark Spencer

10 free intro movies to Final Cut Pro X 10.1 from Mark Spencer and Steve Martin of Ripple Training

- In depth Final Cut Pro X 10.1 video training course from Ripple Training 

1 hour 45 minute MacBreak video podcast: Final Cut Pro X 10.1 Overview featuring Marck Spencer and Steve Martin of Ripple Training:

They kindly mentioned me a few times. One mention was about clip timecode.

Clip timecode in Final Cut Pro X 10.1 still doesn't work. We'd like to be able to add an effect to a clip, but timecode effects can only show the timecode of the current project. The previous workaround remains: you need to make each clip you want a timecode burn for into a compound clip. In the compound clip add a timecode generator for clip timecode.

 

Philip Hodgetts' review of Final Cut Pro X 10.1 - based on two months' use

Philip's 10.0 event organising application is now free - use it for the smoothest transition from 10.0 to 10.1

Kicking the Tires on Final Cut Pro X 10.1 by Scott Simmons

Scott praises the new version, points out some important gotchas and details what's still missing

The first 24 hours with Apple's new Mac Pro and Final Cut Pro 10.1

FCP.co on using Final Cut Pro X on the new Mac Pro. How many real time effects can be applied to 4K RED footage?

The Final Cut Pro 10.1 cheat sheet at FCP.co by Sam Mestman of FCPWorks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Luca Visual FX Hi-Tech Final Cut Pro X plugins

Monday, 09 December 2013

If you want to add a large variety of technological style to your Final Cut Pro X projects, try Hi-Tech. The experienced motion graphics designers at Luca Visual FX have bundled together many plugins into a single pack that can make any short film, documentary, advert, TV drama or feature film look instantly more hi-tech.

FxFactory

Hi-Tech is downloaded, installed and activated using the free FxFactory plugin management system. Although FxFactory can download, install, activate and deactivate plugins for Final Cut Pro, Motion, Adobe Premiere and Adobe After Effects, this plugin pack only works with Final Cut Pro X. Once users of those other applications see Hi-Tech, many will feel they are missing out.

Once you download the FxFactory application, you'll see many free and commercial plugin packs. Amongst them is Hi-Tech. FxFactory can download a watermarked trial version:

luca-watermarked

Downsides of the FxFactory system used to be that ts was a large download and that it added very many watermarked plugins in your NLE. The FxFactory installer is now a 69MB download, and you can use the application to turn off every plugin you don't want to see in Final Cut Pro.

In recent years handy free plugins have been added to FxFactory - including some by Andy Mees that many editors would pay to use every day. You never know whose free plugins will appear in FxFactory next.

Hi-Tech variety

Hi-tech is divided up into groups of plugins in the effects browser: Displays, Fractals, Holograms, Lower Thirds, Sci-Fi Mographs and a bonus pair of Sports themed plugins. Luca Visual FX designed for multiple  effects from this pack to be used on the same clip. They can also be used to modify clips that can then be used to make source clips that appear as elements inside other effects.

Here's a video showing all 31 effects in action:

The Lower Thirds are the most straightforward way of adding a hi-tech look to a documentary. Although these would normally be implemented as title generators, Luca have made these effects like all the other plugins in this pack.

luca-hitech-lower-thirds

Each lower third can be radically customised in many ways. For example here are the controls for the Hi-tech Chemical Lower Third:

luca-hitech-chemical-controls

The Fractals group of effects can be applied to any clip, but they also work well as elements that can be used within the hi-tech displays generated by other hi-tech filters. For example, a clip that has had the Script Factal effect applied to it can be put into a composition and that composition can then be used in a lower third - dropped in as a clip into one of the media wells (MEDIA 1 or MEDIA 2 in the controls for the Chemical lower third above).

luca-hitech-fractals

As well as being able to change colours and detail settings, the Fractal group effects have on-screen controls to help editors precisely position elements to line up with clip features - as do the majority of the Hi-Tech effects.

luca-hitech-osc

Most of the Holograms effects divide clips into multiple areas using glowing lines. Multiple instances of the Holographic Objects effect can be added to the same clip with different settings to show a variety of different animated holograms overlaid onto the same clip at the same time.

luca-hitech-holograms

Most of the Sci-Fi Mographs effects are more complex patterns that add hi-tech content that fills clips. The Planet Earth and Planetarium filters can be used as single elements applied to more complex displays.

luca-hitech-scifimographs

Whereas the Sci-Fri Mographs effects are designed to fill clips, the Displays effects seem to be designed to be overlaid on top of existing footage. 

luca-hitech-displays

Hi-Tech complexity

I divide editing software plugins into two groups. The first group are those that can be used in small ways on nearly every timeline.  The second group is made of of those that can save a great deal of time on specific projects. Hi-Tech fits into the second group. Unless you only work on modern thrillers sci-fi movies or adverts for technology, you won't be using Hi-Tech every day. However, if you use some of the Hi-Tech plugins on one timeline, the time you save will immediately justify the purchase price.

A big decision when designing plugins is how much control to give busy editors. Some want to be able to adjust every possible element of an effect - others want to apply an effect and not be daunted by a long list of controls that can't fit in the effect inspector without scrolling. The Hi-Tech plugins provide very many controls - but editors in a hurry shouldn't worry: the default settings work very well. Those sitting next to impatient directors can quickly apply an effect and move on to solving the next problem. If there's more time later, they can go back and tweak the effect settings.

An example of clever defaults is that Luca have already populated media wells with interesting content. This means that for each effect to look good, editors don't have to drop hi-tech clips into each well. For example, a specific animated logo can be added to the MEDIA 1 well in any of the lower third filters, but if no logo is available, there is relevant hi-tech content already in place.

Hi-Tech conclusion

Hi-Tech from Luca Visual FX is a plugin pack that makes complex well-designed motion graphics quick and straightforward to apply to Final Cut Pro X projects. For those who need flexibility, once applied each effect provides all the controls anyone could want. With this pack editors can concentrate on being editors, while editors with motion graphics inclinations will be very satisfied by the power available to them from within Final Cut Pro X.

For those wary of installing FxFactory, take another look - smaller installer sizes and better plugin activation control are welcome changes you might not know about.

FCPX Grill podcast - Episode 3 - featuring Alex Gollner

Monday, 02 December 2013

Episode 3 of the Final Cut Pro X Grill podcast featured an interview with me. It was a wide-ranging conversation on plugins, Final Cut Pro X, Avid, Adobe and what it means to be an editor.

(0:00) Introduction

(6:15) Alex and Macs 1984-

(8:30) First edits in After Effects

(9:15) 'What kinds of videos do you make'

(10:00) Motion graphics using Final Cut Pro and Motion

(13:00) 'How did you start making plugins'

(17:45) 'Your plugin ideas come from needing them in your editing work'

(19:00) My 'Grow-Shrink' plugin

(20:30) 'Do you make money from selling Final Cut Pro plugins

(22:00) 'What was your first impression of Final Cut Pro X'

(23:30) Why insecure editors were threatened by Final Cut Pro X

(24:30) Editors can no longer rely on high barriers to entry for their competition

(26:45) Editors aren't wrong for not using Final Cut Pro X

(27:15) 'What was your a-ha moment when using Final Cut Pro'

(28:30) Final Cut Pro X was great new for Adobe and Avid's marketing people…

(30:00) Adobe and Avid weren't putting enough pressure on Apple from 2007-2011 - Final Cut Pro X could afford to be behind for almost two years

(31:45) 'Do you prefer to cut in Final Cut Pro X'

(32:45) Final Cut Pro X is as different from previous NLEs as motion graphics apps are different from NLEs

(33:15) People like to pile on Apple whenever they seem to stumble

(34:45) Why Final Cut Pro X will succeed

(36:40) Apple would rather take longer to introduce features in order to get them right

(37:30) Possible multi-user editing timelines coming in Final Cut

(39:00) 'What have you found in iMovie 2013 that hints as to the future of Final Cut Pro X?'

(41:15) iMovie can run Final Cut Pro X plugins

(43:30) The relationship between versions of iMovie and Final Cut Pro X

(45:45) Apple have relented on hiding the file system from Final Cut Pro

(47:30) 'Is Mac OS X evolving into iOS?'

(48:30) OS X Mavericks 'Tags' are the OS equivalent of Final Cut Pro X keywords for clips and ranges within clips

(50:30) Editing is organising

(50:45) Versioning for Final Cut projects

(51:15) Tim Cook = Willy Wonka

(52:30) Final Cut Pro is right for me

(53:45) Wrap-up

Website link · iTunes link