20,000 word Final Cut Pro X high-end postproduction guide

Monday, 06 March 2017

First came Mike Matzdorff’s Final Cut for feature films book: Final Cut Pro X: Pro Workflow (Apple iBook / Amazon Kindle

Now there is a series of articles on fcp.co by Sam Mestman and Patrick Southern that cover high-end postproduction workflow. They include everything from how to handle 6K RED RAW footage on set to final DCP delivery for cinema showings and worldwide distribution.

Part 1 covers on-set post production including workflows for the camera department, the DIT/Assistant editor, production sound and script supervisor:

This 5 part series should be looked at as a cheat sheet on how to make a movie, pilot, or doc without limits in the modern age.

[…] Everything you are about to read has actually been done with a real world project called Off The Grid, which is We Make Movies’ first original TV Pilot that premiered at the Sundance theater in Hollywood. 

Part 2 describes how to save time when preparing footage for editing:

On Off The Grid, we took the search and organizational aspects of FCPX to another level. We automated most of the metadata management, applying that data to the original sound and picture.

We were able to automatically synchronize audio, batch rename clips, and add keywords and notes based on our Script Supervisor's log. This made it possible to quickly search by character, frame rate, frame size, shot composition, and circle takes.

[…]These automated organizational techniques can cut footage prep time from 3 days down to as little as 10 minutes

Part 3 shows how to maximise the editing experience in Final Cut Pro X:

In other NLE’s, Most editors either spend a lot of time making and renaming subclips, or pulling selects into a timeline for review. These both require lengthy prep and are more difficult to work with than necessary. Subclips don't give you easy access to the full-length clip, and long string-outs can be difficult to navigate for a specific clip.

None of this is necessary in FCPX. You can use a variety of tools within FCPX to find what you’re looking for. You can leverage the search bar, Smart Collections, Favorites, Rejects, Keywords, notes fields, and Markers to help you filter your choices to display exactly the thing you're looking for.

Part 4 details workgroup workflow and finishing:

It’s widely known that most shared storage systems have a hard time once you start dealing with 4K, 6K, and VR.  Less widely known is that most are also not optimized for the small database files that FCPX relies on or for its libraries and cache.

To work optimally on shared storage, FCPX Libraries need storage that is optimized for many micro interactions AS WELL as being optimized for high resolution codecs and framerates.

Part 5 finishes off with collaborating with colour, VFX and audio professionals:

When everyone has access to the same storage and knows how to speak each others’ language, completion of a project becomes exponentially faster. This results in happier teams, clients, and budgets. Ending the Tower of Babel of post production allows you not only save time and money, but it also allows you to put more of that time and money where it matters most…the craft of storytelling.

In summary: a great resource for those planning to make (or working on) a TV series or feature film with a workflow that has Final Cut Pro X at the centre.