Articles tagged with: Final Cut Pro X

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

  

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.

 

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.

 

 

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

FCPX Grill - the new Final Cut Pro X podcast

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

When I'm away from my desk I listen to a wide variety of podcasts - including a few post production podcasts such as Going Postal, Go Creative Show, That Post Show and digitalCINEMAcafe

Last week Chris Fenwick of digitalCINEMAcafe and formerly of The Digital Convergence Podcast invited me to take part in an episode of his new podcast: FCPX Grill.

Chris started this podcast because he wants to capture the kind of conversations he regularly has with editors about happy and comfortable they are with Final Cut Pro X. Instead of talking in the context of a general post show FCPX Grill is a place where Final Cut Pro X can be discussed, explained and complained without needing to provide the kind of balance that placates Autodesk, Avid, Adobe, Sony, Quantel and Foundry users.

Each episode is a conversation between host Fenwick and a guest who talks about what they use Final Cut for, when they first approached it, what they thought initially, what was the breakthough moment that made them fully sign up as a Final Cut Pro X fan and any handy tips and tools they want to share.

Why is it called the FCPX Grill? It's a spin-off of Chris' digitalCINEMAcafe podcast.

Listen in, there's no need to be shy about standing up and saying that Final Cut Pro X is a great editing application.

Episode 1: Welcome to the Grill - featuring Carl Olsen

Chris' first guest is Carl Olsen, his former co-host from the The Digital Convergence Podcast

(0:00) What is FCPX Grill?

(3:30) Carl Olsen introduction

(7:15) 'What kind of productions do you use Final Cut to edit?'

(13:30) 'Why didn't you use Final Cut Pro X when it was launched'

(16:00) 'When changing from Final Cut Pro 7, why didn't you choose Adobe or Avid?'

(19:30) 'What are the advantages of connecting clips?'

(21:00) Avoiding the 'background music going out of sync problem'

(22:00) Tip: Changing the connection point between clips

(23:15) 'What was your biggest Final Cut Pro X stumbling block?'

(24:45) Apple's no. 1 Final Cut Pro support issue

(26:15) 'Do you need to use media from older projects?'

(27:30) 'What kind of drive do you edit off of - which brand?'

(29:00) 'What was the moment when you realised that Final Cut Pro X was the right choice?'

(31:00) 'How did learn Final Cut Pro X - who did you turn to'

(32:45) Staying in sync with clients and colleagues when it comes to choosing editing software

(33:30) How Chris and Carl bashed Final Cut Pro X when it came out

(34:00) Final Cut Pro X supports fast editing

(35:30) 'What is your Final Cut setup?'

(36:45) The advantages of X over 7

(38:00) Color Panel presets 

(40:00) Tip: Auto-assigning keywords to multiple clips

(41:15) Chris' Final Cut Pro X 'A-ha' moment

(47:00) Auto-enhancing clip audio

(49:00) Carl's next frontier

(50:00) Appreciating today's tools

(51:30) Wrap-up

iTunes link, website link 


Episode 2: 4K RED workflow - featuring Sam Mestman

Guest Sam Mestman is a LA-based post production supremo from the We Make Movies film collective.

(0:30) Sam Mestman introduction

(3:00) Los Angeles is behind the rest of the world when it comes to Final Cut Pro X

(4:00) 'What kind of work do you do with Final Cut Pro X?'

(4:45) Coming soon FCP Works: A professional solutions business for Final Cut Pro

(5:45) Being in a 'pro' post production minority

(7:00) Notes from a post-production workflow lab - LumaForge

(9:00) 'How do you work out which tools work well in pro workflows?'

(10:45) Final Cut Pro X's learning curve is different from other NLEs

(12:00) Comparing how easy it is to learn Avid and Final Cut Pro X for new editors

(13:45) Apple's reboot blues may affect Adobe and Avid next

(15:00) Sam on Premiere Pro

(16:30) 'When you first tried Final Cut Pro X, what was your impression?'

(18:15) 'What made you take X more seriously?'

(19:30-38:00) Final Cut Pro X's RED and 4K workflow - featuring metadata and proxies

(30:30) Sam on what editing's all about

(31:45) RED ROCKET on a Thunderbolt expansion chassis

(32:15) 'Is using a RED ROCKET card mandatory?' 

(34:00) Sam on on-set rushes tools

(36:30) 'Where do I modify color? In RED or Final Cut'

(37:15) Editing clips while someone else grades them

(39:15) Sam going all in on Final Cut Pro X

(40:00) 'What needs to be improved in Final Cut?'

(44:00) Make sure you run Final Cut Pro X on the right hardware

(45:00) 'Tell us more about your film collective We Make Movies'

(48:00) Wrap-up

iTunes link, website link

 

Subscribe now!

If only to make sure your podcast software downloads my FCPX Grill episode, which became available less than an hour after I posted this note!

iMovie and Final Cut Pro X 10.1 part 4

Monday, 25 November 2013

In this series I've written about features in the new version of iMovie that would be interesting to have in the the next version of Final Cut Pro X.

I then summarised evidence that iMovie is primarily a unreleased version of Final Cut Pro X with a user interface that implements the features of iMovie 9. Although the version of Final Cut that iMovie (2013) seems to be based on seems to be newer than the release version, the built-in copy of Motion hasn't been updated, but there's evidence that iMovie themes were created using an internal template development tool codenamed Mica.

The new workflows supported in future versions of iMovie and Final Cut Pro are hinted at in the new version of Final Cut Pro X XML which is defined within iMovie and is referred to inside the new version of Blackmagic Design's DaVinci Resolve application.

More elements hidden inside the new version of iMovie that hint about developments in Final Cut Pro X 10.1.X.

iOS

isiOSClip
isiOSDevice
_iOSPercentageDonePath
_iOSMetadata
scanForiOSDevices

Subtitles

_OBJC_IVAR_$_FFImageBrowserCell._subtitleLayer

Despite having been recently written, Final Cut Pro X 10.0.X hasn't had much support for subtitle importing, desiplay, in-app editing and export. OS X subtitle expert Andreas Kiel told me that that he was asked to join Apple's Pro Apps development team in California. Although he decided not to accept, their offer is a good sign for the future of subtitles and time-based metadata.

Metadata

consolidateGPSMetadata

update_GPSMetadata

This is probably related to supporting and displaying location information in the same way as in Aperture.

XML

In a previous part of this series I listed features in the unreleased version of the Final Cut Pro X XML format. The file that describes what Final Cut elements can be encoded in XML exports and imports is stored in

iMovie.app/Contents/Frameworks/Flexo.framework/Versions/A/Resources/FCPXMLv1_3.dtd

A few days after Apple announced the new version of iMovie, RED updated REDCINE-X, their footage processing app, to version 20.2.0 for OS X and Windows. One of the changes listed in this new build is 

Updated: FCPX XML now compatible with version 1.3.

As well as what can be found in the XML DTD, there is more text within 

iMovie.app/Contents/Frameworks/Flexo.framework/Versions/A/Flexo

...that reveals more about what can be exported and imported as Final Cut Pro X XML.

[FFXMLExporter addOrientationElementForMediaComponent:element:]
[FFXMLImporter setOrientation:toObject:]

Looks like Final Cut Pro will be able to handle the orientation of a clip explicitly. There were 12 mentions of 'orientation' in 10.0.9 (mostly to do with handling standard metadata fields for common video and stills formats), 33 mentions in 10.?.?.

Accessibility

As OS X and iOS evolve, Apple add more and more features for users who use software and hardware tools to operate applications. As well as being good news for those who cannot use their fingers, keyboards, mice and trackpads to control their Apple devices, the same features can be used by those who can use traditional control methods, but would like to control apps using other devices or workflow tools.

[There's an introduction to Accessibility for OS X developers on the Apple site]

In Final Cut Pro X 10.0.9, NSAccessibility attributes include:

_NSAccessibilityActionDescription
_NSAccessibilityButtonRole
_NSAccessibilityCheckBoxRole
_NSAccessibilityColumnRole
_NSAccessibilityShowMenuAction
_NSAccessibilityEnabledAttribute
_NSAccessibilityTopLevelUIElementAttribute
_NSAccessibilityWindowAttribute

They show how accessibility switch or other assistive device can simulate button, checkbox, menu and window clicks. New accessibility attributes hidden in the Final Cut Pro part of iMovie include:

_NSAccessibilityCancelAction
_NSAccessibilityDecrementAction
_NSAccessibilityHorizontalOrientationValue
_NSAccessibilityMaxValueAttribute
_NSAccessibilityMinValueAttribute
_NSAccessibilityOrientationAttribute
_NSAccessibilityProgressIndicatorRole
_NSAccessibilitySliderRole 

['Role' here are related to the OS X accessibility framework, not Final Cut Roles]

The nature of these object methods gives accessibility devices (and possibility workflow and scripting tools) more control over Final Cut plus the ability to get useful values from Final Cut which can be displayed in assistive devices and used by workflow software logic.

_NSAccessibilityCreatedNotification
_NSAccessibilityValueChangedNotification
_NSAccessibilityUIElementDestroyedNotification

These new elements allow Final Cut to 'notify' accessibility apps that user interface objects have been created, that values associated with them have changed and that the UI element is no longer relevant. 'Notification' is used 176 times in 10.0.9, 331 times in 10.?.?

If these attributes do appear in Final Cut Pro X 10.1, external applications such as a remote control app running on an iPad might be able to update their displays to reflect changes in Events, Projects and Libraries.

Word counts

Some words appear  more often in Final Cut Pro 10.X.X than 10.0.9:

  10.0.9 10.X.X
Proxy 276 357
OSC (On-screen controls) 1364 1959
Node 2132 3336
Gamma 65 194
Music 20 567
AudioDuck 2 118

The differences in counts may be to do with the Final Cut Pro X base implementing iMovie(2013)-only features such as automatic ducking (reducing in volume) of some tracks based on the volume of others.

In 10.0.X but not visible

Remember that although I've found all this Final Cut Pro-related content in iMovie, these elements might not appear in Final Cut Pro X 10.1.X.

For example, the code and text associated with flexible window layouts has been in Final Cut since 2011, hasn't appeared in the user interface and remains in 10.?.?:

"Different window layouts can be saved to suit different working environments or styles."
"Name your current layout:"
"Layout already exists. Do you want to replace it?"

"The name '' is an invalid name. Please use a different name"
"Revert to Original Layout" "Cancel" "Tear Off Tab"

"No Layouts Available"

"Save Window Layout"

"Couldn't Save Layout"
"Edit Window Layout"
"Untitled Layout"

[from iMovie.app/Contents/Frameworks/LunaKit.framework/Versions/A/ModuleKit.strings] 

Import Final Cut Pro X projects into iMovie using hidden workaround

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Editor and plugin maker Andy Mees has discovered that you can import Final Cut Pro X exported XML into the new version of iMovie. Here you can see the source timeline in Final Cut. It was exported as an .fcpxml file and imported into iMovie. 

andymees.fcpx2imovie

The reason why the timelines don't match up is because iMovie timelines have variable scale. Although the faint grey vertical lines are equally spaced, the times they mark aren't equally spaced (in this case some are marked as denoting 9.4, 10.9, 15.8, 20.3, 24.4, 27.2 and 32.1 seconds).

iMovie doesn't implement all Final Cut Pro X features such as multiple connected video clips at the same time or auditions. Despite this, you can see iMovie displays an audition icon on one of the audio clips in Andy's timeline. If you attempt to edit the audition in iMovie, you'll see an imcomplete UI:

iMovieuadition

iMovie doesn't have an 'Import Final Cut Pro X XML…' command. Andy discovered a simple workaround.

1. Control- or Right-click the iMovie icon and choose 'Show Package Contents' from the shortcut menu

2. Open another window that shows the iMovie icon and drop your .fcpxml file onto the icon.

3. In iMovie you'll see a dialogue box that asks which iMovie library you would like to import your XML file into:

which-library

As well as reading his blog, keep up with Andy by following him on Twitter.

 

iMovie and Final Cut Pro X 10.1 part 3: Scripting and plugins

Thursday, 07 November 2013

Here's more of what I've found inside iMovie (2013).

As I wrote in part 2, the new OS X version of iMovie is based on an unreleased version of Final Cut Pro X. Previous versions of Final Cut Pro X have UI-less versions of Motion and Compressor. In that case have the Motion framework and the (313 MB) Compressor plugin also been updated as much as Final Cut Pro X?

shell-game-medium-a

Oddly enough, alothough there are new elements in the 'Final Cut Pro X' part of iMovie, the version of Compressor that is included is older than the version available on the Mac App Store or via software update, and there doesn't seem to be anything new in the Motion framework.

The Compressor code supports the background encoding features and sharing to online services features of iMovie.

As well as US-based services, iMovie 2013 has presets that encode and upload files to Youku and Tudou. There also presets for DVD, BluRay, Compressor, Image Sequence and HTTP Streaming - but these are probably left over from Final Cut Pro X version 10.0.X.

It is odd that Motion doesn't seem to have been updated. For seven out of the nine Final Cut Pro X updates from version 10.0.0, Motion was updated in lock step. Over the last two years I'd guess that bugs that seemed to be in Final Cut were in the built-in Motion framework, so the standalone Mac App Store version was updated at the same time. Although Motion's file format didn't change with each update, each edition of the Motion app stored its version number in the documents it saved.

In previous versions of iMovie, most of the effects, transitions, generators and titles were implemented using Quartz compositions (small files used to create UI animations in OS X and iOS apps). iMovie (2013) replaced these with Motion templates - the files used to implement plugins in Final Cut Pro X. That's why it is possible to place Final Cut plugins inside iMovie (as I showed in Final Cut Pro X plugins work in iMovie 2013).

Some of the Motion plugin templates in iMovie seem to have been created using Motion version 5.0.7.1. Here are the first few lines in the template that implements one of iMovie's Titles that isn't yet available in Final Cut Pro X:

Motion-templates-format

Motion's version number hasn't incremented in this way before - adding '.1' as a fourth number. Even when an update was a maintenance release with no new features, the third number increased from 5.0.0 up to 5.0.7 (released in March 2013).

If not Motion...

If the future of Motion as a tool for creating Final Cut plugins is in doubt, what could be the alternatives?

Although some people are worried at the lack of AppleScript support in recent Apple applications, there's a possibility that future versions of Final Cut will be more controllable using a scripting language.

There are already some references to scripting in Final Cut Pro X 10.0.9. The appear in iMovie with these additions:

setDescriptor:forKeyword
scriptingUserDefinedRecordDescriptor
scriptingUserDefinedRecordWithDescriptor
descriptorWithObject
scriptingUserListDescriptor
scriptingUserListWithDescriptor:
descriptorWithURL

Quartz Compositions were used to implement effects, titles, transitions and generators in previous versions of iMovie. Quartz Composer is an Apple developer tool that can create these node-based animation files. FxFactory from Noise Industries was introduced as a system that allowed Quartz Compositions to implement advanced plugins in Final Cut Pro Classic (It now also acts as a plugin management system).

iMovie (2013) includes Quartz Composition handling libraries. The Sports theme uses Quartz Compositions to animate team names and member names:

Sports-theme

There's also the chance that Final Cut Pro X 10.1.X will be able to use plugins created in the free Quartz Composer developer application.

Here are some of the Quartz Composer references in iMovie:

FFQCEffect
FFQCIMEffect

...implies a difference between Quartz Composer effects and Quartz Composer iMovie effects.

[FFQCEffect compositionName]
[FFQCEffect backgroundCompositionName]
[FFQCEffect compositionDirectoryName]
[FFQCEffect setCompositionParameterValuesAtTime:]
[FFQCEffect setBackgroundCompositionParameterValuesAtTime:]
[FFQCEffect compositionInputKeys]
[FFQCEffect inputParameters]
[FFQCEffect valueForInputKey:]
[FFQCEffect setBackgroundRenderValue:forInputKey:required:]
[FFQCEffect setValue:forInputKey:required:]
[FFQCEffect setString:forInputKey:required:avoidEmptyString:]
[FFQCEffect percentDoneForTime:]

[FFQCScheduleToken setInputValues:]
[FFQCScheduleToken time]
[FFQCScheduleToken setTime:]
[FFQCScheduleToken frameCompleteSemaphore]

A new Pro App?

As well as Quartz Composer, there are references to another graphics development system in iMovie. 'Mica' is mentioned very few times in Final Cut Pro X 10.0.9, around 100 times in iMovie 9 but over 600 times in iMovie (2013):

reloadMicaDocument
animatorClass
stopAndReport:taskName:
configureAfterMicaLoad

micaPluginProperties

descriptionOfNonRasterizedTextLayersInMicaAnimator:
appendBasicDescription:detailedDescription:toFinalDescription:micaAnimatorName:
descriptionOfRasterizedTextLayers
descriptionOfUnknownPublishedLayersInMicaTitleAnimator:
descriptionOfTextLayersNotInPublishedObjects:

descriptionOfPublishedVideoLayersWithBadAnchorPointsInMicaAnimator:
descriptionOfRasterizedProjectThumbnailTextLayersInMicaAnimator:

logAllFontsInMicaAnimator:
saveToMicaFileWithPath:

micaAnimatorTemplate
animationDuration
addLeftSlideInAnimationToLayer:micaAnimatorTemplate:
addMiddleSlideInAnimationToLayer:micaAnimatorTemplate:
addRightSlideInAnimationToLayer:micaAnimatorTemplate:
setMicaAnimatorTemplate:
addAnimations

ANIMATION IS NOT COMPATIBLE WITH AVFOUNDATION. Open the file with Mica, and manually set the beginTime to zero.
KEYFRAME ANIMATION HAS BAD KEYTIMES. The first keyTime must be 0.0
KEYFRAME ANIMATION HAS BAD KEYTIMES. The last keyTime must be 1.0
EXPENSIVE LAYER. It has filters, or a non-rasterized shadow, or a non-rasterized complex font such as SketchBlock or Shababa.
The Mica document '%@'; has an unknown published layer '%@'. Please check your spelling.

[MicaAnimator bestURLForUserInterfaceFileName:]
[MicaAnimator bestURLForProjectContentFileName:]

isMacOnlyPoster:

It seems that Mica documents also work in iOS. It is possible that Mica is used by Apple to create plugins that work in iMovie on iOS as well as on the Mac. Mica might not be made available to users and third-party plugin developers.

I couldn't find any internet references to 'Apple Mica' as an OS X animation tool. However, here's a recent Twitter conversation:

@Alex4D: Has anyone heard of an animation/compositing tool from Apple called 'Mica'?
@BroadreachMedia: that was the code name of Shake/Motion combo.
@Alex4D: 'was' not 'is'?
@BroadreachMedia: well there were rumours of another app joining fcpx et al. Would make perfect sense with new Mac Pro OpenCL power to have RT Shake. 

On the other hand, this is not to say that Motion won't be updated when Final Cut Pro X 10.1.0 is launched - it might be that the Motion code they plan to release wasn't ready to be included in iMovie.

Whatever happens, at least we don't have long to find out...

Final Cut Pro X 10.1 revealed?

Wednesday, 06 November 2013

iMovie (2013) is an unreleased version of Final Cut Pro X with a consumer UI

In July 2011 I took a look inside the newly released Final Cut Pro X 10.0.0. I found text and graphics that hinted at unimplemented features. These features could have have missed the cut for the first public release. I guessed they would be more fully developed in future versions or dropped.

The evidence suggested that Apple might be working on features such as the reintroduction of Multicam, XML import and export, AppleScript integration, flexible window layouts and multi-user editing. Some of these appeared in later versions of Final Cut, some didn't.

A new version of iMovie was launched as part of Apple's October announcements. Here is some of what I've discovered inside iMovie (2013).

iMovie (2013) isn't an updated version of iMovie '11 (version 9), it is Final Cut Pro X with additional resources to implement the iMovie consumer editing interface.

It looks like there are new features in this unreleased version of Final Cut Pro X that many professional editors have been looking forward to for a long time.

shell-game-simpler

In OS X, applications are stored as specialised folders that contain code, text, images, sounds and videos. To see inside any app using the Finder, Control- or Right-Click its icon and choose  'Show Package Contents' from the shortcut menu.

If you do this with the previous version of iMovie, you get a folder that looks like this:

Operational parts of apps are divided up into 'frameworks' and some UI images, sounds and videos are stored in a Resources directory. 

Here's what is inside Final Cut Pro X 10.0.9:

fcpX-v10-0-9-contents

Here's iMovie (2013):

iMovie-2013-contents

Although iMovie (2013) and Final Cut Pro X 10.0.9 share many of the same frameworks, who is to say there's a whole copy of Final Cut built into every copy of iMovie? Apple could have used the elements of Final Cut that implement video editing and overlaid the iMovie UI. It turns out that a large amount of the graphics, text and code in iMovie isn't currently visible when you run the app.

Compare the resources folders in the same framework in both Final Cut Pro X 10.0.9 and iMovie (2013):

resources-comparison

The documents and folders are very similar - including icons and Adobe Photoshop files. There are extra resources to implement the new iMovie Theatre feature. There are also resources that aren't seen in the current iMovie user interface: The Audition Spotlight that appears when switching between clips in an audition and icons for surround sound speakers for example.

Image resources in iMovie (2013) not yet visible to users include:

non-iMovie-graphics

 

Final Cut Pro X 10.?

iMovie (2013) isn't based on Final Cut Pro X 10.0.9. I've found elements that show that the version of Final Cut is newer than the one released earlier this year.

Here's a list of Final Cut elements inside the iMovie (2013) application that don't yet appear in iMovie and Final Cut Pro X. I'm listing them here because they point to a possible direction for Final Cut Pro. Although I can find these references using a simple text editor, I don't have a way of confirming that any of this content will be available in a future version of Final Cut. I'm sharing what I've found in a free application I recieved with OS X Mavericks.

Transitions

9-icons-964x544

Fractured Twirl, Fractured Shatter, Fractured Extend, Fractured Flyback, Fractured, Fractured Radial, Fractured Wave, Fractured Flip, Fractured Confetti.

Here are the Fractured transition parameters: Animation Type, Backface Color, Delay, Density, Density Scale Start, Density Scale End, Dissolve In Out, Dissolve Point, Double Sided, Ease In, Ease Out, Extrude, Face Shape, Bulge Center, Fog, Fog Intensity, Fragment Aspect, Implode, Lighting, Mode, Multi Sample, Output Expansion, Randomize, Reassemble, Reassemble Point, Specular, Specular Color, Transparency

Final Cut Pro X libraries

Text inside iMovie associated with a new method for storing clips, projects and events [More on libraries and iMovie (2013)]:

"In Final Cut Pro 10.1 and later, projects and events are contained in a library.

" Click Update All to create a new library for the projects and events on each connected hard disk."
" Click Update Later to skip the update process for now."
" Click Locate to manually create a library for a specific hard disk, folder, or SAN location."

"Review the newly created libraries and confirm your projects and events are intact before emptying the trash."
"To skip copying your Projects and Events into the Library, click Ignore. (You may import them later.)"

"Copied Projects and Events can still be opened in earlier versions of %@. To copy your Projects and Events, click OK." [parts of text that include @ characters can be replaced by the app depending on the context. In this case the text would be 'iMovie' or 'Final Cut Pro']

"You are editing clips between libraries."
"You are editing compound clips or multicam clips between libraries"

"The Library must contain at least one Event"

File management

"Consolidate Library Files "
"Consolidate Library Media"
"Consolidate Library Files will copy all of %@'s  external Media into your library."
"The selected events refer to files outside the library bundle. To copy external media into the library bundle click Continue. You cannot undo this command._"
"Choose the current library or an external folder to consolidate the files into"

"Duplicate Project as Snapshot"
"Duplicate Open Project as Snapshot"

"Open Library Backup"
"To open this library backup, click Save and choose a new location to save the library"
"Opening a library backup will create a new copy of the library and attempt to restore its original media. The current version of library will not be affected."

"You have projects and events that refer to media on missing hard disks"
"To play back the missing file "%@," connect the hard drive "%"

"This Clip Uses the Following Missing Effect(s):"

"%@" could not be removed because applications are using it."

Markers

"This timeline contains Music Markers"
"%@ can align your clips to the music markers to time them to beats"
"Align Clips at Music Markers"
"Align to Music Markers"
"Edit to Markers"
"Ignore Markers"

Time

"Add a new keyframe at the playhead"
"Smooth End Transition"
"Retime Set Transition FallOff"
"Set Smooth Transition Retiming"
"Set Smooth Keyframe Retiming"

"persistent playhead"
"Trim To Playhead"
"Retime Blade Speed"
"Blade at Skimmer"

"The item is not on an edit frame boundary"

Aperture

"Search your Aperture library"
"Choose to view projects, albums, and more from your Aperture Library"
"Double-click to open this smart album" 
"Double-click to open this photo stream"
"Double-click to open this slideshow"
"Double-click to open this gallery"
"Double-click to open this faces group"

"Places"
SmugMugPhotoAlbums
FlickrPhotoAlbums

Various

"Use proxy playback by changing the Media setting to 'Proxy' in the Viewer Options pop-up menu. (Requires proxy media.)"

"Replace Transition"
"Apply to All Transitions"
"Delete Everywhere"

"Flash and Hold Last Frame"

"To better fill titles"

"Reset All Tools"

"Transform 3D"

"The file format you requested does not allow for sizes of more than 4GB"

"Cannot Send to Compresor"

Bundling effects

saveEffectsAsBundle
addEffectsAsPartToBundle:
addEffectsAsSnapshotToBundle:
userBundlesDirectory
"This snapshot is incompatible with the effect bundle part."
My Effect Bundle
"The selected clip has no %@ effects."
"Please enter a valid name for the bundle."
"Could not save bundle" 
"Could not save the effects as a bundle."
.fcpbundle

[This might still apply to audio effect bundles, which have been inside Final Cut Pro X for a while, but might one day include video effects]

iMovie to Final Cut Pro

"To send your movie to Final Cut Pro, you must have Final Cut Pro version 10.1 or later installed."
"Send Movie to Final Cut Pro"
"Sending To Final Cut Pro"
"A compatible version of Final Cut Pro cannot be found."

Multi-user editing

"Some SAN locations are in use. To update these locations, make sure they are not in use, and try again."

There are no longer any 'Guards' text strings designed to be used in dialogue boxes to as found in Final Cut Pro X 10.0.0.

However, within the code inside Final Cut Pro 10.0.9, there are 14 references to Guards. In iMovie (2013) there are many more in the equivalent file:

FFEnableGuards
FFUndoGuard
setGuard
addGuard
appendGuardToStackIfNecessary
registerGuardForLibraryItems

FFUndoGuard addGuard
FFUndoGuard addToHandler
FFUndoGuard guardAction
FFUndoGuard redoFinished
FFUndoGuard undoFinished
FFUndoGuard initWithLibraryItems
FFUndoGuard dealloc
FFUndoGuard updateItems

FFUndoGuard._closedURL

FFSharedLock._guard
FFSharedLock._identifier
FFSharedLock._readLockCount
FFSharedLock._readLockCountInsideWrite
FFSharedLock._readers
FFSharedLock._writeLockCount
FFSharedLock._writeRequested
FFSharedLock._writer

 

Final Cut Pro X 10.1 XML 

New aspects of Final Cut Pro X XML determine what features of Final Cut Pro Projects, Events and Libraries that third-party applications can manipulate.

In iMovie (2013) but not visible in the current UI:

"Export Event XML…"
"You can use the error log below to resolve issues in your XML file and try to import again"

"Select a library from the list of recent libraries. To import your XML into a different library, click Locate. To import your XML to a new library, choose New Library."

The format for the flavour of XML that Final Cut Pro X uses to export and import has been updated to version 1.3 from version 1.2. The new version can now store colour correction, title, audio and smart folder information.

Libraries and smart collections

<!ENTITY % collection_item "collection-folder | keyword-collection | smart-collection">

<!-- IMPORT OPTIONS -->

<!-- Element that contain options on how the import should be conducted (e.g. whether to copy assets, etc.) -->
<!ELEMENT import-options (option*)>

<!ELEMENT keyword-collection EMPTY>
<!ATTLIST keyword-collection name CDATA #REQUIRED>

<!ELEMENT collection-folder (%collection_item;)*>
<!ATTLIST collection-folder name CDATA #REQUIRED>

Final Cut Pro X XML v. 1.3 will be able to store smart events that constantly list clips and projects that have specific attributes such as role, sample rate and timecode.

<!-- SMART COLLECTIONS -->
<!ELEMENT smart-collection ((match-text | match-ratings | match-media | match-clip | match-stabilization | match-keywords | match-shot | match-property | match-time | match-timeRange | match-roles)*)>
<!ATTLIST smart-collection name CDATA #REQUIRED>
<!ATTLIST smart-collection match (any | all) #REQUIRED>

<!ELEMENT match-text EMPTY>
<!ATTLIST match-text enabled (0 | 1) "1">
<!ATTLIST match-text rule (includes | doesNotInclude | is | isNot) "includes">
<!ATTLIST match-text value CDATA #REQUIRED>

<!ELEMENT match-ratings EMPTY>
<!ATTLIST match-ratings enabled (0 | 1) "1">
<!ATTLIST match-ratings value (favorites | rejected) #REQUIRED>

<!ELEMENT match-media EMPTY>
<!ATTLIST match-media enabled (0 | 1) "1">
<!ATTLIST match-media rule (is | isNot) "is">
<!ATTLIST match-media type (videoWithAudio | videoOnly | audioOnly | stills) #REQUIRED>

<!ELEMENT match-clip EMPTY>
<!ATTLIST match-clip enabled (0 | 1) "1">
<!ATTLIST match-clip rule (is | isNot) "is">
<!ATTLIST match-clip type (audition | synchronized | compound | multicam | layeredGraphic | project) #REQUIRED>

<!ELEMENT match-stabilization EMPTY>
<!ATTLIST match-stabilization enabled (0 | 1) "1">
<!ATTLIST match-stabilization show-excessive-shake (0 | 1) #REQUIRED>

<!ELEMENT match-keywords (keyword-name*)>
<!ATTLIST match-keywords enabled (0 | 1) "1">
<!ATTLIST match-keywords rule (includesAny | includesAll | doesNotIncludeAny | doesNotIncludeAll) "includesAny">

<!ELEMENT keyword-name EMPTY>
<!ATTLIST keyword-name value CDATA #REQUIRED>

<!ELEMENT match-shot (shot-type*)>
<!ATTLIST match-shot enabled (0 | 1) "1">
<!ATTLIST match-shot rule (includesAny | includesAll | doesNotIncludeAny | doesNotIncludeAll) "includesAny">

<!ELEMENT shot-type EMPTY>
<!ATTLIST shot-type value (onePerson | twoPersons | group | closeUp | mediumShot | wideShot) #REQUIRED>

<!ELEMENT match-property EMPTY>
<!ATTLIST match-property enabled (0 | 1) "1">
<!ATTLIST match-property key (reel | scene | take | audioOutputChannels | frameSize | videoFrameRate | audioSampleRate | cameraName | cameraAngle) #REQUIRED>
<!ATTLIST match-property rule (includes | doesNotInclude | is | isNot) "includes">
<!ATTLIST match-property value CDATA #REQUIRED>

<!ELEMENT match-time EMPTY>
<!ATTLIST match-time enabled (0 | 1) "1">
<!ATTLIST match-time type (contentCreated | dateImported) #REQUIRED>
<!ATTLIST match-time rule (is | isBefore | isAfter) #REQUIRED>
<!ATTLIST match-time value CDATA #REQUIRED>

<!ELEMENT match-timeRange EMPTY>
<!ATTLIST match-timeRange enabled (0 | 1) "1">
<!ATTLIST match-timeRange type (contentCreated | dateImported) #REQUIRED>
<!ATTLIST match-timeRange rule (isInLast | isNotInLast) #REQUIRED>
<!ATTLIST match-timeRange value CDATA #REQUIRED>
<!ATTLIST match-timeRange units (hour | day | week | month | year) #IMPLIED>

<!ELEMENT match-roles (role*)>
<!ATTLIST match-roles enabled (0 | 1) "1">
<!ATTLIST match-roles rule (includesAny | includesAll | doesNotIncludeAny | doesNotIncludeAll) "includesAny">

<!ELEMENT role EMPTY>
<!ATTLIST role name CDATA #REQUIRED>

Colour Correction

<!-- The 'adjust-color' element modifies the color adjustments for a clip. -->
<!-- This element contains adjustments for color balance, color match, and color corrections. -->
<!ELEMENT adjust-color (colorBalance?, colorMatch?, (cb-correction | filter-color)*)>

<!ELEMENT colorBalance (data)>
<!ATTLIST colorBalance enabled (0 | 1) "1">

<!ELEMENT colorMatch (data)>
<!ATTLIST colorMatch enabled (0 | 1) "1">

<!ELEMENT cb-correction (cb-values?, cb-values-outer?, cb-shape*, cb-isolation?)>
<!ATTLIST cb-correction enabled (0 | 1) "1">

<!-- The 'cb-values' element describes the colorboard adjustments for a color correction. -->
<!ELEMENT cb-values EMPTY>
<!ATTLIST cb-values global CDATA #REQUIRED>
<!ATTLIST cb-values shadows CDATA #REQUIRED>
<!ATTLIST cb-values midtones CDATA #REQUIRED>
<!ATTLIST cb-values highlights CDATA #REQUIRED>

<!-- The 'cb-values-outer' element describes the colorboard adjustments outside of the shapes for a color correction. -->
<!ELEMENT cb-values-outer EMPTY>
<!ATTLIST cb-values-outer global CDATA #REQUIRED>
<!ATTLIST cb-values-outer shadows CDATA #REQUIRED>
<!ATTLIST cb-values-outer midtones CDATA #REQUIRED>
<!ATTLIST cb-values-outer highlights CDATA #REQUIRED>

<!-- The 'cb-shape' element describes a shape used for a colorboard correction. -->
<!ELEMENT cb-shape (param*)>
<!ATTLIST cb-shape origin CDATA #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST cb-shape softness CDATA #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST cb-shape curvature CDATA #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST cb-shape rotation CDATA #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST cb-shape scale CDATA #IMPLIED>

<!ELEMENT cb-isolation (data)>

<!ELEMENT filter-color (param*)>
<!ATTLIST filter-color ref IDREF #REQUIRED> <!-- 'effect' ID -->
<!ATTLIST filter-color name CDATA #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST filter-color enabled (0 | 1) "1">

Clip adjustments

<!ELEMENT adjust-stabilization (param*)>
<!ATTLIST adjust-stabilization type (automatic | inertiaCam | smoothCam) "automatic">

<!ELEMENT adjust-rollingShutter EMPTY>
<!ATTLIST adjust-rollingShutter amount (none | low | medium | high | extraHigh) "none">

<!ELEMENT adjust-loudness EMPTY>
<!ATTLIST adjust-loudness amount CDATA #REQUIRED>
<!ATTLIST adjust-loudness uniformity CDATA #REQUIRED>

<!ELEMENT adjust-noiseReduction EMPTY>
<!ATTLIST adjust-noiseReduction amount CDATA #REQUIRED>

<!ELEMENT adjust-humReduction EMPTY>
<!ATTLIST adjust-humReduction frequency (50 | 60) #REQUIRED>

<!ELEMENT adjust-EQ (param*)>
<!ATTLIST adjust-EQ mode (flat | voice_enhance | music_enhance | loudness | hum_reduction | bass_boost | bass_reduce | treble_boost | treble_reduce) #REQUIRED>

<!ELEMENT adjust-matchEQ (data)>

Markers

<!ENTITY % marker_item "(marker | chapter-marker | rating | keyword | shot-marker)">

'Rating', 'Keyword' and 'Shot-marker' markers haven't been able to be exported or imported in XML files before.

<!ELEMENT shot-marker (shot-type)+>
<!ATTLIST shot-marker start %time; #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST shot-marker duration %time; #IMPLIED>

Storylines

<!ATTLIST sequence keywords CDATA #IMPLIED>

Final Cut Pro X storylines are stored as 'Sequences' in Final Cut Pro X XML.

Filters

<!-- A 'filter-video' defines a video effect that's applied to its parent element. -->
<!-- Video filters are concatenated in the order in which they appear. -->
<!ELEMENT filter-video (data?, param*)>
<!ATTLIST filter-video ref IDREF #REQUIRED> <!-- 'effect' ID -->
<!ATTLIST filter-video name CDATA #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST filter-video enabled (0 | 1) "1">

<!-- A 'filter-audio' defines an audio effect that's applied to its parent element. -->
<!-- Audio filters are concatenated in the order in which they appear. -->
<!ELEMENT filter-audio (data?, param*)>
<!ATTLIST filter-audio ref IDREF #REQUIRED> <!-- 'effect' ID -->
<!ATTLIST filter-audio name CDATA #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST filter-audio enabled (0 | 1) "1">
<!ATTLIST filter-audio presetID CDATA #IMPLIED>

Time remapping

It will be possible to control the smoothness of the transitions between time remap segments:

<!ATTLIST timept inTime %time; #IMPLIED> <!-- transition in-time for point (used only with smooth interpolations) -->
<!ATTLIST timept outTime %time; #IMPLIED> <!-- transition out-time for point (used only with smooth interpolations) -->

Transitions

Transition information now can include seperate audio filters and video filters. This implies more control in Final Cut about which audio transition is applied with a video transition. This XML encoding could store a transition between two clips with no audio transition applied during a video transition.

Is this Final Cut Pro X 10.1?

I have no way of knowing if the unreleased version of Final Cut Pro X that iMovie is based on is version 10.1. It might be where 10.1 was a few months ago - iMovie (2013) might get an update at the same time at Final Cut Pro X for compatibility reasons.

iMovie Trojan?

Trojan Horses have negative connotations: benign presents that hide malignant intent. In the case of iMovie, it seems that Apple wants the maximum number of people to get comfortable with editing while providing a direct connection to the world of professional post production. 

Although Apple are unlikely to make Final Cut Pro X 10.1 a free upgrade, the sting of a full-price update might be reduced by full format Final Cut to iMovie and back roundtripping. Video editors, sound editors, photographers, colour graders and visual effects people can work in the $299 app while passing timelines and footage backwards and forwards to writers, directors, producers and others who can run iMovie (2013) for OS X at very low cost, or even for free. I don't have the tools to reverse engineer the code, so I don't know if such round-tripping will be possible, but as both applications might run on the same foundations, there's no technical reasons why this wouldn't be possible.

The future of storytelling will change a great deal if Apple convice more people that they can manipulate videos they shoot on iOS devices as easily as they've learned to take, modify and organise photos. I think the iMovie (2013)/Final Cut Pro X combination will help bring many more people to editing and visual storytelling all over the world.

iMovie (2013) and Final Cut Pro X 10.1

Tuesday, 05 November 2013

When Apple releases big new revisions of software we can insights into their thinking on application design and features. When Final Cut Pro X appeared in 2011, it was very different from the previous version. In the process of rewriting it from scratch they changed the main user interface metaphor and didn't have the opportunity to recreate every feature from Final Cut Pro 7.

Although Final Cut Pro X 10.0 was then updated with bug fixes and new features in the ensuing months, we weren't sure whether some features would never be reintroduced. Perhaps Apple was philosophically opposed to some features many wanted. Also Apple didn't introduce some features from other video editing applications that many people wanted. For example, was Apple opposed to a timeline that scrolled to follow the timeline as a movie played. 

This Summer saw the launch of Logic Pro X, a new version of Apple's professional music production software. Although revised greatly compared with previous versions, it was less of a break from the past than Final Cut Pro X was. It also showed that Apple weren't against some features that Final Cut Pro X users would like, as they were maintained or introduced in Logic. I wrote about what Logic Pro X might tell us about the future of Final Cut Pro X on my blog. 

iMovieX-1276x716

iMovie (2013) was launched as part of Apple's October 2013 announcements. What does it tell us about future versions of Final Cut Pro X, the first of which is due to be released alongside the new Mac Pro?

File Management

In iMovie 2013, Projects (timelines) are stored in Events. Events (collections of footage and other content) are stored in iMovie Libraries.

file-management-1050x680

Although the default 'iMovie Library' document is created in the Movies folder of your home directory, you can use any location or name for iMovie Libraries. iMovie also doesn't open Libraries on any hard drive automatically: you choose which libraries appear in iMovie's library browser:

library-event-project-clips-420x350

You can have multiple Libraries open at once, and copy Projects, Events and clips between them. Multiple Events can be merged together by dragging.

You can choose to browse all the Projects and Events in the Libraries you have open. Each Event appears as a single skimmable icon, so you can use the skimmer to review all the footage in an event very quickly.

If Final Cut Pro X 10.1 gets these features, many editors wil be happy. Life will be much simpler than the 10.0.X way.

Commands

There are few commands in iMovie that would be useful in Final Cut Pro X:

- Seperate menu and keyboard commands to paste specific attributes. Once you've copied a clip, you can use a command to apply its Colour, Crop (including Ken Burns), Stabilization, Rolling Shutter, Video Effects, Audio Volume, Speed and Connected Clip attributes to one or more other clips.

- Seperate menu and keyboard commands can select all of a timeline's Transitions or Transitions or Video Clips or Generators.

- Join Clips command for when you've bladed a clip

- Mute audio of clip command

- Type in custom speed % for slow and fast motion

- Alter date and timecode for any clip optionally changing the source file creation date and time

Features

- Option to show Avid-style timeline that wraps in the window:

wrapping-timeline-1280x780

- Clip Trimmer (shows clip trims for setting in and out points as well as rolling the visible part):

clip-trimmer-772x700

- Option to show which parts of the clips in an Event are being used in the open Project

- Control to colour balance a clip based on the skin tone of a featured artiste:

colour-balance-644x776

- Control to white balance a clip based on choosing a part of a clip that should be white

- Colour temperature slider

- Single brightness/contrast/shadows/highlights slider

- Saturation slider

- Single control to correctly rotate and scale portrait clips to fit a landscape timeline

- Control how much to reduce other audio when a clip is playing

- Apply choice of colour adjustment, video effect or audio effect to Event clips before adding them to a Project

- For connected clips, a draggable control that defines opacity fade in/out time:

control-fade-opacity-132x170

Conclusion

I think many of these iMovie commands and features would be happily recieved by many Final Cut Pro X users. 

Stay tuned, there is much more to iMovie (2013)...

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