Articles tagged with: Podcast

Alex4D on podcasts

Friday, 21 November 2014

A roundup of my appearances on post-production podcasts:

April 2012

Digital Production Buzz

I talked to Larry Jordan about how I came to create plugins for Final Cut Pro and how things changed when Final Cut Pro X came along. Thanks to Michael Horton of the LA Creative Pro User Group for getting me on the air!

iTunes · Website (my interview only)

January 2013

Moviola Digital Filmmakers Podcast: Creating Final Cut Pro X Effects Using Apple Motion 5

After presenting one of four webinars for Moviola, I answered a few questions on making Final Cut plugins.

iTunes

June 2013

Going POSTal

While attending the London SuperMeet featuring Tom Rolf, I said a few words during Ben Barden's coverage of the event.

Website 

August 2013

Go Creative Show 004: Pure Logic

On the release of Logic Pro X, I talked to host Ben Consoli about what the update means for Final Cut Pro X users.

iTunes · Website

October 2013

Go Creative Show 014: Hi Larry

I covered the announcement of the radically different Mac Pro.

iTunes · Website

November 2013

FCPX Grill 004: Reading the FCPX Tea Leaves

I talked to host Chris Fenwick about the (then) future version of Final Cut Pro X hidden inside a new version of iMovie.

iTunes · Website

December 2013

FCPX Grill 008: FCPX 10.1 Mini Intro

Chris and I discuss our initial impressions of Final Cut's biggest update.

iTunes · Website

February 2014

FCPX Grill 022: Homegrown Plugins

We discuss unreported features of Final Cut Pro X 10.1 and go into detail on plugin development.

iTunes · Website

July 2014

FCPX Grill 061: How Pro is Pro?

As Apple hardly communicate with traditional post production market, I talk to Chris about how Apple concentrates on different aspects of Final Cut for each release - in order to guess what Apple might update next.

iTunes · Website

November 2014

FCPX Grill 095: Let's Talk Motion

Chris Fenwick, a long-time Adobe After Effects designer, interviewed me about Motion, Apple's motion graphics production application.

iTunes · Website

FCPX Grill 100: An Incredible Year

I was part of a round-table of past and future guests celebrating 100 episodes of the Grill.

iTunes · Website

 

Why Avid is No. 1 in Hollywood

Thursday, 28 August 2014

When Premiere and Final Cut users try to convince Avid editors that they are living in the past, they often don't understand the day-to-day experience of high-end TV and feature film post production.

To provide an insight into why Avid is still number 1 in Hollywood, Chris Fenwick invited TV editor Austin Flack to talk on his Final Cut Pro X podcast: the FCPX Grill.

fcpxGrill logo

If you don't have the time to listen to the whole 74 minute episode, here are my notes on what was said:

[6:05] AF: I’m a reality TV editor, I’ve been doing it for 6 or 7 years…

[6:47] AF:…I’ve done a lot of Top Chef, I did a season of Masterchef

[7:25] AF:…and I’ve done a few seasons of Catfish, that’s the latest thing I’ve been doing

[10:48] AF: USC, big film school, they had a big partnership with Avid…

[11:17] AF: I was using Premiere on my computer at home… I would try and click on the clips to drag them around and it wouldn’t work and I was “this is lame - screw this” and so I gave up on Avid

[11:55] AF: When I got my first TV assistant job, it was Avid, and I bluffed and said I used it in college

[12:23] AF: Since I got into TV it has been primarily Avid…

[13:08] AF: I did prefer Final Cut 7 - strongly - for several years. It was way more modern… a year into being on Avid shows, I realised I was faster on Avid. It was a more fluid process.

Collaboration

[15:26] AF: The primary reason that most editors and post people in L.A. working on big TV shows don’t think that Final Cut X or Premiere are ready are because of shared storage and multi-seat edits… Avid is fantastic at huge post-production projects.

[16:02] CF: So by shared storage you mean… all the media for all the episodes is going to go on one shared server …and everyone has access to the same media.

[17:14] AF: …we’re not just talking about editors, we’re talking about story producers, story assistants, assistant editors, even our supervising producers - they all have Avid …everything is happening at once. I’ve been on shows with 10–15 editors, another 10 story assists and story producers, other producers, five assistant editors … we can work at the same time in the same projects. That’s the big thing.

 

[18:20] AF: Final Cut X is not terrible, I’ve cut with it and there are things I like about it …Final Cut 7 was not a big threat to Avid in Hollywood …Final Cut 7 was never the incumbent. Avid has never let go of the throne

[20:04] AF: (On MTV’s Catfish) We are constantly jumping all over the place …I’m am touching virtually every episode and the other editors are touching my episodes

[20:40] AF: Right now I’m cutting the 5th episode of this show. I didn’t start it, other people are working on different things in it. We can break it up by act, we can break it up by scene and we’ll have the same project open - we are sharing the project. I can be editing Act 1, the editor down the hall can be editing Act 2, the assistant can be adding footage, graphics and music, and story producers can be making string outs for Act 3 and that is all happing in the exact same project.

[22:00] AF: We cannot work on the same timelines…

[22:26] CF: (In Final Cut Pro X terms…) So I open a library, you open the very same library, I open a project named scene 2, you’ve already opened up a project named scene 1

[23:14] AF: If I’m the first person to open a bin (an event in Final Cut Pro X terms), it locks to me - it’s my bin. No-one can change it while I have it open. When I close it someone else can open it and change it. They can still open it… if I had a bin open… they can just open it as read only

[25:13] AF: In Avid an assistant editor can email me or ping me and say the graphics are in, all I do is save mu project, which is a refresh all of a sudden these bins pop up in my project (events appear in a library) and everyone else’s project…

[25:51] AF:…As soon as I do something someone else has access to it, as soon as they do something I have access to it.

 

[26:02] AF: Although Avid isn’t easy to use, it’s a lot easier to use especially for story producers and story editors, who are not technically savvy, it is a lot easier than anything in the Finder (connecting to servers, uploading, version control)

[26:32] AF: It takes about two buttons to log into the servers… to log into the project and you are up an running… people can watch my cuts as I’m cutting… they can open them read only

[26:53] AF: You can load sequences into the source window (event viewer) from someone who is working on a project, but I want to steal some stuff from their timeline… (you can open their read-only compound clip in it’s own timeline) …you can pick out some stuff you want to take and overlay it onto your project… if I’m doing a flashback and I need a bit of that thing to flash back to, I can set an in and out, pick the tracks - maybe I don’t want their music, and I don’t want this graphic or something - and I can just lay that into my sequence

 

[27:58] AF: A lot of people in Hollywood love Adobe, they love Final Cut X, but if you add a bunch of editors to a project, that’s an Avid project.

 

Designed for editors to edit and assistants to assist

[28:37] CF: Austin, were you the person who Tweeted me once “I’ve been listening to the Final Cut Grill and everything you talk about helps the assistant editor” 

[29:14] AF: I will admit that I was an Avid assistant, once, but these days I could not do that job…

[29:27] AF: Avid is not easy… technically-speaking. …I could still be a Final Cut 7 assistant editor… Final Cut X, I really understand it, I’m a tech-savvy guy, DaVinci Resolve, After Effects. …in Avid’s world, the editor becomes an idiot. Why I need something, I call an assistant and say “Could you take care of this, I don’t really know how to do it” …there’s just some things that are kind of old and kind of weird to use.

[30:27] AF: I don’t do any tasks that would be an assistant editor’s task… I’m just editing… it’s a failure of the process if I have to string-out a scene. They’re paying me a fair amount more than the story producers to edit.

 

[31:00] AF: When I’m editing, I find Avid much easier, much faster. …the kind of work you describe in Final Cut Pro X, which is great - with metadata, keywords and all these wonderful things you can do… that’s not ever what I’m doing.

[31:26] AF: When I start editing in Final Cut X I get really frustrated …when I’m in a timeline doing a cut that’s when I think Avid is much more fluid…

 

CF talked about at his company different editors sharing media in different rooms using Final Cut Pro X, a million Final Cut Pro X sales vs. 25,000 professional editors.

[35:49] AF: (with Final Cut 7) the fact that we couldn’t have the same project open at the same time was a frustration.

 

[36:05] AF: Now Final Cut Pro X has reached parity with where Final Cut Pro 7 was, but Final Cut 7 wasn’t good enough. 

[36:53] AF: If you really wanted to, you could edit a very complicated show on Final Cut X, but it wouldn’t be as fast and fluid

CF talked about bullet-point marketing. From a marketing perspective MacOS and Windows were the same - until you tried them. The same with Tivos and Comcast DVRs

[38:45] AF: (With Avid) it’s all this version control, it’s this database …a robust database that can manage these enormous projects and keep these versions in control and make sure everything stays linked… 

 

Fluid timeline

[40:31] AF: As an editor… Avid is more fluid. Avid is, a lot of ways, antiquated… but when I’m editing - especially when I’m using dynamic trim, I’m so happy…

[41:48] AF: It’s a lot about not taking your hands off the keyboard… in Avid I can play the edit as I’m changing it …I change the edit with the J, K and L keys. If I select an edit, press L, the edit plays forward in real time, and if I press the space bar, the edit point has changed, and the great thing is that it loops forever until I unselect the edit…

[43:25] AF: (With dynamic trimming, you press the space bar when it feels right)

AF and CF discuss music editing.

[46:22] AF: I find it so terrible in Final Cut X that you are always mousing.

 

CF dismissed the need for dynamic trimming:

[47:59] FC: If it takes you five times to find the edit… you’ve got to get your chops up!

(Chris Fenwick does not speak for all Final Cut Pro X editors on this subject! AG)

[48:52] AF: (Dynamic trimming is) so wonderful… it gives you a second to think about it… there’s a fluidity, a simplicity and an elegance to just using your J, K and L keys… when you are rippling and rolling you get the four up, but you are still getting dynamic trimming…

 

[50:32] AF: I was a Final Cut 7 partisan… I preferred it in television… I preferred the mouse and clicking and dragging. In complicated television environments, the kind of cutting I’m doing am just way faster… when you are clicking and dragging, you are not seeing exactly what frame you dragged that out to. You are not seeing that frame play. You might look at the frame “that’s the frame where he closes his eyes” but then you play the edit and say “no that doesn’t work”

[51:35] AF: Dynamic trimming didn’t come to me quickly. The way it works in Resolve is powerful but sort of clunky… If you get into an Avid situation… you are not even clicking on stuff , it’s just a lovely world.

 

[53:22] AF: Probably 80% of what I’m doing… I am breaking audio sync on purpose in Avid… X makes it cumbersome to break audio sync and then… you can’t put them back together which is maddening to me… and it doesn’t show frame offsets, so you don’t see how much out of sync it is… I don’t like how its trying to keep audio in sync because usually not what I want…

[55:16] AF: I’m the editor. It feels like I’m in Microsoft Word and the paperclip is trying to tell me what to do… I’m in charge, I know what I’m doing.

 

AF then introduced “Franken-biting” making people say things they didn’t say.

[56:14] AF: (In Top Chef) We are trying to get them to explain the recipe in 10 seconds as opposed to a minute and a half…

[56:52] AF: The biggest reason why Avid is not going anywhere anytime soon is because of ScriptSync

CF agrees:

[57:10] CF: I’ll turn to the producer and say I need five different versions of where he says the word “and”

AF then went on to explain ScriptSync (for transcribed or planned scripts) and PhraseFind (detecting words in verité footage).

[1:01:41] AF: (There’s so much footage in reality TV that) we always work offline… almost never working full res… ScriptSync is virtually everything.

 

[1:04:36] CF explains how Final Cut Pro X’s product manager came from Avid, and that he understands how some editors see Avid’s advantages over Final Cut Pro X. He went on to say that one day Avid and maybe soon after that Final Cut Pro X will be the old way of doing things. CF also said that the vast majority of people who call themselves editors need to do the assistant editing stuff.

[1:07:09] AF: When I edit stuff at home, I often use Final Cut X if it is relatively simple… I did cut a TV pilot on it and I got very frustrated.

[1:07:24] AF: If you’re an owner-operator or a small production company, Final Cut X or Adobe are great choices, I don’t think I would invest in Avid…

[1:07:56] AF: For big-time TV work Avid is still virtually the only game in town… if you’re a younger editor who aspires to big-time TV work, you need to know Avid for at least the next 5 or 6 years. You are going to be cutting in Avid… that’s just what’s going to happen

[1:08:20] AF: In a lot of ways Avid is a dinosaur that is ready to be disrupted, and that there are a lot of things they’ve been slow to embrace. Frankly I think that Adobe is the real threat. They are better at software than Avid, they are a bigger company, their survival depends on it. Apple’s survival does not depend on capturing the very high-level professional TV market… what they need is a Final Cut Server, and if that’s going to cost $1500 and need dedicated hardware, I don’t know if they feel like its worth it… Did Final Cut Server even come out?

[1:09:43] AF: Everything’s going to change: Avid has a lot of ridiculous qualities that are from the 80s…

[1:10:13] AF: Hollywood wants to use the best tool and right now Avid is the best tool for these things.

 

To see Austin Flack's video of how well dynamic trimming works in Avid, and more useful links, visit the FCPX Grill podcast episode page.

Following on from this episode there was a discussion about dynamic trimming on the fcp.co forum - showing advanced trimming in Final Cut and where it falls short compared with the Avid version.

Follow Austin Flack on Twitter and visit his website.

 

If Apple wants Avid's market, could they change Final Cut Pro X faster than Avid could change Avid Everywhere to capture some of Apple's editing market? We'll see!

FCPX Grill podcast - Ep. 71 - featuring Philip Hodgetts: The King of Metadata

Monday, 11 August 2014

Episode 71 of Chris Fenwick's FCPX Grill podcast features an interview with Philip Hodgetts of Intelligent Assistance, an LA-based software company who make software for assistant editors and editors who have to do assistant editors' tasks.

fcpxGrill logo

After listening to this episode about logging, I thought it was well worth logging:

[5:20] Video literacy vs. traditional forms of literacy. Even if post production isn't your primary focus, you make need to make videos. Apple selling a million copies of Final Cut Pro X in a world where there are only 25,500 professional video and film editors in the USA.

[7:41] PH: People stay with software and workflows that aren't state of the art because they are proven and because they are preferred workflows of somebody that they trust.

[9:18] Philip came over to LA from Australia for four weeks in 2001 and returned in 2003.

[10:33] PH: Don't you think Final Cut Pro X reminds you of Media 100?

[11:45] CF: What is the significance of the change from QuickTime to AV Foundation?

[18:33] PH: AV Foundation only supports QuickTime movies with H.264 and ProRes Codecs - no third-party codecs.

[24:00] PH: All our applications are focussed on metadata

[24:43] PH: The six kinds of metadata: Source, Added, Derived, Inferred, Visible and Transform 

[28:38] CF: People are logging much less as they shoot than before

[29:15] PH: Marquis Broadcast Final Cut Pro X customer survey: only 2-3% of respondants do on-location logging

[31:05] PH: Lumberjack System helps you log on location by tapping check boxes on and off. The Lumber Yard application takes this logging information to generate a Final Cut Pro X library to organise footage by applying keywords, creating folders and marking favourites and also to create string-outs based on keywords - including lower thirds showing metadata-based interviewee names.

[34:17] PH: We use a very simple title, but you can select all the titles in the Timeline Index and drag a title of your choice to change the design of the lower thirds in one go.

[35:28] PH: Now you can log already captured footage using the simpler to use Lumberjack system

[38:16] PH: Most logging tools don't record time ranges, they store markers with fixed 2 second ranges before and after the marker.

[41:15] CF: A listener asked why we go on about all these things to make the assistant editors' lives easier: “I don't care, I'm an editor”

[42:45] PH: My whole focus is to take the drudge work away from editors and get the computer to do that

[44:00] PH: In the future editors will work remotely - the work will go to the lowest-price territory: Montana and Mumbai

[45:35] CF: Working from home, do you miss the cameraderie of working with other people?

[47:48] PH: Lumberjack features also support making videos at conferences - multiple iOS users can log a live event at the same time

[52:25] PH: I've stopped demoing Syn-N-Link after seeing how much better Sam Mestman and Michael Garber demo it

[53:25] PH on the genesis of Xto7

[55:30] CF: What is the difference between Intelligent Assistance and Lumberjack System?

[58:38] CF: I'm going to appear at the Final Cut Virtual User Group on Thursday August 14th

 

 

What next for Final Cut Pro X?

Monday, 07 July 2014

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

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

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

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

features-for-segments-1

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

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

features-for-segments-2

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

features-for-segments-3

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

features-for-segments-4

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

features-for-segments-5

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

features-for-segments-6

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

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

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

 

 

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.

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

 

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