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BlogHow 10 editors and 9 assistant editors edited a six hour documentary series for HBO in Final Cut ProThursday, March 31 2022

Here’s a video from Alex Lindsay’s Office Hours detailing the Final Cut Pro-based workflow of ‘Q: Into the Storm’ – a six part documentary shown on HBO.

  • 10 editors, 9 assistant editors, working with 1,700 hours of media. Working remotely.
  • Editing start: October 2020. Delivery: March 2021
  • Home internet speeds: 200 Mb/s down, 10 Mb/s up
  • 70TB of source media
  • Footage: shot on cinema cameras, DSLRs, phones, action cameras, screen recordings
  • RAW, ProRes, MXF, H.264, H.265
  • Constant frame rate, variable frame rate
  • Proxy workflow for video: H.264 proxies = 2.7TB
  • Original audio: 1.9TB
  • Transcoded using Kyno of 1,700 hrs of media in 48 hours on a 28-core Mac Pro
  • Centralised Final Cut Pro library access for everyone via Postlab.
  • Media distributed using Postlab Drive and Chronosync
  • Remote support using Jump Desktop
  • Custom-built chat system known as ‘AE Hotline’ – in the style of Slack or Discord
  • Very many VFX/animation shots
  • VFX/animation shots: Compound clips held source plates and multiple deliveries from vendors

Featuring workflow consultant and lead assistant editor Felipe Baez and Steven Moyer, conform editor.

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Apple Motion 5Keep old Final Cut Pro templates for old timelines without allowing them in new timelinesMonday, December 20 2021

If you make a custom plugin for Final Cut Pro using Apple Motion 5, your customer might ask for an update with bug fixes and new features. There might be a problem after you deliver the second version. What happens if they open a timeline that used the first version and it is no longer on the system – having been replaced by the second version? Old projects will report that the plugin is missing, or not work the way they used to.

There is a way of deprecating a Motion template. To tell Final Cut that it can be used in previous projects but can’t be applied in new projects.

From ‘Preparing Plug-ins for Use in Final Cut Pro’ on the Apple Developer website:

When you update an existing plug-in, you may also need to deprecate the older version of the Motion template. A deprecated template is considered obsolete and does not appear in the effects browser in Motion, but it will still be applied in projects that previously used it.

The second bit of the <flags> value in the Motion XML for a template indicates whether or not the template has been deprecated. A 0 value for the second bit indicates that the template has not been deprecated; a value of 1 indicates that it has been deprecated.

To deprecate a template, open the Motion XML document and take the current value of the <flags> element (a child of the <template> element) and perform a bitwise OR operation with the value 0x2. For example, if the value of <flags> was previously 1, it would now be 3:

<template>
   <flags>3</flags>
</template>

This means to deprecate a template you made in Motion, open it with a text editor and edit the <template> section so that the value of <flags> is 3.

There’ll only be a <template> section in the template if you have checked the ‘Designed for 4K’ checkbox in the Project > Properties Inspector. If there isn’t a <template> section in the Motion template, you can add your own.

To add your own <template> section, in your text editor, search for <build> and add this before it:

<template>
   <flags>2</flags>
</template>
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Apple Motion 5Apple Motion 5 template too new for Final Cut Pro?Wednesday, December 15 2021

When collaborating with other editors, sometimes there can be problems getting their title, effect, transition or generator plugins working on your system.

It can be because your version of Final Cut Pro is older than the version of Apple Motion 5 that was used to to make the plugins used in the timeline. Here’s how to modify these newer templates so they can work on an older version of Final Cut.

There are many reasons why you might not be using the newest version of Final Cut Pro. You might not want to update your Mac to the newest version of macOS; the newest version of Final Cut might not run on the version of macOS you have installed.

Motion 5 can’t save its documents so as to be compatible with older versions of Motion or Final Cut. Fortunately Motion stores its documents in XML format (known as OZML) that can be opened, edited and saved using any text editing application.

This means you can fix the problem of Motion templates newer than your version of Final Cut by making a simple change to the text in the template.

This method is useful if you are building Apple Motion 5 plugins for a client whose Macs are using an older version of Final Cut.

Motion 5.6 templates start with this text:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE ozxmlscene>
<ozml version="5.13">

<displayversion>5.6</displayversion>

If you want those templates to work in Final Cut Pro 10.4.10 (for those who want their Mac to remain running macOS Mojave 10.14), you need to use a text editor – such as TextEdit – to change the first few lines so it looks as if it was saved by the version of Motion available when Final Cut 10.4.10 was introduced: 5.4.7.

As well as knowing that you need to change the displayversion from 5.6 to 5.4.7, you also need to know which version of OZML that Motion 5.4.7 used. It was 5.11. So, in this case, you would change the ozml version to “5.11”:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE ozxmlscene>
<ozml version="5.11">

<displayversion>5.4.7</displayversion>

Note that this only works if the template doesn’t use features added in a Motion 5 update after the version of Final Cut Pro you are using. For example, Motion 5.6 introduced the ‘Neon’ filter. If the template you want to work with uses this filter, changing the text won’t work with versions of Final Cut introduced before Motion 5.6 – versions older than 10.6.

So which numbers for ozml version and displayversion work with the version of Final Cut you have?

You can find out in this table that you can read on fcpxtemplates.com:

Use the second column to look up the version of Final Cut Pro you want the template to work with. Use the fourth and fifth columns to see which values of ozml version and displayversion to use.

Free web service to ‘backdate’ Motion templates

As well as a post on this subject, fcpxtemplates has generously made a Motion Template Backdater web service that can make the required text change to Motion templates. Upload the title (.moti), transition (.motr), effect (.moef) or generator (.motn) and pick which version you want to backdate the template to from the popup menu.

Increasing the audience for your Motion templates

You can edit the plugin so it looks like it was generated using an older version of Motion than the one associated with the Final Cut Pro you have if you want to make sure people on older versions of Final Cut will be able to use your template.

So, if your template doesn’t use features introduced to Motion since version 10.4 of Final Cut, you can use these first few lines:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE ozxmlscene>
<ozml version="5.9">

<displayversion>5.4</displayversion>

The “Curly double quotes” gotcha

Make sure that ozml version number is in neutral double quote marks…

" "

…not ‘curly’ double quote marks…

“ ”

…a change which Apple’s TextEdit application will sometimes automatically make.

Either go to TextEdit Preferences and uncheck ‘Smart quotes’ or copy one of these lines depending on which version of Final Cut you are using:

<ozml version="5.9">

<ozml version="5.10">

<ozml version="5.11">

<ozml version="5.13">

 

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Apple Motion 5From Office Hours: Apple Motion 5 feature requestsTuesday, December 14 2021

This excerpt from Office Hours is a short discussion about Apple Motion 5. I asked Alex Lindsay what features he would like to see in Motion that would appeal to those running live streaming events ([1:25:28] into this YouTube video).

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Apple Motion 5Apple Motion 5 updates since October 2016Monday, December 13 2021

Here is a rundown of the new features added to Apple Motion 5 since 2016.

For details on stability improvements and issue fixes, visit Apple’s Motion release notes.

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BlogStay in your creative flow with ‘Reading is Fundamental!’Tuesday, December 7 2021

Reading is Fundamental! is an application by Intelligent Assistance that adds a versatile document viewer to the Final Cut Pro user interface.

Sometimes a new project or an edit task uses a brief made up of different kinds of documents. Plain text emails, spreadsheets, presentations. With current Macs it is possible to have the apps that can show these documents open at the same time as Final Cut, but having to continually switch between different applications with different user interfaces can put me off my creative flow.

The Reading is Fundamental! window can hold multiple documents of different types which you can switch between using left and right arrows at the top of the window.

Once you run the application on the same Mac as Final Cut Pro, it adds a button to the Final Cut toolbar so you can bring up its window with a click. Once you have positioned the window to your satisfaction, you can use the Window > Workspaces > Save Workspace As… command to recall its position relative to the other panels of the Final Cut UI.

Its floating window means I can position it wherever I want – so that both the document I need to see and the Final Cut tools I need to work with are visible at the same time.

I especially like using my trackpad to scroll the Reading is Fundamental! window, moving over and scrolling the Final Cut timeline and immediately returning to the Reading is Fundamental! window to scroll again – without tapping to select anything.

It can display:

  • PDF
  • Word (.doc, .docx),
  • Pages
  • Excel (.xls and xlsx)
  • Numbers
  • Comma Separated Values (CSV)
  • Keynote
  • PowerPoint (.ppt and .pptx)
  • Plain Text
  • Rich Text Format (.rtf and .rtfd)

…and if you need to edit any of the documents it is showing, it can open it in the default app for the document type.

Editors know that staying in ‘the flow’ is vital. Reading is Fundamental! helps Final Cut users cruise through creative flows or glide through repetitive processes.

It requires macOS 10.15 Catalina and is available from the Mac App Store.

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