What Was Said and What Wasn’t

Well, the wait is over — Apple showed off what the company is calling Final Cut Pro X, at the Supermeet in Vegas last night. Some of the speculation turned out to be fairly accurate: full use of all CPU cores and the GPU, enough performance that they can claim you’ll never have to transcode, resolution independence up to 4K with mixed resolutions in the timeline, background rendering — and a decidedly iMovie-style interface.

There were many features designed to help you automatically organize, clean up and subclip material: shot recognition, face recognition, color correction, audio clean up, stabilization, all on import. Range-based keywording and something they are calling “Smart Collections” — all medium shots, for example, can be auto-identified, listed automatically and played together as if they’re in a sequence. You’ll be able to start editing a shot before it has been fully copied from a memory card to a local drive.

Other features include skimming with pitch-corrected audio, automatic syncing of multiple cameras as in PluralEyes, sample-accurate syncing, shot nesting (multiple versions held in a single timeline clip), multiple audio fade curves along with waveforms that move with clips and respond dynamically to level adjustments (audio keyframes seem to be a thing of the past), a color-managed workflow with automatic color matching between shots and secondary correction.

The timeline has been rethought in many ways. It doesn’t have fixed tracks — they’re dynamically created and removed as needed. There’s no viewer window — everything is played in what used to be the canvas — but there’s a nice audition feature, allowing you to merge alternate takes into a single object and then quickly switch between them within the sequence. There’s an an iMovie-style “precision” trimmer, but instead of Avid-style multi-track trimming you get the ability to define sync relationships within the timeline. Clips remain locked together even if they weren’t shot together, which makes it easier to move stuff around without throwing music or sound effects out of sync with picture.

The editing model is even more drag-and-drop than current FCP, and to make it work, clips move out of the way to accommodate a drag, something Apple calls a “magnetic” timeline. Drag and drop encourages track proliferation — you just keep stacking stuff up. To deal with that, there’s a new nesting feature, called Compound Clips.

The capper — it’ll be sold as a download from the Mac App Store — for just $299, available in June.

Many questions remain unanswered. What has become of the rest of the suite: Motion, Soundtrack Pro, Color, DVDSP and Compressor? Visual effects tools, titling and mixing weren’t discussed. How will Final Cut fit into professional, collaborative working environments? Will it export to Pro Tools? Can you input or output to tape? Will it even generate an EDL? In classic Apple style, the demo allowed for no questions.

In general, the new FCP is another step in the democratization of editing. aimed squarely at people who need to quickly rough out a story from miles of unstructured, file-based material. Those making documentaries, commercials, webvideos and reality tv are going to find a lot to like. For structured material, it makes less sense. Whether automatically moving clips around in a timeline and automatic track creation will work for scripted features and television remains to be seen.

We’ll certainly see a lot of discussion about it today. Let the fun begin. Additional details are available at ProVideo Coalition. There’s a detailed live blog at Photography Bay with some hidden camera video here.

Advertisements
Explore posts in the same categories: Avid, Avid vs. Final Cut, Final Cut

12 Comments on “What Was Said and What Wasn’t”

  1. Norman Says:

    Yep, I was there, and it’s fairly impressive, though raised more questions than provided answers. It was a classic demo that showed off what’s cool without providing enough details to raise alarm bells. A number of us wondered if there was an easy way to defeat that magnetic timeline for those times when you don’t want to automagically let your audio tracks move and get out of the way. Commercials editors, for instance, who were locking a spot, for instance, might not want to find their 30 seconds magically expanded to 31 because they were moving clips around.

    Your take on it is exactly right — it is a product which firmly addresses the middle level of editing. It further simplifies the job for editors working in small houses — wedding and event videographers, small news and corporate filmmakers, indie filmmakers creating web content and the like. Its inclusion of better Color and Motion-like features (secondaries!!) elegantly and inside the timeline will impress most users.

    The killer portion of this is its price — as well as the admission by Apple that users want elements of the suite in their NLEs, but not necessarily bundled pricing.

    Aesthetically, I’m impressed by the thought process — there is no visible source/record window paradigm until you need it, the timeline responds differently depending on what you are trying to do in it. It’s a different paradigm, and (once again) is Apple trying to simplify the editor’s work. And the users seem ready to jump.

    There may be a fair amount of retraining necessary — though we didn’t see just how the present keyboard functions will continue to work, so perhaps not. And plug-in manufacturers were left wondering how their work fits into the new architecture. (Is it based on Quicktime or not? What is happening on the ingest? What does it do with tape?) But the FCP user base seems less stuck in what FCP looked like in the past, and more than willing to go along in this slightly new direction.

    Most of the features will look familiar to those who know Avid, Premiere, iMovie and other systems. There’s an in-timeline version of Avid’s 4-up display, for instance. But it’s done way more elegantly than Avid’s.

  2. Loren Says:

    The curmudgeon hath awakened.

    [and a decidedly iMovie-style interface.]

    Just from looks, I’m calling it iMovie 12 copulates with Premiere Pro.
    [There were many features designed to help you automatically organize, clean up and subclip material: shot recognition, face recognition, color correction, audio clean up, stabilization, all on import.]

    Yeah, “people detection.” This is all swell for the reality TV crowd. Got little or nothing to do with scripted work and slated shots requiring orderly arrangement for quick assembly. I like to detect the people myself.

    [Range-based keywording]

    Sounds like they acquired GET. Decent documentary Find tool in conjunction with transcripts.

    [ and something they are calling “Smart Collections” — all medium shots, for example, can be auto-identified, listed automatically and played together as if they’re in a sequence.]

    This could be very useful as long as it doesn’t step on traditional “smart collections” we know of as *script scenes and takes.*

    [ You’ll be able to start editing a shot before it has been fully copied from a memory card to a local drive.]

    That behavior already existed in Final Cut Server, so now they’ve folded that in. Still, I’m often editing before ingest. They can’t top that, hah? Hah?

    [Other features include skimming with pitch-corrected audio,]

    As I recall from my limited iMovie exposure, skimming takes place at the machine’s pace. The latency in drag was annoying. I would want this turned off half the time.

    [ automatic syncing of multiple cameras as in PluralEyes, sample-accurate syncing,]

    Great for the trendy DSLR crowd saddled with its bad audio.

    [ shot nesting (multiple versions held in a single timeline clip), multiple audio fade curves along with waveforms that move with clips and respond dynamically to level adjustments (audio keyframes seem to be a thing of the past),]

    Sounds wonderful for VJ’s. How does this impact very tight audio edits to remove hits? Can’t go in with a razor blade, you know.

    [ a color-managed workflow with automatic color matching between shots and secondary correction.]

    How could it possibly know what color balance will be needed in post? What’s that going to do for greenscreen? I recall the lab timer who corrected out a deliberately blueish scene intended for Day for Night. Needs a turn-off option.

    [The timeline has been rethought in many ways. It doesn’t have fixed tracks — they’re dynamically created and removed as needed.]

    That is SO ADD. So, audio sessions will also remove mixing engineers when not needed? That’s visionary.

    [ There’s no viewer window — everything is played in what used to be the canvas]

    What the hell? Seems very shortsighted. We like the Gang feature for some forms of editing. We like the ability to SEE an outgoing cut while searching another take incoming.

    [ — but there’s a nice audition feature, allowing you to merge alternate takes into a single object and then quickly switch between them within the sequence.]

    That could be useful for ADR. Still, anything packed together tends to blow up and corrupt sooner or later. This happened to me in Photoshop with “smart folders.” It ain’t natural. It may be temporarily handy, but won’t be bulletproof. Can you say “mission critical’?

    [ There’s an an iMovie-style “precision” trimmer, but instead of Avid-style multi-track trimming you get the ability to define sync relationships within the timeline. Clips remain locked together even if they weren’t shot together, which makes it easier to move stuff around without throwing music or sound effects out of sync with picture.]

    Assuming you freely can unlock at will, fine.

    [The editing model is even more drag-and-drop than current FCP, and to make it work, clips move out of the way to accommodate a drag, something Apple calls a “magnetic” timeline. Drag and drop encourages track proliferation —]

    Terrific for carpal tunnel proliferation. Abysmal thinking.

    [you just keep stacking stuff up. To deal with that, there’s a new nesting feature, called Compound Clips.]

    Swell, I’ll looking forward to the cool new icon for that creature.

    [The capper — it’ll be sold as a download from the Mac App Store — for just $299, available in June.]

    You know, I may just get it simply to see 64 bit in action. Then turn off the glitz– especially those terribly useful frame thumbnails throughout the timelime– and see if there’s enough of the paradigm left to allow editing without making me crazy.

    [Many questions remain unanswered. What has become of the rest of the suite: Motion, Soundtrack Pro, Color, DVDSP and Compressor? … In classic Apple style, the demo allowed for no questions.]

    They’re probably wondering the same thing about the rest of the studio suite– should we have frame thumbnails in every timeline? Should tracks really appear and disappear so that folks who deliberately lay out an M&E timeline won’t be confused? Oh, does this impact the workflow between edit and audio? Oh, well, maybe appearing and disappearing tracks should be an OPTION..

    How else can we destroy the ability of professional editors to concentrate on story? I mean, of course we’ll tackle the underlying issues of media management and efficient use of multiple cores, let’s also give them the visionary iMovie interface! Yes, that’ll do it. That, along with academic discount which resembles the retail price should pound the nail into the coffin.

    [In general, the new FCP is another step in the democratization of editing. aimed squarely at people who need to quickly rough out a story from miles of unstructured, file-based material.]

    That seems charitable. This feels like it’s for iMovie users.

    [Those making documentaries, commercials, webvideos and reality tv are going to find a lot to like. For structured material, it makes less sense.]

    Generally correct but Ahem. Many documentary productions rely on the same structural needs as any narration fiction. The idea of discovering the show in post is part of the process but so are transcripts and paper cuts– which are equivalent to scripts. (MIne in fact LOOK like master scene screenplays; they just aren’t lined. And where’s that script integration feature..?)

    [ Whether automatically moving clips around in a timeline and automatic track creation will work for scripted features and television remains to be seen.]

    Yeah, I think that’s spot on. For the bedroom editors with ADD, swigging Ritalin between mouse drags, this is perfect.

    For more experienced editors with functioning memory, fast keyboard skils and concentrative ability, feels like a very mixed bag.

    I hope I’m wrong. I enjoy the competition.

    But I have a backup plan called AVID ;-)

    • Greg Says:

      No offense, but these comments are kind of hilarious. What was shown that would hinder the ability to tell a story? Did I miss something? An anti-story button?

      I think this defensive mindset is what ends up making older editors obsolete (and at 38, I should know). Here’s the scary truth: The next generation of editors KNOWS how to tell a story… and they ALSO know FCP, Avid, Premiere, After Effects, Photoshop and Cinema 4D.

      • Jordi Says:

        Grec, I agree with you (and I’m 44)

        I was there, all this discussion about if automated processes are “not pro” is just defensive.

      • Mark Raudonis Says:

        Geez Loren,
        Did you forget to take your “anti Snark” pills today?

        mark

  3. Matt Pellar Says:

    Looks like a step in the wrong direction. If every automatic thing they put in FCP X has a turn off option, and I can do everything manually, then there is still hope. I’ll try it, but it looks like if you’re serious about editing, avid is the way to go.

  4. Loren Says:

    Fully concur, options everywhere.

  5. Loren Says:

    Don’t worry, guys, most of it was satire, but with an edge. At 61, I’m trading my youth for a little wisdom going back three motion picture technologies. And I have a lot invested in my body memory of FCP and Avid tools, and I still love to learn new software. But i was kinda hoping my central editing tools would be anchored here and there. This product is root-ripping and why?

    Greg, my hat’s off to anyone who masters FCP, Avid, Premiere, After Effects, Photoshop and Cinema 4D but anyone required to use them all on the same job is being played, in my view. I hope you know how to charge.

    I’ve tried Cinema 4D and realized quickly that was not going to be my career direction. (But SketchUp Pro rocks! Great for Previz.) Clients calling for Premiere number zero. Everything else you mention is under my belt and I agree with it. We’ve sort of been led into it. So I do my greenscreen in AE, prepare graphic sin PS

    Mark, I sincerely hoped you were joking in your pre-event discussion with Steve and others, but when “iMovie” crept into the conversation, I realized with a sinking feeling Randy U. has struck again. Thus, iMovie 12 copulates with Premiere Pro…

    But listen, there is a way out. It’s called an Option checkbox. If the Viewer is really gone with no option to display clips in a separate window — clients like that and I make it big for them on the second screen–while the main program is loaded into the Canvas, that severely cramps my style.

    If tracks appear and disappear while moving clips around, and I’m preparing for an out-of-house sweeten– that cramps my style.

    If I or my client still can’t see clip thumbnails larger than postage stamps in the Browser and I still have to use the OS Zoom function to get in there, that cramps my style. So 64-bit aware is welcome here, background renders are terrific, open format timelines are useful, but I live in the interface as well as the capabilities. So I get grumpy waiting for this release and all the aggravation and wonders it portends.

    I enjoy some eye candy in a product, and it surely demos well. But cool demos are hardly a mission critical venue, never has been, you’d be the first to understand that over at B-M.

    I’m in the middle of Motion tutorials and now I don’t know what the hell? Is that gone? Where’s DVD Studio Pro? Agh. It’s all folded into iMovie 12.

    Oh, yes, foIks, I will drink the KoolAid and buy the upgrade and run it through its paces, and determine if it affects my career just like anyone else here.

    But I already KNOW what I need and I’ve logged the feature requests which reflect that over the years. I hope I will be bouncing with joy once I drive it. I’ve got a feature doc waiting for it if it fits my style. Right now my jaw is only dropping over what looks like the wrong direction for the product.

  6. Dave Says:

    I work in both reality tv and scripted film. Although it looks like a powerful little app, it also looks like a nightmare to most I’ve talked with in those genres and I hope companies don’t adopt it. Like mentioned above, Apple made no mention on how it will address deliverables for television and film. The list for a major project normally reads like a novel and without the proper tools, a storyteller is limited to release to web, file, and mobile only.

    It’s exciting for pros in our industry who prefer Avid.

    I also think it’s exciting to give the average consumer a powerful piece of software to do little projects and appreciate the craft of editing. This update certainly does that and I’m excited to see where it all goes.

    It the meantime, I’m going to study Avid based 3D editing and try and learn some Interplay Central.


  7. […] – What Was Said and What Wasn't […]

  8. Lou villia Says:

    I have a legal dvd recorded of an interview with police. I know it has been cut and parts deleted. I am curious is there a way to find out for sure if it has? I have a copy of the one they sent my lawyer.I know all that was told and it is not on this dvd. can anyone assist me? I am pressed for time and my life is on the line. I would be willing to barter. I am a poor working family man. please help. this is my last week to prove that this is a cover up of the truth. call me if you like 706-265-4332 thanks for reading this.

  9. Steve Says:

    Lou,

    As far as I know, there is no automatic way to prove that a tape was edited, especially if you don’t have the original source. That said, assuming that the video was shot with a single camera (that is, a single camera angle) any edits should be obvious to the human eye because there would be noticeable discontinuities where they were made. Getting rid of such discontinuities is possible, but not all that easy, especially for those who aren’t expert editors.

    Steve


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: