Understanding Premiere Pro Transitions

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Switchers from Apple Final Cut Pro to Adobe Premiere Pro might miss the wealth of inexpensive transition effects offered by third-party and hobbyist plug-in developers. Native Premiere Pro transitions, like dissolves and wipes, can be applied just like in FCP. Drop the transition on a cut and you are done. Unfortunately third-party transitions don’t work this way, leading some users to conclude that they just don’t work or that Premiere Pro is less versatile.

(EDIT: This changed somewhat a day ago, when Noise Industries released FxFactory 4.1.1. Their transitions now are drag-and-drop enabled, just like Adobe’s default transitions. For other filters, like Sapphire Edge transitions, they must still be applied as I outline in the rest of this post.)

df_pprotrans_2The confusion comes, because Premiere Pro filters are based on a similar architecture to After Effects. Therefore, applying third-party transitions in Premiere Pro needs to be done in much the same manner as in After Effects. Instead of creating a transition between two adjacent clips on the same video track, third-party transitions work by creating a transition between clips on adjacent vertical tracks. In other words, not from A to B on V1, but rather A on V1 to B on V2 or the other way around.

Here are some basic tips to make Premiere Pro’s transitions work for you. (Click on any image for an expanded view.)

df_pprotrans_4Start by moving your B clip up one video level, such as from V1 to V2 or V2 to V3. The new Option + Up Arrow command works well in Premiere Pro CC. Extend the end of the A or B clip or both. This should create an overlap of the two clips equal to the length of the intended duration of the transition. Use the blade tool to add a cut on the B clip (on the higher track) at the end of the overlap.

Access your transition from the transitions group of that filter family. This will be contained within the main Video Effects folder, not the main Video Transitions folder. Drag-and-drop a third-party transition effect to the overlapping portion of the B clip.df_pprotrans_3

df_pprotrans_5Open the Effect Controls for that filter and set the background selection and transition direction. Set beginning and ending keyframes or set it to use or ignore the percentage value. Typically a transition goes from 0% to 100% over the length of the clip to which it is applied. Adjust the filter controls as needed. The example that I’ve shown is a Lens Flare Dissolve from the SapphireEdge transitions collection. With this effect, you can tweak some parameters in the Effect Controls window, but you can also pick from a wide range of presets using the SapphireEdge presets browser. Something worth noting is that the unrendered, real-time performance of this effect is somewhat slow in FCP X, but plays very well in Premiere Pro CC.df_pprotrans_6

Although these steps might feel cumbersome to some users when compared with FCP’s drag-and-drop approach, they are more or less the same as in After Effects. They also offer a greater level of control than in some simpler transition implementations.

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(UPDATE: If you are running an older version of FxFactory, there have been conflicts with SpeedGrade CC. Please download the FxFactory 4.1.1 update from the Noise Industries website to correct this.)

©2013 Oliver Peters

Offline to Online with Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro X

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Most NLE makers are pushing the ability to edit with native camera media, but there are still plenty of reasons to work in an offline-to-online editing workflow. Both Apple Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Premiere Pro CC make it very easy to do this.

Apple Final Cut Pro X

df_offon_2Apple built offline/online right into the design of FCP X. The application can internally transcode optimized media (such as converting GoPro files to ProRes) and proxy media. Proxy media is usually a half-sized version using the ProRes Proxy codec. There’s a preference toggle to switch between original/optimized or proxy media, with FCP X taking care of making sure all transforms and effects are applied properly between both selections.

df_offon_3What most folks don’t know is that you can “cheat” this system. If you import media and choose to copy it into your Event folder, then source media is stored in the Original Media folder within the Event folder. If you create proxies, those files are stored in the Transcoded Media – Proxy Media folder within the Event folder. It is possible to create and place these folders via the Finder. You just have to be careful about exact name and location. Once you do this, it is possible via the Finder, to copy camera media and edit proxies directly into these folders. For example, your DIT might have created proxies for you on location, using Resolve.

df_offon_4Once you launch FCP X, it will automatically find these files. The main criteria is that file names, timecode and duration are identical between the two sets of files. If X properly recognizes the files, you can easily toggle between original/optimized and proxy with the application behaving correctly. If you are unsure of creating these folders in the first place, then I suggest setting these up within FCP X by importing and transcoding a single bogus clip, like a slate or camera bars. Once the folders are set by FCP X, delete this first clip. DO NOT mix the workflows by importing/transcoding some of the clips via FCP X and then later altering or replacing these clips via the Finder. This will completely confuse X. With these few caveats, it is possible to set up a multi-user offline-online workflow using externally-generated media, but still maintaining control via FCP X.

UPDATE: With the FCP X 10.1 update, you must generate proxies with FCP X. Externally-generated proxies do not link as they did up to 10.0.9.

Adobe Premiere Pro CC

df_offon_5A more customary solution is available to Adobe editors thanks to the new Link and Locate feature. A common scenario is that editors might cut a spot in an offline edit session using proxy edit media – such as low-res files with timecode “burn-ins”. Then the camera files are color corrected in an outside grading session and rendered as final, trimmed clips that match the timeline clip lengths, with a few seconds of “handles”. Now the editor has to conform the sequence by linking to the new high-res, graded files.

With Premiere Pro CC you’d start the process in the normal manner by ingesting and cutting with the proxy files. When the cut is locked, create a trimmed project for the sequence, using the same handle length as the colorist will use. This is created using the Project Manger and you can select the option to make the clips Offline. Next, send an EDL or XML file for your locked cut, plus the camera media to the colorist.

df_offon_6Once you get the graded files back, open your trimmed Premiere Pro project. All media will be offline. Select the master clips and pick the Link Media option to open the Link Media dialogue window. Using the Match File Properties settings, set the parameters so that Premiere Pro will properly link to the altered files. Sometimes files names will be different, so you will have to adjust the the Link and Locate parameters accordingly, by deselecting certain matching options. For example, you might want a match strictly by timecode, ignoring file names.

Press Locate and navigate to the new location of the first missing file and relink. Normally all other clips in the same relative path will automatically relink, as well. Now you’ve got your edited sequence back, except with media populated by the final, high-quality files.

©2013 Oliver Peters

Anatomy of editing a two camera scene

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With the increase in shooting ratios and shortened production schedules, many directors turn to shooting their project with two cameras for the entire time. Since REDs and Canon HDSLRs are bountiful and reasonably priced to buy or rent, even a low budget indie film can take advantage of this. Let me say from the beginning that I’m not a big fan of shooting with two cameras. Too many directors view it as a way to get through their shooting schedule more quickly; but, in fact, they often shoot more footage than needed. Often the B-camera coverage is only 25% useful, because it was not properly blocked or lit for. However, there are situations where shooting with two cameras works out quite well. The technique is at its most useful when shooting a dramatic dialogue scene with two or three principal actors. (Click the images below for expanded views.)

Synchronization

df_2cam_4_smThe most critical aspect is maintaining proper sync with audio and between the two cameras. In an ideal world, this is achieved with matching timecode among the cameras and the external sound recorder. Reality often throws a curve ball, which means that more often than not, timecodes drift throughout the day or the cameras weren’t properly jam-synced or some other issue. The bottom line is that by the time it gets to the editor, you often cannot rely on timecode for all elements to be in sync. That’s why “old school” techniques like a slate with a clapstick are ESSENTIAL. This means roll all three devices and slate both cameras. If you have to move to stand in front of the B-camera for a separate B-camera slate and clap, then you MUST do it.

When this gets to post, the editor or assistant first needs to sync audio and video for both the A-camera and B-camera for every take. If your external sound recorder saved broadcast WAV files, then usually you’ll have one track with the main mix and additional tracks for each isolated microphone used on set. Ideally, the location mixer will have also fed reference audio to both cameras. This means you now have three ways to sync – timecode, slate/clapstick and/or common audio. If the timecode does match, most NLEs have a syncing function to create merged clips with the combined camera file and external audio recording. FCP X can also sync by matching audio waveforms (if reference audio is present on the camera files). For external syncing, there’s Sync-N-Link and Sync-N-Link X (matching timecode) and PluralEyes (matching audio).

These are all great shortcuts, but there are times when none of the automatic solutions work. That’s when the assistant or editor has to manually mark the visual clap on the camera files and audio spike of the clap on the sound file and sync the two elements based on these references. FCP X adds an additional feature, which is the ability to open a master clip in its own timeline (“open in timeline” command). You can then edit directly “inside” the master clip. This is useful with external audio, because you have now embedded the external audio tracks inside the master clip for that camera file and they travel together from then on. This has an advantage over FCP X’s usual synchronized clip method, in that it retains the camera source’s timecode. Synchronized clips reset the timecode of that clip to 00:00:00:00.

Directing strategy

df_2cam_2_smIn standard film productions, a scene will be shot multiple times – first a “master” and then various alternate angles; sometimes alternative line readings; as well as pick-ups for part of a scene or cutaways and inserts showing items around the set. The “master” of the scene gets a scene number designation, such as Scene 101, Take 1, Take 2, etc. Whenever the camera is reframed or repositioned – or alternative dialogue is introduced – those recordings get a letter suffix, such as 101A, 101B and so on. With two cameras, there’s also the A and B camera designation, which is usually part of the actual camera file name or embedded metadata.

In blocking a simple dialogue scene with two actors, the director would set up the master with a wide shot for the entire scene on the A-camera and maybe a medium on the lead actor within that scene on the B-camera. The B-cam may be positioned next to A-cam or on the opposite side (without crossing the line). That’s Scene 101 and typically, two or three takes will be recorded.

Next, the director will set up two opposing OTS (over the shoulder) angles of the two speaking actors for 101A. After that, opposing CU (close-up) angles for 101B. Often there’s a third set-up (101C) for additional items. For example, if the scene takes place in a bar, there may be extra coverage that sets up the environment, such as patrons at the bar in the background of the scene. In this example with four setups (101-101C) – assuming the director rolled for three takes on each set-up – coverage with two cameras automatically gives you 24 clips to choose from in editing this scene.

Editing strategy

When you mention two camera coverage, many will think of multi-cam editing routines. I never use that for this purpose, because for me, an A-cam or B-cam angle of the same take is still like a uniquely separate take. However, I do find that editing the first swipe at the scene works best when you work with A-cam and B-cam grouped together. Although a director might pick a certain take as his best or “circle” take, I make the assumption that all takes have some value for individual lines. I might start with the circle take of the scene’s master, but I usually end up editing in bits and pieces of other takes, as well. The following method works best when the actors stick largely to the script, with minimal ad libs and improvisation.

df_2cam_3_smStep one is to edit the A-cam circle take of the scene master to the timeline, complete with slate. Next, edit the matching B-cam clip on top, using the slate’s clap to match the two angles. (Timecode also works, of course, if A-cam and B-cam have matching timecode.) The exact way I do this varies with the NLE that I am using. In FCP X, the B-cam clip is a connected clip, while in FCP 7, Media Composer and Premiere Pro, the B-cam is on V2 and the accompanying audio is on the tracks below those from the A-cam clip. The point is to have both angles stacked and in sync. df_2cam_5_smLastly, I’ll resize the B-cam clip so I see it as a PIP (picture-in-picture effect) over the A-cam image. Now, I can play through this scene and see what each camera angle of the master offers.

df_2cam_6_smStep two is to do the first editing pass on the scene. I use the blade tool (or add edit) to cut across all tracks/layers/clips at each edit point. Obviously, I’ll add a cut at the start of the action so I can remove the slate and run-up to the actual start of the scene. As I play though, I am making edit selections, as if I were switching cameras. The audio is edited as well – often in the middle of a line or even word. This is fine. Once these edits are done, I will delete the front and back of these takes. Then I will select all of the upper B-cam shots (plus audio) that I don’t want to use and delete these. Finally, remove the transform effects to restore the remaining B-cam clips to full screen.

df_2cam_7_smAt this stage I will usually move the B-cam clips down to the main track. In FCP X, I use the “overwrite to primary storyline” command to edit the B-cam clips (with audio) onto the storyline, thus replacing the A-cam clip segments that were there. This will cause the embedded external audio from the overwritten A-cam clip segments to be pushed down as connected clips. Highlight and delete this. In a track-based NLE, I may leave the B-cam clips on V2 or overwrite to V1. I’ll also highlight and delete/lift the unwarranted, duplicate A-cam audio. In all cases, what you want to end up with is a scene edit that checkerboards the A-cam and B-cam clips – audio and video.

df_2cam_8_smStep three is to find other coverage. So far in this example, I’ve only used the circle take for the master of the scene. As I play the scene, I will want to replace certain line readings with better takes from the other coverage (ex. 101A, B, C, etc.), including OTS and CU shots. One reason is to use the best acting performance. Another is to balance the emotion of the scene and create the best arc. Typically in a dramatic scene, the emotion rises as you get later into the scene. To emphasize this visually, I want to use tighter shots as I get further into the scene – focusing mainly on eyes and facial expressions.

I work through the scene, seeking to replace some of the master A-cam or B-cam clip segments. I will mark the timeline section to delete/extract, find a better version of that line in another angle/take and insert/splice it into that position. FCP X has a replace function which is designed for this, but I find it to be slow and inconsistent. A fast keystroke combo of marking clips and timeline and then pressing delete, followed by insert is significantly faster. Regardless of the specific keystrokes used, the point is to build/control the emotion of the scene in ways that improve the drama and combine the best performances of each actor.

df_2cam_9_smStep four is to tighten the scene. At this point, you are primarily working in the trim mode of your NLE. With FCP X, expand the audio/video so you can independently trim both elements for J and L-cuts. As you begin, you’ll have some sloppy edits. Words may be slightly clipped or the cadence of speech doesn’t sound right. You now have to fix this by trimming clips and adjusting audio and video edit points. FCP X is especially productive here, because the waveform display makes it easy to see where the same words from adjacent clips align.

You want the scene to flow – dramatically and technically. How natural-sounding is the delivered dialogue as a result of your edit choices? You should also be mindful of continuity, such as actors’ eye lines, body positions and actions. Often actors will add dramatic pauses, long stares and verbal stumbles to the performance. This may be for valid dramatic emphasis; but, it can also be over-acting and even the equivalent memory trick of saying “um” – as the actor tries to remember the next line. Your job as an editor (in support of the director) is to decide which it is and edit the scene so that it comes across in the best way possible. You can cut out this “air” by trimming the edits and/or by using tricks. For example, slip part of a line out of sync and play it under an OTS or reaction shot to tighten a pause.

Step five is to embellish the scene. This is where you add non-sync reactions, inserts and cutaways. The goal is to enhance the scene by giving it a sense of place, cover mismatched continuity and to improve drama. Your elements are the extra coverage around the set (like our patrons at the bar) or an actor’s nod, smile, head turn or grimace in response to the dialogue delivered by their acting counterpart. The goal is to maintain the viewer’s emotional involvement and help tell the story through visuals other than simply seeing a person talk. You want the viewer to follow both sides of the conversation through dialogue and visual cues.

While I have written this post with film and television drama in mind, the same techniques apply, whether it’s a comedy, documentary or simple corporate interview. It’s a strategy for getting the most efficiency out of your edit.

Click here for more film editing tips.

©2013 Oliver Peters

Avid Media Composer Power Tips

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Avid Media Composer might seem daunting to new users, but here are several “power user” tips to improve your editing experience.

1. Managing Bin Data

df_avidpwrtips_2_smCustom Sift – Creating filtering values for columns in the Custom Sift window lets the editor control the view and reduce clutter of a bin. For example, to see only your selected takes, create a Selects column in the bin and place an “x” in that column next to each selected clip. Now apply the custom sift filtered for those values and only these clips will be shown. Return to the unsifted view to see all clips in the bin.

df_avidpwrtips_11_smFind – The Find command (cmd-F on a Mac) opens the Find window. This can be used for text, script and phonetic dialogue searches (if the optional PhraseFind software was installed). For text searches, enter the text string, adjust the search parameters and go. Any matching clips will be displayed in this window. It’s a powerful tool that can be set to search all bins in the projects – not just the current, open bin. If you had a Selects column with an “x” marked for the best takes, you could use the Find window to show all selects for your entire production simply by setting the filter parameters accordingly. That works even when all the bins are closed.

2. Timeline Editing Tricks

df_avidpwrtips_3_smCollapse – Reduce your timeline’s video track complexity with the Collapse command. Collapsed clips enable you to add transitions in and out of complex, multi-layered effects. Highlight the clips and enable the tracks to be combined, click “collapse” and all the selected clips will be nested into a single container clip on the lowermost video track. Double-click the clip icon and the component pieces will be expanded vertically to reveal the contents for additional editing.

df_avidpwrtips_15_smReplace edit – One of the most useful editorial tools is the Replace Edit function. This is great when you need to eye-match shots to overcut one clip with another, or when syncing a sound effect to a visual cue. Mark the in/out points on the timeline clip and park the playhead over the frame that you want to sync to.  For instance, this might be someone jumping into the water. Next, load a new source clip, leave it unmarked and park the source at its sync point. In this case, it might be an audio clip with a sound effect of water splashing. Click the Replace Edit command to edit the new clip into place onto the audio tracks. The sound effect of the splash will coincide with the visual of the person hitting the water.

df_avidpwrtips_8_smTitle preview – The Avid Title Tool is a simple WYSIWYG titler that overlays text onto a reference image from the parked position on the timeline. The default is an aliased display for faster operation, but selecting Preview in the Title Tool’s top menu will display an anti-aliased version that better represents the final quality of the rendered text.

3. Audio Control

df_avidpwrtips_6_smAudio effects – Media Composer offers two plug-in types for audio filters. Audiosuite filters are clip-based plug-ins. These can be previewed in real-time, but must be rendered to be applied to the clip. RTAS plug-ins are real-time, track-based audio effects. Up to five filters can be applied to each track. Real-time performance is subject to processor and RAM demands, of course. Media Composer ships with a set of Digirack and AIR audio plug-ins. Many third-party native RTAS filters for Pro Tools will also work in Media Composer.

df_avidpwrtips_7_smAudio mixing – Avid enables three ways to mix audio within Media Composer: clip volume level settings, rubberbanding keyframes within the track and automation mixing. The mixer panel defaults to clip for an overall setting of volume/pan for the clips under the playhead. Toggle the mixer mode button to access automation mixing. This lets the editor write a real-time volume pass by adjusting the fader levels with the mouse (or an external control surface) on-the-fly. In addition, keyframes can be inserted onto the timeline track and then adjusted for proper level.

4. Video Effects

df_avidpwrtips_12_smAdjustment layers – Avid does not define tracks or effects as adjustment layers like in Adobe Photoshop or After Effects. Nevertheless, effects may be added to empty, higher tracks and these affect all the clips below. For example, if you want to change the color correction for the entire range of clips on V1, simply apply a color correction setting to the empty filler on V2. One example where this is useful is when you have cameras that record an image with a flat, log profile. Simply apply a curves setting on V2 to function as a viewing LUT for all of the images below it on the timeline.

df_avidpwrtips_4_smCopy/paste effects – To copy an effect with adjusted settings, simply drag the effect icon from the effects editor window to an open bin. To apply that effect to another clip on the timeline, drag the effect from the bin to the clip. Alternatively, you can highlight one or more clips and double-click the effect icon in the bin. It will then apply this effect with its settings to all of the highlighted clips.

df_avidpwrtips_13_smFluidmotion and Timewarp – Media Composer’s motion tools are some of the best to be found in any NLE. Timewarp is used for advanced retiming or timeline-based speed effects. Fluidmotion is an optical flow-style process that creates in-between frames. Together they provide similar results to that of the RE:Vision Twixtor plug-in. Apply a Timewarp effect to a clip and adjust the motion effects editor for the desired result. There you can also adjust the quality settings by changing the interpolation mode from the Type pulldown menu. Fluidmotion will provide the smoothest results, but there are other options when you prefer faster processing over quality.

df_avidpwrtips_14_smStabilization – A lesser-known feature is Avid’s cloud-point stabilizer. Apply the Stabilize effect to a timeline clip, select FluidStabilizer from the tracking window and start the track. Media Composer will automatically track the image without any user-defined tracking points. It will then apply real-time scale and position adjustments, which can be altered by the editor.

 5. Media Management

df_avidpwrtips_5_smIntermediate renders – Media Composer effects can be rendered at any level, not just the topmost video track. If you apply effects to clips on V1 and render that layer, clips and effects added above it on V2 will not unlink the V1 render files. This is also true if you subsequently remove the clips on V2. This architecture makes it possible to render complex effects at various “in-progress” stages for easy effects creation, better real-time response and with less processing time needed for the final render.

df_avidpwrtips_9_smMXF imports – A number of applications can render Avid-compliant MXF media files. There are several ways to import these into your Media Composer projects. First, the MXF media files should be placed into a new numbered subfolder inside the Avid MediaFiles/MXF folder on one of your hard drives. When you launch Media Composer, the software will scan the drives and index the new media. If a corresponding AAF file was created for this media by the other application, simply import the AAF file and the media clips will be relinked in the bin. If no AAF file was created, you can drag the Avid database file (labeled “msmMMOB.mdb”) from the numbered MediaFiles folder into an empty bin. Lastly, you can also use the Avid Media Tool from the top menu to access the clips and drag them into an empty bin.

df_avidpwrtips_10_smSAS QT reference movies – Avid supports the ability to export sequences in the QuickTime reference movie format. To maintain video quality, these should be exported using the Avid codec “same as source” setting. This is a fast export and the resulting QuickTime reference file is wrapped in a .MOV container, but uses one of the Avid codecs. When these files are converted to another format, like H.264 or Apple ProRes in an encoder, such as Apple Compressor, the transcoded file will have proper video levels.

df_avidpwrtips_16_smAutomatic Duck Media Copy – While not an Avid product, Automatic Duck’s Media Copy program (still available for free at automaticduck.com) is ideal for archiving media tied to a specific project or sequence. It has the ability to read into Avid bin files to identify sequences and the associated media. From there, it will copy only the media used in the cut to a designated folder. This may be moved or archived for later use.

Click here for “Avid Media Composer Tips for the FCP Switcher”.

For two great books to improve your Avid abilities, check out Ben Hershleder’s Avid Media Composer 6.x Cookbook and Steve Cohen’s Avid Agility.

Originally written for DV magazine / Creative Planet Network

©2013 Oliver Peters

Organizational Tips for FCP X

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The beauty of Apple Final Cut Pro X is in its power to organize media. When editors take advantage of these tools, FCP X can prove to be a very fast way to cut. I’ve covered some of these concepts in previous posts on “Rethinking NLE Design”. Here are some tips that will help you get more out of FCP X. Click on the thumbnails to see an enlarged image for an expanded view of each of these tips.

df_fcpxorg_1_smProjects and Events. FCP X organizes media and sequences into Events (source media) and Projects (edited sequences). These divisions correspond with matching data files and folders at the Finder level. Unfortunately a colossal oversight was the lack of any way to organize these within the application. All active Events and Projects are open and accessible when you launch FCP X. The solution is Event Manager X from Intelligent Assistance – an essential tool for working with FCP X. This handy utility controls the location (and visibility) of Events and Projects by automatically moving unneeded files between the active and “hidden” folders.

df_fcpxorg_2_smFinder organization. Many editors like to “pre-organize” media files on their hard drives at the Finder level. FCP X lets you use that structure when importing files. Enable this preference on import and hard drive folders will be used for Keyword Collections. The latter function is the equivalent of creating bins with subclips in other NLEs. If you organized camera media by day and camera on the hard drive, the same breakdown will be automatically created in FCP X as part of the import.

df_fcpxorg_4_smEntering multiple user data fields. Custom user data, like reel names, scenes, takes, camera angles, etc. can be entered in the Event column or in the Inspector pane. When multiple clips are highlighted, the editor can use the Inspector to enter common values for all of these clips with a single entry.

df_fcpxorg_5_smKeywords and folders. Events are the location to store master clips (sources) within the FCP X interface. The corresponding Event folder on the hard drive can contain links/aliases to external media or actual media, depending on your import preference settings. Media within an Event can be organized by assigning keywords, which places the equivalent of a full-length subclip into a corresponding Keyword Collection. Multiple keywords can be assigned. The example image is from a series of grocery store commercials. On-camera employee clips can be placed into different sets of Keyword Collections that are organized by day/camera, department/category and person’s name. Keyword Collections can be placed into folders for a further level of organization. This enables the editor to locate clips using any of these subdivisions.

df_fcpxorg_7_smExpand or collapse Event Library. The Event Library pane shows all hard drives and Events visible to FCP X, as well as the Keyword and Smart Collections created by the editor. The leftmost panel can be expanded or collapsed to show/hide the drives, events, folders and collections. When the view is collapsed, only the clips within the highlighted event or collection are displayed.

df_fcpxorg_8_smEvent grouping. The Event Library can be displayed as an open list or can be grouped by various criteria. For example, if you need to quickly identify the most recent media imported, then group clips by date imported and the list becomes divided and sorted accordingly.

df_fcpxorg_6_smLists and filmstrips. When the Event Library is set to a list view, the selected clip is displayed as a filmstrip at the top of the window. This strip includes an audio waveform, which makes it easy to identify audio spikes, such as the start of each take in a series of takes within a longer clip. It shows markers added by the editor and highlighted regions for in-out ranges and Favorites (saved subclip ranges).

df_fcpxorg_3_smProject Library. Projects are edited sequences and shouldn’t be confused with a “project” file in the same sense as in FCP 7 or Premiere Pro. These sequences are typically saved within the Final Cut Projects folder, which is a separate folder from the Final Cut Events folder. Sequences can be previewed and/or skimmed from the Project Library pane. The more visible Projects you have, however, the longer this pane will take to display when opened. To organize a lot of Projects, place them into folders, which can be left closed until you need to access the files within. This lets you place older versions of a cut out of the way, but still accessible if needed.

df_fcpxorg_9_smEdits saved in the Event. The Project Library is the place to save edited sequences, however, edits can also be saved in an Event. Edited sequences or sections of sequences can be saved as Compound Clips. These go into an Event. By opening the Compound Clip in a timeline, you can continue to edit within that Compound. Depending on your strategy, Compound Clips can be organized into Keyword or Smart Collections for quick retrieval.

df_fcpxorg_10_smAudio expansion. By virtue of using a trackless design, FCP X combines the audio and video channels for each source into a single clip on the timeline. All channels for multi-channel audio sources are represented by a single waveform. To access individual channels, the timeline clips can be expanded to expose the audio “tracks”. Audio components can be further expanded in the Inspector or timeline to display individual audio channels for that source. The audio configuration (such as dual mono versus stereo) can be changed and/or channels muted or enabled. It is also necessary to expand audio in order to enable split-audio trimming (L-cuts and J-cuts).

df_fcpxorg_11_smControlling clips on the timeline. The Clip Appearance menu lets you adjust clip height and how clips are displayed. For maximum real estate, use the smallest “chicklet” view. To access audio and expand clips, use one of the views with a visible waveform. The Timeline Index is another way to focus in on elements of the timeline. Roles can be enabled or disabled, which effectively solos certain timeline clip categories.

Click here for another blogger’s article on this subject (Part 1). (Part 2). (Part 3).

©2013 Oliver Peters