This is an interesting Final Cut Pro X user story from a number of perspectives. A passion for drifting led Aaron Losey to make a five and a half hour documentary of his event filled pilgrimage to the Ebisu Circuit in Japan.
If you need any more indicators to how the TV & video industry is rapidly changing, here is a good one.
Apart from a few 'big shows,' the days of mass consumption of broadcast television have gone. The growth is now in on-demand (OTT) programming from box sets of dramas through funded original programming, right down to low budget, but popular specialist interest shows.
So when Aaron Losey emailed us details about his drifting adventures in Japan, we took a look. He used FCPX to edit a five and half hour master for release on YouTube. So far after a couple of days, it already has over 10,000 views.
"It is an experience which even to the hardcore car enthusiast is pure and grass roots, and raw like a VHS skate board video from the 1990s."
We agree and although the subject matter is similar, it is the complete opposite of the over-scripted exploits of the Grand Tour team whose series recently began on Amazon Prime.
"I made a 5.5 hour documentary with an iPhone 7, GoPro, RX100 IV, Phantom 4, and Red Epic. All the cameras mixed fairly well, and the iPhone footage has the most amazing workflow, and was the most useful camera out of all of them.
The Red Epic footage was the most beautiful, however it was not raw feeling or organic in the way it was used to film, due to the long boot up times and effort to use, and was used for beauty shots mostly, which did not lend themselves well to this video in the end. So even with access to any camera in the arsenal, and the ability to easily edit all footage captured, the iPhone was the camera of choice."
1. The iPhone allowed for a long and fun day of concentrating on things such as race cars and not filming, meaning we had more fun with less work. There was no charging of batteries for the iPhone, no moving files around as they automatically backup to the cloud when the phone automatically connects to wifi and iCloud.
Then when the 256 GB storage of the phone would fill up, it would automatically delete files and make room for new ones. Footage was always backed up to the cloud and no laptop was needed for the workflow. Humans in the shots were not intimidated by the small camera around them, and were more themselves when being filmed.
2. The footage from the iPhone camera is not ideal, but has a fun raw nature to it. There are two focal lengths to the camera, and it is very versatile and looks great on YouTube. The footage intercuts with a Red Epic and RX100 IV very well.
3. The budget for this video was very small, so to make a 5.5 hour documentary and edit it had to be as easy as possible, with 2 weeks of shooting and 4 days of editing. FCPX 10.3 was used, and was amazingly fast.
Background rendering was turned off so hard drive space internally was not a problem on the 2014 MacBook Pro, and an external 2.5 inch HD was used to edit the footage on the go. The working footage was 773 GB, and included about 2700 pieces of media from all the different cameras.
The rendered 1080P final file was 24 GB and in 4k the final video was 125 GB. The 1080 file was uploaded to youtube due to a slow internet connection, even though youtube will accept files up to 128 GB. The upload took two full days, and the processing on the youtube side took one full day.
4. It should be noted that the video was easy to make and a lot of fun because the cameras themselves kind of disappeared from the filming process, with great content always organically in the shots. With fun content, the actual camera itself is far less important to the video.
Getting rid of pulling focus, changing media, off loading files, charging batteries, lighting subjects, and everything else associated with this project made it possible. Yes it is not the most beautiful video, but it is fun and the audience it is intended for enjoys it.
5. YouTube makes the distribution of something like this possible to a huge crowd organically. 15 years ago a project like this would not be possible. Now, anything is possible. Children could make movies if they were so inclined. Documentaries can be about anything that interests the author, not financial backers. We live in amazing times.
A great story from Aaron. We can see many more of these long form specialist interest videos being successful as the barriers to shooting and editing good content have never been lower.
Many thanks to Aaron and his team. If drifting in japan looks like your type of fun, then check out the circuit website, powervehicles.com.