Another day and another report from an event, it seems like the Final Cut Pro X word is spreading! The first FCPX World event was held in London on the 15th of November, Alex Gollner Reports.
Today I attended the first FCPXWorld event in London hosted by Soho Editors featuring case studies by James Tonkin and Thomas Grove Carter. Apple also did the first London presentations of the recent MacBook Pro and Final Cut updates.
Soho Editors managed to gather a big crowd. Fortunately the event didn't seem to be preaching to the converted: judging by audience reactions, many people were seeing things they hadn't heard before.
The show kicked off with two presentations from Apple: the first was on the new MacBook Pros, the second on the Final Cut 10.3 update. At the start of the second presentation we were asked not to take pictures, tweet or otherwise record what happened. As regards what was said, all I can say is that I would be surprised if anyone in the room (apart from Apple staffers) would understand why anything said or shown needed to be kept secret. Perhaps it is some technicality that forbids Apple publically promoting Final Cut Pro X.
The first real case study was from Thomas Grove Carter. He sped into the venue at the last moment having arrived on a taxi-bike, leaving a room of clients back at Trim Editing in East London while he did a quick demo of how he edits high-end TV commercials in Final Cut Pro X 10.3. He showed a recent Audi car commercial designed to appeal the UK TV market. He introduced features of Final Cut that were news to many in the audience.
He did two main demos: creating a complex soundtrack from nothing, and cutting down a signed off 90 second TV commercial to produce a 30 second version. This second demo was the one that many in the audience were amazed by. High-end TV commecials have very complex soundtracks. Mixes are made up of sound effects, foley effects, electronic effects, music, dialogue and voiceover.
The problem with producing a 30 second cuy from a longer signed off commercial is making the video edit while making sure none of the audio components go astray, or audio associated removed video elements doesn’t remain. This is a problem with track-based NLEs. Tom showed that he could edit the long version down to 30 seconds without worrying about any part of the complex audio edit and add the music edit for the short version and be finished in less than 3 minutes - or around 150 seconds! After a lightning-fast presentation, Thomas got back on a taxi-bike to return to his roomful of clients.
The next presenter was James Tonkin of Hangman Studios. He is part of a two-person team that goes around the world on long rock tours making video pieces with very short lead times. He recently returned from a tour of the USA with the Rolling Stones. He explained that as the Stones footage is in high demand, he wants it to be future-prood, so shoots everything at higher than HD resolutions.
The hero camera is a 6K RED, most of the rest of the footage is shot on 4K cameras, with some GoPro drone shots at 3K. Instead of having a canned workflow presentation or scripted demo, James showed how smoothly everything works in Final Cut by quickly moving through many terabytes of footage without any software and hardware delays. On a given tour, he and his colleague shoot 50-60 TB of footage, producing 30-40 films of various lengths within hours of events happening.
Audence members were especially impressed with how Final Cut supports working with RED RAW footage. As James and team must shoot throughout long concerts, there are many times when there is no time to change colour settings while filming. Concert lighting is very hard to counteract when shooting.
If James is filming some interesting crowd reactions with one set of lights lighting up the audience, he has no time to change settings if Mick Jagger should dance by and settle in a bright spotlight. As they shoot in RED RAW, all they need to do is slice the sot into two and then use the RED settings in Final Cut to make sure the colour balance of both parts of the shot looks correct in the edit.
He said that he never needs to transcode any footage for his 2013 Mac Pro. He throws everything at the timeline with no problems and starts editing. As soon as anything is shot, his team is racing with any person on site with an iPhone who will soon upload badly shot footage with terrible sound to social media. The quick turnaround means that they like to keep everything inside Final Cut. As James loves grading footage, he spends tour preproduction time preparing for on-location grading sessions that must only last minutes instead of hours.
A nice surprise at the end of the first part was an announcement from Apple that they had set up a room with Apple people for attendees to visit where they could try out various models of MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.
The second section was a workflow demo featuring Byron Wijayawardena and Rory Cantwell showing Final Cut in action editing a VFX-heavy science fiction short film. The 8 minute film was made from 40 hours of media made up of 600GB of 4K footage. This session showed more detail on importing, organising and editing a narrative film.
Byron and Rory also showed the value of the Final Cut ecosystem. They showed how timelines benefitted from integration with tools and services from Colorgrading Central (Color Finale Pro), Frame IO, DaVinci Resolve, FxFactory, CoreMelt, Cantemo and more. They made a point of showing how Marquis’ XtoPro can export a complex roles-based edit into a session for ProTools in a Soho audio post production facility. For some reason there is a big difference between saying that you can export mixes to ProTools and showing the same audio up and running on a high-end syatem.
After the session we were treated to drinks and snacks where someone pointed out that although many Final Cut fans might know most of what Byron and Rory said, most would have learned something new. The important point for non X users was to show that the Final Cut ecosystem means there are no gaps in the post workflow from injest to delivery to broadcasters and distributors.
There’s a good chance that today’s show will have changed some minds, and although many of the editors there might not drop their current system tomorrow, they have many more resons to take Final Cut Pro X and Apple’s committment to high-end post production more seriously.
If you missed the London event, FCPX World moves to Berlin for a show on the 18th of November.