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Post Producing the Oscar Nominated Live Action Short Film Timecode on FCPX

Director Juanjo Giménez very kindly answered our questions about the post production of Oscar nominated live action short film Timecode. It was his first movie project on Final Cut Pro X and he was keen to try it out!

When we first heard that a film cut on Final Cut Pro X was amongst the favourites to win the Best Live Action Short Oscar at the 2017 ceremony on February 26th in Los Angeles, we wanted to get the news out there quickly!

Spanish Short Film Timecode Goes for 2017 Oscar Glory 

We were also very curious to know more. In the busy week in the run up to the awards, the director of Timecode, Juanjo Giménez, very kindly answered our questions about the post production process.

 

What made you choose Final Cut Pro X to edit Timecode?
This is our first project with FCPX. PreviousIy we used to work with Premiere (and before with FCP7), but I wanted to try FCPX, and a tiny short film is a good opportunity to try things like that.

Are people surprised when you mention it was cut on FCPX, is it just a tool to cut with to you?
Not really. Only some people that know that we used to work with Premiere asked about it. But as I told you, I wanted to try, that’s the main reason.

Had you used FCPX on previous projects?
Only in a 30" trailer before this one. This is the first movie we cut in FCPX.

What was it cut on? MacPro? MacBookPro? 
MacPro 2010, 16gb RAM with a nVidia GTX970 and 8TB RAID (4 disks x 2TB). Some of the editing was done on a 2008 Macbook Pro (6Gb RAM) with an eSata card attached to the same RAID disk as well.

I would imagine for a short you didn’t use dailies and started editing after shooting?
Yes. The shooting took only a weekend, two days. We started editing after that.

How long did it take to edit?
The editing took about 3 weeks. The whole post-production process took 8 months, mainly because the complexity of the process and the lack of money. The whole CCTV system was built in post-production, thanks to Toni Mena and his team, Marc Gorchs, Daniel Benavides and Toni Sola.

(Images and video courtesy of Toni Mena)

timecode oscar fcpx 002

timecode oscar fcpx 003

The final length of the short was above 18 minutes. In the last moment I cut 3 and a half minutes in order to be considered by Cannes, whose limit is 15 minutes including credits. After the selection, these 3 minutes never returned to the film.

Could you describe your workflow? (I believe it was shot on RED, did you have proxies?)
Yes, it was shot on a Epic RED Dragon, 5.5K. The CCTV cameras were in fact GoPros, attached to a long stick. We mixed the two sources, RED and H264 GoPros in FCPX without issues. And yes, we worked with ProRes proxies.

We used compound clips in order to link the sound. We bought the ClipExporter 2 app in order to send the footage for postproduction in Nuke and After Effects. 

Another app, X2ProLE from Marquis Broadcast was used for exporting the FCPX audio (AAC) into ProTools. These two tools made things really easy. The grading was made in DaVinci Resolve by Toni Mena.

Final resolution was 2K Scope (2048x858), and some shots were reframed or stabilized taking advantage of the 5.5K original resolution. All the audio was edited and mixed using ProTools. The final 5.1 mix was made at the FigTree studios, in Barcelona. We’ve made the DCPs ourselves, out of the DCDM DPX that DaVinci exported.

timecode oscar fcpx 001

What benefits did FCPX give over other NLEs?
The main benefit was working directly with different kinds of footage without transcoding. We got used to the magnetic timeline easily.

Did you get a better product or were you able to try out more things in the edit by using FCPX?
I don’t know really. I think that software is only a tool, but maybe if edited with another tool Timecode would look different… Anyway, we didn’t have too many options, since we shot very little footage.

Any problems with FCPX?
Nothing to do with FCPX, but during one of the sessions the RAID got corrupted, and we had to retrieve all the clips from a backup. Fortunately, FCPX makes copies of the projects on the system hard disk, and that saved us from losing many days of editing work. Thank goodness during the shooting we made double backups of everything.

Are there any additional features you would like FCPX to have?
Exporting to different image and audio platforms without the use of external plugins or apps would be great. Sharing libraries in order to work with other editors should be easier too.

 

A very big thank you to Juanjo for taking the time to answer our questions. All that is left is for everybody at FCP.co to wish him all the best for the awards on Sunday night.

©2017 FCP.co


Written by
Top BloggerThought Leader

I am the Editor-in-Chief of FCP.co and have run the website since its inception ten years ago.

I have also worked as a broadcast and corporate editor for over 30 years, starting on one inch tape, working through many formats, right up to today's NLEs.

Under the name Idustrial Revolution, I have written and sold plugins for Final Cut Pro for 13 years.

I was made a Freeman of Lichfield through The Worshipful Company of Smiths (established 1601). Though I haven't yet tried to herd a flock of sheep through the city centre!

Current Editing

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2020 has been busy, the beginning of the year was finishing off a new property series (cut on FCP) for Channel 4 called The Great House Giveaway. I also designed and built the majority of the graphics as Motion templates. It has been a great success and the shows grabbed more viewers in the 4pm weekday slot than any previous strand. It has been recommissioned by C4 for 60 episodes, including prime-time versions and five themed programmes. The shows have also been nominated for a 2021 BAFTA.

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Although both were postponed to later in the year, I worked again on ITV's coverage of the Tour de France and La Vuelta. 2020 was my 25th year of editing the TdF and my 20th year as lead editor. The Tour was the first broadcast show to adopt FCPX working for multiple editors on shared storage.

 

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BBC's Snooker has played a big part in my life, I've been editing tournament coverage since 1997. I'm proud to be part of a very creative team that has pioneered many new ideas and workflows that are now industry standard in sports' production. This is currently an Adobe Premiere edit.

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Covid cancelled some of the regular corporate events that I edit such as trade shows & events. I was lucky however to edit, from home, on projects for Amazon Kindle, Amazon Black Friday, Mastercard and very proud to have helped local charitable trust Kendall & Wall secure lottery funding.

As for software, my weapon of choice is Final Cut Pro and Motion, but I also have a good knowledge and broadcast credits with Adobe Premiere Pro, MOGRT design and Photoshop.

Plugin Design & Development

I'm the creative force behind Idustrial Revolution, one of the oldest Final Cut Pro plugin developers. It hosts a range of commercial and free plugins on the site. One free plugin was downloaded over a thousand times within 24 hours of release.

I also take on custom work, whether it is adapting an existing plugin for a special use or designing new plugins for clients from scratch. Having a good knowledge of editing allows me to build-in flexibility and more importantly, usability.

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Now in its 10th year and 4th redesign, running FCP.co has given me knowledge on how to run a large CMS- you are currently reading my bio from the database! Although it sounds corny, I am pretty well up on social media trends & techniques, especially in the video sector. The recent Covid restrictions has enabled live FCP.co shows online. This involves managing a Zoom Webinar through Restream.io to YouTube and Facebook. 

The Future

I'm always open to new ideas and opportunities, so please get in touch at editor (at) fcp.co. I've judged film competitions, presented workflow techniques to international audiences and come up with ideas for TV shows and software programs!

 

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