Moving from Final Cut Pro 7 to FCPX on French TV series Lazy Company
Written by Peter Wiggins
10 part French TV series Lazy Company had a split life in post production. Seven episodes were cut on Final Cut Pro 7 and three were cut on Final Cut Pro X. We speak to editor Olivier Galliano who gladly took on the challenge of using FCPX.
We have said it before, the articles that get the highest hits on FCP.co are user stories and we have to thank everybody for sending in excellent examples of FCPX in action on real life jobs.
We got an interesting email from Olivier Galliano who was assistant editor on the low budget French TV series 'Lazy Company.' When we say assistant, that was for the seven post produced on FCP7, Olivier took on the job of main editor for the remaining three which were cut on FCPX.
Let's start off with a trail for the shows to which Olivier very kindly added English subtitles for those people like us who didn't pay enough attention during French lessons at school.
We will let Olivier take up the story from here, bear in mind his English is far superior to our French! We have put the FCPX screengrabs in at full resolution so you can have a look at how the project was organised and edited by right clicking on the image and opening it in a new window. You can quite clearly see the range based keyworded clips in the Event Browser.
Lazy Company is a low-cost 10 episode French TV Series, cut by four editors, including me. We decided to use FCP7 because Empreinte Digitale is a production company (also a post company) where we've used this Apple software from day one, almost 10 years now.
When we discussed about the series post production in March-April, Final Cut Pro X was at 10.0.4. I've been using it since 10.0.3 on the majority of my work including TV Shows, trailers, etc… As I also took the job of Assistant Editor on the whole series (in addition to the task of cutting three episodes), I asked myself, could It be done with FCPX?
As an experiment and because we had Xto7 & X2Pro, it was totally possible, so my producers were kind enough to let me try. I knew that I could go back to FCP7 if anything wasn't working, but of course, nothing went wrong.
The Lazy Company was shot with two Red Scarlets in 4K over a period of five weeks in Tours (about 200km from Paris). We had 2 Fusion D400QR5 12TB (and another two for backup). Twice a week I received the Red Raw media on a Lacie 2TB drive. I backed this up and converted the media to 422 proxy at a 1/2 de-bayer with Red-Cine-X.
I had 5 weeks to sync about 1200 shots (Thankfully I got help from a good and hard working editor trainee), and to prepare it for all editors and their different habits. I prepped Episodes 3, 7 & 8 in FCPX. Choosing organizing methods wasn't easy when you have so few experiences with the software.
The first task was to find the right roles for everything. Then I essentially used compound clips to sync & rename footage with all different audio tracks from different mics. On the first syncing batch, I had to do it three times because I wasn't happy with my choices.
I didn't use multicam because at this time Xto7 didn't handle the media perfectly. I organized all the clips with keyword & smart collections. I also used keywords to sort all footage by dialog, with a number keyword that refers to the script. It was a method from one of the other editors so we all decided to follow that lead. It was then easy for the director to have some continuity in methods between all the four editors. I had also done a little trailer (we didn't do dailies) with no sound but with music for the shooting team in middle of the production, done with FCPX with the help of 7toX to get all shots synced in FCP7.
The editing machine was a 2x2.4 GHz Quad-Core Mac Pro with an internal HDD with 12 Gb of RAM, ATI Radeon HD5770 and Blackmagic Studio.
The cutting was the best part of it. We had about 7 days to cut each episode and I cut each sequence into its own timeline. It began to be a bit hard for the computer when I assembled the 20 minute timeline with effects and music, but globally it worked like a charm.
I regret I didn't have the 10.0.6 update with the new compound clip functionality, it would be easier. Auditioning a clip was very useful too. The technical part of the cutting was really fast so I had time to think about the main story with the Director and do the assistant job alongside.
At the end, I broke apart every compound clip and did an export with X2Pro for the sound team. I think the dialog editor was happy with all the different mics sorted by role in his Pro Tools sessions. That was a lot of time saved for him. I also exported XML for color grading on DaVinci Resolve. Everything went smoothly, no huge problems at all. The finishing and export were done in FCP7 to harmonize titles & everything. There wasn't enough time to try this in FCPX, but for next season I'll consider it.
So the "experiment" were a huge success, it was a really a great experience. It was so fun and efficient that each time I have to go back to FCP7, it is very painful. Now I'm trying to convert all my fellow colleague editors to FCPX. I'm also looking forward to updating my organizing & cutting methods in FCPX for the next season of the series. I hope to use FCPX on more this time, maybe for finishing too.
Many thanks to Olivier for sharing his story with us. If you woud like to tell the FCPX community about your production, please get in contact.