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We have all seen the Apple demo footage of Audi R8s driving around the Sonoma Raceway that was used to market Final Cut Pro X. But how about a real world Audi job cut and graded on FCPX?

We were delighted when Perry Childs from Pyrmont Productions emailed us the details of his recent work for Audi. We won't waste any more time and we'll let Perry take up the story...  

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Nearly 2 years ago, when I watched Apple’s FCPX intro videos posing as a large post job for Audi, I was skeptical. After all the opinions about the software being ‘not for Pros’ this marketing angle seemed a bit of a stretch. So I thought it may be worth mentioning that 2 years on I’ve just completed a ‘Pro’ job for Audi, edited, graded & FX entirely in FCPX.


The Idea

What happens when Aussie beatboxer Tom Thum meets the all-new Audi A3 Sportback? An amazing soundtrack results, made entirely of sound layers from the man described recently by The Guardian (UK) as "appearing to have swallowed an entire orchestra and several backing singers."

The Edit

Tom Thum (the Beatboxer) provided the fully mixed sound track for the piece, however on set Tom found it difficult to replicate the entire track for the different takes & camera angles. This made the edit process slightly more difficult as there was more freestyling than perfect sync plus it eliminated the possibility of editing a Multicam clip. Footage was shot in an old warehouse on Canon 5D III and a GoPro and supplied on a portable drive.

It’s a joyous moment when you can start editing almost immediately after clicking the import button. First up, the sound track was added to the Primary Storyline. Second was to lay down any good synced shots of Tom with the sound track as connected clips without using a second storyline, this way they were ‘locked’ in position as the edit progressed. Then different camera angles were added in to speed up the pace. Then the car shots were added or synced to match the various sounds, which allowed the A3 to be gradually revealed. Next, the moving car shots were added and messed around with to fill in the remaining holes. And to finish off the Audi tag was added.

The speed of organizing the footage in FCPX, and the ease in which you can skim through it all helped me complete the client approval cut in around 6 hours.

(Click for larger image)

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The grade was simple and definitely the fastest part of the process. I just wanted to mute the colours which was achieved purely by choosing a Pixel Film Studios ProExtreme filter and playing with the effect amount. No extra colour correction was needed. Plus I added either a subtle lens flare or light leak for extra visual interest to each angle.

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The Glitches FX at the end were a combination of various filters.

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With minimal revisions requested by the client, the final edit was delivered after a total of around 10 hrs. Far quicker than I could have done in FCP7.

Slow Burn

I knew editing would be a lifetime career the moment I started in broadcast TV 28 years ago and I’ve used FCP exclusively since 2000, building a post production business around it… Then came FCPX. (Insert record scratch SFX). Well, not quite, it was actually business as usual while the dust settled and I could find the time to test both FCPX & Premiere Pro (my preferred alternative) to determine the direction of the business.

Personally, PP looked like it was trying to replicate FCP7 so didn’t feel like it would drive the business forward. FCPX 10.0.8, however, felt like the future was now. But it quickly became apparent that it was not going to be an easy transition from FCP7. So when I had a few weeks of edit jobs with relaxed clients without tight deadlines I decided to give FCPX my full attention to truly get my head around it and ultimately make it sing.

In the beginning, I’ll be honest, I couldn’t. I realized I needed to swallow my pride and learn by watching as many YouTube tutorials as I could find. Unfortunately I was a little underwhelmed as most videos were made up of ‘mock’ edit scenarios which didn’t really test the software in a ‘real world’ post production environment. This made me a little nervous but, in some way, each video helped me get a handle on the new thinking required to use FCPX.

Slowly it sank in, it’s not FCP7 and isn’t trying to be, it’s a new way to edit that requires new decisions to be made… One example is whether to edit in the Primary Storyline or Secondary Storyline. These are difficult decisions at first and are still widely debated but when you get an understanding of each of their behaviors it becomes second nature. Possibly the biggest thing going against FCPX is that it takes a little time to master, but so did FCP7 in the beginning.

Yes, it still has a way to go and I send feature requests & bug reports almost daily, but I can honestly say my attitude has flipped 180 degrees in recent months and have now made FCPX my business’s NLE of choice. Plus I’d love to see more ‘Pro’ job examples being posted on great sites like this to get the word out.

If anyone has any questions about the edit process etc just post a comment & I’ll try to respond, cheers.

We thank Perry from Pyrmont Productions again for taking his time to detail his experiences with FCPX and for making a very cool Audi promo!



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