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shine music video FCPX

We love real life examples of work edited on FCPX, so much we actually have a Forum section that you can post your work for feedback. Nick Gregorio sent us details of his latest music video and we thought the work was worth a closer look.

You may recall Nick from an earlier posting here on FCP.co when he described remastering his indie feature in FCPX with the original RED files via Resolve.

Nick has just finished a new project, a music video for Josh Johnson that was shot on a RED One, composited in After Effects, graded in DaVinci Resolve and edited in Final Cut Pro X. We will let Nick take up the story after taking a look at the final product.

One note, the full frame screengrabs of the interfaces can be opened by clicking on the smaller pictures - we have left them large so that you can see the detail.


Nick Gregorio back again for another rousing look at professional advanced post production workflows using FCPX. In this particular instance we will be using a recent music video I created for HGTV personality and Design Star All-Stars contestant Sparkle Josh Johnson as an example.

Going into this project I was facing the obstacles of a minimal budget and a super tight, ten day time crunch for completion. I had one day of studio time and a one day rental on the camera. I decided to shoot RED 1 because I was delivering in HD so if I shot 4K it meant I could resample the same image multiple times tripling my set ups.




For the uninitiated “Resampling”: From one wide shot I could zoom into the footage and get a medium shot and a medium close without losing image quality. 




I shot on the RED 1 with Mysterium-X sensor because the camera is still great and cost, depending on the rental house, a few hundred dollars cheaper than the Scarlett and about five hundred dollars cheaper than the epic.

Since we only had one day of shooting I opted to shoot everything against multiple green screens. I was able to save a ton of time on set - pre-lighting the day before with my cinematographer Steven Nicholas Smith - by keeping an even exposure and only changing lenses and camera/dolly position. All of the backgrounds and lighting effects would be created in post - yikes! And of course this was my first attempt at doing a heavily composited/VFX type shoot - BARF!




We successfully wrapped shooting in one day and shot 144GB of 4K footage - that’s a lot of green... screen. All of the footage was organized and media managed on set. We were actually using a Mac Air to view and organize footage. No it wasn't full resolution but at quarter res it played back in real time. I was even able to do some light grading in REDCINE-X.

With the shoot wrapped there wasn’t much time for celebration - this video had to be done in less than ten days!!!! 20 composited set-ups!!! AHHHHHHHH!!!!!

So, I dug in and went to work. I transcoded and resized my footage in REDCINE-X taking the super resolution 4K and exporting manageable 1080p 24fps Pro Res 4444 files. Pro Res 4444 is plenty resolution for web and HD broadcast final deliverable.

Or I would export out of Da Vinci Resolve adjusting the colors on my nearly 40 feet of green screen to eliminate shadows and keep uniformity.

My next step was to take my transcoded media and build my composites in After Effects CS6. I used a combination of custom 3D models (made by my good friends George Ojomo and Dmitry Kushnir), stock footage, and Video Copilot’s Optical Flare plug-in to build the background mattes. Using the keyer in AE takes some time to get used to and much finesse when adjusting values. I was dealing with various skin and hair types as well as dance choreography and actors leaving the green screen area so it was difficult to key some scenes. I then adjusted levels, hue/sat, and focus (for background elements. I would not recommend extensive color grading in AE because their options are limited and damaging to the final image. 






As a side note: I tried to do some editing and resampling in Premiere Pro CS6. The in-program manipulation of RED footage was excellent but the export to Pro Res 4444 took entirely too long.

Once I had my comps completed I imported the footage into Da Vinci Resolve (lite) for final grading. On top of the extensive compositing each shot received 5-7 nodes of color correction and focus/blur adjustment. The work I did in Resolve gave me the ability to push the look of my comped footage and really bring the final image together. 




Note: This was the general workflow I used. In some cases I used only AE or REDCINE-X. Or jumped back and forth between programs multiple times. Nothing is cut and dry!!! 




Well look at that! All my comps are finished and graded now it was time to cut. I fired up FCPX!!! I would drop in footage one section at a time so I wasn't stuck with the whole video to edit all at once. I tackled various segments - storyboarding helped a lot. I was planning to do an average of about 1 cut per second - It’s a pop video so you need that energy. 




FCPX came up huge for me in the multi-cam department. For some segments of the song I exported larger chunks of footage. I set a multi-cam clip based on markers and would usually have about five different clips to cut to. Then I would play the song and cut to the beat or cut on a line. Having the resampled footage was extremely helpful in giving me multiple options for cutting. 




I finished and delivered the final file on time and at budget. The client was extremely happy with the video. I hope this was an interesting and informative read now get out there and start doing... so I can find some more competent people to hire!

Here is one shot going through the pace













A big thank you to Nick for taking us through the steps in the production of the music video. don't forget to click on the pictures for the large screengrabs.

©Nick Gregorio/FCP.co 2012