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Producing a promo for the largest sporting event in the world takes some organising of footage, especially when the client wishes to build multiple virtual video walls. Joe Castellano edited the ESPN spot using FCPX and Motion before the final promo was finished in Flame.

A well timed Final Cut Pro X user story! We will let Joe take up the story after having a look at the rather excellent finished promo.

 

When Barrett Esposito of Winter Films brought me the ESPN 2014 FIFA World Cup Viewers guide project, I immediately knew it was the perfect project for FCPX & Motion.

The piece was to contain flying camera moves involving five, 16 Box video walls, which required a bit of pre-planning.

At first I played with the concept of stacking and positioning 16 boxes on the primary storyline, which I quickly found unwieldy and hard to wrangle.

Then, after watching a Motion demo of a video wall using replicator, I learned that each box of the wall could be fed by a single media source, as long as the scenes were separated in exact increments.

Since I had purchased Motion with FCPX, and was casually learning it in my spare time I decided this was the best solution, because I ultimately needed to provide the Flame artist, Miguel Oldenburg, the content for all the screens in the final composite.

If I had to do individual timelines for each box, I would have ended up with 16 x 5 or eighty timelines!  Talk about unwieldy.

(Click for larger images)

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In FCPX I created a “wall filler” timeline for each wall, using markers to delineate each box of that wall. The markers were 10 seconds apart on a 10 second wall, 20 on a 20 second wall, and so on. 

Any changes the client made to the images in an individual box could be revised in a “wall filler” timeline and dropped right over the old one in Batch in the Flame project. In Flame, each box received the same media source, which was “slipped” as needed in each window in the Flame project.

The footage was a 4TB mix of Alexa, Phantom and 7D footage shot on location in Brazil on multiple days, along with 7D timelapse scenes and multiple HD video scenes downloaded from ESPN servers. The Brazil footage arrived on pokey Firewire 800 drives and was copied to a 6TB e-sata raid to be used for the edit. All footage was put on this drive and “Left in Place”.

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I added keywords for Days, Crowd, Scenics and Game footage. iPad, iPhone and computer scenes were put into a Device event. Master project timelines had their own Masters event. 

As I built my muscle memory for all the new keystrokes I was learning, I began to hit a stride. The more I edited the more I felt the power of FCPX. The ease of skimming, marking and hitting F for favorites was nothing short of a revelation after doing my last big project on an Avid. Opening and viewing this much footage would have been torture the old way. An “Only Skim in Browser” option would be greatly appreciated though.

Scene too dark? Cmd+7 open my scopes, color correct, close my scopes. Device scene, stack the video, add a vignette effect, corner pin with the Distort tool, place a logo on top, lasso, compound clip the stack, zoom the compound clip. All within seconds.

Need to edit the Compound Clip? Double-click, bam! Compound Clip timeline.

Please don’t make me ever say step-in/ step-out inside my head again, thank you very much.

Re-time by percentage, re-time by duration, Control-D measure duration or set a duration, all incredibly fast.

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As a smoke/flame operator I found Motion to be very approachable. The graphical keyframe editor was very similar to flame and I immediately felt comfortable, as I started to create my camera moves. 

All of the moves I created in Motion were pre-viz for the client to get a sense of the final product, since a static grid was simply not going to illustrate enough.

I cut my master project and my wall filler projects in concert. If someone spoke at 6:15 into a ten second wall section on my main master, I would go to that wall project, navigate to the ten seconds which represented that box (1-16) and lay the same shot at the 6:15 mark of THAT box. I would then render that wall in motion, import it to a Full Screen Walls event, and cut it into the master project.

Client changes were easily accommodated. If they wanted to re-arrange boxes on a wall, I’d rearrange the order of the scenes in that wall filler timeline and re-render the motion project for that wall and simply drop off the revised wall to Flame.

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Here is a sample of the Motion Pre-Viz against the Flame composite.

 

What could have been an overwhelming project to revise, became rather fun in FCPX and Motion. Scenes which required compositing were built up right on the timeline, many with up to 10 layers, all with incredible speed. This ability saved time when client tweaks and last minute iPhone screen changes came along.

Overall I’ve found fcp.co a wonderful learning resource to get me up to speed, and as 10.1.2 has now been released, I can reflect on how Displaying Unused Media would have been a handy one.

Cheers to all.

 

Currently, Joe and Barrett are finishing work on “Henry & Me”, an animated film about a young Yankee fan battling illness who meets Yankee greats on a magical journey. 

Joe Castellano and Miquel Oldenburg are both two-time Emmy winners at Reveal in NYC, a design and digital agency in New York.

joe castellanoJoe also recently edited “Alone with People”, a short film which premiered at the launch of Emerson’s L.A. campus and will be shown at “Outfest” in L.A. in July.

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