Whatever you had planned for the next hour, cancel it. These superb walk-though tutorials from Magic Feather Inc show the workflow from start to finish of cutting a TV trail. See Final Cut Pro X up close and in action working on shared storage. Great information, great tips and a great watch.
When we got an email from John Davidson asking if we would like to feature his tutorials on FCP.co, we jumped at the chance. His company, the Los Angeles based Magic Feather Inc produces promotions or trails for networks and he thought that it would be cool to share his editing workflow for using FCPX on shared storage.
We also asked John some background questions about using FCPX and we thought that interleaving the answers with the videos would make a great combination. Enjoy...
FCP.co What is Magic Feather Inc?
Magic Feather is a company I founded in California in 2004 after I had worked as a freelance writer/producer in LA for about 3 years. We had some great clients at Disney who helped us start up and grow. Magic Feather is a nod to Disney and Dumbo, the Disney film that always appealed to me as a kid. Clients come to us with projects and we take care of the entire process from concept to delivery. We are not a post house, we just make stuff you see on TV.
FCP.co When did you switch?
We have been working with X since May, when a client announced they were reviewing X and eager to switch. This client should remain nameless as they aren't ready to move yet, but it was enough to get us to switch to X, which we had been experimenting with at the time.
FCP.co How much broadcast work have you done with X?
Since switching, we've made about 50 unique spots for over a half-dozen television networks with no complaints. Of these spots there were a ridiculous number of versions, so this was an excellent primordial goo that helped us come up with our own 'real world' application of FCPX in our environment. We use a combination of mac pros, a mac mini, and even the new Late 2012 iMac, which is magnificent btw.
We're all big apple fanatics here, and this helps us to adapt to FCPX. We understand Apple-centric concepts the media browser, we trust them, and this made the transition easier.
Everything we do is geared toward building a workflow that simplifies the editing process. Whether it's building our own transitions and effects, creating slates as built in generators, or just folder structure that makes logical sense, we do our best to stick to this goal. The result is that now we go back and see old FCP7 project folders and realize how messy they were.
FCP.co What would you like to see come out in future FCPX updates?
More stickiness. User settings, window layouts, role sets, etc. We'd like to have these more customizable and have the program remember what each one of us likes. I'd also like the media browser to have volume control and let me skip down tracks quickly. The ability to minimize or hide the primary would be great. So many of the things we've been asking for have been added, we're still finding things from 10.0.6, which was really a great update.
I'd for sure love something like animatte or Coremelt's SliceX plugin built into FCPX. This is one thing that is hard to build even in motion and it shouldn't be. A blur mask for faces and logos is going to be more and more important as more and more kids start YouTubing videos with X and don't want to get sued - they should be able to do that easily.
FCP.co Why should people listen to you and take your advice?
They shouldn't! Make the decision for yourself on which tools you use. FCPX is disruptive technology to multiple industries much like FCP Legacy was. It challenges us all to stop being lazy and learn new things. I can attest that I was resistant to it initially because it forced me to get off my butt an learn something foreign. It didn't help matters that the original release of X was somewhat buggy and left something to the imagination. That has changed now. 10.0.4 changed everything and 10.0.6 and 10.0.7 expanded that. Now when we have to dip into Legacy, it's with a feeling of dread.
FCP.co What about FCP7? Do you still use it?
We pretty much use 7 now to open old projects to export to X, with the occasional digitize or layback to/from 7 when we're feeling lazy. Right now, we're redoing 24 :30 second spots that were originally created in FCP Legacy in 2008. Getting them over to X was actually pretty painless using 7toX from the Mac App Store. They've got to be completely redone with new graphics but in many ways this is easier in X. We can actually use the title tool in X, for example. That's another side effect that we're discovering with X - we are learning Motion more and more.
FCP.co Why did you make these videos?
in August we got the Sony FS-700, which is the camera of my dreams. I wanted to make something wild with it. Something fun and creative and educational all at once. Multiple sources have asked me about X off the record over the last 6 months, so what better way to show them how X works for us than to walk though the entire process of building a spot from beginning to end. Non-X users don't get how useful the media browser is. Many professional editors I know claim to be experienced on the apple platform - and they can't even run iTunes. If they work with Avid or Protools, they're probably terrified of installing a simple software update. So you have these self proclaimed Mac users that have less practical mac knowledge than my 74 year old mother. These are people whose minds were decimated by the term 'Events', even though it had been used in iPhoto for about 3 years. I needed to make something that shows them how X really works in terms they would understand.
As for the creative on the videos, we wanted to accomplish many creative goals of my life in a single 30 seconds. We made a superhero, political satire, an Element 3D fighter jet, a slow motion quick draw, bullet time, jumping out of an explosion, and I got to chloroform my wife. It's amazing we got any good audio because we kept laughing so much. You'll see that more in the bloopers/credits of #5. Virtually every frame of the fake spot is a joke on some level.
We didn't get paid for this, we just had a few days down time and did something crazy. Creatively, the most fun projects I ever worked on were the ones where I wasn't conforming to rules and just made what I wanted to make. I wanted to get my team in that head space. Magic Feather is about creative - we are not a post house. We don't have clients in the room with us. Everybody lent their talents to it and it was an awesome team building exercise.
I'd really like to thank everyone for participating in this. Our Editor Mark Parq, AP Dan Gordish, our mixer Mark Bauserman, my wife and Magic Feather VP Deana Davidson, the incredible Jim Pratt giving us that super gritty VO, and especially Extreme Music for donating their entire music library for us to use in the walk throughs.
We've made something that shows you that you can really use FCPX in a broadcast environment that plays well with Protools, After Effects, and other broadcast tools. We hope you enjoy it, and i'll do my best to answer your questions in the comments as my schedule allows.
Many thanks to John for his time in putting these videos together and answering the questions. We are sure FCP.co readers are going to learn a lot from finding out first hand how FCPX can work on shared storage and more importantly, how to cut a great trail!