Cantemo Portal is the Apple preferred Digital Asset Management tool for use with FCPX. Jonathan Eric Tyrrell takes a look at how the DAM handles Final Cut Pro X libraries.
Jonathan has written an article for FCP.co on how FCPX Libraries work with Cantemo Portal. For more explanation of what Cantemo Portal is and how it works, please be sure to read his excellent previous pieces.
But back to the Jonathan's news. FCPX Libraries and Cantemo Portal:
The Library Asset
I like libraries. I like them a lot. I’m aware that I’m not alone in that either. Ask any editor working with Final Cut Pro today and they’re certain to have an opinion about the best strategy for how to get the most from libraries — how do you take your media, managed or linked? Like you, I’ve followed the discussions with intense interest and clamoured for the applications. I think it’s fair to say that libraries have represented another seismic shift in the way we use Final Cut Pro and a lot of us are still feeling the reverberations.
Amongst all this activity there are couple of questions I still need to see addressed. Apple defines libraries as “a new way to organize your work,” but who manages the libraries themselves? If you’re involved in collaborative work and function as part of team, how do you share libraries and media? Fortunately the latest update to the Cantemo Portal integration for Final Cut Pro X provides compelling answers.
As you can see in the video Cantemo have approached the challenge by understanding the library as an asset, something distinct and mostly critically an entity to be managed in its own right. To that end they have developed a comprehensive library management solution. Perhaps most importantly it’s a native solution. That means there’s no conversion or translation of the library data, Portal handles the library directly, which ensures the integrity and fidelity of your work at all times.
The integration also supports both managed and linked libraries. Crucially when you introduce Portal into your workflow media assets are managed at every stage of the production pipeline. It becomes your choice whether Portal manages the media or if files are handed off to Final Cut Pro. You control how the relationships are managed and can use Portal to facilitate the sharing of media and libraries between colleagues. This also means an editor can be accommodated even if they’re working remotely and don’t have access to the shared storage network.
When you first upload a library to Portal the Cantemo Agent application provides the opportunity to include any new media. Once files are known to Portal the only item you need to exchange between FCPX and Portal is the library you’re working with. Libraries are relatively lightweight files and when they’re bundled to send back and forth to Portal the transaction is incredibly fast. If you have been granted access you can also download a colleague’s library, even if they’re currently working with it and see the last changes they saved to Portal. Because it’s the library, you’ll see all of their projects, events, keyword collections and smart collections. In short, everything! And once you have that, you can move events into your own library or save a version of the library back to Portal as a new item. It’s a very flexible and fluid relationship.
If an editor is working remotely they can still log in to Portal and share libraries with colleagues. The only difference is that when a remote editor chooses to open a library in Final Cut Pro X the Cantemo Agent facilitates the download of all of the related media. Of course you’re at the mercy of your internet provider, but if a project is not too big and you’re working with compressed formats, this is surprisingly manageable. And if you don’t have the stomach or sufficient transfer allowance for the download, you could ask for a drive of media to be sent to you and work locally until you’re ready to upload the library.
Sending data back to Portal from a remote location is even easier. Unless you’ve added new media you only need send the library. And if the files were sent independently of Portal, but you know they’re already on the system, the Cantemo Agent can perform a checksum operation to relink the media. This type of thoroughness and attention to detail is emblematic of the entire integration.
These are interesting times for post-production and with NAB next week I’m sure we’re going to see all sorts of new developments within the FCPX ecosystem. It’s encouraging to see a company like Cantemo embrace Final Cut Pro and watch the solutions develop in parallel. I can’t wait to see where they will both go next.
If you want to learn more about Portal at NAB, Cantemo have a booth in the South Hall (SL6125) where you can meet the team and speak to one of the many partners on hand. Or you could visit me at the FCPXWORKS demo suite.
Jonathan Eric Tyrrell is a filmmaker, consultant and trainer for post post. He’s based in Victoria, British Columbia, but a roster of international clients has meant he’s developed a reputation for getting around.
He writes a great blog on postpost.tv where you will find his contact details as well.