On to part four of this masterclass in filmmaking and it's a bumper issue! Sam Mestman and Patrick Southern this time talk about group workflows and finishing. As always, lots of info and great tips. Possibly a two cups of coffee article.
- Part 1 Introduction and On-Set Editorial
- Part 2 Organization
- Part 3 Editing
- Part 4 Group Workflow and Finishing in FCPX
- Part 5 Collaborating with Color, VFX & Audio Departments
In Part 1, we talk about On-set workflow for FCPX. In part 2, we focused on how to take advantage of the media management and organizational tools. In Part 3, we focused on the fun part, which is how to maximize the editing experience in FCPX.
In Part 4 we look at workflow and finishing.
Most people don’t think you can work in a group or do proper finishing in FCPX. In Part 04 of this series, we are completely dispelling that notion. With the update to FCPX 10.3, there is absolutely no reason why editing teams can’t finish a high end feature film/doc/TV show entirely within FCPX with the help of a few third party apps and plugins.
We’re going to spend the focus of the this article on how to start working collaboratively with a Lumaforge Jellyfish, and get the most out of your online/finishing stage entirely within FCPX. The basics of what you need to know are within the diagram below, and we’ll be going in depth on best practices all the way through.
(Right click for larger images)
Group Workflow in FCPX
Many people have said that you can’t collaborate cleanly with FCPX, that you can’t keep your media & cache on the server reliably, that you can’t pass projects, and a host of other things that, well, just aren’t true… at least as long as you have a Jellyfish or ShareStation...
There are people on 4 continents and more than 15 countries around the world who are doing it today with a Lumaforge Video Workflow Server (a few prominent examples can be found at Swiss TV, STV Denmark, Rednail, and The Marseille Project.
Why We Made the Jellyfish & ShareStation
It’s widely known that most shared storage systems have a hard time once you start dealing with 4K, 6K, and VR. Less widely known is that most are also not optimized for the small database files that FCPX relies on or for its libraries and cache.
To work optimally on shared storage, FCPX Libraries need storage that is optimized for many micro interactions AS WELL as being optimized for high resolution codecs and framerates.
Until recently, shared storage simply wasn’t designed with this in mind. When 4K video and tiny database files get thrown together into the mix, most traditional XSAN’s and NAS setups grind to a halt and beachballs start to run rampant. The Jellyfish and ShareStation are the only two shared storage systems specifically designed from the ground up to be optimized for the bandwidth and throughput FCPX needs to edit effectively in a shared environment. Both systems leverage three different types of caching to make every user feel like they’re connected to their internal SSD storage.
We’ve found that most editors are terrified of their shared storage systems and networking in general. Hiring someone to run IT for a server is often impractical for smaller edit teams.
At Lumaforge, we designed the Jellyfish to be approachable for video editors. Every system is preconfigured so you can be up and running within 10 minutes of taking it out of the box. Setup through the Shareclient app requires as few as 3 clicks to connect to either NFS or SMB volumes. No advanced tweaking is necessary, but there is a deep, highly customizable back end available if you want it. (And 10% off if you mention FCP.co too - Editor)
You can also connect up to 26 users to a Jellyfish Tower or Rack without the need for an ethernet switch. Additionally, the Jellyfish Mobile and Tower are quiet enough to live in the room with you. If you want to see how easy this really is, check out this video Scott Simmons did at NAB with us last year (please note the Indie is now the Jellyfish Tower, and the Studio is now the Jellyfish Rack):
For the best way to set up your Libraries to work with your Jellyfish/ShareStation, check out my tip from this FCPX Virtual User Group Video. It will explain pretty much everything you need to know about how to set up your libraries on our storage and how to pass projects to and from editors.
Some General FCPX Group Workflow best practices:
- Keep your libraries on the Jellyfish/ShareStation For other shared storage solutions, you may want to keep them on your internal drive and reference media from your storage.
- Set the Media destination for each editor's library to the same folder on your server.
- Set Motion Templates to “In Library” so your custom Motion Templates can be opened on any machine.
- Set your Cache to the same folder on the server for all of your libraries.
- Use Consolidate command with NFS shares to create hard links in your external media folder
- Use Copy and Move Event Commands instead of drag and drop when moving Events and Projects between Libraries.
- Duplicate new editor’s libraries in the finder from the original editor’s library to keep the Media settings and Event layout the same. This prevents collision with Multicam & Compound clips when sharing Projects between Libraries (see above video).
- Use transfer libraries to pass Events & Projects if the source and destination Libraries are opened at the same time. Read last paragraph of this Apple White Paper).
Final Cut Pro X 10.3 brought about a few cool new tools for working with shared Motion Templates that we've documented in this video on the Lumaforge YouTube Channel:
Hard links will blow your mind, and FCPX is the only NLE that can work with them. By the way, if you were wondering whether there was a good reason to use NFS with FCPX shares instead of SMB, NFS is the only protocol that supports hard links. Hard Links allow you to have the same media live in multiple places on in Finder without taking up any additional space or requiring any kind of file copy. For an in-depth look, watch this MacBreak Studio I did:
Offline Editorial to Online Editorial
Project/Render Settings. Here’s a whole bunch of stuff you should know about your Project Properties (Sequence Properties for FCP7 users) in FCPX.
A. When you’ve locked your edit, the first thing I recommend you do is delete your project render files. The reason for this is, you’re about to be making a lot of duplicates of your projects, and every time you do, unless you’re careful, you’ll be duplicating your render files, too—which will start to take up A LOT of space, especially when finishing a RED project. The easiest way to do this is go into your Project Library, select your project (sequence), and then select File > Delete Project Render Files
B. Now, you’re going to duplicate your finished project by right-clicking on the project in the Project Library, then selecting Duplicate Project. You’ll see a new window open. Select the default option Duplicate Project Only. This will clone your existing project, so in case you make mistakes and need to revert back to the original, that will always be there.
C. If you’re finishing your project in FCPX, before proceeding to the next step, you should perform all color correction, finalize VFX, titles, etc. In other words, before moving on, your film should be FINISHED.
D. To modify Project Properties, select your duplicate project now, and with the Project Library still open, select the little wrench icon on the bottom right of the Inspector (Cmd-4). This will allow you to change your project properties, including resolution and render settings, for your given timeline. For every deliverable and resolution you have, you should make a new project. When changing resolutions for a project, FCPX will automatically rescale your project to fit the new resolution, while preserving your scale and position attributes. If you’re using the Spatial Conform setting, this will be preserved as well.
E. Pay close attention to your render setting in this dialog box. You should match your render setting to whatever ProRes deliverable your distributor has asked for. This is usually ProRes HQ. The default is ProRes 422, so you’ll need to adjust this accordingly. This will mean that when you share, your master file setting will be tied to whatever you select here. Also, it will determine the quality of your FCPX renders. The higher you make this setting, the larger those render files will be.
If you have a Mac Pro for editing, you can connect a bunch of displays to it. Here are some recommendations for monitor layout with FCPX.
Monitor 1: Events/Browser - An interesting approach I’ve seen is taking an Ultrawide monitor (LG Makes some good one) turning it vertically, and having your events/browser/thumbnails display vertically.
Monitor 2: Timeline/Viewer - An ultrawide monitor here can maximize timeline real estate. When used in conjunction with an AV Out over HDMI, this can be very effective. Get the largest display you can afford for this purpose. If possible, use a 4K display so that you can use this monitor as your resolution/pixel check when you play back full screen.
Monitor 3: This will be your AV Out over HDMI. You’ll want a P3 accurate monitor like the Eizo CG2420 (an amazing $1500, 97% accurate DCI-P3 Monitor that connects over HDMI and has built in calibration). I highly recommend the Eizo CG series. They are affordable, easy to calibrate and make it easy to move between color spaces.
If you’re delivering for playback in a theater, you’ll want something that is DCI-P3 Accurate to ensure that what you grade is going to look correct in a theater. We used the CG 2420 for Off The Grid, and it ended up looking identical on the DCI projector in the theater. This monitor is battle tested and is a great affordable solution.
Monitor 4: As discussed earlier, it might be really useful for you to get a cheap monitor to use purely for your giant Smart Collection filter (see Part 2 for more on this).
Setting up your FCPX Suite for Grading
Here’s a definitive article from the guys at Mixing Light (if you’re into color grading, I can’t recommend them higher) on things to think about as you set up your room. Obviously your budget will play into how much of this you can do: Anatomy of a Colour Grading Suite.
Going down the grading room/monitor setup rabbit hole is an article for another time. However, the best advice is to not be too hard on yourself, and do what you can within the constraints of your budget. Realize that your movie will never look exactly the same on two different displays… especially once it hits Best Buy or someone’s home theater.
I’ve lost quite a bit of my life trying to solve this problem. You can’t… so follow your scopes, get a monitor that has good calibration options, grade to that in the correct color space, and realize there is no perfect.
Managing Color Spaces in FCPX
Color Spaces (Rec2020, DCI-P3, Rec-709) have been the bane of my existence for years and I have a lot of scars on my back. With FCPX 10.3, a lot of what used to drive me nuts in the color space world has been made workable.
True story, I literally used to take a movie that I was grading on a Rec709 monitor, pay to rent a high end theater and watch it there. I'd figure out what was off, and then make a global adjustment on my system at home… and then rent out the theater again to check...and then repeat that process a couple times. This is no way to live your life and you don’t have to.
You, unlike myself, have made the perfect cut, gone from “Proxy” to “Original” media, mixed your audio, and are now ready to add the final polishing touches.
At the beginning of this project, we set your Library Color to Wide Gamut. We set our Project to Rec. 2020 Color Space, and we cut in our footage. So, we’ll need to go through and do a color pass for each Color Space you’ll be delivering.
Unless you are delivering HDR, you won’t be using Rec. 2020 for your final deliverable. Therefore, you’ll want to grade in your biggest delivery Color Space first, then work your way down. In most cases, there should only be two passes. One in DCI-P3 for theatrical release, and in Rec. 709 for television and web. Here's a brief overview on when to use each color space:
Rec2020 (wide color gamut)
The widest possible color gamut in FCPX. It will be used more frequently as we gradually transition into an HDR world. It is a wider color gamut than is currently used in movie theaters. The only major color space that is currently wider than Rec. 2020 is ACES, which has very few fully featured implementations.
To learn more about this...actually, hold off until you have paid work riding on it. It takes articles much longer than this one to adequately explain how ACES works. For now, you really just need to know to start in Rec. 2020 in FCPX if you have HDR or DCI-P3 deliverables.
This is the Color Space that movie theater projectors work in. Your movie will look very odd here if you have not graded for this color space. This is the cause for many a projection disaster at film festivals. If you’ve ever seen your movie projected with an olive green tint and it feels dark, well, it’s because it was projected in P3 and your projectionist didn’t know what they were doing. Yes, this happened to me a few years ago and I’m still angry about it.
Make sure your movie has been correctly graded for the DCI-P3 Color Space prior to screening. This can happen either in your NLE (FCPX), grading software (Resolve), or through your DCP software. When grading, keep in mind that DCI-P3 works with a 2.6 gamma and has a different white point (a little greener than Rec. 709), while Rec 709 is 2.4 or 2.2 gamma. Your master for theatrical distribution will be a DCP file displayed in the DCI-P3 color space.
This has been the standard for HD that will eventually give way to REC2020 as 4K deliverables take over. Most things that are on TV or YouTube have probably been graded for Rec-709. Most Rec-709 monitors display at 2.2 Gamma, even though the official spec calls for a 2.4 Gamma. This is another thing that causes a lot of confusion and makes me really angry. I recommend you grade with your calibrated display at a 2.2 gamma, because that’s how most of your audience will see your image.
Grading your RED Raw
Using Redcine-X Pro
If you want complete and total control over your R3D’s, this is the way to go.
The best part of using REDCINE-X is copy/paste looks option. It makes setting the RAW settings across multiple clips very fast. You currently can’t paste the RAW settings in FCPX (or anywhere else that I know of, for that matter). It’s extremely simple to roundtrip from REDCINE-X back into FCPX. Here’s how to do that:
1 Grade your RAW before importing to FCPX/during prep:
- A Make sure your RED clips all have .RMD’s files (these are RED’s metadata sidecar files that live in the .R3d folder for each of your clips. To understand how to do this, watch this video I made a few years old so it’s using older versions of both FPCX and REDCINE-X). From there, any changes you make to your RAW setting will update automatically in FCPX.
- As discussed in part 1 of this series, I’ll do my one light pass in REDCINE-X before importing into FCPX. I’ll start everything from REDLOG Film gamma and the latest Dragoncolor color space available to get the highest level of control over my image. If you don't need that level of control, check out the other Gamma settings.
- Once I’ve graded all of my RAW in REDCINE-X, I’ll then import to FCPX and transcode it all to Proxy. Note that if you change your RAW setting in FCPX (and sometimes in REDCINE-X), FCPX will blow away your transcoded Proxy files. So it’s definitely better to do your one-light before transcoding. Sometimes changes to the .RMD in REDCINE-X will not destroy your proxy. I don't recommend doing this on purpose. It can cause the Original footage to look different than its associated Proxy Media, which you would see when toggling back and forth between Original and Proxy mode.
2 Grading the RAW of only the clips you have used in your Sequence:
- Select all of your RED files in FCPX (A great way to do this is to use a RED keyword collection or smart collection to filter them). Once they’re all selected, scroll down your Inspector in the Info tab and click “Modify RED RAW settings”, and set your color and gamma spaces. The reason you do this in FCPX and Not REDCINE-X is because you can globaly modify color/gamma in FCPX and not in REDCINE-X. For everything else, we’re going to use REDCINE-X.
- In FCPX, with your timeline selected, choose File > Export XML. Name it, and save it.
- Open Redcine-X Pro and choose File > Import. You’ll see a dialog box that’s going to ask you what directories all of your RED footage lives in. In this case, all you should need to do is select your FCPX Original Media folder. Even if you set your Import settings to "Leave Files in Place" within Final Cut Pro X, REDCINE-X should still be able to find your R3D files. You can also just tell it to link to wherever you stored your original RED files. Once you’ve added these destinations, click “Import” on the bottom of the dialog box.
- A new Finder type window will open up wanting to know where you saved your FCPX XML. Find your XML and click “Open.”
- A full timeline containing all of your timeline’s R3D’s should open. (NOTE: If footage from non-RED camera was included in the XML, those clips will show as missing. This doesn’t matter) You can now go from clip to clip with the up and down arrows and adjust your RAW accordingly from the panel on the right.
- Copy and paste your RAW looks from shot to shot easily in REDCINE-X. Option + (1-6) will copy a look. Cmd + (1-6) will paste it.
- When you’re done grading your RAW, save your REDCINE-X project for future use, and then jump back over to FCPX.
- Most likely, your clips won’t have updated yet (especially if FCPX was still open while you did all this). No big deal. Simply select all of your RED clips again in your R3D Keyword or Smart Collection. Open the “Modify RED RAW Settings” box in the Inspector, and when the HUD opens up, hit CANCEL. All of the changes you made to the RAW in REDCINE-X will now be reflected in FCPX.
Using FCPX to Grade your RAW.
We’ve already covered how to open up the RAW HUD in FCPX (it’s at the bottom of the info tab of the inspector), but here are a few tips/tricks to grading your raw in FCPX:
A About 90% of the commonly used RAW sliders are present in the RAW HUD of FCPX. Some easy ways to manipulate these are:
- Select batches of clips and adjust common parameters (color space, gamma space, etc.). Make sure you click “Apply” before jumping to your next set of clips.
- If you’ve made a mistake, simply select “Revert to” and either go back to how the clip was shot originally in camera or to “neutral values,” which will reset the FCPX RAW slider back to its default positions.
- Always click "Apply" or "Cancel" when you’re done making adjustments. Otherwise, you’ll get an annoying dialog box when you try and move to the next clip to modify.
B As long as it’s not part of a Multicam Clip, you can grade your RAW clip to clip in the FCPX timeline. Simply select a RED clip in the timeline, go into the inspector, and select “Modify RED RAW settings” as you normally would.
C If you’ve used Multicam clips in your edit, you’ll have to use the "Open in Angle Editor" command to change the individual angle. If you find that you need to do this a lot, you’ll probably want to map the "Open in Angle Editor", and Timeline History Back/Forward commands somewhere quick and easy.
D Another way to get around the sync clip issue is to grade your RAW directly from your scene Keyword Collections from the native R3D’s. These have probably been Rejected during the Organization phase. If you have kept your original .R3D files in your scene Keyword Collections, but rejected them, Simply change the Event Browser filter setting to “Rejected” and only your rejected, non-synced audio and video clips will appear. To filter just the RED video clips, type .R3D into the search field. Now you can grade all your RAW from scene to scene as opposed to doing it from the Timeline.
E Simply grade directly from your R3D Keyword Collection if you want to go through and just grade all your RAW clips and have them be in one place. (NOTE: If you’ve been rejecting your R3D’s, make sure your Event Browser filter setting is set to “All Clips,” or they won’t show up.)
Color Correction Workflow in FCPX
When you combine Color Finale Pro and Slice-X with the built in Color Correction features in FCPX, there’s really very little you can’t accomplish right in FCPX.
- Purchase and Install Color Finale Pro.
- Once you have completed your Final Edit, duplicate your timeline and "_finalColor" to the name. Open the new timeline
- Set your Timeline Index to "Video Only" and search for Auditions
- Finalize any video Auditions that appear in the list.
- Go through the same process for Compound Clips. "Break Apart Clip Items" (Command+Shift+G) for all Compound Clips that contain clips that need to be color corrected individually.
- Clear your search. Select all of your video clips (Command+A) and detach audio (Control+Shift+S).
- Filter the Timeline Index to "Audio". Select all (Command+A) and delete your Audio.
- Select everything and place it into a compound clip. Save this to your Compound Clips Event and call it “name of project_final color”.
- Go back to your Final Edit timeline. At the start of your movie hit "Q" to add the Compound Clip above your non-color corrected movie. Now all corrections you make in your Color Finale timeline will update in your final edit timeline. If you set the Opacity of the Color Finale Compound Clip to 50%, you can check timings. As you scroll through your movie, if anything seems weird, that means you’ve made a mistake somewhere. When you’re done checking the timings, set the opacity of the Color Finale Compound Clip back to 100%. From there, you can export a master.
Some Strategies for Making the most of Color Finale Pro workflow in FCPX:
- Use Save Effect Preset in FCPX to save working Templates for Color Finale Pro. For example, save a preset with empty 3-Way, Curves, Vectors, and LUT panes, and then apply that as a starting point for all of your clips.
- If you know there are similar clips you want to manipulate in a batch with Color Finale Pro, do the following:
- Add a Group to the Color Finale Pro filter and call it whatever you want. Make sure it is highlighted blue and click "Done".
- Don’t make any changes to that clip. Instead, use Save Effect Preset to save that clip to the effects browser.
- Apply the saved Effect Preset to all of the similar clips.
- Select on of the clips in the Group, click "Open Controls" and make changes. Anything you do to this clip will ripple to all of the other clips within that Group.
- To understand how to take advantage of all of the Color Finale Pro Features, like presets, versions, and groups click here and watch the embedded video.
- For my own grades, I typically start with the 3 way color correction pane, and do a primary correction. From there, I’ll go to the curves pane and manipulate the luminance curve to massage my contrast. The Curves pane is the main reason I use Color Finale, and makes it worth buying if only for that single feature. If you are newer to curves, start by making a gentle S shape with luminance curve.
- To target a particular color, I’ll use Color Finale's Vectors or add a new FCPX Color Filter and perform secondaries/masks accordingly.
- If I need to add a tracking power window to a grade, I’ll use the SliceX-Color Finale Combo as demonstrated here in this episode of MacBreak Studio.
- Make sure all of your video clips have a Color Finale Pro Filter on them so that as you go through your edit with the up, down arrows (or control surface), Color Finale will automatically update to the next clip’s filter, and you can move a lot faster through your session.
- You can also use a Tangent Element or Tangent Ripple with Color Finale Pro to work on shots in the 3 way pane like you would in Davinci Resolve.
Control Surface Workflow in FCPX
Believe it or not, you CAN use a control surface to work in FCPX with 3 way color corrections. If you have the latest edition of Color Finale Pro and either a Tangent Element, or Tangent Ripple, you can now grade with the 3 way color balls in Color Final right in FCPX.
Not only that, but you can even get your Element/Ripple to work with the FCPX Color Board too. There’s about a million other things you can do with the Tangent Element as part of your workflow (including controls for Motion and Logic that I mapped) as you can see in this MacBreak Studio I did:
Okay… what I’m going to suggest here is heresy, but I’m anxiously waiting for someone to prove me wrong.
With the updated Roles workflow in FCPX and a number of key plugins, there’s really no reason at this point that you HAVE to go to Pro Tools, Logic, or Reaper to do a final mix for your film (aside from the fact that you’ve hired a sound designer and that’s the tool they like to use).
In fact, it might actually be faster and more efficient in to stay in FCPX if you are the one doing the sound design. The only reason I would recommend leaving FCPX at this point is because most trained Sound Designers & Mixers are significantly more comfortable in their DAW of choice. In the end, a great mix has more to do with the craftsmanship of the Mixer than it does with the tool they use to mix it. With that in mind, though, if you DID want to mix your movie using FCPX, here’s how you might go about doing that:
- In the Inspector under the Audio tab, disable any Audio Components you don't want to play back during your edit. For example, you'll want to make sure the camera audio is disabled for any Synchronized and Multicam Clips. You may also want to disable Mix L & Mix R components.
- As you’re working your way through your rough cut edit in FCPX, there’s not a great reason to mess too much with the audio until your picture edit is at a good place. For that reason, you’ll probably want to keep your components closed, audio lanes hidden, and waveforms minimized.
(Right click for larger image)
- As you gradually whittle down your edit, you can begin massaging your audio as well by expanding your A/V clips either by double clicking the waveforms, or using the keyboard shortcut (Control+S). You can then great J & L cuts by adjusting the audio edit points either by dragging or using the keyboard. You can manipulate audio fade handles here as well. To add keyframes, hold down Option and click on the waveform or select the clip and hit Option+K. You can also use the range tool to drag across a section of audio and drag up or down on the waveform bar, which will add keyframes automatically for just that section
- As you get to the end of the rough cut stage, it’s time to start adding SFX, music and start mixing. Use the roles pane of the timeline index to start moving your roles (cough*tracks*cough) up and down in your timeline based on your current priority. Use the Show Audio Lanes button to spread out your roles and subroles to organized your audio vertically. Use the Show or Collapse Subroles button to expand and focus on your subroles. Easily minimize all other audio on by toggling the Focus button. You’ll find this to be a significantly faster way to polish the sound in your edit, and if you really want to see these techniques maximized correctly, watch this Thomas Grove Carter demonstration.
Mastering Audio with Compound Clips
DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) are tracked based, and for good reason. The ability to add effects, pan, or adjust volume to both individual tracks and busses (groups of tracks) makes DAWs powerful tools for mixing audio. Little talked about in the FCPX 10.3 update is the ability to use Compound Clips to act as audio busses for both Subrole and Roles.
You can approach your Final mix for your movie as follows:
- Once you hit picture lock, create any audio crossfades and J or L cuts that you want. If necessary, add effects to specific clips at the Role Component level. Adding effects at the Clip Level can cause issues in the audio mastering phase.
- Duplicate your master project and call name it something like “projectname_finalsound”. Open that project.
- In the timeline index, set it to video only. Finalize any Auditions. Select all of your video clips and detach your audio (Control+Shift+S).
- Next, create Compound Clip subsections of your audio by scene, reel, or other logical grouping. These subsections so it looks something like the figure below:
- Once you’ve broken up your audio into submixes, select all of your submix Compound Clips. In the Audio Configuration panel of the Inspector, switch the Audio Component view from Roles to Subroles. Now you can add effects, panning, and volume adjustments to your subroles as if they were tracks. Since you’ve broken your movie into reels, the changes you make to the Subroles in one reel won't affect other reels. Quick Tip: using an individual character’s mic subrole to do surround panning within a scene or for particular SFX can be VERY effective.
- Once you've finished mixing at the Subrole level, it's time to create the Final Mix Compound Clip. Select all of your existing reel or scene Compound Clips, and create a new Compound clip. Name it something like "Projectname_finalmix". Switch the Audio Component view from Subroles to Roles. If you notice a Role called "Mixed Audio", there is a Clip somewhere that contains multiple Roles and has had effects applied at the clip level. In this case, consider removing the effects from the clip level and apply it to the individual Role Components on the clip. This will give you more control of your audio during mastering. Now you can add mastering effects, volume changes, and panning to all of your Dialogue, Music, and Effects.
VFX Workflow and finishing in FCPX
There are all sorts of VFX you can do right inside of FCPX. We already mentioned blending takes using the built in Draw and Gradient Masks in Part 03. When compositing shots, it is often wise to create a Compound Clip containing your elements. This allows the composited layers to act as a single shot.
Additionally, you can send the elements in the Compound Clip to Motion via Xsend Motion or to After Effects using Ximport AE. Save your VFX Compound Clips to their own Event. As you create your exports in Motion or After Effects, you can cut them into the corresponding Compound Clips, and they will ripple into the right place in the timeline.
To do tracking within FCPX, get Slice-X, Track-X and Drive-X from Coremelt. Slice-X allows you to target effects at moving elements within the shot. For example, you could limit the color corrections from an instance of Color Finale Pro to someone's face as they walk through a scene.
The chroma key tools in FCPX come in pretty handy as well. For a quick overview, watch this short tutorial from Ripple Training. If you want to go deeper, they have a full course on doing compositing in FCPX.
While doing your VFX, keep in mind that you can build your own Effects, Titles, Transitions, and Generators in Motion and publish them for use in FCPX.
For amazing VFX elements and plugins, check out both Rampant Design, MotionVFX, and FxFactory. Both have tremendous libraries of awesome tools. Rampant focuses largely on compositing elements created practically in-camera. They have great light leaks, gun effects, dusts, smokes, film grains, and more. MotionVFX make tools to add 3D objects, beautiful titles, picture-in-picture effects, and much more. FxFactory is like an App Store just for Effects. That's where you'll get a hold of things like Ximport AE, Nodes, Hawaiki Super Dissolve, 360VR Toolbox, Hawaiki Keyer, and many others.
Now that you’ve finished your color grade for each Color Space, it’s time to create your deliverables. Thankfully, this is the easy part. Select each Project and export it as a Master File. Under the “Settings” tab, set the Format to “MXF”. Configure your Roles to match the configuration required by the network/theater/website. For your P3 deliverable, make sure Color Space shows “Wide Gamut - Rec. 2020”. From here, simply export your files.
That’s all for part 4. In part 5, we’ll be walking you through roundtripping with FCPX and Color, Sound, and VFX departments.
- Part 1 Introduction and On-Set Editorial
- Part 2 Organization
- Part 3 Editing
- Part 4 Group Workflow and Finishing in FCPX
- Part 5 Collaborating with Color, VFX & Audio Departments
If you have any deeper questions at all about how to make some of this work for your productions… please reach out to us over at www.lumaforge.com. For existing LumaForge customers… not only did you buy the only shared storage specifically optimized for FCPX, but we have your back on the workflow side too, and when you bought our storage, you also bought our brains. We want to work with you to take your productions to the next level. Lastly, if you’re a filmmaker in Los Angeles looking to find other people to make movies with, there’s no better place than We Make Movies, and if you’d like to become a member, you can do so here.
Sam Mestman is the CEO of Lumaforge, maker of the Jellyfish and the SHARESTATION, a shared storage platform optimized for media and entertainment. He is also Founder of We Make Movies www.wemakemovies.org, the world’s first community funded production company, as well as a workflow architect for FCPWORKS. As a professional editor and colorist, he has worked for Apple, ESPN, Glee, and Break Media (to name a few), and has edited or colored hundreds of shorts, features, web series, and just about every other type of content you can think of. He is also one of the world’s leading experts on Final Cut Pro X Workflow, and is responsible for some of the largest FCPX professional integrations in the world.
Patrick Southern is the Chief Workflow Engineer at LumaForge in Hollywood, CA. He previously worked as an Editor and Assistant Editor on documentary projects for A&E, Riot Games, Smithsonian, National Geographic, and the Lifetime Movie Network. He has helped develop and refine a number of software tools for documentary editing. He has also acted as a FCPX Post Production Consultant on a number of independent features.