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marty knapp

The big buzzword at NAB this year will be 4K. So when Logan Kelsey got in contact with us about his film that was shot on a Red Scarlet an edited in 4k on FCPX, we had to know more.

Sometimes when watching films that are pushing the boundaries or made with new equipment, the actual content of the film can get lost. Marty Knapp - Portrait of a Photographer is a beautiful short film made as a personal project by Logan. It details the life and work of Marty who has been photographing the landscapes of Northern California and the surrounding areas near Point Reyes for over 25 years.

Showing the film in 4K online is tricky and although YouTube has a 4K option, that isn't the same for Vimeo.  So click on the fullscreen button and enjoy, it still is pretty sharp!

Logan writes:

"I’ve always had an affinity for West Marin and the Point Reyes area in Northern California. Having spent my early childhood years in Inverness, I have a special connection to the area. I learned about Marty Knapp after receiving one of his framed black-and-white photographs as a gift – and shorty after I approached Marty and asked him if I could do a short profile film on him.

Personal projects are important for many reasons and this turned out to be a magical experience. Spending time with Marty and learning more about his commitment as a photographer and artist has been a real gift."

Now onto the technical side! 

Logan writes:

I shot the film on my RED camera, captured this in 4K HD (a.k.a. Quad HD) and mastered the final piece in ProRes 4444 at 4K. I've recently transitioned to using my laptop as my main edit machine and this project was edited on my MackBook Pro with Retina Display connected to a Promise R6 Thunderbolt Raid. I've been editing for years on a laptop so that’s nothing new, the difference is that I'm not going to the tower to finish projects and I'm not using proxies.  

My RED workflow for short-form projects (in the up to 5min range) is a direct shoot-to-edit workflow using the native RED media. I don't have a RED Rocket card and I've already completed about six 4k projects using this method - the results are brilliant. For long-form pieces, or when you are not connect to an external Raid, I would recommend using proxy media. I'm using an UltraStudio Mini Monitor and I get a nice 4k to 1920×1080 down-convert to my Panasonic HD broadcast monitor.

A few workflow tidbits: In the FCP X preferences  I set "Playback Quality" to "Better Performance" as this gives you a 1/4 DeBayer playback and helps with performance. I also turn off the "Background render" setting for the rough cut phase. During my first edit pass I do the equivalent of a one-light with my RED media via the "Modify RED RAW Settings" HUD in the FCP inspector. Here I fix any white-balance issues, add saturation and contrast and do exposure tweaks. This is where you see the real benefits of working RAW, adjusting and manipulating the RAW metadata of the R3Ds. This operation is non-destructive and realtime, without any rendering hits.

Although I'm a Resolve user I can get  pretty good results with a quick pass in Final Cut Pro X. For this project I didn't go to Resolve and just used the color tools in FCP X. 
I've been an editor for over 15 years, Avid certified, had several Media 100 systems back in the day and moved to Final Cut Pro around v3. Occasionally I still get asked to work on Final Cut 7 legacy projects, but I migrated to FCP X straight away. I'm also fluent with Premiere and After Effects and feel equally comfortable working with those applications - but my editing philosophy has alway been that I want the tools to get out of the way, so I can focus on the storytelling.
At the moment I have several new Directing projects that I'm working on using the same 4k workflow. Moving forward from this point on I'll be shooting, editing and mastering everything in 4k. I expect my workflow and post studio to evolve as I continue to make the transition to 4k - but I keep coming back to what is ultimately the most important point; that the power of the human experience, people, their craft and their character are the key to an interesting story.


We are sure Logan will be more than happy to answer questions in the comments below if you are more interested about 4K post production on FCPX. A great film and many thanks to Logan for sharing



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