A chessboard made out of 64 HD clips - all made possible with FCPX and a new Mac Pro. Svein Sund explains to FCP.co how he accomplished this massive project.
Here at FCP.co, we have experimented before with the power of FCPX and a new Mac Pro, but that's excatly what they were, experiments. So when we saw that Svein Sund from Gyro had used a lot of layers for a real job, we had to find out more.
Svein, thank you for taking the time to talk to FCP.co, what was the project for?
The Project was for The Chess Olympiad 2014 opening ceremony, which Gyro (the company I work for) produced. The Chess Olympiad is held in the northern city of Tromsø (Tromsoe), Norway and has the worlds best chess players from over 180 countries. With over 200 million viewers I had no objections taking the job as editor on this video, which was the opening video for the Olympiad. Though not the biggest project budget-wise, it was by far the largest audience I’ve ever made anything for and I was super stoked.
The director, Erlend Gjertsen, had a brilliant idea of making the video a collaboration with the players and fans themself and we got material from all over the world. We decided early on that we wanted to have fun with the chess format and therefore the 64 grids (Chessboards for those who don’t know the game). I must admit was a bit worried at first due to formats, resolution and overall quality. But it worked fine and got the "home made" look the director wanted. Must say that all credit to Erlend for just going for it.
Why did you choose FCPX?
Gyro is probably the largest media company in Norway to use Final Cut Pro X as our main editing software, most of us are certified and we have been testing the software since the very beginning. For my part I know the software pretty well and love the workflow. But we use Adobe Premiere as a secondary NLE in case some freelancers that come from that or Final Cut Studio. That way they can get the media imported or edit on that (I’ve removed all FCP7 from all of the Macs, just not worth the hassle anymore).
(Click for larger images)
Though Final Cut has catching up to do regarding built in support for MXF, to answer the question a bit more precise the alternatives were either FCPX, After Effects (hereafter called AE) or Premiere. As we all know, AE on the new Mac Pro is not ideal since it does not support GPU with the AMD cards, and working with sound on AE is useless, and so is grading when working with so many layers. Premiere in other hand, is the real contender but it has some major weaknesses compared to Final Cut.
Good crop layout in FCPX
Poor crop layout in Adobe Premiere
I must admit that going from Final Cut Studio to Final Cut Pro X was as hard for me as for anyone else, I think this is one of the UI elements that people use in their argument for calling it iMovie Pro, but I think it is one of the strong sides and it is perhaps the feature that makes you edit faster than on other NLEs.
What equipment did you use?
How did you use FCPX to build the project?
Metadata is king and I have a folder setup that we use on all of our projects at Gyro. Folders named after location or for the grids and we had subfolders with clips named after what they did, gender or color of the chessboard (e.g. Jumping_Man_White) I thereafter imported the folders with the videos and always have "Leave files in place" selected.
Nope. But getting control over a such amount of layers can be difficult at times.
Could this have been done on another NLE?
One could always make this on other NLEs, but at the same pace? Not a chance. Heres the thing; The thing that took the longest time was setting it up and arranging it the first time. That was a hassle to say at least. But that was because I had not prepared or done anything like this before. But the second and third time I made a new grid with different people it was done in a couple of hours. The way FCPX works with the new Mac Pro is amazing, that is not suprising since the Mac Pro is practically built for FCPX, and working with so many layers and formats without having to wait all the time was crucial.
So let's have the statistics of the project!
- The ability to color label/tag groups or single layers, just like in Logic or Nuendo.
- More functions for grading and a way to grade several clips at once with one setting.
- A way to make the layers thinner in the timeline. :)
FCP.co -A fabulous FCPX user story, many thanks for taking the time to share it with us.