One of the moans from people about Final Cut Pro X is the handing off of audio to a DAW for finishing. They haven't realised that FCPX has one of the smoothest tools available for getting an AFF into an audio session! These two filmmakers talk about the benefits of X2Pro to their workflow.
We have to thank Marquis Broadcast for making these testimonials available to us for reprint.
Making the Conversion with Marquis Broadcast X2Pro Audio Convert
Award-winning Director Emil T. Jonsson Uses X2Pro to Integrate FCPX with a Pro Audio Workflow
Emil T. Jonsson is an actor and independent filmmaker from Sweden. He’s currently working on a number of short narrative pieces with his writing partner, Björn Boström, using Marquis Broadcast’s X2Pro Audio Convert software to convert his FCP X project to Avid Pro Tools for additional audio production.
“When editing, I have always preferred to work with Final Cut Pro X and the Mac eco-system, mostly for the speed but also the ease of use and peace of mind it affords me,” Emil explains. “I work both on an iMac and a Mac Book Pro, and by keeping my library with proxies on an external SSD, I can quickly move edits between my stationary set-up and my laptop, allowing me to work wherever I go. Everything syncs up and is easy to maintain.
My native footage is kept on external HDD drives and is only plugged in for those last finishing touches and exports. I usually shoot in ProRes and from sound I get .wav files with multiple channels. When collaborating with outside editors – who might use Avid or Premiere – and outside sound designers, I need a smooth way to convert my FCP X projects into something that can be used in Pro Tools for finishing.”
Marquis Broadcast’s X2Pro software integrates Final Cut Pro X into a professional audio workflow, converting the exported FCPXML into an AAF file, which Avid Pro Tools can open as a session, delivering seamless integration between the two applications. Taking advantage of the innovative metadata-based organising features in Final Cut Pro X, the unlimited numbers of audio roles in Final Cut Pro X are then converted into Pro Tools tracks, allowing sound designers and mixers to start working immediately.
“Sound quality is important to me,” Emil continues. “In my latest short film, we had two sound technicians, several mics, lavs and boom, and clearly-labelled files with iXML data. The beauty with all iXML data is that it carries over into FCP X, and any roles and audio channels are clearly labelled from the get-go. I usually start my organisation by muting the mix tracks, working with the best sounding channels, even for my offline edit. The 4K ProRes footage is turned into PreRes proxy files for ease of use and a camera LUT is applied automatically.
I spend a lot of time organising and making sure everything is labelled correctly, mute audio channels and create a quick pre-grade to make sure it all looks and sounds good before I start editing. I can spend a lot of time editing my own productions, so I want to make sure I have a good experience and know where to find everything when I’m in a creative flow."
“After picture lock, it’s time for turnovers; I needed to send an AAF from FCP X. I always knew X2Pro was the way to go, from reading articles and asking user groups online, and X2Pro helped me immensely in being able to turn something viable over to my Pro Tools sound designer. Working with a low-budget I need my turnover not to be a headache on his part but rather something I have the control over at my end.
I also like knowing the ins and outs of everything and so playing around with X2Pro I have learned more about audio turnovers, about formats like EDL/XML/FCPXML/AAFs, about iXML data and how to label mics. I’ve learned about the granularity of sub-roles within FCP X, plus the importance of organising everything with future turnovers in mind."
“I knew Pro Tools didn’t accept FCPXML and had heard that Logic and Resolve had less customisability and more issues with their AAF exports. I also know that FCP X has been critiqued for not having AAF export and been considered an inferior NLE because of that. Until Pro Tools can accept files like FCPXML, we really need third party solutions like X2Pro to bridge the gap."
“Until Pro Tools can accept files like FCPXML, we really need third party solutions like X2Pro to bridge the gap.”
“My goal is to move on to feature films and also more commercial work. My first short, ‘The Best of Intentions’, premiered at Palm Springs International Film Festival and Gothenburg International Film Festival, winning a few awards.
The best feature of X2Pro is just how customisable everything is, such as being able to decide whether or not to include disabled or inactive clips or even whole sub-role channels. I decided to keep disabled and inactive clips (these show up as muted on the Pro Tools end) and to throw away the sound technician’s ‘mix’ sub-roles, since I knew the sound designer did not need those. I also asked my sound guy and – per his request – gave him a whole 60-seconds of frame handles. My sound engineer appreciated the clean turnover and gave me the thumbs up!”
Delivering Dolby 5.1 with Marquis Broadcast X2Pro Audio Convert
Swedish DoP, Ola Högberg, uses X2Pro for fast export of a surround sound mix
Ola Högberg is a director of photography based in Sweden, who’s filmed in many locations around the world. His recent project, Dedication, is a short film with no text or dialogue, featuring a young CrossFit athlete, who divides her time between her quiet home in the countryside and the local gym.
The film was a finalist in the ‘ARRI Unspoken Nordic Challenge" short film competition, held by Camera+Nordic and ARRI. The project needed to be delivered for the film competition in surround sound and Ola turned to Marquis Broadcast’s X2Pro Convert software to help him achieve this.
With a love of all things technical, Ola is very familiar with camera brands and editing systems, using Apple Final Cut Pro X for most of his own editing on a MacBook Pro, plus grading using Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve with an EIZO calibrated monitor.
“In this project, I was supposed to deliver a Dolby 5.1 sound mix, so I turned to a sound technician for help,” Ola explained. “I wanted to do a rough sound mix to start myself but could not see an easy way to export the project to him, until X2Pro showed up! Even though Dedication was a small project, X2Pro just made the process so simple!”
Ola started his career as a stills photographer and still works on editorial and commercial assignments for this. For his filmmaking, Ola mainly edits using FCP X, with the RX 8 plug-in from iZotope used for cleaning up audio.
“Now, with X2Pro, I can export my own sound mix with no problem, including roles,” he continues, “Once exported, it opens up perfectly in Avid Pro Tools for a sound engineer to do further work. I really like that X2Pro has a simple, straightforward interface too. One of my next projects is a 360 VR project involving dancers, and I plan to use X2Pro on this again. It’s such a time-saver!”
“With X2Pro, I can export my own sound mix with no problem, including roles. Once exported, it opens up perfectly in Avid Pro Tools... it’s such a time-saver!”
Ola’s short film, ‘Dedication’, was filmed with the ARRI ALEXA Mini LF, with ARRI Signature Primes.