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The workflow of editing a short 3D film in Final Cut Pro X and DaVinci Resolve

The hub 3d fcpx workflow

On its own, FCPX cannot edit and output a 3D master. However, coupled with Resolve in the middle to do the 3D heavy lifting, it performs rather well. Here's how Matt Brading did exactly that on his latest short film.

Will Final Cut Pro X ever support native 3D editing? We don't know and would suggest that the importance of such a feature has been demoted a few cells in the development team's spreadsheet of future desirable features.

3D films do have their niche and when Matt Brading decided to make the short film 'The Hub' he used FCPX as a 3D edit tool with Resolve in the middle of the workflow.

We will let Matt take up the story, well worth a read and a view of the video even if you are not doing 3D production as there is a lot of deep Final Cut Pro X knowledge in there. Matt gets our third FCPX expert badge of the week!

 

Project Overview

The Hub is a short, stereoscopic 3D film that shows a world where smartphones and internet have taken over people’s everyday lives. The film was a test to see whether low-budget stereoscopic film making was a reality and was shot using a DIY Beam-Splitter Rig with two Canon 550Ds.

My main role in the project was to design and test an end-to-end post production workflow for stereoscopic film. This workflow was then used to handle the editing of the film. The workflow centred around using Resolve to carry out the stereoscopic grading and Final Cut to handle media organisation and editing.

 

Post Production Workflow

The first stage of the process was to synchronise the left eye, right eye and audio files for each take together. This was done by adding scene, take and angle meta-data to every file and then using FCP X to synchronise clips based upon their audio wave forms. This produced a synchronised clip that was assigned time of day timecode. Using the Roles feature of FCP X, the synchronised clips were exported with the Left, Right and Audio being exported as separate files with matching timecode, duration and naming.

These exports became the online media files and were imported into DaVinci Resolve. Inside Resolve, the stereoscopic sequences were created using a stereo EDL. Each clip was then groomed to correct any geometric and colour disparities between the left and right cameras in order to produce a smooth stereoscopic effect. Once all clips were groomed, they were exported from resolve as side-by-side offline files.

These offline files were imported into FCP X in order for the offline edit to take place. The offline process was essentially the same as for a 2D project, the only difference was that the external monitor was set to translate the side-by-side files and produce a watchable stereoscopic effect. This allowed the editor to monitor in 3D and make sure the edit suited the 3D format. Once the offline edit was completed, an XML was exported from FCP X.

This XML was then re-imported into the same Resolve project as was used earlier, which meant that the files could be linked back to the online media with all the previous grade nodes still attached. At this point, any clips that needed VFX could simply be rendered out of Resolve and forwarded to the VFX team.

Inside Resolve, the film was graded first in 2D using only the left eye files. These grades were then automatically rippled across to the right eye and were manually checked and tweaked to make sure their were no remaining disparities.

Once the film had been graded and the VFX were finished, a final result was rendered out of Resolve as full frame left and right eye files. These were then imported back into FCP X in order to add the audio mix and any titles or credits. A custom 3D export filter was built in motion that would allow FCP X to export the film in a number of different 3D formats (discrete, side-by-side, interlaced).

 

matt bradingMatt Brading is a Broadcast Engineer for Cisco and has a BSc in Film Production Technology from Staffordshire University. His research into 3D post production earned him 2nd place at GradEx 2013. He was the co-founder and Station Manager for Staffs TV, an award winning TV station. He is also joint founder of Head Space Productions, a new independent production company. He's available to contact both through his website and via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so if you have any questions feel free to get in touch with him.

 

©2013 FCP.co/Matt Brading


Written by
Top Blogger Thought Leader

I am the Editor-in-Chief of FCP.co and have run the website since its inception ten years ago.

I have also worked as a broadcast and corporate editor for over 30 years, starting on one inch tape, working through many formats, right up to today's NLEs.

Under the name Idustrial Revolution, I have written and sold plugins for Final Cut Pro for 13 years.

I was made a Freeman of Lichfield through The Worshipful Company of Smiths (established 1601). Though I haven't yet tried to herd a flock of sheep through the city centre!

Current Editing

great house giveaway 2020

2020 has been busy, the beginning of the year was finishing off a new property series (cut on FCP) for Channel 4 called The Great House Giveaway. I also designed and built the majority of the graphics as Motion templates. It has been a great success and the shows grabbed more viewers in the 4pm weekday slot than any previous strand. It has been recommissioned by C4 for 60 episodes, including prime-time versions and five themed programmes. The shows have also been nominated for a 2021 BAFTA.

Tour de france 2020
Although both were postponed to later in the year, I worked again on ITV's coverage of the Tour de France and La Vuelta. 2020 was my 25th year of editing the TdF and my 20th year as lead editor. The Tour was the first broadcast show to adopt FCPX working for multiple editors on shared storage.

 

BBC snooker the crucible

BBC's Snooker has played a big part in my life, I've been editing tournament coverage since 1997. I'm proud to be part of a very creative team that has pioneered many new ideas and workflows that are now industry standard in sports' production. This is currently an Adobe Premiere edit.

amazon kindle BF

Covid cancelled some of the regular corporate events that I edit such as trade shows & events. I was lucky however to edit, from home, on projects for Amazon Kindle, Amazon Black Friday, Mastercard and very proud to have helped local charitable trust Kendall & Wall secure lottery funding.

As for software, my weapon of choice is Final Cut Pro and Motion, but I also have a good knowledge and broadcast credits with Adobe Premiere Pro, MOGRT design and Photoshop.

Plugin Design & Development

I'm the creative force behind Idustrial Revolution, one of the oldest Final Cut Pro plugin developers. It hosts a range of commercial and free plugins on the site. One free plugin was downloaded over a thousand times within 24 hours of release.

I also take on custom work, whether it is adapting an existing plugin for a special use or designing new plugins for clients from scratch. Having a good knowledge of editing allows me to build-in flexibility and more importantly, usability.

FCP.co

Now in its 10th year and 4th redesign, running FCP.co has given me knowledge on how to run a large CMS- you are currently reading my bio from the database! Although it sounds corny, I am pretty well up on social media trends & techniques, especially in the video sector. The recent Covid restrictions has enabled live FCP.co shows online. This involves managing a Zoom Webinar through Restream.io to YouTube and Facebook. 

The Future

I'm always open to new ideas and opportunities, so please get in touch at editor (at) fcp.co. I've judged film competitions, presented workflow techniques to international audiences and come up with ideas for TV shows and software programs!

 

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