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dreamin fcpx user story

Music video Dreamin' by Pillar Point was shot on a RED Epic, edited on Final Cut Pro X and graded in DaVinci Resolve. 

Sam Petersson got in touch with us about a rather cool music video that he edited, as you can see Vimeo made it into a Staff Pick. We will let him take up the story:

 

I recently finished a music video using a combination of FCPX and Da Vinci Resolve. Directed by the ultra talented Jacob Krupnick and shot on a MōVI-mounted Red Epic: Dreamin’ by Pillar Point

 


Cutting a project shot on RED can seem like a daunting task due to massive file sizes, fast disk I/O requirements and notoriously long transcode times. Thanks to the RED Plugin for FCPX, along with the built in simplicity of the Proxy/Original Media switch in FCPX, the post production process can be smooth and simple, even on older computers.

dreamin fcpx user story monitors


Background of tech used for post production:


After three shoot days we had around 800GB of REDCODE RAW at 8:1 Compression Ratios, mostly shot at 72 FPS. Frame size was UHD 3840x2160, along with one HD 1920x1080 pickup shot made with a 5D Mark III using the Magic Lantern Raw hack. The .R3D files were delivered to post with a one-light pass done in Redcine-X Pro.


Our edit workhorse was a Octocore 2008 Mac Pro (3,1) - running FCPX 10.1.1 OS X 10.9.1; equipped with dual HD 5770 GPUs and 32GB RAM.

dreamin fcpx multi GPU


All files were stored on an 8 Disk Raid 50, connected to the MP via dual Mini-Sas which yielded approximately 300-400 MB/s reads and writes (speeds were hamstrung a bit due to the x8 HBA being placed in an x4 PCIe slot to accommodate dual GPUs).


A Black Magic Decklink Mini-Monitor provided video output to a gorgeous Sony OLED (PVM2541a).

Testing-our-Resolve-


Once we achieved picture lock, the Raid 50 was connected to a 2009 Mac Pro (8 core // 32 GB Ram // Cubix chassis running dual GTX 760 w/4GB VRAM) to color grade in Da Vinci Resolve (full licensed version), and outputting via BMD Decklink to the same Sony OLED monitor used for the edit.


Getting Started:


Right away we installed the RED Plugin for FCPX. This plugin is free, takes seconds to install (does require a reboot), and works superbly. Even running on my long-in-the-tooth Mac Pro 3,1 we were able to playback the UHD .R3D files in realtime (24FPS project setting), but after 15-20 seconds playback was compromised and frames started to drop.


optimized originalAfter reviewing some footage and realising that we would indeed want to transcode to ProRes for a more fluid edit, the decision was made to cut with ProRes proxies. Given how easy FCPX makes switching media from Proxy to Original, and how good the proxies actually looked, the decision was easy. (One of the improvements in FCPX 10.1.1 was the reducing the time taken to switch between Proxy media and Original, making it even more enticing.)

This was also the first time I had personally taken advantage of the new media management options in 10.1. We kept all the original .R3D files External to the Library, so that the only managed media in the FCPX library bundle itself were are small file sized ProRes proxies. Keeping the massive .R3D files external to the library resulted in a very small FCPX library bundle that could be quickly duplicated to an external drive for the director to review on his laptop.


The Cut:


We spent about a week trying different approaches and combinations, working to link the dancer's movements together in the most fitting and engaging visual connections. We experimented with the juxtapositions of city and nature; age and youth; intense physicality and contemplative stillness. Eventually we had a cut that felt great and made the move over to Da Vinci Resolve.

Mid-Air-Screenshot


The Grade:


When it came time to import our FCPX XML into Resolve we were blessed to work with heavy duty talents Joe Victorine and Luke Taylor.


Joe is a seasoned DP who lent his expertise (along with his Red Epic and MōVI kit) to our cause, operating the MōVI along with Soren Nielson, our DP on the shoot. We spent a day with Joe trying different LUTs and finding a look that best suited the video.


dreamin fcpx resolve grading

 

The following day we spent with Luke Taylor really getting into the finer details and taking advantage of the amazing functionality in Da Vinci Resolve. The Osiris LUT we used, for example, caused NYC’s yellow taxi cabs to pop in an alarming and distracting manner, so Joe and Luke quickly used HSL Qualifiers to quiet down the Taxicabs.

Resolve-SS-2

 

All of our shots were lit from natural/environmental sources, and ranged from super early morning to late afternoon. Having the raw files high dynamic range enabled us to match the looks of shots from super early morning to those made later in the day, especially outside in the snow.


Back to FCPX for Delivery:


This is where things got a bit dicey. Due to some of the complex opacity adjustments and layering we had created in FCPX, there were sections that had not successfully navigated the XML roundtrip. This meant exporting a new XML with the effects removed, and roundtripping back to and from Resolve, then rebuilding the effects in FCPX.


This turned out just fine, but for anyone utilizing a similar FCPX -> Da Vinci Resolve roundtrip workflow I would really recommend adding certain complex effects AFTER grading in Resolve and save a minor headache. While some FCPX effects and transitions are indeed understood by Resolve, and therefore roundtrip seamlessly between the two applications, there is still room for improvement.


Wrapup:


Using FCPX with RED RAW .R3D files is a great workflow and I highly recommend it. The metadata access and media management we all hear about really does save an incredible amount of time later on in the cut when looking for specific shots. The more time and attention taken when organizing footage into different collections and events is invaluable later in the edit process.


While all of today’s contemporary NLEs can playback .R3Ds without transcoding, the incredible ease of switching between proxy and original media in FCPX allow for much older machines to work with files shot on RED with ease. Even the proxy media created from UHD .R3D files is Full HD 1920x1080 and looks terrific.


We found that FCPX integrated impressively with Da Vinci Resolve. We had a straightforward XML roundtrip experience, other than the multilayered, nuanced opacity adjustments in one section of the piece which needed to be rebuilt in FCPX after grading. With a little care and patience the FCPX -> Resolve roundtrip workflow has become a more viable option than ever before, with minimal conforming needed in either application.


dreamin fcpx user story credits

Thanks much for reading; hope you enjoy the video!

 

sam peterssonSam Petersson is a Brooklyn-Based filmmaker and collaborator at Wild Combination.

Initially working as a producer for commercials, music videos, and feature films, including the dance film Girl Walk//All Day, he has steadily developed a taste for post-production. FCPX is his tool of choice and he prefers to edit standing up.

 

 

 


Written by
Top BloggerThought 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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