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Producing a promo for the largest sporting event in the world takes some organising of footage, especially when the client wishes to build multiple virtual video walls. Joe Castellano edited the ESPN spot using FCPX and Motion before the final promo was finished in Flame.

A well timed Final Cut Pro X user story! We will let Joe take up the story after having a look at the rather excellent finished promo.


When Barrett Esposito of Winter Films brought me the ESPN 2014 FIFA World Cup Viewers guide project, I immediately knew it was the perfect project for FCPX & Motion.

The piece was to contain flying camera moves involving five, 16 Box video walls, which required a bit of pre-planning.

At first I played with the concept of stacking and positioning 16 boxes on the primary storyline, which I quickly found unwieldy and hard to wrangle.

Then, after watching a Motion demo of a video wall using replicator, I learned that each box of the wall could be fed by a single media source, as long as the scenes were separated in exact increments.

Since I had purchased Motion with FCPX, and was casually learning it in my spare time I decided this was the best solution, because I ultimately needed to provide the Flame artist, Miguel Oldenburg, the content for all the screens in the final composite.

If I had to do individual timelines for each box, I would have ended up with 16 x 5 or eighty timelines!  Talk about unwieldy.

(Click for larger images)

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In FCPX I created a “wall filler” timeline for each wall, using markers to delineate each box of that wall. The markers were 10 seconds apart on a 10 second wall, 20 on a 20 second wall, and so on. 

Any changes the client made to the images in an individual box could be revised in a “wall filler” timeline and dropped right over the old one in Batch in the Flame project. In Flame, each box received the same media source, which was “slipped” as needed in each window in the Flame project.

The footage was a 4TB mix of Alexa, Phantom and 7D footage shot on location in Brazil on multiple days, along with 7D timelapse scenes and multiple HD video scenes downloaded from ESPN servers. The Brazil footage arrived on pokey Firewire 800 drives and was copied to a 6TB e-sata raid to be used for the edit. All footage was put on this drive and “Left in Place”.

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I added keywords for Days, Crowd, Scenics and Game footage. iPad, iPhone and computer scenes were put into a Device event. Master project timelines had their own Masters event. 

As I built my muscle memory for all the new keystrokes I was learning, I began to hit a stride. The more I edited the more I felt the power of FCPX. The ease of skimming, marking and hitting F for favorites was nothing short of a revelation after doing my last big project on an Avid. Opening and viewing this much footage would have been torture the old way. An “Only Skim in Browser” option would be greatly appreciated though.

Scene too dark? Cmd+7 open my scopes, color correct, close my scopes. Device scene, stack the video, add a vignette effect, corner pin with the Distort tool, place a logo on top, lasso, compound clip the stack, zoom the compound clip. All within seconds.

Need to edit the Compound Clip? Double-click, bam! Compound Clip timeline.

Please don’t make me ever say step-in/ step-out inside my head again, thank you very much.

Re-time by percentage, re-time by duration, Control-D measure duration or set a duration, all incredibly fast.

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As a smoke/flame operator I found Motion to be very approachable. The graphical keyframe editor was very similar to flame and I immediately felt comfortable, as I started to create my camera moves. 

All of the moves I created in Motion were pre-viz for the client to get a sense of the final product, since a static grid was simply not going to illustrate enough.

I cut my master project and my wall filler projects in concert. If someone spoke at 6:15 into a ten second wall section on my main master, I would go to that wall project, navigate to the ten seconds which represented that box (1-16) and lay the same shot at the 6:15 mark of THAT box. I would then render that wall in motion, import it to a Full Screen Walls event, and cut it into the master project.

Client changes were easily accommodated. If they wanted to re-arrange boxes on a wall, I’d rearrange the order of the scenes in that wall filler timeline and re-render the motion project for that wall and simply drop off the revised wall to Flame.

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Here is a sample of the Motion Pre-Viz against the Flame composite.


What could have been an overwhelming project to revise, became rather fun in FCPX and Motion. Scenes which required compositing were built up right on the timeline, many with up to 10 layers, all with incredible speed. This ability saved time when client tweaks and last minute iPhone screen changes came along.

Overall I’ve found fcp.co a wonderful learning resource to get me up to speed, and as 10.1.2 has now been released, I can reflect on how Displaying Unused Media would have been a handy one.

Cheers to all.


Currently, Joe and Barrett are finishing work on “Henry & Me”, an animated film about a young Yankee fan battling illness who meets Yankee greats on a magical journey. 

Joe Castellano and Miquel Oldenburg are both two-time Emmy winners at Reveal in NYC, a design and digital agency in New York.

joe castellanoJoe also recently edited “Alone with People”, a short film which premiered at the launch of Emerson’s L.A. campus and will be shown at “Outfest” in L.A. in July.






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.


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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