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We like to test things here at FCP.co, so when we had the chance to test FCPX with files written from the newly updated software on EVS servers, we were there the moment the streams were set going. Unfortunately, it didn't go to plan.

EVS servers form the backbone of many sports and news broadcasts. Not bad for a machine that started off as a video RAM buffer for analysing golf swings!

Using EVS streams in FCPX has been a problem as the ProRes files created by the servers and the associated boxes connected to them were not fully up to Apple's specification. This meant that things like Quick Look didn't work, but the killer for us was the lack of timecode on the files.

EVS were aware of the problem and at IBC we saw a glimpse of EVS streams working with FCPX, with the correct timecode. They had re-written the way that the files get exported and guaranteed us that the files being streamed were perfect.

The problem with new software is that OB companies and broadcasters who have large installations of servers won't just upgrade their versions of EVS software overnight. So it's only now that we have been able to test the new streams (in record) with FCPX 10.1.4

They don't work.

Let us clarify that. The files the EVS writes show up in FCPX fine, you can see from the 'Media is Growing' metadata tag that FCPX recognises these files as growing. The audio is mapped as per EVS settings and to our great relief we have correct timecode! Even the Varid comes across.

EVS update 1

 

So what is the problem? We return to the waveform redraws that cause Final Cut Pro X to slowdown. When the file is still in record, the refresh rate of the growing file is set to 10 seconds. This is something that is controlled by EVS and as we understand, cannot be changed without digging into some complex code.

The refresh every 10 seconds causes FCPX to try to not only redraw the audio waveforms, but also redraw the video filmstrip as well. This makes FCPX slowdown to a point where it is unusable. Take a look at the video below where you will see skimming across a growing clip in the browser. Every 10 seconds the machine beachballs when the file gets updated.

 

The constant refresh doesn't give FCPX a chance to analyse and redraw the waveforms. In fact, if you load a clip up in list view with the waveform visible, it will never finish drawing the waveforms until the file has stopped recording!

EVS has done what they promised and their servers are writing the correct files, but they will not be usable in FCPX until Apple find a way to stop the constant waveform updating. This goes for all segmented growing files, not just EVS.

So how can you access a growing file such as those used on the Tour de France? That workflow used files from Softron's MovieRecorder in classic mode. Very different as these files have their duration set on record and then the application writes the video and audio information into that file. FCPX doesn't see them as growing files.

Toggle MovieRecorder into segmented mode and we bet that the files recorded that way will have exactly the same problem in FCPX as the EVS streams. We won't even mention how range based keywords don't work with growing files either.

 

Bottom line is Apple need to address the way growing files are handled and that includes the waveform issue. EVS has kept their part of the bargain by writing the correct files, but until FCPX has incremental waveform and filmstrip icon generation, they are going to be unusable in X whilst still in record. Which is the whole reason why those files are used in the first place.

 

 


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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