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Emmy Award for Harlem Globetrotters documentary cut on Final Cut Pro X

FCPX Harlem Globetrotters

The news of Emmy Award winning shows cut on Final Cut Pro X keep on coming in. This time, The Game Changers…How the Harlem Globetrotters Battled Racism won a NYC award in the category of “Nostalgia Programming”.


Rick Lavon, Senior Editor at Alan Weiss Productions got in touch with us to tell us about the award winning documentary he edited. Great news, but even better when we found out that 'The Game Changers…How the Harlem Globetrotters Battled Racism' was the first documentary project Rick had cut using FCPX.


Rick also very kindly sent us some notes about the post production of the documentary: 

This was a documentary called “The Game Changers…How the Harlem Globetrotters Battled Racism”. It aired on the Arise News Network and aired locally (NYC on WRNN). It was produced by Alan Weiss Productions and it marks the first Emmy Award for Arise. It also was the very first long form project I cut in FCPX. It won in the category of “Nostalgia Programming”.

The challenges in this program were that the interviews were done in 1995, in standard definition Beta SP. The original producer was looking to expand this into a feature documentary. Sadly, it didn’t pan out and the videotapes languished for 20 years.

Then the owner of the company I work for, Alan Weiss, convinced Arise that this would be a great fit for their programming. So we were able to create a 30-minute story utilizing the interviews (which included the late Wilt Chamberlin and other original members of the Harlem Globetrotters) as well as historical footage and recreations and update everything to HD.

FCPX Harlem Globetrotters 2


FCPX ( I was using 10.1 at that point, I believe) was a great tool for this because I was dealing with so many different formats, from H.264 home movies, to stock footage, to web footage, to studio segments done in MXF, and it handled everything without a problem. I work remotely, so as I finished sections I would export straight out of FCPX to a FTP site for review and comments.

The metadata was a fantastic aid, as I was able to customize the data to include websites where we found photos and footage, or books that contained historical pictures. This was invaluable as we had to document where all the elements came from.

I created a GX metadata view that I opened in Producer’s Best Friend, and was able to send a report quite quickly. The same went for the music, where I created a special view for music reporting that included composer, artist, copyright as well as running time.

FCPX Harlem Globetrotters 3

Here is a graphic treatment using stock footage and colorized historical photos.


FCPX Harlem Globetrotters 4

Here is an example of using the Ripple Callouts to create an old-time map effect.


I used the Timeline index and roles to easily keep track of VO changes or to replace stock footage placeholders. And the magnetic timeline was a huge help in getting everything to time.

FCPX Harlem Globetrotters 5

Here is a picture of my timeline.


For finishing I mixed the 8 audio tracks down to a stereo mix and used Roles to just export that audio while keeping my original audio intact. I used a Cineflare adjustment layer to add a broadcast safe filter for the entire program. My deliverable was an MXF file formatted as XDCAM50 and I used the Sony Content Exporter to create that. Happily, that feature is now part of 10.2.1!

Again, it was a great learning experience and got me up to speed on FCPX quite quickly. I have done 2 other documentaries for Arise on FCPX and hope to submit them next year.


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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