FCPX Will Win the WAR

Simple, Final Cut Pro X will win the editing software War.

Okay, like Alec Baldwin in Glen Gary Glenross' character would say "Have I got your Attention..."

The only 2 questions in this "war" are WHEN and HOW. 

I have been a Editing with FCP since version 1.0 and I "battled" with naysayers at post transfer houses through the digital transition years, the doubting Producers and the many versions/iterations of Final Cut Pro; until it finally rose to its peak with FCP 7,where it has been accepted in TV, commercials and on Feature Films by the some of the great editors of our industry. However, when Apple took a few giant steps backwards to move forward it was sad. Sad to see Apple stuck down by the Post Community like a war hero "pig" in the final act of Richard III. FCPX in hindsight wasn't a high powered imovie but really just half baked.

When it was first announced, many panicked and there was a "general mass hysteria" but I was the first to say it is a tool . I still believe it is just a tool and humans are good at adapting after the first knee jerk reaction. However, after I actually took FCPX for a test run; I silently and slowly backed away from the "train wreck" shaking my head a little confused. Apple sent a clear message to everybody in the Film industry that they are not in the filmmaking business but in the "selling as much software to the biggest customer base" business. In all fairness, Apple and their rivals all have the similar objectives but Apples was clearly aiming for volume. A mistake. At that point I started to look at the usual suspects for alternatives: AVID and Premiere.

I quickly remembered why I liked FCP better then the rivals. However, I was reminded how Avid is a stable robust environment that is very responsive and over the years it had improved it's tools trying to adapt to regain some its user that FCP7 had lost over the years. It is still a the Cadillac of Editing but I don't want to drive a Cadillac in this "war" and producers don't want to pay for that fancy ride all the time.

Adobe fixed up their LADA since '99. It's a whole new beast that is tricked it out to blend into a workflow making it a cool Jetta for After Effects users like myself but the Speedgrade program in CS6 needs some work. Unfortunately, it is crashy and resemble FCP7 in many ways with some great upgrades; that make it what FCP8 would have been if Apple didn't prematurely jump to FCPX. Both are valid fall backs options but I do lots of out of the box projects that require the ability to be flexible, mobile, robust like FCP7 permitted. I might as well keep on going with the "Devil I know" which is a fully operational FCP7 until the WHEN and HOW happens.

So when will the WHEN begin. This is the X-factor in my statement "FCPX will WIN the WAR". Apple has to realize that FCPX is for a professional Film market. When they realize there mistakes that is when they will start winning some battles. Apple has made some mistakes in the past but usually they fix them DL (down low). However, this "girlfriend" doesn't apologize, Apple's M. O. is fix it and act like it never happened, circle puck, the Cube, itunes features, MobleMe... When will Apple fix FCPX professional post missing features? It seems like this process has begun. Even if this mistake have been made, they are in the positions of playing catch up, as oppose to being ahead of the curb and setting the trends in post software. They have effectively given hope to the competition. So, the battle rages on.

The HOW of this fight is easy. After giving FCPX a second test run recently. I saw that Apple starting fixing there "mistakes". FCPX 10.07 is very different from the 10.0 version. Many features that I wanted are back from FCP 7: Dual Viewer, Position tool, Output to external monitor, Multicam and more to come. The more I worked with FCPX, the more I liked some of the new features: Multicam sync, magnetic timeline when editing dialogue or inserts, smartlist, Keyword and its stability, auto render, preview effects and itunes integration. Wow I think I can go on but you get it, lots of new goodies.

The main cause of frustration was the absence of the tools that the many versions of Final Cut Pro had worked out over the first 7 versions. Thus, discarding everything they learned from the post community; combined with the fact that it resembled and took many features from imovie instead of FCP7. This is still a little bit of a mystery to me.

They still have lots to work on. Let's use the Color correction tools for example. It is clearly suppose to replace Color 1.5 because it has been left for dead with the other programs in the suite except for Motion (ughh). So many omissions that are pretty basic stuff when it comes to color correction: the ability to finesse a mask selection, various views of mask selection, the Color Board... It is great to reinvent the wheel but I would like to use the wheel sometimes. Apple should give me the option to use the 3 color wheels or the color board. Why force one way of working. Which brings use to the main oversight and the key to win the "War".

The beauty of the previous versions of Final Cut Pro and its defining characteristic was the fact that you could work like your mind works. Basically, FCP was flexible. This is the real feature that Apple has removed and must put back into the software. Price is great, new tools are great, but making it work for which ever way a creative mind wants to use, the modularity, is the real selling point for the users.

Finally, I was looking how to save my windows layouts. which you can't do by the way, when I stumbled on this great article. 


After reading that some of these elements are in the code, I started to realize that they are not fixing but porting features and it Is just a matter of time. All the FCP7 features that are worth having are going to be back into FCPX and with the added new features. FCPX should be the victor. 





B Camera or Not to B an Editor's Best Friend

All B Camera operators should be editors and vice versa. Everybody focuses on the main camera aka A camera. Director, script supervisor, producers, the list is longer but nobody is too concerned with the roaming maverick. 

Why do I know this... I have B camera operated on many a shoots in my career and when I approach the Key people, the only one who is concerned with what I have shot is the camera man/DOP. 

It is treated as a bonus camera, but in this day an age of digital media storage, DSLRs and GoPros, it has become a standard to multicam shoot. I can't remember a production that I have worked on that didn't have 2 cameras rolling at all times. Most smaller productions are even more prone to use 2 to 3 cameras to increase their shooting efficiency. 

I have recently worked on 2 small projects with the new FCPX (which has improved leaps and bounds from it's release by the way but I should tackle this in another post). Both projects have been multicam and when I look at both angles simultaneously in the viewer, I find myself talking to the screen like a TV director "move out of the shot", "closer", "farther"...  Hmm "everyone goes a little crazy sometimes"

On one of the projects, I was B camera and the other was with a more traditional small documentary crew. I saw the difference in ease and of editing and the end result with my operating vs. the other. My operating felt like there was 3 cameras and the other was filled with editing tricks to mask the less than stellar operating. Let me say the operating wasn't poor from a film production side but from an editor's perspective it didn't maximize the use of a second camera.

B camera operating is always a little bit of a dance with the A camera, even more so in a documentary situation. 

So, I thought I would outline some simple concepts to follow that will hopefully help some future B camera operators from making some crucial mistakes that make "saving it in post" not necessary.

1. Look at your dance partner: Be aware of what A cam is shooting. You might not need 2 sizes of a talking head.

2. Talk with your dance partner: I always coordinate with A. You shoot Medium and wide shots. And I will stick to close ups and extreme wide shots. You get more options. 

3. A-B-M: Always, Be, Moving. Especially in a documentary situation. A talking head is great info to shoot but if A is locked in on the subject, you want to get everything else.

4. A-B-S: Always, Be Static. Yeah, I know. But seriously, hold the shot for a few seconds before moving on to the next great angle. Also, if A cam is moving position. Freeze! You just became "A cam" and the only useable angle. Be a Hero. 

5. Arms length to you dance partner: If your close to A cam you making it hard to cut. If your worried about 180 rule/jumping the axis. Don't. Priority would be the jarring jump forward angle or even worst the identical wide shot as A Cam. Dowt.

That's my 2 cents on that subject now back to dark edit room. 


Okay you watched the Grinch, Frosty and Rudolph the Red Nose Reject that you accept only when you need him. (interest moral in that story!?) Now the kids are all snug in their beds, time for some Grown up Christmas Classics with a Bang. Last year I put to rest the PENULTIMATE CHRISTMAS ACTION MOVIE (that ones for you @hotdogsladies) Time to go to one of the lesser know Holly Jolly Flicks. Lethal Weapon(1987 R. Donner).

I know, the trailer fails to market the Ho-Ho-ness of the film but revisit this movie or watch it for the first time with some Hot cider and chestnuts roasting over an open fire. It has it all the Holly Jollies: Christmas music bookends the story, Riggs goes to shop for a Christmas Tree and he even has a less than tasty holiday dinner with the Murtaugh family.

Fear not, there is all the grown up action packed sequences edited by Stuart Baird veteran cutter and Richard Donner great rhythm and directing style. Mel Gibson crazy performance as Riggs is brilliant (foreshadowing his future wackiness) as he tries to get through the day without killing a Bad guy. Also, it may be the best Black retiring cop & Crazy White guy buddy movies of all time.

Ask Santa for this one for your stocking. Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays! 

*Watch the Director's Cut, it has all these scenes that affect the pace of the movie by overstating Riggs Craziness. It is like watching Touch of Evil's Studio added scenes. Film akward.

Awards Season Started Early This Year at Gorilla Productions

My new Home office walls are up and painted. Starting to move in the gear and I am close to finishing my hiatus from Post work. Here's a look at the office/Batcave.

I might not be working it but some of the projects I have worked on in the year have been hitting the award circuit pretty hard.

The Guidestones Web Series has been nominated in a whole bunch of catagories and has gotten crital acclaim from wed and traditional media. Just this week they won the Digis 2012 Award for Best Web Series. Early this year won a Rockies Award for Best Web Series Fiction and Official Selection at the Geneva Internation Festival.

Also, it got nominated for Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Female Performance (Supinder Wraich) and Best Supplemental Content at the IAWTV Awards. Oh Yeah and it got a Nomination for Best Editing too. Still haven't checked it out. Whaaaat. It is on HuluYouTube and guidestones.org. Watch them all, it's a fun ride.

Some work that I did for ALP Communication, some mini-docs for BMW have been awarding it up.  BMW: The Ultimate Driving Machine is a Silver Winner at the 2012 Summit Creative Award®and a Platinum Remi for New Media – Web Series at the 45th Worldfest International Film Festival

It is nice see that all the hard work that I put in to some of these projects are being recognized but the best is to know that they are being seen by an audience. 

Almost back...


Your Not Editing, If Your Not Making Mistakes

A few months into my postproduction hiatus and I have realized something that has change in me in the last few years. I'm really comfortable with being wrong.

So, as I stated in my previous post that I was going to pay the bills the old fashion film ways; union film lighting. As I rubbed shoulder with my union brothers and catch up on old times, as we move big gear on big movies, I realize that there is this weird pressure to hit "perfection" on the first attempt at something. Having not done Big Budget shooting for about 8 years and some of the lightning equipment has evolved; so, I was a little rusty. No major mistakes that you get a nickname over or anything, but little things, little mistakes were made by myself. My bad.

I was surprised how people were quick to try to locate the offender but I was even quicker with my hand up to take responsibility for my faux pas and confortable doing it. Sometimes I would get friendly ribbing from people that now that I was just getting back into the swing of things. But sometimes, I would get disapproving glares, comments that were intended to induce some form of shame or even the mini speech about how it is done from younger members that didn't know me.

At the beginning I thought is was comical, then I was annoyed at why are we wasting time breaking down the mistake, then I thought about how film works; it is all about mistakes and adjustments. And most of the time things that were made a "big" deal out of turned out to be something that changed in the end like most things in the film world. I started thinking about why am I so un-phased about making a mistake.

Editing is making mistakes many times on an hourly basis. And over the years, I have noticed that if I don't just start making mistakes or editing, I develop editors block. So, I make the mistake and know that I'll come back to fix it later. I have gotten very comfortable with mistakes. For example, I think I nailed the essence of the cut and/or the director or producer points out key plot point that's not in the screener. My bad, I cut it out when I was trying to make the edit air tight for pacing. Or even better, I am at a show and tell with ad agency and don't like any of the 12 versions of the spot, technically my mistake. My Bad. I got a millions of these... Feel free to comment with your mistake stories. To quote Deniro in Cape Fear, "... Reminds you your human"

Conclusion. If you can't deal with making mistakes, editing is not for you.