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Now you can transcode to 4K ProRes over 3x faster with FCPX


Andrew Reid

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Sunyata, Yes, big time! You could mark the clip in the browser without sub-clipping and that is searchable. When you put a marked clip to the timeline, the timeline index allows that to be searchable within the timeline. If you wanted you could also mark ranges within a clip and favorite those, which is also searchable and that would be FCPX's version of sub-clipping. The only downside, or I should say a downside to favorites, is that they are non-overlapping. Meaning, if one section of a clip is favorited and you over lap that into yet another favorite section, FCPX will make that one favorite clip. A compound clip would be a work around on that. The use of keyword collections and smart collections also make searching massive amounts of data very quick.  

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​Here is why:  Tell me one reason for using independent tracks to arrange clips in the timeline. I asked this a couple of times in other forums. No one had an answer. Finally comes the killer phrase '

That's exactly correct. You definitely have to have a different mind set from the traditional track based editing to wrap your head around FCPX. Aside from the GUI looking like imovie, which hopefully

Andrew. You have to throw out the 1990's mindset of what an editor should be to understand FCPX. Once I did that I could not go back editing the old way. FCPX is the fastest editor out bar none. It is

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Very interesting, I'm going to have to check that out now.. thanks!

A quick test on the transcode thing: I'm getting average around 14fps transcoding 4k mjpeg to ProRes Proxy, highest settings in ffmpeg.

frame= 1440 fps= 14 q=0.0 Lsize= 1417024kB time=00:01:00.00 bitrate=193470.9kbits/s

CentOS 6, IvyBridge i7 3.4Ghz. Not magical, but not too bad.

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Anybody worth looking at FCPX should hit up the tutorials from Ripple Training. Not affiliated with those guys, but after editing with FCP7 for a decade, it took me only a day to get up to speed in FCPX after going through their training. Informative and worth it so you don't bang your head trying to do stuff "the old way". I found once you embraced the new way, it's hard to go back to a track based edit system.

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I need to place clips perfectly in sync to an audio track and the magnetic timeline would knock everything out.

​I had the advantage of learning how to edit with FCPX being the first NLE I've ever used. I've worked at a recording studio for the past two years since I graduated college. I'm working on a few music videos right now and these aren't really issues. If you put your music in your primary storyline then everything you attach is connected to that perfect spot on the music track. You can also create secondary storylines which allow your "b-roll" to be magnetized in small groups, this is necessary if you need to use transitions, or just want to keep a group of clips together. 

Additionally, throwing down a few "sync" markers on the primary and secondary storylines help make it so you can keep magnetized "B-Roll" clips in sync with "A-Roll".  

 

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Imagine the timeline of NLEs had always had one track, as with film. That you could simply add isolated clips to the integer sequence, vertically as many as you like, either to temporarily change the flow of the narration ('B-roll'), make a composition of two or more images or simply try an alternative. Obvious idea, no? 

Imagine then, some two decades later, someone developed a new kind of NLE: The track based timeline!

Would editors say, why, this is indeed an improvement. Or would they scratch their heads and put that software trial to the trash immediately?

This is the case for me. I was going to school for broadcast communications and about a week after my first semester, I decided I wanted to focus on editing. A few weeks after that I got a part time job at an Apple store, and a few weeks later they released FCPX which I got for free. I've been editing with it since day one and over the past two years I've worked at a recording studio cranking out tons of videos with FCPX. A lot of these videos are multi-cam and FCPX just makes that insanely easy to use. 

One of the biggest struggles I face with my editing career is that everyone has hated FCPX for so long, but when I even think about editing with Premiere, Avid, or even Resolve, I just can't do it. I've watched people edit in those programs and it just looks like such a pain in the ass to not have a magnetic timeline. It's so easy to move entire sections of your story around and re-arrange things. Just select everything you want to move, then move it to where you want. 

There are still a lot of things about it that really do suck for serious work though. Auditions are a really awesome feature, but not being able to just "finalize all auditions" sucks. If you have 100 auditions in your project, you have to manually go through all those clips and finalize them one by one. You can't just remove all effects from all clips, or reset all color grading. I like to screw around with different plugins while I edit, but when I lock picture, I'd really like to be able to just clean everything up and start over. 

But I'm all in with FCPX and there are a lot more places using it and I think it's probably a lot harder to find a good FCPX editor than a traditional NLE editor. 

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It's clear to me that you haven't really used FCPX professionally if you are saying silly things like this:

'With the clip placing tool the magnetic timeline acts like a normal one. Much more sensible now. I'll give it a go.

I need to place clips perfectly in sync to an audio track and the magnetic timeline would knock everything out.'

The magnetic timeline is a work of genius and the irony in your statement is that it actually ensures that your clips remain perfectly in sync when making changes to parts of the timeline 'project'. You can also move the connection marker (lines extending from connected clips) to suit your edit. The limitation here is completely in your lack of training in FCPX and I highly recommend you spend the time getting to really know FCPX because the rewards are substantial.

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​Yeah. No batch convert!

​A new product was literally just released that does this. "PrimariesExporter" will allow you to export individual clips from the timeline from ProRes Proxy to ProRes 4444XD. 

http://www.fcp.co/final-cut-pro/news/1591-output-batches-of-clips-from-final-cut-pro-x-storylines-with-primariesexporter

This is the great thing about FCPX, it's also the great thing about the iPhone. Apple created a solid foundation that developers can build off of and create useful add-ons for the people who need them. 

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Just tried a 2014 Mac Pro (4 core) with Edit Ready and FCPX.

Virtually zero improvement in transcoding speed compared to a 2.3ghz i7 Macbook Pro Retina (Nvidia 750M 2GB).

Really surprised at that. Edit Ready took 2.03 to transcode 1 min of 4K 1D C footage on the Mac Pro compared to 2.08 on the Macbook!

FCPX transcoding to 4K ProRes (optimised media) wasn't really much either.

Same story with the 5K iMac, not much improvement.

How can that be?

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You could mark the clip in the browser without sub-clipping and that is searchable.

​It's useful to think of FCP X as a subclip editor. Assume we had a dialog clip: 'Poor girl, do you want to marry me?' - 'Yes, 'cause I know you have terminal cancer!' ; then you can make a selection 'do you want to marry me?' - 'Yes ...', make it a favourite with f and rename it as 'proposal' and then make a second selection 'Yes, 'cause I know you have terminal cancer!' and rename it to 'cancer'. The result are three clips (the original, if you imported from a camera archive or from original card, it can already be a subclip!), the favourites technically subclips. Synchronized clips, multicam clips, compound clips: all different flavors of subclips.

FCP X has become very reliable in avoiding logic conflicts that made legacy FCP slow down and finally crash. You make, for example, an archive (save as ...) of your sequence in old FCP. Then you keep changing things, and two weeks later you remember that old sequence and how well a certain thing worked for you. So you open that sequence (= the grandparents of your current state of editing), copy a selection (technically it becomes a compounded subclip) and paste it to your new timeline. You commit incest or travel back in time and kill your grandparents.

In FCP X there seem to be almost no limits for such operations, perhaps because of the way the libraries work and that clips (and subclips) need to be copied before you can use them in another library ...

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Hello,

I did find that post very interesting. I'm a hardcore fcpx fan and user, but still it as some missing feature.

Today, on fcp.co (great source for fcpx), there is maybe a solution:

http://www.fcp.co/final-cut-pro/news/1591-output-batches-of-clips-from-final-cut-pro-x-storylines-with-primariesexporter

I did not test it, but as I understand, you would be able to "batch export" when putting all you clip in the timeline. And you will be able to export it in the prores you wish by creating a new "destination" with "compressor setting"... and still use the power of fcpx. With that you can do prores proxy bigger than 1920x1080.

Best regards

 

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It's clear to me that you haven't really used FCPX professionally if you are saying silly things like this:

'With the clip placing tool the magnetic timeline acts like a normal one. Much more sensible now. I'll give it a go.

I need to place clips perfectly in sync to an audio track and the magnetic timeline would knock everything out.'

The magnetic timeline is a work of genius and the irony in your statement is that it actually ensures that your clips remain perfectly in sync when making changes to parts of the timeline 'project'. You can also move the connection marker (lines extending from connected clips) to suit your edit. The limitation here is completely in your lack of training in FCPX and I highly recommend you spend the time getting to really know FCPX because the rewards are substantial.

​Boris, why so critical? He's simply asking some questions about the application. It doesn't matter if he edits for a profession or not. Can't we all be nice about this stuff?

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Can someone do a list of pros, cons, differences of using both FCPX and Premiere? Does FCPX has system around it like Premiere does (after effects etc.)?

​If one is on a limited budget and uses a Mac, definitely get FCPX ($299). If one also wants to do visual effects, consider Hitfilm ($299). Also consider Apple Motion ($49). For ultra low budget, Resolve Lite is free and can do basic cuts, crossfades, and titles. Resolve Lite is of course also stellar for color correction/grading. If one can afford Adobe's subscription model, add Premiere (and Photoshop, After Effects, Audition, Illustrator, etc.). Free trials are available too. Beyond cost, NLEs are really personal, depending on how you like to work. There is no one right way- the best way for you is usually the solution in which you can work the most efficiently with the least headaches, focusing on creativity vs. solving tool issues. 

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Just tried a 2014 Mac Pro (4 core) with Edit Ready and FCPX.

Virtually zero improvement in transcoding speed compared to a 2.3ghz i7 Macbook Pro Retina (Nvidia 750M 2GB)....

Same story with the 5K iMac, not much improvement.

How can that be?

​Transcoding is mostly CPU-bound and only certain aspects benefit from the GPU. Intel's Quick Sync is integrated with their on-chip GPU, but it's not a GPU algorithm -- it's essentially an on-chip ASIC for H.264 transcoding. Xeon CPUs on the Mac Pro don't have Quick Sync so it's common for H.264 transcoding to not benefit or even run slower on those, despite the greater GPU resources.

EditReady uses Quick Sync, so I'm surprised it's not faster on the 5k iMac, since the CPU is faster than the 2.3Ghz i7 MBP. However Quick Sync only works for single-pass H.264 (at least on the encoding side). Is it possible you are using multi-pass encoding? That would flatten the performance differences. In FCP X this is selected by choosing "H.264 faster encode". In Compressor the video properties for the preset can be adjusted between single pass and multi pass, only single pass uses Quick Sync. However even with Compressor adjusted to the same video properties as FCP X, it's still not as fast at exporting. I don't know how or if a similar adjustment can be made with EditReady.

Another possibility is the transcode is bottlenecked on I/O so further CPU improvements are flattened. Normally that doesn't happen since H.264 is quite compressed which limits the I/O, but with 4k that could be happening. If you are testing each of these systems from files on a little bus-powered USB portable hard drive, that could be capping transcode rate due to I/O. Some of those HDDs are quite slow, even at USB 3. The fastest ones (HGST Touro S) do about 130 MB/sec, but most are a lot slower.

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Very interesting info, thanks joema. I was transcoding 4K MJPEG -> ProRes though, not H.264. But still felt there should have been a big difference to the MBP. No longer in any rush to upgrade to a Mac Pro!

As for I/O, wasn't a bottleneck... did the test on the internal SSD.

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joema: good explanation. 

I'd guess the average FCP X user doesn't care much about render benchmarks. My own routine is to deactivate background rendering until I foresee that my images are good and just need to finetune the sound. That way my project exports in no time afterwards.

The performance can be sufficient even on slow systems, because per default FCP X scales the preview quality dynamically (viewer preferences). With 'high quality', you will need more power.

A bigger graphic card makes the app more responsive, more RAM makes the skimmer faster (it seems to show more frames?) and allows for bigger projects.

Free trials are available too.

​Start only after you watched tutorials for the basics. Better yet: ask someone who nows the particular app to show them to you live.

Beyond cost, NLEs are really personal, depending on how you like to work. 

​In the case of an NLE actually how you think. Did you ever think about how you think, how you comprehend things? You can teach yourself to watch yourself build an idea (without necessarily becoming schizophrenic). If you tend to slowly gather things that fit and let the thought become clearer gradually, the puzzle of the track based NLEs will be right for you. If you are struck by a spontaneous thought, already somewhat complex, and want to explore where it leads to, then choose the mindmap-like FCP X.

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i sometimes do little documentary pieces where i pick a song i like and fill the visual part with footage. at the very beginning i throw in the song […] you delete a clip here, oh shit, something was magnetic and filled the gap.

​Sorry dude, but that makes no sense and quite honestly shows how little you know about the very basics of FCP X.

Because IF you in fact "threw in a song" as the first thing, then it would be in the primary. Therefore the subsequent clips you are editing to the music would be connected clips. THAT in turn would mean that there would not be any "gap filling" or even anything "magnetic" going on with your clips. That would only apply to the music. Unless of course you put all the connected clips into a secondary storyline. In which case... don't and all's good!

In fact the way you describe you're doing it is exactly the way you want to be doing it, if in fact the music is your primary (there's that word again... get it??) focus.

right now it might be the interview, but 2 hours later i notice "nah that doesnt make sense" and i wanna change it.

Huh? Then DELETE it?? Or simply pull the clip UNDER the primary if you still want the audio?? Ironically, as far as that's concerned, it's the exact same as with Premiere or whatever. Actually, no. It would actually be a BIGGER pain to do in Premiere, since you obviously have to make room for the clip you're moving first! Therefore it would take far more clicking and dragging to do the same thing than it does with X! Not knowing how doesn't mean you can't. Therefore your niggles make no sense in the context of how things are actually done.

I'd say you're so enamoured with your way of thinking, that you can't think of the most obvious? My tip: actually learn the basics before you sit down in front of it? Something any reasonable person would do with any software? The whole "I've been doing it one way forever, so anything that does it any differently can't possibly be good or better"-approach isn't going to get you anywhere. With any software, let alone FCP X. To actually be the judge of good/bad, better/worse you actually have to know what you're doing and understand the most basic concepts first, no?

 

and that takes such a long time in fcpx.

Again: because you don't know what you're doing, sorry. Not because it actually does take longer... because it doesn't. It's faster, as I described.

 

but i dont edit that way. i switch things around, i put something here, i put it there.

Oh the irony... EXACTLY! And that is exactly the point where FCP X shines above all else, believe it or not. Therefore X is made just for you. Simple: if that of all things isn't in fact exponentially faster for you, you're doing it wrong. Anyone that's experienced in working with X will easily be able to prove that to you.

If you don't want to learn it and understand the concept/idea behind it first, you're best off simply not using it. Especially if you're so convinced that track-based editing is da ultimate shizz, I don't even get why you're bothering with X to begin with. Stick with what you've got and be happy and save yourself all the frustration and misconceptions! Seems logical.

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