Tag Archives: FCP X

LACPUG hosting FCP and Premiere creator Randy Ubillos

The Los Angeles Creative Pro User Group (LACPUG) is celebrating its 18th anniversary on June 27 by presenting the official debut of Bradley Olsen’s Off the Tracks, a documentary about Final Cut Pro X. Also on the night’s agenda is a trip down memory lane with Randy Ubillos, the creator of Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, Aperture, iMovie 08 and Final Cut Pro X.

The event will take place at the Gallery Theater in Hollywood. Start time is 6:45pm. Scheduled to be in the audience and perhaps on stage, depending on availability, will be members of the original FCP team: Michael Wohl, Tim Serda and Paul Saccone. Also on hand will be Ramy Katrib of DigitalFilm Tree and editor and digital consultant Dan Fort. “Many other invites to the ‘superstars’ of the digital revolution and FCP have been sent out,” says Michael Horton, founder and head of LACPUG.

The night will also include food and drinks, time for questions and the group’s “World Famous Raffle.”
Tickets are on sale now on the LACPUG website for $10 each, plus a ticket fee of $2.24.

The Los Angeles Creative Pro User Group, formerly the LA Final Cut Pro User Group, was established in June of 2000 and hosts a membership of over 6,000 worldwide.

Review: FxFactory’s AudioDenoise, EchoRemover, Xsend Motion

By Brady Betzel

Over the last few years, I’ve really enjoyed working on Windows-based PCs , but some of the drawbacks are the inability to use FCP X, Motion and any of their plug-ins. Recently, I opened my MacBook Pro once again because I found three plug-ins from FxFactory’s partners Automatic Duck and CrumplePop that I really wanted to check out inside of FCP X: AudioDenoise, EchoRemover and Xsend Motion. I’ve previously reviewed FxFactory plug-ins such as Nodes 2 before, and they are pretty incredible.

FxFactory is a Mac OS-only plug-in app that manages all of FxFactory’s plug-ins. You can buy, update, install, read info and even watch tutorials inside of their app! The FxFactory app is actually a very well-organized place to centrally locate all of your FxFactory plug-ins, as well as learn what each of them do without much legwork. There are a few tabs inside, including one that shows all of your purchased plug-ins, so, if like me, you forget about some of your plug-ins you can check them out in one page.

CrumplePop EchoRemover
First up is CrumplePop EchoRemover, an audio plug-in that sells for $99 and, like its name implies, it removes echo from your audio. If you’ve worked with Red Giant’s Universe plug-in, you’ll want to check out CrumplePop.

EchoRemover has a very simple approach with minimal input needed to do its magic in either FCP X or Adobe Premiere as long as they are on the Mac OS. It has three options to fine-tune the echo removal: Strength, Release and Bass Reduction. Strength covers how aggressively the echo is removed (think of it as opacity if you are a video person); Release describes how fast the cutoff is at the end of words or sounds; and Bass Reduction can help get rid of extra bass that might be present.

To test it out I used a clip I recorded using the Rode VideoMic Go along with the Rode SC4 TRS to TRRS converter with help from my iOgrapher. I figured the iPhone 6 will probably be the lowest common denominator with audio recording, and the reality is a lot of television shows use the iPhone as a quick way to get an emergency soundbyte into an edit. You can check out my test clips on my YouTube page where I placed the unaffected audio before the audio with EchoRemover and AudioDenoise were applied.

I recorded a short clip in my garage to allow for as much echo and background noise as possible. I was able to get a good amount of echo when I stood next to my metal garage door. Once inside of FCP X, I dragged the clip to a new timeline and applied EchoRemover straight away. Now you’Il need to remember that this plug-in is made to be “drag and drop,” meaning you won’t really need to make any adjustments (although small tweaks are possible). I was very impressed with the result of the echo removal. I dropped it on and didn’t touch the parameters at all.

I probably should have touched the Release and Strength a little, but for this example I wanted to leave it — straight out of the FxFactory/CrumplePop box. I guess I could ask for more parameters to adjust, but I really love the simplicity of these plug-ins. As a video editor it lets me concentrate on the story and less on the awful technical difficulties that can happen.

AudioDenoise
Up next is CrumplePop’s AudioDenoise, which sells for $99. As its name implies, its goal is to remove background noise from your audio. AudioDenoise works in Adobe Premiere as well as FCP X, but let’s stick with FCP X for the moment.

AudioDenoise is found under the CrumplePop plug-in heading and is as simple as parking your playhead over the section that contains a good sample of the background noise you are looking to eliminate — although I tested it I through AudioDenoise without any regard for what audio was playing and it worked.

You can then go into the Effects panel and adjust the Strength and Profile in the Effects tab of FCP X. Much like EchoRemover, AudioDenoise is a drag and drop plug-in. I tested the AudioDenoise plug-in by recording a clip in my garage like before, but this time with as much background noise as possible (without waking up the kids), I started our dryer and began talking. You can listen to my demo on YouTube (it is after the EchoRemover demo). Just like EchoRemover, AudioDenoise worked great and without any fiddling of the effect parameters. I was thoroughly impressed.

Xsend Motion
Last, but not least in this FxFactory FCP X-focused review, is Xsend Motion. If you’ve ever heard of Automatic Duck (if you are over 25 years old you probably had to use it when getting yourself out of some sticky FCP 7 to Avid Media Composer circumstances that some crazy person put you in) then you probably already trust this plug-in, because the creators of Automatic Duck created Xsend Motion.

Simply, for $99 Xsend Motion converts your FCP X timeline into a Motion project, complete with some simple effects like position, scale, blending modes and a few third party plug-ins — you can find a more detailed list of third-party compatible plug-ins here. Think of it like a fancy AAF transfer engine or more like how Premiere can send clips to Adobe After Effects from the timeline.

From FCP X you can either send your entire timeline or a section over to Motion. For the entire timeline you will go to the Share Project menu and click Xsend Motion. This will open up the Xsend Motion App where you can tell Xsend Motion where to place the FCP XML, whether or not to create layer groups and where to save the Motion project that you will be creating. From there, Xsend Motion will launch your new project inside of Motion to be edited. If you only want to send a certain section of your timeline to Motion, you will need to create a compound clip (think of a submaster, if you are familiar with Avid Media Composer). Click the newly created compound clip and select File > Export XML. You will then open that XML inside of Xsend Motion, select your settings and click Continue — much like the previous way of sending the entire timeline to Motion.

Once you have made your magic motion graphics inside of Motion you will most likely need to get this back into FCP X. You have two options: export your new Motion project as an FCP X preset/template/generator or export a QuickTime for use in FCP X. My advice is to export a QuickTime as opposed to an FCP X preset/generator as it won’t require re-rendering, but you will need to decide this on a case-by-case basis.

Summing Up
In the end, I was really impressed with CrumplePop’s EchoRemover, AudioDenoise and Xsend Motion. At $99 a piece, some might consider AudioDenoise and EchoRemover a little expensive, but if you value your time and ability to improve your audio production quickly and easily, then $99 is a great price. They really give the editor the ability to focus on the content of the edit rather than fixing subpar audio recording.

Xsend Motion furthers the ability to focus on the content of your edit by letting you send multiple layers of video to Motion from FCP X without breaking each layer into separate QuickTimes, this plug-in seems so necessary it’s a wonder why it isn’t already in FCP X!

Brady Betzel is an online editor at Margarita Mix in Hollywood, working on Life Below Zero and Cutthroat Kitchen. You can email Brady at bradybetzel@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter @allbetzroff. Earlier this year, Brady was nominated for an Emmy for his work on Disney’s Unforgettable Christmas Celebration.

 

Review: Rampant Design Tools FCP X plug-ins

By Brady Betzel

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been diving into FCP X and testing out some new tools that work within the editing system, including Rampant Design Tool’s FCP X plug-ins. Rampant Design helps you add value to your project, like adding video enhancements including light leaks, glitch effects, transitions, moving matte overlays and much more.

To back up a second, I have been reviewing Sean and Stefanie Mullen’s Rampant Design products for years, and they regularly create products that directly make me money in my freelance editing. That is the truth, plain and simple. If you make content that needs to grab someone quickly, like a sizzle reel, promos or anything for that matter, Rampant Design tools will help. They will add instant pop to your footage as well as save you so much time that you will be able to concentrate on the story you are trying to convey.

Check out Sean and Stefanie’s Facebook and YouTube show: www.RampantLive.com, a weekly live show that covers topics ranging from dealing with clients all the way to managing stress. It also includes interviews with industry pros like @FilmRiot’s Ryan Connolly (@ryan_connolly), Kevin P. McAuliffe (@KPMcAuliffe) and even me. They not only sell products, but they contribute to the entire post ecosphere by creating actionable and engaging content.

Digging In
Ok, enough background on to the products at hand. Some of the latest releases in the Rampant Design Tools catalog are FCP X plug-ins and Edit Essentials. Edit Essentials are a pack of 220 ProRes QuickTime light leaks, film effects, flares and more that were shot on Red cameras in 4K resolution.

While I am not going too deep into Edit Essentials in this review you can check them out here. Edit Essentials contains many similar products to the FCP X plug-ins, and are QuickTime-based — with a simple composite mode switch to something like Add or Hard Light you can be off and running in Adobe Premiere.

The Rampant Design Tool’s FCP X plug-ins are individual plug-ins that can be adjusted inside of FCP X’s Effects Panel. The downloadable FCP X plug-ins are Hard Light Overlays, Soft Light Overlays, Gradient Overlays, Style Mattes, Film Effects, Film Leaks, Flash Transitions and Glitch Transitions, all of which priced at $29 per set, a very reasonable price considering these are extremely customizable inside of FCP X.

I tried a few of these and created a quick demo on my YouTube channel. I used the Hard and Soft Light Overlays, Flash Transitions, Style Mattes, and Film Leaks combined using different compositing modes (which thankfully FCP X has built in).

What I really liked about using the FCP X plug-ins from Rampant were the ease of use and customization of each effect. Inside of the different effects, such as the overlays and flash transitions, you can customize hue, saturation, rotation and much more. If you like the way a certain light leak feels but you need it to be red instead of green, you can easily change the hue in the Effects Panel. With many of the effects plug-ins you can preview the effect inside the Effects panel or even preview the effect on the actual footage in your timeline and then click and drag onto your clip in the timeline.

style mattesThere is a trick I like to try with these effects: combining different compositing effects on top of each other. With Overlays I’ll apply a Hard Light composite mode to the clip with the Soft Light Overlay on it and place another video clip on a track beneath it. You can achieve a really unique look that is helpful when building sizzle reels and main title sequences. If you combine that like I did with the Style Mattes and you can achieve some high-level, professional-looking results. It really can give you an edge.

I’ve told this story before, but at one point I was an assistant editor looking to make the jump to editor, and I remember seeing the first iterations of Rampant Design Tools (which I still have on DVD by the way), ordered them and now I honestly believe they helped me get a promotion to editor.

One set of FCP X plug-ins that I mentioned earlier is the Style Mattes. I really love using these when doing fast-paced, more modern videos that need a shape-based look. If you troll YouTube for inspiration, like I do, you will most likely stumble on a 15-year old-kid doing a tutorial (that will probably make you jealous) on how to use composite modes and also how to work in diamond shaped patterns with displacement mapping from some drawing made in Adobe Illustrator and After Effects. If you want that look without all of the After Effects hassle, Style Mattes are where you need to be.

In my demo video, I used the Style Mattes X plug-in in FCP X along with hard light composite modes to give a sharp and blown-out look. Rampant Design has tons of variations on matte shapes and motions that you can expand upon by resizing, cropping, re-timing and any other way you want to affect your footage. Style Mattes can also be used as transitional elements between clips or layers of clips, this may take a little tricky transition-building by you, but if you customize a wipe to the timing of the style mattes you can quickly make your own unique shape-based transitions.

Glitch Transitions
The last plug-ins I will touch on are Glitch Transitions. Sure you can throw glitches over a clip, I mean who hasn’t at this point? But what really gets me is the ability to change the displacement values in the Effects Palette. You can instantly modify and create amazing glitch effects with a few button clicks, all starting with Rampant Design Tool’s awesome base — if you screw it up go ahead and reset it.

The Glitch Transitions allow the editor to truly customize each transition if they feel so inclined, or leave the plug-in alone and walk away. I would suggest that you customize your Glitch Transitions if possible, even if it is a little time remapping, doubling up on transitions to get a layered look, or even just modifying the saturation a little. A little customization goes a long way, and without the Rampant’s FCP X plug-ins it would take a few more steps to make such a personalized effect.

If there is one criticism I have with the FCP X plug-ins, it’s the installation process. Installing the FCP X plug-ins is a little cumbersome. They do give a very detailed video and PDF along with your download that explains step by step with arrows how to install them, but a nice simple installation would go a long way in my book. For an awesome plug-in that is priced well below many other plug-ins out there but rivals any of them, I can let a little drag and drop installation slide — I’m probably just lazy.

Summing Up
In the end, I always seem to love what the team over at Rampant Design Tools comes up with. Sean and Stefanie output so many high-end products, it gets hard for me to keep up! I even heard through Rampant Live that they are about to start work on a blood pack, which got me excited thinking about the combination of possibilities when you combine that with their Monster Toolkit.

I have never been disappointed with Rampant Design Tools and continue to be impressed not only by their incredible products but how the Mullen’s approach selling their products. Check out their www.RampantLive.com show and you will understand.

Brady Betzel is an online editor at Margarita Mix in Hollywood, working on Life Below Zero and Cutthroat Kitchen. You can email Brady at bradybetzel@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter @allbetzroff. Earlier this year, Brady was nominated for an Emmy for his work on Disney’s Unforgettable Christmas Celebration.

Automatic Duck ships app that brings FCP X clips into Motion

During NAB 2016, we spoke to Automatic Duck co-founder Wes Plate about the upcoming release of Xsend Motion, which converts XML from Final Cut Pro X to a Motion 5 project, building a bridge between the two applications. The software, which costs $99, is now shipping, but if you buy it before June 8, it’s on sale for $79.

“We have been working on Xsend Motion for a long time, and while it was great to announce at NAB that it was coming, we’re thrilled to finally have it available,” says Plate. “The day after it shipped a customer wrote to me that Xsend Motion ‘really saved our bacon.’ Xsend Motion is already finding its audience.”

Xsend Motion, which reads XML exports, or is able to process projects directly from the Final Cut Pro X Share menu, is also able to translate clip transforms, speed changes, and many third party filters. It can be purchased through FxFactory.

Check out our interview with Wes about Xsend Motion during NAB.

AlphaDogs employs roundtripping workflow for surfing film ‘Gone’

The AlphaDogs post house in Burbank color graded the film Gone, from producer/director Mark Kronemeyer of Pargo Media. Gone takes audiences on a journey through Mexican deserts and jungles, from Baja to Oaxaca, on the search for the soul of surfing in Mexico.

Edited in Final Cut Pro X by Kronemeyer, Gone required a roundtrip workflow through DaVinci Resolve before the color grading process could begin in order to match mixed frame rates between FCP X and Resolve. Roundtripping often causes playback judder if not done properly. To avoid this problem, AlphaDogs colorist Sean Stack, who was in charge of creating the look for the film, rendered the footage outside of Resolve using the original source frame rate, then allowed for adjustment in playback quality once the footage was back in the editing application.

GONEImage2

Non-native frame rates can sometimes appear jittery, which is especially problematic with action footage. The post house used Cinema Tools on short clips to simply convert the playback rate to match the timeline. Although there is a slight speed ramp applied when using this technique, it is typically not noticeable on shorter clips.

Gone was shot in various locations throughout Mexico, so it encompasses a wide variety of beach terrain. To give each location its own personality and character, Stack made specific creative color decisions, such as making southern beaches more teal and green in color while adding more blue and purple/red into the shadows of the surf on northern beaches. Kronemeyer specifically wanted the sections of larger waves to appear even more dangerous and menacing. Stack achieved this look by punching up the blue in the surf, making the water appear darker and in turn giving the waves a deeper and more hazardous look.

While FCP X and Resolve workflows are mostly reliable when it comes to roundtrip accuracy, Stack remains diligent in making sure he always has a QuickTime reference movie with time code delivered to the color session before any conforming begins.

GONEmovieposter

“Without that roadmap, commonly known as a ‘chase reference,’ I cannot guarantee sync with the original offline locked cut,” explains Stack. “The audio mixer should use the same chase reference as the colorist, as this will further guarantee that the mix stems will sync up perfectly with the color graded final sequence.”

Round-trip workflows also present unique challenges when it comes to audio. Because FCP X cannot export proper materials for a pro mix, specific steps are required so as to not slow down the audio process in post. AlphaDogs audio engineer Curtis Fritsch used workaround methods, such as applying Assisted Editing’s Xto7 app and streamlining the audio tracks to ease the transition from FCP X to Pro Tools. Fritsch then added extra EQ to the low and high ends of each song to help elevate the drive of the music to better match the fast pace and lush visuals of the beaches in Mexico.

Frame.io companion app for Final Cut Pro X now available

Frame.io has made available a companion desktop app for OS X users that tightly integrates its video review, collaboration and sharing platform with Apple’s Final Cut Pro X software. Editors can now publish individual clips or an entire timeline in full quality (ProRes 4444) or proxy (MP4) to Frame.io. At that point, Frame.io automatically notifies everyone in the Frame.io project, who can then either see previews of the timeline on the Web or download the full-quality version.

“The Final Cut Pro X integration was important because seamless workflow with the creative tools you already use is an essential part of our strategy,” explains Emery Wells. “We’ve built some truly massive time-saving features into this app. For the first time, you can batch export a Final Cut timeline as individual clips and upload to the cloud in one step. We also let you selectively mark clips for upload so if three or four clips need to be rendered out for your VFX team, you don’t have to pull them out or deconstruct your entire timeline. Just mark them and upload in one step.”

Artists and editors can use Frame.io’s new FCP X companion app to:
• Quickly publish an FCP X timeline for work-in-progress review
• Upload digital dailies with synced sound
• Share a full timeline or selected clips from a timeline with the team for VFX or color grading

Features of the new companion app allow editors to:
• Use markers in FCP X to upload select clips
• Exclude clips that are disabled in the timeline
• Select a portion of the timeline to upload to Frame.io
• Embed FCP X notes and keywords into clips, which are searchable from Spotlight

Frame.io is built for collaboration, offering the ability to create a private workspace for each project on the docket and decide who has access to what. Every action performed is tied to an individual user and tracked so that project participants receive notifications about what’s happening in the project.

The Frame.io companion app for Final Cut Pro X users is available for free in the Mac App Store, and check out their video here https://vimeo.com/131701161.