Start with a palette first. When planning their shoot, the GoPro team starts with color first, to make sure there’s enough visual variety to ‘cleanse the palette,’ then they pick the locations from there.
Efficient shooting. There’s some good production tips, but my favorite is their use of the 80/20 rule. The example Ryan gives is a 10 pitch rock climb in Zion. They had three days to shoot the climbers. Rather than start at the bottom and hope they have great light and weather at the dramatic top, they started at the top first then got whatever extra shots they had time for.
Using portals. Portals are the signature GoPro transition or wipe where the lens gets obscured from dirt or water and cuts to another scene. Ryan has some great breakdowns and uses of the specific transition, along with how to edit eight storylines into a cohesive video.
Be sure to read the whole article for a lot more insight into GoPro’s production.
Adobe just released a slew of updates across the board for their Creative Cloud apps. One of the big ones in Premiere that I’ve been looking forward to for a while is the Morph Cut transition. This transition is designed to stitch together a jump cut in an interview to mask the cut. Well, that’s the idea at least.
The only thing similar to this that existed before is Avid’s Fluid Morph in Media Composer. Fluid Morph works really, really well. So well that I downloaded the trial of Media Composer to clean up some jump cuts from Dolphin Lover, then export them back to FCPX.
But since I’m a Creative Cloud subscriber, it’d be nice to have this tool permanently in my arsenal. So I exported the same clips I ran Fluid Morph on to try out Morph Cut and compare how it handles the edits.
Check out the side by side comparison in the video above.
My impression from this test: Avid’s Fluid Morph is still hands down the better option. I’d say out of all the cuts, Adobe Morph Cut maybe did an acceptable job on a third of the edits, and they were definitely the least noticeable jump cuts.
The biggest issue is Morph Cut won’t work under 12 frames (what I found from my testing). The trick of masking the cut is to make the transition really quick – usually 6 frames in Avid works really well. When I would do a six frame transition in Premiere, I’d get this error.
When the transition is too long, the video and audio stop syncing because the transition is starting while the A side clip is still talking, giving away the effect.
Bottom line – Morph Cut works on very subtle jumps but still has a ways to go before being as reliable as Fluid Morph.
This year was my second time at NAB, covering new gear for Filmmaker Magazine. I can’t say there was anything that completely blew me away, but there was some new gear and tools that definitely piqued my interest and looked quite useful for the future.
One thing there was no shortage of at NAB was drones. But 3DR caused a big splash with their new Solo drone. Unlike DJI, 3DR is sticking with GoPros as the camera instead of making their own, and the Solo offers full control over all GoPro settings while flying. But what really stands out with Solo is the amount of automation their apps have when flying. You can easily program moves as a single operator that would normally require two people with two controllers. Really excited to get my hands on this.
This really handy device for single camera operators adds focus control for Canon lenses via a grip handle. You can get smooth focus control when run and gun shooting while keeping your hand firmly on your rig.
All the GoPro rigs I saw from PolarPro seemed to address a problem or wish for GoPro mounting that I’ve personally encountered. The Strap Mount and ProGrip are my favorite, as pictured above. It features a quick release system to attach to your backpack strap or BCD when diving for easy access to your camera.
I’m a stickler for clean, high quality sound but I’m no sound professional and sometimes wireless systems get so finicky I just want to smash them into a wall. Plus they become a giant tangle mess of cables that eventually get frayed. Sennheiser is trying to streamline the process with their new AVX system. The receiver is small and designed to clip right into the XLR port. The transmitter doesn’t have any dangling antennas and both will automatically find and connect to free frequencies.
Not gear but I’ve already been putting Wipster to use. I’m sure most of you have gone through some sort of system of password protected Vimeo sharing or Dropbox links when sending cuts of a film in various stages. Wipster is a streamlined process to not only easily share cuts and manage versions, but also for easy frame accurate commenting by simply clicking on the video. Freemium model – definitely worth a look.
This is a repost from an article on Filmmaker Magazine. However at the end I added some updated thoughts on PROCUTX.
Anyone who’s joined the FCPX bandwagon will tell you one of the main draws is speed (or at least I will). FCPX let’s you do things quicker. But how we interact with the system (and computers in general) has its limitations.
For years the standard of working with NLEs has been left fingers planted on J, K, L, right hand on mouse. It’s not a terribly bad way to edit. Doing it for years you build up a fast muscle memory, but there are still keyboard tasks that stretch the limit of what you can remember, along with the span of your thumb and pinkie.
Is there a faster way? We’ll look at two options, one an iPad app and the other a program to customize the trackpad.
PROCUTX is a newly released app for the iPad that creates a control surface for FCPX. It’s from Pixel Film Studios, a company that makes some great FCPX plug-ins.
The app is on sale for $24.99 for launch, with a regular price of $39.99. Setup is easy — you install some free server software on your computer and a set of custom keyboard commands from PROCUTX.
The connection between the app and the computer is excellent. Scrubbing works in real time with no perceived delay.
The controls in the app are grouped based on task and cover a wide variety of areas. Front and center is playback with a dial for frame toggling. Above is a nice selection of options to adjust the speed of a selected clip. The left side of the app covers Compound Clips, Keywords, simple actions, and tool selection. The right is shortcuts for Import/Export, Auto-Correct, and Color Grading.
On the surface it’s a bunch of buttons for one-touch shortcut access, but to get to everything it offers you’d be doing a lot of finger contorting. To the new editor this can be a great time saver.
But I was interested in something that could replace either the mouse or keyboard while increasing my efficiency, and as of now PROCUTX can’t. It’s majorly lacking in control of making edits. The best you can do is use the blade tool, but to select anything you have to go to the mouse. Most notably absent is the ability to mark Ins and Outs as well as trim a clip to the time indicator.
One of the features I was most looking forward to was its color grading ability. It has button shortcuts to jump to either the color, exposure, or saturation control, which is nice. But as far as making adjustments it’s best for fine-tuning changes, not making broad adjustments like a color wheel. (I’ll say that this is a limit of FCPX and not PROCUTX).
For all the shortcomings of the app, keep in mind that this is version 1.0 and Pixel Film has been soliciting input and committed to actively releasing updates. One of the top priorities is adding more edit control, like Ins and Outs.
Also slated for the future are voice control and networking ability between multiple iPads to have a larger control surface. I’m curious what an entire iPad screen dedicated to color grading would look like.
However, PROCUTX really misses the mark in fully taking advantage of the platform it’s built on. Everything in the app could easily be duplicated with buttons on a piece of hardware. There’s nothing that takes advantage that this app runs on a display screen with multi-touch abilities.
Why dish out $1,000 for two more iPads when the interface could change based on the task at hand? Why have a button for every option when gestures could save hand movement and work quicker?
Bottom line — this is a great app for someone just getting started in FCPX but not a timesaver if you’re already good with the keyboard.
BetterTouchTool is an add-on for your computer that lets you set any gesture to trigger any command for any program. For free.
BTT really shines on the trackpad, which can detect all five fingers, but it can also control the Magic Mouse, a regular mouse, the Apple Remote, and some Wacom tablets.
All you do is pick a preset gesture (or record your own) and assign what key combination or action it should trigger when performed. You can make it global, meaning it works no matter what program is open, or program specific.
Here’s some examples of how I use it for editing — three finger tap triggers Space, so I can play/pause. With the same three fingers, while touching the trackpad, if I tap with the index or ring finger, it triggers the arrow key for the respective direction I’m taping, letting me skim frame by frame. Tap the top left or top right edge trims the clip. Pinch in or out to zoom.
What I love about this is it lets you enhance something you’re already using. It’s not another device to move to, it’s sitting right beneath your fingers.
Sure, it can’t do nearly as much as a full control surface. You have to be careful you don’t go gesture overboard, or else you’ll start triggering all sorts of crazy stuff inadvertently just from basic scrolling and usage. That said, here’s a good preset collection from Jason Chong with FCPX controls.
I started using it on my laptop and loved it so much I bought an Apple trackpad for my Mac Pro. Remember, this is a program for OS X, not FCPX. You can use it for any application.
Slated for release in late April is CTRL+Console, an iPad app that works on a variety of programs. It was successfully funded on Kickstarter towards the end of last year and is incorporating gestures into its UI. Interesting to see if this really will make you a better, faster, stronger editor.
Since writing this PROCUTX has released a few updates. They added the ability to mark Ins and Outs but it still suffers many of the same issues from before in that it’s not organized in a way that’s context based on the task at hand, nor does it change the interface depending on what you’re doing. They need to take a page from Apple: skeuomorphism is dead.
Still waiting for CTRL+Console to go live. They said they’ve submitted it to the app store.
While there is a lot I love about Final Cut Pro X, there’s a few changes that I’ve had to find workarounds for. One is backing up project files.
I’ve posted before about my FCP 7 workflow with project files. I’d keep all my project files in a Dropbox folder, which would offsite backup my project files, make them available on the go, and save version backups.
FCPX has separate files for both your Event (where media is stored) and Projects (the timeline). It uses a folder hierarchy to store both the data for the Event or Project along with all the project media, such as render files, proxy files, and original media.
There’s no way I can store all that media in my Dropbox folder. The only file that’s changing is either CurrentVersion.fcpevent or CurrentVersion.fcpproject, but it must remain in the folder.
Enter Pro Versioner. Just drag your Project or Event into the interface, and Pro Versioner will automatically track the CurrentVersion file, maintain an auto-save vault, and even copy it into your Dropbox account.
For $59, it’s one of those features that you have to buy to add what used to be standard in FCP, but it adds some features like screenshots every time it auto-saves a version of your project. You can also set it to monitor a folder and automatically add new projects, however it kind of choked when I threw it my hard drive that keeps all my project files. So I’m just giving it projects one at a time.
Is FCPX right for everybody? No. Does it still have some ways to go? Yes. Richard Taylor has a list of 80+ things he’d like to see. But in less than a year Apple released 5 updates, 2 of which had some major new features. So they’re working on it.
Back in September I wrote about a file save disaster that scared me off of FCPX. Since the updates, I haven’t experienced anything like that again. In fact, after throwing a lot of tasks at it, I’ll get the spinning beach ball. With 7, I become conditioned to expect a major crash at this sight. But now, FCPX plows through it and the spinning stops. All systems back to normal.
I will add that it’s worth the extra $50 to also buy Motion 5. I never used Motion before now, but its new role in working with FCPX is extremely powerful. You can create powerful effects in Motion which are then easily accessed and customized (say a fancy title intro where the text may need to change from project to project) right in FCPX.
Maybe my tune will change after I cut some features on it. If you’re still on the fence you should give it a try. You can try it free for 30 days.