February 14, 2020 at 1:03 pm
[Devin Terpstra] “I love this. We are running FCS3 on 10.6.8 with 6 – 2010 MacPros. Our X-Raid is still running strong. Use FCP, DVDSP, STP, Compressor & Motion all from 2010 daily. Making 2000 titles a year. “
Whoa! I’m definitely going to want to hear more about THAT.
Here’s the thing. It’s not trivial that you’re working in that environment. There are things you can do because you’re using THAT toolset that you simply can’t do in others.
THAT’s the relevance of these kinds of stories. Not to persuade you that you’re going to be like Mike if you wear Air Jordans, but to provide specific examples of how the combination of wizards and their tools create magic. I don’t give a ???? if I’m a candidate to use those tools or not. I liked the movie in general, but when I hear “Out of 960 shots in the movie, 400 were VFX shots”, I say “Tell me more. NOW!” His answer doesn’t make me feel any differently about Final Cut or After Effects, but the answer DOES make me say, “WOW! What a cool story!”
And it raised a bunch more questions for me. Okay, he knows Premiere, so why would he not use Dynamic Link to edit in Premiere and open the sequence directly in After Effects? Did he use Mocha for masking (and I assume tracking?), or use AE’s native masking toolset? And he certainly makes a watertight case for AE or another layer-based compositor rather than Nuke, Fusion, or a node-based compositor. They weren’t just doing effects within frames, or compositing layers across a sequence, which node-based compositors are arguably better at, but rather using animated masks to combine multiple layers of performances. You’d be insane to try that for any large number of shots in anything BUT After Effects.
But it feels that you’d be imputing a level of cynicism to him or frame.io that isn’t appropriate. Nobody’s trying to persuade anybody of anything.
Look, I can tell you the same thing about Avid and Apple. I worked AT Avid on these kinds of stories, and I worked WITH Apple on them, and persuasion was the dead last thing on anybody’s mind. Sure, because I worked AT Avid, I spent most of my days around Avid editors, and when they said, hey, I just worked on this show or this movie or this commercial, I’d say, “Wow! That’s awesome! Tell me more!”
Maybe it’s my own lack of cynicism, or the decades as I spent as an editor before I became a corporate weasel, but my assumption is that you can’t persuade nobody about nuthin’. LOL All you can do is show people what you got, and they’ll decide if it’s a good fit or not. If it’s not a good fit, there’s no point trying to persuade them it is.
And working with Apple PR was a pleasure, because they called me and said, “Hey man, you’re not going to believe this insane story. It’s so crazy that it made me think of you.” LOL Perfect. We ran it at the COW, too, and it WAS perfect. And genuinely insane — three guys ran across the Sahara. No roads. They just ran.
You can’t even imagine what James Moll (an Oscar winner for The Last Days) and his team went through to shoot it, either, so I really do highly recommend this story as one of the wildest we ever published. Click the link to check it out.
She wasn’t thinking that somebody would read this story and buy a Mac. That’s crazy. Nobody thinks like that in corporate PR, because nobody thinks YOU think like that.
It does indeed happen that this guy used a Mac to cut the film (I remember his NLE, and I’ll give you zero guesses what it was, but I don’t think I mentioned it in the story; this was more a production story than a post one) — but my friend in Apple PR heard it as a cool story that was worth sharing. We post cool stories at the COW. Simple as that.
More broadly, though, NLEs are NOT created equal. There’s not one of them that is created for every kind of customer doing every kind of project. Some of them are in fact very much NOT suited to certain kinds of work.
Using the example in the post just above mine, it would be ridiculous to say that Devin could edit faster in FCPX, because nothing else in his life would be possible if he used it. He’d go from editing 2000 projects a year to zero. Apple very clearly and publicly presented that certain workflows would no longer be supported, speaking in unambiguous English-language sentences by native speakers, yet this is still somehow seen as controversial for anyone besides Apple themselves to admit.
Certainly in the collaboration thread currently also active in the forum right now, one thing we’re talking about is that FCPX has never had certain collaborative workflows in its sights, and as a result, Apple hasn’t developed the infrastructure to support them. That’s good. It has everything to with why FCPX is good at the things that that it IS designed for. Focus is good.
That’s why it’s not only reasonable for somebody to say, “I’m doing my project a specific way, so I need to know if your product was developed with me in mind,” it’s CRITICAL. Maybe you’ll luck out if you choose a toolset without looking closely at whether it’s actually suitable, but why on earth would you leave something that important to luck? You LOOK first.
Stories like these are also important for helping people understand what’s possible. It’s conceivable to me that most filmmakers aren’t thinking in terms of “How can I use rotoscoping to combine the best performances of my actors in different takes, while keeping them in the same frame with lots of camera movement, maybe even some VFX?” — but in fact, it’s a way to use software to extend the reach of small budgets, and to give directors and editors vastly more options.
Parasite used the combination of FCP and After Effects for this, but one reason Fincher moved from FCP to Premiere Pro is because he and his very FCPX-friendly workflow guru at Light Iron found that *100%* of their shots were VFX shots of some sort or another, even if only a DVE to reframe shots in post, plus tons of grading and relighting. Fincher’s feeling is why bake ANYTHING into the frame on set? So he went down an editing path that kept him as close as possible to his preferred effects toolset.
A terrific blog called The Fincher Analyst has a tag for Adobe Premiere, collecting articles and videos from all over the web on this topic. And in no case was Kirk Baxter ACE, Fincher, or anyone else suggesting “If you liked Gone Girl, you’re gonna love Premiere Pro!” The articles and interviews collected were all editors and other post pros speaking to editors and other other pros, saying “This is how we did it.” And those stories were cool. They’ll change your mind about what’s possible for the most traditional narrative filmmaking that doesn’t APPEAR to have a single effects shot in it, but has a vast VFX-focused workflow that started on set. Astounding.
And certainly, before Cold Mountain, it was reasonable to ask if FCP was suitable for epic feature film production, and the answer was no. Frankly, the answer in the wake of Cold Mountain was debatable. I’ve mentioned this before, but I think that the book on Cold Mountain has everything to do with why Avid is thriving in film production more than ever. I was there when it came out, and I’m certain that hundreds of copies were sold into Avid HQ and Avid dealers around the country. Editors were calling us every day saying, “Is this for real? Is this REALLY what using FCP on a film is like??? Holy Spit, I’M STICKING WITH AVID!!!!”
You can look it up — Avid revenues skyrocketed in the year following that book’s release, and doubled again in the couple of years after that. It made the case better than anything coming out of Avid that FCP on a large-scale film production was more difficult, while also more limited, than what Avid had already been delivering for years.
FCP got better at it of course, and I don’t mean any criticism of my dear friend Ramy Katrib and the workflow wizards at DigitalFilm Tree. There’s certainly no question that many, many folks took the opposite message of these Avid dudes (and they were all dudes that I heard from), and felt like the vision they saw in this book was something to aspire to and embrace.
It’s not that the movie itself gave FCP any kind of glow. I don’t know about you, but I freaking hated that movie, although I might change my mind if anything could induce me to ever finish watching it all the way through. It’s that the PEOPLE using FCP on a major, remote film production provided insight into their experience that helped people see, “Ah yes, this is for me” or “No way, this is not for me.” The irreplaceable insight of editors talking to other editors.
That’s why stories like this will always be my favorites. Whether it’s a music video, a commercial, a TV show, a movie, a museum installation, you name it — I WANT to hear how it was made, I WANT to hear about the tools, I WANT to hear about the creative leaps that enabled the tools to work in ways I hadn’t considered. I want the magicians to tell me how they did it.
How can you not think that these stories are the best thing ever? Because I’m here to tell you that they ARE the best thing ever to ME, and this particular story is one of the best of the lot.
Smile. Nobody’s trying to take your favorite toys away. Your peers are doing awesome work. Read the stories, even if you know that they’re not using your favorite toys, then smile some more.
March 3, 2020 at 8:53 am
How to do Video tap on location?
Which are the best hardware tools?
October 8, 2020 at 7:51 pm
I read a post that said you still have automaticduck. Are you willing to share a copy? I have a project that began in AVID them the MXF were imported to finish the film in FC7
Of course now trying to do FC7 turn overs for the conform, the file names do not match the OCF
Let me know if you are willing to assist
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