I am editing a low budget feature for cinema release and the production company uses FCPX which I haven’t used for over a decade. I’m a bit concerned with my project settings (although only at the stage of organising library and syncing). The raw Alexa files are 4480 x 1856.
What res settings should I use for the film project timeline once I get there?
There are actually a few considerations here. Are you going to be finishing the film in FCP or is this just the creative (“offline”) edit? If the latter, then how is the finishing going to be handled? Resolve or other?
Then, as far as the footage, is this ARRIRAW or a flavor of DNxHR or ProRes? ARRIRAW is very taxing and will need to be transcoded first. Is it 1:1 pixel aspect ratio or anamorphic?
Assuming that you are only doing the creative edit and not the finishing, then I would recommend that a DIT (or maybe you yourself) prep the footage as proxy media at the native resolution and frame rate.
Regarding project settings, find out what the deliverable format is. For example, HD, UHD, or true 2K or 4K. 16:9, 1.85:1, 2.4:1, other? Edit in those sizes and aspect ratios and adjust framing on the shots as needed.
I’d recommend finding out what the final delivery settings are going to be (hopefully the production company can provide clarification on that…) and set your project to match those settings. If the source files are too taxing on your machine/drives for those settings, FCPX will let you create proxies for the media so you can work on a more manageable set of files.