Wednesday, June 29, 2011

More for your reading list - X files episode 2 (FCP X)

Lest anyone should feel underinformed, here's today's slew of recommended reading with my own precis

and about time too - Apple responses to some of the current questions in the ether.   I particularly like the phrase ' it has also generated a lot of discussion in the pro video community' as a masterpiece of understatement.   Nothing especially new if you've seen the Pogue article, but firmer promises of ways to export OMF and interface with track-based audio mixing apps (which they all are!) though the implied tagging of clips looks like a messy workround which will not save time (to put it mildly).
But the tone is as conciliatory as I expect Apple ever gets.  And there's a firm assurance that FCP 7 will work with Lion (if there's anybody left in the room!)

the first of the free tutorial videos online.   I haven't sampled them yet - I have to confess that I find  video-based tutorials slow and inefficient compared to a well-written article or even a manual.   But that's just me...they're fine for walk-throughs and first looks.

some good news about the newer audio features to partly compensate for the lack of a dedicated audio app, or OMF export

now this one is compelling, authoritative and worrisome.  Written from the perspective of a software developer (not just any old software, but the awesome 'Shake'), the piece skewers the Apple corporate culture.   It has the ring of truth, commercial truth, about it.

This is his final para, which summarises the position I'm finding myself in (well, apart from the heartbreak.   It IS only software after all):

So if you’re really a professional you shouldn’t want to be reliant on software from a company like Apple.  Because your heart will be broken.  Because they’re not reliant on you.  Use Apple’s tools to take you as far as they can – they’re an incredible bargain in terms of price-performance.  But once you’re ready to move up to the next level, find yourself a software provider whose life-blood flows only as long as they keep their professional customers happy.  It only makes sense.

A reminder - bring yourselves, your insights and your opinions to the wefcpug on Monday night (July 4).   We'll discover it was all an Independence Day joke (american sense of humour);  the real FCP X will be launched and demo'd:  viewers, timelines tracks and exports will be restored and we can reconfigure our desktops to our hearts' content.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The X files (the truth is out there somewhere)...

The marketing disaster that is 'New FCP' versus 'FCP Classic' readers can catch up here
It's the best summary of the state we're in that I've come across.

To precis:  David Pogue of the NYT stepped into water too deep for comfort, his follow-up article contains more gen from Apple than anywhere else regarding the future, and how they'll get out of the mess they're in.   Richard Harrington has blogged comments on the issues from our point of view (us being the pro editors and onetime customers!) - plenty of detail and a good place to go hunting links.

In particular, it may be prudent to download the FCP (Pro-Apps) updater files in case you find yourself with just the FCP DVDs you bought and for some reason they're not supported online any more.  The current link is here

Also don't miss the Conan edit crew's take on all this (if you haven't seen this viral yet).  The blog link didn't work for me, it's also here courtesy of msnbc.   (Bit of an irony there).

Me, I'm still working through the ripple tutorial videos,  trying to decode the Avid and Premiere product descriptions and tackling a much harder conversion course:  adapting my (Eb alto sax) mouth, fingers and brain to the (Bb) clarinet.   It's week 2 in the house and there are tears of joy when I realise that half the fingering (above the break to the upper register) I KNOW ALREADY.   Yes, I know, too much detail, sorry about that.   There are some neat and (for Apple) uncomfortable parallels to be drawn here.   Like the universal interchangeability of a music score,  the retention of muscle memory.  To be continued.

Another historic parallel:  see wikipedia for the tale of New Coke and always remember that Coca-Cola came back stronger than ever in the market when they recanted...

A diversion from the X factor

I'm doing a lot of screen surfing just now - all information pipes that relate to FCP, editing, Apple are bursting at the seams.   Just like 1999.

Amongst it all, hidden in a Macworld article about the BBC's data handling for its websites is this gem:

"In the past 3 years we've moved the to a dynamic 3 tier, largely php, java and mySQL stack fronted by software loadbalancers called the Platform," Van Gulik explained. "This Linux based system is hosted at two datacentres. It makes use of a lot of Key Value stores, for example NoSQL products like CouchDB. Clever use of message queues; lots of efficient automated build chich is mostly based on maven, automated test (e.g. hudson), simple fast caches (varnish), lots of snmo and some solid Zenoss monitoring, novel log file handling using an fully internal system called teleport and so on."

I'm not sure we can promise lots of snmo or even build chich at the next meeting, but we'll give it a go.

Monday, June 27, 2011

July 2011 meeting next Monday (4th July) - any hot topics anyone?

FCP - the X factor or stick with FCP Classic?

Yes folks, Independence day is the next scheduled wefcpug get-together.   Currently expected to be the usual place.   On the agenda - unless anyone has a newer MBP than mine (which wouldn't be hard) it'll be a talking shop re. the X factor.    There'll be as much news and reviews as I can fit in (no shortage of sources) with some funny video takes on it all too.

Come along, and remember - for everyone who turns up there's another opinion on FCP X !


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

FCP X - first reactions and some urgent reading

Yes, of course I bought it, won't we all?   I'll be writing up my own experiences of FCP X over the next couple of days (or even longer!) but here's the first impressions of the package and the process.

Process first:  as you know, FCP X is a download from the AppStore.  Now, comparing it to my first experience of purchasing FCP (1.2.5 if you must know) - at £179 it's cheaper than in 1999 but even with a 6Mbps broadband line the download time only just beat the time it took me to cycle to the shop and pick up the discs.   It's a BIG download, especially if you purchase Motion too.   Around 4GB in total when installed (maybe it's a compressed download file - difficult to tell with the App store, you don't get all that much feedback.)   Then there's another whacking big download (1.5GB or thereabouts) of updates through Software Updater - which installs audio filters, Motion templates and codecs.   And I wouldn't be surprised if there's more to come!

Remember that FCP X and the rest are 64bit apps - you will know this means Intel macs only, but early Intel Mac Pros and MacBook Pros won't work either (minimum processor is the Core 2 Duo).

BIG warning here from Apple that, if you've got a previous FCP or FCS installation, you should partition the drive and install FCP X on a different partition (I've simplified - you'd better read the full info from Apple themselves).   My response is 'do as I say not as I do' - the advice came a bit too late for me, humph!   But all seems to be well - the 'old' FCP  suite has been moved into its own folder, and still works.

We're not done with downloading, by the way - the only manual that exists at the moment is the online help - but it is available as a download pdf and is probably worth reading before you go too much further.

Go to (or the root, and navigate via 'Video editing').   There are links in each of the manuals to the pdf versions - either top left (Motion - which calls out the pdf explicitly) or top right (FCP which is a confusing 'print' icon - but of course you can print as pdf).   When you've read the 500 + pages, read on :-)

Very very first impressions from me -
 good that FCP 7 is untouched.
 FCP X is fast, very fast.
Panic notes:  where are my tracks, my timecodes.  For that matter, where are my previous projects?  Where's Lisa Brenneis when you need her?

Summary of first look:   it's a different way of working.  As Paul described it in our last meet, there's now a strong feeling that FCP is but one way of manipulating the morass of media that is stored somewhere on the system.   It's similar to the way Aperture is set up:  media exists in a giant bucket somewhere, not necessarily organised into folders - the app does all the hard work of finding stuff and sorting it, based on the metadata it already has (date, time etc) or metadata you give it (keywords).  There's new terminology - 'events' are the organising idea for rushes.  Think 'shoot' rather than 'event' and it makes sense.   'Projects' are a way of organising events - it's the project that has the timeline attached.  Note it's timeline singular, you need to 'think different' about duplicates, safety copies, versions.

Definitely gone missing, presumed drowned:  tape digitisation, transport control, edit to tape, print to tape.   No way of using previous version projects / sequences, not even via XML.   Function key shortcuts (even insert/overlay edits through f9 etc) - though the keyboard seems infinitely customisable.

Still there, but almost invisible:  most of the FCP keys work as you'd expect, the JKL transport, in and out point markers.  But first assembly editing (as opposed to detailed trimming) hides this pretty much from you.

No export to Soundtrack, in fact no Soundtrack at all - the next few days will see how far working on the timeline will match Soundtrack capabilities for mixdowns and FX on audio.

Lots of new toys to explore - new Motion with an even jazzier interface, new improved titling, new alternatives to 'slugs' for placeholders.   Scopes that look pretty good, and keying that is reported to be perfect (yeah, heard that a few times before).  Watch this space.

DISCLOSURE - Phil is not paid by Apple to endorse this product (as you may have noticed) nor is he one of the chosen few given prior experience of the FCP X package - he's bought it with his own money.  The opinions are most definitely his own, and you are reading them as they form in real time.  So contents of this package are very likely to change.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Now selling - let the show begin (FCP X)

Just in case you hadn't noticed, FCP X is now available at £179.99 through the App Store, with Motion and Compressor available at £29.99

Let the reviews start!

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

London Supermeet 2011

 Roll up and read all about it here.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Next meeting - next Monday - June 6th

As you might recall, way back at the last meeting, in the heady aftermath of so many public holidays, we confirmed June 6th to be our next chance to come to terms with Change.

Or not, as the case may be, as we while away the days to this year's launches and upgrades.   Plans are still being finalised, we may or may not have a visiting demo:  but movies are still there to be seen, problems to be solved.   Bring along your share of either to the BBC Bristol Club, Monday June 6th, 7pm:  the usual injunction please to let Richard (see sidepanel for email contact) know you're coming.

In other news:
congratulations to Richard for actually winning the uke shootout.  See here for details.

And in music news:
Phil has just started to blow on a clarinet (it's a straighter, shorter version of his familiar alto sax) and it's doing his head in.  It's like moving from one edit system to another - but all the keys (subtle wordplay here) have been shifted along the keyboard, everything is a little bit smaller,  and the notes may look the same but they're different pitches.   So it's going really well.   (Please read the following sentence in a cod Geordie accent:  Day Two in the House and it's F, B flat and E flat).