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Great read - a Final Cut Pro X/RED feature film workflow by Sam Mestman!
Posted by Michal
March 21, 2013, at 1:02 AM

Sam Mestman was so kind that he shared his Final Cut Pro X/RED feature film workflow. The article is divided into two parts (but a third one is coming soon) and it is filled with tons of interesting info on working with Final Cut Pro X, bringing in your RED footage, editing, using plugins, and so on. A really great source of knowledge that can help you to improve your workflow or discover some nice and useful tips and tricks. It is worth adding, that in the past Sam worked for Apple, ESPN, “Glee,” and, he's a regular writer for MovieMaker Magazine and he teaches post workflow at RED’s REDucation classes. He also takes FCPX over Premiere or Avid and believes that the NLE should have a much better reputation than it has actually.

According to Sam, what's really important (and he's not the first to say it), metadata-based project preparation is something that can hugely improve your workflow and make your job much easier.

In the first part 1 of his long article, Sam deals with project preparation and getting all of your RED media into FCPX efficiently and setting up your project for long term success. In Part 2 he focuses on some tips and tricks as you edit your movie, and finally in part 3, he will explain in great detail how to finish your movie, whether it’s in FCP X, RED CINE PRO-X, DaVinci Resolve, or a combination of all three.

And here are some interesting excerpts:

On keywording your RED footage:

"Pretty much, the more you keyword your footage before you start editing, the more searchable and easy to modify your footage becomes as you go through your edit. Why is this? Because in FCP X, all of your keywords are searchable in the Timeline Index (Shift-Cmd-2). This means that if you take the time up front to keyword and organize your media, you can do some really cool things like resize based on frame size, and select based on speed or aspect ratio."

On batch renaming:

"Honestly, this one feature saves me more time than any feature in any NLE I’ve ever used. For some reason, almost no one is aware of this features’ existence, and almost no one seems to be using it. So what is batch renaming? Basically, it allows you to rename your clips based on metadata you enter onto them, and create custom naming presets, so your clips are automatically named in a particular order you set. Not only that, but you can even add escalating counters to them."

On audio patching:

"It’s a great idea to patch your audio properly before you start editing. Why? Well, basically, if you patch everything correctly (mono, stereo, 5.1), rename your components, etc., it means that you won’t need to change each one individually after you’ve edited them into the timeline (once you’ve edited a clip into the timeline, changing the way the source clip is patched in the event browser has no effect on that clip). They’ll all come in the way you wanted them to."

On the RED Proxy Workflow:

"Basically, what FCP X allows you to do is transcode your RED, SCARLET, and EPIC footage down to a half size Pro Res proxy, and with a click of a button, your clips will automatically switch back to their original R3D state. The best part is, all scaling, color, and effects you make to your proxy renders will automatically be reapplied “automagically” to your R3D’s when you switch back. No messing with sequence settings, codecs, or any of that. You’re either offline in Pro Res proxy, or you’re working with your original R3D footage."

On the Magnetic Timeline:

"Easily the most controversial feature in FCP X, the Magnetic Timeline (MT) is designed to help you keep everything in sync, connected, and in order. Is it going to slow you down as a professional editor? To be honest, sometimes. However, there are also countless cases where it’s going to speed up your workflow. It all comes down to how you use it."

Of course that's not all and actually Sam created a small bible with a lot of tasty details - he described almost all aspects of the software and shared many great tips, so make sure to visit his website to find everything out. Here's the first part and here's the second one. Enjoy!


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