Euronews : Real Economy Episode 4 – post production moves to FCPX

Posted: September 11, 2013 in Economics, News, Video production
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This entry is a follow-up to an earlier post.  Click here to read the previous post before reading this one…

Presented by Maithreyi Seetharaman and Produced by Sebastien Le Belzic
Take a look at Episode 4 of Real Economy

For a bi-weekly news broadcast of this type, you really need to be on your toes all the time.  There’s no time for error in the post production schedule.  It’s so tight, that before the edit even starts you need to have the plan of a workflow to see you through the entire editorial and output/mastering process.  For example, even though the audio mix won’t be done until the very end…it’s one of the first things that needs to be dealt with and taken control of (especially while editing with FCPX10.0.9).

As I discussed in a previous post, the production process of the first 2 episodes of Real Economy on Euronews was done with Edius.  Then for episode 3, we switched to FCP7.  Now, for episode 4 we have again switched to FCPX.

I will go deeper into the specifics of all of the fun technical aspects in upcoming posts but to touch briefly here; by using roles and subroles in FCPX, I am able to export the audio for the project via X2Pro for the sound engineer who will be mixing in protools.  There are still some people who say it can’t be done…but behold…it works.

The more organised I am and the more detailed I am in regards to my metadata in my floating world of video clips, music, titles, generators, compound clips, voice overs, bumpers, SFX, host, interviews, questions, answers, etc. the better the final result and the easier it will be to finish the project with all the constraints and demands required by Euronews.

From FCP7 to FCPX

For the first week of the show being edited with FCPX, I’d say it went pretty well.    The viewer will see beautiful images and hear beautiful audio.  And as far as I know, the sound engineer was able to do his job with the elements I supplied him.  The mix is very good and he had flexibility to be a bit creative as well, which is a nice surprise to hear some of the extra touches he added to the piece in the mix.

There were, of course, bumps along the road.  Don’t get me wrong…
Yes, the first time around isn’t always the best (remind anyone of anything?) but things do get a lot better –

The (old) Mac Pro lives.  

Sitting down in front of a new machine on the Monday of an edit week that ends with delivery on Friday of that same week can be both exhilarating and frightening.  In the Paris offices of Euronews there is a fully loaded 2012 MacPro that was just installed and basically untested. We’re using a Blackmagic 4K card for real time HD monitoring on an external broadcast monitor.

Real Economy is a new program on Euronews and this episode 4 is not only my first edit with Euronews but it is also the first episode being cut in FCPX.

Mastering and Exporting for Sound Mix

With MXF support from Hamburg Pro Media and X2Pro AAF export for protools, you’ve got all you need for high end broadcast exportation.

The organisation by Sebastien Leroy concerning our export process has been without a doubt one of the reasons we are able to completely streamline the entire post production process.  His knowledge of the show and the guidelines and requirements of Euronews helped me create the proper workflow needed to get everything done on time.  And when I say everything I mean everything.

When it came time to create the AAF file we really wanted to give the sound engineer the correct source with handles and meaningful metadata, etc.  X2Pro seems to work swimmingly.  I’m looking forward to what I’m going to be able to do for episode 5 and beyond….

As I touched on briefly, I will be going into greater detail regarding the aspects of the post process and where, why and how Final Cut Pro X came up strong as well as where it comes up short and how I’m salivating for the new MacPro.  There are a few issues that need to be ironed out of FCPX before more broadcast and film editors will start to feel comfortable with switching but the time is close.  Apple is at a make or break point with FCPX and I think that the arrival of 10.1 and the new MacPro will basically decide the fate of this NLE.

If I hadn’t already been editing with X since it’s release I would have been highly negative towards the application but that would have been because of my lack of knowledge of how things work in X as opposed to how the application can actually function.  After going through the entire process and now seeing the final piece on air…I can say that X is nearly ready for prime time.

I am hoping, along with many others I imagine, that the next version 10.1 will be a fully functioning product that is ready and will blow the doors off the competition.  Already, X flies on the proper system.  And the ability to build templates and organise all of the graphics that will be needed for each episode is going to save time over and over again.

There are a few things I’ll be working on for Episode 5 to further streamline the post process.  Quicker color correction and more creative use of meta data, specifically roles to give the sound engineer more freedom to be creative but also to be able to communicate with him via my choices of roles, sub-roles and how I organise my audio export for him are two obvious points that come to mind.

All in all a good learning experience that will lead to great things if Apple can give us editors a nearly bug free application that ends up being the proper successor to the legacy FCP7 throne.

Coming up will be more detailed looks as I break down the process and highlight certain phases of our post production and how I think they can be helpful to those editors who want to trust FCPX but still aren’t sure if they can.  It’s a valid fear after all.

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