Another story airs… learning curve? Maybe.

Scroll down for the link to the edited video.

I’ve been avoiding the beast lately, but decided to let it out of its cage and wrestle with it a bit.

Overall, I’d say it took me twice as long as usual to cut it on X instead of 7. After 2 1/2 days of editing, I seriously thought about starting over in 7. I was feeling like what little creative energy I might have, was being sucked away by the frustrations of dealing with the half-baked interface.

That’s not entirely fair… I’d say it’s over half way baked, but oh so many issues

This was a 4 1/2 minute very inspiring story for our show.

I usually lay all the audio out first, then fill out the “b-roll” shots and effects.

The audio editing was still difficult, because of the nature of the “hidden” audio that must be revealed to be adjusted. I set up a keyboard shortcut to expand all the clips in the timeline, and another to collapse them all. This has helped the audio editing considerably. I still miss adding multiple audio dissolves with one click. I desperately miss it!

Where is the overlapping audio?

Perfect irony: I figured that by selecting the timeline view mode that just showed the audio waveforms, that I could more effectively mix my audio. Guess what? The overlapping “hidden” audio is not there. Expanding and collapsing all the audio clips does nothing. Grrrr.


Rude discoveries: creating a secondary storyline, I discovered that using composite modes inside the secondary storyline did not work. I wanted to put three shots panning over sheet music, overlaid over shots the pianist playing, dissolving between the shots on both the overlay track and the main video track. Since the composite modes didn’t work inside the secondary storyline, I kept them spiked over the main line, and since you can’t dissolve between the connected clips, I had to overlap, and animate the opacity to create an ersatz dissolve.

A snapshot of my timeline. Notice the overlapping connected clips over the main timeline.

FCX is intended to be fast and simple. Until the interface works the way you expect it to, it’s a giant workaround machine.

Balancing the audio. Open the audio enhancements tab for a clip. Notice the lack of controls in the “loudness” effect. The effect is a fairly basic compression effect, with the familiar parameters of “ratio” and “threshold”disguised as if they are in the witness protection program. So why not just use the compressor in the logic audio tools?

I tried using the audio compressor effect on the clips to try to balance the audio, but ended up just adding a gain effect instead. I could add 12db just in the timeline, but I needed more on several of my clips. The waveforms on the clip in the timeline seems to be fairly responsive. It reflects the outgoing level of the clip, not just the intrinsic level of the clip. I adjusted the level of the gain until the peaks of the waveform hit the red, then backed off just a bit. This actually worked to get me in the ballpark of the right audio level.

I still miss my normalization gain! Nothing is faster than doing that in FCP7!

I hate the copy/paste effects in X. Every effect and parameter is copied and I have no control over which effects or parameters are copied over to the new clips. This is a huge fail.

I hate that “send to motion” is missing. I built a motion project that looks like a large scrapbook page, and animated the camera to fly over the photos. Selecting in-points for long video clips in motion is problematic, so I placed my shots in an FCP7 timeline and sent it to motion. Then I opened the motion 4 project, closed it, and re-opened it in motion 5, to animate. I discovered that if I didn’t open it in motion 4 first, it would open without video. Crazy workaround. So now I’m going back and forth between FCP7, FCX, Motion 4 and Motion 5. Really?

Deleting optimized video. It works! I had some mp4 video that FCX optimized in the background. Deleting this optimized video created no problems whatsoever. When the pro res video disappeared, it played the mp4 video with no problem, and didn’t complain that the optimized video wasn’t there. Small win!

When will the update be coming? I’m still on the fence about whether to ditch FCX or stick it out. It’s not about money since I’ve already purchased the bastard child. My big investment now is time, and that is not a small investment. If it takes me an extra day to edit an average story, that’s not winning. If I get faster, and Apple comes through with improvements, then the cool effects in X makes it a win.

I’ve decided to embrace my masochistic tendencies, and start editing my next story on X. More on that later.

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