Friday, June 24, 2011

David Pogue talks Final Cut Pro X

Pogue weighs in on professional editors weighing in on FCPX.

Pogue's review of FCPX.

Conan O'Brian On Final Cut Pro X

FCPX made an appearance on Conan O'Brian.

Youtube link here. Second link for backup here.

How To Run Final Cut Pro X on Non Open CL Capable Cards

Hardmac has an article up describing how someone discovered that, while slow, FCPX and Motion 5 can run on a Mac without a video card that supports Open CL.

"Yesterday I was unable to install Final Cut Pro X on my Dual-Core Mac Pro Intel Xeon rev. 1.1 (from September 2006) because the graphics card is not compatible with OpenCL. I created a session with my name on a friend's recent MacBook Pro and bought it with my iTunes account to test it on his computer and buy it on mine after would have changed the graphics card.
Today I put the MacBook Pro in target mode to transfer some video files.
Then, from my Mac Pro, opened the Application folder of the MacBook Pro and I was able to launch the Application!
I then copied it in the application folder of my Mac Pro and tried to launch it again, it worked!
I went to the software update menu and the other softwares were installed!

For Motion, a 10 seconds animation is read in 23 seconds in Motion 5 on the Mac Pro.
Graphics cards are important, but since I am not a professional, it is plenty enough for me. I understand that Apple didn't want that lower performances with older hardware would be officially possible.
On the MacBook pro 5.2 (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.66 GHz), the animation is read in real time, 10 seconds."

I'm unure of the complete legality of this but it's pretty interesting. It would likely be too slow to be of any real use though in real-world editing.

Apple has a support document here which lists cards that do support Open CL.

The Clip's Master Clip Is Not Present - Error

FCP has a long standing bug where when you have the playhead in the Timeline over a clip and hit SHIFT + F for Reveal Master Clip, you'll inexplicably see this:

Restarting FCP will not help.
Reconnecting the clip will not help.
Trashing prefs hasn't helped me in this case.

Bizarrely, the clip will be fully visible in your Browser and/or Bin yet FCP will simply not be able to find it. It may be able to find other clips in the Timeline that reside in the same Bin as the errant clip, though.

I have no solution but it's an irritating, frustrating bug.

See, with the Timeline in the foreground and placing the playhead over a clip and tapping The F Key will perform a Matchframe where the frame -and Master Clip- that the playhead is over will appear in the Viewer.

But, hitting SHIFT + F with the Timeline in the foreground and placing the playhead over a clip and tapping F will perform a Reveal Master Clip; only sometimes it will just stop working. I have no idea why.

A workaround this to find a Master Clip and have it load into the Viewer is, like I mentioned, just place the playhead over the clip, make sure the Timeline is in the foreground (active) and tap the F key. You won't see the clip in the Bin or Browser but you'll be able to scrub around to see what else the clip holds footage-wise.

It's an incomplete workaround however especially if you need to see the following and preceding clips around the clip you're interested in. You'll likely find yourself doing this a lot while cutting a documentary and know that the footage is listed chronologically; a Reveal Master Clip would show you where the clip rests in accordance to the order the clips were shot in.

Another quirk is that if you do hit OK to "add a master clip to the browser" it'll do just that; and it'll find it if you load that into the Timeline (or Viewer, Reveal Master Clip works if the Viewer is the active window as well) and perform a Reveal Master Clip. Frustrating.

So there is a solution if you're willing to add a master clip to the browser (at root level) for every clip that suffers from this bug. But there's no guarantee that it won't randomly happen again. In fact, if you do add a master clip to the browser, place some of  it in the Timeline, then for fun delete the newly created master clip from the Browser, FCP will toss up the Master Clip Not Present error.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

RIP Final Cut Server & Final Cut Express

Apparently Apple has killed off Final Cut Server and Final Cut Express according to Appleinsider.

What Final Cut Pro X Can't Do

I'm keeping a list as I run across things. Don't expect this to be complete, always accurate or exhaustively detailed.

Here we go: (this is for the dot zero release, btw and keep in mind I haven't played with FCPX very much yet)

1. You cannot currently import FCP6/7 projects into FCPX (see #4)
2. There is no Multiclip/Multicam.
3. Many plug-ins currently do not work.
4. Currently there is no XML Import or Export.
5. Currently there is no native OMF Export or Export to Logic.
6. Doesn't currently work natively with R3D or XDCAM (they need to be re-wrapped first).
An update has already addressed this somewhat.
7. There are no longer distinct Canvas and Viewer windows.
8. You cannot set In and Out points for tape capture nor (AFAIK) is there a batch tape capture ability.
9. You cannot "Save As" to duplicate a project (at least not that easily).
10. Apparently you can't Print (output) to tape, anymore.
11. Currently there is no support for EDL Import or Export.
12. You can't easily open two projects at once and drag media, sequences or custom filters between them.
13. Apparently lacks support for HDMI Input and Output
14. Apparently lacks support for SDI Input and Output
15. Not compatible with many, if any 3rd party video (capture?) cards
16. Timeline seems to always start at 00:00:00
17. Can you keyframe effects? I can't find it.

Apple vs. Final Cut Pro X User's Reviews

There's been so much backlash against the new version of FCP (FCPX) that Apple may have removed not just some but as of this post, all or nearly all reviews on the App Store (not to be confused with Amazon's Appstore, btw).

They're back up as of now.

9to5 has a post about it here.

Daring Fireball has more info about FCPX's reception in general here.

Arstechnica has some more reactions and comments from Apple on FCPX here.

Appleinsider has an article on reactions to FCPX here.

Installing FCPX and Final Cut Studio Side by Side

Apple has posted a rather interesting support document about how best to install FCPX along with Final Cut Studio.

It's here, and well worth a read if you plan on installing FCPX while having FCS also installed.

They recommend you re-partition your boot disk but if you don't, make sure to launch Motion 4 first. Sound messy? I thought so too. It's very un-Appley in my opinion.

Disk Utility and Invalid Content in Journal

Yesterday while switching around external hard drives to media manage some old projects that are going to be handed off forever (yay!) to a client I accidentally unplugged the wrong firewire cable and disconnected a drive that was mounted but not currently in use.

I don't think it was spinning at the time but I can't be sure. However, plugging it back in I found that it wouldn't mount. I tried a few times, tried using USB but it refused to mount. All the spin up, head alignment noises were there but it didn't mount.

Running Disk Utility showed an "Invalid content in journal" error. Now this wasn't a FCP drive, just a storage drive of mine. It's good practice to not journal your render drives (if you use an external one) for reasons such as this, speed, etc…

But this storage drive was journaled and apparently something went poof when its firewire was unceremoniously unplugged.

Running repair in Disk Utility showed:

The volume BLAHBLAH was repaired successfully.
Volume repair complete.
Updating boot support partitions for the volume as required.
Repair tool completed

But Disk Utility lied. Running Verify or Repair showed the same "Invalid Content in Journal" error every time. And it still refused to mount.

I decided to give Disk Warrior a go even though my version is out of date and after it's 10+ step process of rebuilding and replacing the directory the drive mounted.

Out of curiosity I rechecked it with Disk Utility and found no errors but I did notice that apparently Disk Warrior had turned off Journaling on the external drive.

Just to see what would happen I re-enabled Journaling through Disk Utility and re-ran Verify and again, no errors.

So if a drive won't mount, and you see the "Invalid Content in Journal" error in Disk Utility give Disk Warrior a try. Looking back I wonder if I could have just disabled Journaling on the un-mounted drive and then mounted it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

FCPX - Removed Comments & Reviews

Apparently, Apple is removing negative comments and reviews from the discussion page and the App Store review site. I've seen two reviews removed from the App Store and I've noticed some posts and comments are no longer on the discussion site.

FCPX Options for Ingesting Media from Photo-Based Devices

Apple has put up a page covering the basics on ingesting and importing media from "photo-based devices" into FCPX which really means SD cards and DSLRs.

Adding Arrows Super Fast in Final Cut Pro

I'm working on a video that has lots of little intricate things that are pointed out in the text. Arrows on screen definitely help in this specific case.

A super fast way to add graphical arrows in Final Cut Pro is to use the Windings 3 font. Yup, a font.

You can launch Font Book -which is in your applications folder- to see exactly what arrows are available but for basic ones use the FGHJKL keys.

Now you can manipulate them as you would any graphic. Resize, alter color, rotate, keyframe etc…

FCPX and Supported Cameras

Apple has a pretty nifty page up here that lists supported cameras.

FCPX Requirements

Can your Mac Run FCPX?

- Mac computer with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor or better
- 2GB of RAM (4GB of RAM recommended)
- OpenCL-capable graphics card or Intel HD Graphics 3000 or later
- 256MB of VRAM
- Display with 1280-by-768 pixel resolution or higher
- Mac OS X v10.6.7 or later
- 2.4GB of disk space for Final Cut Pro
- 2GB of disk space for Motion
- 685MB of disk space for Compressor

More specific info about requirements and graphics cards is here.

What do you have?

1. Hold down the OPTION key.
2. While holding it down click on the Apple logo at the top left of the Menubar.
3. It'll read "System Profiler…"
4. After System Profiler launches click on "Graphics/Displays" under Contents > Hardware in the left column. Your graphics card(s) will be listed in the right-hand pane.

FCPX Questions and Answers

FCPX has dropped into the App store along with Motion and Compressor. Those links are App Store links, btw.

Many initial questions are covered here. It's well worth a read.
Macworld has an article on it here.

However, right off the bat with the dot zero release:

1. You cannot currently import FCP6/7 projects into FCPX (see #4)
2. There is no Multiclip/Multicam.
3. Many plug-ins currently do not work.
4. Currently there is no XML Import or Export.
5. Currently there is no native OMF Export or Export to Logic.
6. Doesn't currently work natively with R3D or XDCAM (they need to be re-wrapped first).
An update has already addressed this somewhat.
7. There are no longer distinct Canvas and Viewer windows.
8. You cannot set In and Out points for tape capture nor (AFAIK) is there a batch tape capture ability.
9. You cannot "Save As" to duplicate a project (at least not that easily).
10. Apparently you can't Print (output) to tape, anymore.

Panasonic's P2 Card and the Format Error!

Hopefully you'll never see this:

The error message blinks which is why it looks faded here.

It's a FORMAT ERROR! (I think it actually reads "FORMAT ERR!") which can occur very rarely on P2 cards for seemingly no reason. Recently we had one while on location.

What happened was someone forgot a standard USB cable to load in footage from an HVX200 camera to a Hard Drive - I've had extremely bad luck with going directly from the camera to a hard drive in the past so I avoid it at almost all costs now - and since we were on location with pretty much nothing around us in the way of stores and rummaging around through everyone's bags and equipment cases looking for a USB cable I decided to load in the footage via Firewire.

Now this camera and another we've been using have had Firewire issues in the past. Namely extremely slow and getting slower over time Firewire transfers. Resetting the cameras and restoring the Firmware seems to have no effect. USB xfers are multiple times faster than Firewire at this point so I've been going with USB regularly, often and without issue when there's no card reader available.

So, finding a Firewire cable and setting the camera to be a Firewire device and hooking everything up I began the copy from camera to laptop. While slow -as expected- it was going and I told everyone to take a coffee break while it copied over.

About 400MBs into the copy there was a Finder Read/Write error, I didn't have permission for something or other and it konked out. I suspect it was something to do with the "LASTCLIP.TXT" file which is locked by default.

So I tried to unmount the camera with no response and ended up just power cycling it since it was completely unresponsive and the Finder on the laptop couldn't unmount it even after waiting 5+ mins.

Powering it back on I saw the dreaded "FORMAT ERROR!" in red on the screen.

Now this is a very rare error and unfortunately there's not much you can do about it on location. Some people have had luck with a few power cycles and mounts and unmounts, others have had luck with Disk Utility repairing it but I wasn't one of them. I'm reluctant to have the Mac do anything to the cards but we were desperate and the director said go ahead so I tried a few repairs with the Terminal and Disk Repair but nothing seemed to help.

We ended up calling and overnighting the card to Panasonic who was able to recover the footage in their labs. They copied the footage back to the same card of ours and shipped it back to us. Panasonic was amazing, fast and helpful.

So the bottom line solution for us, upon seeing FORMAT ERROR! was to just ship the card to Panasonic and have them recover the footage.

My new rules for loading footage from a P2 card when you have to use the camera as a reader is to:

1. Lock the card with the write protect switch before mounting it on the Mac.
2. NEVER use Firewire. USB only from now on.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

MacBook Pro 2011 Not Recognizing SanDisk Class 10 SD Cards

A few people are reporting that a Class 10 SanDisk SD Card won't be reliably recognized in a 2011 MacBook Pro.

What does seem to work as a temporary workaround is restarting the Mac with the card already inserted. But even then it's not recognized if you remove the card and then reinsert it or another similar card.

"I use a Sandisk SDHC Extreme Class 10 SD Card and have problems getting it to read through the inbuild SD card reader.

I tried the following:

Reformatting on Disk Utility
Reformatting on my Canon 450D
Restarting Laptop
Resetting PRAM
Resetting SMC
Repairing Disk Permissions
Repairing Disk

All of these did not solve my problem. I have a card reader which when plugged into the MBP, works fine and detects the card.

The Weird Part

I plugged the card into a friend's iMac and it detects it every time. And then right after I do that, I plug it into my MBP, and it detects the card, but the problem is once I eject it, and slot it back in, it fails to detect again! However if I try this method again (Slot to iMac, remove, slot back to MBP), it will fail the second time.

Someone tried a card in MacBooks at an Apple store and:

"They had me EFFA back the machine, and provided me with a new one. I tested the new one right out of the box and it worked fine, but after Migration, it no longer worked. Restoring using the included disk back to factory specs DID NOT restore the ability to read the card.

In checking random machines at the apple store, only 1 on the entire floor recognized that a card was inserted, when I tried the Sandisk SDHC Extreme Pro 8GB 45MB/S card.

Apparently Apple and SanDisk are aware of the problem but if you use SD Cards for production or have them sent to you for editing it's a good idea to be aware of this issue. I've not seen it as I've been using an external USB card reader. Hopefully it'll be addressed soon with a software update.