Entries in Final Cut Pro (3)


"Man from Harlem" remix

In my attempts to learn Soundtrack Pro, part of the  Final Cut Studio package that Apple used to sell for sound editing, I've gone back to this video with friend Gary Lettan - who can really put on a performance. Some fun, basic effects have been added.

Oh my. STP as it's known on the message boards. What an annoying POS. Even after reading the Apple published "Sound Editing in Final Cut Studio", I still can barely find my way around. The only commands that it shares with Final Cut are use of the J, K, & L keys and the space bar. It's not even obvious where the focus is while working in various panes. Selection works nothing like it does in FCP. The functionality of the File Editor pane at the bottom of the screen is completely counter intuitive. As far as I can tell, envelopes cannot be applied to single files, but work only in the multi track window. Roundtripping to/from FCP works as it should, but the file saving process is about as obtuse as could be imagined. I'm only hanging on with this application because of the huge variety of effects that it has that cannot be done directly in FCP. Perhaps a few hundred more hours and I'll make it far enough up the curve to be able to do something productive. It's frustrating enough that the Adobe alternative begins to look like a wise choice, especially since Apple has abandoned the entire Final Cut suite.

But then it's starting all over again at the bottom of the hill.


a matter of timing

The internet is a fine place for the restatement of the obvious. Obviously. Consequently, mental midgetry is given vocalism:

Video editorial technology still has me in its thrall. The ability to simply duplicate a scene - without duplicating the original media on which it is based - and then recut the material with an adjustment for pauses between reactions of performers, or a different ordering of the pieces of imagery, is a fabulous advancement. This, possibly more than any other reason, is why the world of nonlinear editing has taken over the editorial world. Only archivists still use flatbed editing machines. Even large features shot on film originals have moved away from literally cutting work print film copies. Why would you when the tools to do this electronically are so ubiquitous, so subtle, and so relatively easy to use?

This adjustment to the timing of images is something that can't be attended to with still images, unless you're working with a slide show. But certainly not within the realm of a book or a gallery of online images. These media have their own aesthetic appeal, and rarely depend upon the performances of actors to impart their power of expression. Many recognize the importance of captions for still images, which becomes something of a narrative device. But there is still no way of shaping the meaning of a sequence of images through the prominence given by their timing, meaning the specific amount of time that each image is presented, and the pauses between vocal interactions.

As this pertains to my current editorial activity, as I create alternative versions of scenes, the earliest are the most leisurely, the most contemplative. The later versions are faster, more to the narrative point. But I feel nonetheless that I'm falling victim to the ever increasing insistence upon the need to sharpen and propel the narrative, something I'm decidedly conflicted about. The question becomes at what point to leave alone the awkward pauses and mispronunciations in order to impart a feeling of awkwardness.

The quest continues for the correct balance between the non linear animal brain gut feeling of here and now, and the delineation of a thematic concept. Wish me luck.


a feature - not a bug

homage to Shepard

When was the last time you used a piece of software that had a feature that the documentation described as doing exactly what you needed to do? And then when you used the feature it did EXACTLY what you expected and wanted?

Such is the joy of the first usage of a filter in Final Cut Pro 7 called "SmoothCam." Admittedly, it took ten minutes to analyse a piece of video 3 seconds 19 frames long - apparently it has to look at the entire clip from which those ninety-one frames come. I didn't ask the software to do much - simply smooth out a camera that bounced a little from actors walking across the floor.

This is going to be my excuse for why there isn't much movement during this interior scene: if I'd had them walk around, the floor would have been bouncing the camera in a totally uncontrolled manner. The 7D should probably have been mounted on the Steadicam instead of a tripod - or some mount attached to the ceiling instead of the floor. (Which reminds me of a stereo installation from the recesses of my past where I suspended the turntable from the ceiling of the room, since I knew that walking across the room would make the tone arm bounce unacceptably. I don't think the landlord was too keen on the holes left in the ceiling when I departed.) Or maybe several thousand pounds spread around the floor to dampen out the movement. You would think that the several thousand pounds of machinery already in the shop would have done the trick, along with the massive shop bench included in the master shot.

Rarely does a filter work the way I want it to. Nice to see that software can come to the rescue of a shot that would have been eliminated without the filter.