Adrian Turpin

FCP X to DaVinci and back... round robin on separate computers

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I'm looking for a little advice... I'm about to grade a project that has been edited elsewhere on FCP X. So I need to do a round robin out of the editors Mac Book Pro running FCP X, bring it into Resolve on my Windows 10 workstation, and then go back again.
There is a fair bit of info out there about this but it all seems to assume that it's all happening on the same machine. I have never used FCP X either which makes it trickier to know exacty what to suggest to the editor to make it as simple and pain free as possible.
I'm guessing there will be a few traps waiting for me. We're talking mixing Macs and Windows. Video levels auto or maunal, that sort of thing. Also it seems that the media on the MacBook Pro is contained in a 'hidden' FCP folder. Do I tell the editor to use 'Show Package Contents' and then drag and drop all the media onto the portable drive that he is sending me along with the .xml file? Or is there a better way to do it? And how should he then re-import the project when I give him the graded media and .xml back again?

Any help or advice much appreciated.
Thank you.

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(edited)

Talking about levels, you definitely should make some tests.
For example when I rendered out MXF OP1A DNxHR 12 bit and VIDEO levels from Resolve, Premiere Pro incorrectly interpreted this so I got washed out picture. When I did the same thing but 10 bit and again set levels to VIDEO, Premiere Pro now interpreted levels correctly.

Edited by Anton Meleshkevich

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Hey Adrian,

Very interesting question.  Here are some things that I need clarification on before you start.

  1. Are you sure that all the media is contained in that one folder, and there are not 10, 20, 100, or 500 other files hiding around in other folders?
  2. Is the Mac drive that all the media is on (or could very well be an internal drive) a Mac formatted drive?
  3. How much flexibility do you have to consolidate all the media to one place, and then move it to a to a folder on an external drive, so that you can copy it, and take it with you?
  4. I'm also assuming that you're only doing the grade and not finishing the project.  The ideal workflow for you is to import the XML from FCPX, if the media is not linking, relink it, do your grade, export graded media and XML file for editor, editor imports XML media, and (if necessary) relinks to your graded master clips.

I'm working on a Conform training series for LowePost as we speak, and FCPX is a part of it, so let me know some of the above details, as I think I have a workflow that might work for you.

KPM

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Hi Kevin

Many thanks for getting back to me. The editor is based down in the south of the UK and I am up in Kendal, so it's not the easiest of things to organise and I am falrly new to resolve and don't know FCP at all..!!

Q1: So it seems that all the media for all of his projects are in one 'hidden' FCP folder, within which are individual folders for each of his projects. At the moment I got him to use 'show package contents' and then drag and drop the folder for this individual project. I have no idea what's in it, whether it's just the media or if there are other files. Without knowing FCP at all, I am guessig that maybe there is a 'proper' neat way of exporting the media?
Q2: The external drive that he is going to courier to me with all the media and the .xml will be Mac fornatted I am guessing.
Q3: As far as I know, all his rushes are in this one folder. He has just dragged it across to the portable drive.
Q4: Yes, I am just doing the grade. He then has to re-import it and add finishng touches. I would like to export with handles to give him the option of little tweaks. This is a big unknown.... how does he 'properly' re-import the project and re-link the new graded media... will there be issues with video levels compatibility (what video levels settings should I use)? And possibly other questions I haven't thought of....

Your help is much appreciated. Anything else that you need to know, I will try and find out.
Many thanks,

Adrian
 

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Hey Adrian,

Apologies for not messaging back sooner.  I always prefer to respond when I'm sitting in front of my computer with FCPX and Resolve on it.   So, here are some things are important to consider with the FCPX (or even Premiere) workflow for that matter.  Both FCPX and Premiere can be the....Wild West (for lack of a better term), when it comes to project organization.  Take anything you want from anywhere, and bring it into your project.  It can be a dangerous assumption to think that all the media will be contained within that FCPX library (libraries).  I think the method that you're going with will be the best for the situation that you're currently in.  Assuming he has only one event in his project, all the media should be in that one folder.  If not, I'd recommend a new folder hierarchy outside of the FCPX library called High Res Media, or something like that, and then consider going with sub-folders named after his/her events in FCPX.  This way, if you need to communicate with him/her, you can say "I'm looking for shot XYZ in even 123......can you take a look at it?", and they will be able to track it down pretty quickly, and it will save you putting all your footage into one "dumping ground".  How are you going to deal with the Mac drive(s) on Windows?  Mac Drive?  It's a great app to do what you're attempting here.  

As for a "proper, neat" way to export your footage from Final Cut Pro X, here is my 2 cents worth on how I would do it, if I was the editor.  First, NEVER EDIT ON AN INTERNAL DRIVE, ESPECIALLY IN A SITUATION WHERE YOU KNOW A SEPARATE COLORIST WILL BE DOING THE GRADE.  lol.  An easy way to get all your footage into one new location in FCPX is to, once your edit it done, attach a new media drive to your system, and in FCPX, select your library, open the inspector, hit the "Storage Location" button, and choose a new location for your media - on the new external hard drive.  Now, simply hit the Consolidate button in the "Media" section.  This will make a copy of all the footage in your project to the new external hard drive.  Now that all the footage is there, export an XML, which will be based on the location of the newly moved footage.  Once that's done, copy the XML onto that hard drive, and send it to your client.  Keep in mind that the media in your FCPX project is now linked to that media on the external hard drive, so it will go offline the instant you remove the drive.  FCPX has deleted any of the old media, so once the drive is disconnected, you can simply relink the FCPX project footage back to the footage's existing location.  The advantage to working this way is that you'll get an XML based on where the newly consolidated footage lives, however, since you're working with a Mac drive on a PC, the PC will want to assign it a drive letter, and you'll still need to relink in Resolve, but at least you avoid all the hassles of stepping into FCPX Libraries to find your footage.

As far as your export from Resolve to FCPX, you can export with as much handles as you have access to.  That's not an issue.  When the FCPX editor imports the XML file, it will be pointing to a Windows drive location (I'm pretty sure that's what will happen.  I haven't been on MacDrive in a while), so all you'll have to do in FCPX is relink that XML to the timeline you exported from Resolve (which will export as separate clips with as much handles as you think you need), and you should be all set to go. Don't hesitate to drop a line with any questions, as I have FCPX and Resolve, and can help you troubleshoot any issues you might have.

KPM

 

 

 

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Hi Kevin

Wow... many thanks for taking the trouble to pass all of this on... this is all great stuff.

Yep, point taken on the folder structrue. We will look at that.

Ah, yes, Mac Drives on the PC... good point. I am fortunate in that I am 'bi-lingual' and have Macs too on my network. However I am going to look at MacDrive, that looks like a very useful tool to have in the armoury.

All of his media is already on an external drive which is good. I really like your suggestion for a neat way to export... yes that should work really well and we will definitely try that method. That's a very useful insight that I wouldn't have come up with so many thanks for that.

Great, much appreciated Kevin.
I will definitely take you up on the offer if I run into problems.

Thank you 🙂
Adrian

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@Kevin

great summary for those of us who get asked for FCX to anything workflow and have no idea about FCX...

wanted to do a shout out for Paragon's "HFS+" - i've have it on mutiple windoze machines for years now, read and write HFS (and now APFS) trouble free

on the mac side we have "Tuxera" to write to NTFS, again been useing for years now with out ever an issue to be found.

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Love Paragon HFS+, and a great alternative to MacDrive!  Didn't know about Tuxera, and now I've gotta check it out.

KPM

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(edited)

one more note, pg84 of the Resolve 15.2.1 manual explains how to map Mac drives to a windoze drive letter, can make conforms go a bit faster, not a huge deal on a one-off, but for series it's pretty useful if the media arrives mapped to the client's server time after time...

 

the Tuxera thing was just because ti was bundled with a external drive, as long as the drive was pluged in the software would licence it's self permenatly on any number of machines... so i've kept that disk around for years now (think it's a 320gig)

we bought the software years ago anyway because of bond requirments to have a licence for all software used

Edited by dermot.shane
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(edited)

and another Q  for the smart guy...

is there something like "commit mutli cam edits" in FCX?

and a way to flatten the timeline?

i don't get alot of FCX, a few shorts a year

mostly the commericals, movies & series are cut in MC, and the indie features and some commericals and shorts in Pp

i kinda dread FCX conforms as they seem to fall of the rails far too often... like one i had recently with a timeline  @24, and refrence Qt at 23.98 (or was it the other way around?) mutiple tracks overlapping each other in seemingly random order...  was a nightmare best forgotten... or learned from - hence me asking you 😉

 

Edited by dermot.shane

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Kevin, you really are a mine of useful information... you should move to the Lake District, you'd love it here..!!
Many thanks, and thank you Dermot too... very good info 🙂
Adrian

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@Kevin P McAuliffe

Kevin... I'm just importing the project now and I already have a question..!
The drive he's sent me has several subfolders with a variety of files in them. However there is one folder titled 'Original Media' and one 'Transcoded Media'. Now I would think that I would want to use the original media, not something that FCP has already transcoded... but I could be wrong.... and is that a trap...? DaVinci only seemed to let me pick the master folder to find the media, so I'm not even sure which version it has loaded...
Any thoughts?
Adrian

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Hey Adrian,

When bringing in footage from Premiere or FCPX, Resolve does normally pick the right folder.  The easiest way to figure out if it did or not, is to (assuming you're in the Edit module), simply open the Media Pool, select a clip, then open the Metadata window, and take a look at the resolution of the clip.  What you'll also see in the Metadata window is the location of the file, which will help you narrow down if it's coming from the correct folder or not. With that being said, you will definitely want to use the Original Media, and not the transcoded media.  Let me know if you have any other questions

 

KPM

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in Resolve use "re-conform from media pool bin", and target only the cam orig bin?

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Okay cheers both... got it now... I unlinked and relinked.
Just discovered it's all shot in 1080 50i and I'm seeing a lot of interfield stuff going on... Don't think I've ever edited or graded interlace before... I've checked the clip attributes and it's set to field dominance auto... is there any point in trying upper or lower field? De-interlacing is greyed out... so I can't try that....

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i think de-interlace is only active in a progressive project, but i only rarely see interlaced footage, and can't remember last time i saw a interlaced project, so i'm not of much use am i?

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Hey Adrian,

Ahhh....the age old question.  Interlace or progressive. Here are some questions you need to know from the client/offline editor:

  1. What was the format of the original project
  2. What format are you delivering
  3. Is this a multi-rate project?

If you're saying that everything was shot 1080 50i, all your footage should be upper field dominant (I'm basing this on 1080i 29.97/59.94 footage - NTSC - is upper field dominant), and that is what your project should be set up to be, and sent back to FCPX as.  I'd just get confirmation before you start doing anything.

KPM

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No worries... think I'm getting there.... thanks to all your help... a lot of the strange interlace artefacts I was seeing was because of looking at the viewer in 'fit' size. As soon as you go to 100% size it returns to normal.
I'm just outputtig back at 50i so it's no big drama hopefully.
I'm just suddenly thinking about what happens with the sound when I export.... the sound mix has not imported well... and I'm guessing that's becuase he's left a lot of 'dead' tracks on his timeline that are probably muted... and they've all come into Resolve unmuted... When he re-imports it all, is his sound mix going to be totally messed up... or should I export without any audio... and is there a way then of him importing and re-linking only the pictures?
Aaaarrrgghhhh..!!!

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Hey Adrian,

Your offline editor needs to provide you with a two channel stereo mix of the locked offline, whether the audio has a final mix or not, for you to use as your reference.  Don't worry about whatever came in with the XML file.  Unlink it and delete it.  Have him/her WeTransfer it to you so you can get it ASAP.

KPM

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@Kevin Could I possibly pick your brains a little more.... so I've done the grade and exported the clips back onto the editors portable drive using the 'FCP X' preset. It was defaulted to 'uncompressed' and as the size wasn't too ridiculous I left it at that. I deselected audio so it's video only. It automatically saves an .xml of the timeline too, though I'm not sure how he will be able to use that becuase of the audio... but that leads me to my latest question... which is... what is the 'proper' way of now re-importing the project back into FCP...  Does he 'save as' on his version of the project and then unlink and relink the video to the new clips (and if so, what about separating the audio) or does he start a new project and bring the new clips in with the .xml (and again what about the audio)...

Many thanks if you can advise further....

Adrian

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not Kevin, but i have been doing this a fair bit

 

they editor opens a clean project, opens the XML and it automagicly links to the graded media and builds the timeline with graded media and effects that are embedded in the XML

 

one more thought, render with source rez checked, and bypass sizeing so the image does not get scaled twice, any scaleing  embedded in the XML will still be in the XML output from Resolve

Edited by dermot.shane

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