Video retiming with FCPX

The retiming tool is handy in Final Cut Pro X (FCPX) for slowing video motion. One of the challenges we found is adjusting the shutter speed to get the best result from slow motion. FCPX has three different video quality options for retiming, or slow motion. There are Normal, Frame Blending, or Optical Flow. As expected, as the quality selection is increased, the rendering time increases. The increase in quality is well worth, as you can see a definite difference in the increase in quality.

The test examines the difference between 1/60th second versus 1/2000th of a second shutter speed on a Canon M-500 using the highest quality AVHCD at 24MB/s, adjusting video speed to 25% of original. One thing we found is the real high frame rate shots do not blend well when the object moving through the frame has a hard edge, like the back end of a mini van. Once the van is relatively small in the frame, the blending improves markedly. As seen in other video slowdown programs (Twixtor), hard edges do not seem to blend as well, as they’re very apparent.

We made this evaluation to see if the quality improvement with Twixtor might be worth it. But, we found that because the camera we are shooting potential shots with uses AVHCD, which does not handle strong motion well in the first place, getting a clean slow motion is troublesome. Also, we edited this video on a Macbook Pro Retina (MBPr) and found the AVHCD video on the screen just does not look good compared to outputting the video to the HDMI port to a regular HD 1080 television.

Creating Share DVD FCPX

To burn a DVD in Final Cut Pro X (FCPX) version 10.0.8 go to File > Share>DVD.  A

Background task indicator
Background task indicator

small processing bar comes up for a short time and disappears.  To see if it is processing, go to background task window in Window>Background Task, command 9 or click on the background processing window.

In this version compared to 10.0.4 the background task bar is the only indication that it is processing a DVD, which may lead to some confusion that it is actually processing.

Background Task Window
Background Task Window

It is easy to think the Share DVD command is not working because there is no visible progress bar.   Wait until your Project is done rendering any changes before you go to Share DVD.  Your processing time for the DVD will be improved.

Final Cut Pro X – Adjusting the volume of multiple clips

While continuing to work on an hour long video shoot in Final Cut Pro X (FCPX)

Final Cut Pro multiple clip selection volume adjustment
Final Cut Pro multiple clip selection volume adjustment

with three Canon M-500 cameras, one Sony RX-100 and a Zoom H4n recorder, we ran into the problem of needing to adjust the volume on mulitple clips simultanously.

To adjust the volume of multiple / several clips simultaneously select the clips to be adjusted with the mouse.

Then click Control + or Control -.

Doing this will increase or decrease the volume of all the selected clips by one dB (1dB) increments.

Making stereo out of a single recorded channel

One problem we have run into is recording a single left or right audio channel into the

Single channel of audio needing to be both channels
Single channel of audio needing to be both channels

Zoom H4n recorder using a single microphone.  This is how to convert stereo audio recordings (in this case the Zoom H4n, Zoom 1, Zoom 2) to single mono sounds that play through both speakers / headphones / audio channels.

When we get back to the edit bay with Final Cut Pro X (FCPX), we only have a single side working.  We really want to fill that null, blank or empty audio channel with something.  Usually an exact duplicate of the channel with some useful audio.

More than once, we have run into this problem.  But it’s infrequent except when the camera or recording device does not do channel redirecting like the Sony PD-150.  That ability was very handy and saved time in editing.

To make this audio file into a stereo selection, bring up the inspector window (Command-4) and select Audio.

With your audio clip to be modified selected, find the area with the Channel Configuration.

Click Dual Mono.

Doing this will spread the single audio track across both left and right channels.  Since

Dual Mono from single channel stereo FCPX
Dual Mono from single channel stereo FCPX

one of the channels is empty anyway, just deselect that channel.

Now the clip will play in both the left and right channels.

There are other methods, like making a copy of the audio track and then creating a compound file.  However, this adds additional complexity to the project and it only takes a one frame error to create all sorts of problems with the audio.  Although we used to do the multiple clip technique in Final Cut Pro 6 (and 7), this method is far more effective and less error prone.  Really, there is not too much to go wrong with this approach.

 

Adding and removing multiple transitions Final Cut Pro X

While editing, we have found the need to add or remove multiple transitions to a large number of cuts.  The process is easy, once you know how to do it in Final Cut Pro X (fcpx).

This technique allows you to add a transition to every cut in your timeline.  Say you want to add a crossfade to every cut, you can do

Select all clips
Select all clips

it.  Select every clip in the timeline you want to add a transition between.  Then in the transition window, double click the transition you want to apply.  That will add a transition to every cut you made in the selected clips.

Double click transition to add transitions to every cut
Double click transition to add transitions to every cut
Transitions added to every cut
Transitions added to every cut

That’s handy!  But, what happens if you want to remove the same transition from a selected sequence of clips in FPCX?

Open the clips window in a project.  Either do this by clicking the Time Line Index (Shift-Control-2) or selecting Edit-Find.  Then,

Show or hide timeline index
Show or hide timeline index

either manually select the transitions you want to delete or use the find (magnifying glass) for the transitions you want to delete.  Select those transitions (use Control-A or mouse select) then select delete.

All transitions to delete
All transitions to delete

All the transitions will disappear.

This ability was around in Final Cut Pro 6 and Final Cut Pro 7.  Now it’s available in Final Cut Pro X (FCPX).

As we discover handy tips and tricks, we’ll post these here in our blog to share with other videographers.