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#7 - Primary School - FCPX On Air

COW Blogs : FCPX On-Air : #7 - Primary School - FCPX On Air
Hey guys,

Everybody wants to know why I avoid the primary storyline when editing promos. There are a myriad of reasons, most of which are related to 'I just do'.

It really doesn't bother me much, but perhaps this video of showing when I don't, and when I do, work in the primary will help you.

So does this help at all?

Posted by: John Davidson on Jan 18, 2013 at 4:34:07 pmComments (9) FCPX, Primary


Re: #7 - Primary School - FCPX On Air
by adamnielson
Hey John

I just wanted to say thanks for creating these videos. I got about 6 different ideas that will help me in my workflow. As for your editing technique, I personally feel you have shown just how flexible FCP X can be, by doing something it's creators probably didn't intend, but that works for you.

I would imagine you have received quite a bit of feedback about this issue, prompting you to make this video. I think unfortunately there is still a lot of negative sentiment about FCP X, and people might have felt you were basically giving it your blessing, with the caveat that you have to override one of it's primary features (magnetic timeline.) It's good to know you find the Primary storyline useful after all. Keep up the good work.


by John Davidson
Thanks Adam. We're working on a sizzle right now where primary is being used, um, primarily. It can be pretty powerful when you're in the right kind of project.

John Davidson | President / Creative Director | Magic Feather Inc.
Re: Blog: #7 - Primary School - FCPX On Air
by Nick Toth
This is exactly the method I use. When cutting spots, a gap clip as primary maintains the horizontal positioning while still having the advantage of "magnetism" vertically. Spots tend to be built as a series of "vertical chunks" anyway, i.e: composites, text, etc. For long form, using the primary as you show it is quick and easy. Good explanation John.
Re: Blog: #7 - Primary School - FCPX On Air
by Bill Davis
If you're really stuck on having a more traditional timeline - there's actually nothing preventing you from dropping a display timecode filter on a 29:29 black generator clip and sticking THAT in your primary to start your edit..

Bingo - timeline indication of absolute time position in your workspace.

When you secondary work is done you can just Replace with Gap to make your TC disappear.

So many options if you just take the time to think about some of the possibilities rather than seeing X only in terms of what might be "missing" from what one previously expected...

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.
Re: Blog: #7 - Primary School - FCPX On Air
by John Davidson
Yeah, we could totally do it that way. It's really pretty easy this way. I'm guessing we'll get some kind of 'minimize primary' option for random edits in future releases.

John Davidson | President / Creative Director | Magic Feather Inc.
Re: Blog: #7 - Primary School - FCPX On Air
by Don Smith
My personal Prime Directive is that I would not question what works for you.

Also, you bring an excellent concept to the table and that is to suggest to Apple to be able to set an alarm marker on the ruler above the edit that would change color like a retiming indicator. That would allow those of us who prefer to work with the magnetic timeline the primary benefit of working your way. The marker would be one color to indicate that project length has not been reached, green for hitting the marker, and another color for going beyond the marker. As long as I'm wishing, I'll also wish that marker would have a readout of the difference between the end of the storyline and the marker. Plus or minus.

There are other ways to work in FCPX as well and that's one of the many things I like so much about it. You can do what works for you and I can do what works for me and we are both allowed.

Another way, which I'm doing more often, is to edit a clip in its own storyline and taking the resulting compound clip into the Project.

Or, it may never go to the project. I've edited complete projects starting with editing a clip in its own storyline. Don't start with a graphic though! You'll finish the edit with motion and sound and you'll export only to find that the export doesn't have sound. You have to start with a video, even a silent video, to have an export that includes any sound in the project.

Or, I may pop over to Motion and change the settings on a new Motion project to an oddball frame ratio, export, then import the resulting black video into the FCPX Library and then open it on its own timeline so it can be the first clip and that 'sets' the parameters of the edit. I then add clips from there to edit in a frame size that can't happen in a Project. Delete the motion 'first clip' anytime after adding a second clip.

And, don't forget the Position mode if you just can't completely wean yourself of FCP7/Premiere/Avid track-based editing.

I call it 'Editing Diversity'.

Don Smith
Re: Blog: #7 - Primary School - FCPX On Air
by Mark Morache
Interesting way to cut promos. Like Don, I would never question what works for you...

Naw, I actually do that all the time.

The primary storyline is where all the power is. There are certainly ways to make edits that don't affect the length of the storyline: using the position tool, overwrite edits instead of insert edits, replace clip from start/end, etc.

However there are many many other ways to lay out your edit that will let you use the primary storyline.

One thing that I had to wrap my mind around was the fact that you can put a video clip BELOW the primary storyline.

If you have a 15 second promo that ends with a graphic, that can go in a clip or a secondary storyline below the primary storyline and add enough gap to place the clip at the end of your project. If you spike that secondary storyline to your first clip or a slate, you can ensure that it won't move. Now you just need to fit and trim the primary so that the last bit of video ends at the point the tag starts.

I've tried editing outside the primary, and it's not where the power and speed are. Even secondary storylines give me pause. You can't use I and O to set the in and out in the secondary storyline.

It looks to me like in your promo the audio would be the primary spine. I like to lay my narration audio clips and my sound bites (video clips) in my primary story line to get the audio locked in, then I use the timeline index to lift all of my narration clips out of the primary, leaving gap that I can now fill with video shots.

Is this your final timeline... with the text over the gap, and areas where the gap is the only video showing? Just wondering.

Obviously do what works for you, however, I think you're circumventing what makes FCPX so powerful.

Don't live your life in a secondary storyline.

Mark Morache
Evening Magazine,Seattle, WA
Re: Blog: #7 - Primary School - FCPX On Air
by John Davidson
Here's how that would work. I'd take the scratch track as primary idea, implement it office wide, and then the next spot is an image spot doesn't have scratch audio. Now we have to make secondary special rules for when to use the primary for multiple editors. Somebody forgot about that rule and used something else as primary in the third spot down the line, and suddenly we have chaos. The simplicity of our system is that it works for everything and any of us can jump into any spot and continue to work without having to figure out what the other guy did.

Some spots don't have scratch. Some spots don't have music. Some spots don't have video in big gaps. Our system works for now. It will change again in three months most likely.

I once read a story about Peter Jackson as a kid made muzzle flashes in his short films by sticking a needle in the celluloid. Read about it here:
That's certainly not how film is supposed to be used, but it worked.

Doing things in ways that we're told they shouldn't be done is one of the best personality traits of our industry. I don't think we should criticize that spirit if the end result works :).

John Davidson | President / Creative Director | Magic Feather Inc.
Re: Blog: #7 - Primary School - FCPX On Air
by Nick Toth
That reminds me...

When I was a kid making 8 mm films (not Super 8 even!) I thought it would be cool to do a wipe transition. So I thought about it for a bit and gave it a go. I overlapped two pieces of film and cut them on a diagonal with scissors. After carefully aligning the cut I taped it all together. The first time I projected it was wonderful. A "cool" wipe from one shot to the next.

Unfortunately I was later told that this could not be doneā€¦


Working with FCPX in a broadcast environment.


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