Understanding How FCPX Works – Workflow Round Up

Understanding FCPX Workflows

Understanding how a program does what it does, and why it does it, is one of the most valuable things to learn about any new piece of software. It is one thing to know how to make a program do what you want it to do, but understanding what’s happening under the hood is far more valuable as it’s the beginning of finding solutions to unexpected problems, novel workarounds and whole new unimagined workflows

When it comes to FCPX, seemingly more than anyone else on the internet, Sam Mestman is the most passionate advocate for professional creative workflows involving the power of FCPX at their core. He’s written about why he’s starting his new company FCPXWORKS over on FCP.co.

There’s one small issue that we’ve found when it comes to managing change. It’s really hard to feel secure when you’re learning something new, and it takes a while to really see the benefits of a new approach.  It’s a leap of faith that many people often don’t have the luxury of taking in a professional environment.  The fact is that pro editors need proven solutions and established workflows in order to feel comfortable putting their clients in a new software’s hands.  Regardless of how cool some new tool is, it’s only going to be helpful if you know how to use it.  FCPWORKS wants to be your crash test dummy.  We want to figure out what works and what doesn’t so you never need to be in that situation with a client.

At this recent FCPWORKS event (with some rather classy looking sofas), Sam and many other highly skilled presenters, share how you can make the most of FCPX in your creative workflow.  To watch all nine short videos, skip over to the FCPWORKS official site.

Understanding FCPX Under The Hood

In another Sam Mestman presentation, you can check out this workflow for using FCPX’s metadata capabilities in a feature film workflow. I previously rounded up some other great FCPX workflow resources over on Premiumbeat, so definitely check those out too. Also this post on FCP.co showcases a professional post production workflow centred around FCPX with some amazing results:

In one afternoon, my 21 year old Bulgarian assistant got further ahead processing footage in FCP X than the entire Avid Unity department had gotten to that point in a week.  In 5 hours, she had processed, synced, and made Multicam Clips for 7 days of 5k Epic footage within FCP X for a 100 million dollar feature film.  Prior to this project, she had no feature film editing credits.


In this short video Quentin Stafford-Frasier shares some results on understanding how FCPX tracks external files. He’s been working on a utility to help ‘force re-link’ offline files in FCPX. You can download a free beta of the FCPChange utility on Quentin’s site.

The chaps from FCP.co and Idustrial Revolution demonstrate the beginnings of an interesting idea where you can get one click access to all Libraries on all drives at a finder level with Smart Folders.

Media Management is one of the areas of post production life that has changed the most in the upgrade from FCPX 10 to 10.1. If you’re wanting to get a better understanding of everything that’s changed – this post from Larry Jordan, summarising all his posts on Media Management in 10.1 is a great place to start. As is this previous post on FCPX 10.1.

Making FCPX 10 work for you

Oliver Peter’s has put together some excellent tips on how to get the best out of FCPX, especially if you are new to the program. In the first of a two part series Oliver covers everything from interoperability with Motion and Compressor as well as navigating the plethora of third party plugins and filters.

Part two is a must read for anyone trying to decipher the editing methodology needed to actually get work done in FCPX and understanding what the new ideas (Events, Compound Clips etc.) really mean in practice.  Check out Part 1 and Part 2.

Final Cut Pro X enables you to build very complex Projects (edited sequences). These may work well within X, but are difficult to properly translate if you need to move to other applications, like Resolve, Smoke, After Effects, Final Cut Pro 7, Premiere Pro and others.

Troubleshooting FCPX for Best Performance

Troubleshooting FCPX

If Sam Mestman is the king of FCPX workflow evangelism online, then Larry Jordan is leading light in teaching people to actually use the program, step by step. This is one of the reasons it is well worth signing up for Larry’s free newsletter – for the latest free training and thoughts on the current post production scene, from the man himself.

In this helpful Q+A post, Larry outlines how to perform essential FCPX troubleshooting that should resolve most problems from system slow downs, to crashing projects. In another quick tip Larry shares the gist of the FCPX performance settings.

I’m not sure if this is still a problem for people, but No Film School has a quick run down on how to disable the App Nap feature in OS X Mavericks. This power saving function has the unfortunate side effect of stopping background rendering in FCPX and other tasks from being performed. Check out how to disable it here.

And lastly the following tip is from one of Larry’s newsletters, sent in by Luke Fuda:

“I found a fast, easy way to fix an FCP X project if it keeps crashing. On a video I added about 8 transitions at the same time. It caused the program to crash, then crash again every time I reopened it. What I did was delete the event library so the project came up as “Missing Event.” I then created a new event that contained the media from the deleted event. Next, I opened the project and deleted all the transitions and re-linked the files in a new event library and everything was back working.”

About Jonny

Jonny Elwyn - A freelance film editor, living and working in London.
This entry was posted in Apple Motion, Editing, Editor's Tools, FCP-X, Tutorials, Workflow and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Understanding How FCPX Works – Workflow Round Up

  1. Pingback: Using FCPX in a Shared Workflow | Premiumbeat.com

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