A friend was asking how to handle vertical video in Final Cut Pro X. We end up with so much of it because of Snapchat, Instagram Stories and other applications, but these videos can be repurposed. There are plenty of apps on iPhone that will handle this, but sometimes you want to do it along with other footage in a bigger project.
I’ve had a green screen for a while. Well, it’s a couple of long green fabrics from Walmart. We first used them way back in 2007 for a fun Apple-parody for WWE and TNA wrestling.
The more recent use was for some sparse episodes of Unsung where the weather would keep us from our preferred on location shoots. The more we got to do this, the more I wanted a permanent location for my green screen. Every time we had to get one of these together, there was a period of lighting, organizing over top of my podcasting setup, and crossing my fingers. With a locked down location, I can have lights set in a more stable setup and just setup a camera, turn the lights on, and go.
I’ve used it three times in the last week.
The key is to get the background as smooth as possible. And have enough lights to light the subject in front along with the screen in the back independently. I’ve updated to using a TON of work lights (readily available in the hardware section).
First go was again for Unsung. We planned to visit the Giant Rubber Duck in hopes of doing our usual stand ups. But the rain kept us away. This was the first true test. I’m astonished at how clean the green screen was with the keyer in Final Cut Pro X with little work. A few hot and dark spots were easily taken care of by marking out some of the green screen. I remember having to take hours perfecting this on Conduit for Final Cut Pro 5. (nodes were my worst nightmare).
The second was a shoot with Paul London for our upcoming documentary for another former WWE wrestler, Zach Gowen. We didn’t have a location, and this was one of the last we had to get in to finish shooting. We also rolled in a quick shoot for Sunday’s Prime Wrestling Wrestlution 6 iPPV. Talking with their producer, it was an easy, one button key to get the piece together.
Now one spot that the jury may still be out on is whether I can shoot iPhone 5S footage on the green screen. I had a chance with the most recent Lootcrate coming in Wednesday. I had some issues with the green reflecting on the top of the box, making it disappear before I opened it. That’s why there’s this odd start. As you can see, the key is a little bit blocky. It could be partly because A. the positioning of the box wasn’t as ideal as how I usually setup for the shoots discussed above, or B. the iPhone’s video, while labeled as 1080 HD, still has enough artifacting on that little lens and compression issues that I can’t get as clean of a key off of it.
Now, I’m not really working in a “video house” per se where I have years of back catalogue and have to manage files between multiple coworkers, but I’d like to think I’m a bit more than a novice when it comes to ongoing video projects over the last year and a half (and 6 years in the previous aformentioned environment.). It’s been interesting to see the backlash and hesitation on the upgrade to Final Cut Pro X over the last year from those who have done video for a good while. Many throwing down over FCPX’s lack of features Fianl Cut Pro 7 had, or the lack of backward compatibility.
Man, are they missing out.
Since picking up the software, and keeping my old version Final Cut as a backup, I’ve been really excited about how much more productive I’ve been. Right off the bat I streamlined my podcast editing with templates I just had to drop in and adjust the new footage and content and move on, prepping over 3 hours of content every Tuesday night after recording.
The synchronization option, when it works (read: I have the right content), saves me a ton of headaches throwing a couple of angles together for quick edits, especially those pro wrestling DVD shoots where I’m unable to get out there with my live switcher.
Little by little, we saw multicam editing come back, and other features trickle.
I haven’t had a chance to read up on a lot of what’s new in version 10.0.06, but I’ve had the fortune to stumble upon the updated output screen, which puts meta data front and center, makes estimating your file size on different codecs easier, and the ability to keep working as a file is outputting. It’s no Batch Output from FCP7, but it can still serve to stack up a few renders so I don’t have to babysit to push my next project out.
See that “X” at the end? Remember the last time Apple put an X on something? Ok, that was Quicktime. Similar, but I mean the one before.
Mac OS X was originally taken with a little bit of disdain since it completely scrapped the Mac OS 9 setup. Instead basing on Unix and elements of NeXT computers. Look at it know. Completely competitive and stable upon it’s peers. I wonder where Final Cut Pro X will be in the next few years.
Pro Tip Time: Ok, so I have this gig where I need to record a bit of HD footage, but haven’t had the cashflow to get one of those super expensive P2 cards that does more than 4 minutes at the time.
A few months ago, I had the fortune to help work on a commercial for anti-bullying at a local school and solved this problem by live capturing in Final Cut Pro 7. It worked fine enough, but we had issues with it crashing alongside my Panasonic HVX200, so I wondered about finding a more solid solution.
Final Cut Pro X appears to capture, but results in no file. iMovie comes up static, but it never supported the P2 footage, to my knowledge.
In comes Quicktime X to save the day! Go to File > New Movie Recording, pick your video and audio source as your firewire camera, put on Max quality and bam, full HD capture!
So far, it’s looks pretty steady on my late 2009 Macbook Pro. Mission Accomplished. According to iStat, it isn’t pushing more than 25% of my CPU.