We Make Movies (Better): A Final Cut Pro X/RED feature film workflow, part 1

MovieMaker by Sam Mestman

Part 01: Project Prep – How to properly bring in your RED footage and build your project in FCP X.

It’s literally shocking that a product from Apple happens to be the best kept secret in post. Pretty much everyone I come across is dumbfounded when I tell them that Final Cut Pro X (FCP X) is my non-linear editing platform of choice. And to be honest, I half feel like I shouldn’t be writing this article. Why? Well, part of me selfishly wants to keep this workflow to myself so I can keep my competitive advantage. Part of me wants to keep delivering projects in half the time I used to, but still charging the same rate. So, against my better judgement, I’ve decided to post my battle-tested feature film RED workflow, if for no other reason than I feel like people should know about this, and know what this software can really do. It gets a bad rap, and it shouldn’t. I’ll take FCP X over Premiere or Avid anytime. Let the flame wars begin.

How fast is this workflow? Well, what used to take an assistant and me, working around the clock in shifts during the full shoot and probably an extra week or two using Final Cut 7, can now be done by just one person in FCPX, in less time. On the most recent film I worked on using this workflow, I was able to get an assembly edit of the entire film done within two days of the film wrapping, and I didn’t even have to drive myself crazy doing it. How? Simple: The metadata-based project prep in FCP X and R3D proxy workflow. Not only that, but for you RED fans out there, I’m going to let you in on some hidden tricks in FCP X. These will finally allow you to take full advantage of your RED RAW without having to jump through so many hoops, plus you’ll still get all of the speed and stability advantages of your typical offline workflow. It also makes 4k delivery surprisingly simple.

This will be a three-part series, released weekly right here on MovieMaker.com. The idea is that after three weeks, you’re going to have the ultimate crib sheet for feature film success in FCP X for your RED film. Here in part 1, we’ll deal with project prep and getting all of your RED media into FCPX efficiently and setting up your project for long term success. Next week in Part 2, we’ll focus on some tips and tricks as you edit your movie. And finally in part 3, we’ll discuss how to finish your movie, whether it’s in FCP X, RED CINE PRO-X, DaVinci Resolve, or a combination of all three. Anyway, less talk, more workflow. Let’s get to it. read more...

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