Joe Urbz Media & Photography



It has been awhile since I posted. This is due to the chaotic return to the new school year, which is still under serious construction. Stress levels have been very high. Getting students in my classes organized, motivated, and within a creative groove has been extremely challenging; probably more so this year than most. I could go on and on, but I do not want to be too negative here. It would be overwhelming.

So, let me share some experiences with FCPX in the classroom with Rim Today. We have used FCPX to finish our last two episodes of Season Xi. The students still use FCP7, AE5, PS5, and a little bit of iMovie’11 for their segments, while using Blue USB mic’s for voiceovers, make adjustments for color and audio as best they can. Then they place their quicktime exports onto the class Xserve. That’s when I use some of the good parts of FCPX to create the final edit of our episodes.

What good parts? LOL. Ok, well, importing right off the server into the Event Manager. While I still prefer the bin-style organization of FCP/Premiere, the case of this workflow proves that we save some time with FCPX’s background ingest and transcoding to ProRes. We do not always have to use ProRes, but the quality and speed is so much nicer to work with. Our workflow on these shows do not have strict timecode restrictions for placement. The final flow of Rim Today comes with the segments being added; part of the creativity. Another timesaver is the background rendering and trying effects (audio and video) on the fly as the storyline plays. Oh my, does that save time. The audio tools within FCPX are a great boon after getting used to them. Teaching students video graphics is a challenge. We use FCP7, Motion 4, LiveType, and Keynote (animated slides work well in a jiffy). FCPX offers some nice quick templates for lower thirds. Motion 5 looks fun to mess with. FCPX also loves our Canon T2i video footage. We used the Retiming and Optical Flow options and students picked it up quickly.

Now the bad. FCPX has frozen a few times, as expected. We have lost some changes in editing when re-opening the project. PLEASE Apple, add a Save option. We do watch for the “UNDO” issue of working or not. When it stops UNDO-ing, we know FCPX is not saving. File sizes and renders are also HUGE. I do delete unused render files often. Another bad point, FCPX will work on a MacBook Pro from 2006 but not on a 2007 Mac Pro due to a video card issue. Makes me crazy, so I am stuck with a Core i5 iMac. Good machine, but the Mac Pro has serious RAM and CPU cores. This does blow my mind. On the 2006 MBP, it makes that CPU burn up. Do not use FCPX to edit off a battery; it will get so hot, the machine will shut itself down after 20 minutes. I was flummoxed over this; brand new battery, too.

In summary, FCPX has brought some positive and time-saving elements to the Rim Today workflow. We will not abandon FCP7 by any stretch. We do not use XML exports or EDL. In the near future, we will need Multi-cam and other stability fixes. If Apple will ever update FCPX, we would be more excited. Now, do not get me started on Lion. Sad

FCP X & D60

Two items of the past few weeks: my new D60 and Final Cut Pro X. After much deliberating and research among a volume of reviews, I went to Best Buy looking for a Canon D60. Not ONE BB in Arizona had one in stock. Then I found only three SoCal stores that each had one. So, we called some stores to hold the box as I ordered it online. So when we drive from AZ to CA to get it, the Riverside store has NO idea where it is. After 90 minutes of searching, they find it. Sheesh! Everyone had the T3i and Nikons in stock. Go figure. So, finally moved up from a XSi to a better camera. I look forward to working with it in Cambria this summer (video and photography). I almost went with a 7D, but the $600 more will get me better glass for now. I’m happy.

Now for the ugliness of Apple’s FCPX forceful introduction and the demise of FCStudio 3. Oh, did Apple screw this one up. More howling from all levels of professionals. There are links all over to cover the details. I did edit a two camera shoot (a high school graduation using Sony A1U’s) the day it came out to force myself to dig deeper. I have also conversed quite a lot on Twiiter (#FCPX), Creative Cow, Apple’s boards, YouTube videos, and I am deep into Michael Wohl’s training. While there are some “cool” things and different perspectives in FCPX, there is an enormous amount of established fundamentals that are missing and changed. I do not have a powerhouse MacPro with 24gigs of RAM now, but I do have a Core i7 MBP and a newer iMac, and FCPX is slow overall. All that background stuff slows down my machines to the point of killing multitasking. FCP7 didn’t kill my macs that way. After 3 projects, multiple trainings, reading manuals, downloading pdf’s, the app is not intuitive. And I know iMovie ’11 quite well. FCPX does not import all elements (such as Maps) from iMovie either. You cannot even “Send to Motion” anymore.

As a high-school teacher using FCP and FCServer since its infancy, I was proud to offer an industry standard to students. I have quite a few alumni “in the business” now -- big name places -- and I now I have to change EVERYthing: workflow, software, curriculum, etc. In education, there is no $$. What’s next? Apple does not really have a solid education plan for FCPX yet. They have posted a beginning, but that will change, and soon. And then the plug-ins... all new costs. Change happens. Yes. But this is ONE company -- who is abandoning the high-end pro market. So, do I train students to be just prosumers? Apple says yes.

FCPX will MAYBE grow into a better tool, but it will NOT prepare students for making a living in the business. I have to look at Adobe again. For years, AVID and Adobe were the arrogant and expensive ones. I have tried both of their packages years ago (from the Cinema and Premiere NonCS-3 days) -- what a mess. No support. Admin accounts and dongles only for AVID. Adobe software gets corrupted constantly and you have to install/de-install/re-install. Multiple labs? Yeah, right. Apple used to offer Academic pricing that was affordable for more apps. Now, its more $$ for less.

I could on and on, but it will prove rather useless. I am sick of being told what I am doing is all of sudden, WRONG, regardless of years of training and usage. What’s the point of certifications? I have so many questions. Some of the Apple pro diehards are demonstrating some patience, and I will keep an eye on everything. I have downloaded Premiere 5.5 and have Avid Composer 5. I will work with all four suites, but this is not a good time. I would prefer to continue to evolve, but as of now, this is just stupid and arrogant by Apple. Is this Apple’s Vista?


Over the past two weeks, Rim High has reached the end of the year. We are now finishing Final Exams, Grading, Graduation, and other projects. Last Thursday, June 9th, my advanced class was taped and interviewed for a San Bernardino County (SBCSS) project-- the Alliance for Education. Soon, there will be two videos based on categories describing my ROP classroom in how it works. Keep an eye out. Also, we have started our 11th season of Rim Today, which is amazing. Congratulations to Rim High’s class of 2011, and especially my seniors! Summer begins soon, where I can finish my personal projects. Looking forward to FCP X, Lion, and iOS5. My little princess at home finished 1st grade with some wonderful awards AND Happy Birthdays to my wife, dad, and brother this month. Got the wife an refurb’d iPhone 4. She does not feel all that old this week. LOL.