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Skill Level Intermediate
- [Nick] Hi, welcome to Final Cut Pro X Weekly. I'm Nick and Jeff's not here this week. - [Kelsey] What, where's Jeff? - [Nick] I know, I know, he just never shows up on my weekly show. But with me is Kelsey Wilson and we're here to talk about FCPX in the Real World. In fact, how the Toronto Star uses Final Cut Pro X in their daily workflow. So, a couple of the topics that we will be looking at is, looking at how FCP is used in a news environment. And Kelsey, thank you so much for joining me today.
- [Kelsey] You're very welcome. - [Nick] You are a video editor, as well as a producer here at the Toronto Star. - [Kelsey] I am. - [Nick] And you produce mostly online content, am I correct? - [Kelsey] Yeah, that's a funny that you say that because there's people that ask me like, oh yes, so you mostly do mostly online. I'm like, well yeah, it doesn't go in the paper. Video cannot, but they laugh so it's okay. - [Nick] That's awesome. And we're gonna take a look at a couple of your Final Cut Pro X timelines and some projects that you can check out right now on YouTube, as well as is there a page that they can go to on the Toronto Star to see this, as well, or is it just all connected to YouTube? - [Kelsey] Yeah, usually all my videos will go with a story, and yeah, so we can get more details into the video usually with great journalism.
- [Nick] Awesome, so tell me a little bit about the Toronto Star. - [Kelsey] The Toronto Star, if you are not from Canada, is a newspaper. It's nationwide the largest newsroom in the country, I believe. We have not a huge visuals department when it comes to video, it's only me and two other editors. And we have about 12, I wanna say but don't quote me on that, photographers that shoot all of our video. And they supply the video to me and I edit hopefully great things for them for our online content.
- [Nick] Very cool, so I actually have one of Kelsey's projects, or actually two, but we're gonna start with one here in the Final Cut Pro timeline that's on my system right now. And this piece was called the 125 Years in Photos. So, Kelsey actually sent me a bunch of different projects to take a look at. And the reason that I thought this would be something really cool to show is that number one, it's a bunch of stills, and I thought it was a really beautifully done treatment. And coming from Toronto, Canada, myself, it reminded me just of a bunch of photos from Canada, slash Toronto and from the past.
And I was just curious if you could tell me a little bit about this production, like how did it come about? And a little bit about your photo treatment inside of Final Cut. - [Kelsey] So, I'm a big fan of the nostalgia factor. And the photo department is, I think, one of those departments that just, you don't even see half the stuff they produce. You know, they take tons of photos at all these events. And the paper has been in circulation for 125 years now. Well, I guess this year it'll be 126. And there's actually an archive in the back that has just tons and tons of negatives over the years.
And one of those photos out of like 30 from that one photographer from that one day is used in the paper. - Wow. - [Kelsey] And then you don't see any of those other shots that may be more creative or may be more interesting that is never seen by the public. I love that. And so also, that was kind of where the idea came from is to showcase the visuals of Toronto over 125 years. Technically, it's not 125 years because the paper for the first, I don't know, 25 wasn't taking photos.
- [Nick] Got it, okay. - [Kelsey] It was literally words 'cause I think there was no photography section or department. So yeah, so my manager was asked to come up with a collection of photos. And he was asked to do 125 initially, I think, and then they decided it was gonna be too much for an online story and for the paper. And so, they cut it down to, I think, 25. And so, he had collected all these photos. And I was like, why waste them, right? Like some of these are actually award-winning photos and they shouldn't be cut just because there's not enough space, you know.
So, I asked him to send me the photos and I said I'd come up with something, and this is what we got. - [Nick] That's amazing, how many photos did you originally have? - [Kelsey] Well, he actually gave me specifically 125. There's a couple that I switched out because I thought we were missing some things like I added a Raptors photo. I added a couple more like Liz Taylor and other things that were kind of more cultural events. I think there was some that were more maybe too, you needed to know the context of the photo.
And you can't get the context in a video unless there's description. So, some of them I just switched out with something I thought was more visually telling of like, this is Toronto, this is something that happened, and can kind of speak for themselves. - [Nick] Very cool. So, I'm just looking here at your timeline and I wanted to just make a note of a couple of things. So, there's a very basic audio treatment here, a little bit of key framing and changing of the levels of audio. And it looks like, this is just from me, you trimmed the audio track in order just to fit the duration or time that you were working with.
So basically, to let the 125 photos speak for themselves, but also cut in a bit of music which you did wonderfully. I noticed the mixture or array of different treatments as it came to the photo. So, it looked like you were zooming in on certain places where you thought it called for it, and then in other places, you even just kept the photo as a still as if it spoke more words. And we were talking earlier that some of these photos you decided to use Ken Burns, but then other ones you actually key framed manually because you felt you could have more control over those photos and just in terms of the timing.
Am I correct? - [Kelsey] Yes. I find Ken Burns sometimes a little dramatic, which is good but when it comes to these kind of quick cuts, I wanted it to be really subtle. So, I'd only wanna zoom in by like if I'm at 100%, like on the scale, I want it to go up just two more percent, you know. Because I feel like it let's the picture speak for itself rather than being like, whoa, it's coming right at me. - [Nick] Gotcha. Yes, so sometimes the first treatment that Ken Burns gives you is a dramatic treatment.
And I can see here by selecting one of your clips and actually going to the inspector here, some of the scale treatments that you did under the transform properties of the clip, as well as the basic position changes in certain cases to show that video, which I think is just really cool. And I just love this use of Final Cut to be able to cut together 125 photos and it looks like you did a great job of that. - [Kelsey] Thank you. - So, we've got one other project to show you, and I'm just gonna load that up right now. Cool, so here we are in the second timeline.
The project this time was called The Pain of Silence. And I'm gonna provide a link for you guys to check out the final piece here. When Kelsey sent me the link to this piece, what really attracted this to me was there was a very specific feel in terms of the color of this video. So, I was curious to see the effects that you used inside the project, as well as there was a very specific text treatment. In fact, if I load that for you or just kind of play back a little bit of of the timeline. I'm just gonna show you that you can see that this is text actually if I'm correct from a poem that the person in the video wrote.
And what Kelsey started with was in fact this piece of paper. And through using various blend modes, as well as masks. I'm just gonna show you these effects here that she drew a mask around some elements of the poem, combining also a scale treatments, as well as changing the blend mode to multiply, was able to pull out these characters. As well as just some very subtle movement on some of this text created a really nice flow to the overall piece.
So, I'm just gonna let Kelsey speak about this piece a little bit, how it came to fruition, how you guys decided to record it, and what your job involved in terms of the editing of it. - [Kelsey] So, Melissa Renwick, the photographer who shot this, she had been filming with Roger Fowler, the subject of this video for a while. And we weren't sure what we were gonna do with it. We knew that he was a poet, or that he liked to write poetry, and he had written a poem about how he felt during this whole situation that was happening to him.
That'll all be in the story if you include a link here. And so, she had just shot a bunch of footage of him living his day-to-day life that is now affected completely by the illness that he has. So, she shot some beautiful footage and we had him write, right here actually he's writing the poem that you see onscreen, because we wanted to incorporate his writing in there somehow, and I didn't know exactly how I was gonna do that. But then I figured out, I was actually thinking I would somehow animate it like maybe through aftereffects or something else, went by drawing it on myself.
But then I realized that would take too long and also just the visuals of it would be too busy. And so, I decided, I tried a few things just messing around and noticed that if I tried those effects like you said by putting it on multiply and just masking it out, and as he said the words to the poem, just kind of giving it a slight fade. And it really pronounces the meaning and showcases the words better than I think seeing too much jolting around.
Other than that, it was just using some effects to bring out the mood, which would I would say is like kind of moody and sad, and just trying to keep a couple of the effects I used were just to like bring a focal point on the subject or to bring lighting there. I had to bring out because it was a little dark that day. For this particular shot, I added focus and I did some color board treatment just to kind of keep the continuity of the coloring throughout, 'cause this was shot over several days.
And also, to just focus on the subject. I did that on a couple of different clips, but yeah, I tend to reuse a lot of the same. I'll copy and paste my color board if something's shot on one day and I think the color is great there and it's not quite the same another day. Or if it's at a different point in the day, you don't want it to look too drastic. So, I find color board helps with that a lot. - [Nick] Very cool, yeah. And at this particular time that Kelsey did the project, she wasn't on 10.4 yet, so everything was done with the color board.
So, I think with the introduction of 10.4 there is even like on future projects such as this even more latitude in doing it with color correction. But what I love about it and what I saw, especially when I went inside the color board on some of these shots is just the really simple change of exposure in some cases, really subtle changes when it came to certain elements here in the color board to bring up the shots of just saturation here for the sunset. So, I thought that was really cool. I really loved the use of the focus effect.
Certain shots in this piece also contained a vignette effect, and it really spoke overall and I'll let it speak for itself in the YouTube link that we showed a little bit earlier. And I just had one final question for you, which was you've been using Final Cut Pro X for a couple of years now, if not more, four years, is what do you love about it and what would you like to see happen to it in the next little while? - [Kelsey] I gotta say like you just said, the saturation boost is like my best friend. A lot of times, the cameras we're shooting with, we don't quite capture the color vibrancy like I love to have.
So, like half the time that's in the first thing I do. And a couple of other notes for most of my audio, I will first initially change if you went to the audio, I'll put a bass boost on it. That's a bad example on this one, 'cause I think she recorded it actually in a sound booth and it was really clean. But when it comes to news video or other things that are like kind of in the street or something like that, I'll do either voice enhance or bass boost just to give that voice a bit more structure. While this wasn't used in the piece, I tend to use audio effects pretty regularly when it comes to news that's shot at a press conference or somewhere that's not the best ideal atmosphere.
Okay, so going back to your initial question, also key framing, that on audio, I'm a bit of a audio freak when it comes to trying to fine tune, not on this project. I think you may have saw in the last one you showed and on other projects, I will, a lot of times we're talking to people in the streets, and they tend to go on or talk about other things you don't necessarily want so I'll do a lot of cuts to take out the ums and ahs and other things, and I'll use the cross fade on that, which is nice.
But when it comes to random cars going by and the levels going up like dramatically in a split second, the key framing isn't like as advanced as I'd like, but I found a way to work with it, to be honest, and so far, so good. Yeah, the speed of Final Cut, I find it pretty fast, to be honest. I've been working with a Mac Pro for like my whole time at the Star, so four years, and I find it renders pretty quickly and the playback is pretty good in that sense.
If I put an effect on it takes not too long to render. It depends, I think this one particularly, this project may have taken a bit longer 'cause I was adding several different effects and masks and stuff like that. But the playback is usually pretty fast turnaround. I mean especially working on projects that are usually less than five minutes. So, I feel like that usually helps in that kind of situation. I can export super quick, and especially when it comes I like the availability of exporting in several different formats.
Because we have social media. I have to do a lot of different cuts for different videos for tons of different formats and different dimensions, because we're trying to get them across all platforms. So, that's definitely a useful tool to have a master file export. - [Nick] Kelsey, thanks so much for sharing me with your timeline and spending some time to tell me about your workflow process. - [Kelsey] Oh, you're so welcome. - [Nick] Thanks so much for everyone for also tuning in to Final Cut Pro X Weekly. I'm Nick and see you guys next week.
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