Workflow: Adobe Premiere Intro and FCP 7 roundtrip

 I’ve been a Final Cut Pro user for more than 6 years, well before I started to shoot video (I used it for photo slide shows when I was at The New York Times.)   I started to test out the waters with Adobe’s CS5.5  Production Suite a few months ago as it supported HDSLR footage natively (Adobe’s Mercury engine doesn’t need to convert the footage in order to edit it, and that can speed things up significantly during an edit or when you’re on deadline.)   I also needed to familiarize myself with software that others could use on both a Mac and PC (which CS 5.5 does – in fact you can transfer your projects back and forth seemlessly between both platforms on the same HD/USB stick in case you were curious.)  

Recently, I’ve gotten more deeply involved with CS5.5 when I found myself needing an editor that could handle RED’s Epic 5K footage nativelly and take full advantage of both the camera’s raw format and resolution (notably with tools such as After Effects’ Warp Stabilizer.)  

One big surprise along the way was to find out how how easy it is to go back and forth rather effortlessly between Premiere and Final Cut 7 (or "round trip") through XML.  (Important note: this works with FCP Studio and FCP 7 – not with FCP X as of today.)  No matter how much I love CS 5.5’s capabilities  – I’m still a a huge fan of Final Cut Studio’s "Color" software. And no matter who you are – I think it’s fair to say no one likes to feel "locked in" to any application (or locked out of another…) at first.  Thanks to the XML exchange format,  I am able to use both tools hand in hand and not be forced to decide on either one exclusively.  Any editor worth their salt out there will tell you that Avid, FCP, Premiere, Motion,  After Effects etc. all have very unique capabilities – and it never hurts to broaden your skill set with multiple tools.  

Therefore I thought I’d put a quick little video up on the blog showing how you can roundtrip back and forth between both apps via XML.   If you  have an FCP 7 project and want to use Premiere or After Effects – you can do so in seconds.   If you then want to send that project back to FCP 7 and grade it in Color for example – again, you can do so with a few keystrokes via XML.   I didn’t know this until a few months ago,  and I also wasn’t aware of how similar both editors are to one another.  Doing a basic with either tool is extremely similar in fact – Premiere even comes with both FCP and AVID keystroke sets to make those going back and forth more "at home."  The video below serves as a quick intro to Premiere as well.

The most fun for me to date has definitely been working with After Effects – one of the most powerful compositing pieces of software out there… but that’s for another time.  So here’s the quick video that tries to demonstrate this (it’s pretty basic, and a little rough – but does the job I think)  GO TO THE 5:40 mark in the timeline to go straight to the "roundtrip" section:

 

Adobe Premiere CS5.5 & FCP 7 – Intro & Roundtrip from Vincent Laforet on Vimeo.

 There’s been a lot of hubbub in the past few days about Apple’s release of Final Cut Pro X.   Some people love it – others, well, not so much.   I think a lot of that depends on what type of user you are of course – many higher end post houses won’t find the features they need just now, while many other less demanding users may be very happy with the new set of features it does offer.   I have always respected Apple’s desire to innovate – and to try different things.  No one liked the idea of the phone without a keyboard at first… and well… the rest is kind of history isn’t it?  Innovation or evolution is a messy process.  Often that means ripping everything up and building up from scratch – which is something that Final Cut Pro’s old architecture was definitely in need of, given the advances in 64 bit architecture over the past few years.   So obviously Final Cut Pro X doesn’t yet have all of the features from the previous version at this time.   If there’s one thing I’ve learned: never count Apple out of any race.  That being said, I need a solution for my production needs immediately and I’ve been very happy with my experience with not only Premiere  but also the entire CS 5.5 Suite.  

 As many of you know, I  started shooting with the Epic a little over a month ago,  and FCP 7 and FCP X don’t yet support the camera (although I hear that Apple is  working on a plugin according to David Pogue’s blog post today.)   Premiere and After Effects do support the camera natively and that’s been an awesome solution for me.   I should make no secret of the fact that I have been giving feedback to Adobe’s CS5.5 team on how to improve the Epic’s 5K workflow which can be a daunting task given how massive the raw files tend to be.

Premiere has proven itself to be a great "go to" solution at this point – and its intergration with After Effects and Photoshop is really incredibly powerful.   Adobe Media Encoder is also one of the best output solutions for your video out there across almost any platform – it’s blazing fast.  I haven’t had a chance to test out Apple’s new Compressor yet to compare the two.

So if you’re curious about Premiere or "round tripping" – check the video out above.   I should note that I’ve begun using Magic Bullet’s Suite 10 and notably "Colorista II" for my color correction/grading needs within both Premiere and After Effects – and I’m pretty proud of what my buddy Stu Maschwitz has done with it… pretty impressive my friend!  "I liiikkke"  This is definitely an extremely viable solution for those who want to do color correction and much more within the CS5.5 suite (and the plugins work in FCP 7 and Motion as well –  but not FCP X or the new Motion at this time.)  I would recommend you own the Magic Bullet Suite regardless of what other tools you have – given some pretty cool features that I’ll cover as soon as I find the time.

A big thanks to Richard Harrington for his help on this and another upcoming tutorial on CS5.5 and After Effects – you can check out his blog and more of his work here.

One important note:  you’ll notice that I’ve pulled FCP Studio’s link off of the software section of the "My Gear" section of this blog – and that I haven’t linked any of the Final Cut Studio’s software on this page – that is simply due to the fact that Apple has pulled it off of their store and recalled the FCP Studio software from retailers as well, which I do find unfortunate.  While I see that Apple is moving towards having all of their software sold through their App Store (and not "boxes on shelves") I do think a lot of users out there would continue to purchase the FCP suite as FCP X matures as a product.