This is an example of the high quality rendering and manipulation of FCPX when asked to do three things.
1. Level an image shot off-angle.
2. Stabilize a shot to make it flow smoother.
3. Lengthen a shot to extreme slow motion at an odd percentage.
Many edit programs let you twist the image and enlarge the frame so cut-off corners don't show. FCPX lets you do this quite well.
Its keyframes let you pick points in the shot to alter the twist. Keyframes for the amount of required enlargement can be added, too.
But FCPX never lets you see the keyframes for BOTH angle and scale at the same time. Too bad, that. FCP7 permitted this sort of coordination. In that detail, FCPX is not as adroit as FCP7. Still, it worked here.
Stabilization in FCPX is quite good. A number of complexities to this sort of operation have been simplified, and implementation of Stabilization is fairly easy. You may have to study the angle-adjusted image and the following Stabilized version closely to see the real difference, since the shot was made with a fairly stable Steadicam Merlin to start with.
The slow motion example shows the shot slowed to 27% of its original speed. When you pick an odd speed like that, you open the process to more artifacts than you would see at half, third, quarter, eighth -speeds. And the result is as good as Apple's Optical Flow technology can deliver. Which compares favorably with programs that cost more than all of FCPX.
If you look close, you can see the inevitable artifacts that tug image contours around. We see this in all the programs that invent in-between frames. The original shot was made with a 1/30th second shutter timing, and it might have been better if I had used about 1/100th or so. Motion blur tends to fight Optical Flow, forcing it to blur the intermediate frames it is inventing.
Both shots were made dollying on a Segway, with the Conon 7D shooting 1080p30. No color alteration was applied. Just geometry and speed changes. FCPX by default keeps the right audio frequency in the slowed image, and this shows that feature to be quite good.
In order to tell FCPX that this is a 720p30 edit, we had to first drop in a clip with that format, then drop in these 1080p clips, then blow away the first 720p clip. That works, as sort of a hack to force FCPX to adopt the format you want to edit in.
During the preparation of this, I had to deal with the FCPX title process.
Ahem. It's a feature deserving the sharpest possible condemnation in its present form. It frequently bombs. It's hard to achieve results with. Controls are poorly thought out and it basically sucks. The same idea was better in both FCP7 and iMovie.
Steve Jobs is typographically adept. The programmers who brought this corner of FCPX into view may need to search for employment somewhere else, once Steve gets wind of how sad this effort is.
But behind the current interface, a deeper, richer titler lurks. Its expanded feature set includes some very nice potential attributes. If Apple can get its spit together, a future version could be quite good. But not yet. I would estimate that over 50% of the time it took to experiment with this edit was consumed in getting the title utility to behave, and/or recover from bugs.
If you view our previous FCPX test edit, the titles there were made in iMove '11 with the clip edit made with FCPX.
Behind the opening title is the same "industrial" background plate, available in both programs, and if your eyes get picky, you can see how much better FCPX renders the image. No banding flaw in the middle of the texture, here.
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