While a simple project, this was one of the most enlightening shoots I’ve been on. While the turkey was delicious, the most important lessons I learnt were about Final Cut Pro X, and Lumberjack.
As often as time permits I produce video to test out Lumberjack’s appropriateness for different types of jobs. Recently my friend Marlon Braccia - The Enlightened Cook - wanted to publish her recipe and method for the most moist baked Turkey ever.
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This was a simple shoot with two NEX 7s and audio recorded to a Zoom H1 fed from a short shotgun mic. One NEX 7 was tripod mounted (narrow lens) as a presenter-to-camera shot, while I took the other NEX 7 with a wider zoom, and did close shots and moving shots with that.
I logged with Lumberjack, although I was not sure if it would be valuable on such a simple, mostly linear time, project. I had plenty of time as we shot discrete segments, with prep time in between. In practice I’d roll audio, roll the presenter camera, click the two or three checkboxes I needed in Lumberjack and rolled the second camera.
Location and person were constant so I logged them without change through. Beyond that I logged keyword ranges for each of the stages: brining, chopping vegetables, stuffing under the skin, etc. Supplementary keywords covered context like “turkey”.
A recurring theme is the need to set accurate time for cameras and audio recorders. This isn't surprising as Lumberjack synchronizes keyword ranges logged with media time ranges based on the time of day where they were shot.
Not only is it necessary to set the camera time, but also to set the time zone the camera is currently in. Lumberjack works with UTC - the time and time zone are used to match media time ranges.
It's now a matter of curiosity, but it was difficult to get Lumberjack System working across time zones, but after the third reworking, the Web Logger, iOS Logger, Lumberyard and backLogger all know where they are, their current time zone, and the time and zone from the media. This makes it so much easier to match logged keyword ranges with media time ranges.
However, because the inevitable happens we have adjustments built into Lumberyard, where you can offset the time by up to 99 hours.
Dial in the hours, minutes and/or seconds you want to offset (positive or negative) and Lumberyard will adapt. You are adjusting the time ranges to match the logged ranges.
This is really useful if you follow our other recommendation: shoot the Lumberjack logging interface (or a visual clock app) as the first shot from each camera. When compared with the time stamp from the media file, you can get an exact offset. In this case one hour (because I still had the camera set in Colorado’s time zone) and one second.
While I did take the time to set the first camera I pulled out, when I decided to add the second camera I totally forgot to set the time on that camera, so it had drifted since the last use. The Zoom recorders never seem to have accurate time, so I’ve stopped bothering about it.
The Lumberjack behavior that made this practical was via multicam. As long as I made sure the accurate camera was in the first angle, the timing would be right for the second camera angle and the audio only angle.
There a whole lot more detail on using a GoPro for accurate time in a Help Page of that name.
To be completely honest, at the first pass at this edit, Lumberjack didn’t seem to be that useful, because I was caught in legacy thinking. I paid the price in time for my legacy thinking.
My original approach required me to build multicam clips for each segment, exactly what I’d do in most NLEs and certainly the only option in FCP 7 (even if it could synchronize on audio or work with MP4 files natively, which it couldn’t). To do that I named clips as I found them and once found, selected the two or three clips and made a multicam. This took an hour or more to build.
Then I added them in order to a Project, which was edited down to a 15 minute YouTube video. The gravy segment ended up as its own video.
The only advantage Lumberjack logging added was organizing the segments making them a little easier to find. And then I worked out the better way, that had me ready to edit in seven minutes.
After ingesting, I selected all clips in the Event
With all clips selected I chose New > Multicam Clip. In less than five minutes I had a fully laid out multicam. Well, I did on the second pass. First try was less than successful. After 12-13 minutes the audio was not correctly aligned, but ensuring I had a "camera name" for the audio fixed the user error! (Assigning an angle would work as well.)
In hindsight I probably should have built it in two sections: the afternoon shoot, and the evening shoot. (Preparing the turkey: presenting the turkey.)
I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly and accurately Lumberjack and Final Cut Pro X got me to this stage. All I’ve done is ingest, select all, build multicam clip.
At this point I have a multicam clip but it’s not logged. While it really doesn’t take that long to trim the Multicam in a Project using the Add Edit, and trip head commands, along with the skimmer, Lumberjack makes it faster and easier.
I exported the XML including the Multicam. Opened it in Lumberyard and sent the logged Event back to FCP X.
While I was somewhat dubious about the value of Lumberjack on such a simple project, in combination with the features of Final Cut Pro X, it has proved itself: being ready to edit with fully logged multicam footage in less than seven minutes from ingest is unprecedented, and not possible without Lumberjack System.
Of course, the bigger the project the bigger the benefit from Lumberjack System.
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