It’s the last 10 yards of an edit. Well actually, today it’s two edits symultaneously.

Unlike, I imagine, big beefy long-form edits, corporate edits spend the first 80% of their edit being chopped together with major things happening, large scale grading and audio finessing, and then spend the next 80% of the time being tweaked to death. A caption update here (oopsie – re-render), a shuffle of sections there (necessitating a complete reshuffle of the music edit), make this slower, make that faster. It’s what we do for a living, and quite frankly it’s the shift from the ‘Director’s cut’ to the ‘Release Print’. Not all Director Cuts are, if the truth be told, ‘better’.

So I’m doing major version controllage on filenames, i.e. I export my FCP movie as ‘Main edit – final’, then there’s a slight change, so it becomes ‘Main edit – final final’ and so on. Yes you do, don’t get all coy, we all do it. So we start being all professional about it and using numbers for version control, and the real ‘greybeards’ start their versions with a leading zero, knowing that all final edits end in double figures.

All this is fine. What gives me the time to vent frustration on this blog whilst YET ANOTHER version of my edit(s) ooze out of FCP is that rendering as you go can lead to problems. Rick – we’ve both been here, and the mystery is in rogue render files shared between sequences within a project.

When making tweaks to a sequence, requiring outputs two, three or four times a day, it feels good to render everything out and allow only the bits you tweak to change. Saves lots of time.

But I’ve found something horrible: what you see in the Canvas window does NOT necessarily equate to what you’ll get in the exported sequence. I had an imported movie from Google Earth Pro, which had a glitch in it, and an overlaid graphic sequence from Motion. Everything played fine within FCP. When I exported it, haunting flashbacks from non-working versions over-wrote what I saw in the Canvas. As soon as a transition started, the background (google earth pro movie) snapped from the latest version to an earlier lame version. So tweak the transition by a frame, force a re-render, but the export was the SAME. Ditto other glitches.

Bottom line: I’ve tried to flush out ALL renders for the whole project in order to get the Export to Quicktime (make self contained) work. Nope. Perhaps I should have checked the ‘re-render’ box instead, but Nope. Glitches still existed from phantom renders – and I think it was to do with other sequences in the same project using the same renders, therefore they DON’T get deleted even if you ask them to.

I finally got what I wanted by exporting to a different codec, making it self contained and re-rendering the whole thing. Took six times longer to do the final export of course, so only do it if you have to, or as your final stage. I wouldn’t want to do that for every output, but if what you see in FCP and what you get in export don’t match, do this.

So that’s my lesson today: all ‘final final final final’ movies should be rendered out from scratch in a lossless codec otherwise the ghost of renders past will be hanging around like a fart in a space suit.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s