FCP X 10.1.1, Resolve, and all things AJA

This is really 3 blog posts in one. I’m getting ready to hit Sundance this weekend, so just wanted to talk about all the updates and a new/slightly used piece of tech I just received. Be sure to hit the more button below (that’s new!) if you want to read the rest of the article.

Yesterday, Apple released FCP X 10.1.1. It’s a most welcome update as it fixes the timeline responsiveness issue. I’m extremely happy that Apple got on this issue so quickly after the initial release. It shows a real dedication to the app and that the team is listening to the bug reports.

Final Cut Pro X version 10.1.1 Updates Include:

  • Preserves media files if an external drive or network is disconnected while consolidating a library
  • Resolves an issue with loading audio content in the Music and Sound Browser
  • Fixes a stability issue when applying a Motion effect with Scroll Text behavior
  • Faster switching between proxy media and original or optimized media
  • Improves Timeline responsiveness with very large projects

I got to mess with it last night and a bit this morning. All reports are good so far. The timeline is much more responsive and doesn’t seem to slow down. My one grievance, however, is that the timeline still isn’t responsive enough. I still don’t like the playhead jumping animation when you move from clip to clip. The audio waveforms go away if you zoom in during playback. Fast forwarding and rewinding footage at high speeds can also be a problem on slower drives.

As a comparison, I launched the same footage with FCP 7 and X. FF, RW, and moving the playhead around in 7 was predictably accurate. It feels like a 1:1 relationship. FCP X is a bit all over the map. My guess is that the GPU has something to do with this. But I’m no expert in the under-the-hood department. I’m curious to see how this would be on a new Mac Pro.

That grievance aside, now that I’m not dealing with restarting the app every 20 or 30 minutes, I’m much happier with the update. I ¬†jumped back into a mini documentary that I shot last year that I really need to finish. It was great working on my laptop last night without any issues popping up. It seems that we now have a stable code base for Apple to work with and hopefully add some great new features this year. I’m very much looking forward to what is to come.

The next update was to Resolve. The big news here is that it now reads FCPXML 1.3, which means it’s compatible with FCP 10.1.x. I sent some timelines over and it seemed to do a good job with 75% of them. One timeline had some multiclips in it which caused Resolve to crash each time. However, Resolve opened another timeline filled with multiclips with no issues.

The crash-causing XML ¬†was created on my laptop and the good XML was on my iMac. Going to try to export it again on my iMac and see if there might be an overall system issue there. Will try that later and if the results are different I’ll update you all here.

The last bit of news that I’d like to discuss is about my decision to all but dump my Blackmagic Ultrastudio Express in favor of an AJA T-Tap and AJA HD10CEA. I got both used on eBay and the total cost was a very affordable $350. In stores, this would cost quite a bit more. I would not recommend getting this combo for the full price. At that price you’d probably be better served by spending the extra money and getting and Io XT.

I decided that since the price was low enough, I’d get this combo and wait a few months (or more) to upgrade to the Io 4K. There’s no need to get the Io XT with 4K around the corner. Looks like the prices between the units is about the same.

Now, I can’t say enough bad things about this Ultrastudio. It’s a horrible, awful device. I absolutely do not recommend it. DO NOT BUY THIS CRAPPY DEVICE. It promises way too much and delivers on very little. Tons of issues with both FCP 7 and X.

If you need to monitor out through Resolve and don’t want to spend the money, just get the Ultrastudio Mini Monitor for $145. I haven’t tested it so I can’t say that it’s good or bad, but it is the cheapest way to monitor out of Resolve.

The best thing about the T-Tap is that it works as reliably as a Kona. Plus, it has the added benefit of allowing for 23.98 to 29.97 pull-down within FCP X and Premiere. The Ultrastudio is always landlocked at the timeline’s framerate.

I can’t say enough good things about AJA support. I will feign to talk too much about Blackmagic support since they were helpful enough to RMA my current Ultrastudio Express, which was flashing black frames intermittently. I will mention that it took them close to 3 weeks to diagnose the issue and issue an RMA. In the past, AJA support has determined RMAs much faster and always ships me a replacement product, first. Not the case with Blackmagic.

When I called AJA support with a question about the T-Tap, the technician was not only able to answer all my questions, but also test my pulldown issue on a Sony Multiformat display at his workstation. When I dealt with Blackmagic support a year ago with issues on interlacing, they had to make a special request to get a tube monitor to test out the interlacing issues. Say what you want about legacy tech, but a device that sends out an interlaced signal needs to be tested on interlaced monitors.

So that wraps up the Friday upgrade updates here at the ol’ Garbershop. Please feel free to comment below as to how your upgrades are going.

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