After researching several workflows, Requa and Ficarra decided to cut their major studio feature entirely in Final Cut Pro X. The results were even better than they’d expected. The movie came in on time and under budget, and it played and looked just as they’d envisioned it. “We got exactly the film we set out to make,” says Requa. “What I love about Final Cut Pro X is that it allowed me to be involved with, and in control of, every aspect of making our film.”
It took 61 days to shoot Focus. One editor and three assistants spent 11 months editing 145 hours of footage, resulting in 117 scenes edited at full resolution.
In Buenos Aires, the team frequently worked on a MacBook Pro in lead editor Jan Kovac’s hotel room. “We wanted to be hands-on,” says Ficarra. “We wanted to follow Jan and tweak scenes and try stuff ourselves. To do that, there’s no editing tool better than Final Cut Pro X.”
When shooting wrapped, the team moved to a dedicated editing suite in Los Angeles, where they used a Mac Pro to edit even faster. Working with Final Cut Pro X and the dual GPUs in the Mac Pro, editor Jan Kovac and the directors continued cutting in 2K without waiting for renders and without having to transcode footage to a lower resolution.
“Final Cut Pro X allowed the Focus editorial team to be their own online and offline facility,” says Light Iron CEO Michael Cioni. “It’s drawing on metadata. It’s drawing on high-res media. And it’s drawing on optimized hardware. When you run it on the Mac Pro, you get really great performance. This is the creative edge that edit rooms really desperately want.”
The crew also used built-in tools in Final Cut Pro X to create comps for about half of the movie’s digital effects. Motion 5 was used to make temporary titles and to mark effects for round-tripping. And the built-in real-time Keyer in Final Cut Pro X was used to quickly and accurately preview green-screen shots before final effects were delivered and added to the edit.
Many more details and an overview of the workflow, gear, and software used by the team can be found at the link below...