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Final Cut Pro X
The latest version of FCP from Apple.


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Old June 24th, 2011, 08:18 AM   #1
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FCPX & my professional needs

I'm not an 'early adopter', but i do like to know what's available. I've been a 'video professional' for more than twenty years -- and I made the transition to desktop editing seamlessly from cutting film (!) and later tape-to-tape facilities. I've gone from being a director working with an editor in an NLE suite, to being a director working with an NLE. I've worked for boutique production companies in North America & the UK, more recently I've settled for being a director for hire by boutique production companies.

As a freelance director of corporate & government/NGO, television 'documentary' & PSAs and occasional net-destined what-have-you … there are some capabilities I've come to rely on:

- portability of project. So far this year I've picked up a few projects that were begun by other directors who can't or won't continue on them. Typically, the client had a shooting and delivery schedule, something in their plans changed and the project was put on hold for a time -- now there is a desire to finish it and the original director is no longer available. Sometimes it is the other way around -- I'm the original guy, and it is handed off to someone else to finish. It has been really nice to use an external drive for all the source material, with an FCP project file and a polite readme file -- I hope FCPX will let me do the same.

- audio flexibility. About half my work is in multiple languages. Typically I build a video that has an english language track, then do a second version where I change the audio track. Sometimes I hand it off to another director with skills in that language (see above). Sometimes the only audio narrative track I have is one I self record as a guide track, and I hand the project off to someone else to record the professional V/O track. Or a combination of the above. When the project is sold to a broadcaster (especially but not only international) they want the music on one audio track, and sfx on another, the narrative track on a third -- I hope FCPX will let me do the same.

- graphics flexibility. Often hand in hand with the above -- alternate language version requires alternate graphics and keys. Build a project with two graphics tracks, one in each language. Make the one shy when you need the other. Easy to keep the timing and sync right when the two are just duplicates of each other except for the actual keys -- I hope FCPX will let me do the same.

- details. Broadcasters have always demanded an EDL with every delivery. As a habit, many of the production houses that hire me ask for the same. I like to work with three monitors -- one for bins and such, one for the timeline and two monitors, and a third for the output monitor only. I'm not inflexible, but that's what I like. I like to bounce from laptop to my desktop. Typically I start while still on the road, with all the source material on a fast portable RAID drive. When I'm back from the shoot, I attach the same drive to my desktop and continue; sometimes I'll walk that drive over to a producer and show them where we're at -- eventually I'll deliver that drive to my client.

In truth I utilize a fraction of the capabilities of a program like FCP 7 -- most of my transitions are cuts & dissolves, with the occasional use of some thing different for effect. Or not. Complex graphics are always produced by someone else, and I drop them in where I want to use them. Or I build simple keys and titles. Same with narrative tracks -- I work with the location audio, maybe I'm given some sort of music stock … or I hand the 'finished' project off to the audio post guys to polish it up. I didn't bother moving away from Premiere v6.5 for years after they'd moved on, and I could well do the same with FC … but sometimes the tail wags the dog.

My reading of posts here suggests FCPX is a long way from being able to deliver the above for me. I can't change the fact that my clients want & need multiple languages, or that broadcasters demand an EDL … so either FCPX works for me, or I ride out FCP 7 until such time as a) something that does comes along or more likely b) the production houses that hire me require that I switch to a different project format.

Thoughts and comments welcome.

Cheers,
GB
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Old June 24th, 2011, 11:36 AM   #2
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Re: FCPX & my professional needs

Geoff,

It looks like your only alternative right now (and I'm in the same boat as a documentary maker) is to continue using Final Cut Pro 7 and hope that a future system software update does not cause Final Cut Pro 7 to stop working. If you can't make business decisions based on hope, considering an alternative editing system might be in the cards. Given your needs (and thinking of mine too), I think a wait-and-see attitude is the best way to go right now rather than jump to conclusions. While there's a lot to be worried about given Final Cut Pro X, there's a lot that's great about it and the potential is there.

In any event, it's not a viable option to depend on a version 1.0 product (Apple calls it 10.0 but the decimal place is in the wrong position). It's not fun to face complete change after investing many years learning how to use a system and having a history of projects based on that software, but Apple has made their decision, now we need to take some time to reflect and see what's next.

Here's my top ten wish list of what I would like to see added over the course of the next year, and most professional editors have similar lists but perhaps different priorities. One thing not on my list is tape support, but I understand many people need it:

1. Support for importing and updating legacy projects
2. XML import and export of all metadata
3. Support for assigned audio tracks
4. Support for assigned video tracks
5. Version control and multiple timelines per project
6. EDL import and export
7. Photoshop layer support
8. Customizable window layouts that can span one, two, or even three monitors
9. Complete and robust marker system including export of marker metadata
10. Multi-camera editing.

In a year I will see where Final Cut Pro X is and then make my decision, I have two projects in the works that will take almost a year to finish, so for my most critical work, change is well into the future.

“Every generation needs a new revolution” -- Thomas Jefferson

“We have a lot of people revolutionizing the world because they've never had to present a working model” -- Charles F. Kettering

May you live in interesting times.
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Old June 24th, 2011, 12:43 PM   #3
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Re: FCPX & my professional needs

Like you, I feel that tape although might be nice for a few projects, doesn't get used by me much in my workflow, or I could find another solution if I have too...

The list that you presented was a fantastic list and is as if you wrote it from within my own mind. I would however like to add more to the list if you don't mind my modifying it.

11.Support for projects to be stored on servers and accessed from multiple systems.
12.More data in the viewer like in fcp 7 (option for timecode overlays, etc)
13.Pen Tool
14. (this one is stupid) I'd really like projects to not be called events.
15. In point and out point on the time line for exporting only a portion of a project
16.EXTERNAL VIDEO (I can't believe I even need to put that on the list)
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Old June 24th, 2011, 12:44 PM   #4
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Re: FCPX & my professional needs

One thing that troubles me a bit is Apple not supporting FCS. That means with the next OS or Quicktime upgrade, it's gone???
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Old June 24th, 2011, 12:52 PM   #5
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Re: FCPX & my professional needs

That seems to be the case... which means when lion comes out if we want to upgrade to that for increased stability wither versions (a lion feature) for fcpx, we're going to loose fcp7
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Old June 24th, 2011, 02:00 PM   #6
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Re: FCPX & my professional needs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Louis Maddalena View Post

14. (this one is stupid) I'd really like projects to not be called events.
17. And sequences to be called sequences... not projects.
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Old June 24th, 2011, 02:32 PM   #7
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Re: FCPX & my professional needs

I too, am one of those people who constantly upgrades to the latest version of whatever software I am using at the time. But this latest iteration of Final Cut has me confused, and seems to be directed toward an entirely different market than FCP 7—no doubt a business decision based upon the size of the perceived market, the professional sector likely representing a tiny percentage of the whole, when you consider the likes of the YouTube crowd and such, a group with different needs and pocket books. For this reason, I personally doubt that FCP X will ever address the numerous, likely intentional omissions as viewed from the perspective of the professional community. And while I will continue to use FCP 7 as long as it serves me, I think it's time to transition to Avid—Avid Media Composer—a company that appears to have its sights set squarely on the pros, or at the least their needs.

Last edited by Ron Wilk; June 24th, 2011 at 06:09 PM.
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Old June 24th, 2011, 06:20 PM   #8
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Re: FCPX & my professional needs

Funny. It's almost the reverse reasoning conumdrum that got AVID into trouble. AVID had the professional market locked down. Along came a feisty, cheaper 'prosumer' app - and AVID ignored it. "It's not professional. The pro's will not use it. We are only interested in the Film and Broadcast World" - which worked for a while. Untill the 'prosumer and hobbyists were eating up the seats. Offering their services. Professional houses jumped in to keep up, filled THEIR seats. Apple stepped up the game and AVID started losing ground because they were only interested in the 'professionals'.

Now it appears... though time will tell... as if APPLE decided to focus on 'prosumer' level marketing because there aren't enough professionals to drive their development? Perhaps in their arrogance, they assumed that 'my way or the highway' would work, and the pro houses will bite the bullet and follow?

Arrogance has its consequences. Adobe and Avid will be there if Apple decides the current professional demands and workflows are simply obsolete, or 'should' be.
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Old June 27th, 2011, 04:17 PM   #9
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Re: FCPX & my professional needs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Louis Maddalena View Post
14. (this one is stupid) I'd really like projects to not be called events.
totally not stupid - I want projects, not events.

something that I have been wondering about, but have not found any information on:

What happens when the main File with all the "events" (projects) gets big and heavy and possibly gets corrupt? does that mean all projects - sorry - events... are gone?
When Aperture came out I was soo happy, finally a program that could "asset manage" photographs. But after a while - the aperture file got really big and it was at the beginning not possible to adress media on an external disk. The program crashed often, sometimes work (the selections and ratings in the application) was lost. And since everything was stored within one file, it was not recuperable once that file was broken.

Could this happen with FCP X?
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Old June 27th, 2011, 04:36 PM   #10
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Re: FCPX & my professional needs

Supposedly it's mySQL database, so it should be quite efficient at handling even huge number of files, but who knows. Normally such databases are being regularly backed up to prevent accidents which do happen from time to time.
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