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Old January 15th, 2012, 07:43 AM   #1
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Rethinking Final Cut Pro X

Like many, I dismissed Final Cut Pro X as a "dumbed down" editor aimed more at prosumers than those of us who depend on video for a living. I found myself using PP CS 5.5 more and more after depending on FCP since 1999.

But my MacBook Pro went down during a location shoot a few weeks back and I was forced to borrow a Mac laptop from a colleague who only had FCP X. I needed to cut footage and get it to the client while on the road so I bit the bullet and cut five 4-15 minute shorts on his box and shipped off to the client.

It took a day or two of fumbles before I got through the different approach to editing but found the interface both faster and more intuitive once I got used to it. By day 3 I was cutting to a final product faster than I ever did in FCP 7 or PP. Background renderings worked seamlessly while I edited and the final projects went out to the client on time and they loved the results.

So when I got back to the studio I downloaded FCP X along with Motion and Compressor and started learning the program. Now I find myself cutting more and more final product on FCP X. Since all my production equipment is now card-based (Canon 7D, 5D MKII, Panasonic P2 and AVCHD) the lack of tape support is no longer an issue on new projects. As for older projects, I found that the capture scratch files from older FCP projects will import seamlessly into FCP X and I can edit with both old and new footage.

Had to put together two projects recently from old footage shot in 2007 with a Sony Z1U and a Sony V1U. Imported the capture scratch files, which were still in FCP 6 and everything worked without a hitch. No crashes, no slowdowns. The results of both edits of old, tape-based footage are at:



Neither required any effects or fancy bits in post but I found it easy to adjust clips, apply minor color correction and audio edits. Discovering I can import my old clips from capture scratch answered one of my major concerns.

Bottom line: I'm going to use FCP for an hour-long doc that my wife and I are working on and see how it goes. It's not time sensitive so I can take time to learn the nuances of the program and explore its capabilities. I still have FCP 7 running on my primary Mac system along with PP CS 5.5 and I'm sure both will get a workout on some projects but I think I can see where Apple is headed. They still need to put more features back into the product but I'm able to edit and match footage from multiple formats and cameras and get a product out the door faster than before. Motion is much improved over the previous version and compressor is, well, pretty much the old compressor we both love and hate.

Hey, I'm 64 and if an old dog like me can learn new tricks, why not?
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Old January 15th, 2012, 07:55 PM   #2
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Re: Rethinking Final Cut Pro X

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Originally Posted by Doug Thompson View Post
Hey, I'm 64 and if an old dog like me can learn new tricks, why not?
Excellent way to look at it!
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Old January 15th, 2012, 11:48 PM   #3
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Re: Rethinking Final Cut Pro X

I've been editing for about 30 years. 10 years linear. 10 years Avid Media Composer. 10 years Final Cut Pro legacy. Now FCPX

I really like FCPX. I think the paradigm shift is excellent. I'm looking forward to Apple filling in the feature set. It's like watching a great high school athlete that looks to be destined to become a professional even if it'll take a bit of development.
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Old January 19th, 2012, 04:55 PM   #4
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Doug - "Paradise", that was a great video

Spoken and sung from the heart.

Speaking of FCPX, I've been working with this for about a week and a half. Had to figure out how to change my *.tod files to *.mov files and that took time. Then how to import the files, and a few days ago I started editing.

Lots to learn. Bringing video clips into the timeline, transitions, screen titles, importing audio tracks, adjusting audio volumes, audio transition adjustments, importing still-camera shots, and, of course, processing and burning. So much more to learn but it's going so much faster now.

Took this pretty "crappy" project which was nearly the first video I took with the camera, and turned it into something that is easy to watch. Well, at least for a few close family members. A real learning experience.

Watching your "Paradise" video I could see some things I could use on my next one.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old January 19th, 2012, 05:21 PM   #5
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Re: Rethinking Final Cut Pro X

John:

Thanks for the kind words about "Paradise." It's part of a project called "Our America," which Amy (my wife) and I have been working on since 2000 -- an attempt to document the beginning of a new century. I spent 40 years as a photojournalist working in stills and video is still a relatively new medium for me.

I'm continually amazed and how much faster I can work in FCP X. Once you get used to the different interface, building complex cuts, overlaying sound and titling is smoother and I'm unaware of the background rendering, even on a three-year-old MacBook Pro.

Still learning but having a ball doing it.

Doug
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Old January 20th, 2012, 01:31 AM   #6
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Same here.... old 35mm camera buff

That's interesting about your "conversion" to video, Doug. It's the same thing here as I'm an old 35mm camera buff. Had all Nikon gear except for filters but in the past 10 to 15 years I haven't really used it. Last spring I sold the camera for "nothing". Probably should have kept it for a paper weight for the little bit I got for it. Sold the telephoto lens but still have a wide angle, bellows, slide copier, waist level viewfinder, and a bunch other stuff.

This video photography is just so interesting and way more involved. Just unbelievable, but interesting.

Also, like you, I'm interested in possibly making some videos about the state of America but about the loss of the eco system and the destruction of our environment. I've heard it said that the people in the Northwest are more environmentally sensitive than the rest of the country. Much of the Northwest environment is being slowly destroyed by development and bad planning. I would like to network with some environmental groups to see what we can put together to show others about the importance of the environment. You're fortunate to have found some talented musicians to help out. Hopefully I can do the same.

It looks like you're off to a really good start with your video. It was very good.
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Old January 20th, 2012, 11:53 AM   #7
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Re: Rethinking Final Cut Pro X

It will be interesting to see how you feel FCPX performs on the longer pieces and what the output options it needs evolve into. My feeling is the cost of this software is so low that it will be successful even if professionals decide they need other edit software to do their work as well. If you had an older complicated edit that you didn't want to recreate from the capture scratch files then keeping FCP 7 around is still going to be a useful idea.
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Old January 20th, 2012, 02:31 PM   #8
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Re: Rethinking Final Cut Pro X

The program is so useful in certain ways that having FCP7 and FCPX ready to go for the projects they best work for has been no problem for me. I hope that the missing components in FCPX (multi-cam is my main request) are brought in before a full year elapses.
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Old January 21st, 2012, 05:57 PM   #9
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Re: Rethinking Final Cut Pro X

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It will be interesting to see how you feel FCPX performs on the longer pieces and what the output options it needs evolve into. My feeling is the cost of this software is so low that it will be successful even if professionals decide they need other edit software to do their work as well. If you had an older complicated edit that you didn't want to recreate from the capture scratch files then keeping FCP 7 around is still going to be a useful idea.
We're thinking the same Daniel.

I'm keeping my legacy FCP active as well. I still need to output to tape for some projects and there are just too many projects over the year that are best left there.

Just finished up -- on FCP X -- a first cut of a 94 minute documentary on The Friday Night Jamboree, a Southwestern Virginia weekly bluegrass event that draws fans from around the world. We did one in SD back in 2003 and this is an update so I used mostly new footage shot in HD over the past five years as well as some SD from the original shoots. I sat down with a fresh pot of coffee and emerged three hours later with the 94 minutes, complete with titles, some FX, color correction and sound matches. It just went off to the client for review. No real system slowdown. I miss split screen editing.
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Old January 21st, 2012, 05:59 PM   #10
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Re: Rethinking Final Cut Pro X

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Originally Posted by William Hohauser View Post
The program is so useful in certain ways that having FCP7 and FCPX ready to go for the projects they best work for has been no problem for me. I hope that the missing components in FCPX (multi-cam is my main request) are brought in before a full year elapses.
Amen William. Multicam would be nice. I'd also like to see better support for MTS AVCHD files. We shoot a lot with two Panasonic AG-HMC 80s and having to create camera archives is a pain when you can import the files directly into PPPro and work natively. I'm told that is not high on Apple's list.
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Old January 22nd, 2012, 05:33 AM   #11
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Re: Same here.... old 35mm camera buff

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Originally Posted by John Nantz View Post
That's interesting about your "conversion" to video, Doug. It's the same thing here as I'm an old 35mm camera buff. Had all Nikon gear except for filters but in the past 10 to 15 years I haven't really used it. Last spring I sold the camera for "nothing". Probably should have kept it for a paper weight for the little bit I got for it. Sold the telephoto lens but still have a wide angle, bellows, slide copier, waist level viewfinder, and a bunch other stuff.

This video photography is just so interesting and way more involved. Just unbelievable, but interesting.

Also, like you, I'm interested in possibly making some videos about the state of America but about the loss of the eco system and the destruction of our environment. I've heard it said that the people in the Northwest are more environmentally sensitive than the rest of the country. Much of the Northwest environment is being slowly destroyed by development and bad planning. I would like to network with some environmental groups to see what we can put together to show others about the importance of the environment. You're fortunate to have found some talented musicians to help out. Hopefully I can do the same.

It looks like you're off to a really good start with your video. It was very good.
I shot with Nikons for 39 years, starting with an original F in 1964 up through a D2 before switching to Canons in 2004. Still using Canons, both for stills and video (5D MKII, 7D and 1D MKIV). Amy and I shot our first documentary with Sony Betacams ("A Mickey Mouse Operation") in 1994 on Disney's ill-conceived attempt to build a history-themed park in Northern Virginia and followed that up with "American Gestapos," a look at homeowner and condo associations. In 1999, we switched to DV and went to work on a two-hour doc on bluegrass music and narrowed that down to an examination of Southwestern Virginia's Friday Night Jamboree that was completed in 2003 with an Canon XL1s and GL2. We switched to HD in 2005 and have been working in that medium ever since.
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