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


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Old February 20th, 2012, 09:11 AM   #1
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My Experience with FCP X (from a skeptical FCP 7 editor)

Like so many, I bought FCP X on the day it was out, and trashed it after a couple of hours of experience. I tried to edit a theatre play on it, and got frustrated for multiple reasons.
I still think that 10.0.0 release was a terrible update-release for a professional program with such legacy.
I bought the Adobe Production Premium at a 50% discount, because their RED support is very good, I didn't know about the future of FCP and I didn't have a Photoshop license yet, so having their suite at such discount coulnd't hurt. I kept editing with FCP 7 in the meanwhile.

After the 10.0.3 update I got interested again, especially because of how powerful multicam was implemented.
So carefully, I began buying some tutorials again, reading articles, etc.

Last week, I got a job that needed a LOT of pictures to have an Ken Burns-like animation on them for bumpers on a congress.
Because I knew FCP 7 had a 4K picture limit, but especially because I knew FCP X had the automated Ken Burns effect (instead of putting manual keyframes everywhere), I thought it could be a good change to try out the program: small project.

I won't go into details, but my conclusion is:
I got frustrated a lot of times. I sent Apple feedback a couple of times. But I also got some very speedy workflows and exports. When I had to return to FCP 7 to put some filters that weren't compatible with FCP X yet on some finished videos, I really hated the render and export times, how fast FCP X felt.
The interface, the reaction, the background renders, the immediate render previews, the superfast exports, ...
I'm still not fond of how FCP X works with media management. I still think the program has to mature a lot, and there are a lot of weird choices. But if you really learn it, you can be very fast with it, and once you do... You will ALSO get very frustrated with how much better things work in FCP X instead of FCP 7, and not only the other way around.

Now I'm curious to learn more and more about the new program, and I'll see how and if I can implement it more and more in my professional workflow too.

Quote:
As developers for FCP, we have a strong bias in favor of FCP’s continued success. That said, we had spent much of the year prior to FCP X’s release expecting that we might have to leave the platform. We were hearing the same rumors that everyone else was – that FCP X would be another iMovie, wouldn’t be pro, etc. – and we were ready to bail. Happily, we don’t have to. While there are obviously missing features (like a comprehensive redo of Compressor), the foundation of FCP X is extremely solid. FCP X, for the reasons listed above, is going to be what most professional editors use to edit. Maybe not tomorrow, but likely within a year

This is a quote from the Crumblepop page: Why we’re betting everything on FCP X - CrumplePop Blog

After working a couple of days on FCP X, the more I think there is a lot of truth in this.
But Apple botched the launch, and they will really need to do some extra effort to win some people back (including keeping adding features, listening to feedback, and getting more of the industry - and camera manufacturers) to support the program.

After all the trash that FCP X got, many for it deserved (and I was one of the critics, and in a way, I still am), I also thought it would be only fair to share my (rather good) experiences after editing with it for 4 days.

Last edited by Mathieu Ghekiere; February 20th, 2012 at 09:49 AM.
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Old February 20th, 2012, 10:48 AM   #2
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Re: My Experience with FCP X (from a skeptical FCP 7 editor)

If you want a "FCP 7" without rendering and is super fast why don't you just use Premiere? The only thing you will regret is not moving sooner.
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Old February 20th, 2012, 12:13 PM   #3
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Re: My Experience with FCP X (from a skeptical FCP 7 editor)

After trying the demo it is clear to me that this is the future - I love it.
It is a new way of working and you have to think different.
I would bet the other nle makers are rethinking the way they do things, but the Adobe salesmen that seem to comment on every thread in the FCPX forum will be surprised some day.

You know it is funny, I have never went to the Adobe forum...
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Old February 20th, 2012, 04:32 PM   #4
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Re: My Experience with FCP X (from a skeptical FCP 7 editor)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd Clark View Post
If you want a "FCP 7" without rendering and is super fast why don't you just use Premiere? The only thing you will regret is not moving sooner.
I regretted moving to Premiere.

It's much-vaunted "ability to import your FCP projects" is extremely poor, in my personal experience.

It has failed to import 4 out of 4 large-scale professional projects from FCP.

It did perfectly import a small 20 minute project done over the Christmas break, so I'm not saying that Premiere Pro can't import an FCP project.

Just that it's extremely poor.

(Also, try exporting a Quicktime ProRes 1920 X 1080 movie from Premiere Pro.)

I'm loving After Effects and Photoshop (for stills). But Premiere Pro has given me a professional black eye.

Premiere Pro has a lot of features with fantastic potential.

I took a big strategic gamble in jumping to the Adobe Production Premium Suite (with Premiere Pro) because I needed a full suite (not just an NLE) that could open old projects (I'm frequently asked to update parts of them) as well as handle the new ones and be kept up-to-date with changing codecs and Operating Systems.

But the hub of the strategy is still the NLE and I still find myself in a dilemma as to which way to go. I'm currently still editing on a dying platform (FCP 6/FCS 2) while monitoring the latest revisions of the third-party "7toX for Final Cut Pro" application for importing my old FCP projects into FCP X. I'm trying a few little things with Premiere Pro and it does impress me greatly with some of the things it can do.

I really would prefer it if Premiere Pro "just worked" with its importing as Adobe promised. That would be the ideal scene.

But it doesn't (not a robust solution at all for importing old projects). So it leaves me at the crossroads of "Do I go with FCP X or Premiere Pro?"

Sorry for derailing your thread, Mathieu. But I couldn't let Todd's "only thing you will regret is not moving sooner" comment go by. I've found the reality to be very different from the PR statements put out by Adobe about its FCP import capabilities.
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Old February 20th, 2012, 04:57 PM   #5
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Re: My Experience with FCP X (from a skeptical FCP 7 editor)

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Knaggs View Post
I regretted moving to Premiere.

It's much-vaunted "ability to import your FCP projects" is extremely poor, in my personal experience.

It has failed to import 4 out of 4 large-scale professional projects from FCP.

It did perfectly import a small 20 minute project done over the Christmas break, so I'm not saying that Premiere Pro can't import an FCP project.

Just that it's extremely poor.

(Also, try exporting a Quicktime ProRes 1920 X 1080 movie from Premiere Pro.)

I'm loving After Effects and Photoshop (for stills). But Premiere Pro has given me a professional black eye.

Premiere Pro has a lot of features with fantastic potential.

I took a big strategic gamble in jumping to the Adobe Production Premium Suite (with Premiere Pro) because I needed a full suite (not just an NLE) that could open old projects (I'm frequently asked to update parts of them) as well as handle the new ones and be kept up-to-date with changing codecs and Operating Systems.

But the hub of the strategy is still the NLE and I still find myself in a dilemma as to which way to go. I'm currently still editing on a dying platform (FCP 6/FCS 2) while monitoring the latest revisions of the third-party "7toX for Final Cut Pro" application for importing my old FCP projects into FCP X. I'm trying a few little things with Premiere Pro and it does impress me greatly with some of the things it can do.

I really would prefer it if Premiere Pro "just worked" with its importing as Adobe promised. That would be the ideal scene.

But it doesn't (not a robust solution at all for importing old projects). So it leaves me at the crossroads of "Do I go with FCP X or Premiere Pro?"

Sorry for derailing your thread, Mathieu. But I couldn't let Todd's "only thing you will regret is not moving sooner" comment go by. I've found the reality to be very different from the PR statements put out by Adobe about its FCP import capabilities.
I guess everybody has their own experiences. I use both programs (FCP, Premiere) and have had great success with Premiere and would never consider going back. There are so many variables on how things can succeed. Hardware, software and other things. It just plain works for me!
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Old February 20th, 2012, 05:04 PM   #6
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Re: My Experience with FCP X (from a skeptical FCP 7 editor)

David, no worries.
It's part of the whole discussion.

It's one of the reasons, as I said: I bought the Production Premium package, but I haven't worked with Premiere. Yes, many basics are the same, but Premiere often feels more about new features then it is about refinement, interface workability and stability.
I've worked on Premiere before I went to FCP, btw.
(the Premiere Pro 1.5 days... I was 18, in school then, had to edit on FCP as school edited on those systems. Didn't find it spectaculary different, untill I changed back for my personal movies to Premiere, and suddenly felt that FCP went faster... It's often like that with these things: you notice how good or bad something really is, when you get back at the other alternative)
When I used Premiere, it felt okay. When I went from Premiere to FCP I thought: okay, so this is how it works? And when I went BACK to Premiere, THEN I made the click: FCP felt better.
I'm having a bit of that now with FCP X and FCP 7, although it took me some days and some learning.

Yes, Premiere Pro has Mercury Engine, RED RAW, dynamic linking, all these woaw things (I mean that).
But the basic editing often feels clunky, and it seems a very subtle difference (maybe because of interface reasons, and again: not talking about the basics but about the small details).

FCP X has many of those small details again. Like seeing the audio wave forms under clips in the browser and immediately visually see where they clip. How you select a range, and just lower that part, and it feels smooth. You can call that fluff, non-important. Like many people say that any smartphone could do what an iPhone could. But the way how it did some things where so much more refined then other phones, that the iPhone became a benchmark. And the iPhone also needed maturing.

That being said: Premiere DOES have some great features, and it also seems - and this is very tempting for people looking for what to do - that Adobe really is committed to the NLE market (looking at how responsive they are in the whole RED/Epic support, for example).
Having it as a backup, for me, is great. But at this moment, it's still a backup that I don't use in practice (maybe I will, when the time comes?)
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Old February 20th, 2012, 05:27 PM   #7
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Re: My Experience with FCP X (from a skeptical FCP 7 editor)

Premier is really FCP7 sideways, some things better, some the same and some worse. Have fun with Premier and let us talk about FCPX, in my view, a modern program.

The more I use FCPX the more I understand it and more I like it. There are issues that I have to deal with, an older monitor card that chokes with FCPX in dual monitor mode, the still clumsy way the Events window works and some procedural problems with the way the magnetic timeline works with layers. But I have created a few local broadcast commercials with X among other projects, it's great for creating compilation programs from dozens of different codecs, the built in audio filters are really good and once you understand the color corrector's theory, it's excellent.

I go back to FCP7 for a few projects that I don't really want to import into X although 7toX works for most projects. Now that multicam is in the program I have one less reason to open 7. If I ever need to really upgrade I would rather get AVID. While it's old school in many ways, it has some very robust options that neither FCPX or Premier offer.
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Old February 21st, 2012, 03:53 AM   #8
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Re: My Experience with FCP X (from a skeptical FCP 7 editor)

To update:

I sent this mail to Tim Cook last week:

"Dear Mr Cook,

first of all, congratulations with your job as the CEO of Apple.

Apple has had some great quarters, and of course your leadership must have been a big part of that.

Without a doubt, you know about the troubled launch of Final Cut Pro X in the professional community.
When it launched, like many others, I bought it, and put it fast away when finding out the hard way about the missing features.

Apple is normally a secretive company in communication, but after the whole controversy, Apple made a separate page about the 'pro' features of Final Cut Pro X. Updates came and went, and with the 10.0.3 update, Apple seems to have added in some important features that made me (and some others) look at the software again.
I've began learning it deeper, and found some delights, but also many frustrations. As you also probably know, the software is still missing on a lot of functions.

My question is simple: Is Apple listening to the feedback they get from everyone using FCP X? And are they committed to the big task of making this complex software better to compete in the professional editing market?
Like many people, I would like to know if in the long term if Apple is targeting the professionals with FCP X and not (only) the prosumer market?
The reason why the older Final Cut Pro was so populair between prosumers was exactly because it wasn't dumbed down and because you could grow in it (like I did, from a student to someone making his earning with editing).

Software is a big commitment for professionals. Not that much because of the price, because the price of associated hardware, plugins, the energy in knowing the tool, ...
The 10.0.3 update showed a lot of promise. I would only like to know if it will stay with that glimpse of promise, or if the Final Cut Pro X teams are working every way they can to make the software better for professionals every day, using the feedback and what's going on around forums as a guidance?

Thank you for your time,

Sincerely,

Mathieu"

I got a response from someone on the Video Marketing team this morning:

"Mathieu,

Thanks very much for your email about Final Cut Pro X. I work on the Video Product Marketing team, and I wanted to be sure you're aware of our commitment to pro video editors.

We built Final Cut Pro X to be the fastest video editing software available, with a multithreaded 64-bit engine, GPU-enabled realtime playback, and background rendering. Since the launch of the application in June, we've released two significant updates that have added a number of pro features, such as a powerful new version of Multicam, advanced chroma keying, enhanced XML, Xsan support, and media stems export. We've also been working closely with third-party developers to roll out a series of new and updated applications, including Red Giant's Magic Bullet Looks, GenArts' Sapphire Edge, the 7toX conversion app from Intelligent Assistance, and beta drivers for broadcast monitoring.

We're committed to continuing to improve Final Cut Pro X, and we will release additional updates throughout 2012. Thanks again for reaching out, and please let me know if you have any other questions or requests related to the software.

Thanks,"

Glad to see they are reaching out.
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Old February 25th, 2012, 02:31 PM   #9
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Re: My Experience with FCP X (from a skeptical FCP 7 editor)

Very impressed you got a response, doesn't tell us much, although the phrase "additional updates sounds promising.
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Old February 25th, 2012, 05:25 PM   #10
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Re: My Experience with FCP X (from a skeptical FCP 7 editor)

It seems to me that the updates that have happened are precisely the most noisy bits that have been complained about. They also seem to be foundational types of functions in the final cut world.

I can only conjecture... but if rewriting such a large project from the ground up, one would want to build a foundation knowing that it will be built upon further, but then look to the future homeowners for what bits are the most important features to build on next. XML import/export being a huge plumbing like piece of the puzzle that had been complained about, but can solve so many of the problems with inter application workflow in one fell swoop, that although it seems like they are slowly doling out these features, they're doing so with an eye on both the future of the application's development and on the most dearly missed components by their users.

I see it becoming really useful in a year as well... and watched the initial reactions to final cut pro 1 work exactly this way. FCP1 sucked!!! but Apple listened to the community and added what they wanted to see from it. I would encourage more discussions like this and more direct communique to Apple so they know the parts that get the next focus. I can't wait to see what happens next :)

I personally miss a track based workflow. I use it to manage different characters' footage when editing dialog. I also use it to checker board so that I can apply track based audio corrections targeting a single setup/actor differentiated from another. This also allows for separating dialog from music and sfx tracks for dubbing / international distro. This is the one big thing to me. The tracks are so integrated into my work flow... that I don't foresee switching forward (that and how much I loathe Lion for very specific workflow reasons -- specifically the removal of spaces, replaced by a far inferior dynamic virtual desktop implementation) until the next iterations of the OS and FCP address the specific workflow issues that I have with them. But I'm still perfectly comfortable in FCP7 for the near to midterm future.

I still use Shake and find the interface much more powerful than Motion... and I vastly prefer Color to the "Color board" in FCPx. I want more power and am willing to give up a little bit of ease of use to get it. If apple will apply motion tracking that can be used in the color corrections, and complex masking... and allow me to turn off the "storyline" crap that determines how I edit rather than leaving that up to me... I'll give Lion a second look, but I went through the bother of restoring 10.6 rom a back up over the course of 2 days after spending 2 weeks in lion just to get rid of it.

I don't like Apple's current progression away from my expectations as a Mac OS user since OS6 toward the iPhone/iPad types of simplified interface... but then, I still use terminal more than the finder for many tasks -- and I know that Apple doesn't make its profits off of me either, it makes it off the iPhone/iPad types of folks... and getting them to buy Macintoshes is Apple betting on a better horse than they were when they were at $14 a share.

Apple will move forward with or without us... and if we come along with them, we've historically been treated to the best next thing coming before anyone else has. I've got a history with Apple that has me betting on them to get this right, even if I don't currently think it's the right trajectory. They've proven me wrong so many times before.
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Old February 26th, 2012, 09:53 AM   #11
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Re: My Experience with FCP X (from a skeptical FCP 7 editor)

Cole, what you use your tracks for can be easily accomplished with keyword tagging and metadata in FCPX. You will not get the immediate visual feedback that you are accustomed to, but I understand it is only a click away. You can select all clips containing a given keyword, and then work with the selection. Arguably, it is even more versatile than tracks, since you can assign multiple keywords to a single clip.
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Old February 27th, 2012, 02:09 PM   #12
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Re: My Experience with FCP X (from a skeptical FCP 7 editor)

This is cool to know, but I'm a very visual person, the checkerboarding is how I've come to work over years of editing in many different ways that actually works for me. One of the ways I've dismissed as completely useless to me is the single timeline paradigm thing that FCPx is geared upon. Unless I'm doing a transition, I hardly ever have the next clip on the same track as the previous. It speeds up my work to have them immediately visually separated. I really want FCPx to work with me... and this is one of the things I'm waiting to have change before I move to what I think is on track to be a terrific system. I moved out of iMovie to Final Cut Express years ago specifically because of hating this workflow. Then to Studio when I ran into the limitations of Express. Apple has a history of listening to their user base, they have to because they're making products that no one has used before, so only the users can tell them how it's hitting the pavement in the real world. They've historically shown that they respond to the user base en masse, even if not on an individual basis.

I'm comfortable waiting to see if they lift this restriction for me (or I'll just drop a blank clip on the storyboard as has been suggested elsewhere).
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