Reviews

Apple Final Cut Pro X Reviewed: Not Ready for Professionals


It takes years to get to know a video editor like Final Cut Pro X, and if you’re experienced with one or more video editors, you’re inexorably biased against new programs that do most of the same things differently. So in this article, I’m going to introduce you to Final Cut Pro X (FCPX), and give you a first impression. I’m not going to cover all the new features, or attempt to completely explain the new workflow.

Instead, I’ll work through a test project that I’ve used since about 2005 that tests a range of features like trimming, color correction, speed changes, chroma key, brightness and contrast correction and many others. I’ll create the project and report on what I encounter along the way. I’ll supplement this with some experiences gained from editing an AVCHD-based clip with FCPX in parallel.

Let’s Clear the Air

FCPX comes with some heavy expectations, and it’s clear that there’s a major mismatch between what many professional editors were wanting and what Apple delivered. Is FCPX a pro-class editor? That depends on the types of projects you produce — remember that Hollywood movies used to be made with the equivalent of scotch tape and razor blades. For me, the lack of multi-cam support makes it a complete non-starter for displacing Final Cut Pro 7 or Premiere Pro for the majority of my projects. For many other editors there are similar issues that disqualify FCPX.

Update:
Apple responds to the Final Cut Pro X controversy.

But, as many bloggers and message board participants have pointed out, there are 50 million iMovie users, and only about 2 million users of Final Cut Pro 7. Final Cut Pro X loads iMovie projects, but not Final Cut Pro 7 projects, which either reflects the code-base FCPX was developed from, the most important target customers for the new program, or both. It’s pretty clear which group represents the most potential revenue.

But for the purposes of this article, I’m going to ignore all that. For about ten years or so, I reviewed all consumer class editors for PC Magazine — that’s why I developed my test project. I’m going to analyze FCPX in that context, with a view towards producers of online video — almost as if Apple introduced FCPX as a high end option for iMovie users, not a replacement for Final Cut Pro 7.

Just to tell you where I’m coming from, before I started this process, I tattooed “be descriptive, not judgmental” in reverse on my forehead, so I could see it every time I looked in the mirror. Thank goodness the wife and kiddies are at grandma’s for the week. Though some judgment crept in, I tried to be as objective as possible.

Overall, I found FCPX likeable and competent, but inflexible and idiosyncratic. It’s certainly much more approachable than Final Cut Pro 7 ever dreamed of being, which is good for iMovie users looking for advanced functionality and bad for those pros who feel like a cryptic, hard to use program protects their income stream (to which I don’t agree). There’s a very heavy dose of “how Apple thinks it should be done” that dictates and constrains many operations. If you’re an experienced editor with your own thoughts on how things should be done, you won’t like that. If you’re just starting out, you may agree with Apple.

That rant over, let me conclude this introduction by saying that I didn’t tackle Final Cut Pro alone–after spending a few moments looking at the interface, I begged a copy of Larry Jordan’s Final Cut Pro X Workflow and Editing training, which proved invaluable in getting me up and running. Final Cut Pro is unlike any editor that you’ve used before, and it makes sense to sit on the shoulder of someone who’s spent weeks working with the program.

Note that the training is very heavy (like 11 hours) on high level workflow, editing, preferences, and the like, but very light on effects, an area where Larry intends to release another training program soon. If you’re serious about editing with FCPX, you should strongly consider buying the training.

Getting Started

As much as I think the App Store is an Anti-trust lawsuit waiting to happen (imagine if Microsoft or IBM did it back in the day), you have to like the experience — you click Buy, wait for a few moments, and the program is downloaded and installed. Pretty sweet.

Once I was up and running, I listened to Larry explain that there are two key project-related concepts; events and projects. Events are collections of content, while projects are where you deploy the content to create your movies. Events and projects have their own libraries, and you can create multiple projects from the same events or use content from a single event in multiple projects.

Figure 1. Here’s Final Cut Pro X and my little daughter Rose, now (gulp) 11.

 

In Figure 1, the Event Library is on the upper left, while the DV test project is open in the Timeline on the bottom. If I clicked the little film roll on the bottom left, I would see all of my projects in the Project Library. Double-click any project in the library and it opens in the timeline.

You start importing content by creating a new event, which you can do on any drive in your system. Then you import your content from your camcorder, using the useful camera import dialog shown in Figure 2. The circled clip is the one previewed in the monitor atop the interface. The little yellow bracket thingies represent the in and out points of the clip that I’m importing, so you can do some trimming before you actually import.

Figure 2. You import from your camcorder via this dialog.

 

I didn’t import from tape on any project, which is possible in the new program, but only by streaming in real time. Unlike Final Cut Pro 7, There’s no batch capture function that lets you enter in and out points and capture only the specified sequences.

Figure 3. Your import options.

Once you choose the clips that you want to import, you click Import Selected and you’ll see the dialog shown in Figure 3. FCPX can edit most formats natively, though it will rewrap them into the QuickTime format. At least in the AVCHD clips that it imported for my project, FCPX also converted the AC-3 encoded video to PCM for editing, which makes sense.

As you can see in Figure 3, you can also transcode your clips into “optimized media” during import, which converts them to ProRes 422. You can also analyze for audio and video problems which I didn’t do because I wanted to address those issues manually.

Once you Import the clips and return to FCPX you can start to edit right away, even while FCPX is transcoding your clips. I will say that importing in this fashion crashed the program several times during startup. It’s kind of a “no harm, no foul” situation, however, since all edits are saved instantly. You just click Reopen when the crash window opens, and you’re back where you were before the crash. Once I got the files imported, however, stability improved immensely.

What didn’t improve was file organization, at least according to how I think it should be. Specifically, you can’t organize your event bins with folders, which is possible (more like essential) in Final Cut Pro and most other editors. With FCPX, Apple has caught the metadata bug, which no doubt has some folks at Adobe, who have been banging the metadata drum for years, grinning in their beers or latte or whatever they drink down there in San Jose (Figure 4). However, though you can sort your event bins by date, reel, scene and other metadata elements, you can’t create bins to group your content. If you’re borderline OCD about keeping your bins clutter free (like I am), this will drive you nuts, and it’s a primary example of the inflexibility that I mentioned above.

Figure 4. Apple’s caught the metadata bug!

 

Editing Paradigm

As you can see in Figure 1, FCPX no longer has a Source window, which is where you used to review your clips and choose in and out points. In FCPX, you use a procure called skimming to preview your clips. Basically, if you hover your mouse over the clip in the event bin, you preview the audio and video in the preview window on the right. In Figure 4, I’m hovering the mouse over the highlighted clip on the left to preview. Click the clip and it loads into the preview window itself, where you can use the player controls directly. Skimming does get irritating during the late stages of your project, and you can easily disable/enable audio and video skimming via icons on the timeline.

Figure 5. Skimming to preview a clip in the event bin.

 

As you can see in Figure 5 you can use the yellow control box around the clip to select in and out points. Precision is an issue if you use only the yellow control box, but if you select the clip, you can use the arrow keys on your keyboard to move to a specific frame in the preview monitor. Click I for In, O for out and you’ve got your clip ready to send to the timeline.

Figure 6. The pro test file is on the primary storyline, and the circles are connections with other clips.

In the timeline, FCPX debuts a several new paradigms, including the primary storyline, connected clips, and the magnetic timeline. Each project has a primary storyline, which is the A-roll of footage. When you add clips above and below the primary storyline, you can “connect” them to the clips on the primary storyline at that location using various program controls. In Figure 6, the circles indicate the connections you’ll see between clips on the primary storyline and those above or below it.

The concept of magnetic timeline means that when you drag a clip from the primary storyline, connected clips come with it. Obviously, this is desirable, though this all seems like a lot of work to fix a loss of synch problem that really didn’t pop up all that often and was immediately obvious when it did.

Blocking and Tackling

By blocking and tackling, I mean all the stuff you do when you create your projects, from trimming to color correction to adding transitions to adjusting your audio volume. Boring stuff, but stuff you do every project. In most of these roles, but not all, Final Cut Pro was top notch.
Trimming is trimming, FCPX does it and it works just fine with no real learning curve. There is a drop down toolbar with most of the same tools found on the Tools Palette, including cursors for selecting, trimming, cutting, zooming and moving, all with keyboard shortcuts. Once you start with effects, though, you’ll have to learn some new tricks.

As with Final Cut Pro 7, there are two classes of effects: built-in effects, which are essentially applied to every clip, and clip effects, which you have to apply manually to your clips. Built in effects now include color correction, transform, cropping, distortion, stabilization, rolling shutter, spatial conform, and compositing. I worked with most of these in my test project. To view the built-in effects, click the clip in the project and then the Inspector button on the bottom right (Figure 7).

Figure 7. Built-in effects with the scopes showing. Note the i icon on the lower right that opens the Inspector.

 

Let’s start with color correction, which is a skill that every editor needs to learn. Here you have several options. First, if you click the Balance button shown in Figure 7, Final Cut Pro will attempt to color balance the clip. Or, you can use the more extensive color adjustments shown in Figure 8 (called the Color Board), which are accessed by enabling Correction 1 in the Color effect, and clicking the multicolored circle with the right arrow.

 

Figure 8. FCPX’s Color Adjustment dialog.

 

There’s a wonderful YouTube video by Garret Gibbons (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtu3APJs9tc) that explains how this works, and you should definitely check it out for a comprehensive, contextual, and clever look at the Color Board. The CliffsNotes version is that there are three adjustment classes available atop the interface, for color, saturation, and exposure. In each class, you can adjust values globally, or just for the shadows (darkest 1/3 of pixels), highlights (lightest 1/3 of pixels) and midtones (the rest). While it looks simple, this is the same operating schema as most three-way color correctors and even Photoshop Premiere/Pro’s fabulous Shadow/Highlight filter.

In the figure, most of the blue tint was contained in the midtone channel, so I dragged that down to reduce the blue values. I also boosted the contrast and saturation a bit in the other tabs, and got a great result. I’m gushing, but I wish Apple had also left in the “pick an area that’s supposed to be white and we’ll do the rest” eyedropper that worked so well in Final Cut Pro 7. It would also be nice if there was an obvious way to toggle the filter on and offer from this view, and/or a split screen view that showed before and after.

This grumbling aside, this built-in effect worked well with all three color correction sequences in my test clip, as well as the two sequences that test backlight correction. For these, you toggle over to the exposure tab and boost brightness in the Shadows, which is how Adobe’s magical Shadows/Highlights effect works. You can save any of these adjustments so you can easily apply them to other clips with the same problem.

Moving along, the Keyer did a very solid job on both green and blue screen clips. The Keyer is a clip effect, which you find in the Effects browser, the circled icon in the middle right. To apply, you drag it onto the clip, and configuration options appear on the upper right in the Inspector. No adjustments were required, the effect was perfect on both my green screen and blue screen test clip as applied.

Figure 9. The Keyer effect performed well with no adjustments.

 

Changing Speed

Speed changes are another commonly used effect. With FCPX, you can easily change the global speed of a clip by dialing in a specific speed percentage (like 200% or 50%) or you adjust the speed variably, say from 100% to 50% using the retiming controls shown in Figure 10.

Figure 10. Varying clip speed over the duration of the clip.

 

Essentially, the retiming control divides the clip into four parts, and you can set the speed for each region with FCPX ramping smoothly between the regions. I found it somewhat clunky to use, but came close to achieving the effect that I wanted.

FCPX offers a dedicated two-position Ken Burns effect for animating still images, which I show in Figure 11. You use the green box to set the starting position, the red box to set the ending position, and Final Cut Pro animates between the start and end positions. Or, you can ignore the Ken Burns effect and use the Transform controls and keyframes to create a multiple position effect.

Figure 11. The Ken Burns effect.

 

That said, working with key frames is much less intuitive in the new program; you do all the work on the timeline where keyframes are hard to see and controls disjointed. It’s probably not a big deal if you know what you’re doing, but most novices will have a hard time finding the key frame controls, much less using them.

Figure 12. FCPX’s key frame animation controls.

Figure 12 shows the animation controls available for each clip on the timeline that you open via the tiny arrows on the upper left of the clip in the timeline. There’s a control for each built in effect, and each animatable clip effect that you add to a clip. To set a keyframe, you drag the playhead to the desired frame, choose the effect to animate and click Option-K. Then you adjust the effect as desired in the Inspector, and move on to the next key frame. Keyframes are microscopic and nowhere near the controls used to adjust them, which complicates the entire process.

Image stabilization is a strength; the filter works well with no adjustments and seems to work faster than it does in Final Cut Pro 7. Transitions are transitions; you can apply one transition globally, which is nice.

However, the title function still relies too much on Motion for my liking. That said, FCPX includes a good range of presets with very comprehensive font adjustments (Figure 13), and the ability to add generators that work as backgrounds for your titles. While the title function isn’t as integrated as I’d like, it’s an improvement over Final Cut Pro 7.

Figure 13. FCPX has good title presets and text configurability, but limited title creation tools.

 

The audio requirements of my projects are generally pretty modest, and FCPX was up to the task — although it certainly wasn’t exceptional. It doesn’t offer a real-time mixer and can’t automatically duck for dialog (reduce background music volume when a person is speaking), though you can get it done with rubber band controls. Apple did port over the background noise removal and hum removal features from SoundTrack Pro, which worked well on my test clips, though they appear to lack the fine tuning available in SoundTrack Pro.

Figure 14. Removing background noise from my test clip.

 

Sharing options are extensive, as you can see in Figure 15, but somewhat limited. I’m not sure what Apple’s strategy is regarding DVDs, since the integrated DVD menu options are modest, and that’s being kind. Most home producers will use iDVD, most serious producers Adobe Encore, which is also the best option for Blu-ray.

Figure 15. Your sharing options.

 

The podcast producer option lets you produce and upload a file to a specified Web server, while the next five options are self explanatory. If you select Export Movie, you can create a QuickTime file exporting to current or a small group of other settings. I did not find a way to create a QuickTime Reference movie, though it’s probably available somewhere.

Exporting audio lets you export in MP3, AC-3, WAV, and other formats, while frame and image sequence let you export in JPEG, PNG, TIFF, and other still image formats. FCPX comes with a new Share Monitor (Figure 16) that looks like Compressor’s Batch Monitor. Distressingly (at least on my computers), it feels like you need a court order to cancel or delete an encoding run; after clicking the x, it can take forever to actually stop the encode and move onto the next project. At least for me, this is a carryover from previous versions of Final Cut Pro, a problem I sure wish Apple had resolved.

Figure 16. The Share Monitor, with the file that refuses to cancel.

 

Exporting for HTTP Live Streaming creates files you can use for adaptive streaming. Unfortunately, I couldn’t test this function and meet my deadline because of the aforementioned failure to cancel encoding issue. For most, but not all settings, you can send the render to Compressor, which will free FCPX for additional editing, but some encoding options, like exporting a movie, must be performed in FCPX and appear to lock the program up for the duration.

And that’s it. While not fully rendered, my project is done, and this review almost, as well. To be honest, though I haven’t explored all the performance-related options, and admittedly don’t fully comprehend all new features: even if FCPX did offer multi-cam, there wasn’t enough to make me switch to FCPX from my current solutions. Recognize, of course, that as an experienced user of Final Cut Pro 7 and Premiere Pro, FCPX would have to be better by an order of magnitude to make me abandon my current solutions (for more on that, see here: http://www.eventdv.net/Articles/Column/The-Moving-Picture/The-Moving-Picture-Who-Loves-Vegas2c-Stays-With-Vegas-49674.htm). And frankly, for most basic editing, it’s not even incrementally better, it’s just different, at least for experienced users who have already mastered other solutions.

There’s nothing here that will convince Adobe users to take a serious look, and given the lack of equivalent high-end functionality, most professional FCP 7 users will have to be dragged over kicking and screaming (which many have been). Of course, if you’re outgrowing iMovie or just starting out in editing, your analysis is quite different — it’s tabula rasa, baby. I would suggest, however, that in this consumer/prosumer space, the most relevant competition is Adobe Premiere Elements for the Mac, which costs $99 and can probably do 99 percent of what Final Cut Pro X in editing, and much more in other areas like DVD and Blu-ray authoring, and multiple format streaming support.

Let’s take the Apple fanboys (on one side) and jolted FCP 7 pros (on the other) out of the picture for a moment. If this product was released by some unknown Silicon Valley startup, and judged solely on its merits, it would be an innovative release that competes well with most consumer programs, but has some critical feature gaps for even prosumer use. Released as iMovie Pro, as perhaps it should have been, the program would be a fantastic upgrade, if a bit overpriced.

As a replacement for Final Cut Pro 7 or Premiere Pro in its 1.0 state? Fuhgetaboutit.




Discussion

Comments are disallowed for this post.

  1. Final Cut X is a brilliant replacement for Final Cut Express. Prosumers will love the extra features compared to iMovie. The serious prosumers, though have stuck with iMovie 06 and there is a significant black market in iMovie 06. It is easy to get and install despite the lack of Apple support.

    Final Cut might be different, though. Businesses cannot be based on black market products so the alternative is less likely to be the old Final Cut Pro and more likely legitimate installs of editors from other companies.

    Being able to use footage created in the previous version of Final Cut Pro is essential for teams working on large projects and on its own kills the use of Final Cut Pro.

    Posted by Tony | June 28, 2011, 4:01 pm
    • NOT a good replacement for Final Cut Express! A good replacement for Final Cut Express is Final Cut Pro…

      Posted by Elroy Mac | June 28, 2011, 4:58 pm
  2. That was certainly a great review, yeah, you see a lot of things over 25 years in this industry, Apple for the last 15 years has been the “Apple” of my eye…lol…look, the hardware is still above and beyond but it really is a damn shame to have the potential to step above everyone else, like they do with ipad, iphone etc and yet, the people that put them where they are, before those products, as such, are just left to ponder…or look elsewhere…..i just hope that there is not going to be another media launch down the track and they say..” oops, like MobileMe. we stuffed up”…lol
    Hopefully with the imminent release of Lion etc, they don’t stop supporting FCP7, that would have to be business suicide……be it, they have already stabbed themselves…how deep and how much much loss…this is still to be seen…. !!! ( ok, that wasn’t a bad analogy…lol)…”you can print to tape with that one Apple…oops..you can’t…cheers, Michael

    Posted by MIchael D. | June 29, 2011, 10:53 am
  3. One more thing, l got a copy of the program from someone to check it out, loading it, with seriously full intention of buying it…obviously before i started reading the reviews etc…i must say, with no disrespect to Toyworld or Kmart etc but it just felt like l was playing with a toy…for children…”what the”… i mean i run a Matrox MX02 and various other peices and plugins……so l am ..for now, up the creative creek, with out a paddle…..Long Live FCP7…hahahaha

    Posted by MIchael D. | June 29, 2011, 11:01 am
  4. Well, Michael D, at least you’ve retained your sense of humor.

    I wonder if we’ll ever know how many folks returned their copy of FCP.

    Jan

    Posted by Jan Ozer | June 29, 2011, 3:43 pm
  5. I don’t like the comparison of 50,000,000 imovie users compared to that of 2,000,000 million users for Final Cut Pro seven. Like no kidding. Imovie is basically free. Final Cut Seven was a thousand dollars. Before that Final Cut Six was 1300 and so on. So gee… I wonder why there are so many more imovie users. Not to mention a lot of the Mac’s came with imovie already installed. So the comparison is really irrelevant. Apple has basically abandoned the 2,000,000 Final Cut Pro 7 customer base which is what made Apple a contender in the professional editing world and instead Apple went for the 50,000,000 “imovie… customer…. base….” which is what did not make them a contender. They also left other customers behind when they switched to intel. Non linear editing systems have basically been around since programs like Edit Droid which was one of the first pioneers in the non-linear editing world. Final Cut Pro X feels pretty much linear. While I must admit it is powerful but it is also aggravating and insulting to Final Cut Seven Users and prior. You guys abandoned the folks that made you. I also disagree that it would take years to learn Final Cut X. Basically if you know imovie you know Final Cut Pro X.

    Posted by Rob Allan | July 3, 2011, 3:17 am
  6. I should have put this in my first post… as to one of the things editors find most insulting. Final Cut “PROOOO…” X, has the audacity to put this marker over every edit. I mean… really… Apple. That alone is down right embarrassing for you and insulting to editors every where. If some one wants to argue with me that there is the an option that allows you to turn that crap off. There shouldn’t even be an option those markers shouldn’t even be there. PERIOD! (So don’t waist your time arguing with me.) Apple is trying to spoon feed us with everything. Editing does not work that way. Since film, non-linear machines have worked one way for that last 20 plus years for a reason. It wasn’t by mistake either. Non-linear editing systems are all based off the way editors, back in the day, used to edit film. One more thing Apple I would like to be able to do a “save as” for my project, when I want too. I don’t trust the idea that you say, “It saves every edit you make.” I can’t trust that.

    Happy Fourth Everyone.

    Posted by Rob Allan | July 3, 2011, 10:28 am
    • Don’t trust it!!! The automatic save feature doesn’t work very well. Just had FCPX crash on me and lost 2 hours of work! Thanks Apple for taking out all the useful features and replacing them with crap yet again!

      Posted by Joe | September 10, 2011, 4:15 pm
  7. Rob:

    If you peel all the emotion away, I really think that Apple made the best economic decision for Apple. As I wrote here:

    http://www.streaminglearningcenter.com/blogs/final-cut-pro-x—killed-by-the-suite.html

    Apple just can’t compete with the Adobe suite long-term, and as a corporation charged with making money, decided to transition to a market they could dominate.

    I don’t mean this unkindly, but I’m reminded of the book “who moved my cheese,” a management/self-help book that tells a story to help folks learn how to deal with change.

    Applied here, Apple is gone from the professional market, outahere. Adios, Sayonara, ta, ta, see ya later. Thanks for the memories and support, but ba-bye.

    Maybe if folks complain enough, Apple will bring FCP 7 back, or spin it off, or whatever, though I doubt it. But pointing out how FCPX sucks is pointless since its deficits are so objectively obvious. If I was a Final Cut Pro producer whose livelihood depended upon creating professional productions with a toolset I could count on long term, I’d be objectively evaluating alternatives like Adobe, Avid and Sony.

    It sucks and all, but this is the new reality.

    Jan

    Posted by Jan Ozer | July 3, 2011, 11:18 am
    • Let’s not forget Grass Valley EDIUS 6 which has all of them beat anyway. With a long track record and supporting pro grade hardware connections like SDI, Component and virtually ALL known digital video formats IN and OUT.

      If you want the best possible replacement for your discontinued Apple software – it may be time to start looking at the PC as a faster and more powerful realtime HD (and beyond) replacement.

      Forget Apple and their wacky behavior (which is controlled by stock-holders) and check EDIUS 6 out for yourself on YouTube here . . .

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXxGnT7pFFw

      Posted by Paul Tyson | July 6, 2011, 5:23 pm
    • That’s the unfortunate truth. Apple has in recent years ran their company almost purely in the business sense. You can see it across all their products, especially software. They’re on their way down as far as the revolution they have made in recent years. In 10 years Apple will be Microsoft and Google will be the next Apple.

      Posted by Joe | September 10, 2011, 4:32 pm
  8. Well, right now, FCP7 is working fine, it will be supported by Lion, so they say, my plugins work perfect, Matrox etc….to appease us for now…..bloody well leave it like that….”Apple” keep supporting FCP7 until you can convince us otherwise…right now, like many, l am not convinced and if and when you pull the plug on support…well, i will cross that bridge then. i am not going to Premiere and Avid costs a little bit too much…and in reality, im not interested in editing on anything else right now…my FCP7 works just fine…the world is not ending for us editors tomorrow…let’s just keep working…like we always have….why, “cause we love it”……there are worse things in life to deal with than worrying about FCP X…

    Posted by MIchael D. | July 3, 2011, 12:07 pm
    • “It will be supported by Lion” That’s cool. I wonder if that means they are going to buy Final Cut Seven and then continue with eight. I should make my colleagues aware of this.

      Posted by Rob Allan | July 3, 2011, 2:39 pm
  9. I’ll stick with fcp7 for the time being but will move to Premiere eventually. No practical business person can stay with a company that has shown such indifference to their user base. Editing film and video isn’t rocket science, and the tools I need to do it just have to work well. I don’t need a “new production paradigm”. When Apple released OS X they didn’t completely re-invent Finder but they did make it faster and more efficient which is really all I hoped for FCP.

    Posted by Hughes H. | July 3, 2011, 1:11 pm
    • I agree completely. Apple aggressively went after the pro market about a decade ago, and the force of their marketing machine, coupled with their lower prices, helped make FCP the NLE of choice for many. AVID was forced to lower their prices to compete, which was a good thing. But what Apple failed to understand was that entire professional shops have been set up around a FCP pipeline, because it was much more affordable to have more editing seats. After such aggressive tactics in order to lure the pro market away from AVID and Premiere, they just yanked the rug out from under us, and that is a total slap in the face.

      Posted by A. Kelly | May 16, 2012, 6:51 pm
      • BTW, I’m making the move back to AVID on my home system. They have never wavered from supporting their pro base, and it’s generally been more stable that FCP anyway.

        I like FCP for its ease-of-use, and I’ve been forced to use it in the workplace 9 times out of 10 in a pro post house, including work for major studios like Disney, Lionsgate, Marvel, Sony, and Universal. This whole situation would be a less irritating if Apple would lower itself to throw out an announcement to the pro community now and then.

        Posted by A. Kelly | May 16, 2012, 6:57 pm
  10. Sure, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    But at some point, either FCP 7 will stop working or features available on competitive products will outweigh the natural resistance to change. I may have the dates wrong, but FCP7 (6/2009) brought only modest updates while FCP6 was the last sweeping update (7/2007 – mixed format timeline, Color). Essentially, that makes FCP 7 a four year old editor that’s still 32-bit. All the innovation that went into FCPX does FCP 7 users no good at all, plus if you need to buy new seats, you have to go black market.

    In the meantime, Adobe has gone cross platform and has been aggressively updating their product line every 12-18 months. Last time I looked at how the two platforms stacked up (http://www.eventdv.net/Articles/News/Feature/The-Moving-Picture-Apple-Final-Cut-Studio-vs.-Adobe-CS5-Production-Premium-67979.htm) I found that, “Overall, Adobe has a slight functional advantage and a clear technology advantage.” Since then, Adobe launched CS5.5 which enhanced the Mercury engine and replaced SoundBooth with Audition, a great swap. Apple … launched FCPX.

    Just IMHO. I would never try to convince an FCP (or Avid or Vegas for that matter) editor to switch editors in the absence of some market shifting, seismic event. I think that’s what FCPX was, but to the long term detriment of professional users of the FCP platform.

    Jan

    Posted by Jan Ozer | July 3, 2011, 1:37 pm
  11. I wonder what Walter Murch thinks of all of this. Since he was basically Apples lab rat for Final Cut.

    They really should have named the Final Cut Pro X software something else. To me… and other editors that I have talked too. Its an entirely different program. But because of the name I can understand why Apple stuck with it.

    I must admit though.. I did have fun editing with it the other day. I just found that magnetic time line to be really frustrating.

    Still If Lion supports Seven… I will either be going to that in the future or I will be going to CS5. More likely CS5.

    I just wanted to know if there is a work around for importing old project files into Final Cut Pro X?

    Posted by Rob Allan | July 3, 2011, 2:53 pm
  12. It really doesn’t look like you’ll be able to import old project files into FCPX. Here’s a snippet from the Apple FAQ.

    Can I import projects from Final Cut Pro 7 into Final Cut Pro X?

    Final Cut Pro X includes an all-new project architecture structured around a trackless timeline and connected clips. In addition, Final Cut Pro X features new and redesigned audio effects, video effects, and color grading tools. Because of these changes, there is no way to “translate” or bring in old projects without changing or losing data.

    Doesn’t look like it’s something they’re working on.

    Jan

    Posted by Jan Ozer | July 4, 2011, 8:09 am
  13. “changing or losing data”? That would sound like an xml file to me, if it were possible. But Thank You and Happy Fourth Jan.

    Posted by Rob Allan | July 4, 2011, 3:43 pm
  14. FCP X is basically iMovie on steroids. What a joke…and no Apple… I don’t like the user experience behind iMove; it’s silly, childish, and just plane non-industry standard. I think it’s time to switch to Avid.

    Posted by Paul | July 5, 2011, 10:44 am
  15. There’s nothing wrong with Apple providing amateurs with an easy-to-use editing software. That’s what iMovie is supposed to be, and creating iMovie Pro would have been a great idea. What Apple has done instead, however, is a bait-and-switch, in which they have taken the “brand power” of the Final Cut Pro name and cynically applied it to a non-pro software. This may get them a lot of new customers initially, but the FCP name will start losing a lot of it’s appeal when pros abandon it, as they are already doing.

    I’ve been teaching video production and editing to young people for many years, and I’ve heard the awe in their voices when they speak of Final Cut Pro, because of its reputation as a pro software. Apple is going to suffer when that awe fades away, and when teachers like me start steering young people toward another Premiere, Avid or some new program that emerges.

    Apple has made a huge mistake, but they still have time to correct it.

    Posted by Vaun | July 17, 2011, 12:28 am
    • I totally agree with you. For instance, just last week, Avid gave a presentation on Smoke and its seamless integration with their product line, yet FCP X isn’t even backwards compatible.

      The problem is that Apple’s core business model is committed to making money; not supporting tools to make movies. So, naturally they have no commitment to excellence when it comes to professional media tools that help production; e.g. backward compatibility.

      Take for example Shake…remember how it was suppose to be an alternative…then Apple just dropped it all together.

      The real shame here is that Apple wastes our time with their pathetic cultic marketing ploys, and then when they invest in them…they get you by saying…”do as I tell you; not as you tell us” …o, well, welcome to the world of Apple.

      Posted by Paul | July 18, 2011, 2:02 pm
  16. Well said, though, I think for many editing pros, it’s farewell to the world of Apple, not welcome.

    :-)

    Posted by Jan Ozer | July 18, 2011, 2:27 pm
  17. I teach at a two year college where we have made a considerable investment in FCP training, but I see the end in sight. Apple has handed this one to Adobe.

    Posted by Tim Mickleburgh | July 18, 2011, 3:38 pm
  18. I agree totally. What I think is a questionable decision (to abandon video pros) done exceptionally poorly.

    Jan

    Posted by Jan Ozer | July 19, 2011, 9:31 am
  19. Thanks, Apple, for dumbing down Final Cut Pro. While downloading, I had high expectations, thinking that it’ll be just a few kinks worked out and that was it but my goodness, I am disappointed. I cried when I just saw the new layout. It’s basically iMovie but with more tools. I think I am going to try Premiere Pro at this point.

    Posted by A. | July 21, 2011, 3:11 pm
  20. Besides from other problems such as incompatibility with older Final Cut Projects, Final Cut Pro X really seems to have a problem with un-doing pretty much everything. Since it doesn’t have any specific manual save feature, crashing during undo or redo makes the whole stuff useless. Some people call Final Cut Pro X “iMovie Pro”, while I’ll call it “Crappy iMovie”.

    Posted by Samuel Lee | July 25, 2011, 5:09 am
  21. The irony is I’m moving back to premiere after they hype the release of FCPX. How’s that for a revolution of change.

    Posted by Lucc83 | July 25, 2011, 9:20 pm
  22. Final Cut Pro is great editing software but many of the competitors are catching up…

    Posted by John B. | August 24, 2011, 10:16 pm
  23. A very balanced review. I’m one of those 50 million iMovie users. I usually do simple movie projects for my business and for family events and wanted something more powerful. You are absolutely right, I absolutely love Final Cut Pro X.

    A year ago I tried my hand in FCP7 and it was definitely overwhelming. Not so with Final Cut Pro X. I was up and running editing videos in less then an hour. In a week I have figured out a lot of the controls. This is coming from a total first timer in video editing who’s only experience in video is iMove 09.

    I’m sure the real pros have very valid claims and I hope that Apple addresses a lot of their concerns but for the rest of us mere mortals, FCPX is the best movie editor out there right now.

    Posted by Adryan | August 30, 2011, 1:24 am
    • Adryan,

      Bully for you, since you’re obviously one of the 50 zillion. For those of us who rely on FCP for business purposes, Apple flipped us the bird. You may be giddy with FCPX, but the point of all the comments from pros who use FCP is that Apple took a PRO software and turned it into CONSUMER software.

      The point is, that’s NOT COOL for 2 MILLION of us. It has nothing to do with people thinking they’re better than people who use iMovie (my family uses a “mere” macbook). FCP7 was surely overwhelming, but you probably had no use for 90% of it.

      Sure, if FCPX was a NEW software hitting the market, grand. But it’s NOT new software, it was heralded as a wonderful step for FCP7 users– clearly Apple is full of it.

      Posted by Paul | September 10, 2011, 2:12 am
  24. FCP X….Good for anyone getting into video editing but not for the pros. I bet its just gonna be like Shake(discontinued), unless they decide to change it alltogether, What i have seen is that Apple thinks they can force anyone to use their products the way they want., true they have come up with innovative products during the few years like the Ipad etc..but that does not work with changing something completely so that people who have spent years learning and mastering it, have to just to start all over again. Final Cut Pro X is basically or simply a “New software” disguised as Final cut Pro branding to make people buy it..Its just like trying out another Editing software but you get to keep the name + and X + many options removed or changed..

    Posted by demha | September 12, 2011, 8:11 am
  25. Apple are going down the consumer path more and more and abandoning the pro users yet most consumers I know own cheap PC’s because they can’t afford the high price of a Mac! The Mac’s reputation in the Music, Film and media industries surely contributed to their survival through the late 90′s/early 2000′s. I worked for a company in 2000 that almost took their magazine production over to PC’s untill ALL staff involved refused to accept it and to this day they are still Mac based.

    Posted by Jedy | October 29, 2011, 4:48 pm
  26. Posted by James | January 30, 2012, 1:44 pm