Much ado about Final Cut Pro X.
07/07/11 02:13 Filed in: Video
Final cut pro X is out, and I accidentally bought it immediately. There has been a lot of fuss about fcpx recently when it came out. Many people said that it was imovie and not a pro app, that it lacked a lot of essential pro facilities and that apple jumped the shark with this. Here's my take on this.
When I bought it and started it, I was dissapoint. My knee jerk reaction was: I want my money back. But after reading some reviews and watching tutorials I decided to actually edit it in myself and my opinion changed.
First of all, I am not a pro, I have edited a lot of footage for my own projects and helping out a friends projects.
However, I do think a lot of the missing things make X unfit for many pro's. No XML/EDL/OMF export, no multicam editing, limitations in the use of tape and of external monitors. Color and soundtrack removed and not really replaced. Final cut studio 3 being removed from retail. Apple telling that if users need XML export, they can just buy a 500 $ app. Overhauled GUI. I can very well understand the frustrations of the pros.
I do hope that apple will add those facilities back in, and would allow people to buy FCS in the meantime.
Now, as a non-pro, I do not care so much about EDL, and XML is something I hardly use. I never liked or got color, since I am not a colorist. I don't use tape anymore, and in the rare occasion that I do, firewire tape workflow is still available in FCP X. I also do not edit for TV, so external monitoring is also not something I use.
So what do I miss? For me, the most important things I miss are the use of external plugins (I use magic bullet looks sometimes, although some sensible presets for the coloriser might help in this. This is about the only plugin I actually use), and I miss sending footage to soundtrack to edit the audio and exporting the footage as XML to send it to after effects. In FCP 7, sending footage to AE was also not great, the best way was to export as XML, then load it in premiere and send it to AE, and back. So for AE the workflow is not that different, probably sending original footage or export as prores, edit in AE and send back as prores. For audio, I still need to find a good workflow.
When it comes to the user interface, I also have to get used to a lot of things. Some things are good, some things need getting used to, and some things are indeed dumbed down a bit. I miss some things, like the mixer, which I use for example to quickly pan two different audio tracks to full left and right to check sync. There also does not seem to be an easy way to quickly mute or solo a single track like in 7, although you can use the V key.
Then there is some performance issues. In general, the performance is very good, the fact that I can edit H264 footage from my GH1 directly, with effects in real time is quite amazing (this does not seem to work for me in premiere). But I did experience the spinning beach ball of death a few times, freezing the whole system, so that I had to kill FCPX. This seems mostly be the case when doing a lot of heavy background jobs concurrently. I have to see if os X lion improves that. (On my old MBP, os X has improved performance enormously compared to snow leopard).
So in short:
FCP X might not be the right NLE for most pros, but it seems to be for me. I will use it for my future projects.
I still have to get used to some stuff.
It being imovie on steroids is partially true, but that is not necessarily a bad thing: I like the simple colour management, the scrubbing, the organisation in events, face recognition.
I do not miss color. I do miss soundtrack pro, which I still have as part of logic studio.
The real time timeline for multi format footage and effects works very well, this is probably the biggest improvement.
A lot of the old workflow is still in there somewhere.
Most important things I am missing is an easy way to export to logic, soundtrack and after effects.
There are still some bugs and performance issues, which may be eliminated with updates and with an update to Lion.
So, I will use it for my current and future projects for now, and will try to get used to it and hope for enhancements.