This blog post was featured in Philip Bloom’s in 7 Professional Editors share their with Final Cut Pro X.
The famous American author Mark Twain said ”The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” This is how I feel about Final Cut Pro X. Since its release in July 2011 it has come under heavy scrutiny from the professional editing community. The crucible for most editors (including me) is whether or not I could use the software for paid projects. I was one of those harsh critics. I cheerfully downloaded FCPX on the day it was release in the Mac App Store and to my amazement, I saw iMovie Pro (like many other editors). I immediately shut it down and used it for only video blog projects and edits that weren’t pay gigs or things that didn’t require much effort.
In August 2011 I started a new job teaching media production and I had to make a decision. To teach the often bad reviewed/much maligned Final Cut Pro X or teach what my colleague was teaching, Final Cut Pro 7. I was hesitant, even nervous about this decision because this could be a decision that could shape my new students lives if they continue on media production career pathway. I decided to teach Final Cut Pro X to my students and it was one of the best decisions of my young teaching career.
Here is why:
- I started my students off with iMovie and within the first month moved them to Final Cut Pro X.
- Students who never edited were able to grasp trackless editing quickly.
- Students were editing creating videos within weeks instead of months. http://www.baltimorecityschools.org/Page/16177 (that’s the URL to see my students videos)
I also have a portfolio of professional work that I create outside of school. The decision for me to switch my professional work in July was a little more challenging because of these reasons
- Most of my work-in-progress was in Final Cut Pro 7or Avid Media Composer and there was no shortcut or app available at the time to export footage out
- Final Cut Pro interface was so different than FCP 7 it was like learning how to drive all over again.
- Many plugins that I use like Magic Bullet looks and Alex 4D that relied on were not available at the launch.
One of the most powerful features in my opinion of Final Cut Pro X is metadata. You can add keyword collections, smart collections, and what Philip Hodgett wrote about called derived metadata.
As of this post Final Cut Pro X 10.0.3 is out and Apple has delivered on most of their promises for updating the software.
Multi-camera editing: You have the ability to sync clips by camera time code, camera name, in or out points, markers, or using the source audio. FCPX offers up to 64 angles and that is more cameras than you will ever need for an event or television show edit.
Layered PSD Files: All of us who used Final Cut Pro 7 brought our layered PSD files into the system and we expected to do this when the software was first released, now you can do this in FCPX.
Chroma-keying upgrades: Adobe After Effects and even iMovie have some pretty powerful Chroma-keying options and FCP 7 always lacked in this area. With this update apple makes chroma-keying even more powerful with adding and fine-tuning advanced controls.
Media relink: This is for manual reconnect of projects and Events to new media. This is often overlooked, but if you are familiar with relinking media in FCP 7 you will appreciate being able to re-link your own files.
XML 1.1 with support for primary color grades, effects parameters and audio keyframes. I am a huge fan of this because now I can use my Magic Bullet looks while using the software.
Broadcast monitoring. For editors who want to see their work on a professional broadcast monitor this is a God-send. I am sure more accessories and third-party devices will be added soon.
There are many people who still want the print to tape feature of Final Cut Pro 7. And I was one of them, especially if you, like me edit a show that requires you to print to tape for broadcast delivery. Apple, like only Apple can do (reminiscent of not allowing flash on an iPad) has basically rendered tape-based workflow dead. I don’t know if that is a good thing, but as I tell my students “it is what it is” and you must find a work around.
Working with Final Cut Pro X has been like being a cruise that starts off really bad, but you know by the end of the vacation it will get better, and it just did.