Where FCPX Shines
I think after a lot of reflection I've come to understand what FCP X's professional strong point is, and where it might really succeed. This would be in any business that needs to mass produce video that has the look and feel of a one-off. Pretend, for instance, you're are in charge of a video unit on a cruise ship that runs a repetitive seven day cruise for a five month span. Your job is to make a 20 min. cruise video that reflects the experience of each week's cruise and have it for sale for the passengers at the end of the cruise. You could easily create a cruise template, and then use FCP X's database and preview features to create what seems to be a unique video of the experience. I'm guessing that FCP X would be, once broken in, far more efficient at delivering this product than any other NLE. This undoubtedly would work well for most event video. I can see a videographer that does weddings developing several different templates, and than choosing the most appropriate for a particular job. It would be sort of like having a website template that you can stretch and bend to fit your needs.
To see this idea in action, look no further than the iMovie trailer gizmo, where you plug your vacation material into pre-formatted slots to build a "trailer." Now, here's the thing--this idea does not actually work for professional trailers, promos, and commercials. The reasons are several--complexity of material, arrangement of dramatic content, meaningful juxtaposition and counterbalancing of ideas--but, also because the material needs to be freshly arranged to be seen. It needs to be different than what was seen yesterday. It needs to SHOUT unique.
A cruise video only needs to seem unique to the people on that cruise. No one in the public is ever going to line up ten weeks of cruises to see how their video, though different, is dramatically the same as all the rest. A careful cruise videographer can probably set FCP X up so that every cruise video sold can be personalized down to the point of the video buyer and his family being welcomed aboard.
So you're saying they designed this for Gopher .
I think Gopher was the Purser, which might put him a bit higher up the chain. I don't know when the last time you were on a cruise was, but they do have dedicated video staff now. I've just been trying to think of situations where FCP X would actually offer a clear advantage as a tool. I doubt it ever will for me, but in the spirit of understanding, I've been trying to come up with things that this puppy might be good at. It might also develop into a a good ENG tool for a mid-sized news market, as well. There can be a lot of fast-paced cookie cutter stuff, there as well.
I guess I'm still not understanding how this would be a better option for templating than other NLEs. Making multiple timelines in a traditional NLE seems pretty easy, using tools like replace edit to customize different versions. Since I don't yet fully understand how FCPX works, can you explain what specific differences would make it better for this kind of workflow? Can you even have multiple versions of a timeline?
Professor, Producer, Editor
and former Apple Employee
I love cruising and always blown away at the pretty high-end studios they have on the ships. I agree though that any NLE that allows you to lock certain tracks like stock music and titles in place and just insert new footage from that cruise would work. Vegas 10 would actually be way better at the this than FCPX because of the dedicated and nameable tracks that are lacking in FCPX.
Writer, Editor, Director
I'm only speculating. I haven't tried it, and won't have the opportunity since I've already determined that X is relatively useless for me, and have returned it. But it seems to me that metadata/tagging functions in combination with the Audition function when used in the Event Viewer to fill in a predetermined slot in the timeline might be quite a bit faster than normal replace. Let's say you are working on a portion of your cruise video that is :20 or so of after-dinner dancing, and you have in your preplanned timeline 5 clips of couples dancing. You take eight to ten shots of dancers, each about the same length, and tagged as, say "26" which is the number you use for dancing couples clips. You combine the eight shots as an Audition in the Event Viewer (along with the template shot you use as your default pick) and then you have all eight shots available as Audition choices in each of the 5 "26" slots of your pre-planned timeline. Then, you quickly choose which of the eight shots you want to use in the 5 spaces and move on.
I certainly might be missing something about the way X works, but from what I've read, this seems like it is its strong point. If I were doing this kind of cookie-cutter work I'd certainly explore it, because it does seem to me to be potentially quite a bit faster.