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Thoughts on FCPX from Oliver Peters

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David Lawrence
Thoughts on FCPX from Oliver Peters
on Jul 22, 2011 at 6:05:39 am

Folks,

This review is well worth your time. Very thorough, thoughtful and fair.

http://digitalfilms.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/more-fcp-x-thoughts/

_______________________
David Lawrence
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Carsten Orlt
Re: Thoughts on FCPX from Oliver Peters
on Jul 22, 2011 at 7:30:11 am

Same old story and nothing new. Has been said a million times in different combinations before.

If you don't like it, don't use it. If you don't like Apple anymore, don't use their products.

Do you really think Apple will magically announce that they'll put FCPx in the bin and take FCP7 out of the draw and polish it a bit to make you guys happy?

Why do some take it so personally? Switch over prices for Premiere and Avid are very low right now.

Carsten


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Andy Field
Re: Thoughts on FCPX from Oliver Peters
on Jul 22, 2011 at 11:59:06 am

"Why do some take it so personally? Switch over prices for Premiere and Avid are very low right now."


If you spend 12 years becoming a professional pianist and Steinway suddenly changed all the keys and told you all your old music wouldn't work on the piano -- you might take it personally too. This is why FCP editors are outraged. Apple just obsoleted a decade of their professional training and made their skills worthless going forward in professional shops that will have to change NLE's.

Mastering a new NLE takes months and years -- this was a marketable skill that kept people's mortgages paid and children in school. Now not only has the company created a product that's not usuable in many professional situations - they guaranteed that our "Steinway" will eventually stop working when apple breaks it with a future Quicktime or system update.

Andy Field
FieldVision Productions
N. Bethesda, Maryland 20852


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Carsten Orlt
Re: Thoughts on FCPX from Oliver Peters
on Jul 22, 2011 at 12:58:54 pm

[Andy Field] "Mastering a new NLE takes months and years -- this was a marketable skill that kept people's mortgages paid and children in school. Now not only has the company created a product that's not usuable in many professional situations - they guaranteed that our "Steinway" will eventually stop working when apple breaks it with a future Quicktime or system update."

Sorry but I thought your skill at telling a story was what kept your children in school and let you pay the mortgage..
And who says you need to buy a new computer or install the latest operating system right now?
Use your Steinway until it breaks down and than buy a new one. If Steinway doesn't exists anymore when you need a new one, well yes you have to find a new company. Happened many times before and will happen again, BUT the Oscars in 1920 didn't give awards for the machine you used nor will the Oscars in 2123 do.
And if you know that your beloved Steinway will not be available in x years time when you need a new one, and you think you'll will not get another concert without it but only if you were able to play this Yamaha thing, get one and learn it in your spare time. Now if you're really smart you would wait a little and see if Yamaha or the other guys (don't know any other piano company :-) will make a better replacement. And who knows maybe Steinway will come good....

In the meantime:
Stop panicking everybody and stop calling it the end of the art of editing.

Rant over :-)
Carsten


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Thoughts on FCPX from Oliver Peters
on Jul 22, 2011 at 3:50:39 pm

[Carsten Orlt] "Why do some take it so personally? Switch over prices for Premiere and Avid are very low right now."

Actually Carsten, you're the only one posting in this thread who seems to be taking it personally. Perhaps you could explain exactly why you feel compelled to defend FCP X?


David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles
http://www.drwfilms.com

Don't miss my new tutorial: Prepare for a seamless transition to FCP X and OS X Lion
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POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Business & Marketing and Apple Final Cut Pro forums.


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Carsten Orlt
Re: Thoughts on FCPX from Oliver Peters
on Jul 22, 2011 at 10:49:45 pm

I'm not defending X, I'm simply opposing the notion that Apple destroyed livelihoods and the art of editing.

And I'm of the opinion that if you feel this way there is not much use in repeating the same argument again and again. Do something about it.

I for example had a very good and hard look at the competition and even though X is not usable yet the competitors don't do it for me. So 7 it is for now, and if they can't get X going I'll take another look around.


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Mike Jackson
Re: Thoughts on FCPX from Oliver Peters
on Jul 22, 2011 at 7:47:59 am

An excellent and thoughtful article. Thanks! I've been enjoying your other postings as well.

And I'm glad to know I'm not the only editor who frequently uses sequences as scratch pads. ;)

I think the musical instrument analogies are very apt. Our tools become our instruments, and we learn to excel with them. I'm sure someone could've handed Jimi Hendrix a synthesizer, told him it was the future, and with a bit of practice he could bang out a serviceable tune... but man, he SCREAMED with that guitar.

I *can* learn other software, and I will. But I won't become a virtuoso overnight. And if I have to retrain anyway, I may just skip that synth and move over to the bass or the banjo, since they still have strings and work in the way I like.

Y'know - with dual monitoring and non-magnetic timelines.



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Chris Harlan
Re: Thoughts on FCPX from Oliver Peters
on Jul 22, 2011 at 8:20:02 am

Good review. I agree completely. I seem to edit in a similar fashion, as well. One of my favorite things about FCP is the ability to use sequences as bin-like scratch pads. Thanks for posting.


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Ben Scott
Re: Thoughts on FCPX from Oliver Peters
on Jul 22, 2011 at 10:24:29 am

if you like sequences as a way to try things out

create new compound clips in the events browser

serves exactly the same function

also duplicating and adding a compound clip to an audition branches it out so you now have 2 options at that point in timeline


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Nick Toth
Re: Thoughts on FCPX from Oliver Peters
on Jul 22, 2011 at 1:00:49 pm

You can have multiple clips in an audition. Why use compound clips?


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Chris Harlan
Re: Thoughts on FCPX from Oliver Peters
on Jul 22, 2011 at 5:02:39 pm

[Ben Scott] "if you like sequences as a way to try things out

create new compound clips in the events browser

serves exactly the same function"



That is not at all what I mean, Ben. But thank you for the suggestion.


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Ben Scott
Re: Thoughts on FCPX from Oliver Peters
on Jul 22, 2011 at 10:11:39 am

not sure I agree on the split edits point he makes, yes assymetrical trimming cant be done

split edits are a double click to expand and can be trimmed out from in or out and in any direction to sub frame accuracy

may not be understanding his point but also think a lot of this bashing comes from actually misunderstanding the interface

e.g. people are complaining no video only transition, try option clicking edit on video to get that result


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David Battistella
Re: Thoughts on FCPX from Oliver Peters
on Jul 22, 2011 at 1:23:46 pm

This is a great and thoughtful article.

I think what is most fascinating is this betrayal people feel.

I agree that many people stake tier livelihood on their tools. But we forget so quickly what the landscape might be like right now had FCP never been released.

Professional Editors brought FCP to maturity and many did not jump over until version four or five.

Maybe FCP X will never work for the "high end professional" that is very possible. If I was cutting a feature tomorrow FCPX would not be the software (but not because of it's interface or language) but because those jobs require a powerful offline editing/editorial tool that does one thing perfectly.

This is more of a media authoring tool that does many things really well.

I'm using the "skate to where the puck is" analogy a lot these days. Media models are crumbling. I do not think this software was built with a narrow audience in mind. But I think it will evolve to eventually suit that audience, very much the same way FCP evolved into a suite of apps.

Apple FCP was a dv editor. Everyone reacted the same way. It was full of problems.

Now they've released a DSLR editor. I think the pro stuff will come. They just tailored it to a wider audience first.

David.

______________________________
The shortest answer is doing.
Lord Herbert
http://vimeo.com/battistella



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Glen Hurd
Re: Thoughts on FCPX from Oliver Peters
on Jul 22, 2011 at 4:31:14 pm

Good point. I think the betrayal is a result of perspective and history.
On the first go round, FCP was truly new, being built by a company's first foray into the editing profession. As it grew, spurred by the input of an interested community, a whole ecosystem developed around it, almost like slow growing coral clinging to a common foundation.
But now Apple has put a giant glass box around that coral, and cut off all future for it - no path for migration or transition, just a "new beginning."

Some regard Apple's upgrade (and that must never be forgotten - it was an upgrade) as fresh and exciting. But these are the individuals or those who cater to individuals.
For those who built pipelines around FCS, pipelines that employed artists and developers over a broad range of disciplines, this upgrade is devastating - especially in this economy. It forces a migration, but a migration away from a company that has no shame in disrupting its most loyal clients.

So, yes, FCP X does face another upward climb, but ironically, it doesn't have the benefit of coming from a naive company that needs to learn the ropes. And that is another hurdle. FCP X now shares a name with another product - the product that Apple, after two years of "development," broke.

Even Henry Ford didn't go out and shoot all his horses.


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Jim Glickert
Re: Thoughts on FCPX from Oliver Peters
on Jul 22, 2011 at 2:22:33 pm

Good article. Thanks for posting.

Not being a professional editor, I don't have as much invested in FCP 7 as many others. I've been mostly happy with it, and will continue to use it before likely moving on to something else (other than FCP X) in time. The article helped clarify my thinking.

I'm not mad at Apple, though I must say I'm very disappointed. I just don't need or want a new paradigm. I like the way FCP 7 (and EDIUS before that) works, for the reasons pointed out by the author of the article.

My Excel spreadsheet works pretty much like my Lotus 1-2-3 did back in the 1980s. My Word word-processor works pretty much like WordPerfect did back then. My CADD software works pretty much like it did years ago. Same goes for my music software. Sure, they've all changed in features and sophistication over the years, but there's been no new paradigm for them similar to what FCP X has brought. I don't get it.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Thoughts on FCPX from Oliver Peters
on Jul 23, 2011 at 1:21:08 am

David - thanks for linking the blog post and the kind words.

Ben - the issue with split edits is the following. In FCP 7, you can separately "roll" the edit point for picture or sound cuts or both in any combination. In FCP X, you first have to position the a/v edit point using the Precision Editor. This is principally a video-oriented edit. Then open the clip to access audio. Now you can roll the in or out point of the audio track. Unless I've missed something, I don't see how to roll the picture cut point (leaving the audio cut in the same position) without fighting the Magnetic Timeline.

At this point, I like a lot of FCP X, but it just is less functional for most of my work than FCP 7. But I try to never say never. As a freelancer, I can certainly see some clients in the future move in that direction and I'll have to adapt. For now though, most will stick with FCP 7, because they really didn't have that many issues with it to begin with.

Interfaces that change as much as this one has are a gamble. Historically, most have fallen by the wayside or changed back to the standard source/record/bin/timeline configuration. Non-standard interfaces include the original Premiere (also a Ubilos product), Quantel Harry (which used a vertical filmstrip metaphor) and Jaleo (now SGO Mistika - which uses a type of trackless timeline). You could also count the original Lightworks interface in this as well. Time will tell whether Apple has this same problem among advanced users.

Many users have taken this personally, because if you have been editing 10 years or less, you've probably never cut with anything other than FCP. For users in that group, what Apple has done may have seemed inconceivable. If you've gone through several of these shifts in the past, then it's just another twist in the business.

I don't think any of this is wrong, since Apple is one of the few companies in our space, that doesn't need us for survival. I just differ from a lot of others who think Apple will return many of the missing features. I just don't think that will be the case, because I believe the software is sufficiently different - and Apple is in a "different place" - so many of the desired features won't come back. We'll know in a few months.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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David Battistella
Re: Thoughts on FCPX from Oliver Peters
on Jul 23, 2011 at 7:45:36 am

What is really very interesting is that what they built into the software in terms of media management is not geared to the individual user but to the largest possible facilities working in the largest environments.

News is a great example.

Features is another.

With the ability to customize a database a feature editor with his or her assistants could easily construct a database language for any film.

That means using keywords, actor, scene number, any criterial you want. That can be much more efficient than sorting in bins (which is what we are used to).

Tagging vfx shots is another example. Tracking all the stuff that happens over months can be done in the software.

Really the only missing link is a way to reconform.

I might be wrong about what I said about cutting features in FCP x. Audition is a great way to see multiple takes within the sequence an timeline without having to hunt. You cut have six takes of a line in audition an very quickly see how those choices could work within a scene.

That is something that can have me focusing on creativity instead of data management.

One external monitor and XML and this software on a San in lion could be a very powerful tool to edit a feature with.

______________________________
The shortest answer is doing.
Lord Herbert
http://vimeo.com/battistella



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Oliver Peters
Re: Thoughts on FCPX from Oliver Peters
on Jul 23, 2011 at 1:56:55 pm

[David Battistella] "What is really very interesting is that what they built into the software in terms of media management is not geared to the individual user but to the largest possible facilities working in the largest environments."

I'm not so sure, because there is no multi-user-accessible database, as you have in Final Cut Server or Avid Unity/Interplay. It's all under the hood. As a matter of fact, I routinely work at a 4-seat FCP 7 / FC Server shop and there's little comparison between what we can do there versus what FCP X offers. Down the road, maybe. I just think Apple has changed focus.

[David Battistella] "
That means using keywords, actor, scene number, any criterial you want. That can be much more efficient than sorting in bins (which is what we are used to)."


Right now I would say it's too structured, but I could easily see it as a matter of taste, as well. OTOH, Media Composer has had a custom sift feature for most of its life and this sort of filtering is much more functional than anything FCP 7 did. Bear in mind that editors routinely rearrange what clips are in bins. You can't do that in FCP X. Dragging a clip between events, duplicates the media as well as the clip. You really have to work with the keyword and smart collections, since FCP X prevents any other type of manual bin arrangement.

[David Battistella] "Audition is a great way to see multiple takes within the sequence an timeline without having to hunt. You cut have six takes of a line in audition an very quickly see how those choices could work within a scene."

In theory yes, but in practice no. For example, if I cut a scene, I will use pieces of many of the different takes. It's mostly a line-by-line decision, with reactions shots thrown in between. I will cut a scene the way I think it should go together without the director involved. Then the scene is reviewed by the director and we make changes. There is simply no way to make an audition clip for let's say all 50 elements that might be the scene. Also it's unnecessary, since a director will often ask to review the alternate coverage for a performance and not cut in context into the timeline. This is where Avid ScriptSync excels, because you can click on a line of dialogue and quickly review all coverage for that line.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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David Battistella
Re: Thoughts on FCPX from Oliver Peters
on Jul 23, 2011 at 3:04:18 pm

I'm just thinking in terms if a new tool and what it "could" or "couldn't" do, rather than try to wedge it into working in an existing workflow methodology.

I've resolved myself to the fact that it is a new approach and I'm exploring what the thinking is behind that approach.

Avid, lightworks, FCP 7 and premiere are all available to work in a defined method (a well defined method for certain).

Rather than judging to soon or too harshly my inital approach is to embrace. I'm interested in trying to deconstruct the tool before I condemn it.

So far I am finding a lot that I like.

Bin sifting in AVID was good, buy not really comparable to what FCPX is offering.

If itoves toward "check in check out files" like you would on FCP server, then I think it's a bit better than existing San setups because it's managing that stuff for you. Freeing you to edit.

______________________________
The shortest answer is doing.
Lord Herbert
http://vimeo.com/battistella



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Tom Daigon
Re: Thoughts on FCPX from Oliver Peters
on Jul 23, 2011 at 3:24:35 pm

Many of us dont have the temporal luxury to "just explore" all the nle alternatives.unfortunately. Sometimes Im learning new software (i.e. Cameratracker in AE) because I have a project that needs it. With the clock ticking I need to make a decision about the best way to go (based on minimal research and gut instincts) and start learning a new system that does what I need it to do. Luckily the ducks lined right up for Adobe CS5.5 for me. I used AE for years. PrP was very similar to FCP (what FCP 8 should have been) and it was reborn with the power and capabilities I need for my work flow. AS a student or a hobbyist I might try to spend the time necessary to get familiar with other vendors. But that just isn't going to fit into my timetable. All my energy is focused on building new muscle memory with Adobe.

Tom Daigon
Avid DS / PrP / After Effects Editor
http://www.hdshotsandcuts.com


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David Battistella
Re: Thoughts on FCPX from Oliver Peters
on Jul 23, 2011 at 5:18:55 pm

Perfect.

I totally respect and understand that position. I'd maybe be making similar choices if I had similar circumstances.

David

______________________________
The shortest answer is doing.
Lord Herbert
http://vimeo.com/battistella



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Jim Giberti
Re: Thoughts on FCPX from Oliver Peters
on Jul 23, 2011 at 10:01:29 pm

"Many of us dont have the temporal luxury to "just explore" all the nle alternatives.unfortunately. Sometimes Im learning new software (i.e. Cameratracker in AE) because I have a project that needs it. With the clock ticking I need to make a decision about the best way to go (based on minimal research and gut instincts) and start learning a new system that does what I need it to do. Luckily the ducks lined right up for Adobe CS5.5 for me. I used AE for years. PrP was very similar to FCP (what FCP 8 should have been) and it was reborn with the power and capabilities I need for my work flow. AS a student or a hobbyist I might try to spend the time necessary to get familiar with other vendors. But that just isn't going to fit into my timetable. All my energy is focused on building new muscle memory with Adobe"

This pretty much mirrors the quandary for us and the reason it looks like we're going to put the new "muscle memory" into X and Motion. After exploring the new PrP I agree in many ways it is what I hoped FCPX would be. But in our small shop there are two of us with a lot of experience and projects designed in Motion but little to no experience in AE. We would have to put a good deal more time into AE than the new X concept.

It really is a timetable thing and I've changed my view regarding FCP7 in the last few weeks. I've always looked at all of our creative work as payed growth opportunities. You should always be investing you're creative time into improving and enhancing skills. With this POV and the new choices X has forced, it's hard to look backwards at a EOL'd technology for the spate of new projects coming up.

It's not a choice I was planning to make but having made it I hope Apple validates it going forward.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Thoughts on FCPX from Oliver Peters
on Jul 23, 2011 at 3:26:42 pm

[David Battistella] "I'm just thinking in terms if a new tool and what it "could" or "couldn't" do, rather than try to wedge it into working in an existing workflow methodology.

I've resolved myself to the fact that it is a new approach and I'm exploring what the thinking is behind that approach."


Yes. Agreed.

[David Battistella] " like you would on FCP server, then I think it's a bit better than existing San setups because it's managing that stuff for you. Freeing you to edit."

This is true.

Unfortunately, the Final Cut Server situation has also now ingrained a new mistrust of Apple into me. I work a lot at a company that invested heavily in an FC Server-based environment 1 1/2 years ago. (FC Server, Xserve, Mac OS X Server, FiberJet shared storage) That's ultimately a lot of money (actual dollars and time investment) that's been thrown away. The irony is that the combo of FCP7 and FC Server works really, really well and does exactly what this facility wanted. It gives you not only asset tracking, but also centralized media management and project management.

Since there will be no further development with FC Server - and it's locked into an FCP7 environment - they are having to consider a migration to something else. Not only is there the additional cost of the asset management tool replacement, but also the migration of taking their FC Server assets into a new environment. The hardware is fine, but you'd still have to spend time in reconfiguring the way the storage is now allocated. Of course, they can simply "freeze" the installation in its current state, which is likely what will happen, but the longer you way to change, the more costly it becomes.

It's things like this that make me reluctant to consider any Apple software product ever again for use beyond the needs of an individual user. I wish I didn't feel that way, but I do.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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David Battistella
Re: Thoughts on FCPX from Oliver Peters
on Jul 23, 2011 at 5:45:02 pm

Oliver,

I completely appreciate that story and your feelings on the subject. I'd be pissed if that was my facility. I wonder if when the investment was made how long they saw themselves in that setup? 1.5 years no? I'm sure they were hoping for 3-5 years on that investment as a minimum to offset costs.

Id say that possibly even on lion that environment will still be a healthy editing situation for 1.5 to 3 more years.

Enterprise operations can't be as nimble as individual users. The big problem is that this is not a transition, it's a "cut the cord" situation and that makes those places feel ripped off and in limbo.

I have felt burnt on a lot of software or electronics purchases before. Apple never telegraphs when they are going to cancel anything. That is the company they are and those are the risks we all take.

Switching is very much based on comfort level. Adobe Premiere has evolved into a tool that looks and feels like what we are used to with small performance enhancements. Many users might have been happy with a version 8. Apple just moved in what many feel is an arrogant and agressive new direction.

That's the same direction that let many of us set up editing shops that were cost prohibitive in the years prior. Just three months before FCP was released I was a day away from a 125k loan on an AVID system. I imagine I might have felt somewhat like that facility, with expensive hardware on my hands with a whole new way of doing things available.

It's not a perfect analogy but the point is someone always gets caught in the crossfire.

Thanks for this healthy and civilized exchange. I appreciate the high level discussion.

______________________________
The shortest answer is doing.
Lord Herbert
http://vimeo.com/battistella



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Oliver Peters
Re: Thoughts on FCPX from Oliver Peters
on Jul 23, 2011 at 9:36:23 pm

[David Battistella] "Id say that possibly even on lion that environment will still be a healthy editing situation for 1.5 to 3 more years."

Probably true, but I don't write the checks or make their decisions. Right now their reseller also feels burned, so there may be some extra help available now, which might not be there in a year or two.

[David Battistella] "Apple never telegraphs when they are going to cancel anything."

Often that's true, but they did warn folks when Shake, Xserve RAID and Xserve were EOL'ed.

[David Battistella] "Adobe Premiere has evolved into a tool that looks and feels like what we are used to with small performance enhancements."

Agreed. A 64-bit FCP 8 would have been very similar to this.

[David Battistella] "Just three months before FCP was released I was a day away from a 125k loan on an AVID system."

Yep. That's always uncomfortable. I used to be in facility management making those types of decisions. It hurts when they are wrong. As a freelancer, I try to avoid owning too much gear of any type.

Cheers,
Oiver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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David Lawrence
Re: Thoughts on FCPX from Oliver Peters
on Jul 23, 2011 at 9:05:56 pm

Oliver - My pleasure, thank you for adding your voice and perspective to this conversation.

Your piece raised many issues I've been thinking about. Two points in particular stood out:

1) The use of the timeline as a scratchpad/open workspace.

I can't overstate how important this kind of usage is to how I (and I'm sure many others) work. To me, this flexibility on the timeline is the core of non-linear editing. My experience to date is that the magnetic timeline simply does not support this work style. It seems to fights against it and ironically, feels like a much more linear approach to working.

As for compound clips and other suggested workarounds, I agree they're not a substitute. The reason is because compound clips behave like nests, existing outside the context of the main sequence. Because of this context switch, compound clips are not as immediate or efficient for quick versioning or checkerboard style sequence building. It's simply not the same thing in terms of flexibility.

What's also ironic is that in theory, I should be an ideal customer for FCPX. I don't cut features or need broadcast monitoring. I handle most of my freelance post work as an individual provider. These days I work almost exclusively in tapeless formats. I'm flexible and have no difficulty adapting to new tools. In fact, I thrive on change and being on the edge.

And yet…

I still hit walls with the X timeline. Even after learning the keyboard shortcuts and trying to work the way it wants to work. I can deal with it being different. But like you say, I have yet to see any proof that it's better. Where's the improved flexibility and efficiency? Please show me proof. I don't think my problem is just ingrained habit or muscle memory. I think at a deeper conceptual/UI level, there are some real problems that are only become apparent in advanced usage.

2) The risk Apple is taking - Apple has earned extraordinary success through innovation, boldness and impeccable design quality. But it's important to remember that Apple also makes mistakes. Sometimes big ones. Until Apple publicly says more about their intended product roadmap for FCPX, we can only try to understand and judge the product that's in front of us. I wonder if Apple may have painted themselves into a corner with their UI decisions. Only time will tell as the product evolves. We'll certainly learn much more in the coming months - in particular, I think the way they solve multicam will be revealing.

And who knows what may be possible under the hood. Discoveries like this give me hope that they can and will eventually make something for everyone. But I'm not holding my breath.

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David Lawrence
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Oliver Peters
Re: Thoughts on FCPX from Oliver Peters
on Jul 23, 2011 at 9:51:40 pm

[David Lawrence] "I still hit walls with the X timeline. Even after learning the keyboard shortcuts and trying to work the way it wants to work. I can deal with it being different. But like you say, I have yet to see any proof that it's better. Where's the improved flexibility and efficiency?"

When I have directly challenged the "easier, faster" issue with Apple folks, I get two answers. One is that many current users of FCP 1-7 are frequently confused by timeline settings, easy set-ups, etc. and frequently get poor results. They were trying to fix this issue and not have them be constant support issues. The second is that they seem to discuss "faster" in terms of the total end-to-end session time. This means that the FCP X render strategy is part of their equation in saying FCP X is faster.

[David Lawrence] "But it's important to remember that Apple also makes mistakes. Sometimes big ones."

When Apple makes a colossal mistake - the kind that would severely damage any other company - it tends to get masked by the reality distortion field ;-)

[David Lawrence] " I wonder if Apple may have painted themselves into a corner with their UI decisions. Only time will tell as the product evolves."

I think they have both by this and the way the database/Events have been structured.

The core issue is that they've tried to do many things to "lock the software down" with the intent of a more reliable and trouble-free user experience. This may be counter-productive for folks who benefited from FCP "classic's" versatility.

When you really analyze what they've down, the UI design swaps the track metaphor for the Storyline lane metaphor. They've eliminated "auto-selects" and track-patching by using specific edit commands for appending to the Storyline versus a "connected clip" edit. And they've swapped sync-locks for the Magnetic timeline. If you look at it in these terms, the changes aren't as major as they appear. It's just that they don't seem to be implemented very well in actual behavior. That may be a 1.0 issue. If so, it should be fixable in the next 6 months or so.

Cheers,
Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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David Lawrence
Re: Thoughts on FCPX from Oliver Peters
on Jul 23, 2011 at 11:08:58 pm

[Oliver Peters] "When I have directly challenged the "easier, faster" issue with Apple folks, I get two answers. One is that many current users of FCP 1-7 are frequently confused by timeline settings, easy set-ups, etc. and frequently get poor results. They were trying to fix this issue and not have them be constant support issues. The second is that they seem to discuss "faster" in terms of the total end-to-end session time. This means that the FCP X render strategy is part of their equation in saying FCP X is faster."

Interesting. I'd love to have a conversation with those guys and ask them why that reasoning drove them to completely re-invent the wheel. I wonder how many of the UI decisions were actually driven by marketing i.e. the desire for sexy demos and pretty ad pictures?

[Oliver Peters] " think they have both by this and the way the database/Events have been structured."

Agreed. I haven't gotten into the event/file management issues but I think they're huge. Jeffery Harrell has some pretty strong words about it.

[Oliver Peters] "If you look at it in these terms, the changes aren't as major as they appear. It's just that they don't seem to be implemented very well in actual behavior. That may be a 1.0 issue. If so, it should be fixable in the next 6 months or so."

Agreed, tho I still think the frame-of-reference issue is big. The next 6 months will be interesting... ;)

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Oliver Peters
Re: Thoughts on FCPX from Oliver Peters
on Jul 23, 2011 at 11:33:57 pm

[David Lawrence] "I wonder how many of the UI decisions were actually driven by marketing i.e. the desire for sexy demos and pretty ad pictures?"

Unfortunately, when you speak with any current Apple employees they speak the company line. That's especially true with me, since I come in under the PRESS banner. You generally get more candid, off-the-record comments from outside developers. There you learn things like part of the reason certain effects can't work is because Apple won't allow custom filter GUIs.

One of the things they have done is to reduce the access the user has to things like key frame interpolation. They want the effects control to be as minimal as possible. They started this with Behaviors in Motion, but there you still could call up an elaborate key frame graph editor. That's one of the reasons they added the Rig concept in Motion 5. Build a more elaborate effect in Motion 5, but reduce the visible complexity in FCP X.

You'll note for instance, that the Ken Burns effect uses ease-in/ease-out acceleration on the start/end key frames. There's no place to change those. Or the fact that automatic color balancing is done in the color profile, without any way to access the values used to change the image. The general idea is to give people most of the tools they need without them having to think about it too much, in an effort to make complex software easier to use.

I think the driving goal is not to service existing FCP 1-7 users, but rather to think about new users who have never used an NLE before. The Apple folks do point to discussions with the BBC, for example, where even iMovie has been considered for use by reporters and journalists who do their own editing. I think that's a big part of why there is iMovie project import and not FCP project import. In other words, let a journalist do a rough cut or pull selects with iMovie and then let a "craft editor" polish it with FCP X. If that truly is a driver in the design, then the Storyline metaphor would make a lot of sense. And it can certainly be argued that this is very much a "pro" user.

- Oliver

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David Lawrence
Re: Thoughts on FCPX from Oliver Peters
on Jul 24, 2011 at 12:44:04 am

[Oliver Peters] "There you learn things like part of the reason certain effects can't work is because Apple won't allow custom filter GUIs... One of the things they have done is to reduce the access the user has to things like key frame interpolation. "

Ugh, that's the exact opposite direction I was hoping for. FCP7's key framing interface and inability to expose 3rd-party UIs is one of it's biggest current weaknesses.

[Oliver Peters] "...In other words, let a journalist do a rough cut or pull selects with iMovie and then let a "craft editor" polish it with FCP X. If that truly is a driver in the design, then the Storyline metaphor would make a lot of sense. And it can certainly be argued that this is very much a "pro" user."

All very true. In fact I encountered this scenario first hand just a couple weeks ago. I was with my partners on an interview by a local KNBC team for a project we did in LA. The team was the reporter and his DP/editor. After the interview they sat in their van and cut the piece. The reporter logged quotes and the DP assembled footage. The editing gear was sad. An ancient PC laptop that took at least 7 minutes to boot. Everything in SD cut in windows.

Here in SF, the former NBC affiliate is even more bare bones. No DP, a single reporter does everything end-to-end. I think these situations are increasingly common, and certainly qualify as pro. Clearly, Apple is making a major play for this pro market segment. What remains to be seen is how big a market it turns out to be. Is it so big that Apple can disconnect from the rest of the industry and essentially redefine standard practices and language on it's own terms? Time will tell.

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David Cherniack
Re: Thoughts on FCPX from Oliver Peters
on Jul 24, 2011 at 11:43:35 am

[David Lawrence] " I think these situations are increasingly common, and certainly qualify as pro. Clearly, Apple is making a major play for this pro market segment. What remains to be seen is how big a market it turns out to be. Is it so big that Apple can disconnect from the rest of the industry and essentially redefine standard practices and language on it's own terms? Time will tell."

An analogy for this segment of the market comes to mind from baseball. The reporter/editors are toiling in the minor leagues. They're certainly pro and there are many more of them than in the Majors but they'll only move up if they have the skills, talent, determination, and luck.

There is a general rule I've found in software: "simple and powerful" is a rare, nearly non-existant, combination. Apple constantly aims for it and along with their innovative designs, cult marketing, and control of choice, they've created a perception that they achieve it more often than their competition. The truth is though, that "complex and powerful" is the usual combination of leading products of any segment of the professional software market. This is simply because any leading product has to be able to do more things.

It seems clear that at the present Apple has abandoned any attempt to play in the Big Leagues. They've ceded the ground to Avid the reigning king of swat, and Adobe, the triple threat aspirant to the throne, and headed off for the greener pastures where they've been earning the big bucks. X will be used by reporters and event videographers, higher end YouTubers, and others in the minor leagues. It won't be used in the little leagues...or in the Majors much at all, unless Apple offers more choice and openness, something that goes against the grain of how they've successfully developed products.

This is a hard nut to chew if one has been an AppleThink fan for many a year...but those who criticize others for not being able to adapt to a new tool's way of doing things are just possibly themselves not able to adapt to Apple's new reality. If the old reality was still in place FCP-X would have been FCP8. They made a very clear choice. FCP-X is not aimed at the major leagues. At this point it remains more than a little doubtful that it aspires to even get there...despite the faith of its fans.

David
AllinOneFilms.com


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Fredy Schwerdtner
Re: Thoughts on FCPX from Oliver Peters
on Jul 27, 2011 at 2:54:54 am

Very nice thread .... One of the best, interesting and inteligent since the launch of the X.

David Lawrence, thanks for the indications on your posts.

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