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alban egger
FCP7 review by someone who likes FCPX
on Aug 22, 2011 at 7:28:04 pm

had to go back to FCP7 and hereĀ“s my review of it after several weeks in FCPX....
http://fcpxmegatest.blogspot.com/2011/08/review-of-fcp7-from-fcpx-user.html


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Herb Sevush
Re: FCP7 review by someone who likes FCPX
on Aug 22, 2011 at 7:57:21 pm

Alban -

AS of June 21 FCP is dead, and every editor has to migrate somewhere. The correct comparison is between FCPX, PPro, Media composer, Edius, Vegas and Lightworks, if it ever gets out of Beta.

Most of those other programs can actually export an OMF without having to use FCP7, they even have multi-cam and the ability to monitor on a calibrated screen. Some of them can handle h.264 without background rendering, they just handle it natively, might save you some time some day. You should look into one of them when you want to work on a high end system again.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions


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Herb Sevush
Re: FCP7 review by someone who likes FCPX
on Aug 22, 2011 at 8:02:30 pm

I left out Media 100.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions


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Craig Seeman
Re: FCP7 review by someone who likes FCPX
on Aug 23, 2011 at 2:32:20 pm

When Alban posted elsewhere features that he liked that are unique to FCPX, some people brushed them off as not important. To some of us they are ket improvements that do not exist in other NLEs. Certainly FCPX is missing key features as well as Alban himself has stated, but there is enough innovation with FCPX for me and others to hope to see the missing features added. Apple has spoken about a few of them so I trust they're coming even if you and others don't. In the meantime I too make do with "hybrid" workflows but the time savings I get in FCPX on projects that don't need the missing features are incredible.



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Herb Sevush
Re: FCP7 review by someone who likes FCPX
on Aug 24, 2011 at 1:48:24 am

"When Alban posted elsewhere features that he liked that are unique to FCPX, some people brushed them off as not important."

Since I am that "some people" I think I ought to clarify the context. Scott Sheriff posted the following in response to a question.

"3. I hear that FCPX is missing a lot of features real editors would be loathe to give up."

You heard right. No tape I/O, no XML, no OMF, no multi-cam, no ability to open legacy projects, no way to share a project with another editor due to file structure, no way to assign tracks. There's more, but that should give you an idea."


Alban then responded by listing all the new features of FCPX that he valued. My response was mainly meant to distinguish between essential industry standard functionality and the given properties of an individual program.

Essential industry functions are those things common to all NLEs - if a facility was going out shopping for a new NLE what are the basic features it would have to have. (I'm talking here about a high end facility that has to accommodate various different clients and workflows.) Scott's list is full of those.

Alban responded by saying in effect "so what, FCPX has all this ..." - and listed a bunch of program specific functions - skimmers, smart collections, etc.

I was trying to point out they are not the same. The industry standard functions are used by every major NLE without exception.

In addition each individual NLE has their own program specific functions that give them their individuality and appeal - Avid's trimmer and media management, PPro's integration with AE & Photoshop and the mercury playback engine.

Different people will have different opinions of the program specific functions - some may love the skimmer, some may not.

Facilities don't have opinions about Multi-Cam and OMF export - either you have them, or don't bother showing up.

My previous post was trying, badly, to say these 2 types of feature sets are not comparable. You can love the auditions in FCPX all you want, but if you can't monitor properly, no high end facility will use it.

Obviously all this changes when FCPX gets updated, but for now Scott's original response was correct, and Alban's was off the mark.


"In the meantime I too make do with "hybrid" workflows but the time savings I get in FCPX on projects that don't need the missing features are incredible."

A description of a project and how long it might have taken you before vs taking you now with X would be helpful, and where in the process you think the time savings are happening.(this is a real question, really would like to learn, not baiting you here.)

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions


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Alan Okey
Re: FCP7 review by someone who likes FCPX
on Aug 22, 2011 at 8:22:04 pm

Regarding color correction, how are you able to perform critical broadcast monitoring out of FCP X? Until a solution for that has been introduced, I don't think that a meaningful comparison of color correction capabilities can be made between FCP7/Color and FCP X. I'm not saying it won't happen, just that it's not here yet.


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alban egger
Re: FCP7 review by someone who likes FCPX
on Aug 23, 2011 at 6:07:07 am

Yes the missing proper preview is a dealbreaker, if Apple and their 3rd party vendors don't soon provide us with a solution they will lose more mid- to highend customers.

I have written more about that in my blog in the "conclusion-post".
For now I rely on the scopes and make testrenders that I watch on FCP7 / MXO2 on critical shots.



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Jamie Franklin
Re: FCP7 review by someone who likes FCPX
on Aug 23, 2011 at 3:13:36 pm

Regarding Color Correction...

How can you take a product that is actually enterprise and turn it into a 3rd rate corrector and keep a straight face calling it a "revolution"

The FCX corrector blows. I can't even believe they were serious with releasing it as a replacement. It boggles the mind...


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Alan Okey
Re: FCP7 review by someone who likes FCPX
on Aug 23, 2011 at 3:29:48 pm

[Jamie Franklin] "The FCX corrector blows. I can't even believe they were serious with releasing it as a replacement. It boggles the mind..."

It's clear that Apple felt that the traditional color wheel-based UI paradigm used in virtually every CC filter and dedicated grading system was far too complex for the average user that they are targeting with FCP X. The result is the "color board."

I personally don't care for it, but if it turns out that it's easier to use for the majority of the new users that Apple is trying to cultivate, then I suppose they've succeeded at democratizing the tools.

That's really a statement you could make about FCP X as a whole, not just the CC tools. Apple is willing to risk offending the relatively small number of high-end (film/broadcast) pros who use their products in order to make a brand new product that lowers the financial and intellectual barriers of entry to anyone who wants to edit video and perform a basic level of finishing. In doing so, they believe that they will expand their user base (and profits) exponentially. It's just business.


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Craig Seeman
Re: FCP7 review by someone who likes FCPX
on Aug 23, 2011 at 4:04:01 pm

[Alan Okey] "It's clear that Apple felt that the traditional color wheel-based UI paradigm used in virtually every CC filter and dedicated grading system was far too complex for the average user that they are targeting with FCP X. The result is the "color board.""

[Alan Okey] "if it turns out that it's easier to use for the majority of the new users that Apple is trying to cultivate, then I suppose they've succeeded at democratizing the tools."

The odd thing about it (IMHO) is that I think the Color Wheel makes it easier to understand color theory (color in practice actually). With a color wheel you can see that as you reduce a color, the complimentary color will become more obvious. When you change hue you can see what the new complimentary color is as well.

I can see how the Color Board offers a cleaner and possibly simpler interface but it makes what's happening regarding complimentary colors harder to see.

I'd like to see an option which would allow one to switch between the wheel and the board.



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Walter Soyka
Re: FCP7 review by someone who likes FCPX
on Aug 23, 2011 at 4:26:52 pm

[Craig Seeman] "The odd thing about it (IMHO) is that I think the Color Wheel makes it easier to understand color theory (color in practice actually). With a color wheel you can see that as you reduce a color, the complimentary color will become more obvious. When you change hue you can see what the new complimentary color is as well."

I have avoided ranting about the color board, but since you and Alan brought it up...

You're absolutely right that the color wheel is grounded in color theory. If you know one, you know the other. The color board, on the other hand, allows people with zero understanding of color theory to attempt to make color decisions. It's divorced from the physics of color. "I don't want my image to be bluer, I just want it to be less yellow!"

I think that FCPX in general is designed to maximize power while minimizing understanding. Skip the discipline of actually learning the craft and its underlying concepts, but get good-enough results fast.

I suppose that many will see this is a good thing, but I think it's a terrible shame with sad implications for our craft. See my out-of-context Michael Crichton quote [link] on that subject.

Have I reached a get-off-my-lawn moment here?

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: FCP7 review by someone who likes FCPX
on Aug 23, 2011 at 8:16:36 pm

[Walter Soyka] "I suppose that many will see this is a good thing, but I think it's a terrible shame with sad implications for our craft. See my out-of-context Michael Crichton quote [link] on that subject."

Karate masters that don't kill their wives are colorists? :-D Just kidding.

At least the controls are there for people to learn and understand, even if it's not based on color wheel theory (there's two ways to get where you're going now in your example, "remove yellow" or add blue). I think it's worse and you learn less when someone runs it through a preset program and said "I graded this", which really means, I bought the $50 plugin and picked a preset.

If the color board allows someone to actually study what is going on, at least that person is learning something along the way, I would hope.

As far as having apprentices in this business, that has been dying for a long time. There aren't many assistants in shops anymore. If a shop does have an assistant, they aren't thinking about editing all the time because they also do everything else, including the accounting.

As I said in some other post around here, all of this is changing, and changing very fast. It's getting easier to make higher quality material, no matter if you agree with the means by which it was achieved, or not. The fragmentation continues.

I do find it amusing that one of the icons for the color board is a color wheel.

Jeremy


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Alan Okey
Re: FCP7 review by someone who likes FCPX
on Aug 23, 2011 at 8:28:00 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "I think it's worse and you learn less when someone runs it through a preset program and said "I graded this", which really means, I bought the $50 plugin and picked a preset."

That describes the majority of videos one can see on the web lately. Magic Bullet Looks? Check. Obligatory tilt-shift filter? Check. Vignetting? Check. Forced shallow depth of field in every shot, just to prove it's cinematic? Check. Coherent script, great dialogue, good acting? (crickets...)


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Walter Soyka
Re: FCP7 review by someone who likes FCPX -- NOW color model
on Aug 23, 2011 at 8:52:35 pm

First, my apologies to Alban. This has veered off-topic from his review, which I thought was a really fresh perspective. We've all been thinking of FCPX in terms of FCP7, and thinking about FCP7 in terms of FCPX is a really interesting twist.

Back to the color board...

Yes, the Crichton quote is absolutely overblown in this context!

I understand the market imperative for getting a good-enough result as fast as possible, but shortcuts have consequences. I think the mindset behind the color board isn't all that far-removed from one-button plugins and presets: you can get a shiny, glossy result very fast, but without any understanding of how you got there.


[Jeremy Garchow] "At least the controls are there for people to learn and understand, even if it's not based on color wheel theory (there's two ways to get where you're going now in your example, "remove yellow" or add blue)."

The color wheel is the mathematical representation of color theory. Removing yellow IS adding blue, which is obvious on the polar wheel (which models how the math really works), but totally hidden on the rectangular board (which models what the user may want to do). Why removing a lot of yellow introduces a blue cast will be totally lost on someone who learns color in FCPX, because the conceptual model doesn't match the math.

We are setting the bar so low that you don't have to know even the most fundamental concepts about how color works before you start color grading. I think this leads to good-enough results quickly, but to get from good results to great ones, you have to unlearn what FCPX has taught.


[Jeremy Garchow] "As I said in some other post around here, all of this is changing, and changing very fast. It's getting easier to make higher quality material, no matter if you agree with the means by which it was achieved, or not. The fragmentation continues."

I agree -- I'm just sad to see the change in the culture. Our tools didn't always encourage mediocrity.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: FCP7 review by someone who likes FCPX -- NOW color model
on Aug 23, 2011 at 9:05:47 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Why removing a lot of yellow introduces a blue cast will be totally lost on someone who learns color in FCPX, because the conceptual model doesn't match the math."

I totally understand. Really. But I am saying at least there is something in there besides a crap load of presets. I think that if people really want to understand it, they will pick up a book or do more exercises, or get someone to pay for their training. In the dog eat dog world that it is, that will be hard to come by.

The Hue curves in Color are similar to the color board in X. I don't think those curves make Color a lesser grading tool.

How many editors have no idea how the media gets in to the system, or what happens to it once it's in there? Or what a render file is and how to trash it? This doesn't make them any worse editors. It makes them terrible system managers, but they could care less about that.

Media 100 back in the day had terrible color tools, absolutely terrible, and it was considered a very good editing system. Sure, "it wasn't Avid", but it a bit higher than mediocre and had the best compressed codec around back in the day. It got the job done and done well.

It did have awesome audio tools, though. :)


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Walter Soyka
Re: FCP7 review by someone who likes FCPX -- NOW color model
on Aug 23, 2011 at 9:44:10 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "I totally understand. Really. But I am saying at least there is something in there besides a crap load of presets."

Ok -- agreed!


[Jeremy Garchow] "The Hue curves in Color are similar to the color board in X. I don't think those curves make Color a lesser grading tool."

I think the resemblance is superficial, though. Color's secondary curves' B-spline controls are about making an adjustment in one axis to a specific range in another, and that makes just as much sense (and is far easier to manipulate) on a rectangular plot versus a polar plot.


[Jeremy Garchow] "How many editors have no idea how the media gets in to the system, or what happens to it once it's in there? Or what a render file is and how to trash it? This doesn't make them any worse editors. It makes them terrible system managers, but they could care less about that."

I think this is a different conversation. You can be a good editor without understanding what the NLE is doing under the hood, but can you be a good editor without understanding how the editorial tools themselves work?

I think that understanding how the color tools work so you can manipulate the grade with intention is more analogous to understanding how the NLE timeline tools work so you can manipulate your edits with intention.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: FCP7 review by someone who likes FCPX -- NOW color model
on Aug 23, 2011 at 10:00:27 pm

[Walter Soyka] "I think the resemblance is superficial, though. Color's secondary curves' B-spline controls are about making an adjustment in one axis to a specific range in another, and that makes just as much sense (and is far easier to manipulate) on a rectangular plot versus a polar plot."

I'm not so sure about that. If you take the color board at face value, you say, "I want to drag green out here at this value (black,grey,white)". The hue controls in Color are similar (not the same, but similar).

[Walter Soyka] "I think this is a different conversation. You can be a good editor without understanding what the NLE is doing under the hood, but can you be a good editor without understanding how the editorial tools themselves work?"

Sorry, I am not trying to start a bad argument or anything, I am just talking about this. I think this is different. The color board is still a tool. Yes, it doesn't align with the wheel, and yes, the theory behind color might get lost on some, but it is still viable. This doesn't mean that someone couldn't learn to use that tool and get similar results out of it. So what if they did add yellow instead of minus blue, the intended result is the same "color". In that sense, they are still using a tool. In X, you can do ripple edits using just the Selection Tool, does that make me a worse editor for not knowing what the ripple tool is in FCP? I can make the same edit.

2+2=4. So does 16/2 - 4. Same result, very different ways to get there. A color grade (and edit for that matter) is usually about the result, at least a lot of clients see it that way. :)


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Walter Soyka
Re: FCP7 review by someone who likes FCPX -- NOW color model
on Aug 24, 2011 at 12:19:28 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "Sorry, I am not trying to start a bad argument or anything, I am just talking about this."

Jeremy, we're of the same mind here. I certainly didn't intent any animosity, and I apologize if you read any from my post.


[Jeremy Garchow] "Yes, it doesn't align with the wheel, and yes, the theory behind color might get lost on some, but it is still viable. This doesn't mean that someone couldn't learn to use that tool and get similar results out of it. So what if they did add yellow instead of minus blue, the intended result is the same "color". In that sense, they are still using a tool."

I agree. The color board is functionally no different from the color wheel; the interface is fundamentally the same (a control point on a plot), and there's absolutely nothing that one of these tools can do that the other can't. I understand that the color board is more intuitive than the color wheel, as most people don't have daily experience with polar graphs.

My problem is with the oversimplified, insular thinking behind the color board. Apple decided to revise an industry-standard interface which represents both the intention of the user and the theory that accomplishes it. They replaced it with an interface which represents only the intention of the user, presumably to save the user the trouble of learning how to indicate opposites on a polar graph.

They are separating the user from color theory and from the interface used across toolsets everywhere else in the industry. Why? They didn't oversimplify the rest of the color tool. Is the color wheel really that much harder to understand than hue, saturation, and luma adjustments across shadows, midtones and highlights with unlimited secondaries?

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: FCP7 review by someone who likes FCPX -- NOW color model
on Aug 24, 2011 at 2:11:37 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Jeremy, we're of the same mind here. I certainly didn't intent any animosity, and I apologize if you read any from my post."

None at all. I just don't want to be seen as the guy that jumps on ever thread to make excuses for a controversial launch. I am glad we can have a healthy dialogue. I think it's important to help all of us understand what's going on right before our very eyes.

[Walter Soyka] "They replaced it with an interface which represents only the intention of the user, presumably to save the user the trouble of learning how to indicate opposites on a polar graph. "

Could be true, yes. I also think, from a simplicity of design standpoint, the color board fits better in that section better than three color wheels would. It also brings some parity to the other controls as well (saturation and exposure) that couldn't be done on a color wheel. I think that represents a design choice and we all know how apple loves the interface design. I'm not saying it's right, just what it is, for better or for worse. If it didnt work, it'd be another story because really, why reinvent the wheel? Hope that was punny enough...

[Walter Soyka] "Is the color wheel really that much harder to understand than hue, saturation, and luma adjustments across shadows, midtones and highlights with unlimited secondaries?"

No, I don't think so. For someone who isn't familiar with Color theory though, it is interesting to say "I want to remove some of that yellow from the highlights" and then be able to visualize that in the
color board by dragging the puck down towards yellow, perhaps someone else might drag it up towards blue. What I do miss is the "skin tone line". On a wheel, I know exactly where that falls. On the board, it's more "look and see" and therefore inefficient.

I wonder what a three plot (or puck as they are called) color wheel would be like? Do you think it would be viable? Also, I am sure someone will come up with a color wheel plug like Colorista or other.

The more I really edit with X, the more it sinks in. I like most of it. I really do. It allows creativity, no kidding.

Jumping from crag to crag, the major gripe I have is native format support. While X makes some of the process easier, it really sucks to have to wrap to .mov all the time. AVC-Intra support is really strange. The lower bandwidth avc-I files take up more room than their optimized ProRes equivalents. This really doesn't add up for me. A 145mb/sec (ProRes) file should be bigger than a 100mb/sec AVC-I file, but this is not the case.

No native red support. In fact, every camera that doesn't natively shoot QuickTime still has to go through what I believe to be unnecessary steps to get to editing. Tapeless should be faster, as all the video, audio, and some metadata is right there for the taking.

I was really hoping AVFoundation would alleviate a QuickTime rewrap. Unfortunately on this point, I truly don't think Apple will change much. I hope that developers/third parties will be able to write in native support without a log and transfer process. More so than the interface, this lack of native digital media support will drive us towards Premiere, where the native format support is incredible. Actually let me rephrase that, it's where it should be, direct access to the a/v essence of any media file.


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Gary Huff
Re: FCP7 review by someone who likes FCPX -- NOW color model
on Aug 24, 2011 at 2:23:06 pm

[Jeremy Garchow].AVC-Intra support is really strange. The lower bandwidth avc-I files take up more room than their optimized ProRes equivalents. This really doesn't add up for me. A 145mb/sec (ProRes) file should be bigger than a 100mb/sec AVC-I file, but this is not the case.

I can't say this with any authority yet (kind of new in working with ProRes on any regular basis and waiting to start shooting AVC-I), but I believe that AVC-Intra is a constant bitrate format (i.e. if you are shooting the full AVC-I 100 it will be 100mb/sec constantly), whereas ProRes seems to be a variable bitrate (I've noticed that the bitrate seems to change while encoding).

I believe this might explain the difference in size.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: FCP7 review by someone who likes FCPX -- NOW color model
on Aug 24, 2011 at 2:36:11 pm

[Gary Huff] "I believe this might explain the difference in size."

I understand, I've been working with AVC-I for quite a while now.

Yes avc-I is cbr, ProRes is vbr, but the difference in file size is tremendous. It was not this way in fcp7.

I'll dig up the post I had about this when I am at a real computer and not my phone.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: FCP7 review by someone who likes FCPX -- NOW color model
on Aug 24, 2011 at 6:25:56 pm

Gary, I couldn't find the thread so I did another test.

After transfer the "original" transcoded AVC-I movie is 240MB. The optimized ProRes movie is 60MB. There is no way the ProRes is 4 times as efficient as AVC-Intra with a higher target data rate, unless there's some really crazy stuff going on that I don't know about.

Jeremy


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Geoff Dills
Re: FCP7 review by someone who likes FCPX
on Aug 23, 2011 at 4:37:57 pm

[Craig Seeman] "I'd like to see an option which would allow one to switch between the wheel and the board."


One option to use a wheel can be done via a motion invented grading tool

http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/344/1160

part of the genius Brendan's Color Grading tool.

Best,
Geoff


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Jamie Franklin
Re: FCP7 review by someone who likes FCPX
on Aug 23, 2011 at 4:24:19 pm

Nothing wrong with improving what was baked in FC7 in my mind. Eliminating the complexity altogether though and killing off a tool that was rough around the edges but delivered where it counts...ugh.

This whole "democratization" thing really is in no mans land. It's still a 300$ app lost in the Arizona desert. Pitting itself in-between a consumer app against a bit better - more expensive than - consumer app, which sets it adrift.

Color was an epic tool. FCXs' color board is a flimsy boxed in convenience. Like you said, a substandard proxy of an already downer of a program.


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alban egger
Re: FCP7 review by someone who likes FCPX
on Aug 23, 2011 at 8:39:11 pm

[Jamie Franklin] "
The FCX corrector blows. I can't even believe they were serious with releasing it as a replacement. It boggles the mind..."


I strongly disagree. The colourboard is square, yes, but in its functionality it is far superior to the old 3-way cc-tool.
16-bit
Built in secondary corrections
Possible to be animated

It is not Color, but this is FinalCutPro for 299 and not FinalCutStudio for 1099 anymore. And the reason to go to Color is gone with this tool for many uses. If you need more.....wait or use another NLE



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Craig Seeman
Re: FCP7 review by someone who likes FCPX
on Aug 23, 2011 at 2:26:32 pm

Alban, thanks for expressing all the thoughts that dance in my head when looking at FCP7 after using FCPX.

One thing that stands out for me is connected clips and connected secondary storylines. When I edit, my layers always relate to the clips below them. The connection ensures that when I have to move things, those connections are maintained. All the naysayers will point out how you can do this in other NLEs but, to me, those are awkward compared to FCPX.

Another thing I like is that audio stays with video. I have always found it awkward when Video Track 4 might have it's audio tied to Audio Track 7 and 8 for example. The relationships are visually awkward as far as I'm concerned. In FCPX video and audio are together unless you chose otherwise.



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Jim Giberti
Re: FCP7 review by someone who likes FCPX
on Sep 28, 2011 at 10:28:45 pm

As a vacillator who still hasn't applied X to a professional project I have to say I'm agreeing with you Craig.

I had to crank out a ridiculous deadline last week of 5 TV spots for a last minute presentation. I began thinking how much I wished I was working in X after repeated clip collisions. Going between the two paradigms is definitely helping me see the value of both, but I'm "this" close to pulling the trigger on using X for all our new schedule of work.


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Mark Dobson
Re: FCP7 review by someone who likes FCPX
on Aug 23, 2011 at 5:17:41 pm

Hi Alban,

Brilliant analysis, mirrors my experience of delving back into FCP7 from 2 months of working in FCP X.

We rarely reopen FCP7 projects once they are completed. Sometimes programmes need re-branding but that work is done on safety sub-masters.

Sometimes I reopen old projects to find out archive HD Tape contents.

I've now completed 4 reasonably complicated short programmes on FCP X and can't really see myself going backwards. And that is what it feels like opening up FCP7 - going backwards.

However - if external monitoring doesn't look like materialising after a reasonable period of time I might have to reluctantly look elsewhere.

Thanks for all you posts and the excellent FCPX_Megatest blog.


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