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No tracks, No Deal

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Chris Harlan
No tracks, No Deal
on Oct 17, 2011 at 6:01:28 pm

I just did a week on a broadcast promo for a very talented, very demanding creative director. While I concede that "Roles" is an improvement over no "Roles" there is NO WAY they can replace a track. NO WAY. This is no longer theoretical in my mind. My timeline NEEDS to be an accurate map of the cut, especially when dealing with audio. In a fast-paced collaborative environment this is FAR more important than any worries of "clip collision." When I'm working by myself, which is most of the time, tracklessness might be a annoyance that I could learn to work around, but in the environment of last week it would have been an absolute disaster. I'm happy for everybody who saves a few steps because they no longer have to do quite as much to "heal" an edit, but I now realize in earnest the degree to which I NEED a highly detailed map of my sequence when working in tandem. Sorry. No tracks, no deal.


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Andrew Richards
Re: No tracks, No Deal
on Oct 17, 2011 at 6:40:09 pm

Is this because you need to deal with on-the-fly interactions with other track-based tools like DAWs and their operators? For instance, do you need to be able to reference spatial equivalence when passing work back and forth with others?

Best,
Andy


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Chris Harlan
Re: No tracks, No Deal
on Oct 17, 2011 at 6:59:56 pm

No, this is about working with someone over my shoulder in bursts, as a project nears finishing, throughout the day. It was most apparent to me when quickly referencing, swapping, and inter-relating sound effects up and down the timeline. It was also very apparent when working with the multiple music beds. And then, again, when working with the two in combination.

While I've generally felt that the complexity of such spots does not pair up well with FCP X, I've been open to exploring it as an alternate. Thinking about it during this particular edit session has convinced me that it would be a truly dicey choice for this type of fast-paced, high stakes editorial.


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Jim Giberti
Re: No tracks, No Deal
on Oct 17, 2011 at 6:52:40 pm

Chris, this is why I think Apple developed X not so much with a big middle finger to the upper end of post, but probably with a real awareness that their new direction was going to alienate that end of the market and they consider that a reasonable business decision. It's also why I think most of the frustration/anger from this end of the market is justified.

I'll leave the deeper, UI philosophical, reasoning to David L and other very smart folks and just give my personal experience. I think that my company is probably representative of the majority of the industry today and going forward (in numbers not dollars). That is that we shoot and post all aspects of our work ourselves, whether for broadcast, DVD etc.

On the other end is the independent laptop producer with a DSLR that gets bandied about so often here. That's not a negative reference but a really accurate one I think regarding the new generation of content producers and I think clearly that Apple is looking at them (and us in the middle) and accepting your situation as collateral damage.

If X had much of the great improvements AND tracks, it might have been the new idea that could have straddled all ends of the industry. I haven't used it long enough to say I understand why they chose this route but I definitely empathize and agree with your situation.

Coming from a guy with offices and studios on a mountain top that hasn't had a client sit in on an edit in 10 years.


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Chris Harlan
Re: No tracks, No Deal
on Oct 17, 2011 at 7:17:30 pm

Jim, having stuck around this forum, I've truly come to appreciate the value that FCP X offers to many users, and my qualm has pretty much always been the decapitation of FCS and not the birth of FCP X. FCS IS still around and will be a viable Los Angeles skill set for the next few years, especially in the promo world, since many very large companies have invested in it. And, the alternatives are getting better all the time. So, really, everyone gains, except those of us in my little niche who really did think that FCS was the best damn thing out there.

I DO get to do your mountain top thing now and again. I'm no flatlander. My family has a little place up in the Sierra Nevada, and each Summer I try and pack a project or two up with me. Each year, I have a fantasy about it being all year long. Er, all Summer long. Winters there are not pretty. Where's your bit mountain top?


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Jim Giberti
Re: No tracks, No Deal
on Oct 17, 2011 at 8:01:38 pm

"Each year, I have a fantasy about it being all year long. Er, all Summer long. Winters there are not pretty. Where's your bit mountain top?"

I know that fantasy - and winter is definitely a real part of it . I made the decision to move my biz from the city (primarily Boston and NY market) to Vermont. Initially we bought a farm in the Green Mountains and an historic brownstone on the river that I renovated with three floors of studios and offices.

A few years ago even the 10 minute commute seemed unnecessary and I bought the old farm across from ours and built all new facilities up here surrounded by hundreds of acres of mountain forest and pasture. We also have a horse farm here so it enables me to be around it all (and our 8 yellow labs).

Where abouts in the Sierras is the family place? I've had some great experiences in the CA mountains. Mostly San Gabriel with some ski resort clients out in LA and further north in Santa Ynez.

We're just getting our new site up this month with a video tour of the farm and studios...I'll send you a link.


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Andrew Richards
Re: No tracks, No Deal
on Oct 17, 2011 at 8:11:36 pm

[Jim Giberti] "A few years ago even the 10 minute commute seemed unnecessary and I bought the old farm across from ours and built all new facilities up here surrounded by hundreds of acres of mountain forest and pasture. We also have a horse farm here so it enables me to be around it all (and our 8 yellow labs)."

That sounds awesome!

Best,
Andy


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Jim Giberti
Re: No tracks, No Deal
on Oct 17, 2011 at 8:29:24 pm

[Andrew Richards] "That sounds awesome!
"


Hey Andy, it can be even with the constant hay, fur and yes, manure.

However, remember the devastation on the news after hurricane Irene? We were at ground zero and one of the areas completely cut off from civilization. It was pretty strange to have Blackhawks hovering over the mountain top and National Guard and FEMA forces being dropped in.

We fired everything back up on generator power but you couldn't get in or out for a long while and even now our main access roads are barley passable emergency paths. It was very surreal going back and forth between fixing roads with farm equipment and rescuing stranded families and then coming back in and producing a music video or TV spot.


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Chris Harlan
Re: No tracks, No Deal
on Oct 17, 2011 at 8:40:26 pm

Our getaway is up in Central California at a place called Huntington Lake. As the crow flies it is about 40 miles from Yosemite, and about the same from Mammoth, though separated from them by tall peeks and deep canyons, the circumnavigation of which, makes the drive to either place about eight to ten hours. Its elevation is about 7000 Ft., in what is known as the Canadian Zone, so its winters can be fierce. 25-35 ft of snow is not unusual. The roads to our half of the lake close after first snowfall, but I've been back there on a cat and it is a little freaky knowing that two story cabins are below your feet. In summer, it is heaven on earth.


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Jim Giberti
Re: No tracks, No Deal
on Oct 17, 2011 at 8:50:36 pm

[Chris Harlan] "from Yosemite, and about the same from Mammoth, though separated from them by tall peeks and deep canyons, the circumnavigation of which, makes the drive to either place about eight to ten hours. Its elevation is about 7000 Ft., in what is known as the Canadian Zone, so its winters can be fierce. 25-35 ft of snow is not unusual. The roads to our half of the lake close after first snowfall, but I've been back there on a cat and it is a little freaky knowing that two story cabins are below your feet. In summer, it is heaven on earth.
"


It is heaven up there.

We do a lot of outdoor winter stuff, ski resorts, ski manufacturers and snowmobiling. Spent a lot of last winter hanging from one shooting the new promo spots for the SM industry. Ironically I was up checking out Mammoth while develop a campaign to keep the LA market from driving up there.


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Mark Morache
Re: No tracks, No Deal
on Oct 17, 2011 at 11:11:47 pm

I'm not sold on the tracklessness either. I know alot of that is the habits I've become entrenched in, but I still question the viability of the magnetic interface. I hope they prove me wrong.

As far as getting around the project, the timeline index I think is an incredible tool. You can use it to instantly find and select all sorts of things. I could find a whoosh in a 20 minute timeline instantly. That, combined with roles is certainly NOT the same as tracks, but it's impressive in its own way.

Do we imagine a time when DAWs will be trackless? Are there things they could add to the interface to make that work? Could we use colored clips on the timeline? Perhaps establish an order to how the clips are stacked in the timeline? Dialogue roles go on top. Music roles go under the dialogue. Effects go on the bottom.

I still think ultimately that by the time they add all of the functionality, we'll realize it's just a whole lot easier to just deal with tracks.

---------
FCX. She tempts me, abuses me, beats me up, makes me feel worthless, then in the end she comes around, helps me get my work done, gives me hope and I can't stop thinking about her.

Mark Morache
Avid/Xpri/FCP7/FCX
Evening Magazine,Seattle, WA
http://fcpx.wordpress.com


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Oliver Peters
Re: No tracks, No Deal
on Oct 18, 2011 at 1:49:36 am

[Mark Morache] "Do we imagine a time when DAWs will be trackless?"

Just for sake of comparison, can you imagine a time when a symphony score in front of a conductor is written without a staff and scales and without clear indication of which instruments are playing specific parts?

I think the trackless idea is utterly stupid, but the reality is that Apple is designing a program for people who infrequently deal with a client looking over their shoulder. This truth of the matter is that I rarely have those types of sessions either. A lot of reviewing over the web.

But when they do come, other NLEs provide a much better toolset. Especially where audio is involved. Right now that's a Grand Canyon-sized gaping hole in the application. You simply cannot mix, on-the-fly, in real-time with FCP X.

- Oliver

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


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Bill Davis
Re: No tracks, No Deal
on Oct 18, 2011 at 4:08:13 am

[Oliver Peters] "Just for sake of comparison, can you imagine a time when a symphony score in front of a conductor is written without a staff and scales and without clear indication of which instruments are playing specific parts?
"


I dunno, Oliver.

It seems to me that while yes, symphonic style music requires a strict communications structure, that structure is necessitated by the requirement of the communications complexity that's particular to that large group dynamic. Personally, while I love massed sounds and group efforts, I find myself equally drawn to the creative spirt of the "singer songwriter" - the artist who creates and realizes an artistic expression more personally. Heck, seems to me that the most enjoyable music of the last 50 years, for the largest audience, has been written largely by individuals or small, small teams. Not by committee.

And while formal, structured music will never go out of style, at some point, the written "structured" part of the creation effort came AFTER the more free-form geniuses laid down their work.

I'm reminded of "Standing in the Shadows of Motown." James Jamerson didn't work from structured charts. He closed his eyes in session after session, and imagined dozens upon dozens of transcendentally brilliant tracks that still inspire the best players of today.

From the cubists to the impressionists, sure they understood the structure of their form and art (tho it's arguable that John Coltrane came from somewhere in outer space and actually didn't!) But many of the truly transcendent artists of the past had to DECONSTRUCT structure in order to move their art forward.

I have absolutely no clue whether the "trackless" structure of X will ever inspire some kid to do something weird that changes some fundamental nature of video cutting.

Or not. Nobody knows. But to imply — as many seem to do here — that the ONLY way to do quality cutting is to lock your brain into a stack of vertical time stripes seems .... I dunno...instinctively questionable to me.

And it's certainly arguable that "time on a line" will turn out to the the best editing structure that's ever going to be possible for all time and for all cases. But hey, what if thats NOT actually true? How will we ever know if we don't get to try something different and see? Finally, with X. We have an option.

But what do I know.

It seems I'm actually finding I *like* a little radical change in my editing software.

Who knew!

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: No tracks, No Deal
on Oct 18, 2011 at 4:19:49 am

I guess the part I'm most confused about is how the proposed edit environment benefits tracks. Are you saying that you don't know the timeline well enough to do a replace edit? Or stack a few new SFX clips and turn off the ones you don't need? Or haven't explored what Auditions can really do?


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Chris Harlan
Re: No tracks, No Deal
on Oct 18, 2011 at 5:21:16 am

[Jeremy Garchow] "I guess the part I'm most confused about is how the proposed edit environment benefits tracks. Are you saying that you don't know the timeline well enough to do a replace edit? Or stack a few new SFX clips and turn off the ones you don't need? Or haven't explored what Auditions can really do?"


Jeremy, I can tell by your questions that you have either a) not been in the kind of scenario I'm talking about, or b) are a truly extraordinary individual. Now, I'm guessing it is "b," so I'm just asking you to take pity on us muggles who need our visual crutches to make it through a tight afternoon in the speediest way we can.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: No tracks, No Deal
on Oct 18, 2011 at 5:35:42 am

Fair enough, but help me understand. I do sit in supervised sessions, but they are pretty rare these days. It's to the point now that clients almost sit in your lap as they almost want to operate the keyboard.

Help me understand "no way". Just curious.


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Chris Harlan
Re: No tracks, No Deal
on Oct 18, 2011 at 6:41:09 am

[Jeremy Garchow] "Fair enough, but help me understand. I do sit in supervised sessions, but they are pretty rare these days. It's to the point now that clients almost sit in your lap as they almost want to operate the keyboard.

Help me understand "no way". Just curious."


I'm not sure I can make you understand, because to me it is obvious, and yet, it does not seem to be so to you. First, maybe you are not aware of the number of ingredients in a high energy :30. If it is reality or procedural cop/medical/etc., its 26 seconds of non-plate material can sport somewhere between twenty and forty (or more) separate images. Lines are pared down to their bare minimum, and what seems to be a simple full sentence is almost always cut down by a third or a half or more. These sentence will run underneath 2-3-4 images. On average there will be at least three pieces of music that interrelate with each other and represent different parts of the spot, and there will be somewhere between 15 to 35 sfx cues, including whooshes (singular, or in series) thuds, body blocks and falls, mental clangs, glass shatter, small ramps, gun shots, thunder, tweeker effects, etc. Almost all of this stuff overlaps some of the rest of the stuff.

So, for me, that's a lot to keep in my head, especially when it is shifting around, and a lot to not have strong visual references for when working with others. You may not need to, but I need to see the whole structure at a glance, and then to zoom in and out of it at will. I need to be able to point at a series of clips and say "if we move THIS here than it is going to conflict with THAT." I need to have my effects on an X/Y access so that I can locate something immediately, X=time, Y=track. When five or six 7 frame visuals share the same whoosh, I don't want to wonder what it is attached to who. When I have to step out for whatever reason and another editor or an AE needs to do some things, I want them to know before even looking at my project where things are.

I can also see patterns and easily communicate them to others. If the timpani I'm burying underneath the thunder at the request of the CD doesn't pay off on the third hit, I want to see immediately why, peripherally, without really having to dig for it. I want to glance down at the waveform in my music track and be able to say "I think the cellos in the piece we just moved here are canceling out the lower end of the midrange in the timpani, which is why you don't think it is as powerful," or conversely, I want to look up at the SOT track, and say "that deadening is coming from that traffic noise behind his dialog. That bus, right there. I can't separate him unless we get an ISO, or some ADR, which I bet they don't have."

Does this help?


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: No tracks, No Deal
on Oct 18, 2011 at 1:16:48 pm

I appreciate the explanation.

I guess I am ignorant. I still don't see anything that can't be done in FCPX. Yes, you probably wouldn't be as fast as you are in fcp7 on the first one, but you'd get faster.

I would love a screengrab of your timeline, but I understand if you can't.


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Chris Harlan
Re: No tracks, No Deal
on Oct 18, 2011 at 3:30:28 pm

Man, you are obstreperous.

[Jeremy Garchow] "I appreciate the explanation. "

No, actually, I really don't think you do. I think you actually ignored much of what I was saying.

[Jeremy Garchow] "I guess I am ignorant. I still don't see anything that can't be done in FCPX. "

I never said that there was anything there that can't be done in X. I said that most of the stuff there is something I don't want to do in X. That I judge it a disadvantage for ME to use FCP X in the given situation. I can understand that YOU might think the tradeoff ( a magnetic timeline for tracks) is somehow worthwhile, but yes, if you can see no value in tracks at all then I DO think you are being willfully ignorant in defense of FCP X. If you really can't understand why somebody--or groups of somebodies--other than yourself might prefer the ease of X,Y (in 5 sec, down 5 tracks) than I will never be able to explain it to you.

[Jeremy Garchow] "Yes, you probably wouldn't be as fast as you are in fcp7 on the first one, but you'd get faster. "

Sigh. I could go back to paper cuts and punch tape as long as everybody else was on the same playing field. Thank God I don't have to.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: No tracks, No Deal
on Oct 18, 2011 at 4:28:49 pm

[Chris Harlan] "Man, you are obstreperous. "

Brother, I'm not trying to be. I am just asking for details. I am trying to keep this going for the education of everyone, including myself, it is a debate forum. There was a post the other day that FPCX couldn't do audio/video/text editing. That is horse poo poo.

If it's no tracks, no deal for you. Cool. I'll stfu now.


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Oliver Peters
Re: No tracks, No Deal
on Oct 18, 2011 at 12:25:20 pm

[Bill Davis] "I find myself equally drawn to the creative spirt of the "singer songwriter""

I know a few of those. They rely pretty heavily on Logic or ProTools - with tracks - to actually record and mix their song into a commercial format. The 60s era house bands at Motown and Stax were very in tune with the production concepts of the time, especially multitrack analog recorders and mixers that had parallel signal paths (i.e. tracks or channels). When those songs were transcribed by arrangers, they were placed into a score structure, even if the original writers couldn't personally read it.

Oliver

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


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TImothy Auld
Re: No tracks, No Deal
on Oct 18, 2011 at 1:09:24 pm

Maybe I don't fully understand (and it wouldn't be the first time) but I don't see how you can have a magnetic timeline and tracks. Any tracks option would have to disable the magnetic timeline wouldn't it?
I don't necessarily hate the idea of a magnetic timeline - When I work in Avid I almost always have the sync locks on which is at least half a magnetic timeline) but I just don't see how the tracks would work without being able to, at least partially, disable the magnetic timeline.

bigpine


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Steve Connor
Re: No tracks, No Deal
on Oct 18, 2011 at 1:22:44 pm

[TImothy Auld] "Maybe I don't fully understand (and it wouldn't be the first time) but I don't see how you can have a magnetic timeline and tracks. Any tracks option would have to disable the magnetic timeline wouldn't it?
I don't necessarily hate the idea of a magnetic timeline - When I work in Avid I almost always have the sync locks on which is at least half a magnetic timeline) but I just don't see how the tracks would work without being able to, at least partially, disable the magnetic timeline.

bigpine"


There is a theoretical possibility that Apple could add the option of fixed secondary storylines, these would act as fixed tracks, the magnetic timeline also doesn't work by default in secondary storylines.







"My Name is Steve and I'm an FCPX user"


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TImothy Auld
Re: No tracks, No Deal
on Oct 18, 2011 at 2:25:39 pm

Thanks for the link, Steve. It looks to me that no matter how you slice it Apple would have to modify the magnetic timeline is some way to accommodate track like behavior,

bigpine


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Oliver Peters
Re: No tracks, No Deal
on Oct 18, 2011 at 2:27:41 pm

[TImothy Auld] " no matter how you slice it Apple would have to modify the magnetic timeline is some way to accommodate track like behavior,"

Which is why it's highly unlikely that Apple will ever again produce the NLE some of us would like to see.

Oliver

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


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: No tracks, No Deal
on Oct 18, 2011 at 2:40:22 pm

Problem is there's a fatal flaw in everything a secondary, and that's connected clips. Since it doesnt work like fcp7, if you were to say, insert a clip on "v2" the rest of the clips wouldn't move/ripple, like they do in x or 7 (X if course the clip would need to go in the primary, otherwise it's just a connected clip). You would then have to spend a long time adjusting the timeline back to how it was intended to play.

My thoughts are to have a sortable timeline. Really, it's all tracks are, a sort, a way of organizing. If there was a way to have the timeline sorted in the layer order you want (perhaps using Roles), I think it would help to keep things visually organized if you need it, but also play off the strengths of the current x timeline.

Jeremy


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Phil Brockett
Re: No tracks, No Deal
on Oct 18, 2011 at 5:33:43 pm

Audio tracks is a big deal to me. Fairly complicated SFX, music and voice mix are top priority, more so than the quality of video. Being a small producer and an "FCPX fence sitter," I will likely continue to sit on the fence and watch this forum until I can no longer use FCS 3. (This will also keep me from updating to Lion.) Most likely, an upgrade to a necessary 3D program will force me to make a decision on the editing sw and possibly change the platform away from Apple. The decision will be easy if Apple d/n have workable, mutiple audio tracks by then. I am sure that my situation reflects many of those who use FCS.

Phil Brockett


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Jamie Franklin
Re: No tracks, No Deal
on Oct 19, 2011 at 5:31:45 pm

[Chris Harlan] "Sorry. No tracks, no deal."

I smell what your rock is cooking. This was the single biggest deal breaker on my end. That and sequence creation. I'm not happy people prefer or are even remotely in compliance to this change, I just don't understand how they can or prefer to work in this environment. I just don't see the creative and method advantages. I'm immune to it's charms.


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Steve Connor
Re: No tracks, No Deal
on Oct 19, 2011 at 6:23:37 pm

[Jamie Franklin] "I'm not happy people prefer or are even remotely in compliance to this change, I just don't understand how they can or prefer to work in this environment."

Strange comment, why would other peoples method of working make you not happy?

"My Name is Steve and I'm an FCPX user"


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Jamie Franklin
Re: No tracks, No Deal
on Oct 20, 2011 at 12:22:54 am

[Steve Connor] "Strange comment, why would other peoples method of working make you not happy?"

It is in regards to Chris being happy some have found the advantages (in fewer steps) and like them. I just forgot to quote that part

I don't understand it. The advantages don't seem like advantages to me. So I'm not happy for them, I simply don't understand them ;) :P


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Steve Connor
Re: No tracks, No Deal
on Oct 20, 2011 at 8:17:34 am

[Jamie Franklin] "It is in regards to Chris being happy some have found the advantages (in fewer steps) and like them. I just forgot to quote that part

I don't understand it. The advantages don't seem like advantages to me. So I'm not happy for them, I simply don't understand them ;) :P"


OK it makes sense now! I don't want to sound patronising but we all work differently, for some of us FCPX has advantages in our workflow, for others clearly not, I don't think you need to understand it.

"My Name is Steve and I'm an FCPX user"


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