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COW Forums : Apple Final Cut Pro X Debates

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Chris Harlan
Have conclusions? Please add. Also, please disagree.
on Jun 24, 2011 at 6:06:54 pm

These are the conclusions I've drawn.

* It is not Final Cut Pro anymore. Final Cut Pro has been EOLed. This program has been given its name, but has little in common with it other than that. Calling it Final Cut Pro is purely a marketing decision made to tap into your brand loyalty. If you want to think clearly about this program, you need to understand that.

* The"event" paradigm for fcpX seems to me to be closely related to consumer social media "experience" paradigms like iPhoto, where relational metadata is paramount in the underlying structure. This is an interesting idea for some. Let's say you make a living off of covering car shows or extreme sports or local events. Your ever growing event database, with all of the indexing available to it, will grown into a very powerful library of many multiple's of events that will be cross-referenced and available to you in some pretty exciting ways. If you are local ENG, this could be a real plus.

On the other hand, if you are a traditional broadcast editor whose focus is strongly project or episode-orriented, the event approach is not only not of use, but quickly begins to add needless clutter and overhead.

* X is very locked down compared to FCP. If what you loved about FCP is its ability to put viewers and sequences wherever you wanted them, you will not like the X interface. If one of the things you disliked about FCP was that it felt cluttered and overly complicated in terms of where things were located, you might like the interface. The old FCP was layered with a myriad of approaches, so that everything you needed to do could be done in three different ways. Not here. Their way or the highway. For me, the freeform customizability of FCP was one of its greatest assets. That is now completely gone.

* tools are / are not there for the professional. I can't do my job on it, but maybe others can do theirs. I've decided to stop saying it is not ready for professional use, and, instead, refer to broadcast industry use. And, as I look at the design, I question if it will ever be ready for large-scale broadcast use. But we are increasingly a niche, and some broadcast, particularly some kinds of unscripted, might thrive on this, if they can ever figure out how to efficiently work with the other elements of Post, and ways to meet their ancillary delivery specs, like split audio tracks and stem creation. Right now you can't. You can't cut a feature film on it. Sorry. I mean, I know some people are going to, with DSLRs and a group of buddies. But whatever next year's Social Network or True Grit are cut on, it won't be X.

* This is a program aimed at giving wings to the novice or non-editor. Almost all the touted gizmos are hand-holders for the insecure, especially the magnet timeline. I hate the thing. All of the simplicity is aimed at making you work in a very specific and guided way. I don't find it freeing. To the contrary, I find it very confining. Others may love it.

I do not see Apple changing course, though they will add fixes. The one thing they can't fix is that it is no longer Final Cut Pro. I really liked Final Cut pro.

My plans--I'm already spread across several platforms. A lot of my decisions depend on the decisions of my coworkers and clients. In my world, I think abandonment of X is a very strong possibility, though I have talked to more than one executive who seems excited by it. Everyone I've talked to has agreed that we can squeeze another 6 months to a year out of FCS3. Investment and infrastructure issues push and pull at these decisions, but the economy is tough enough that I don't see change coming too swiftly. I have gone and gotten my own version of Avid 5.5, and I spent two hours last night pleasantly poking around Premiere. So glad it came with AE.

What conclusions have you drawn?


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Craig Seeman
Re: Have conclusions? Please add. Also, please disagree.
on Jun 24, 2011 at 6:16:59 pm

I actually think FCPX is headed in the right direction. It's woefully incomplete though.
For example, you grasp how well events might work in an ENG environment. It would take some tweaks by

Apple to get that to work in a large facility environment but I can see it being valuable for accessing materiel. There needs to be preferences that would control behavior on a network or shared storage. One should be able to selectively add or remove Events from the local database and not impact the larger database of projects. In short, it could become a powerful on board event and media catalog tool. It's obviously not close to that yet but I suspect this is where it's heading for professional use.



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Tom Daigon
Re: Have conclusions? Please add. Also, please disagree.
on Jun 24, 2011 at 6:20:47 pm

Very nice summation Chris. It reflects my perception of the situation as well. As an editor that needs to integrate motion graphics into my work, I have ventured into the CS5.5 realm and am pleased with its versatility and power. Using PP and AE dynamically linked is a treat.
Adobes desire to communicate and listen is nothing short of refreshing. All clips native on timelines makes me more competitive with my workflow and turn around. Im experiencing just the tip of the iceberg with all the new enhancements and functionality, but Im smiling while I edit and thats a very good sign.

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


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Jean-François Robichaud
Re: Have conclusions? Please add. Also, please disagree.
on Jun 24, 2011 at 6:43:38 pm

"On the other hand, if you are a traditional broadcast editor whose focus is strongly project or episode-orriented, the event approach is not only not of use, but quickly begins to add needless clutter and overhead."

Could you elaborate on that? I don't see how that is the case. I've been testing the media management capabilities of FCP X by creating a number of dummy projects composed of media from past projects and I'm very pleased by the versatility it provides. It actually saddens me that I'll have to to back to FCP 7 for ongoing projects.


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Craig Seeman
Re: Have conclusions? Please add. Also, please disagree.
on Jun 24, 2011 at 7:11:24 pm

Thanks for noting that. I think you're grasping the potential. Unlike others you don't seem to be blocked by old thinking.

I can see the Event paradigm working once server/shared storage support is fully realized as well. It will be like having an online catalog for a show or episodic series. They'll have to add more database control but I believe that's where they're heading.

Basically once one understands that it's a database of "Events," sequences, media. Once that's hooked into server support and control it can be quite powerful.



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Chris Harlan
Re: Have conclusions? Please add. Also, please disagree.
on Jun 24, 2011 at 7:31:55 pm

Sure. In the factory world I work in big masses of material and little pieces of things are in and out, done and gone. They come from different clients, different projects, can be whole, sometimes inter-related, or not having any inter-relationship to anything else at all. They occur daily with huge overlaps, sometimes on their own media, sometimes on shared or LAN/SANed media. They have many things in common that are absolutely arbitrary. Many of them have the same shoot dates, were shot on similar cameras, and, of course all have the same variety of shots. Some things will be there for a moment. Some things will be there for eight weeks. While I'm certain all of this will eventually be manageable in the event-based paradigm, I can see no argument for it being a better paradigm than a project based one, where each project is completely segregated from the other, unless I choose for them not to be.


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Jean-François Robichaud
Re: Have conclusions? Please add. Also, please disagree.
on Jun 24, 2011 at 8:57:40 pm

I think the main drawback of the FCP X's Event-based media management is its name, as silly as that sounds. It makes one think of iPhoto type management, but that obscures its real versatility and depth. You get to choose how your media is organised; you don't have to use the time-based paradigm. There is nothing you could do before in terms of organisation that you can't do with this. I haven't hit any limitations so far. It actually saddens me that I'll have to go back to FCP 7 for my ongoing projects.

The thought of having all of your media (spanning all your projects) available at the same time might seem overwhelming, but they're really neatly hidden in their own separate hierarchies, so they don't get in the way of what you're doing now. Archiving Events to external media can be done from the Event Browser with a simple drag and drop or menu selection.


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Chris Harlan
Re: Have conclusions? Please add. Also, please disagree.
on Jun 24, 2011 at 9:55:49 pm

Jean-Francois, I totally get where you are coming from, and I do understand that I can or will be able to hide pretty much everything. I guess I should clarify that it is the cost of this core element--the displacement or disruption of so many other features that I liked and used--that I find objectionable.


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Chris Kenny
Re: Have conclusions? Please add. Also, please disagree.
on Jun 24, 2011 at 6:44:21 pm

[Chris Harlan] "On the other hand, if you are a traditional broadcast editor whose focus is strongly project or episode-orriented, the event approach is not only not of use, but quickly begins to add needless clutter and overhead."

I don't really see that. Just create an event for each project or episode. We do feature film work, and even there the same footage is often used in multiple projects -- the project files we use to prepare dailies, the project files created in the process or organizing footage, the project file actually containing the main sequence, the project file containing the trailer edit, etc. So even with something as apparently self-contained as a feature, there's actually a fair bit of use in being able to import and organize footage in a library, rather than having to import and manage it in several projects.

This is also useful with stock material, etc.

On a somewhat related note, the ability to automatically group clips by creation date in the browser is extremely useful for feature work, both for generating dailies and for tracking down mislabeled footage.

[Chris Harlan] "tools are / are not there for the professional. I can't do my job on it, but maybe others can do theirs."

Apple has released information via various parties largely addressing this issue. There are solutions coming for things like allowing third-party software to access sequence data, Apple is working with I/O card vendors to get video I/O working, etc.

People are concluding, from the fact that these things are not in the first release, that Apple doesn't care about them, but Apple has a history of shipping as soon as they've got something useful (and FCP X is useful to some people today, though you wouldn't know to to read this forum), and building on it over time.

[Chris Harlan] "This is a program aimed at giving wings to the novice or non-editor. Almost all the touted gizmos are hand-holders for the insecure, especially the magnet timeline. I hate the thing. All of the simplicity is aimed at making you work in a very specific and guided way. I don't find it freeing. To the contrary, I find it very confining. Others may love it."

How much have you really explored the new interface? It's quite a bit deeper than it looks at first glance. The whole storyline/connected clip/compound clip thing is actually more complicated than standard multitrack editing in a lot of ways, and I'm of the opinion it's more oriented around allowing people who understand it well to work faster and manage sequence complexity more effectively than it is around making it easier for novices to pick up the program. Ditto for metadata; organizing clips into folders (bins) in pre-X FCP was extremely simple. Tagging is more complicated, but more powerful.

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

You should follow me on Twitter here. Or read our blog.


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Chris Harlan
Re: Have conclusions? Please add. Also, please disagree.
on Jun 24, 2011 at 7:11:47 pm

Chris, you are clearly one of the evangelists for the new system, and I have been reading your posts with great interest. You make many strong arguments, and I agree that there are elements of the event approach that offer something to features. I just think they also bring a lot more trouble than they bring help. I have no doubt that a workable system can eventually be made from what is here, but I just don't see the point of it when there are already workable systems in place. It really strikes me as re-inventing the wheel (by chipping away at a square to do it.)

I've worked with the interface enough to know I don't like it. As to efficiency--if that happens to be the way you work, maybe. Me, I like a little bit of clutter. I liked being able to choose how I worked on any given day. Maybe it comes down to that for me more than anything else.

I do respect your interest in X, and my curiosity about it continues, so I will continue to read your posts with interest. I know that something can be made of X and I would probably be celebrating its existence in FCP hadn't been EOLed to give it birth. That's probably the bottom line.


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Craig Seeman
Re: Have conclusions? Please add. Also, please disagree.
on Jun 24, 2011 at 7:27:05 pm

[Chris Harlan] "there are elements of the event approach that offer something to features. I just think they also bring a lot more trouble than they bring help. I have no doubt that a workable system can eventually be made from what is here, but I just don't see the point of it when there are already workable systems in place."

I can't speak for Chris but there's potential for it to be and easy seat to a media server for example. It may be much easier to implement and use that it is currently in FCS. Right now you're only seeing it relative to what's on your hard drive but it will eventually be an easy way to pull in anything from clips to projects to events from a server or shared storage. I suspect it will eventually have a bit more control then the "always on everything" we're seeing now.



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Chris Harlan
Re: Have conclusions? Please add. Also, please disagree.
on Jun 24, 2011 at 7:34:56 pm

Craig, I totally agree with you that in the right circumstances it offers a great deal of power, and that that power has yet to be tapped. I certainly wouldn't argue with that. But, many workflows are based on the notion of in/out, done, gone. Mine, particularly.


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Have conclusions? Please add. Also, please disagree.
on Jun 24, 2011 at 7:03:13 pm

+1
Well written and thought out. I totally agree.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com

I have a system, it has stuff in it, and stuff hooked to it. I have a camera, it can record stuff. I read the manuals, and know how to use this stuff and lots of other stuff too.
You should be suitably impressed...

"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair


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Nayeli Garci-Crespo
Re: Have conclusions? Please add. Also, please disagree.
on Jun 24, 2011 at 7:10:22 pm

Hi... here is my conclusion for the moment. At first I was a little scared, but pleased that big new changes were being made to Final Cut. I migrated to Final Cut from Media 100 around one of the last "1" versions and have never had the need to use anything else since then, even though of course there were many bugs I wanted fixed and features I would have liked to see added. I was hoping Final Cut Pro X was going to address some of those issues... I was all for learning a new interface and way of working if necessary. What I didn't expect was for all the pro features of the program to be eliminated or relegated to third party solutions, with vague promises of some features perhaps being restored in the future. I was anticipating frustration and annoyance at having to relearn my way of working, but also surprise and pleasure at some great new tools. Instead, I am now seriously thinking I need to change software to either Premiere or Avid (neither of which I am very familiar with so I'm expecting to invest a good chunk of time into research, first).

First, let me explain that I use Final Cut Studio for offline edits of feature length films (as assistant editor and post supervisor or coordinator), for editing TV shows (XDCAM and digiBeta delivery), and for offline editing of short films that are to go through a DI and printed to 35mm. In Mexico, where I am based, Final Cut Pro is the standard in the feature-length film industry (only a tiny share of the market goes to AVID or Premiere, for cost reasons). I've used it with a variety of formats: 35mm, super35mm, 16mm, super16mm, RED, tape and tapeless video (P2, EX3, 7D, etc.). People complain about the software all the time, but we are able to get from the offline edit to the DI to the final 35mm print with relative ease. Exporting EDLs, XMLs and OMFs is NECESSARY. I'm not saying there isn't room for improvement with those formats, but it is not something we can do without at this stage. If something better comes along in the future, I'm sure we would surely slooowly implement it (a lot of money is invested in the status quo), but it's not something we can do without NOW. Someone commented somewhere that it's the equivalent of Microsoft Word removing the "Print" feature, based on the fact that print media is on the way out, only allowing you to create PDFs. I think that is exactly it. So maybe we can can continue to use Final Cut 7 unsupported for another year... perhaps two. But eventually we will have to find another solution. Maybe some intrepid souls will stick with Final Cut X as it is further developed and with added third party tools.

However, I personally don't like the third party tool solution, not for something as basic as an EDL or an OMF... How many of us have been in a situation where something isn't working with third party software, and the third party software company blames Apple, while Apple blames the other software company? Of course, you have to use a variety of tools in conjunction with each other all the time, but why use a tool that is so limited to begin with that it requires myriad other tools for it's most basic functioning (from the pro's perspective)? If it was your only option, OK, but when you have other programs to choose from, why complicate your life? The only reason would be because you're so familiar with the program you don't want to switch, but as the new interface has a learning curve, is your effort not better spent elsewhere?

Clearly Apple has decided to refocus their market. It makes sense. I've heard rumors they wanted to ditch Final Cut Pro for years. The pro market is a tough one... why suffer with it if you can make tons more money with iTunes, iPhones, iPads and iPods? What HURTS is how cavalier they have been about it. Why not come out and clearly state that they are changing focus? Why call it "Final Cut Pro" and pretend it's in the same product line? Why not announce that the line of software ends with Final Cut Studio 3 (which at most should have been called Final Cut Studio 2.5... I now realize it was a quick, careless release to get it out of their hair as they knew they were changing course) and give people the opportunity to make sure they've downloaded and properly stored away all the updates they're going to need to weather the storm? All their hype was completely misleading.

Yes, Final Cut Pro X has some great new features (background rendering, 64 bit), perhaps it even has the seeds for a new way of thinking about editing... I'd be willing to give them the benefit of the doubt--I'm all for new and better. But it's all moot for the feature length film industry if it can't handle the basics of what the industry requires NOW. So, I think the criticism is well-deserved. Sure, there are probably people out there who will benefit from this new software, but the presentation of the software has been very poorly handled by Apple for us "pro" users. And I don't think it's that Apple doesn't know what it's doing, or is out of touch with its users. I think this is a calculated move on their part. It's hard not to feel cheated (but all's fair in love, war and business, I suppose).

So my conclusion: I have to start researching the alternatives, but I'll also keep an eye on what Apple does in case it proves interesting. I've been meaning to learn AVID and Premiere for a while now, anyway. I'm also going to be at the mercy of the decisions made by production companies and post houses... I have to be a in a position to give the best advice I can, but in the end a lot of this will be decided by the people spending the money. Luckily for me I just have the one Mac Pro work station at home. I am sure for many businesses out there this is going to be a tough call.

-Nayeli


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Herb Sevush
Re: Have conclusions? Please add. Also, please disagree.
on Jun 24, 2011 at 7:33:27 pm

Nayeli -

Yours is the most reasonable, well thought out and articulated posting I have read.

Thank you.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions


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Nayeli Garci-Crespo
Re: Have conclusions? Please add. Also, please disagree.
on Jun 24, 2011 at 7:44:07 pm

"Yours is the most reasonable, well thought out and articulated posting I have read."

*blush*
Thanks, Herb.

-Nayeli


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Alex Hawkins
Re: Have conclusions? Please add. Also, please disagree.
on Jun 25, 2011 at 1:36:04 am

I couldn't agree more.

Lovely post.

Alex Hawkins
Canberra, Australia


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Chris Harlan
Re: Have conclusions? Please add. Also, please disagree.
on Jun 24, 2011 at 7:51:00 pm

Well said!


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Steven Gonzales
Re: Have conclusions? Please add. Also, please disagree.
on Jun 24, 2011 at 9:31:45 pm

Thanks for the comments about FCP for feature film.

I've spent a lot of time convincing people that FCP was a viable and accurate alternative to Avid for feature editing. I've had my credibility questioned with sync issues, and strange Aurora Igniter misbehaving drivers. I was thrilled when the crude tool Film Logic was purchased by Apple and rechristened Cinema Tools.

In it's current form, this FCP X is totally unusuable for feature film work.

I'm sure it's a great tool for something, but if there's an emotional tone here on the boards, some of that is due to many of our arguments for this product over the years being voided instantly.



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Nayeli Garci-Crespo
Re: Have conclusions? Please add. Also, please disagree.
on Jun 25, 2011 at 12:48:06 am

Steven: "I've spent a lot of time convincing people that FCP was a viable and accurate alternative to Avid for feature editing."

Yeah, me too! I would say, listen... maybe it's not as stable, has a few bugs, etc., but for the price it's great, and you can successfully get what you need from it. Especially when all you are doing is an offline for a DI and with very limited funds. I knew what to watch out for with CMX3600s, how to make sure they came out with no errors. I kept on pushing for more extensive use of FCP XML in labs. Now all those AVID editors are going "I told you so."

This wouldn't have been such a huge deal if they had called it the new Final Cut Xpress and had not discontinued FCS 7 with no warning. They've replaced apples with oranges (ugh, pun really not intended). It makes NO sense that it is called Final Cut Pro. It's like replacing your MS Word with "Text Edit" and calling it the new MS Word, discontinuing all support for previous versions, while simultaneously getting rid of Excel and PowerPoint. It seems underhanded. Saying this is Apple being Apple doesn't address the real issue.

-Nayeli


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