Revenge of the Uber-App
Here's what I think...
For years, the message boards have been chock-full of editors moaning that what they really wanted from Final Cut was an end to round-tripping, the ritual killing of peripheral apps like Soundtrack Pro and Color, and the amalgamation of everything into one uber-app that could do everything.
Well, guess what? Apple listened to them. They've got it - and they still don't like it. Revenge of the Uber-App.
Personally, much as I like many aspects of FCPX I really loathe this one. To have to use the Color Board after working with Color feels like an impossible limitation, no matter how many secondaries you can pile on.
But to have lost the round-tripping to Soundtrack Pro feels to me to be a complete tragedy. There was never any way that an editing application could ever really become an audio-mixing application. Absolutely fundamental to grown-up audio mixing is the ability to work with discrete channels, something that seems entirely at odds with the magnetic timeline. Not to mention the essential requirements of bussing. OK, it's great that you've got those lovely Logic audio plug-ins, and they really are terrific, but clip-based audio fixes are a million miles from proper audio post.
Was FCP ever going to be better as an uber-app? I don't think so. But it certainly isn't the way it's looking now.
But in so many other respects I'm really liking it and if it just had OMF and EDL/XML support I'd be quite able to switch to it tomorrow. In fact, I know that come tomorrow morning it will feel like a serious backward step going back to trusty old FCP7.
[Simon Ubsdell] " Absolutely fundamental to grown-up audio mixing is the ability to work with discrete channels, something that seems entirely at odds with the magnetic timeline. "
I think I can kind of see where this is going...Using the keyword and tagging capability of FCP X, you could identify what each of the audio items in the jumble of a magnetic timeline actually is. You could tag items VO, Music, SFX, etc. ... and then on export, those tags are used to map to specific tracks in the AAF file.
I think you could well be right - this does look very interesting if somewhat mysterious at this point.
The issue for me would that it's a far more cumbersome way of going about things to have to tag each individual clip rather than just to drag them onto the appropriate track. But hopefully there is indeed an amazing new feature buried here ;-) So much still to wait for!
[John Pale] "I think I can kind of see where this is going...Using the keyword and tagging capability of FCP X, you could identify what each of the audio items in the jumble of a magnetic timeline actually is. You could tag items VO, Music, SFX, etc. ... and then on export, those tags are used to map to specific tracks in the AAF file."
There's an explicit clip metadata setting for 'audio role'.
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.
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Very interesting. I have not tried FCP-X yet, so I had no idea that even existed. Seems like a logical way to address the problem, given the importance of tagging in X.
I've been editing for network/broadcast since 1998 (I suspect you have been at it quite a bit longer). Way back then, I took my first Avid course at a training center in NYC. I had done linear editing on corporate/industrial material for several years prior. The Avid class consisted of me, a very green freelancer, and the entire editing staff of a legendary, top rated network newsmagazine, that is still on the air today. Every single one of them absolutely hated everything about Avid and non-linear editing in general. Not without justification. In 1998, the tools were primitive and barely functional by today's standards. It was very difficult for the instructor to teach, since he got vehement resistance on just about everything he tried to introduce. These people were at the top of their field, but by the time the class finished, I felt bad for them. If they couldn't adapt, they were finished, and they knew it. FCP X might really be a hopeless pile of steaming poop...I haven't tried it for myself yet, admittedly, and you have... but if the new approach is where NLE's are going to be headed, you need to force yourself to keep an open mind.
Really Simon? So on the whole you like her? I know there's some great stuff in there, it's a bit like a chocolate cake with bits of glass and barbed wire sticking out or something -
I've only had one stint with it at a mates facility, what do you think of the timeline? Does it drive you crazy, or do you think there is valid process in there? It started to drive me crazy pretty fast, clips on V2, yes, I am refusing to call it second storyline, automatically attaching.. That kind began to drive me up the walls, just staring at those bloody connectors snapping in.. Sorry I'm back to my rant.. But like, there's no spaces you know? Where's me spaces? I want me spaces, I want to be able to throw clips down the end without having to hold down the P key for half the edit session.. Or, am I not seeing a different methodology? Do you think the timeline methodology is valid, basically? Me very curious to hear ones thoughts..
promo producer/editor.grading/motion graphics
Why do you have to hold down P to keep position mode?
I've been toggling into it. Between turning on Position Mode, turning off Skimming, and using N to toggle snapping on and off, I've had a very similar experience to timeline maneuvers in 7, if not identical. When I want it. But frankly, I've been ok using the new edit shortcuts and doing it their way too. I know I'm faster doing it their way, way faster.
I am a little puzzled by storyline connections above, but so far it's not hurting anything.
Director/D.P., Los Angeles
You know, I typed "their way" in my response above, and it struck a connection in my brain.
In many other endeavors, especially sports, it's widely held that there is somebody that knows how to do it better than you, and you will pay money to learn their tricks.
Beginning editors usually have no problem subscribing to this idea, they pay Ripple Training and Lynda and a zillion other people to be taught how to do edit "the best way" or "the fast way" or just simply to be able to edit at all. But somewhere along the line you get good and fast in your own way, or simply in your own mind, and you stop looking to the outside and start complaining when something pushes you outside that.
Anyway, I've learned a new way with FCPX, and so far I'm pretty sure I'm faster. I'm definitely not any slower on the timeline and actually *editing*. Everything else I do like adding filters, importing, housekeeping is DEFINITELY faster.
Just my thoughts, nothing more.
Director/D.P., Los Angeles
Sorry, Aindreas, I know you're going to hate this but yes, I really do like it. And I think you could come to like it too.
I understand that you work in promos which is not that far from what I do quite a bit of, so here would be description of how the workflow pans out.
I'm guessing that you'll probably start with a music track, maybe a voice-over, maybe some sync dialogue and you'll cut all these together in a rough shape before you add cutaways and other details. There'll be loads of gaps and things missing but the basic shape and probably also the running time will get locked down as a first pass. And I think this is where FCPX is very much in tune with the way we work - we do make a "primary storyline" and then add in our "cutaways" as a subsidiary process.
I hate the apparently patronising "primary storyline" name but it turns out it's a good description of your basic underlying edit structure and the fact that that edit structure exists as a rippling timeline is exactly what you'd want for it. You want to take that chunk that you've cut and move it somewhere else - it's a snap to do because the whole sync thing is happening for you, you don't have to worry about moving stuff out of the way or track assigments or any of that kind of malarkey that takes up time. You go right ahead and move it.
Likewise it makes perfect sense for your "cutaways" (and we call them that where I come from so I don't object to that name quite as much) are connected to your underlying edit, which is actually what you want in pretty much all cases, or at least it works that way for me. Equally it's a great idea that the subsidiary "tracks" don't ripple because again this is exactly what you want of them - you want to be able to slide everything around and trim it freely without worrying about anything further down the timeline.
You obviously also work the way a lot of us do with a kind of scratch pad down the end of the timeline where you can work on variants and try stuff out - there's no reason at all why you can't still do this is FCPX. A nice thing about FCPX is that you can also make groups of clips into their own "storylines" which act like edits within the edit (and you can instantly pull them apart again when you want to), so once you've got a nice idea worked out down the end of the timeline you could turn it into a storyline and cut it into your master edit - but it's just another way of working and you don't have to do that.
I really like Compound Clips which are almost identical to the nests of old - but this time they actually work and could turn out to be one of the most powerful things in the toolbag, especially since it's easy to break them apart unlike nests.
I could go on, but I am really getting into this new way of working and will find it strange revisiting FCP7 tomorrow morning and remembering how much less easy a lot of the editing tasks are there!
I think the big problem is that a lot of people are looking at FCPX and they just can't see how it would fit into their editing style and I absolutely understand that it's almost impossible to fathom at first glance. You just need to work through all the concepts and start to find the ones that work for you - just as with any NLE you might be used to there are loads of alternative ways of doing things and some you'll never use and some you'll wonder how you ever lived without.
Come on over to the dark side - it's really not that bad once you give in to the evil empire ;-)
I echo your sentiments Simon. I've been using it since it was released and though I miss a few things FCP 7, especially being able to use my Blackmagic MultiBridge Pro 2, I am loving FCPX and it's direction. I am already editing with it using AG-Af100 and GH1 content. I go back to FCP 7, and already feel like it's holding me back because in just a week I'm working so much more efficiently in X (even on 1 monitor - I know one monitor [laptops don't count for this statement]).
I really want to be able to have OMF and/or XML operations for our sound to be properly done. Though I am very curious about how Python will play into export capabilities down the road.
For now, I am going to try and use FCP X (and Motion 5) as much as I can, but not give up on my trusty FCP 7.