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One day with Final Cut Pro X and I'm convinced...

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Michael Garber
One day with Final Cut Pro X and I'm convinced...
on Jun 26, 2011 at 10:37:40 pm

In it's current iteration, I could never use FCP X in a professional environment. I'm not one of the "whiners," just a facility owner and editor stating a very obvious fact. I've been editing with FCP since version 1.25--so 11 years with the software. I know it inside and out. I chose FCP to be the heart and soul of my edit facility, and now I have no idea what to do next.

I think we all have to accept that Apple has effectively abandoned the pro video editing market. I am strongly considering a move to Avid, Premiere, Lightworks, etc. if I plan to continue to make a living through post-production. That much was made clear to me yesterday in a private message I read from a prominent FCP specialist. No names, but trust me, he's someone who would know.

The biggest problem that I have with the new version of FCP is the negative perception that it has created in the industry. Around 2002-2004, I worked in sales for an Apple Value Added Reseller in L.A. that built and installed FCP systems. I was brought in to sell, install, and most importantly, evangelize the software. I can honestly say that I fought tooth and nail to build respect for the software, not only as a salesperson, but also as an editor, online editor, and colorist.

Back then, we worked closely with Apple, and I noticed that they were very good at promoting their own product. Their reps were extremely well-versed and when a new version would come out there would be tons of demos explaining the new features. They did a great job with their PR and it worked out very well for them (and me)! This time, however, none of that happened. I find it very disconcerting and actually quite upsetting.

Yesterday, I spent eight hours with my pal, "Edit Doctor" Mike Nichols, learning the ins and outs of a program that is buggier than anything I've ever used. We struggled and, as expected, were aghast at most of the changes. To be fair, there were some changes that we really liked! Command-6 to go straight to color correction--brilliant! Searching for clips in the timeline and then having the ability to view them or add a color correction to all those clips--WOW, finally! The render engine is leaps and bounds better on SD footage (although, it did strip interlacing from anamorphic DV footage on a 4x3 timeline when exported to QT).

On the flip side, the new color adjustment tool is not so great when looking at a vectorscope to manually balance levels. Lack of a viewer window--nuts. No ability to type in timecode on clips in the "viewer"--crazy nuts. Command-G before adding a fade on a graphic--freaking insane. You can't mark an in and out on the timeline (only clip-based?)--I'm ready for the madhouse. **Big ol' disclaimer**: I admit that there is the rather large possibility that I've overlooked some features or keystrokes and perhaps there are better ways to do these tasks in FCP X.

That said, FCP 1.25 didn't crash as much as this, and that was on OS9 and a G4. For the record, I'm using FCP X on a fresh 10.6.8 install on an SSD drive and a Mac Pro 3,1 with 8GB of RAM. Even the effect we all make fun of, the "Ken Burns" effect, crapped out in major ways. Playing a standard text title over DV footage before rendering stuttered and spewed. Strange things are afoot in the timeline, indeed. In FCP 7, I can immediately start making cuts on picture and audio, moving and dragging clips around at my own will. Now, how do I even make 2-frame audio dissolves? I never had a problem keeping anything in sync before, and if clips went out of sync, there is that trusty number with the amount of frames out of sync. Right-click and *poof*... back in sync. I've never needed a magnetic timeline, but I can see how it could come in handy with extensive timelines.

Ultimately, I don't hate that Apple added any of these features. I just wish that they were *options*, not mandates. For me, the "open" timeline in the old FCP is what really made it revolutionary. For me, it solved the bottleneck problems that were inherent to flatbed editing and then adopted in Avid's timeline. Your sequence is your workspace. Place clips anywhere. It's up to you--you control what goes where. I'm sure if I knew all of the new version's intricacies, I'd be pretty fast, but the problem is that Apple never put the time in to giving industry demos before it came out. It was just sort of dropped from the sky with a note that says, "don't blame us."

To any FCP X defender (or FCP X hater hater), you have your right to endorse the software. I know I did just that for 11 years because I honestly believed that FCP was a great alternative to Avid. Trust me, I was scoffed at by many an Avid editor and facility engineer for my FCP-geekdom. I never hated Avid; respect from a distance was more like it. I just felt that I could work better and more efficiently in FCP given the workflow of my jobs.

With that, I would love to have an FCP X / FCP 7 shootout. And by that, I mean just a comparison of brass-tacks editing, which includes logging the footage, editing it, and adding a color correction pass with a producer or director sitting behind you. I would want to compare footage on a project that uses timecode intensively, some basic JPG moves, basic lower 3rds--essentially a real world challenge. I'd stay away from comparing any of the special new features and would not consider an output to tape or traditional online part of the shootout. I'm talking about a comparison between basic timeline editing, which I feel is the true heart of the software and what we do as editors. As soon as there are people out there who know the software inside and out, please let me know and let's do some tests.

If I'm wrong about FCP X then I'll be happy to take my lumps. If I'm not wrong about it... well, that will be another story. Highlight text graphic, "Sincerely, Michael Garber" on non-connected second storyline layer. Command-G. Command-T. Fade to black.


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Michael Garber
Re: One day with Final Cut Pro X and I'm convinced...
on Jun 26, 2011 at 11:08:14 pm

Thanks! :)



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Jamie Franklin
Re: One day with Final Cut Pro X and I'm convinced...
on Jun 26, 2011 at 11:41:33 pm

Well said. They ripped out the heart, gave us a lump of coal and stuck a pace maker on it and said - you'll like this better...


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Carsten Orlt
Re: One day with Final Cut Pro X and I'm convinced...
on Jun 26, 2011 at 11:54:42 pm

Excellent post!

When I read that Randy Ubilos (correct spelling?) had the idea how to organise footage when he came back with his holiday footage sums it up...

2 things I just can't get my head around:
why did they bother to show up at the NAB supermeet with all execs in tow?
did they really think that in the moment professional editors and post-houses see the whole software nobody would notice...

and what is actually the revolutionary thing about FCPx?
so far I only see restrictions (haven't bought it as I don't easily spent $300 for something I don't need) compared the the previous version. And all this metadata talk is just that: talk. If I can only apply keywords and one note to a clip or section thereof I don't see metadata at work...

Cheers
Carsten


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Jamie Franklin
Re: One day with Final Cut Pro X and I'm convinced...
on Jun 27, 2011 at 12:28:04 am

[Carsten Orlt] "why did they bother to show up at the NAB supermeet with all execs in tow?"

This is the whole - emperor has no clothes - thing going on. I think a lot of us built an expectation and feel duped. They unveiled this (to the world of professionals) at an event called the National Association of Broadcasters...

They should have done this as a stand alone Apple only event and while promoting it's upcoming released features, unveiled the truth of it's future...

This was a Trojan Horse way of doing things...Bad Apple! Rotted to the core...


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Sam Cole
Re: One day with Final Cut Pro X and I'm convinced...
on Jun 27, 2011 at 2:11:51 am

[Jamie Franklin] "They unveiled this (to the world of professionals) at an event called the National Association of Broadcasters ..."

So I am a little confused here. I saw the video and read the reports. There was a standing ovation; what was that for? I understand that the room was full of professionals. Really? Were they 'ovating' the way the folks on stage presented? Were they 'ovating' the quality of the overhead projector?

Well as The Who once wrote "We won't get fooled again"

Sam Cole
On line Mastering Facility
FCP, Avid, Adobe
Sydney, Australia


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Jamie Franklin
Re: One day with Final Cut Pro X and I'm convinced...
on Jun 27, 2011 at 2:29:53 am

[Sam Cole] "So I am a little confused here. I saw the video and read the reports. There was a standing ovation; what was that for? I understand that the room was full of professionals. Really? Were they 'ovating' the way the folks on stage presented? Were they 'ovating' the quality of the overhead projector?"

Oh brother...

It really has been like banging your head against a wall here the last couple of days...the cherry picking (just for the sake of arguing) has been astounding...

I'm sure you'll figure it out...maybe start from the beginning of my post...


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Sam Cole
Re: One day with Final Cut Pro X and I'm convinced...
on Jun 27, 2011 at 2:46:41 am

Well Jamie - I understand your post(s).

What I am having trouble coming to terms with is WHY over 1000 professional editors in a room with FCPX as a 'sneak peek' would give a 'standing ovation' to something that most people NOW say is a 'consumer product'.

It seems to have brought false hope to many.

Sam Cole
On line Mastering Facility
FCP, Avid, Adobe
Sydney, Australia


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Jamie Franklin
Re: One day with Final Cut Pro X and I'm convinced...
on Jun 27, 2011 at 2:48:36 am

Maybe I used my analogy wrong? What I meant by the emperor has no clothes was the product itself *appeared* and was *presented* as something to get excited about, but once dropped and we got our hands on it...oh boy..


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David Roth Weiss
Re: One day with Final Cut Pro X and I'm convinced...
on Jun 27, 2011 at 3:02:42 am

[Sam Cole] "What I am having trouble coming to terms with is WHY over 1000 professional editors in a room with FCPX as a 'sneak peek' would give a 'standing ovation' to something that most people NOW say is a 'consumer product'.
"


Sam,

The pent up demand to see software that would actually run on all cores of a MacPro had been building up for years, and it had everyone giddy with excitement and completely spaced-out. They all got the munchies for any sweet thing Apple would show them at the sneak preview, and so the audience went wild.


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

Don't miss my new tutorial: Prepare for a seamless transition to FCP X and OS X Lion
http://library.creativecow.net/weiss_roth_david/FCP-10-MAC-Lion/1

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


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


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Andrew Wilson
Re: One day with Final Cut Pro X and I'm convinced...
on Jun 27, 2011 at 3:56:38 am

The standing ovation was because we thought we were being shown all these great features that would be there IN ADDITION to all the parts of the tool we professionals use everyday.

Now what I really would like to have seen was "Hey - we've got 64 bit editing! Background Rendering (No more progress bars)! A great new 'magnetic' timeline that helps keep everything in sync! Improved Nesting!

...and here are some more great features: No more multi-cam! You can't open your old projects! We'll make all your media management decisions for you! We've eliminated OMF, XML, 3rd party support, Video Output! Support for tape! Soundtrack Pro! DVD Studio Pro! Color! Isn't that great! We're so proud!

I wish they would have made those announcements with the pride and vigor of the rest of their tease at the SuperMeet. Believe me, the reaction would have been a lot different.

Andrew Wilson
WestView Digital Video & Design
http://www.westviewdigital.com


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Tony Laughton
Re: One day with Final Cut Pro X and I'm convinced...
on Jun 27, 2011 at 6:43:26 am

I agree Andrew, I was there at the NAB Supermeet and was also impressed thinking that all those cool things were additional to everything you know are basic requirements. Boy we were sure sucked in badly..


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Chris Harlan
Re: One day with Final Cut Pro X and I'm convinced...
on Jun 27, 2011 at 9:39:46 pm

There was also a lot of tension at the time because of what was missing at the demo. I wasn't there but I watched the video of the event as soon as it was available, and there was a lot of discussion about things that were not show. My very first thought was "how do I do audio splits with that magnetic timeline." Genuine concern was show by a number of editors I corresponded with/talked to. I even wrote Steve Jobs right after the event:

There is a great deal of fear in the professional Final Cut Pro community, after last weeks demo, that they have been abandoned. In certain circles, it is bordering on panic. I'm certain that that is not what the demo meant to engender, but, unfortunately, it has.

He, or one of his assistants, responded to me :

The feedback we are getting from the Pro customers is very positive.


That actually mollified me, and I came to believe that much of the program was still hidden. Not true.


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Mike Chedwick
Re: One day with Final Cut Pro X and I'm convinced...
on Jun 26, 2011 at 11:42:59 pm

Excellent points!


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Tangier Clarke
Re: One day with Final Cut Pro X and I'm convinced...
on Jun 26, 2011 at 11:56:33 pm

Great perspective without being a hater or promoter. Thanks. I've been a bit embarrassed by many of the comments from my fellow editors who've been acting like AVID folks when FCP came on the scene and progressed.

Also, I have yet to crash. I installed my FCPX on a MacBook Pro 2009 (one of the last that still had a PC Express slot) on a non-clean drive, right along side FCP 7, editing content pulled from a Panasonic AG-AF100 and a GH1. It's working quite well. Everyone's setup is different I guess.

Tangier


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Tom Wolsky
Re: One day with Final Cut Pro X and I'm convinced...
on Jun 27, 2011 at 12:08:55 am

I have crashed once, force quit once, and completely lost all connection to media that wasn't in the Event folder. That's just today. BTW, the lost connection to media was not related to a crash or after a crash.

All the best,

Tom

Class on Demand DVDs "Complete Training for FCP7," "Basic Training for FCS" and "Final Cut Express Made Easy"
Author: "Final Cut Pro 5 Editing Essentials" and "Final Cut Express 4 Editing Workshop"


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jason levy
Re: One day with Final Cut Pro X and I'm convinced...
on Jun 27, 2011 at 3:57:43 am

re the unlinked media - Is there any way to "relink" it? or was the project dead?



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john spirou
Re: One day with Final Cut Pro X and I'm convinced...
on Jun 27, 2011 at 9:00:57 am

Mine, crashed once or twice, but never lost anything...

And by the way, you use 10 years the old godd FCP , and trying to to do the smae things with the same way is WRONG.

You have to think different (if you want).

FCP is a mature OLd programm , that does YOUR job well.

BUT not mine... its painfully slow , FCPX is FASTER on everything.

I can import without transcode anything (many hours lost with FCP).

I can import any music, photo with a click .

I can find anything with a simple search.

I can have ALL of my media in EVERY project .

I can use or NOT magnetic timeline if i want .

I can make better adjustments in audio ( i didnt used Soundtrack PRo ever)... now i have Logic effects inside my NLE .

etc, etc....

There are more things i can do, and some i cant do...

I prefer to move on....


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alban egger
Re: One day with Final Cut Pro X and I'm convinced...
on Jun 28, 2011 at 8:37:32 am

I think what many forget: it´s a 1.0 release of a NEW software.
i already did 2 little projects with it. Both 1080p projects and my Macbook and my Macpro finally worked as they were supposed to.

I treid several things that I need and I found almost everything somewhere in FCPx. Different and I needed the manual, but i got it doen nonetheless.

There are still missing parts: e.g I NEED a vectorscope and a waveform. Don´t want to switch between them. Stuff like that. Little stuff that annoys some more than others.
Like the dissolve on a graphic which the OP mentioned. I use CMD-V to open the keyframes and in opacity use the fade-slider like I did in the old FAST. Works, takes a bit longer than CMD-T alone though.

At the same time there is huge potential for this software. Several new shortcuts are saving lots of time, audition....monster tool, etc.

Bottom Line: Every software can do everything - almost. Heck, people made good stuff with Premiere 4. Apple will listen and will bring upgrades soon. Hang in there folks.



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Aindreas Gallagher
Re: One day with Final Cut Pro X and I'm convinced...
on Jun 27, 2011 at 9:56:15 am

there's no longer any way to re-link media, apple "does all the work for you" if material is listed offline, there is no way to tell where that material originated, you have to just plug in drives until FCPX sees it and then it stops being offline - it doesn't tell you the material is back online - I haven't actually tested the last bit myself, but that's my understanding.


http://www.ogallchoir.net
promo producer/editor.grading/motion graphics


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David Lawrence
Re: One day with Final Cut Pro X and I'm convinced...
on Jun 27, 2011 at 4:07:29 pm

I haven't tested this yet but a colleague tells me it's even worse than that. He says that if you modify an asset - an animation or graphic, for example - the link breaks and there's no way to re-link it. Even if it has the same file name and duration. He's an animator and does this all the time. I do this constantly with graphics. Need to test but unbelievable if true!



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