An Editor’s Journey to Final Cut Pro X
Final Cut Pro X. Now there is a subject that will get conversation going in the video editing world.
The studio I was at was using FCP 7 when Apple released FCP 10. Unfortunately Apple completely destroyed the industry’s confidence in them at the same time. They screwed up royally. Still, I was hopeful. While FCP 10 was very rough around the edges at first, the possible benefits to our workflow and the potential for the software’s growth was very apparent to me. Other voices in the studio I worked in won out though and we went to Adobe. CS5.5 and CS6 served us for the following year and a half plus. In that time we learned a very important truth. Never, ever trust long form projects to Premiere and a few other apps in their suite. Period. Unfortunately most everything we did was long form. I couldn’t begin to count up the days and weeks of lost work time. One of Adobe’s strengths is the consistency of their software. It is also their greatest weakness. The recycled code they use just passes the major bugs from one version to the next and they never can take full advantage of current hardware.
So when the last of my patience was finally destroyed by yet another corrupted, failing project and export leading to a late deadline I plead with the producers to let me use FCP 10 which I had luckily continued to learn on the side. Having been very aware of all the issues we had had for so long, they agreed. The difference was like night and day. Stability was restored to my day to day edits and the speed at which i could work jumped. The advanced programing of FCP 10 allows it to have render and export times that are easily twice as fast as anything Adobe can do on the same hardware. Because of the playback engine rendering is rarely needed. I was able to do 20-30 min complex edits with multi cam, effects, titles, etc. without having to render at all. Just edit and export. That is a miracle for an editor. After a couple months the studio was so impressed with my results that they informed everyone that they were to switch over. This was met with mixed enthusiasm :) I proceeded to teach everyone the new NLE that shook up the industry and had once been cast away by many editors. For new editors, FCP 10 feels natural and easy to learn. For editors coming from the dogmatic systems of older NLEs it can be very frustrating letting go of certain technical editing habits. Depending how open minded they are. You need a how does it do attitude, not a, how can I make it do attitude. Whever I have to go back to FCP 7 or Premiere now it is almost painful. It’s like they purposefully made everything unnecessarily difficult to do. Apple definitely could have launched FCP 10 better but even with the blunder they accomplished something no other NLE maker could. They created the first real innovation in editing in 20 years. The shift to the magnetic timeline and metadata infused systems is almost as significant as the shift from linear editing to NLEs. The resistance from the industry and the insults hurdled at FCP 10 are the same as when the previous shift happened. The same as when FCP 1 broke into Avid’s territory at the turn of the century. No other NLE maker could have financially risked such a move. For taking that risk Apple has my respect. While there are still a few things that need upgrading to fit into more niche editing markets the vast usability is there. Their have been 9 updates since FCP 10’s release with many including large feature additions. The thing non users don’t know is that there is an incredibly deep feature set inside FCP 10 that no other NLE can have simply because of their design. Though, Adobe has consistently taken FCP 10 features and tried to tack them onto Premiere with every update since CS6 was released. It’s blatantly obvious too, they just try to rename the feature something else. With many of FCP 10’s features it is easy to see that they are just the foundation and what they will build on that foundation will be a force to be reckoned with.
You might call me a FCP 10 evangelist. This desire to share comes from the phenomenal experience I’ve had with FCP 10. For whatever the reason I’m doing it. I have a blog dedicated to the subject, and well as a Twitter account with over 850 followers, and a Google + page. I created a Facebook group which currently has 870 editors from every professional level of video post production. From your one man bands, to broadcast news editors, to television show editors, to independent and feature filmmakers. The group is consistently growing larger everyday. There are 5 or 6 other groups like it that I’ve found as well. It seems with Apple committing to the Mac Pro, many editors are finally giving FCP 10 its due and are finding that they love it. Time will tell how many editors are willing to get over their misconceptions and give FCP 10 a chance. Until they do though, I’ll just keep editing circles around them.