FCPX: Deciding for Myself

Final Cut Pro X. A name that's receiving more negative feedback than the Gap logo redesign. You can't help but see comments everywhere you go on the web. The new Final Cut Pro is definitely here. Too bad Adobe's CS5.5 release didn't get so much attention.

Have you read all the blogs? All the Twitter comments? It sounds like a disaster. People are yelling at the top of their web lungs that it sucks. But not everyone. Even the App Store shows that some love it and some hate it—there's no middle ground. Some just don't want to associate with an app they feel isn't out of reach to the consumer market. Others have legitimate issues. There is a learning curve to Apple's new paradigm of editing, but isn't every editing app on the market exactly the same? Editors have cried out for years to have something rebuilt, re-invisioned. Those same editors are the loudest voices now claiming they don't want change. Well which is it?

I bought Final Cut Pro X within a few hours of the release knowing full well I wouldn't do any paid jobs with it yet. We all still have Final Cut Studio installed and it's just as stable and usable as it was a few days ago. And I'm still going to produce my projects in FCP7 for the next few weeks. When will I make the switch? Will I make the switch? I need more time to test and learn.

On a side note, while now Walt states that FCPX is his reason for switching his production company to Adobe Premiere, he stated that the decision to do so had been planned for 6 months. That really means back in December, a full 4 months before FCPX was previewed at NAB, he decided to go the Adobe route. And that's fine. People like different tools. But he sure can't say now that it's all because of this release of FCPX this week. And has anyone noticed how much money Adobe is dumping into CreativeCow.net for ad space? I can barely find the content anymore. It's no wonder these guys are switching.

So what does this really mean to all the confused independent editors out there? Is everything these guys are saying true? Nope. Not all. There are a few features left out that mostly affect high end post houses that depend daily on EDL's and OMF exports to other apps or other teams. But other comments both of these guys made via their almost 2 hour rant-cast were based on their brief time in the app and lack of understanding or knowledge of how Final Cut Pro X works. Heck, this is day 2 for me with the app and I haven't spent enough time with the new system to formulate an opinion, more less give it a rating or review in the store. Granted there are a few things missing for a full studio to embrace it this week, but will that change in another week? Will everything be solved with Lion next month? I'm pretty sure it will be.

In the meantime, I'm going through FCPX very thoroughly. Over the course of the next week, I'm going to blog, comment, add in some tips and examples as I learn it, and get to a point where I can really make an informed decision if it's going to work for me or not. There's no doubt it will work for the single editor, or the small firm that wants to make editing easier and faster. And for people that have hit the ceiling with what iMovie has to offer, it's a great option. Music videos, weddings, DSLR productions, independent films, short commercials—all can work fine with Final Cut Pro X as is. But how can I work with After Effects? How can I add sound effects or mix in another sound specific app? I have a whole list of things that I want to know based on my post and VFX workflow. Hopefully it will be a learning experience that others can benefit from too.

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