How do we feel about Final Cut Pro X?
The reactions in the first 24 hours to the release of Final Cut Pro X are somewhat mixed, with a good deal of the “Apple skepticism” that has rightfully followed their constant push to be cutting edge (such as iPods with inaccessible batteries that will last forever but don’t, or the irony of Apple beginning as an effort to hack AT&T’s phone monopoly for free calls, and decades later partnering with them in near monopolistic practice with the iPhone ).
This time the FCP X version has eliminated adjunct programs under the premise that the program itself will do it better. Based on that alone, I may keep FCP 7 for a while. The new program eliminates a DVD-authoring function, a move that seems both premature (I’m going to New Orleans this weekend to screen my doc, and they insist on using a DVD; we are also getting volumes of requests for when our DVD release is coming). Apple seems to want to force the notion that DVDs are dead and the future of film is digital viewing on (iPod/iPhone/iPad/Apple TV).
That’s where Apple’s quest for world domination bumps up against its penchant for innovation. I would rather seel my work via digital downloads, but an awful lot of people are perfectly happy with their DVD players, and will be for a while.
But, on the other hand, it seems true that Apple targets for users in the 25th to 75th percentile. They’ll let iMovie suffice for the low end, and concede the high end to Avid and potentially others. The loss of Color, for example, seems an acknowledgment that most people color-correct in FCP anyway.
But the first 24 hours since release is getting the discussion going. Other reactions to FCPX, starting with Ars Technica:
(Larry) Jordan doesn’t entirely agree with Apple’s assessment of the industry, though. The new color editing and grading tools, including what Jordan calls “power windows,” may replace Color for most users. But, while the built-in audio editing, processing, and effects are top notch, Final Cut Pro X just isn’t capable of multi-track audio recording. Also, Jordan said, “the inability to apply effects, volume, and pan settings to a track is a huge omission.”
And while Final Cut Pro—along with Compressor 4—excels at delivering video for distribution via the Web, the industry still relies on discs for delivery and sales. “Apple is fixated on downloads,” Jordan told Ars. “However, the world of media is using DVDs and Blu-ray to make money. I am personally very disappointed that Apple did not continue DVD Studio Pro.”
For users who still need to deliver projects on disc, they will have to use the existing version of DVD Studio Pro or consider Adobe Encore.
Most vexing for some pro users, however, is the lack of tape control for import and export. While Final Cut Pro X has some capacity to import from tape, there is no ability to control output to tape. Final Cut Pro X is largely built on the assumption that footage is captured digitally and output directly to some digital form. Editors that work in the broadcasting industry in particular, where tape is still regularly used, may not be able to work with these limitations. Again, the ability to install FCPX while still holding on to and using FCP7 will be advantageous here.
Here’s The Candler Blog:
Final Cut and Avid were written around videotape workflows. Not only are fewer crews shooting tape today, but even film can now be laid off to digital files and stored on massive hard drives. The age of tape is one of precision and tangibility, with media that could be labeled, handed off, shelved, retrieved, and so on. But it is coming to an end.
We are entering the age of tapeless editing, one which asks us to be more stringent about backups, more exacting about our organization and more considerate about our space limitations. It is unclear how robust Apple’s file management is in FCP X, though they did show off some cool tricks involving keywords and smart folders. The Las Vegas demo focused heavily, in fact only, on tapeless workflows, which should be a sign of great things to come. Tape has become a hindrance that manages to slow down workflows even when it is extricated from the process. If FCP X can drag the champions of tape into the next era of post-production, then it’s worth not only every penny, but every headache that is sure to come on everyone’s first project.
And, finally, MacGasm:
FCX is going to be great program that’s undoubtedly the best thing for most FCX buyers right out of the box. For the proshops and powerusers that need more from it, they’ll hang on to Final Cut Pro 7 for the near future. My guess is many users will be slow to fully transition, but all eventually will. And at $299, even the skeptics will be buying it in June.
I’m looking forward to the excitement of moving into the new Final Cut X. Not so much looking forward to “packing up the old house” — relearning where everything is, redoing all of my workflows I’ve developed over the last ten years, converting old projects, etc. Despite some things I may miss about “the old place,” it’s clearly a move for the better, and you can’t beat the price.