Final Cut Pro X a dream for DSLR filmmakers
I was at the April 12, 2011 FCPUG meeting in Las Vegas and from what I saw, I couldn’t wait to get Final Cut Pro X. And yesterday morning when I saw a Tweet that Apple had released it on its App store, I purchased it right away, testing it out with Canon 5D Mark II footage shot at 1920×1080 24P on my way to Hawaii.
Before proceeding, I highly recommend reading “Final Cut Pro X – A first Look” by Steve Martin, where you can see plenty of screenshots. He provides a quick overview of the big picture of the software with a lot of screenshots — most importantly covering some of the major differences to Final Cut 7.
Final Cut X for artists not engineers (some initial thoughts)
The difference between the new software and the old was the lack of an intuitive interface — a design more for engineers than artists. Remember, for those out there screaming that Apple has betrayed them (see USA Today’s “New Final Cut Pro editing software draws mixed reviews”), the original version of Final Cut was a refit of Macromedia’s editing software. Apple — so long known for its intuitive design in their other software (and hardware) — lacked that strong feature in its own pro editing software, until now. By starting over from scratch, they’re going to make many people upset, because everything has to be built back up from an entirely new design.
Also, remember, AVID is the professional standard for motion picture editing and it is not easy to learn. Independent filmmakers took on Final Cut as a low end solution, since at the time AVID was tied to really expensive hardware costing in the high thousands.
What we have now is what Apple should have delivered over ten years ago — and if that means professional editors have to wait some time to get everything that they wish for (including multicam support, better audio editing features, and so on), then it’s worth the wait.
Why be upset when Final Cut Suite 7 already works for those who need it? If Apple wants to keep the so-called pro market, these other features will be added, later.
Final Cut X is for artists. And despite the fact that many rumors floated around that this is not a “Pro” version or an iMovie Pro, those rumors are likely based on the fact that Final Cut X allows users to import iMovie projects. Whatever. I can see why Apple wants to cater to this market, but since I’ve never used iMovie, I just overlook that and look under the hood — which is way more than iMovie (one person said it was like comparing a bicycle to a motorcycle). It doesn’t have all the features of the Final Cut Suite, but what it does have is intuitive and will likely meet most everyone’s needs.
Some people probably appreciated the rocket-science knowledge needed to use Apple Color, for example, but in the version incorporated into Final Cut X it’s intuitive. I’ve also used Premiere and Avid and found them clunky and non-intuitive to learn. The only software I’ve used that’s intuitive and powerful is Sony Vegas (PC platform only) — until now.
For those who want the old version, you’re welcome to it. I’m moving on, because my frustration level of not only using it, but also teaching it to beginning students in my intro to video class is way beyond my need to have all those complex engineering features. Final Cut X will be much easier to teach because of its intuitive nature while at the same time retaining application power.
For example, I was able to shape a mask over a person’s head, and by clicking on keyframes, I was able to map the motion of the person’s movement without any fuss or frustration—or a manual. I figured it out intuitively. I provide a screen shot here (lesson coming in a later post):
In addition, Final Cut X includes elements of Soundtrack Pro, so, in essence, you only need this version for $299 to do most DSLR projects.
With the new version, I find the intuitive nature of the software refreshing. It’s a new paradigm for editing and a joy to use.
I’m with Jared Abrams, who wrote on his Wide Open Camera blog “FCPX is one of the best things to happen to independent filmmaking since the DSLR. Dig it!”