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Full Resolution Screenshots of Final Cut Pro X and the Importance of Overcoming Lock-In

04.15.11 @ 3:00PM Tags : , , , , , , , , ,

Some have pointed out that many of Final Cut Pro X’s much-lauded new features are not really that “new.” This backlash seems to happen with every Apple product, perhaps out of response to the rapturous reception with which Apple fanboys greet the superlative-laced presentations. In the case of FCP X, the criticism is that FCP X’s list of new features (seen on video) have been around for a while in other editing applications (notably Premiere and Vegas). But a list of features does not an editing program make. It’s not what features you include in a piece of software, it’s how you design them. Read on for some thoughts on intuitive design and a few full resolution screenshots of the new Final Cut Pro X.

Intuitive design is not something you can quantify in a feature list, and as such in these discussions it often gets short shrift. I say this partially as a filmmaker and partially as someone who was a designer at MTV for three years of interfaces that are still used by hundreds of thousands of people every day. In response to the “it’s all been done before” critique, I replied with the following comment (slightly edited):

There were a number of digital music players that had similar features to the iPod before the iPod came out — but the iPod blew them out of the water with better design. NLE features are similarly design-dependent — after all, the programs all do similar things, on paper. I can say from watching the FCP X demo in person that there was a definite sense of “this is going to make editing much faster” — in a good way — in the room. Yes, Premiere and Vegas have active indications of adjusted audio waveforms and built-in color correction features. But Apple’s implementation was just much more elegant.

If Apple really wants to get people away from Adobe — and I don’t just mean in the NLE market, which they’ve got locked up, but in other creative areas, which they don’t have a stranglehold on — then, to go along with breaking their creative apps out of a suite (thus the new a la carte pricing), they’ll also announce a Photoshop competitor. You can bet if they did that it would have basically the same functionality as Photoshop, and could easily be criticized as such. But Apple’s version would have an actually intuitive interface that doesn’t hide incredibly powerful functions three menus deep after a right-click. I levy this criticism at Photoshop as someone who made his living with Photoshop full-time at MTV for three years. Is Photoshop incredibly powerful? Yes. Is it intuitive? No.

So does the new FCP debut a dozen never-before-seen features? Maybe not. But the magic of software comes in allowing people to do complicated things in the most simple manner possible. That, more than anything, is what Apple is good at, and that’s why folks are over-the-top about the potential of FCP X.

This discussion reminds me of something said to me at NAB by a friend. He felt like he should’ve learned Adobe After Effects because it’s an industry standard. But after trying and failing to animate something in AE, he booted up Apple Motion, and got it to work right away. He’d never had training in either, but Motion was more intuitive and that’s what led to him accomplishing what he set out to do.1 I’m an After Effects user and I’ve never touched Motion, but what he said struck me as being representative of the importance of intuitive design.

Now that we have full-resolution screenshots of the new FCP X, what’s an example of a design that’s more intuitive than an industry standard? To me, a great example is the new Color Board. Apple scraps the three-way color correction wheels that we’re used to in favor of this:

Just looking at the non-interactive screenshot, you can hazard a guess on how to use it: grab the white circle to adjust highlights, grab the gray circle to adjust midtones, and grab the black circle to adjust shadows. Move the icons on the X axis to adjust the hue and on the Y axis to adjust the brightness. Or maybe that’s saturation. Either way, to a novice it certainly makes more sense than this:

Professionals used to lift-gamma-gain will surely complain about the change, but there’s nothing stopping Apple from including a legacy three-way color correction interface as well (and there are always great plugins like Colorista if they choose not to). For any pro who might complain about having to learn a new system, I would point to Jaron Lanier’s book You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto. In it, Lanier talks about the inevitable but undesirable process of “lock-in,” wherein a flawed design becomes so standardized that moving onto something new becomes prohibitively difficult. Is our current process of color correction an example of lock-in? Here’s an excerpt from a review of You Are Not a Gadget (it was easier to quote than the book itself, which is, ahem, locked-in to my Kindle):

With the development of software, lock-in occurs when too many other programs become dependent upon it and the cost of change becomes prohibitive. The result is that sometimes bad design becomes permanent. Lanier cites the MIDI protocol as an example. In a limited set of situations, MIDI can be an empowering tool for musicians, but because its use has become so widespread, it has ultimately had a reductive influence upon digital music. The phrase he uses is “nuance-challenged” and, speaking of lock-in, he observes that “a thousand years from now, when a descendant of ours is traveling at relativistic speeds to explore a new star system, she will probably be annoyed by some awful beepy MIDI-driven music to alert her that the antimatter filter needs to be recalibrated.”

Is three-way color correction the MIDI of the post-production world? Ultimately, I don’t know if Final Cut Pro X’s new ColorBoard is superior to what we’ve got now, but I’m not going to argue against it simply because I’m used to something else. Three-way color correction is extremely powerful, but to take full advantage of the interface you need a separate control surface that can cost thousands of dollars. Maybe Apple’s ColorBoard will work better when all you’ve got is a mouse.

Apple has always been good at avoiding lock-in — that’s why they completely redesigned an application that already had a 94% satisfaction rate — and because of that, I’m looking forward to what will be frequently disparaged as “iMovie Pro.” Besides, if it turns out not to include the features that pro editors demand, I’ll happily use one of the other feature-rich NLEs already out there.

Here are a couple more full resolution screenshots of FCP X (click for un-cropped versions):

Whether you edit on FCP, Vegas, Premiere Pro, or Avid, what do you think of these screenshots — refreshing or worrisome?

Link: The Sound of 1,700 Jaws Dropping – Larry Jordan

  1. Ajit, tell me if I got that right. []


We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

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  • Randall Bennett on 04.15.11 @ 3:08PM

    Exactly right.

    This is why I think the iPad is really important.

    How freaking long have we been stuck with the menu system paradigm for computers? Since wordprocessors were invented back in, what, the ’70s? The menu system makes absolutely no sense for most cases. It makes ample sense if you’re manipulating a wordprocessing document, which is why I find it ironic that Microsoft first applied the ribbon interface to WORD of all places… I digress…

    Making professional video production a mass market thing is something that’s become my personal mission. I see Final Cut as making some good first steps. I’ll wait to try it before I can tell if it really accomplishes that goal.

    • Randall, I’m going to make it my “personal mission” to vehemently disagree with yours. :)

      Opening video production to the “masses” is a horrendous mistake, unless, of course, you’re sitting in an ivory tower and don’t actually have to deal with any of the fallout.

      Spend one day, just one, down here with me and you might change your tune. You’ve obviously never worked in small market broadcast. Everyone and their brother has iMovie and a $200 camera they got at Best Buy, and thinks that they’re a “videographer.” They have no idea that a :30 second spot should actually be :30 seconds long. They couldn’t tell an aspect ratio from a frame rate, and god help you if you have to explain safe title. I’ve been asked to (and then *made* to) air customer produced 2 MB .wmv 30 second commercial files received via email.

      So you can keep your mass marketing & availability of cheap video production tools, thank you very much!

      • Bryan, I think you’re barking up the wrong tree. Restriction should not come from the tool makers but from the gate keepers. You’re bosses are the ones to blame for lowering their standards. Just as DTP has given everybody the ability to design and print our professional flyers, doesn’t mean they can.

        • I don’t disagree with that point at all…

          • Randall Bennett on 04.15.11 @ 4:34PM

            Yeah Bryan, to be clear… I’m not saying EVERYONE as in like your mom and dad… I’m saying everyone as in anyone who has a passion. People should be able to experiment by maxing out a single credit card on gear. ($1500, we’ll say, not including computer).

            I’m not arguing for wedding videographers, I’m pulling for people like Ryan BK, and you and myself. Experimentation is awesome, amateurism isn’t.

          • Randall Bennett on 04.15.11 @ 4:36PM

            And for the record, I have worked in small market broadcast… as well as big market broadcast… as well as a lot of other places.

            Breaking down barriers isn’t about giving more people imovie, it’s about giving people with passion the ability to create.

            Once more for emphasis: Amateurism sucks, experimentation rules.

          • That I get. I might be a bit touchy about the subject today, was delivered another iMovie special: a :27 second long:30 with almost 2 seconds of black at the head (VO was still there, though), and atrocious audio leveling.

            So maybe a nice long weekend is what I need. :)

          • Bryan. My name is Alec and I am 16 years old and its always been my passion to be a videographer. I’m looking at colleges now and now that these programs have been released to the “masses” as you say I can actually start getting experience in this field however small it may be. So when you say, “Opening video production to the “masses” is a horrendous mistake,” I think thats a terrible thing to say. Not that you care about my future, but where would I be if i had to pay Adobe 1000 bucks to even START video editing at my age. The tools that videographers use are important, i’m sure, but thats not the hole story to making a good project.

          • Alec,

            I have no problem whatsoever with someone your age, who is truly interested in the craft, having access to reasonably priced editing tools. I think it’s great that you want to pursue this career, I really do, and I hope you do well! Just make sure you understand the foundations before you call yourself a pro & start sending commercials out. :)

  • One of my least favorite people in the world is New York Editor Guy. He usually has a beard, a gut, and can be heard squacking about FCP and telling you what you can’t do on your timeline. He is the king of Lock-In. Long live FCP.

    • In my experience, He and She are usually Avid users. It’s precisely that snobbery that’s just one of the reasons that turned me off Avid in the first place. But you know, close-minded individuals like that are a dying breed and it seems like Avid is chasing a diminishing demographic. I work mainly in Avid facilities here in Sydney. That attitude is pervasive. The editors are usually 40ish and above and dismissive of any paradigm outside of their own. What I notice about FCP users is that, no matter their age range, for the most part, their open to change and flexibility, especially if there’s little downside and plenty of upside. That came across pretty clearly from the reaction of 1500 pro editors in the room that night.

      • >>> on 04.15.11 @ 11:31PM
        In my experience, He and She are usually Avid users. It’s precisely that snobbery that’s just one of the reasons that turned me off Avid in the first place. But you know, close-minded individuals like that are a dying breed…

        You’ve never worked in a full-on production environment, have you? There are bells and whistles, then SHIT GETS SERIOUS…

        Media management is a FULLSTOP. There is chalk, then there is cheese…..FCP is cool…so is Premiere…but if you have stuff to manage……Avid…..nothing else comes close…..

        It’s all J and L cuts at the end of the day……or is what you are doing BREAKING THE BOX?

        Didn’t think so!………….media management…….the client is watching……sorry…working on an 85 part series…..can’t be f**ked with FCP……

        • An almost unintelligible emotional dirge. I’ve been working in post since the mid 90′s. So yes I have worked in a Professional media environment. Touch a nerve did I Mr ‘Superior Avid Editing Being’ ? Go away and fiddle with your Asymmetrical Trimming.

  • Mark Friesen on 04.15.11 @ 4:03PM

    I’m definitely not an editing professional, but I’ve done my fair share of editing (using Premiere Pro). And while watching the unofficial video of Apple’s FCPX presentation (see YouTube), the Apple guys got me smiling with every feature they presented: I had run into almost all of the problems they showed. And found a wonderfully simple solution for each of them (like the magnetic timeline).

    I guess lock-in also means simply getting used to all those little annoyances you encounter time after time, not knowing that these were broken pieces of software all along.

    I have started saving $299 :)

  • My first experience with NLE was with Media100 and I’ve always loved working in the timeline. The new FCP looks a lot different and I’m a bit nervous about the redesign with moving everything around. But the proof will be when we actually get to take it for a spin.

    • The truth will out once the final version hits the street. The version they demoed was a beta, after all.

  • My question is, “will it work?” About one out of three times I try to do something in Motion, it crashes. Simple things in Final Cut – like fonts – inexplicably fail to work and are impossible to fix. Render one portion of a timeline, and other portions suddenly need to be re-rendered. Compressor takes minutes to process a file one day, and then takes hours to process the next version of that same file the next day. I could go on …

    Ryan’s point about good design is perfectly valid, but design has to be backed up with reliability. I’d rather have a slightly awkward tool that I can count on than a beautiful tool that I have no confidence in.

    • Alex, I read your post and the clear implication is that you believe that FCS is an unreliable piece of crap…and that kind of absolutism makes me shake my head.
      I use FCP 7 and all of the other software in the suite every day. I have never had the problems you describe. I simply could not afford to base my business on such a poor foundation.
      I suspect that the 1700 people at the event the other night might share my wonder. Do you think any of us would use FCP on a daily basis if it was a buggy or inconsistent as you describe.
      If you are indeed having those problems the question I have to ask is “Why the hell are you using it?”

    • That’s interesting that you’ve had so many reliability problems with FCP, Alex. My experience has been just the opposite: Premiere Pro has been a frequent crasher (especially CS4) for me.

      The new FCPX might use an entirely different underlying architecture, in which case all bets are off when comparing it to the previous version…

      • Frustrated - help me, please on 04.16.11 @ 6:43AM

        I have come across to this debate before. And I’m not sure what to believe, but my own experience. I have had a lot of problems with FCP crashing – and a lot of people telling me it’s my fault, not the programs when I ask for solutions. This I don’t abide. A program is there to help me to get where I want, not to lead me where it wants me to go… and in the case of FCP – insane. Okay, I have edited on feature in Avid Media Composer 3.0, and another in FCP7 (both have 40 hours of material in HD). I have dedicated machines for both projects, the one I cut in FCP7 has the best iMAC available at the moment. I’ve been using FCP7 now for 15 months and have noticed worrysome problems that I never experienced with Avid. 1) The program crashes 4 times a day (when I do a full 12 hour work-day). Usually every crash destroys 15 minutes worth of work and takes 30-45 minutes to recover. I haven’t had a single second of work ever disappeared when using Avid in the past. 2) Rendering. Rendering. Rendering. Or seeing a bad resolution version with image skipping. Maddening (Yes, all the files are in ProRess codec). 3) Using some of the tools very often lead to a crash – I’m afraid to use the trimming tool. 4) Defining a new set of keyboard shortcuts disappears on a regular basis – I need to clear and reload the layout after that. A diversion and a pain in the ass. I’d rather not have the possibility to remap the keyboard than have it done poorly. 5) Fanboy mentality. It’s silly. And it reminds me of national socialists – all is good in the group, all is bad outside of it. But, the tactic seems to work.

        I chose to use FCP in order to use some plug-ins not available for AVID (and the price), and now half way in the project I feel I made the stupidest decision possible. I still hope I got this thing wrong and that there’s a way to make the problems disappear. Let me know if that’s possible or not!

        PS. Don’t point out that I might have corrupted data… I don’t… Even if I would have – why on earth should it allow the software to crash and get in way of the real work???

        • There’s obviously something seriously up in your setup somewhere. I echo Koo when I say I don’t experience the problems you’re having. I would recommend hopping over to and picking up their suite of tools and also talking to the guy that made them, Jon Chappell. I’m sure he’ll point you in the right direction. Also check out the forum. They’re a friendly bunch and Jon hangs out there too.

  • Excellent commentary. So often people (myself included) get locked into the way things are and not necessarily the way things could be. I laughed when people were complaining about FCP X being “iMovie Pro” and how it took features from iMovie, as if somehow that made it less professional. Does being a professional program mean it has to be complicated and convoluted? A good idea is a good idea, regardless of where it comes from, and if the new FCP X helps me edit faster and more efficiently (I’m currently a Premiere Pro CS5 user), then I’m all for it. These things are all merely tools to help you produce.

    • “Does being a professional program mean it has to be complicated and convoluted?” Yes it does :)
      And you can see that in the palpable fear it’s inducing in FCP “operators” out there on various boards on ‘teh interwebs’ So called pros hiding behind their lack of talent. “I’m Not Bruce” has a really good post about that on his blog.

  • I’m just getting back into filmmaking after a years long break, and will have to get a new NLE for my films and freelancing. (I am fully trained, tho, starting with AVID & Quantel back in college.)

    I look at Adobe CS5.5 and it’s awesome, and has everything (including a hefty price). But, it’s a bear, a big giant grizzly bear with a scary roar and swiping claws. It looks huge & completely daunting.

    FCPx on the other hand is more like a dolphin. Equally as powerful, but much more sleek and approachable. If I grab on it’ll take me for a ride. The interface seems brilliant, very intuitive. Upon these first looks, FCPx is the one I’d buy. If all the new products from the old FCP suite are just as powerful and intuitive, I can’t see myself investing in anything Adobe.

    Great commentary, btw, Koo.

  • Well written article. I’m a professional editor, using Quantel, FCP, EVS, CS5 and Avid.
    The non-intuitive interfaces of Avid, CS5 and FCP have always annoyed me. right-clicking through menus like it’s the 90s.
    I seriously doubt FCP/Avid MC will ever be as quick as Quantel for short turn-arounds, but FCPX is definitely taking some steps in the right direction. NLE interfaces in this day and age have to be designed for their specific usages, and not built upon age-old windows/MOS based interfaces that are based on word processing software. Looking forward to trying it out!

  • The words “Event Library” scare me. If FCP tries to takeover my scratch disk ala iTunes or worse iPhoto, I will FREAK OUT!

  • I started using Vegas before it was even capable of editing video. We recorded a few albums with it. When Vegas Video was released, being able to edit video in the same way as audio was amazing! The thought of Apple doing something unique and different with FCPX is what the designers of Vegas have done from the beginning.

    But how good is this FCPX anyway? It looks nice, but a few of the new features look like flaws. For example the part where two video clips are dragged together and the audio gets bumped to a new track where there is pre-existing audio. What if you already have eq or effects on either audio track? Using that feature would only mean extra work afterwards. Don’t they provide an option for the ends of clips to be crossfaded into one another? It would make a lot more sense.

    With Vegas filters can be added at multiple levels. Firstly you can add media fx which will be applied to the video file as a whole. So whatever you do with that file, those effects will be attached. I use this for setting levels mostly. Then there are clip effects for clips on the timeline. Next there are track effects which affect a video track as a whole. Great for adding grain to a complete edit. Both clip and track effects can be automated. You can also apply the same effect to multiple clips on the timeline using copy and paste.Lastly there are master effects which will appear on everything. For those who use safe colour plugins, this is where you would add one. Does FCPX offer this much flexibility?

    Another thing I noticed is that only half the audio waveform is displayed. Obviously Apple are trying to simplify things and do something different here, but if they don’t give you the option of viewing the complete waveform, I would view that as being another flaw. Peaks in audio aren’t as clearly visible when you’re only looking at one axis, making editing more of chore when it doesn’t need to be.

    The colour tools do like nice of course. But all the automatic features I would question. In the demo I would have liked to have seen the colour from one clip applied to another where there are faces in the shot. Not just a car on a race track which isn’t something most people would be shooting. In my experience with any software that does anything automatically, I’ve never ended up with the desired results. I think these features might be better suited to consumers who don’t that extra level of control.

    Overall it looks like a decent upgrade, but doesn’t include anything that would entice me away from Vegas. For a start, I’d be a bit lost without a measures and beats grid from music videos. Something no other NLE I know of has.

  • Interesting, though slightly misguided. I’ve been editing for some time now and have to say I’m excited about FCPX. However, I’m a bit nervous as well (probably unnecessarily). There are certain things I need to be able to do in my work that I can accomplish with FCP 7 (or 6 which I still use all the time), but after watching the demo online I have a million questions as to whether or not I’ll still be able to do all of those things. My guess is that my issues won’t actually be issues, but the uncertainty is killing me.

    You make some great points about lock-in, but your assessment of the 3-way CC in the existing FCP is a little bit off. The 3-way CC does not work with a control surface, that would be the separate app Color which does that. The 3-way CC is a powerful, but mediocre implementation of the kind of tool one would find in a stand alone color corrector. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that “three-way color correction [is] the MIDI of the post-production world.” The things one can do with Color, or Resolve, or a number of other high-end color correctors goes far beyond 3-way color correction. Also, Apple’s implementation of color correction in FCP is different than Avid’s implementation of Primary CC in Media Composer and Symphony. But is it intuitive? I would say that yes it is. Before using FCP I had never done much CC. I took one look at the 3-way CC and instantly knew exactly what to do.

    All that being said, I’m looking forward to the new approach that FCPX takes to color correction. It appears as if they took parts of Color and incorporated them directly into FCP. That is good news for someone like me who does a fair amount of finishing work, but has never had the time to sit down and learn how to use Color (or any other high-end CC system for that matter). I’ve depended heavily on FCP’s 3-way CC and Red Giant’s Colorista to do the bulk of my CC work.

    As to the “newness” of FCPX’s features I’ll say this, all NLEs do basically the same thing in basically the same way. They all borrow ideas from each other and they all carry on the editing tradition that has existed for over a century. I’m excited about the redesign and I can’t wait to try it out, but I really hope they’ve left room for user customization and given us the option to enable/disable various aspects of the interface and the automated tasks. Ultimately editing is done by a human being and it is that human being’s ability (or lack thereof) to create a coherent story that determines the success or failure of a film (term used loosely). The NLE is simply the tool that allows us to create that story. Does FCPX look like iMovie? Who really cares as long as it works well and allows me to create the story that I need to create in the most efficient manner possible.

  • “awful beepy MIDI-driven music”

    This frustrating phrase has an error that totally breaks the point the author is trying to make. He get it right that MIDI is a protocol, but then complains about the sound of it? MIDI describes (among other things) the notation and control data for a musical device, but not the sound.

    Saying that MIDI-driven music sounds beepy is like saying a cookbook tastes like paper.

    • This was just an excerpt that perhaps doesn’t do a good job of elucidating what Lanier was talking about, which is MIDI’s inability to reproduce the subtlety of something like a violin string.

  • Alex Zustra on 04.15.11 @ 9:06PM

    Removing the viewer will be a major productivity hit. I’m ok with with all the other changes, as long as i can disable some of them IE the automation crap on ingest, but removing the viewer is just unacceptable. Auditioning looks great but can’t replace previewing a clip in the view while being able to see the frame(s) which may juxtapose it in the timeline. Matching movements? What, do I have blindly guess at an edit point and throw it in the timeline before I can even start trimming it accurately? Hardly efficient.

    Change for the sake of change is not good change. There was nothing flawed with the source-monitor system.

    • My sentiments exactly. Some very cool new features in the update but no viewer is a no sale for me. Well, actually for the price point I’ll probably buy it. Anyway, over the last few years I’ve grown weary of the miracle driven Apple universe. I work on FCS every day and I had the grinding horror of a client who insisted I cut his piece in iMovie so he could learn it. What a nightmare interface. Sure it looks slick and fun but is imprecise and what looks quick is actually far less intuitive than loading a clip into the viewer and setting ins and outs. Sometimes things don’t change because they work.

  • I think you’re probably correct, but beyond that, the apprehension is understandable. I think everyone is a bit apprehensive about change because we worry Apple is going to ruin something great that we rely on, and that we’ve invested a huge amount of time and energy into. FCP needs upgrading, but Apple could sell us down the river, now that iPhones and iPads have become bigger business.

    Keep in mind though, there has been so much professional investment by the BBC et al, that it is really unimaginable that Apple would turn FCP into iMovie. It’s a crazy idea.

    Having watched the full demo, I worry more about other apps in the Studio than FCP. What about Color and Soundtrack, and Motion and Shake? Will they survive? I’ve invested a lot in these apps too. Again, it seems crazy that Color would simply be folded into FCP as some have suggested. We worry we are going to end up with less. But that’s not Color in FCPX. It’s more like the 3 way colour corrector effect has been replaced with something simpler and more capable.

    Over the years I’ve found lots to worry about from Apple, and for the most part, I’m happier if I mix together a tiny bit of faith and apathy.

    Initially, I was incensed that my Apple monitor didn’t have a power button, and then I realized it didn’t need one. “I guess that’s why it doesn’t have one. Nice reason.” Similarly, the iMac has long had the power button on the back. People typically think it’s because the designers think it’s visually messy, when in fact it’s about design, ie. how often do I turn my computer off. “Oh yah, almost never. Should the button I almost never use go on the front?”

    Which is not to say that Apple don’t screw up, but that much of our worry is pure anxiety.

    When FCPX analyses footage being ingested to stabilize shots, we think, “OMG! It’s going to automatically stabilize and unnecessarily degrade the image and I don’t even know if I have an override!” When the panic subsides, we realize the key word is ‘analyzes.’ It doesn’t stabilize the shots. It pre-calculates them. This could, of course, cause problems, but the panic is pure worry about worst case scenarios.

    I think everything will be fine. FCPX is exciting. The conflicts among designers mashing up Shake and Motion now seem like a good thing. They may actually be creating a new, better approach. I can’t imagine anything is going to get worse. I understand iMovie once got worse, but who the fuck uses iMovie? Just because iMovie was looking for a reason to exist in a Final Cut Express world, there’s no reason to be traumatized for life and question whether Apple really believes in this ‘computer’ malarky.

    Quintessential lock-in: QUERTY. We use a keyboard layout that was designed to prevent people from typing too quickly and glomming up the typewriter keys. The only way out is speech recognition.

    • Absolutely! I was actually going to use QWERTY as an example in this post, but didn’t get around to it because my fingers were too tired from using an ancient, locked-in keyboard layout.

    • “Again, it seems crazy that Color would simply be folded into FCP as some have suggested. We worry we are going to end up with less. But that’s not Color in FCPX. It’s more like the 3 way colour corrector effect has been replaced with something simpler and more capable.”

      Agreed. It drives me crazy, really crazy that I keep seeing, by respected Industry commentators as well as regular joes on other boards that “Color is gone” “FCPx has absorbed Color into the application” etc etc.

      Like they have seen or heard anything FACTUAL on the subject. The new tools inside FCP-X are a vast improvement over the existing ones, but are in no way a replacement for specialist CC software and the specialist who knows ins and outs of the art and how to achieve it.

      I love Color, I like the way the GUI works. Sure, like all things it can be revved and improved, but Editors who complain “it’s not like FCP” should stay in FCP and continue to use the 3-way or Colorista. If you specialise in CC you’ll appreciate a dedicated gui that’s up for the job. I for one really hope Color sticks around.

  • I really hope they swap around the order of those colour adjustment tools. The icons should be Shadows, then Mids, then Highlights. What they have there in screen shot is counter-intuitive to what every other colour adjustment tool out there has settled on. I can easily see peeps instantly grabbing the wrong gui element simply because of body memory. Other than that, I really like what I see.

    • It is S/M/H — look at the listing at the bottom. They’re out of order because they’ve been dragged into those positions to adjust hue, I believe…

      • hmm.. Definitely a work in progress beta. I was referring to the ‘lick-able’ gui buttons in the coloured area. I just watched the demo again and the screenshot doesn’t match :)

        In the demo, the radio buttons are G/H/M/S and the lick-ables are G/H/M/S.
        But In the Screenshot the radio buttons are G/S/M/H and the lick-ables are G/H/M/S

        I just hope they will settle on radio buttons that are G/S/M/H and lick-ables that are also G/S/M/H.
        That way it’s both internally consistent, and consistent with the ‘consensus’ of the way colour tools have been laid out since I can remember.

        • I agree G/H/M/S is the wrong way around. The funny thing is that the timeline zoom slider has always been the wrong way round in FCP and is just the same in iMovie. Yet looking at the FCPX screenshots, it looks like they’ve switched it to be correct.

  • Nobody has mentioned this sticking point thus far: if I’m convinced to switch to FCP after years using Adobe on a PC, I’m going to have to buy a Mac.

    $299 doesn’t seem so attractive when you add in the cost of buying a new machine at twice the cost of an equivalent PC – plus paying for Mac versions of AE and PS (at the same price figure in £ as in $ by the way! FFS).

    And then there’s the anxiety that were I to buy a Mac, would I be able to fix/upgrade/rebuild it myself, as I can with PC?

    I know: hackintosh is the answer, right? Still seems a bit of a punt until it’s proven.

    For now, it will take some convincing for me to part with a couple of thousand quid when I could just put up with the minor annoyances that PPro throws up at me from time to time (less often with CS5). I’d rather have some nice new lenses…or maybe even a holiday.

    • >>I’d rather have some nice new lenses…or maybe even a holiday.

      You just answered your own rather pointless question. Nobody is going to rape you if you don’t buy a Mac with FCPX. Did somebody tell you they would? Are you worth raping?

      Because if you are…………………..

      Ummmm…why don’t you just get on with your current kit? Clearly it’s kicking ass…

      Can I say problem solved? Can i say STFU?

      • Hello jdr

        Yes you can say STFU, but I’m afraid I don’t know what you mean.

        Also I’m a bit perplexed about the tone of your post; I think you’ve got the wrong end of the stick. All I meant to say is that if I were to decide that FCP was the way to go, as I may well, then there are a lot of other costs to consider.

        I can see lots of advantages to using FCP – not least that I would fall in line with other people that I would like to be able to collaborate with more easily; I’d quite like to switch to a Mac sometimes, but the cost is prohibitive. This is a pragmatic concern and nothing to do with being partisan, which I don’t have time for.

        Can I say – someone else back me up here – that your language is extremely offensive, inappropriate and uncalled for? Clearly I’ve inadvertently touched a nerve somehow, but come on: this is just unacceptable.

        • Graham, pay jdr no mind. Just spank him, put his nappy back on, put a pacifier in his mouth, and put him back under the bridge with the rest of the baby trolls.

  • Ryan, that’s exactly what I wanted to say. Thanks for paying attention.

    I think the biggest difference with the relatively new Apple ethos and that of companies like Adobe or Avid is that an upgrade should not just be about adding features but to make the program better at serving its task. I think Apple listens less but pays more attention. Nobody asked for changes to how editing happens within FCP because we were/are generally happy. Apple did it anyway. I’m so glad they did, magnetic timeline is a no brainer. It is one of those classic why did I not think of that moments. Same with auditioning.

    I admit I might be what one would consider an Apple fanboy but I really don’t believe I have a bias when I say that Apple works harder to get what users need and they have the balls to right the trajectory mid-course.

    I have no doubt that FCPX will be buggy. Be prepared for that. Early versions of Motion were buggy.

    Also, I’d suggest everyone to look at the imovie piddling in your applications folder, I did after seeing the new FCPX. I was surprised that I actually quite enjoyed the process. I couldn’t edit a complicated project but for straight cuts, it was sweet.

  • Dustin Ebsen on 04.18.11 @ 9:38AM

    Ok, I am the old dude with 25 years of editing experience from cutting on Movieola to linear GVG-51 to Avid and FCP7 and Motion. I am the least “locked-in” old dude you could meet, but some things really bothered me about the sneak peak presentation by the re-designer of FCP7 now FCP-X. I went from Avid promo editing many years on The Simpsons, King of the Hill, Seinfeld and others to adopting FCP in it’s early stages though all the crashing, file size limitations and I became much faster on FCP than Avid. The interface has never really bothered me, just show me the buttons or menus and it’s pretty much the same, you are a painter with different bushes. You make shit shine on time or you go home.

    I do a lot of finish work and I look at a lot of timelines and they do not scare me no matter how f–ked up the editor was. At the NAB Apple FCP-X presentation the designer had shown a timeline from FCP7 of multiple video audio tracks with clips kind of all over the place and said it was confusing, then he displayed a new FCP-X timeline and said “… now this makes more sense.” It reminded me of the old Media100 one window interface and the pitch line that sure it was completely uncompressed video but the interface was unusable. So does this mean there are only two video and two audio track visible? All additional tracks or clips in the timeline are nested? It looks that way and oh great your clip with be placed magically or should I say magnetically in the timeline where IT thinks it should go. My experience with auto anything is… please allow me to TURN IT OFF. I love FCP7 with all it’s quarks and great plug-ins. I want to see the timeline and ALL THE CLIPS in their relationship to timing and tracks. I want all the third party plugins to work. I want a better machine control interface with moving timecode window and a frikin eject button. Sixty-four bit is great, background rendering, ok. The color correction improvements, I will have to wait and see but if they can give it secondary color like Avid Symphony that would rock.

  • In the end, it’s not the tool being used, it’s the talent using it. I’ve been on both FCP and Media Composer, both have their quirks that happen to user A and not user B. As a professional you learn the work arounds and move on without your client ever knowing something went wrong. My advice to those deciding on which system to buy; pick one and train yourself to be extremely proficient on it, whatever your work flow. Both Avid and FCP are powerful tools and the true test is in your own creativity.

  • kisekka rajab on 04.19.11 @ 7:29AM

    This is a good work your are doing. Thank you. My problems is getting Final cyt prox as well as its tutorials since am new to this. ant one out there please get me the software.

  • Russell Steen on 04.19.11 @ 9:27AM

    In the early days of the internet I used to go to private chat rooms and have conversations with the worlds best cinematographers who freely gave tips and advice to those of us then trying to improve our knowledge base. As soon as the anonymous contributions became inappropriate and off topic, the most valuable contributors disappeared, leaving only the crude and immature to boast and snipe at each other. Keep on topic and learn, even from those you don’t agree with and forums like this will be a valuable resource to you. The speed at which new technologies change the way moving images are captured makes being able to share information with peers a valuable asset. Please don’t pee in the pool.

  • I’m loving the new features.
    We were sitting here watching the NAB presentation and just going “ohh! yeah!”, “So cool.. ” and “OMG that’s genius!”

    as long as they haven’t removed functionality from FCP6/7 (and hopefully give an upgrade price for previous FCP6/7 owners) than i’m definitely getting FCPX.

  • Ton Guiking on 04.19.11 @ 11:36AM

    As said by others: the loss of the viewer is a very, very bad decision, in my eyes. Now we have these small stamps, combined with the browser. I usually work with two monitors and being able to have the browser on the right monitor, and the viewer and canvas at the left, worked great for me.

    • I couldn’t agree more. FCP always had a customizable desktop anyway! Why not leave the choice to the user?

  • I am 30 years old. I graduated from film school 10 years ago this August. While I was studying I learned 2 ways to edit movies. The good ole Steenbeck and Avid Media Composer.

    Great films and documentaries were created on a Steenbecks and Moviolas. We must not forget. The reason we use these softwares is to tell stories.

    One of the biggest hinderances to the filmmaking process has been computer programmers. Computer programmers have created some of the most sophisticated tools for us media creators to use that people have never used before. 10 years ago the notion of shooting our movies on little digital cards, popping it into our 1000 dollar imac and going to work was not even fathomable.

    In my career thus far I have used Media Composer, Adobe Premiere, Vegas Video, Final Cut Pro, After Effects and DVD Studio pro to create all sorts of content for all sorts of people. There have always been features in Vegas I wish were in FCP, features in Premiere I wish were all in FCP. Even more recently, features in Imovie i WISH were in FCP, like rolling shutter removal.

    I know I have days working on an edit where I stare more at pixel numbers and compression settings than what the people in my footage are saying. I think the point of creating nonlinear editors for us to work in should be to put as little between what we want to say in our story and the audience.

    Imagine one program you could do your animating, editing, sound design and output. To me, from what I have seen in the various Blogs about FCPX, it is what Apple is attempting to do.

    I really used to love Vegas Video. I used it as my sole video editing program forever until enough producers and directors nearly stopped working with me because I wasn’t using Final Cut Pro. Just another example of having a program that is also a “buzz word” can make the difference on creating the product.

    I cut great movies on the Steenbeck, on Vegas Video, and on Final Cut as well every other software out there. Heck, I was out in the desert once and FCP crashed and I put together a pretty neat rough sequence in Quicktime Pro.

    The fact is. X is different. It is scary. It is easy for a room full of people at NAB to walk around and poo poo this or exalt that.

    I wonder how many discussions around storytelling and character development happened after that unveiling. I wonder how many people wondered how this software will help them best tell stories people want and need to see.

  • Guys a sofwae is just the part that helps we must do the work in our mind first.

    Last time i used a non mac system was in 1997, them aftr that never once more and i iam so happy. Before FCP we did used premier and it was all we need it at that time. After FCPit was like a complete system come to make sense in one platform that we already know. I trust the guys at apple and I will purchase this new version, I do nto belief that apple will let the movie people walk away to another software for a simple design desition, remember we have not seen everything yet and i belief the end result will be better that the actual version of FCP.

    As editors, animators or whatever we do remember the final product is what it is important, sure the software help, look back at media100, it was the greatest thing ever (at least for us) and now is nothing compared to FCP, so apple will continue to be the best option, not just the software, the platform and the ecosistem they have created arround and FCX will be a shift into a better future working better in the best editiong package out there.

  • Bring on lightworks for mac

  • I never went to film school. I never studied editing and I live in LA. I started using imovie hd 5 years ago to put up vids of me singing on youtube. Got good at editing and now I use imovie 11 (Which is SICK btw) But all my “Editing Professional” buddies talk about Vegas, FCP, and Avid. Then I see them try to explain how to do something simple like just adding a lower third… IT’s comedy! FCP needed to be easier, it needed a makeover. Edtiors, and filmakers get over yourselves and start embracing the NEW. Don’t use the program if you don’t want. But guys like me will and be darn good at it in a WEEK. Guys like me are making more profits than ever, gaining customers, and still having time in the day left over. Thanks Apple. The playing field is leveling.

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