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The Final Cut Pro X Community Review: Post Your Impressions of 'iMovie Pro' Here

06.22.11 @ 1:39PM Tags : , , , , ,

Now that Final Cut Pro X has been out for a full 24 hours, the internet has rendered its verdict on the render-free software, and most of the backlash on Twitter seems to be coming from seasoned professionals. Sure, there were bound to be some repercussions when rebooting an application with a 94% customer satisfaction rate. But some of the features Apple dropped — tape ingest, multiclip, backward compatibility, and the viewer itself — make the “Pro” moniker pretty hard to justify. I’m only getting my hands dirty with FCP X now — which, I should note, works perfectly on the video editor’s hackintosh — and while I’m definitely experiencing some growing pains getting used to the new interface, I feel it’s too early to tell whether I’ll go back to Premiere Pro. However, here are some quotes of what’s being said around the web. Also, I want to hear from you — what are your honest thoughts so far?

If FCP X isn’t targeted at professional editors working as part of a team (with the sort of data ingest needs and EDL output requirements that FCP X lacks), who is Final Cut Pro X targeting? DSLR filmmakers. Case in point, here’s how quickly the audio synchronization feature works:

The feature is not going to give you the full feature set of the terrific plugin Pluraleyes, which has advanced features like correcting different speed recordings, but it’s features like this that make one understand Apple’s chief design imperative with FCP X: to save editors time. However, it seems they seem to have shipped an incomplete version one (as far as pros are concerned), though it could be a great tool for new editors. As for the seasoned pro, however, here’s what’s being said on the internet:

  • Steve Martin: “I love the organizational intelligence of FCP X and frankly it’s long overdue… But the fact remains that there is no professional audio editing capabilities… The other thing that needs improvement is color correction. While the simplicity of the Color Board will be great for the YouTube set, professional colorists will find the color grading tools wanting. With no way to export EDL’s or XML files, there is no way to hand off your project to a Colorist – so again, you’re stuck in your own sandbox until the next upgrade or someone really smart is able to write hooks into FCP X.”
  • Scott Simmons: “To completely start from scratch and build a new, modern application is commendable but when it lacks many, many features that its predecessor had and you’re still calling it pro and a newer version then you can expect a lot of negative feedback from current users who rely on those features. FCPX currently sits at two and a half stars in the App Store.”
  • Philip Bloom: “I like a lot of the things I have seen like match colour, magnetic timeline, organisation and the speed… It really does feel like learning something from scratch rather than adjusting to a new system like I have with CS5.5. DSLR editing is a lot easier as it can cope just fine with H264. Probably best in the long run to still transcode out of it for certain projects but the ability to edit DSLR footage natively is a big plus… To sum up, FCP X is an ingenious fast piece of software that is going to upset just about every editor out there used to final cut pro! BUT is probably going to appeal massively to new editors without previous NLE experience, they will love it I am sure.
  • Philip Hodgetts: “At version 1 Final Cut Pro X won’t support some professional workflows, but for other professional workflows it will be more than capable. Using Final Cut Pro X to cut together a story, I’m struck by how fast it is to achieve a result, as if everything was designed to get a result a quickly as possible.”
  • David Leitner: “Leaps in technology come at a cost. Remember Apple’s transition from OS 9 to OS X? What a shock to be forced by the imperatives of progress to abandon our OS 9 comfort zone for the strange planet Unix. It took years for many of us to recover full functionality, since quite a few cherished OS 9 apps were never ported over. But this abrupt break with the past gave us multithreading and eliminated hair-pulling system crashes. It gave us a modern and powerful operating system with modular architecture that swung wide the door to the future… FCP X will not become a protean workhorse overnight. It will take time. It guarantees an interesting ride however.”
  • Gary Adcock:”With this release, Apple shows us the future in which data streams from all the devices we work with communicate seamlessly, sharing media behind the scenes. Think of the advantages and possibilities when all the effort you put into setting up a shot or project continue downstream from your camera into post-production, or follow your content when it’s delivered on the web. That’s the promise of Final Cut Pro X. Will that promise be fulfilled?… Stay tuned.”
  • Walter Biscardi: “This was the product that completely built my company starting in 2000 / 2001 and now it’s time for me to say goodbye. As I tell everyone else, if the tool isn’t working for you, then find a tool that does. Fortunately we have Adobe Premiere which has made incredible strides of late and already supports our AJA Kona boards. We also hear that Avid is on a path that will open up the cards soon as well. So it’s been a good 10 year ride and if the application does truly get to a point where we can use it again, we could always bring it back. But for now let me just say, Goodbye Final Cut Pro and Thanks for all the Fish.”
  • David Pogue: “Professional editors should (1) learn to tell what’s really missing from what’s just been moved around, (2) recognize that there’s no obligation to switch from the old program yet, (3) monitor the progress of FCP X and its ecosystem, and especially (4) be willing to consider that a radical new design may be unfamiliar, but may, in the long term, actually be better.”
  • John Gruber: “This ground-up rewrite may well have been the right thing to do. Apple seems convinced that this is a better fundamental concept for video editing — and, really, storytelling in general. But it may prove risky not to offer a transition period. Hell, even with iMovie, when they made the switch from old-style editing to the new model (and lost a bunch of features in the initial release of the new iMovie), Apple kept iMovie HD 6 available as a free download for two years. If iMovie users were worth appeasing with a transition period, surely professional Final Cut Pro users are too. If Final Cut Pro X can’t even open Final Cut Pro 7 projects, how quickly can editors be expected to switch?”

For those of you who have downloaded it and used it yourself, what are your impressions so far? Leave them in the comments…

Related Posts

  1. See Apple's Final Cut Pro X Interface at Work in Unofficial Video
  2. Apple Announces Redesigned 64-Bit Final Cut Pro X with Background Rendering for $299
  3. Here It Is: Final Cut Pro X Now Available on the Mac App Store Alongside Motion 5 and Compressor 4


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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  • Michael Clark on 06.25.11 @ 10:43PM

    The Quarrel Over Final Cut Continues, David Pogue, New York Times

    • Great links, thanks for the updates Michael. I truncated the quotes so they’re not simply rips of the whole articles, but I definitely appreciate you posting them.

  • Michae Clark on 06.27.11 @ 1:25PM

    Thanks Koo, its amazing how much has been written about the way Apple has mishandled the FCP X release along with dropping FCP 7 and most of its associated software. Good article by Larry Jordan in his blog yesterday which came down to this conclusion which I have not heard any disagree with:

    “Apple does not ever comment on future products – though they did this year, prior to WWDC, because they needed to reset expectations. Because of the visibility of this product into an audience that can cause extensive PR damage to Apple, I suggest that Apple break its usual vow of silence and do three things:

    1. Immediately return Final Cut Studio (3) to the market. If it is not compatible with Lion (and I don’t know whether it is or not) label it so. But put it back on store shelves so consumers have the ability to work with the existing version until FCP X is ready for prime time.

    2. Fund the development of a conversion utility – either at Apple or thru a 3rd-party – and announce the development with a tentative release date.

    3. Publicly announce a road-map for FCP X that just covers the next 3-4 months. Apple needs to be in damage control mode and the best way to defuse the situation is to communicate. Answering the question: “What features will Apple add to FCP X, and when?” will go a long way to calming people down.

    I have written in my earlier blog (read it here) that FCP X has a lot of potential, and, for some, it meets their needs very nicely. I still believe that.”

  • I have just completed the ripple training DVD for fcpx and I am reluctant to say that I do like the app. It is going to be a painful transition but I think in the end I am going to love the app.

    From this article it looks like apple is going to be addressing all our gripes I just hope that they solve the legacy import issue. From the article it looks like we will not have to abandone color as there is going to be XML support, but I do hope that they will release a new version of color with all the bells and whistles needed.

    Don’t worry folks it is looking like it is going to all right on the night. Apple always seems to get it right. Think about the os9 to osx transition painful but would you go back.

  • Michael Clark on 06.30.11 @ 1:31PM

    Apple finally posted this FAQ 8 days after FCP X was released. For some reason there is no link to the FAQ from the FCP X first page:

    • FCP X may well suck for now, but Apple will have to fix the software to bring back all the functionality of previous versions. Otherwise it’ll be curtains for FCP… I edit in Avid most of the time anyway but sometimes projects arrive at our studio already in FCP and for practical reasons sometimes it makes more sense to stay in FCP. But let’s not forget that Apple is primarily a hardware company. They sell top notch hardware – iPads, iPhones, iPods, MacPro, etc… For the most part their software rocks as well. Apple is in business to sell their hardware so they invent software to push their hardware. For example, you can only sync iPods, etc. through iTunes…

      On the other hand Avid is in the business of selling top rated NLE solutions. FCP is a fantastic program, no question (or at least it was). But Avid is a fantastic *system*. Dump FCP.

  • FCP X has NO right to be called Final Cut anything- I SHOULD BE called iMovie Pro….. I’ll keep using my old FCP.

  • Patrick Ripley on 08.22.11 @ 8:18PM

    I am a film director who has used FCP since it’s introduction. I was holding off upgrading to 7.0 because I learned of the impending release of FCPX. Ten minutes after downloading and trying FCPX I called B&H and ordered FCP Studio including FCP 7. The program is an unmitigated disaster. Buggy, dumbed-down…it virtually ignores working with audio. I have completed three projects in FCPX and two of them had corruption after output. The last files I output (sorry, SHARED) to Apple Pro Res HQ played fine as QuickTime movies, worked beautifully cut into a project, but the audio slipped 16 frames when compressed. It was on a project that four other filmmakers and three editors contributed to and MINE were the only screwed-up files.
    On the upside, it is easy to use and pretty, like iMovie, when it’s not intermittently freezing or crashing altogether. Why didn’t they just call it iMovie Pro?
    I love Apple, have stickers on my car and the door of my studio, but they really stepped in it with this one.

  • looking for someone in Atlanta, ga area that does final cut pro 7. please email me. thx

  • how can you call yourself FCP if you fucking suck!

  • I bought the trial for final cut pro X and i will definitely not be buying the full version. It can’t sync my video and audio in playback for its life, the green screen feature looks ridiculous, and it keeps skipping in playback and slowing down my mac.

  • mel bell-grey on 01.10.12 @ 10:54PM

    I cannot explain my pain in using fcpx the fact you cannot reconnect media is terrible but i have created work in fcpx exported the file to quicktime and now they will not play because this was a very large project i moved some of the files, which is taking forever, it freezes it crashes it cannot handle large projects and silly me upgraded to lion ox since then things have got worse, i with i had never started using this product it is not for professional production studios

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