January 31, 2014

Major Hollywood Feature Film is Being Edited on Apple's Final Cut Pro X

Final Cut Pro X Logo with WordsSince its release almost three years ago, Apple's Final Cut Pro X has been heavily criticized by higher-end productions who might have previously worked on Final Cut 7, including people like Academy Award-winning editor Walter Murch. The newest version of FCP X is quite a bit more mature, and includes many of the missing features editors complained about initially. It also has improved project management, making it much easier to share projects among a group. Now we have word that the first major Hollywood film is editing on FCP X.

FCP.co originally had a post mentioning a figure about a $100 million dollar studio film editing on the software, and now a video from the Digital Cinema Society confirms that:

So what's the movie in question? Neil seems to be referring to the Warner Bros. film Focus, directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, and starring Will Smith. Some research done in the forums on FCP.co backs this up, and facts mentioned in the video match those of the film, including the shooting locations, the multiple directors, and the project having just finished shooting when this video was made. I can't seem to find anywhere mentioning the budget of the film, so it's unclear if it is actually $100 million or not. Regardless, it is still a pretty significant Hollywood film.

Many of you I'm sure have already asked why this even matters -- use what you have and can afford as long as it gets the job done. Hollywood sets trends for certain things, but rightly or wrongly, they also legitimize all sorts of choices for equipment and software. For example, if you're an FCP X user right now, and a production tells you that you need to be using something else for no other reason than they heard it wasn't any good, a studio picture making use of it may change their minds.

Word of mouth is strong in the filmmaking community, so will this help FCP X's standing among Hollywood editors? Only time will tell, but if a major production like this proves the workflow for Final Cut X can be fast and efficient, it would be surprising if a studio pushed hard against a show wanting to use it.

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57 Comments

Good luck getting it colored. Hopefully the new version of Resolve plays nice with FCPXML's, because a couple months ago, it was a nightmare.

January 31, 2014 at 4:52PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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It works fine.

January 31, 2014 at 6:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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The FCPX XML's are the only ones which work properly in resolve! You may be using Resolve 8 if you are having issues....

January 31, 2014 at 6:13PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Lloyd

It's straightforward and even import primary corrections fron FCP. The avid -> resolve workflow is another story...

February 1, 2014 at 9:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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This is silly. I would NOT want to work on an edit for a full feature on FCPX. I can almost deal with it for short and ad work currently. It's really not too shabby now with the updates - but a full feature. Good lord. Avid's really the best way to go in multi-editor projects and anything large scale. This seems like a "see, we DID it!" kinda deal, rather than asking "should we?"

January 31, 2014 at 5:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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alex

Just because you don't want to, doesn't mean other people shouldn't. There have been features cut on FCPX. They just don't happen to be big ones.

January 31, 2014 at 5:20PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Masaan

Starting my 3rd feature on FCPX. Creativity and fun has come back to editing with X. Was Avid user since 1992.

January 31, 2014 at 5:26PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Jari Innanen

You're editors were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, that they didn't stop to think if they should? - Ian Malcolm

February 1, 2014 at 8:39AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Nick

Are you basing this on experience, because DaVinci has claimed the round tripping works well since a few versions back.

January 31, 2014 at 5:18PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Masaan

The round-trip with Resolve is just fine, in fact one of the bests I've tried... can't say the same about Premiere CC that still exports horrible XMLs and unusable EDLs.

January 31, 2014 at 5:26PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Are the CC XMLs different than CS6? I haven't had problems with CS6 using FCP7 XMLs.

January 31, 2014 at 5:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Alex

Amazing. Many voices say FCP X is usable for features. Proof is given and there are still blockheads trying to tear it down. FCP X RULES !

January 31, 2014 at 5:34PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Sarah B

See how important accesibility is. All it took was first hand experiences from the directors themselves using FCPX to have them decide that it shoukd be used on their big budget feature film. Typical apple selling pitch is as effective in hardware as it is in software. Reel them into stires, let them touch and play with the apple devices as much as they want....and they eventually want it...bad.

January 31, 2014 at 5:51PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Quobetah

Everyone should read the threads on the RED forum and in the comments on the FCP.co website. Film Editors that were working on this feature (Paul Harb & Sean Albertson) give important feedback and clarification on what was really being done in Bulgaria. There's some good back and forth between them and Sam Mestman. It is just as important to listen to the artists using the tools as it is the workflow specialists that are selling them...

January 31, 2014 at 5:52PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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David H

He says only the BTS was cut with FCP{X.

January 31, 2014 at 7:21PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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moebius22

I remember being blown away by how many films were edited on Final Cut 7. It would be very interesting if they got those numbers back in Final Cut X.

January 31, 2014 at 6:02PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Dan

I've been using FCPX pretty much exclusively for almost 2 years now and this doesn't surprise me at all. I'd have no problem cutting a feature or anything else in it. It's a solid choice.

January 31, 2014 at 6:11PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Despite all the hype that blogs are trying to build around it, I can't believe that it's news that one, only one movie is being edited on this. It's Hollywood, and it's Apple, I highgly doubt that it's not a business deal, which has nothing to do with th esoftware capabilities.

January 31, 2014 at 6:11PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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maghoxfr

I'm going to go with my Default annoying post - if it takes a cut out of Adobe and at some point makes Adobe change their Creative Cloud tune. I'm all for it. :)

January 31, 2014 at 6:18PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Jer

I HATE the cloud stuff. At least give people an option to still purchase the software!

January 31, 2014 at 8:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Muh

The tipping point for FCP-X quietly passed by a while ago while the debaters were occupied elsewhere. Those of us who've been diligently cutting with X for going on 3 years now pretty universally feel the workflow is so pleasurable that we don't really have any interest in moving backwards. The wider feature world will continue to take notice (as with the widely discussed Will Smith movie in post right now) simply because the future is clearly tools that leverage pervasive metadata in modern and powerful ways. At the FCPWorks event in LA last weekend, the story over and over was the same. Efficiency. Saving time. Saving money. In huge projects. With LOTS of money on the line. The actual "magic" that X brings to the table is that once you truly have learned it well, is that most X editors feel that their work has become easier. More fluid. More focused. Not perfect, not flawless, but widely and broadly easier and more enjoyable. And that's worth a lot, IMO.

January 31, 2014 at 6:37PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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I figured it was just amount of time before someone cut a Hollywood film on it. It's going to take a lot more studios using it for me to bother learning, YET another NLE at this point.

January 31, 2014 at 7:05PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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moebius22

Learning a new NLE is really not that tough. NLE's all follow the same concepts, there's just some minor translation differences.

February 1, 2014 at 2:33AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Anyone can learn a NLE superficially.

February 1, 2014 at 5:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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moebius22

And only a small-minded, dogmatic noob can't learn X.

January 14, 2015 at 3:04PM

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FOCUS is the feature cutting in FCPX, as I've been told by someone who consulted on the project. Also, there is a large post-house in NYC that is also switching to FCPX on the Mac Pros after they've been blown away by it's performance during testing the last month.

I'm NLE agnostic, but have worked in FCPX exclusively the past several months, including the conform of a 10k x 1200 installation at Sundance. I was able to playback 10k x 1200 realtime in the FCPX timeline, something that Avid, Premiere and FCP7 could not do. FCPX is far from perfect, but it is a powerful platform for creatives who want to put the time in to it's learning curve. It feels like the days of FCP1-3 when everyone in the industry swore it would never gain traction (of course FCP 4.5 and later made a massive push in both film and commercials).

After saying all this, I still wouldn't recommend switching from Avid to FCPX for any of my clients except a few forward thinkers that tend toward the unconventional and don't mind the inherent risks.

January 31, 2014 at 7:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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modfodder

There is no technical reason FCPX can't be used to cut a feature, Hollywood or otherwise. I think that's what scares everybody. I thought this was the No Film School thread. Why is everyone so pro-establishment all of a sudden. I thought we were fiercely independent and bucking the old school rules of how to make a film and stuff.

January 31, 2014 at 7:44PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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I mean, that's left to be seen, but that's like saying why drive across town when technically you can walk there? And then all the producers start going, wow, we can have all our editors walk and then we don't have to pay for cars, we can totally save money that way, and then next thing we know all the editors are walking and it just sucks and I'm scared of wasting my time like that because people thought "There is no technical reason FCPX can't be used to cut a feature". Sure that's an extreme metaphor. But I NEVER want to work on an actual narrative feature in anything but Avid because as of right now, none of the other NLEs are robust enough to handle a multi-user environment for narrative film editing quite like Avid is (granted I haven't used Lightworks so...). Sorry to sound like a dick.

January 31, 2014 at 7:59PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Charles

People seemed to like the other Final Cuts pros, just not X. How is that becoming establishment all of the sudden? Anything can be used to cut a feature, you can technically use iMovie if you want.

January 31, 2014 at 8:25PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Muh

How? I simply can't fathom how to cut in FCPX is easier than in Avid for features. As someone who has used Avid the least out of any of the NLEs, and a PPro user for 8 years and FCP7 user of 4 years I can't really see why you would want to do it in anything but Avid. I mean, kudos for trying but it seems like a giant misuse of resources. I feel sorry for the poor AEs that have to figure out how to do this and probably bear the brunt of all the technical problems.

January 31, 2014 at 7:47PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Charles

Bang on. I wouldn't want to have to cat-herd that nightmare.....

February 8, 2014 at 1:33AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Patrick

modfodder: i was one of the fcp 1-3 guys. we wont bother too much with fcphd(4.5) -it worked great with the right capture cards- fell back in love with it for 5-7. especially 7. pro-res dictates everything up to hollywood, but then apple fucked us. pulled the rug. my take is that why can you be sure they wont decide tomorrow that personal computers are too much hassle?

enjoying adobe, i used it long before i used fcp (old old version 6) and it has fcp keyboard shotcuts. my dirty secret, if in a rush I offline in 7 and xml export and online in premiere.

tracks, shys, nests, inserts, overwrites, i cut my teeth cutting on super8 and 3 machine sp, so track based editing is in my dna. i don't want to relearn hoe to edit, I want a suite that does what I tell it. adobe fits.

January 31, 2014 at 8:18PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Paul

I heard nearly those same exact words from die hard Avid editors over the years. Many went on to learn and love FCP, many continued to hate it, even try to deny it existed.

I cut my teeth on a Steenbeck, i've cut on everything from tape to tape VHS, 3/4 Beta, Lightworks, a bunch of NLEs I don't even recall the names of. I've built multi-million dollar post facilities in NYC, worked with award winning DPs and editors. The one constant is change. I want the art of filmmaking and editing to advance when possible otherwise I'd still be cutting on the Steenbeck. I don't want FCPX to win anymore than I want Avid or Premiere (or Vegas, Lightworks, etc). I want them all to grow. There are projects that I would only cut in Avid (scriptsync is unparalleled as is Avid's sharing ability), as well as projects I'd only cut in FCPX and Premiere.

You can trust Apple as much as you can trust Avid or Adobe as they've all made huge missteps that alienated users (just Apple's is the most recent). You want to cut only in Premiere, more power to you, enjoy it and make amazing art. I like having a full toolbox and cutting in FCPX didn't take me any longer to learn than moving to and from any other NLE, but that's the great thing about having all these tools, we can choose what works best for us.

January 31, 2014 at 9:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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modfodder

This sounds to me like those news bits about an event or a shortfilm being shot on an iphone.

January 31, 2014 at 9:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Director Robert Machoian had two shorts from his Movies Made from Home series at Sundance last year that were shot on the iPhone. The iPhone shoots better than a lot of the DV cameras that were popular during the rise of low budget filmmaking in the late 90s & early 00s.

January 31, 2014 at 9:47PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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modfodder

There's no doubt that FCP X will fit certain professional needs, and not others - for anyone that needs to easily split out specific audio track configurations for network & international delivery the lack of a track based paradigm is a deal breaker. (i.e. - Full Mix, Mix Minus, M&E, Music (dipped & undipped), Narr., OCD (dipped & undipped), SFX, etc.) If none of these mean anything to you, FCP X, may be great - if it does mean anything to you, it's probably still not the right tool compared to FCP 7.

Professional is a broad spectrum - FCP X works for some and is getting better - for others it will never work, it's not good or bad, just Apple decided to make a different tool, rather than improving on the old tool.

I think a lot of the broadcast people have just moved on - FCP X isn't even on the radar - not that for many it isn't an amazing tool - (I'm still in awe of the sheep wipe on the video toaster, but it would never have been useful in a broadcast environment).

January 31, 2014 at 9:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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James Chisholm

I've delivered splits for broadcast with FCPX. It's quite easy actually, the difficult part is wrapping the mind around editing without tracks. I spent years in node based programs so I'm sure that eased my pain.

January 31, 2014 at 9:51PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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modfodder

Roles are how you can do that in FCP X. All clips are automatically tagged with a "role" when imported, and you can add a lot more yourself. Audio roles might include dialog, music, effects; video roles might be titles, subtitles, etc.

When you export you can create sub mixes including only some of the roles, so it's trivial to create a music and effects mix, for example. You can also get fancy for multilingual productions by creating roles for languages, including all subtitles and/or language-specific titles in the one timeline, then exporting one language at a time.

Links:
http://www.macprovideo.com/hub/final-cut/introducing-roles-in-fcp-x
http://www.macprovideo.com/hub/final-cut/customizing-roles-in-fcp-x
http://www.fcp.co/final-cut-pro/tutorials/579-using-roles-in-fcpx-with-m...
http://support.apple.com/kb/PH12580?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US

February 2, 2014 at 12:02AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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And most unsettling part of the whole article is basically that they're outsourcing jobs to Bulgaria and no one seems to care about that. It's trying to do to editorial what they've already done to VFX but it could be even worse.

January 31, 2014 at 10:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Charles

This has been happening for a while.
There's a major TV prod house doing a HUGE test right now on 'remote-editing' with edits happening in Eastern Europe and Asia.
People think the 'runaway production' problem has only affected on-set production: the level of internationalism in VFX is well underway in editorial. It won't cause too many indie director/editors an issue, but if your future dream was a unionized editor position in Nth America - those chairs are about to get very scarce.

/have zero interest in the FCPX debate. Good luck to all!

January 31, 2014 at 11:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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marklondon

Pretty cool how FCP X tracks your media, even if you move it-it will stay online:

https://vimeo.com/85366524

January 31, 2014 at 10:49PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Satva

Aaaand after 3years people are making article saying :"look this studio used FCPX! "
That's sum up pretty well the software. We want it to happen, but FCPX is not going to happen. I'm sorry for the apple addict and Mac lover but there is so many better option out there. Like avid or Premiere cc. Since I've been using FCP for a while I'm now using Premiere cc which is incredibly fast and stable. The both software look alike.

February 1, 2014 at 4:13AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Clovis

Larry Max on 02.2.14 @ 6:15AM
I love every 3 NLE Premiere, Avid and FCP X. Now, from my point of view, there are only two that are worth it, Avid and FCPX . Why ?
1) Both can move clips easily in the timeline (splice in arrow in Avid, just mouse in FCPX) PP can’t
2) Both handle pretty well multichannel audio and it is very important when you work on fiction. PP don’t
3) Both have a precise, fantastic and dedicated trim mode, PP doesn’t.
4) Both can make what I call live editing, it’s the way Walter Murch works. He plays a clip on the timeline and when he hit again the space bar the clip has been cut at that place. Only Avid and FCP X can do that, Premiere can’t
5) Both handle perfectly multicam with an advantage for FCP X. Multicam sucks in PP.
6) Auditions and the ability to sync audio and video and the use of keywords collection are really the things invented with FCP X and they are so huge.
All the rest has been taken from Avid and they made it more simple.
So for me , Avid and FCP X are at the same point and Premiere is way behind them both

February 2, 2014 at 6:20AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Larry Max

I think it's funny how an article comes out about FCP X gaining popularity, even in big studios, yet all the Premiere users come out of the woodwork and get all defensive and start crying about how PP is better. The article is not comparing the 2. And furthermore it is really easy to share projects with other editors now, yes it took a while to get to where it is at now, but the whole chatter about FCP X not practical for sharing is not true.

February 1, 2014 at 10:50AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Satva

I love every 3 NLE Premiere, Avid and FCP X. Now, from my point of view, there are only two that are worth it, Avid and FCPX . Why ?

1) Both can move clips easily in the timeline (splice in arrow in Avid, just mouse in FCPX) PP can't

2) Both handle pretty well multichannel audio and it is very important when you work on fiction. PP don't

3) Both have a precise, fantastic and dedicated trim mode, PP doesn't.

4) Both can make what I call live editing, it's the way Walter Murch works. He plays a clip on the timeline and when he hit again the space bar the clip has been cut at that place. Only Avid and FCP X can do that, Premiere can't

5) Both handle perfectly multicam with an advantage for FCP X. Multicam sucks in PP.

6) Auditions and the ability to sync audio and video and the use of keywords collection are really the things invented with FCP X and they are so huge.
All the rest has been taken from Avid and they made it more simple.

So for me , Avid and FCP X are at the same point and Premiere is way behind them both

February 2, 2014 at 6:15AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Larry Max

Wrong my friend... All the tools you're mentioning exist in premiere and had been there years ago, since the first CS version. Even the live editing, wich is the ability of the NLE to stop precissely at the right frame. That has always been in premiere and avid and later adoptes by Fcp in version 4.
Just because you don't know where's a tool it doesn't mean the software doesn't have it.

I feel this NLE debate is really stupid and arcaic

February 9, 2014 at 9:26AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Sergio

Ya, FCPX is strong in editing but not in Color Timing, Audio Mastering, and the occasional common sense. It maybe "powerful", but features are lacking that of everyone else in the NLE game. That said, it's about finding your own workflow (I still prefer it).

February 1, 2014 at 11:06AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Sean

Larry Max on 02.2.14 @ 6:15AM
I love every 3 NLE Premiere, Avid and FCP X. Now, from my point of view, there are only two that are worth it, Avid and FCPX . Why ?
1) Both can move clips easily in the timeline (splice in arrow in Avid, just mouse in FCPX) PP can’t
2) Both handle pretty well multichannel audio and it is very important when you work on fiction. PP don’t
3) Both have a precise, fantastic and dedicated trim mode, PP doesn’t.
4) Both can make what I call live editing, it’s the way Walter Murch works. He plays a clip on the timeline and when he hit again the space bar the clip has been cut at that place. Only Avid and FCP X can do that, Premiere can’t
5) Both handle perfectly multicam with an advantage for FCP X. Multicam sucks in PP.
6) Auditions and the ability to sync audio and video and the use of keywords collection are really the things invented with FCP X and they are so huge.
All the rest has been taken from Avid and they made it more simple.
So for me , Avid and FCP X are at the same point and Premiere is way behind them both

February 2, 2014 at 6:18AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Larry Max

Premiere Pro can handle multichannel audio just fine.

February 2, 2014 at 1:00PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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moebius22

The bottom line is that all NLEs have strengths and weaknesses. With modern workflows, most productions are having to use multiple programs pieced together to get things where they need to be. A while back, it was a big deal that The Social Network used Adobe Premiere, but that was only the Assistant Editor and it was for online editing with Red. Ultimately, I think FCPX is fast and easy for those who learn it, but other tools (mainly Premiere) will most likely have to be used somewhere down the road to make things compatible with most advanced workflows. Likewise, AVID is great for large scale multi-editor productions, but Premiere can help with online. Also, I am a colorist primarily and have had 0 problems with Premiere XMLs and EDLs, provided I keep "Scale to Frame Size" checked on everything. Ultimately, it seems that it's best to cut on what you like and then conform based on what your NLE is lacking. I will say though that I am an Adobe fanboy and even had the pleasure of seeing a feature request surface in an update within 2 months of my request. It's things like that which keep me on the Adobe bandwagon.

February 1, 2014 at 3:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Nick

Final Cut Pro X (10.0 and above) SUCKS!!! but I must say that they have done a really good work with 10.1 It's kind of bizarre, but IMO it's worth give it a chance. And I'm not an Apple fanboy like many out there, I'm really pissed of by it's new non upgradeable hardware machines.

February 1, 2014 at 7:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Efren

It's being edited on a crApple. It's going to be Crap.

February 2, 2014 at 1:26AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Bobby

Did your parents let you use the computer again?

February 3, 2014 at 1:32PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Swissted

I use x to cut short pieces. I can't comment on the pros and cons of a feature as it's outside my experience but I genuinely love using it. It took me a little while to change my ways after using fcp7 and earlier premiere versions but I would really encourage people to give it a try. If you're working on a large project chances are you're using what you're told to use. If you're a one man band or making something small give it a test, the meta data and workflow is great and the recent update is a significant improvement when it comes to media management.

February 4, 2014 at 7:59AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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James S

Did he have to be so redundant in his opening statement.

February 6, 2014 at 3:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Patrick Faiola

It's clearly impossible... just ask all the knowledgeable folks cutting teen zombie films in Premiere Pro they shot with their friends in the basement on a 60D.

February 6, 2014 at 5:37PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Zan Shin

Okie, wait are they Re-recording in FCPX and doing all of Post-Audio work in a video editing software???

November 26, 2014 at 5:40PM

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Carol Ostling
Sound Design/Re-recording mixer
81