Apple released its “industry changing” video editing software Final Cut Pro X and upon tinkering with it a little, most video editors around the world screamed in outrage. Yes, it's a whole new layout, it's a new interface and not quite unlike iMovie, which could be viewed as a step downwards. Things aren't where they used to be, for example, there's not even a preview window anymore and this is quite agitating to people who are used to the Standard Two Up set up in Final Cut Pro 7. Effects, transitions, colour correction are features that you need to go scouting for or look up in a manual.

I have my gripes with Final Cut Pro X. First of all, I'm one of the many editors that hate the layout. I never liked iMovie. It was good for very simple cutting but the way my projects and sequences were saved, and the way I could add clips to my timeline were not intuitive at all. In comes Final Cut Pro X. I can't save multiple sequences in the same project, the movable place line is less intuitive than the older version's and there's no preview window. You can scroll over clips that are sitting in your clip bin to make rough edit choices but you can't preview them flowingly unless you place them on your timeline. Furthermore, features that I use often, like transitions, are not the same at all. One example is the side push. In the old Final Cut, you can see the first clip slide out of view as the second clip comes sliding in, almost pushing the original clip out. Now, I do like this method stylistically (even if it seems a little hokey). In the new Final Cut Pro, the same words describe a line that goes across the screen 'wiping' away the original frame which is being replaced with the new frame. Audio editing isn't too easy to do without a preview window. Finally, the way Apple's been touting 'magnetic clips' honestly means nothing to me. Clips automatically realigning themselves really doesn't add much to my editing experience.

Moving on to Final Cut Pro X's inabilities, there are two big ones. For starters, you can't bring a Final Cut Pro 7 project file into Final Cut Pro X. This is a big mistake if Apple intends to have editors switch over to the new Final Cut Pro. Secondly, you can't do multi-camera editing. Apple says it will bring this feature in, but for many news stations, this is a drawback. Apple says that Final Cut Pro X is really meant for footage that's shot on cards as opposed to tape. However, especially in India, much of what's shot, is shot on tape. RED is just about coming in but majorly, most footage is still shot on tape. You can't mark in and out points on your clips as a result when you “capture” them, because you're importing clips in their entirety instead of capturing them. This to me is a little inconvenient as someone who likes to capture extra footage for safety.

It not useless but takes a lot of getting used to

It's not useless but takes a lot of getting used to

There are, of course, a few things I like about the new Final Cut. Colour correcting has gotten a lot more intuitive where you can match colours between clips. The method of colour correction where you set the colours for dark, mids and light parts of the frame is a little more intuitive than the older Final Cut's method of colour correction. Also, for very very basic projects, magnetic clipping and assigning information to clips could be handy. That being said, as someone who doesn't necessarily edit feature length films but as someone who does a fair amount of “more than basic” editing, those two features really don't mean a lot to me. I do enjoy the auto-render feature, however, because it does save a lot of time.

I will say that upon using Final Cut Pro X exclusively for about two days straight, I did manage to get used to it a little. I did give up on it and I went back to Final Cut Pro 7 just because of a deadline. I couldn't spend the time learning how to edit audio, add keyframes and stylize the video in certain ways. I wouldn't say I became comfortable with it, I'm just saying I got used to it. With a few future tweaks from Apple, perhaps I could become more comfortable with the program.

All in all, I think the professional editors world over are a little justified in their outrage, but I also think the new Final Cut is still in its infancy. Features and their placements have to be relearned, the interface needs some getting used to and some old ideas need to be tossed away to make room for new ones (for instance, the way transitions should be). I wouldn't expect the industry to shift to Final Cut Pro X the way it is right now. With the amount of time an editor would need to spend with it to get used to it and the amount of deadlines editors need to face, it's simply not feasible yet. Film schools and programs, however, should begin teaching Final Cut Pro X already, only because with a few tweaks and a little patience, it could actually become an industry standard product.

Publish date: July 25, 2011 11:09 am| Modified date: December 18, 2013 8:13 pm

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