Saturday, 25 August 2012

Final Cut Pro X

Originally published on Jul 9, 2011 @ 0:50

Final Cut Pro X was released to a very mixed reception. Professional  editors were up in arms and the media had a  field day.  Enough has been written about that.  A percentage will jump ship to Avid, some to Adobe and some will be brave and stick it out but what about the rest of us? Some of us actually think it's an amazing product.

Years ago I messed about with Premiere Pro on the PC.  I liked it, it was perfectly suited to the kind of home movie nonsense I was shooting, then a friend of mine 'gave' me his macbook!  The macbook had iMovie HD on it and it was brilliant, I could edit stuff together quicker than with Premier Pro and the results were great.  After a while I met the limitations of iMovie HD and started craving something more powerful.  Final Cut Express 4 was released shortly after and I purchased it immediately and all was well again... for a while.

I was closely watching the DSLR movement into video production, short films were being made that looked amazing.  I wanted to be part of the DSLR video revolution so I bought myself a Canon 550D and a couple of lenses.  The 550D (T2i) can pretty much turn out video the same quality as a 7D, 1080p @ 24,25 & 30 FPS.  720p @ 50 & 60 FPS.  Final Cut Express only had limited support for 1080p. I could edit 1080p @ 25 FPS but not 24 .  I had to convert the H.264 .mov files from the Canon into Apple Intermediate Codec, FCE does not support ProRes.  I looked at Final Cut Pro 7 and the £900 price tag and said "If Final Cut Pro was £300, then I would buy it".  Then the rumors started appearing about a new version of Final Cut Pro

On January 15th I tweeted "I wonder if the new Final Cut Pro will appear on the Mac App Store at a silly low price like Aperture 3 did?"
It really was like Apple had released a version of Final Cut Pro especially for me.  It was priced right and solved nearly all of the issues I had with Final Cut Express 4.
  • I can now start editing with footage off the 550D straight away and it transcodes it into ProRes so colour information is maintained when grading.
  • I can now shoot 24p and edit with it.
  • Syncing audio from my Zoom H1 used to be a complete pain in the arse, now it's easy.
  • I can create films that are in surround sound.
It is definitely not iMovie PRO, I never got on with the newer versions of iMovie, I just didn't get it.  Final Cut Pro X might look a bit like iMovie but the similarities pretty much end there.

I purchased the FCP X training videos from Ripple Training there are just over 5 hours of training and these really do help massively and well worth the $40 (~ £25).

I am finding it a lot quicker to edit FCP X than I could with FCE4 which is basically the same interface as FCP7.  I don't have years of Final Cut Pro experience or money invested in FCP editing suites or paying clients nor have I ever used multicam  or needed to export OMF, saying that, there are a few things that are missing for me.

I can't correct footage that is shot using the Technicolor Cinestyle as there are no curves and FCPX doesn't support the LUT buddy plugin but hopefully support is coming soon.

There is no master sound level controls so you can't fade out all the sound with one curve!  That is annoying.
I bought Motion 5 because it's the same price as a couple of dominos pizzas.  Integration with FCP X is great as far as transitions go but I'm not sure what the best workflow is for adding special effects to part of the storyline.  Do you have to export what you want to work on, add the effects and import it as a new video file?  Why is there no "Sent to Motion" and "Sent back to Final Cut Pro" options so you can round trip the adding of effects.  Maybe this will be added later.

Overall for me £179.99 is a great price, It gives me nearly everything I need for video editing.  Maybe people like me are the target audience for this product or maybe I'm just more open to change.