Aaron Wiliams: My Thoughts on FCPx

Blog by Aaron Williams

I’ve had a few people ask me about my thoughts on the new Final Cut Pro, so I though I’d have a crack at it to join in with all the others. My perspective might be a bit different: I don’t work in a post-house and my workflow isn’t really industry standard but is specifically tailored to what I do. Also, despite this site mainly focusing on color grading, I’ve been an editor much longer than a colorist. I’ve been editing for around 10 years now (admittedly not all of it at a “pro” level, but still…) and using Final Cut Pro since version 2, right before FCP3 came out in late 2001. Anyway, here are my thoughts from using it in the last few weeks since it was released. Sorry if any of it is just a repeat of what you’ve read elsewhere, but this is what I’ve encountered in daily use.

The Good

No more HDSLR transcoding – I recently went to our student ministry’s Beach Week to film for them. I would film for about 13 hours each day on my 5DmkII, then go back to my hotel room and edit a recap of the day for the following morning. I did the same thing using FCP7 last year, and was up until about 4:30am every night because I had to wait for the footage to transcode before I could start editing. This year I copied the clips over and got right to the editing. It was a beautiful thing that saved me at least 2 hours a night compared to the previous year.

The hotkeys – I’m actually pretty impressed with the thought behind the new hotkeys in FCPx. I,O,J,K,L are all the same, but they moved the Insert and Overwrite keys (plus a few new ones) off of the F keys at the top (now leaving them solely for volume, brightness, etc. system keys) down to Q,W,E,D. This is a way more natural hand placement on your keyboard. Also, can I just say I’m in love with the append function (E)? No matter where you are in your timeline, you can easily add a clip to the end without worrying about accidentally overwriting or splitting a clip by a frame or two. read more...

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