Could Final Cut Pro X Be the NLE of the Future?

Dare Dreamer by Ron Dawson

Editor’s Note: This is part 1 of a 3-part series I plan to write on FCPX. Part 2 will cover what to watch out for. Part 3 will be a short post on workflow.

One other thing. I wrote this review because a lot of reviews I’ve read were either passionate filmmakers pissed off (therefore biased against writing an objective review), veteran editors who have a financial incentive for you to get FCPX, or objective journalists who, although they liked the program, didn’t really learn how to use it properly. I’m none of those things. I have no financial incentive whatsoever. Just a sincere desire to help the industry. Those of you who know me and this blog know that I like to get down to brass tacks and not let personal feelings get in the way of making a good decision for your BUSINESS. That’s what this series is about. Will FCPX be a good choice for your business or career as a filmmaker. But, there is just enough commentary to satisfy the creative in you as well.

I first took film and video production courses the summer of 1992. Back then we used LINEAR, tape to tape editors. Ugh! What a pain. Over the years since then I’ve used Media 100, iMovie, and eventually Final Cut Pro 1.0. For the past eleven years I’ve been a die-hard FCP user. And I, like many FCP editors, were waiting with bated breath for Apple to release an update.

Then in the spring of 2011 Apple released Final Cut Pro X (FCPX) and the response was disastrous. Professional editors and other filmmakers who had made FCP their NLE (non-linear editor) of choice for many years felt like Apple betrayed them. A ton of key professional features were missing. A whole new paradigm for editing was created. And perhaps the most egregious thing…it looked like iMovie! In fact, that’s what it was called. “iMovie on steroids!” The backlash was so significant, Conan O’Brien had his editors made a funny spoof video about it. (Think about that. A late night comedic host poked fun at a professional NLE as a skit aimed at the general audience.)

But a funny thing happened along the way. Apple started releasing updates. Some of those missing features were eventually added back. Now, almost two years later, there have been seven updates to the program. On top of that, Apple even created a fully functional 30-day trial (something Apple has never done with pro software, as far as I know.) But have the updates been enough? read more...

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