Final Cut Pro X - A first Look

Ken Stone's FCP by Steve Martin

Final Cut Pro X is here. The speculation, the rumors, the misinformation and the hand-wringing can now mercifully stop. The hype machine is now inert and we can all get back to work. As is my custom each time a new version of Final Cut Pro is released I set about writing an article for Ken explaining what the new features mean to the rank and file editor who will be cutting with it in their day to day operation. Therefore, this article's primary focus will be to address how FCP X's new editing paradigms are most likely to impact your workflow.

The Media Command Center

FCP X gives you a number of different ways to import your media. You can import directly from a camera or memory card or you can import a file or folder from the Mac's Finder. Before you import any media, an important first step is to tell FCP how you want your media organized, optimized, and analyzed . These settings are handled in the Import Preferences window (Command-Comma).

If you're a seasoned FCP user, opening preferences for the first time and seeing how minimalist it has become might be alarming. Preferences in FCP X are much more about controlling how media is handled and less about how the user interface can be customized as it was in legacy versions of FCP. I therefore like to think of preferences as FCP X's media command center.

In the section labeled "Organizing" you can have Final Cut Pro automatically copy your media into dedicated folders called Events which makes managing, organizing and deleting your media very efficient (more on Events in a bit). In the Transcoding section you can have your media automatically optimized during import. For example, if the footage you are importing is not a video editing friendly format such as h.264 or some MPEG variant, you can have FCP encode your footage into one of two Apple ProRes flavors for optimum playback performance. read more...

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