Let’s cut to the chase – Final Cut Pro needed to be re-written. It needed to be 64-bit, it needed to be Cocoa (esoteric, but basically that means it would have access to all the good stuff in the latest versions of Mac OS X, rather than being stuck with 2007 technology). It probably needed a more up-to-date user interface, though with 2 million existing users, that was bound to cause an uproar.
It is pretty much always the case that, if you re-write software from the ground up, the first release isn’t going to have all the features of its predecessor, and that’s certainly the case with FCP X. Existing FCP 7 users are up-in-arms over the missing stuff, the wanton UI changes and the disturbing similarities to iMovie. Everybody does things different ways, so there is no answer to the “is it worse or better” debate, a better question is, can a professional editor use it to do a job, and will it be fast enough and reliable enough?
One of the major complaints is that some of the missing FCP 7 features result in FCP X not ‘fitting in’ the existing workflow. Well, we should be designing our workflows with the latest technology in mind, rather than expecting the technology to fit with what we have, otherwise we would all still be cutting film with razorblades – these new-fangled computer thingies just don’t fit in that workflow. Apple, in their press briefing for FCP X, pointed out that a prior version of FCP was used to edit The Social Network, which won this year’s Oscar for Best Achievement in Editing (plus True Grit etc. etc.), so lets look at FCP X from the point of view of editing a feature film.
The SDI I/O card manufacturers haven’t had enough time to support the new version yet – currently the only tape I/O is Firewire – so let’s be generous and say that our feature film is being shot on a Red, or Arri Alexa or a similar camera. At any rate, the footage in arriving at the edit suite already transcoded to some flavour of ProRes. read more...