FCP X!

Last Tuesday was about the most exciting Tuesday night I’ve ever had as an adult (I don’t get out much). Watching the FCPUG Supermeet live (via Twitter) and seeing Final Cut Pro X unfold was a pretty interesting experience. I have to say I’m looking forward to using the software. I really like what Apple is doing to innovate NLEs. Not surprisingly at all, I’ve seen a lot of speculation, jumping to conclusions, and general backlash over what may or may not be included. Apparently if it wasn’t mentioned in the brief one hour sneak peek, then doom and gloom is upon us.

There’s no reason for Apple to take out any of the stuff that worked in FCP7 and is necessary in an editor’s workflow. These people creating and shaping FCPX are not shut away from the world – they were working editors, and their beta testers are working editors too. To even think about a lot of this stuff is rather silly at this point. We’ve seen a taste of what’s to come, and we need to hold tight and get the full spec list later.

One thing I’ve seen backlash on the most is the amount of auto analysis going on in FCPX. I guess some people don’t feel like real live editors unless they have a lot of tedious manual tasks. If you want to do it all yourself, then more power to you. However, I think if the auto analysis works well (or well enough as a starting point that you can tweak to perfection), there’s no reason not to use it. To have basic color balance fixed on import, to have scenes split into bins based on if they’re single or groups, to have a basic audio cleaner run – to have all those things happen in the background and allow me to focus on the editorial, why wouldn’t I want that? Your ability to complete tasks a monkey could do – like a quick white balance fix or sorting some shots – does not separate you as a professional. I think it’ll be great to not be distracted by a shot that’s way too blue in the timeline during a rough, for one thing.

I’m looking forward to a lot of the organizational parts of FCPX and I really think they’ll change how I work. It’ll be interesting to see how that in turn changes other NLEs. I’ve heard Premiere CS5 is a big step forward (I only have CS4) and Avid MC is good stuff, but FCPX is introducing possibly new workflows…I wonder how it’ll be to jump between the three.

And yet, the key part of editing remains always: great storytelling. I don’t think Apple is coming out with a “Make Awesome” button anytime soon…maybe in FCP 10.5.

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