F-Stop Academy Tutor and ultra talented Director James Tonkin from Hangman Studios has been taking a look at Final Cut pro X for us . Here are his initial thoughts on how FCP X has great potential and that you should not write it off like many have.
As my company, Hangman Studios, has been built around Final Cut Studio for post workflow since we opened in 2001, I've long awaited what this new version of FCPX might mean to us.
The initial things which hit me was that aside from being updated to a 64bit application, the design and look of FCPX does seem more inline with other applications like DaVinci Resolve and Autodesk Smoke. The way that the application is database centric, built on a floating point architecture for colour and effects work, GPU aware and able to put any process into the background for rendering is tremendously exciting. This comforts me that Apple has rebuilt this version of FCP from a solid, professional groundwork not forgetting redesigning elements of how the timeline and media browser work to speed up the initial task of editing. FCPX is after all, an editing application.
I do however fully understand why many have felt so cheated and concerned that Apple have abandoned the core professional market by the exclusion of very notable pro features like multi-camera support, XML, tape i/o and even the ability to take a video output to a broadcast monitor. The lack of these features leave me unable to integration FCPX into my studio at present and initially made me wonder if I too was being abandoned and would have to investigate alternative NLEs.
However within a couple of days Apple had responded confirming that most of these missing features would be worked back into FCPX or suitable alternatives would be offered by third parties. Clearly they simply just weren't ready for the initial release. Multi-camera support as I understand it is meant to be completely reworked, something I'm happy to wait for rather than a rushed, buggy first release. I now don't feel the need to start learning a new NLE as a replacement, but instead plan to continue using FCP7 and hope that the missing features are quickly added to FCPX.
Perhaps the biggest lesson and problem with the way FCPX was announced, is that there was no roadmap of updates discussed as it's not Apple's policy and the fear of the unknown or idea that this is as good as FCPX might get, caused the strong reaction from long term users. I doubt as many users where concerned about lack of third party plugin support with FCPX as most people come to expect that a radical rebuild of an application would result in such updates to third party plugins being required. If however as users, we knew when we first downloaded FCPX that many features that we'd expect where missing, but would be added within a matter of months, not years, then reactions would have certainly been less harsh. Users would then decide to do what I'm currently doing and learn the new interface, experiment with the new features but ultimately keep FCPX reserved for trialling projects on a laptop and not use it within their existing workflow until it was ready.
I will be sad to move away from a lot of the conversions and ways I've used the existing version of FCP, but in the same way I'm happy to have progressed from Apple Color to DaVinci Resolve, I'm sure that progressing to FCPX and it's long term benefits will make it an essential part of my post workflow for the next 10 years.