Reading some of the negative reviews and articles on the new release of Final Cut X makes me wonder why people don’t research before they purchase.
Most of the negative reviewers out there — especially comments from Apple’s App store — failed to do their research. They’re surprised about such lack of features as no full version of Color, SoundTrack Pro, no compatibility with earlier versions, multicam support?
They actually went out and purchased a totally revamped piece of software — essentially a version 1 — and expected all of these elements to be in place?
Do your research people. Larry Jordan’s been mentioning this for some time and a recent blog post from a Los Angeles Final Cut User Group meeting states that Final Cut X “will not be ready for professional use.” He told the group to keep Final Cut 7 and do your professional projects on it and run the new version, test it out, and wait until it meets your need as the software evolves.
What we get — an intuitive interface, facial recognition, background rendering, fantastic organization tools, slick design, ease of use, color correction where I can actually figure out how to mask a person’s face and key frame it without having to use a manual — far outweighs what is not currently there.
Here, I’ll provide some counter-arguments to the detractor’s missing features:
Fails to open Final Cut 7 projects
Hello? Did you not read that Final Cut X was built from scratch for 64-bit processing? Would you expect AVID, Premiere Pro, or Sony Vegas to open in Final Cut X — which is essentially a new software program?
Yes, Apple took advantage and kept the same name, when they probably should have come up with a new one so as not to confuse those who don’t do their research. And they should state outright that it’s not compatible with Final Cut 7. They took advantage of the marketing power of the Final Cut name. Get over it. The old version of Final Cut evolved from Macromedia and Apple never designed the original interface. Haven’t you ever wondered why Final Cut up to now was extremely non-intuitive, never felt like an Apple product?
This new version feels more like Apple far more so than the earlier version of Final Cut ever did. This is the design they should have provided ten years ago when Vegas came out, blowing the doors off of the pre-Final Cut X with its background render (never had to sit around and wait back in 2001) and its intuitive interface.
Walter Murch didn’t have half the features of Final Cut in 2003, when he edited Cold Mountain with it. (See Behind the Seen: How Walter Murch Edited Cold Mountain Using Apple’s Final Cut Pro and What This Means for Cinema.) His pioneering efforts forced Apple to evolve and change the software so it could approach a professional status.
A version 1 software, such as Final Cut X, will not have everything in it and it will be buggy. Perhaps Apple could have called it Final Cut X Pro I (reboot). We need to push our projects and send requests to Apple to meet the professional demands. From what everything Apple has said, they’re not going to ignore you. Later versions of the software will likely have most everything you need (except for Final Cut 7 compatibility, it’ll unlikely happen since it’s a new architecture).
Missing Apple Color
I was able to shape a mask over a person’s head, and by clicking on keyframes, I was able to map the motion of the person’s movement without any fuss or frustration—or a manual. I figured it out intuitively. I provide a screen shot here (lesson coming in a later post):
The version built in to Final Cut X meets all of my editing needs. If it doesn’t meet yours, you still have your old version. No one’s preventing you from using it.
Missing Sound Track Pro
Final Cut X accesses audio libraries quite nicely and I can layer and mix sounds. I still have SoundTrack Pro and I can still use it and import a fully mixed file into the new version of Final Cut, if needed.
In short, I can focus on my edit as storytelling and not worry about all the clunky engineering, poorly-designed interface issues of the early versions. I can start having fun editing, instead of being frustrated half the time.
I like what David Leitner said in Filmmaker Magazine, as cited in Apple Insider:
- “Great design, like great music, is almost always foreign at first, if not disturbingly strange,” David Leitner wrote for Filmmaker Magazine. “You have to spend time with it. But if it is great, and if you invest your attention, it will change the way you look at the world. After using FCP X for a week, Premiere Pro looks to me like the past.”
As for AAF or OMF audio files for Pro Tools exporting, Automatic Duck, has an export app available for Final Cut X users: http://www.automaticduck.com/products/pefcp/.
You don’t think they’re working on this now?
This is not the end of the world for Final Cut editors. I’ve been using it and teaching it for over three years and have never been happy with it. It’s extremely frustrating to teach and use — until now. It’s a new beginning and I’m not going back. The pros far outweigh the cons. If you want what you’re missing, stick with Final Cut 7 until it meets your needs.
Kurt Lancaster, PhD, is the author of “DSLR Cinema: Crafting the Film Look with Video, Focal Press, 2011.” He teaches digital filmmaking and multimedia journalism at Northern Arizona University’s School of Communication.