Final Cut Pro X – One Year Later…

Posted on by Larry

June 21, 2011. Apple released Final Cut Pro X and our industry changed overnight.

It’s been a year since that release, and I’m interested in your comments on the impact, if any, that Final Cut Pro X has had on your life – personally or professionally.

For me, Final Cut X has caused a lot of upheaval. Some good, some bad, though, overall, its been mostly good. Long-term, I’m optimistic for the software. Short-term, well, short-term has been rocky.

But I’ve written about my experience a lot over the last year. In this blog, I’d like to hear your stories. I get 200 – 400 emails a day (and, yes, I try to answer every one of them) from editors sharing their stories with me.

Now, I’d like to give you a chance to share them with all of us: “Has Final Cut Pro X made your life better, worse, or about the same and why?


I’m interested in stories from a personal perspective — both good and bad. I’m not interested in, nor will I post, stories that attack the opinions of others, nor stories that attack Apple.

I want this particular blog to be less of a dialog, and more a sharing of personal experience. I want to hear about FCP X from your perspective. Don’t talk about the industry, talk about yourself.


To make or view comments attached to this blog, click the Leave a Comment text button at the bottom of this post.

As always – and especially now – I’m interested in your opinions.


42 Responses to Final Cut Pro X – One Year Later…

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  1. Ken Ackerman says:

    FCP X hasn’t made much impact on me, other than a small amount of angst when it was first announced.

    It seems I have the knack of buying software from Apple just a few weeks or months before what I just bought was made obsolete by the next new thing Apple would introduce.

    I’m not a pro in anything related to video, but I do enjoy it as a hobby. That means that I don’t feel I need to invest in the latest & greatest anything, because I’m not trying to make money with it.

    As I sauntered along with Final Cut Express versions on a G4, my goal was to someday be able to afford the whole Final Cut Pro studio enchilada.

    Realizing that to run FC Studio well, I would need an intel Mac Pro. About a month after purchasing the Mac Pro, I bought FCS 3 and thought I had gone to heaven.

    It was only 3 or 4 months later when Apple broke the news about FCP X.
    The small amount of buyers remorse I felt did not last long. I was not competing with anyone and there were no demands that I leap before I looked.

    I had attained my goal of having a bonafide grownup editing suite FCS 3, and could afford to take my time & learn it and other products that integrate well with it.

    It may take me several years on this course and you never know what may come along in the mean time. I’m sure you’ll want to know when I might ever buy FCP X because it will mean the next big thing will be just around the corner from Apple.

  2. Pablo Sánchez says:

    I bought it the day it was released and was so excited with the new features and user interface that I didn’t realize all that was missing (viewer, edls, xmls and all that has been talk about ad-nauseum). When I saw this, I just never opened it again. I downloaded the updates but never cared to try.

    It was just about a month ago that I decided to give it another go, I had a project that was shot with 4 canons 7D and then I discovered the auto synch and multicam functions and was completely amazed with its power and all the time that saved me just by not having to synchronize.

    I’m working on another multicam project and FCPX was my choice once again.

    I believe apple is on the right track, but has a log ways to go to deliver an application that would be the workhorse that FCP 7 was. Audio still sucks and I’m not a fan of the skimming function, almos always I have it turned off. I miss the viewer and the titles are a mess.

    I like many others, have been playing around with Premiere CS6 and Avid MC 6 and have decided to take advantage of the crossgrade to Avid Symphony for $999. The main reason being that I’m about to shoot my first feature length film and with the budget being around $150,000 the editor is going to be me, and I know for sure that Avid will have no problems to handle my project.

    What will happen next? Who knows, I’ve been a huge apple fan and user since 88 and unless something tragic happens, I won’t abandon ship, but for me FCPX is ok for multicam projects that don’t need heavy audio work, and gradually will be doing all my other stuff on Avid Symphony, as I get used to it again, after almost 12 years of being a FCP user.

    Also Smoke 2013 sounds exciting, I’ve been using the pre release trial and while I don’t think will be a great offline NLE for larger work, the chance to finish my movie on it is also nice.

    Exciting times ahead of us working in post.

  3. Steve Washer says:

    Overall, Final Cut Pro X has been a real head scratcher. Initially I hated it. No one likes getting all their toys taken away. So it stayed on the dock for several months.

    But the future waits for no one, so I finally took it out and started playing with it as though I was going to really make something. Once I did, with Larry’s excellent teaching series under my belt, I found there was a welcome surprise: the keyer; specifically a one touch keyer. I’m pretty good at this so I was shocked at the results you could get from the black box.

    This has not only changed the way I edit, it’s changed the way I shoot. I have more possibilities for creating interest around a static shot. So overall, one year later, I guess I’m a convert and won’t go back to FCP7 again except to export an XML file using 7toX.

    I wish I could have my controls back for opacity, audio keyframing, text and graphics, but I guess you can’t have everything.

  4. Mike says:

    I’ve been using Final Cut Pro since 2002, doing two feature-length documentary films, several short films, broadcast commercials, corporate videos, internet projects, personal short films, and even a wedding video for fun. (By the way, I want to give big props to the wedding people here – that was a tough project to shoot and edit, but was creatively satisfying too.)

    Like most people I know, right now I’m stuck in a holding pattern, still on FCP7. Final Cut Pro was an industry standard, so I could feel comfortable that other production people would support my projects, I invested the time to become an expert at all of its nuances, and I felt confident that it could solve any problem that arose – from huge projects with hundreds of hours of footage down to the smallest ones.

    But as more and more newer formats need to be transcoded before working in FCP7, it’s really becoming a workflow bottleneck. So I’m going to need to jump ship soon, and I have no idea what to do.

    Avid is concerning because of it’s slowness to adapt to new formats, computers, etc., and the interface/workflow feels too rigid for my creative process. Premiere Pro would feel right at home because I use many other Adobe products — although I’m concerned about some horror stories I’ve heard about it still not being as mature as FCP7 was.

    And then there’s FCPX. The temptress. I do feel that we need new thinking in NLEs because the the job of editing can really get bogged down. I think the traditional post house process – formed out of necessity by the technology that existed 20 years ago – is completely outdated, and editors need to focus on being creative storytellers like other artists. So it’s very appealing to me try something completely new and different and future-oriented. But I’m hearing how FCPX gets very bogged down when you’re working with large amounts of footage, using too many compound clips slows everything to a crawl, and projects crash and are corrupted and lost forever. Some people say some of these problems are because of the core nature of how the program was designed, so it can never be fixed. It all leaves me very concerned about trying it.

    So I don’t know what I’ll do — it feels like I’m picking the lesser of 4 evils — but I will be going to something new in the next few months.

  5. Mike Krause says:

    I’ve experienced a whirlwind in the last year. Interestingly, I’ve found that FCPX has served as a reminder that change is inevitable – and that I can adapt and grow with it. As much as it pains me to say this, I think FCPX has made my life better.

    This is not to say that I’ll be recommending FCPX for most jobs. Not for quite a while. For what I often need to do, it just ain’t ready. For some stuff, especially jobs that can be finished within it’s framework, it’s just fine but I need it to play nice in a wide world of formats and reolutions and high end tools that it just isn’t mature enough to handle. With time and help from third party developers I hope that changes.

    (On a side note, FCPX is “flexible” in 4k? Really? Puh-lease.)

    FCPX has forced me to look into the competitors’ systems again, and while I still find that there is no all-in-one solution, I also find there are a number of great tools out there that are much more affordable than in the past and can be the right tool for the right job. I love Smoke as a finishing and conforming system, but wouldn’t use it for an “offline” system, just as I would prefer Avid and Isis for a high end feature in a traditional workflow if I couldn’t use FCP7. I’ve come to appreciate the effort Adobe has put into Premier Pro – the same effort they’ve put into Photoshop and AE for years – and find it steadily becoming my go-to instead of FCP7.

    I’ve even gone back to the first non-linear system I ever worked on, Lightworks, and downloaded the free version to play with. And you know what? In the right situation, Lightworks does just fine, too. With the $60 “pro” upgrade, that is.

    So yeah, while I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of FCPX, I can say that it’s opened my eyes to something I denied for quite a long time, and I feel better off for it.

  6. Patrick Kirk says:

    I made the switch to FCPX almost immediately after finishing up some FCP7 projects last year. There were some growing pains. There were some things that weren’t fixed until subsequent updates. There are still things that I want to see added back. However, there is no question that FCPX is a high-end pro NLE.

    In addition to commercials and short corporate videos, we do a 30-minute local TV show. FCPX cut our post time in half. No transcoding, fantastic media management (once you understand the new paradigm), & the raw speed of the app moving around in the timeline. That led to more time to think creatively about our edits. Split screen animation effects, things that I only rarely dared to do in 7, were a breeze through the use of compound clips and because of the way the timeline keeps things in sync. We have more time to refine our edits and really get things right before delivery.

    I simply don’t think that the level of work I am putting out today would be equaled if I was still in 7 or moved to PP or Avid.

  7. Richard Squires says:

    Let me start by saying I am not an editor. It’s not what I do on a daily basis. But as a Motion Graphics designer I have had Final Cut in my arsenal of tools for many years. I have used it and Soundtrack Pro off and on over the course of jobs and have edited larger projects with FCP7. But I never felt as confident using it as say After Effects which is something I guess I use every day pretty much. That constant use imprints itself on you so it becomes second nature.

    So I don’t think I came to FCPX with a lot of the baggage that traditional editors have. When you are on a deadline the last thing you want is an alien interface that misses functionality completely, which is I guess what greeted many editors when they did the WTF on opening FCPX for the first time. I just didn’t have that at all.

    For me editing in FCPX became a joy. I love the way the audio just locks to the picture when you do a j cut. I didn’t know what a j cut was but it’s something that is so easy and intuitive to do in FCPX to clean up audio joins that I use it all the time. Did I mention the greenscreen keying. Quite simply the best I have seen in an NLE. Amazing results that I would be hard pressed to get in AE ( well nearly). I remember I shot and edited a tiny review for a follow focus I had just purchased. I turned the thing around in a couple of hours, using the great voice over tool was just so easy. From camera to Vimeo in no time. I would not have dreamed of doing this before. I also did a 1 minute mini doco competition to shoot edit and finish a piece in a day. I have included the link below:

    I chose FCPX for that project because I knew I could do it quickly with great quality on a very tight deadline. It was the first time I had done anything like that and I wanted to feel confident in one area at least.

    And this is where I think the strength of FCPX is. Our world is moving inexorably toward a place where video is now more than commonplace. My 14 year old son is editing his video game reviews and uploading to Youtube everyday, like it’s just what you do. For many older people this must seem like a seismic shift and it is. Video production now is no longer the preserve of the elite sat in their gleaming edit suites with millions of dollars worth of kit. It is everywhere and as cheap as chips. And this is exactly where FCPX places itself. It doesn’t offer a cut down version of an editing tool that many prosumer software is. It is a fully fledged powerful editor that continues to evolve and will be the tool of choice for the up coming generation of future editors.

  8. Slats says:

    Im a freelance editor, Ive been cutting a magazine arts programme for the BBC for the past 7 years. The show has been thru many machinations, from 1hr studio based, shot as live, to 1hr location links to its latest format 30mins weekly. Im the senior editor on the show and I cut most of the items and I stitch together the TX program and online the final TX master. We have been cutting the show in-house on FCP since I began in 2005. I have to say when FCPX arrived in the app store, I thought what the hell is apple doing. The big disappointment was no multi clip. On our show we interview some of the biggest names in Film, music, art, theatre, and fashion, from Martin Scorsese to Paul McCartney, the interviews are always multi camera, mostly three but often four. So no Multiclip was a big deal for me. But as a Apple fan I gave FCPX a good hard look, and when Multicam was added, they won me back, I love the software. That said my colleagues at the beeb are less impressed. I think the introduction of the software put many off and it is going to be somewhat of a mountain to climb to win them back. Im not a techy person, I consider myself a craft editor, other people smarter than me deal with workflows, however I personally would be happy to start cutting the show on FCPX tomorrow. I love the magnetic timeline and the less track management I have to deal with the better. I think its the edit platform of the future, I just hope the people at Apple aren’t too miffed by the industry reaction and keep working on, in my opinion, a job well done.

  9. Brad says:

    If I were a one man jam-band out in the world with a MBP, high-end DSL shooting independently I would think FCP X would be a steal.

    However, that is not my life. I am similar to the University gentlemen above. The FCPX software is fast. However, it’s drawback it’s inflexible for our needs. Also, shutting down operations to re-learn a completely new paradigm that does not to translate to AVID or Smoke is not in the cards. In addition, Apple’s non-committal towards to hardware infastructure after we have purchased multiple X-Serves, X-Raids, Final Cut Server and Mac Pro Towers we have to protect our interests from Apple from now on considering that they could pull the plug at any moment. I doubt they will but we have a business to protect and run and while FCPX has it’s strong suits in some businesses and arenas it does not in ours.

    • Larry says:


      Thanks for your comments – one small correction. Autodesk Smoke 2013 is easily able to read FCP X XML files. So the workflow between FCP X and Smoke is the same as FCP 7 and Smoke.


  10. jasmine says:

    final cut pro is awesome…thanks for sharing

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