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. Joe Urbz says:

    I have been using editing tools for a long, long time, including going all out with Final Cut Pro 1-7 in my classroom over the past decade. Like so many others, I was shocked/disturbed with what Apple did with FCS3. To make my decision for the classroom, I followed all the #FCPX tweets, attended LAFCPUG’s and online SuperMeets, LJ’s site, and tons of online training while attempting new projects in FCPX. I then decided to implement FCPX/M5 into my classroom in small doses.

    Our school did a major production this spring, which you can see on my website (via Vimeo). It was our first full HD feature (VimeoHD & Blu-Ray) production.

    FCPX’s ingesting and speed working on a network saved us hours of time. Render management was much better (we exported to render faster), and after 10.0.3, the “backup” project files really let us settle in. ProRes was easier to deal with. Audio work was much easier to teach, and the effects installation were a breeze to share among a lab. I am an IT guy as well, so I just kept things running learning the best ways to be efficient.

    Teaching high schoolers on a more pro level is not easy. Many of the returnees from the last year were die hard FCP7 users. But once the class got going, FCPX was a joy to work with. One student found a bug with slugs, only reported on Apple’s message boards by one person at the time.

    Suffice it to say, we were very successful. Now, we were not using 2K RED cameras or super high end equipment, but it was not simple stuff either — somewhere in the middle. We worked with two very well known studios with make-up and soundtrack music. One studio was Alterian Studios.

    We are proud of our project, and FCPX was a big part of it. From one year of trying it out to producing a major piece was satisfying and we plan to further our experience with FCPX. We have nothing against APPRo or AVID, but cost and implementation from where we were makes a huge difference within education.

    We hope Apple continues growing FCPX. If not, Adobe would be our next choice. And of course, FCP7 in our lab still exists happily on the computers and is more than most students need to do anything. But we like to have fun learning something new.

    Just my thoughts.

  2. JSW says:

    Prior to FCPX, I was a dedicated FCP Studio user. Even went and got certified in FCP just for the knowledge of the program because I liked it so much, not for bragging rights. I also used (use) Adobe PR, AE, PS, several audio programs, etc.

    FCPX just doesn’t work for me. I’ll do my best to not insult Apple, but, forcing the magnetic timeline was a bad move. It does not work for my style of editing. Make, in my opinion, this much of a change an option. I am constantly moving clips, reordering, trying different audio tracks, etc., etc., etc. and prefer to do this quickly, very quickly. I shouldn’t have to move that (insert expletive here) little connector to do so. I also used DVD studio Pro, Soundtrack Pro, Color, placed Motion projects directly on the timeline, etc. Simply put, I enjoyed using a suite of products. That suite of products exists at Adobe and is rock solid. I also prefer to edit native files straight from a camera. FCPX still transcodes to an editable format, don’t be fooled, it still transcodes.

    You might be asking “why not stick with FCP Studio (previous)?” My answer, the need for 64 bit technology in today’s editing world. 64 bit is needed for my workflow and simply put, rocks. Also, if you haven’t tried the Mercury engine using the CUDA technology (from the graphics card), you’re missing out.

    All this being said, I do, and always will, believe in learning and using many tools in any profession. I don’t believe in stubbornly using one set of tools and never opening your mind to others. Knowledge is power (cheesy, I know) but true.

    Larry, I hope I stuck to your ground rules.



  3. Bernhard says:

    Basically I do like FCP-X.

    But I want to tell You from an episode, where I suggested FCP-X to one of my students who haven’t ever edited video before. She wanted to edit private holiday shots and bring the locations as chapters onto a DVD with chapter menu.

    Editing really worked well and at the end I suggested her to consolidate her location projects into one project, mark and name the chapters in the timeline, and let Compressor do the authoring. We send the marked project to Compressor, put a photo as menu background and burned the DVD.

    It was quite embarrassing for me, there was no menu on the DVD!
    First I told how easy FCP-X was and how fast such a project could be done.
    I followed Apple’s philosophy for simplicity and then Compressor didn’t recognize chapter markers from FCP-X?!?

    I had to do a workaround that converts XML to chapter info for Compressor. A big Thank You! to the developer of the ‘Markers’ app!

    It definitively was my fault. I simply assumed FCP-X could send chapter markers to compressor. I assumed, if Apple EOLd DVDSP, then the compressor workflow will do a good job with great simplicity.

    This episode I think is typical for FCP-X. Even if You are willing to follow it’s new philosophy (that definitely is the future), then something unbelievable like that happens.

    BUT: I still do like FCP-X. For the future I hope for an Apple-like workflow for collaborative editing on our NAS-server. In my eyes this is the thing that would turn FCP-X from ‘experimental’ to ‘production ready’.

  4. Allynn says:

    I had exactly the same thing happen in FCP 7 when using the “share” option instead of sending the sequence to Compressor. At first I assumed my student had put in just “markers” not “chapter markers” but no, he did it right. When I sent the sequence to Compressor the markers came through. When I sent it with “share” they didn’t.

    I can’t wait to finally be finished with DVDs but, truth is, we aren’t yet. And that was 2 hours of my compression lifetime I’m never getting back!

  5. Al says:

    First off, I wish Apple well. But I am a small independent filmmaker, and as such run a business and a film company. A year ago I was firmly in Apple’s camp, with Mac Pro, MB Pro, etc. Today, I’m a Windows shop, running Premiere on W7 64 bit with both a laptop and desktop. It was simple. Apple had signaled a change, and I simple threw the switch. I love their hardware, I have an iPhone, iPad, that I don’t plan on leaving. But I moved my shop to Pr, and helped the other major filmmaker where I live (60 miles from a major city) to do the same. I have not regretted it as of today. I read all the early reviews of X and realized what it meant to me. I could not trust moving forward with Apple. I have videos I created in FCP and I could not migrated them to X. (I often have to re-edit them for the web later on). It just seemed clear that Apple was (and is) betting on consumers, not professionals. That’s a choice. So I had to make mine.

  6. Paul Cryer says:

    I struggled, as most did, at first with FCPx, but I read through your book on Transitioning To FCPx, ran a number of projects through it and now enjoy using it.

    Yes, it still has some major issues. It’s Media Management is poor and really needs working up to the same level as other apps (including FCP7). I want to be able to archive only the bits of clips I’ve used, plus handles and be able to compress to many more codecs, This needs adding back in, hopefully in a future release.

    Once you’re used to the overall interface and way to use it, it does make editing very easy. I work with a totally digital workflow, so some of the more tape based things don’t bother me. Editing things like weddings, showreels and other jobs are just so easy.

    I do like CS6 Premiere as well, but I really struggle going back to FCP7 now.

  7. Matt Davis says:

    FCPX has made my life a little better. Some frustrations slow me down, the overall modus operandi means I cut 2-3 times faster – which for me makes it a keeper.

    Moving from FCP7 to FCPX has felt like loosing your milk teeth (which we though were just fine!) and having to wait for your ‘grown up’ teeth to grow out. FCP7 got wobbly then went away, and we got this painful gap, then a useless stump. Finally, a year on, and we’re getting something to chew on.

    There are times I wish FCPX ‘as-is’ would settle on being Apple’s version of Prelude, and a bigger beefier Final Cut would take my FCPX work to a better finishing environment.

  8. Chris Hsiung says:

    I was someone that moved from Final Cut Express to FCPX. So not having used Final Cut Pro 7, I was actually very impressed with the jump in power and capability. For mostly web video work I do, it was sufficient.

    However, initially because it was lacking in multicam and wasn’t compatible with many plug-ins, the 50% off the production suite that Adobe offered was irresistible since it gave me After Effects and Photoshop which I needed anyway for upcoming projects at the time. As a result I found myself learning Premiere Pro which initially I didn’t like having gotten use to the magnetic timeline.

    Fast forward a year later and having used both FCP X and Ppro on a variety of projects, I’ve come to like both of them for different reasons.

    FCP X
    Love the magnetic timeline for when I need to quickly move clips around to “play” with the order. The little connectors are annoying at times though when I just want it to stay where it is. It’s fun to use and what I would recommend someone get who can’t afford an adobe suite.

    I don’t like the keyframing system, the lack of sound mixing. The titling still seems buggy. Still need a way to copy attributes between clips (had it in FCE). The color correction needs to be improved. The media management (linking etc) needs to be much better, and I want to see a collaborative editing system (iCloud maybe? :-). But I’m sure all these things will be sorted out.

    In the meantime, the adobe suite feels clunky to use, but it also feels more solid as a complete editing platform. For larger projects, I prefer Premiere Pro because things stay where they are. The integration with After Effects and Photoshop is really useful. The plug-ins generally work better with it than FCP X.

    One annoying bit though: why can’t I scroll up and down the timeline with my trackpad?

    Overall, I’m doing more and more on Premiere Pro because it has everything I need and CS6 makes it all the more appealing. However, I still enjoy using FCP X and hold hope that it’ll become great.

  9. Ben P says:

    I work in Education, and Final Cut Pro X really gave us a lot to think about when it first came out. We have two issues. Firstly we cannot just choose the product that we like and that works best for us, because we have a duty to teach industry standard software. Software that when a student leaves to go and work in the industry, we are sure that they are likely to come across this bit of software. Final Cut 7 was a no brainer because, even if they ended up using Avid, they were similar in a lot of ways so they could at least learn Avid a lot quicker if they ended up using it. Plus Final Cut 7 was being used by so many people. Final Cut Pro X isn’t like any other piece of software, plus at the time it had many features missing, which admittedly are fast being integrated back in. So do we invest in it knowing that there’s a possibility it’ll end up being software that is only used by prosumers and enthusiastic amateurs? Do we cut our losses and move to Avid? It’s been a year and we still haven’t made that decision, because our tutors who are very stuck in their ways took one look at Final Cut Pro X and immediately refused to use it, mostly due to the new timeline and its lack of traditional layers. I agree with them to an extent and i also agree with what Jason above says. They should have made the new timeline and other new features an option. Give people chance to get used to the new workflow. To change a program so dramatically and so quickly and drop the previous product instantly i think was a bad move. I personally very much like Final Cut Pro X, and i think once it matures the big companies who have so far cast it aside will take a proper look at it once again. We will invest in it eventually, purely because we cannot afford Avid! But i think it will be a wise choice. The only thing i still worry about is how Apple supports it. What with the large delay in Mac Pros, the killing of the XServe, Shake and the rest of Final Cut Studio (among other things) i always worry that the next Apple announcement is going to be the death of Final Cut. I have no legitimate reason to really think that, but you cannot blame me for trying to guess the motives of a company that is so secretive and sometimes pulls the rug from under you like it has in the past. Though i do like the fact that they are starting to be a little bit more open. The hint about the new Mac Pro in 2013 and their openness regarding Final Cut Pro X updates has given me a bit more confidence in them. Oh well we’ll see 🙂

  10. Lee Faulkner says:

    A year after introducing FCP X into our teaching/lab workflow I’m disappointed. I still have to advocate FCP 7 for projects of any size over a couple of minutes. Once the FCP X library gets big everything bogs down, and no amount of maneuvering seems to help. It’s an unforgivable weakness after quite a few revisions. It makes me worried that the database underpinnings of the application just aren’t up to the job. Yes our workstations are very powerful, it’s not that!

    The other HUGE omission from FCP X is support for storing Events and Projects on any network other than a SAN. Sure you can import and store clips from an SMB based network , but the actual Projects and Events have to be local or on an external drive. That’s plain nuts, and disrupts embedded workflows in many, many production environments.

    Yeah, there’s lots of functions that seem to take 4 steps when 1 should be the number ( mainly audio related ) but it feels like something is wrong at the CORE of the app.

    At some point FCP 7 will stop running. I hope FCP X sorts out the fundamentals before then… or we’ll have to consider one of the alternatives, and I’m not a big fan of either of them.

    Hmmm… maybe the new Smoke will provide a graceful exit !!!

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