The Beginning of Something Exciting

With the release Tuesday of Final Cut Pro 10.0.1, Apple added the ability to import and export XML files. While not a direct benefit to FCP X editors, indirectly, this is huge. Let me explain why.

Video, and film, editing is accomplished using a wide variety of software tools. I like to think of editing as a wheel, where the editing software is at the hub and lots of different specialized tools orbit around it. From Photoshop, to ProTools or Soundtrack Pro, to After Effects or Motion, Compressor, DVD Studio Pro…. well, you get the idea — it takes a whole suite to raise a project.

This was one of the big problems with FCP X at release — it offered a walled garden. As long as what you needed was in the program, you were fine. But if you needed to share files to other applications, you had problems. Basically, you couldn’t.

One of the most glaring omissions was audio mixing — we couldn’t get our audio out of FCP X into Soundtrack Pro or ProTools for an audio mix. Wes Plate and the talented folks at Automatic Duck came to our rescue with Pro Export FCP 5.0, which exported FCP X projects for ProTools. —

But that solved only a part of the problem; it got us to ProTools, but we were still essentially caught inside FCP X.

With the release of FCP X 10.0.1, Apple provided the ability to export and import XML. XML is the interchange language of applications. From XML we can derive EDLs, OMFs, AAFs, and all the other acronyms we need to move files from one place to another.

However, there’s still a problem – XML is like language, there are variations. Which means that before we, as editors, can take advantage of this, developers need to work with it first.

Let me explain by way of an analogy. Think of XML as a tab-delimited text file (it isn’t, really, this is an analogy…). However, that file is written in French, while other applications expect the file to be in English. So, a developer needs to convert this XML format from the version exported by FCP X, into the version needed by their application.

Wednesday night, Philip Hodgetts, CEO of Intelligent Assistance, demoed a beta program they are developing that illustrates what this new XML feature provides. Philip showed how an FCP X project can be exported as XML, converted, then imported into FCP 7. From FCP 7, it can be sent to Soundtrack Pro for mixing, or ProTools via OMF, or Color for color correction, or any of the other applications that link in with FCP 7.

The program is called: “Project X27” and should be released in the next couple of weeks. It is SO new, in fact, it doesn’t have a webpage yet – when it does, you’ll find it at this website: — www.

I think this signals the tip of the iceberg where, finally, FCP X editors can start to share elements of their programs with the rest of the world. This still requires developers to do their part to support this, but the new XML export in FCP X 10.0.1 is the essential first step.

As always, let me know what you think.


38 Responses to The Beginning of Something Exciting

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  1. Ri Stewart says:

    I have really tried to work with FCPX, as I am typically an early adopter… but what I found was the biggest deal killer for our studio is the inability to relink media files! Shocking I know, the Apple team must have never heard of Comps.

    I asked Apple for my $400 bucks back (compressor & motion 5) and they refunded the $$$. I also wrote on their feedback form. I think it’s important to be vocal about the missing features.

  2. Leo Hans says:

    @Ben Balser

    People is still around because they are trying to get free press with that.

  3. Dick Applebaum says:


    I had much the same experience! I use both iMovie and FCP 7 — so I just kinda’ dove into FCPX to see if I could wing it.

    I was playing, so I just import/copied the media from various FCP7 and iMovie folders — so as not to disturb any of those projects.

    To complicate things, I recently got a 12TB Pegasus RAID and am in the process of copying and consolidating media from 12 LaCie Drives.

    Long story, short — I was quite free and easy about moving FCPX Event files around in the Finder. This confused the hell out of FCPX.

    There are several ways that FCPX can be made to rediscover the missing media files.

    Here’s the easiest:

    1) If you select a Project with missing media (do not open it), then hit -command-j — FCPX will show you the missing Events in the Project Properties pane.

    2) Then, with Spotlight search and locate the missing media files — if you are lucky the will all be in a single folder which you inadvertently moved (similar to what causes FCP7 to lose media connections).

    3) Since FCPX doesn’t provide a reconnect, you have to:

    — a) within FCPX create an Event with the same name and drive location as the missing Event

    — b) import the missing media files into the event

    If you are missing some clips but not others, go into the Project and select the missing clip to get the name of the clip. Then do a Spotlight search and reimport the missing clips into their associated Events.

    There are ways to do this in the Finder, but they are best avoided — ’cause moving files in the Finder is, likely, what caused the problem in the first place.

    A wise FCP 7 trainer once said (paraphrased): “…once you’ve told FCP where to put your files — never, ever, ever move them…”. This is true for FCPX too!

    Finally, you may find it worth a few hours of your time to download the FCPX Free Trial. Then experiment with:

    1) Importing media files into FCPX

    2) Moving those files within FCPX (so the FCPX Event and Project databases can keep track of where they are)

    3) Then, deliberately moving some media files in the Finder (so FCPX doesn’t know where they are)

    4) Practice finding and recreating/reconstituting missing FCPX Events and Projects.

    I suspect you will find that FCPX is no more nasty than FCP7 about you moving things around so they can’t be found by the app.

    Yes, FCP7 helps to bail us out with reconnect media — but that only really works well if we have a pretty good idea of where the missing files are.

    I have submitted a couple of enhancement requests to FCPX to suggest ways that they could help us track down lost files.

    Finally, if you trust FCPX to manage your media, much as we have come to trust FCP7 — the problem of missing media will mostly disappear.

    Then you will be able to reap the benefits of FCPX’s database-driven* media management — where anything/everything you want to know about your media is a simple search or a click away.

    * with help from naming conventions, media metadata, tagging, FCPX generated media analysis metadata, smart collections…

  4. Reinout says:

    To clarify or further emphasize my point,

    I do not wish to defend FCPX perse, or review it again. I think the cat’s out of the box and we all now know what it looks like. I think we all are slowly getting tired already of the ‘FCPX is great’ vs. ‘FCPX is not’ posts.

    My earlier post was intended more as a review for the way we, as users, are reacting to this change in -our- industry.

    I respect people who dislike FCPX as I hope I am respected for liking it. But I fear for how FCPX is almost creating ‘camps’ and divisions between different types of editors. Those differences have, of course, always been there, as I will never claim to be the best editor out there for a lot of jobs (like broadcast and large-scale production work).

    It’s just that this past summer those differences seemed to have become a reason, at least online, to dismiss the ‘other’ people. WE are the pro’s vs. THEM, the iKids, or visa versa; WE are the future vs. THEM, the stubborn crowd.

    I do empathize with these feelings, but is it really necessary? Though I have just become vocal, I’ve visited the online editing community for years and always appreciated the open-minded approach of a lot of editors, where there was almost, gasp, ‘interest’ in someone who worked with a different set of tools.

    Am I making too big a point out of this?

    • Larry says:

      Not making too big a point at all. FCP X was enormously polarizing – which is a shame. Many people are able to use it for their work, many others are not.

      My hope is to continue the dialog about the program – I know we won’t all agree, but the only way this will improve is for us to share our thoughts.

      Honest disagreements are encouraged. Name calling and personal attacks are not accepted.


  5. Marcus R. Moore says:

    There are 2 ways to criticize FCPX and they’re unfortunately getting confused by some people.

    MISSING FEATURES are parts of the software which were not ready for 1.0 release, but are in Apple’s development roadmap. In the end (be it 6 months or 2 years from now), FCPX WILL have direct round-tripping to other audio/video software, multi cam, broadcast monitoring, and revision after revision of bug fixes that stabilize the software.

    But the trackless timeline, no-bins, connected clips, and magnetic timeline DO NOT represent missing features. They are at the core of the program’s philosophy; and unless Apple was going to rewrite from scratch all over again, they aren’t going anywhere. It’s a different way to manage media and a different way to think about the timeline; and either you’re onboard with tying to work a different way because maybe there could be advantages… or you don’t.

    If you’re not, and you think there’s nothing interesting or innovative in FCPX’s approach, then like Ben I wonder why you’re still hanging around? If I was moving to Premier or back to AVID, I’d be doing nothing but digging back into that software. But grousing at this stage seems pointless, unless you are interested in the platform and it’s to provide Apple going-forward feedback on the software.

  6. Russtafa says:

    The “Beginning of something exciting” might be when we all start discussing where is Broadcast actually going/where is content delivery going/how are our lives are changing along the way.
    This has a distinct bearing on these discussions, especially in respect of how Apple are trying to “create” a tool for this new age.
    I am not trying to say this is good or bad, none of us really know at this time..
    All the people whingeing with this negative vitriol do nothing to help and promote what is a very interesting philosophical and technological debate.
    I sent Larry a link a while ago about a “mobile” viewing habits survey, and how things are changing in our lives, with our viewing habits.
    I huffed and puffed when I saw a guy on a NAB preview panel telling “everyone” how he was the dawn of the new era watching content on his iPAD in preference to cable which I think is prevalent in the USA.
    So I get more shocked on a daily basis finding HOW many people are now starting to do this, and solely watch content on a mobile device. Another total shock for me is how many people use a mobile device in their households in preference to a main computer these days, “needs must”
    When I read about “Professionals” and “Broadcast” where will all that be in a few years time? There once WAS a professional recording industry in the UK and that is now a distant historical memory.
    I welcome any of the Final Cut 10 whingers to ponder these questions and give us a coherent reply please?
    Will be an interesting and more intellectually stimulating read.

  7. nickeditor says:

    Well, if third-party plugins are the solution for Final Cut X, ¿what happens if the competition comes and buy them?

    Something like if Adobe have a partnership with Automatic Duck

    Well, partnership is a deal between two enterprises but ¿what happens if Adobe, or other, comes and buy them? And if they do it one time, and another, and another and buy all FCX’s plug-in ¿what happens then?

  8. Marcus R. Moore says:

    If there’s a demand, someone will step in to meet it. Personally, I’m liking the plug-in architecture that’s springing up around FCPX. Small and relatively inexpensive plug-ins for a specific purpose. I’ve already got my eye on several of the ones from crumplepop.

    People might complain that some of this stuff isn’t built in, but anyone who’s “Pro” knows that the 3rd party plugins for FCP and Adobe will always do the better job than the bundled version. If I need a de-interlace tool, I’d never using the one in FCP7. And if I want particle effects, I needed to buy Trapcode for AE. No one who makes a living at this should be worried about dropping money for these things if there’s a job is paying for them.

  9. Seb says:

    Dear Larry,
    I’m following your blog and website and tutorials and editing since 15years I really appreciate to have some voice like you to follow.

    I bought FCPX and was a bit depressed by the buzz about it, but I was waiting “easy” project to test it to make my own opinion… I tooked some time to follow more than one tutorial and red many info on web about it.

    During that learning process did some practice with tutorials files or 10-15 clips I had from previous shooting. I was optimistic about it and I had no problems with the soft except 2-3 Important bugs like the zoom-playhead one that is really something …

    in October I decided to do 2 small project (5min, 4 itw, music, b-roll, color grading, effect, 5d shooting, about 300 clips)

    I was ready to be slower and take time to learn it but I didn’t expect such dissapointement. I find really very a lot of improvement but some of them were compensed by some missing part, so at the end the soft itself convince me to go one and… wait the missing part I need that will probably come in the next 2-3 updates. The main failure for me was when I was going deeper in the edit process the soft start to crash almost every hour and to be so slow. I was just not possible to work with and it was very hard to finish this 2 edits.

    My first idea was that even if I did a clean install on a new HD with almost only fcpx on it, my mac pro 2009 was not strong enough (it was with fcp7). I tried on my 2009 mac book 17″ and….same and then I find many people saying the same on different forums.

    For me it’s hard to understand how such a brand new soft with 64 bits using all the ram (…) works slower than fcpx when we start to make something like 5 min edit.

    After this experience, I’m now very septical about the future of fcpx because even if they add some missing feature the soft is not usable for pro use (as you said when you comment the launch) and we don’t hear that enough…

    sorry for my approximative english

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