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. PF Bentley says:

    As Dave said – time to move on.

    Why should I be jumping through hoops to do an edit? FCP X is a failure for professionals. I switched to CS5.5 in June and look forward to CS 6 next year. There’s some little annoying stuff with CS 5.5 that FCP 7 does easier and quicker, but Adobe plans to address those issues in that CS6 upgrade.

    Apple makes great products which I use everyday. Love the company, but they made a decision and statement with FCP X. They might say they care about professional editors, but their actions have proved differently.

    People are trying to put lipstick on a pig and make FCP X work somehow….it’s still a pig and nothing can change that until you replace it with a swan. In my case that swan was CS5.5. I’ve been an Apple user since 1985. Love ya, Apple – Love ya, Steve – but I gotta edit and make a living now. I promise to check out FCP 11 when it comes out.

    (Memo to Apple – all we wanted was FCP 8 with all the great features of CS5.5 and maybe some cool new stuff – would that of been so hard?)

  2. Reinout says:

    As I continue to keep reading comments like the one from PF Bentley, I’m more and more becoming feeling like FCPX really ignited a hard-lined response from so many people. And by hard-lined I mean that it’s no longer a case of,

    ‘Well, I prefer product X, so I’m not too keen on product Y, but good luck to ya if you work with product Y”, but instead it’s become:

    “I really, really hate product Y, and I do not believe people can work with it. So I push for product X and sort of indirectly ridicule anyone who believes product Y is a serious tool. It’s not. It’s a dead dog, a pig with lipstick, etc. etc.”

    Only now, after more than three months am I really starting to become offended as I slowly begin speaking out over the internet against this hard-lined response where I as a very, very happy user of FCPX (who is making a living out of cutting stuff on FCPX and doing so for a lot of satisfied customers) am feeling like I have to defend myself, or feel ashamed of admitting to actually liking this product.

    Funny how, in a way, FCPX really brings apple full circle back to the eighties, where you’re again a sort of underdog/foreigner/stranger just by using FCPX.

    anyway, I hope the hard-lined responses will die down over time, and critics and fans can once again sort of live together like we seemed to do before June 2011…you know, with like, respect and stuff.

  3. Dick Applebaum says:


    Very well said!

    I am a prosumer, doing videos for friends and family. I have used FCP 7 for about 4 years (FCE before that) and every version of iMovie. Depending on the requirement, iMovie can be a better solution than FCP — like getting a grandkids soccer highlight up on the web within an hour after the game.

    A creative friend (singer, songwriter, composer, pianist) does a lot of her own editing (originally GarageBand, now Logic; and iMovie) for music videos — so she understands and appreciates what is involved. Most of the video/audio is professionally shot. She has outgrown iMovie and wants something with more capability.

    She knows I have FCPX, FCP 7, FCE, iMovie(s) — and asked me: In one sentence, what is the advantage of FCPX.

    The [almost] immediate answer: “FCPX makes it fun to be powerful”.

  4. Dave says:

    Dick, is it really that powerful to not have broadcast monitoring, Tape deck support for decks like D5, HDCAMSR, etc, (no in the real world, tape is not yet dead and is still an everyday necessity) The ability to open a FCP 7 timeline.

    Don’t get me wrong, there is a market for FCPX, but it is things that were digitally acquired, wedding videos, event videography, etc. It is not the market that FCP7 had which was all of that, plus editing films, TV series, high end TV commercials, etc. It just requires too many compromises and work arounds at this point. Maybe one day that will change…

  5. Adam says:

    PF Bentley did nothing but praise everything about Apple with the exception of FCPX. And he’s right. He didn’t claim the program doesn’t work. It does work and can be effective. But it can also just start up missing files that I can no longer reconnect to because “FCPX just knows where your files are.” And leave me to go re-edit it on a program that I know will be able to reconnect media if necessary. I had a friend show me the beginning of a cut he was showing on FCPX, but emphasized “It crashed and I had more cut. It lost half the edit.” Then as he color corrected it, the whole program crashed again. Nothing short of my experience with it.

    That’s great that you can make a living using FCPX and use it with clients needs. I’ve done the same with iMovie when the task called for it. Its just 98% of anything I specifically do, calls for FCP 7 or Adobe like capabilities.

    “Funny how, in a way, FCPX really brings apple full circle back to the eighties, where you’re again a sort of underdog/foreigner/stranger just by using FCPX.”…. Apple had the largest amount of editors using its software and released a program lacking so many features that left so many of it’s user base feeling deserted. If they are any of those things it’s because it chose to be it. Apple is doing much better as a company than Avid or Adobe (better than any company these days) and had the fans. I wouldn’t say a company that will throw those people’s needs to the side is an underdog. They’re becoming more like Skynet.

    Luckily, I’m sitting pretty with my $1000 version of studio 3 and I’ll continue to do so until I’m forced into Premiere, which will take less time to switch over than FCPX.

  6. Dick Applebaum says:


    For your needs, obviously, FCPX is not powerful enough, yet, in the real world in which you operate.

    I believe that within a year, FCPX will have most of the capabilities needed — supplied by Apple and third-parties.

    For the scenario I gave it certainly is “really that powerful”.

    My friend is a perfectionist. She doesn’t want to edit her own stuff — but she does want to understand what is possible with editing and how difficult or easy it is to obtain the desired results. I guess you could consider her a “director” who wants to know enough of the editing craft — to understand what it takes to get her message/story across, in the way she wants it told.

    So far, she has made quite a few “covers” (music videos of songs recorded by others) and a few music videos that are original — her composition, lyrics, performance.

    She began with GarageBand and iMovie, and has outgrown both. Likely, she will continue to shoot (her husband does the video camera work and audio setup) and edit any “covers” with Logic and FCPX. At the same time any “originals” she makes are done professionally in a studio.

    She has never had the need for tape, video monitors, export to other products — so yes, it gives her the needed power.

    I want to make 2 more points:

    1) I have another friend who is a high level executive at a broadcast network, who when asked about FCP vs FCPX, gave me the following answer:

    “FCP is actually a powerful program but I still think iMovie does the job for most less than 10 minutes productions. Its real value is revealed when using After Effects or Motion, integrated tight in the production. Content is still king and video ‘direction’ makes a video look pro… not really the ‘editing’ tools in most cases.

    If you ever travel to NY I would love to give you a tour of some of the edit suites and see how the product is integrated in the workflow. FCP is not the main edit tool, however as a FCP fan you will see its value when connected to graphic virtual sets and tapeless video ingest servers. Pretty amazing in capable hands. But you will also see how simple on & off-line systems (equiv. to iMovie) does the bulk of the work.”

    Certainly, this is a different type of editing than what you described — but these editors are doing “editing” for a living — so they, too, are “pros”.

    Certainly they are trading off some things that may be important in a TV series, etc, for fast turn-around. I maintain, with FCPX, they will be able to work faster, do more/better editing (with fewer tradeoffs) than what they currently do with iMovie-like apps.

    Sony has a new camera that sends the video to an iPad while it is being shot. There an assistant editor, using a special iPad app, logs the video for later ingest into FCP 7 — the logging is in real time.

    Now, take this a a step further, what if the video was sent to a more powerful device capable of running FCPX — say a MacBook Pro (or the next generation iPad). FCPX could ingest the video directly, and make it immediately available for editing (while being ingested).

    Why would you want to do that? Let me tell you why! For a highlighted, stop-action clip of something like a football pass-catch, a play review, an Olympic high dive, a soccer goal. You can edit the clip, apply a highlight mask, move the scrubber, drag the mask… then output/play the highlight clip immediately.

    Here’s a short 8-second clip to illustrate the effect — it is especially useful if you stop-start the clip as you can freeze the highlighted motion at any point, reverse it, etc. This literally takes a few seconds to do with FCPX.

    A year from now, I expect to see Chris Collinsworth using FCPX on an iPad to [almost] realtime highlight football plays.

    2) The second point is that there is a new breed of video and video editing coming…

    loosely, it’s called “crowd-sourcing and collaborative editing”. Think 9/11/2001. Many of the pictures and video were shot, extemporaneously, by many people from many locations.

    It would take months, if not years, to edit a “proper” film or video depicting the events — and an editor with a discerning eye and great storytelling ability.

    That does not mean an “improper” rush-job video has no value. It is extremely valuable in a different way — because of its timeliness and its ability to evolve as the story develops. It is almost a living/breathing thing.

    TV channels and News Networks were asking people to send in anything they had — from the WTC, Pentagon, fields of Pennsylvania…

    We will see more and more of this “crowd-sourcing and collaborative editing”, Some of it will be planned, orchestrated, and edited with some rigor and discipline.

    But some of it will just happen! Anybody with a smart phone can be a source and upload to YouTube in a few seconds. Anyone with an iPhone or an iPad can do some preliminary editing with iMovie before uploading… and, likely, FCPX on an iPad within a year.

    Certainly, there needs to be someone(s) in overall control — but that will evolve too!

    • Larry says:


      I really, really like this write-up. The future of editing will not be like the past. Unfortunately, not everyone can change as quickly as they might like.

      I’m excited about the future, and totally sympathetic for everyone feeling pain in the present. It is a difficult situation.


  7. Leo Hans says:


    I agree with you. It’s the beginning of something exciting.
    The picture is that FCPX can talk to other software, and it has a powerfull language.

    Right after the FCPX Sneak Peak I wrote on my blog about what I was expecting Apple to kill Color.

    As an editor I don’t like to “send to” in order to get the things done. I need to have the tools in my timeline, not in another App in order to refine my cuts in the same place. Once I reach the very end of my project I “Send to” but not to Color, but to a color grading artist.

    I wrote about Blackmagic’s Da Vinci with the new software only version and the free one. Why should Apple compete with it instead of taking benefit of that?

    It’s funny that the same people clamming that doing all the things in one App are criticizing Apple because they are focusing on storytelling.

    FCPX is a good thing.

  8. Ben Balser says:

    The cold hard fact is, high end editors are a drop in the bucket of the total market. And that will become more glaringly obvious over time. I know very few TV stations locally who use tape for anything any longer. They shoot tapeless, store tapeless, deliver tapeless to playout servers. 5 years ago, the majority were dependent on tape in/tape out workflows, but not today. This is where the future of editing is heading. Anyone, including Walter who says spending more money at this very moment on new software is necessary is reacting out of anger, rather than good business sense. Why spend extra money now, in a bad economy, when you can still run Final Cut Studio, along with Final Cut Pro X, side by side, until X matures enough? And it will mature. The recent very fast release of X.0.1 and the public statements by Apple prove that. Walter wants to bash Apple for something Philip developed? That makes no logical sense. I’m sorry, but you can either be on board with FCP X, or spend money needlessly moving to something else when you have FCS that still works just fine today and for the next year or so. I’ll spend the money in a year or so when i have to, and my clients and/or hardware dictate it. Not out of anger. Sorry if I offend anyone, but when I see folks here bashing FCP X, I have to ask, why haven’t you moved on? Why are you still here bashing? What’s the real issue? I doubt it’s to debate FCP X’s future, as that is old and worn out after three months. Why hang around, reading FCP X blog posts, and making bashing comments, if you’ve moved on to Adobe already? I don’t get it.

  9. Nivardo says:


    I do not remember that Larry mentioned that here is an exclusive area of FCP X. If not waste my time coming over here to read reviews from users of FCP X.

  10. GKubera says:

    I guess I agree with Ben…at least to a point.

    Seems like Apple is aiming @ the iToy crowd with FCPX’s new design. I don’t doubt we’ll see a version for the iPad/iOS in the future. We’re talking a case of literacy here. People are using tools formerly available ONLY to professionals in their personal and professional communications, and Apple is happy to give them a toolset that enables their “digital lives”.

    We “Pros” are like the monks when the printing press was invented! That doesn’t mean that professional work will go away…but it WILL change. After all…CHANGE is the only constant.

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