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. — http://www.automaticduck.com/products/pefcp/ —
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. intelligentassistance.com —
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.
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