FCP X – Initial Reactions

This is the second in our series of MediaStorm producers responding to the new FCP X. If you missed the first response, from Eric Maierson, you can check that out here.

Well it’s amazing how much difference a day makes. 

Yesterday I had prepared a blog post about my qualified, yet upbeat first impression of FCP X. 

Of that blog post, here’s what I’ll include;

“I’ve been working in FCP X since it launched, and I’ve tried to approach it for what it is. A new piece of software that will have significant limitations, like all version 1 software. 

In doing this, I’ve come to see the potential of the program. It’s a young buck, but as it matures, I think we’re going to be surprised at how robust it is. 

Using metadata to organize and find assets is amazing. It’s fast and efficient. I’ve been able to organize content quicker than I was able to in FCP 7.  

Having access to my Aperture library’s organization within FCP X is a huge time saver. 

Live previews of audio effects are great. Many of them can be controlled manually in the Inspector just as they were in Soundtrack Pro. 

The Audition tool is amazing for trying out music and image edits. 

Many of the editing quick keys are organized in a much more logical way. I’ve had to relearn nearly everything, but they’re generally pretty intuitive. 

Other things that are big improvements include resolution independence, background rendering, and tapeless workflow.”

All of this is still true. But this morning FCP X scared the living daylights out of me. 

Two of four producers in the office lost work when FCP X didn’t save properly. And for those of you haven’t opened the program, you should know that FCPX no longer has a manual save function; it’s all supposed to be done without so much as an Apple-S. 

I can think of nothing more terrifying than feeling unsure of my ability to save work. This fact has spooked me to the core.

As if that wasn’t enough, I’ve managed to crash the program several times by removing a keyword from a clip. One piece of metadata brought down the entire program. 

And don’t plan on using native H.264 files. They make the entire program entirely too unstable.  

Now, I understand that this is new software and that it will get better with time. But the inability of this program to offer a stable environment for the most basic functions, like saving, has me thinking. 

It took years for FCP 7 to become the type of program that even Walter Murch could edit on. Despite the advances in FCP X, Apple has asked us to again remain patient as they go down the path of building increased stability and functionality into their software, all while providing little to no information about the timeline they have for updates.   

While storytelling is software agnostic, time and money are not. 

The prospect of waiting years for FCP X to mature is a depressing thought, and one that might not be financially viable for many institutions. I hope I’m wrong that it will take this long, but the point is, we just don’t know.
If you have the means, I’d list FCP X as a wait and learn. 

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