Considering that I stare at Final Cut Pro for a vast majority of every day, I was pretty excited when I saw the announcement of the New Final Cut Pro X at last nights’s NAB.
Overall though, the announcement left me with as many questions as answers.
The price point is both good and bad. While I love to pay less for stuff, I have to wonder if they’re catering to a more intermediate crowd, even though Apple has denied they’re foregoing the power user.
The screenshots of the new user interface certainly look interesting, like Avid, iMovie and FCP all had a baby together. Overall, I tend to give Apple the benefit of the doubt on this front. And the background rendering is so huge. If I spend much of my life in front of FCP, a disgustingly large part of that has been staring at FCP’s render window.
I like the fact Apple rolled Color and Soundtrack into FCP (or absorbed them), as this CNET story says. The reality is that many times, especially on deadline, you just need to get your video done and the thought of round-tripping a project through Color and Soundtrack was enough to keep my color grading and sound work in the FCP timeline. Talking to other editors, it seems I’m not the only one who does that.
Sending your project out of FCP was time consuming and fraught with compatibility errors. I remember bookmarking on kenstone.com what seemed like a 15-page tutorial on how to prep your FCP sequence to send to Color without destroying your project.
Still those were beefy programs. Could all of their functionality possibly be rolled into a single program? My guess is that some of the major things made the transition, like non-linear crossfades, noise reduction and Soundtrack’s effects library as well as Color’s primary and secondary grading features. Still, though, I can’t see Color’s nodal effects window, making it, for example. Since when has there ever been a nodal anything in FCP?
Noticeably absent from anything I’ve heard is how Motion is going to be affected. This one’s personally interesting to me because I like Motion and have used it extensively for years, but the reality is that I don’t think it’s ever going to touch After Effects. It’s just too far behind in the game, there’s too many plug-ins and top people in the post-production world who use AE exclusively. The cornerstone AE has on the market reminds me of how dominant Apple is the Tablet market. Motion is like the Motorola Xoom and AE is like the iPad. It’s going to be a while before anything (if ever) catches up.
It will be interesting to see how Apple handles Compressor and DVD Studio Pro. Compressor doesn’t seem to get high marks for it’s encoding quality the more I read about it. I wouldn’t be surprised if much of its functionality gets folded into FCP. Apple’s classic disdain for physical media and the death of the DVD (along with Apple’s reluctance to include Blue-Ray) doesn’t give me high hopes for DVD Studio Pro. I don’t think I will miss it much if it’s gone.
We’re going to be learning a lot more in the coming weeks, but I’m still going to reserve judgement on whether the new FCP will be a success or not. For example, I felt that Quicktime X was a step backward from Quicktime Pro, at least from a content creation perspective, so not every new thing from Apple is always better.Obviously the background rendering, 64-bit processing, ability to address all that RAM make the new FCP X a must buy, but I still wonder what other concessions there might be.