FCPX Will Win the WAR

Simple, Final Cut Pro X will win the editing software War.

Okay, like Alec Baldwin in Glen Gary Glenross' character would say "Have I got your Attention..."

The only 2 questions in this "war" are WHEN and HOW. 

I have been a Editing with FCP since version 1.0 and I "battled" with naysayers at post transfer houses through the digital transition years, the doubting Producers and the many versions/iterations of Final Cut Pro; until it finally rose to its peak with FCP 7,where it has been accepted in TV, commercials and on Feature Films by the some of the great editors of our industry. However, when Apple took a few giant steps backwards to move forward it was sad. Sad to see Apple stuck down by the Post Community like a war hero "pig" in the final act of Richard III. FCPX in hindsight wasn't a high powered imovie but really just half baked.

When it was first announced, many panicked and there was a "general mass hysteria" but I was the first to say it is a tool . I still believe it is just a tool and humans are good at adapting after the first knee jerk reaction. However, after I actually took FCPX for a test run; I silently and slowly backed away from the "train wreck" shaking my head a little confused. Apple sent a clear message to everybody in the Film industry that they are not in the filmmaking business but in the "selling as much software to the biggest customer base" business. In all fairness, Apple and their rivals all have the similar objectives but Apples was clearly aiming for volume. A mistake. At that point I started to look at the usual suspects for alternatives: AVID and Premiere.

I quickly remembered why I liked FCP better then the rivals. However, I was reminded how Avid is a stable robust environment that is very responsive and over the years it had improved it's tools trying to adapt to regain some its user that FCP7 had lost over the years. It is still a the Cadillac of Editing but I don't want to drive a Cadillac in this "war" and producers don't want to pay for that fancy ride all the time.

Adobe fixed up their LADA since '99. It's a whole new beast that is tricked it out to blend into a workflow making it a cool Jetta for After Effects users like myself but the Speedgrade program in CS6 needs some work. Unfortunately, it is crashy and resemble FCP7 in many ways with some great upgrades; that make it what FCP8 would have been if Apple didn't prematurely jump to FCPX. Both are valid fall backs options but I do lots of out of the box projects that require the ability to be flexible, mobile, robust like FCP7 permitted. I might as well keep on going with the "Devil I know" which is a fully operational FCP7 until the WHEN and HOW happens.

So when will the WHEN begin. This is the X-factor in my statement "FCPX will WIN the WAR". Apple has to realize that FCPX is for a professional Film market. When they realize there mistakes that is when they will start winning some battles. Apple has made some mistakes in the past but usually they fix them DL (down low). However, this "girlfriend" doesn't apologize, Apple's M. O. is fix it and act like it never happened, circle puck, the Cube, itunes features, MobleMe... When will Apple fix FCPX professional post missing features? It seems like this process has begun. Even if this mistake have been made, they are in the positions of playing catch up, as oppose to being ahead of the curb and setting the trends in post software. They have effectively given hope to the competition. So, the battle rages on.

The HOW of this fight is easy. After giving FCPX a second test run recently. I saw that Apple starting fixing there "mistakes". FCPX 10.07 is very different from the 10.0 version. Many features that I wanted are back from FCP 7: Dual Viewer, Position tool, Output to external monitor, Multicam and more to come. The more I worked with FCPX, the more I liked some of the new features: Multicam sync, magnetic timeline when editing dialogue or inserts, smartlist, Keyword and its stability, auto render, preview effects and itunes integration. Wow I think I can go on but you get it, lots of new goodies.

The main cause of frustration was the absence of the tools that the many versions of Final Cut Pro had worked out over the first 7 versions. Thus, discarding everything they learned from the post community; combined with the fact that it resembled and took many features from imovie instead of FCP7. This is still a little bit of a mystery to me.

They still have lots to work on. Let's use the Color correction tools for example. It is clearly suppose to replace Color 1.5 because it has been left for dead with the other programs in the suite except for Motion (ughh). So many omissions that are pretty basic stuff when it comes to color correction: the ability to finesse a mask selection, various views of mask selection, the Color Board... It is great to reinvent the wheel but I would like to use the wheel sometimes. Apple should give me the option to use the 3 color wheels or the color board. Why force one way of working. Which brings use to the main oversight and the key to win the "War".

The beauty of the previous versions of Final Cut Pro and its defining characteristic was the fact that you could work like your mind works. Basically, FCP was flexible. This is the real feature that Apple has removed and must put back into the software. Price is great, new tools are great, but making it work for which ever way a creative mind wants to use, the modularity, is the real selling point for the users.

Finally, I was looking how to save my windows layouts. which you can't do by the way, when I stumbled on this great article. 


After reading that some of these elements are in the code, I started to realize that they are not fixing but porting features and it Is just a matter of time. All the FCP7 features that are worth having are going to be back into FCPX and with the added new features. FCPX should be the victor.