FCPX: Initial reactions

FCP X has just hit the App Store, and the internet is awash with first thoughts, measured opinions, angry rants and overexcited tweets. We thought we’d take a minute to collate some of the internet’s more coherent responses, and let you know what’s being said about the all-new Final Cut.

FCP 7 lives on!

While we’re obviously excited about the latest developments, we’re happy to hear that FCP 7 and FCPX can live side by side on the same machine without the need for any partitioning. As Final Cut guru Larry Jordan points out, this means “you can take your own sweet time deciding when to make the switch. And, in fact, you can use FCP 7 where it makes sense and FCP X when that is a better choice.” A sensible point, and other manufacturers seem to be supporting it – for example, anyone looking to upgrade their copy of Automatic Duck’s Pro Export FCP will be given the latest FCP 7 version as well as the new FCPX one, so they can carry on using both systems.

What’s in…

Events, Magnetic Timelines and connected clips for the most part. New content is imported into FCPX as an Event, instantly creating a virtual folder which holds all your clip’s metadata, including what it is, when it was shot, where and who for, what it is and where it’s stored. All this is done automatically on ingest, meaning you don’t have to spend ages organising footage before its useable.

The Magnetic Timeline offers you a trackless editing environment where you can move clips around freely, while the clip connections – which link the primary clip to its audio track, related B-roll or any other supporting media – make sure nothing gets left behind.

Integration with the other generation X apps available so far – Motion and Compressor – is much tighter than ever before, and the new audio meters are also a massive, user-friendly plus over the previous version, being much easier to read and adjust.

The new workflow’s obviously geared to support DSLR work. There’s native H.264 support, and the auto transcoding, image correction and stabilisation tools are all designed to help you get your footage looking more professional more quickly – probably useful if you’re importing from your iPhone or iPad (both of which are supported).

However, there’s also support for the AVC, DV and XD families, and you can import camera archives from third-party cards and software without breaking a sweat. (Apple have a handy compatibility checker on their site for anyone who wants to know which cameras have been qualified.)

…and what’s out

Hallelujah and glory be, FCPX gets rid of RAM limits – processor and memory-hungry tasks in the background, utilising every resource it can muster. This means you no longer have to spend hours waiting for processes like capturing or rendering to complete.

However, there are other, less exciting omissions: no native .R3D support for one, no backward compatibility with FCP 7 (especially worrying as we don’t yet know if an X version of Color, Soundtrack Pro or DVD Studio Pro will show up).

Perhaps the biggest change, however, is the FCPX really doesn’t do tape. You can only live stream taped footage – no genlocked output to tape – and the best advice for anyone working with tape cameras is to invest in an external recorder that’ll let you record to a file-based format.

The dark side

Putting aside gripes over whether or not FCPX feels like a ‘proper’ NLE or not, there are a couple of things that are obviously already causing friction. That lack of .R3D support is a biggie, as is the absence of multicam support and any kind of genlocked tape output. There has also been a dearth of firmware updates from major manufacturers, so you may want to check all your kit will be compatible before making the move to FCPX.

Check back to get our consultants’ reactions to FCPX once they’ve had the chance to edit on it (or catch up with them at Thursday’s FCPUG SuperMeet). In the meantime, find out more by giving us a call on 03332 409 306, emailing broadcast@Jigsaw24.com or leaving us a comment below.

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