I am, like so many others, very pleased Apple finally revamped FCP - its a good solid, detailed release; more substantial than the last three versions put together - BUT…. please let us not delude ourselves that this release is anything other than Apple playing catch up after having been very off the ball for the past 4 years. The only people who will find FCP X ‘revolutionary’ are those who have not used other editing systems and do not know what else is out there.
The facts speak for themselves. Below are a list of the so called ‘new’ features in FCPX and next to each I have put the names of some of the major competing software-based NLE’s who already have this feature and who, moreover, have had this feature for quite some time, in some cases for the past 5 and 6 years….
- 64 bit (Vegas, premiere, avid)
- Uses Open CLI (in other words GPU acceleration; vegas, premiere, avid)
- Color management (CS5, vegas, avid)
- Resolution independent playback system up to 4K (vegas, premiere)
- Mix & match all content in timeline without transcoding - ie Resolution and Codec independent working space (vegas, premiere)
- Background rendering (the old Pinnalce and then Avid Liquid did it 8 years ago)
- Range based keywording - metadata attached to part of a clip (premiere, vegas)
- Smart collections/smart folders (vegas)
- Magnetic timeline -moves audio out of the way to avoid collisions. (vegas, premiere)
- Filmstrip timeline view (vegas, premiere)
- Automatic control of number of tracks - add and go when needed (vegas)
- Pitch corrected audio skimming (vegas)
- Waveforms show level adjustments in realtime (premiere, vegas)
- Advanced color correction in the NLE (premiere, avid)
- Improved keyframing, bezier paths and curve display in the timeline (premiere, vegas)
- Soundtrack now in FCPX + surround panning - ie proper DAW functionality (premiere, vegas)
- Clip connections, primary and secondary media locking together as take layers (vegas)
None of these features above are new. They are all pre-existing in other competing systems.
That’s not to say there wasn’t any ‘new’ things in FCPX; meaning specifically features or functions that don’t otherwise exist elsewhere. For example:
- Editing whilst ingesting
- Colour, clean, stabilization processing on ingest
- People and shot detection
- Compound clips - collapse clips into a single clip
- Auditioning - sampling of different versions of edits
- Timeline Index- an index of all the clips in the timeline
- One click to match color between clips
In truth these things - that truly are NEW - are the things i find very exciting and useful but by the same token they do not represent the big overhauling cake; they are just the tasty icing. Which leaves us with the bulk of the big ‘new’ stuff in FCPX really being not in the slightest bit ‘new’ at all. These features are only new to FCP and FCP users who’ve never bothered to stray outside of the cloistered land of Apple. Of course there will be rightly arguments that Apple have done these ‘new’ features ‘better’ and this may be true, we wait and see, but the penchant for Apple to espouse words like Revolutionary and New clearly cannot be justified here. Not even by the fanboys.
Thank you Apple for finally catching up and giving me a reason not to ditch Final Cut into the out-dated box it has been staring at for the past 3 years.
The real killer component of the FCPX announcement is the price. $299 makes the Avid $999 limited time cross-grade seem like a cruel and sad joke (much like Final Draft offering a student price of $200 bucks when you can just use the more powerful and functional Celtx for free)
Adobe, Sony and Avid will not really be worried about the feature set of FCP - there is very little to envy - but I suspect they will be terrified by the pricing now that FCP users aren’t feeling compelled to jump ship.
What remains then is the fate of the FC Studio suite? Blu Ray support? The scraping of DVD Studio Pro in favour of something even remotely close to Encore. Motion? Give up or continue the futile effort to compete with After Effects?
Time will tell. I’m pleased Apple have put FCP back in the game. But I am once again dismayed by the Apple rhetoric and the ignorance of the Apple fanboys.