I’ll be the first to admit that when FCPX first released in 2011, I was pissed. I grew up with FCP7. It’s where and how I learned to edit. It was my most trusted creative partner since the inception of my passion. So when FCPX finally hit the market and I was able to get my hands on it, I shut it down about as fast as it could open. How was I supposed to make sense of this redesigned looking interface? How do I perform a 3-point edit without a viewer AND canvas? How do I edit on a timeline with no layers? I felt cheated and was so frustrated that I immediately contacted Apple and demanded my money back. Similar to the rest of the industry, I begrudgingly transitioned to Premiere.
I continued working in Premiere and Avid during school and when I graduated many companies were still using FCP7. It wasn’t until I was hired at One Tree Forest that my boss challenged me to give FCPX a second chance. At the time, we were developing a new workflow for a project that demanded speed and reliability. FCP7 was undeniably showing it’s age, Avid was too expensive and lacking modern features, and Premiere, with its incessant software updates and bugs, made it too difficult to keep multiple machines congruent and was just plainly unreliable. With little other options, I put my bitterness behind me and decided to give X another shot. I haven’t regretted it since.
At OTF, we specialize in branded content and pride ourselves on quick turnarounds. There’s no better example of this than Gatorade’s Player of the Year program where in a near 24-hour timespan, we produce, shoot, edit, and distribute, on location, seven different pieces of video content across multiple online and broadcast platforms (12 times per year!). With such a demanding and time-sensitive project, we require assurance that our machines will perform without fail. In a world of countless codecs, resolutions, and framerates, FCPX allows us to edit 4k footage, at full resolution, on a laptop, with little-to-no lag. I can be importing, editing, and exporting all different flavors of video simultaneously. If the software crashes, which is rare, nothing is lost because it’s literally saving every single command (there isn’t even a ‘save’ option). The range selector allows the convenience of creating an in and out or multiple audio keyframes in one click and whatever the client’s feedback, the magnetic timeline provides the ability to quickly add, delete, or restructure an edit with a few drag and drops. There are currently no other NLE’s on the market that provide these tools and you’d be hard pressed to find another software/hardware combination that performs as well as FCPX and a Macbook Pro. I’m also proud to say that, in the 36 projects we’ve implemented with this system, we’ve never had a major malfunction or missed a deadline.
In future posts I will go into further detail about how we use and have optimized FCPX and its workflows for our day to day operations. Nevertheless, those are a few reasons why FCPX is now my go-to NLE. I genuinely can’t stress enough how useful and powerful a weapon it can be. If you still have sore feelings towards FCPX, I urge you to give it another shot. I get it, it looks like an upgraded iMovie, but when you peel beneath its shiny, unfamiliar exterior, you’ll find an extremely powerful and incredibly competent tool!