FCP X product managers address litany of user complaints

Mon, Jun 27, 2011


Apple last week released Final Cut Pro X and the response has been, well, let’s just say folks are pretty mad. Amidst a long list of missing features, video professionals are largely calling FCP X more of an iMovie Pro type app than what they’ve been used to in Final Cut Pro 7.

Now there are a few things in play here.

First, Apple may very well be sacrificing some pro-level functionality in order to appeal to wider base of users who would ordinarily be intimidated by FCP 7. Or as Daniel Jalkut tweeted last week, “Apple will happily piss off 5,000 professionals to please 5,000,000 amateurs.”

Second, it’s not as if some of the missing features editors are complaining about are gone for good. Remember that FCP X is a complete rewrite and essentially an entire new piece of software. That said, Apple has indicated that it will be rolling out software updates to FCP X much much faster than it ever did with Final Cut Pro 7.

Third, and most importantly, a good number of the more common FCP X complaints aren’t entirely factual. Addressing may of these, NYT tech columnist David Pogue got in touch with some of Apple’s product managers for Final Cut Pro X and had them tackle a number of concerns.

As to the complaint that that Final Cut Pro X offers no support for multicamera editing, Apple says that it will be including this in a future update and that it’s a “top priority.”

As to complaints that FCP X users can’t share their projects with other editors:

Not true. You can share your project, your files, or both. If the other editors already have the raw video files, you can hand over the project file. The other editors can inspect the Project Library; on its Info panel, they can click “Modify Event References” to reconnect the project to their own copies of the media files.

If the other editors don’t have the raw files, the various commands in the File menu let you move the project file, the media files, or both to another computer on the network, to another hard drive or whatever.

And a few others:

Complaint: You can’t assign audio tracks. “We send all our audio files out for ProTools mixing,” writes one editor in an e-mail. “We always put narration on Track 1 and 2, interviews on Tracks 3 – 6, and so on. So our audio engineers know exactly what’s on which track. But FCP X’s ‘trackless’ design makes that impossible.”

Answer: For now, you can use a utility called Automatic Duck Pro Export 5.0 ($200 to upgrade) to create and manage these tracks automatically when you export to ProTools. Apple says  it will restore this feature to FCP X.

Complaint: No custom frame rates or custom frame sizes. Editors are complaining that you can’t specify unusual frames-per-second rates or frame dimensions.

Answer: Not true. When you create a new project, you can specify any frame rate or size you want, right in the Import dialog box. You can also change the frame rate or size when you export the finished product — if you’re willing to spend $50 on Compressor.

Naturally, some other professionals have lamented the lack of support for RED digital cameras. To that end, Apple notes that it’s currently talking with RED to develop a plugin that would give FCP X the ability to support RED. Until then, lucky folks with RED cameras can adjust their settings accordingly such that video is captured in Apple’s QuickTime format.

You can check out the entire article over here and it’s well worth a look-through if you’re at all interested in or curious about forking over $299 for Final Cut Pro X.


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