I am a trailer editor. In practice, that means that what I cut from day to day is mostly TV commercials for movies. There are only so many actual, theatrical trailers that get cut for any given film and there are significantly more TV spots to go around, so that’s what most of us end up doing. In the grand scheme of things, there aren’t really a lot of people and companies that cut this stuff.
The competition is friendly, but fierce. Like any business, everyone pretty much knows what the competition is doing, and everyone would be happy to be working on whatever someone else is.
So. . . in a fiercely competitive business, if a tool came along that required some work to master, but would ultimately cost you less and probably allow you to work more quickly and maybe get a leg up on everyone else would you:
A-try it out or even put it in place and see how it worked.
B-get mad at the creator of the tool and/or disregard it as useless without really trying it.
That tool is FCP X and, up ’til now, the choice that seems to have been made in our little niche, is B. That’s not to say that nobody is using it, there are a lot of people using it quite successfully. Network promos, News, TV shows, Features, Documentaries. . . All being cut on FCP X. So, why isn’t anyone cutting trailers with FCP X? Well, there are some legitimate workflow concerns with FCP X (for now), but that hasn’t stopped companies in other, related niches from deploying it. And yes, it requires some retraining, but that hasn’t stopped some companies in our niche from switching from FCP 7 to Media Composer. I’ve said it before, as far as I can tell the main reason nobody in our business is using FCP X, is that nobody else is.
Why do I care? Because I use FCP X. I like it. And I don’t want to have to blindly follow the herd onto some competing NLE. The fact that Adobe Premiere is really similar to the old FCP or that Media Composer has gotten “better” has zero appeal to me. It’s a negative really. What I like about FCP X is that, once learned, pretty much everything I need to do is easier than it is in other NLE’s. Not creatively, that’s the same in any NLE, but technically. I can spend exponentially more time in X just cutting.
There are some folks who really like the fact that there are 5 ways to pan an audio channel or 20 preference panes or 30 built in tools most of which you don’t need. I am not one of them. I like simplicity, and that was one of the big appeals of the original FCP. It was just easier to work in compared to the alternatives. And for me, that’s the case with FCP X now. I spend a lot less time manipulating the application, and more time editing. And, it’s fun to cut in. I’m perfectly capable of navigating a complex UI, but if the app I’m in can take care of some of that drudgery for me, it makes me smile. I can spend my time figuring out what to do creatively, rather than how to do something.
There’s a new version of FCP X coming out soon, if you’re reading this later in December it may already be out. In addition to the usual bunch of new features and improvements, I believe it will make collaboration much easier. This is a pretty big deal to folks in the trailer business and – other than the crappy launch (ancient history) and needing to learn the app (not that difficult once you bother to try) – it’s been one of the biggest stumbling blocks for X’s adoption. The next few months should be… interesting. 😉