As can be inferred from reading anything I post anywhere, I really like FCP X. Apple have, in their words, created “A more advanced take on pro video editing”. FCP X has “Unprecedented power for the next generation of post”, “…A dynamic editing interface (that) lets you experiment freely while working with extraordinary speed and precision”.
The trackless Magnetic Timeline, Roles, Keyword Ranges, Favorite/Reject. Powerful compositing capabilities built in to the NLE, Filmstrip View, the Skimmer, Auditions… the list of innovations goes on and on. Apple has created an amazing, brand new NLE. What they have not done, and have not claimed to have done, is re-invent editing.
I make this distinction because there are some fairly insistent voices on the internets that do make this pompous, counterproductive claim, and I think doing so makes people who are on the fence less likely to give FCP X a fair shot.
Now, I certainly understand being passionate about a platform, I am. And I’m not above spouting a little hyperbole myself, as can be seen on my blog and in my videos and presentations. But I’ve never claimed that Apple have re-invented editing, because they haven’t. What they have done is modernize it in some very helpful ways.
But this post isn’t about how great FCP X is – and it is great. 🙂 What I’d like to address is what I feel is the most egregious inaccuracy that is persistently presented in forums and on blogs… that being, and I’m paraphrasing here: ...in FCP X alone, you can do the majority of your editing in the Browser! You can’t do that in any other NLE!! Um… Not true.
Keyword Ranges and Favorite/Reject are simply a massively improved implementation of subclipping. X takes what was a tedious, mostly manual task, and effectively automates it for you. You create and tag ranges (subclips) and they get put in Collections (bins) for you. And you can tag Ranges (subclips) from within Ranges (subclips) without leaving the master clip. Create “stringouts” in the Browser. Way less clicking and dragging than in any other NLE, it’s really fast and efficient.
But here’s the thing, as anyone who actually uses more than one NLE will tell you… you absolutely can do that in any NLE. What Apple has done with FCP X, is make it wildly simpler. There’s more innovation in the FCP X browser than just Keyword Collections and Ranges, but it’s not a “new” way of editing, it’s a better way of editing.
The bottom line for me, is that FCP X does in 1 step what in other NLE’s require 2 or 3 or 4 etc. You can do many more things, and get better results, right in the FCP X Timeline and without round tripping to other apps. Retiming, Resolution Changes, Keying, Audio and Video Exports with Roles, Compositing, live preview of Effects, on and on.
It’s (mostly) the same stuff you can do in anything, but more efficient, faster, and with less distraction from the software. You can “program” your Library with Smart Collections etc, and then you edit like you always have, but faster, and you don’t have to keep re-organizing things like you do in everything else.
Editing hasn’t changed since the days of razor blades and tape. You get your footage, chop out the crap you don’t want, and assemble the bits you do. Add layers of audio and titles etc, mix it, and you’re done. Videotape was a huge improvement over film, Digital was a huge improvement over tape. The process is the same, the tools we use to accomplish the task have gotten much better.
FCP X is definitely a new, powerful, modern, reinvented NLE. It makes it possible for more people than ever -including “professionals” – to get “professional” results. Video literacy is a skill that, like printing, music creation etc., is now accessible to more people than ever before. And that is a very good thing. 🙂
But Apple has not reinvented editing. What they have done, is make it a whole lot easier. And that works for me, I can go home early. 😉