Bored? Wanna listen to me talk about stuff? Check out this episode of FCP Radio. Kudos to Richard Taylor for making my interview sound coherent!
Click the pic and give Episode 34 a listen. 🙂
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. 😉
We know you’re busy. Very, very busy. So busy, that traditional training takes entirely too much time. At GeekCo., we understand.
Now, with GeekCo Train-O-Matic®™, you can get the training you need to competently cut in Final Cut Pro X in as little as 10 seconds! (depending on reading speed) You can read it here or, assuming you have the time, simply click either image to download a .pdf. Happy Learning™!
Almost exactly a year ago I started this here blog with a post entitled It Doesn’t Suck. So… I thought it only fitting to revisit the topic, and see what has changed. In a word, in my little corner of the editing world, nothing. It’s as though it’s the first week FCP X came out. “Nobody uses it”… “If it only had tracks”… “It’s iMovie Pro”. It’s like Groundhog Day.
FCP X currently has dozens of unique, workflow and editing enhancing features, things you just can’t get or do in other NLE’s. It’s not the unfinished App that it was when it came out. And like every NLE, there are things that need work. Guess which aspect everyone here likes to talk about… Having never used FCP X for more than an hour of course. I’m still using it every day cutting spots. You’ve probably seen them. But, ya know… nobody uses it.
Meanwhile, in the world outside the relative handful of companies and editors who cut trailers here, lots of people are using it with great success. In L.A., a fairly large movie was just cut in X. There will be more. A lot of people in town are using it for a variety of projects, documentaries, cable shows, network promos. In the rest of the world, even more people have begun to embrace it. The BBC and other large networks. Ad agencies, Music video’s and television shows. Tons of stuff.
A lot of this may be familiar to FCP X users, but for the “nobody uses it” crowd, here are some links:
I could go on and on, and that’s just links from one website. Somebody is using FCP X. Lot’s of somebodies.
Anyway, the good news is that since everyone now loves Premiere so much (it has tracks!) If I need to use it I can run FCP X at the same time (7 and X don’t play well together). If there’s a gig I need to keep in Pr, I’ll do all my selects and stuff in X due to the fact that it’s just better for that. Then, get it all into Pr, and cut in there. When I need to find a random shot, I just go to X, skim around (Hoverscrub? I don’t think so.), find it in a heartbeat, note the TC, then pop back to Pr and locate it. It’s actually faster to do that then hunting around in the morass of bins and folders and subfolders and tabs and panels and meaningless thumbnails that is Premiere. (and to be fair, most other NLE’s too)
I find SFX the same way. Pop into X, arrow key down the list and look at the waveforms as they instantly appear, find the one I need, and go search for it in Pr. Exponentially faster than playing through 100 whooshes to find the one I need. Like, not even in the same league.
Anyway, this post isn’t about that stuff. It’s about the fact that FCP X still doesn’t suck. It’s gotten really, really good in the year since I wrote my original post. It’s being used on some very high end work regularly, and there’s more every day. And yet, here in the little movie marketing world, crickets mostly. I know people are using X here and there, but nobody talks about it. It’s odd. Ah well, I’m happily using it quite successfully, people have no idea what they’re missing. 😉
I’ll end this “anniversary” post with a little quote I ran across the other day. I think it’s appropriate. Happy Editing!
“Generals are notorious for their tendency to ‘fight the last war’ – by using the strategies and tactics of the past to achieve victory in the present. Indeed, we all do this to some extent. Life’s lessons are hard won, and we like to apply them – even when they don’t apply. Sadly enough, fighting the last war is often a losing proposition. Conditions change. Objectives change. Strategies change. And you must change. If you don’t, you lose.”
Maybe everyone knows this, I didn’t, mainly because I use connected clips, not secondaries, I don’t use audio dissolves much, and if I cut audio in a secondary the stock centered transition works fine most of the time. But, I discovered a little trick to have a nice A/B crossfade and use a transition to create the handles for you, and give you a “thumb” to move the cut point around.
Cut your audio in a secondary and stick a dissolve on the cut. The length doesn’t matter, it will just be a drag handle when you’re done – Then, just expand the audio and adjust/trim the A/B sides and fade handles as you normally would.
It’s really the same as if you just did it without the dissolve, except… you can now select the transition to adjust position of the expanded edit point using the <> + Shift (if needed) keys. Be aware, when it’s expanded, dragging the transition doesn’t move the cut, but when you collapse the audio, you can click and drag the transition and it moves he A/B handles/fades with it. Useful?
EDIT: The dissolve doesn’t do anything once you adjust the A/B handles, and you can pretty much do the same thing by selecting and dragging the edit point. What it does so is create some handles for you, and let you drag the edit point without changing tools. Saves a couple keystrokes and clicks… 🙂
Just a drive by. Work has been interfering with blogging. I hate when that happens.
Like everyone else using X, I’m just waiting for the next update. And if all Apple does is squash bugs and optimize the snot out of it this time, I’ll be happy. 🙂
Back again with more babbling. To recap… some people find… ah, screw it. I had envisioned this topic as a linear series of posts for folks dipping their toes into X, talking about my editing process… A-B-C-D etc. Turns out my brain doesn’t work that way. Maybe that’s why FCP X appeals to me. 😉 So I guess I’m just gonna write a little bit now and again – in no particular order – about unique things I like when working with, rather than against the FCP X timeline. This little post will be about Storylines.
I, and others, have said that the best way to get acclimated to the Magnetic Timeline is to fill the storyline with gap, and cut everything in as connected clips and disconnect the audio. I did it at first. It works kind of like you’re “used to” working. And it sucks.
Or, you could use connected clips but keep the audio components connected to maintain sync. You get the benefit of audio components/expansion too. But it’s a mess.
Or, don’t fight it. Use the Primary Storyline.
All nice and neat. Use the Position Tool (P) to move clips without rippling. Hold the tilde key while adjusting clips (~) to temporarily disable connections. Press and hold tilde (~) then press SHIFT and release both keys to lock connections off. Press tilde again to re-enable connections. This cursor let’s you know connections are disabled.
When working with Connected Clips, if you want to butt clips together and put transitions on them outside the Primary, X will put them in a Secondary Storyline for you.
Making secondaries is really just like making a new track in other NLE’s. But, you only do it if you need one, which you do if you want to put a transition effect between clips. So… why else would you need one?
Well, maybe you’d like to cut a music bed first, lock it, and edit to that… without having each clip of your music cut move because it’s “connected” to the primary clip above it. Maybe you have a bunch of little clips you want to keep together or easily move as a group. Whatever. Think of storylines as tracks you can move around if you want to. Add gap at the front end and pin it to the head of your timeline and it’ll behave exactly like a track.
What you can also do, that you can’t do in tracks, is expand the audio in storyline clips and do a nice manual crossfade. so it takes the place of 2 (or 4) tracks in other NLE’s. And you can select and manipulate clips in a storylne just like any connected clips in the timeline.
Storylines are also useful if you want to keep a group of clips together for visual organization. Again, just like tracks.
Make new Storylines by selecting a clip and hitting CMD-G. If you forward (SHIFT) delete the clip after this, it’ll leave an empty secondary if you need it.
And while you’re at it, Never disconnect your sync audio. Unless you need to cheat some dialog or something, leave the sync audio components with your video clips. If you know there’s a stem you won’t ever need, disable the component for the master clip. In my case, I hardly ever need the Music from a split source, so I just turn it off in the master clip.
That way, every clip I cut in has the sync Dialog and Effects with it. I can turn either on or off in the timeline clip(s) as needed, but it’s always there, I never need to match back to a clip to “find” the audio I didn’t think I needed. This essentially takes the place of track patching, but you only need to do it when you want to, not every freaking time you cut in a clip.
It’s also trivially easy to do an A/V, Video only, or Audio only edit. Hit Shift 1,2, or 3 before you cut in your clip.
Next up (in some random order) Fun with Audio Components, Managing Clip Connections, Compound Clips, The Timeline Index, and anything else I can think of. Happy cutting!
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Deep Thoughts about FCP X, and why you should be using it.