Back in June, Film Riot‘s Ryan Connolly reviewed Apple’s Final Cut Pro X (Episode 107) and was not too complimentary. Final Cut Pro has been industry standard for awhile, but the new version leaves a lot to be desired. Mainly, the big problem is that old FCP projects cannot be uploaded into the new version, yet allows projects from the low-grade starter editing software iMovie to be imported. Ryan feels, rightly, that this is an insult to professional editors everywhere who have used the other iterations of FPC in the past.  It’s also a shame, since Apple has always made a great product for professionals, and now seem to be tailoring their high-end software to amateurs and leaving the pros out in the cold.

Final Cut Pro X: The Other Many Negatives

  • FCPX is not an upgrade, but completely different software. An editor who is used to all of the functions of the older versions now has to re-learn everything.
  • There’s no “reconnect media” function, which is used when one of your files doesn’t import correctly or the file name has changed, and you can easily go back and locate it.
  • No OMF or XML export.
  • No multi-camera editing.
  • They’ve also removed a ton of third-party support for various effects
  • The color correction isn’t very good.
  • FCPX has a bunch of effects that seem cool, but can’t be changed much in any way.

Final Cut Pro X: The Somewhat Good

In fact there are only a few things Ryan likes about Final Cut Pro X and only a couple of them are major:

  • Unlimited undo
  • Automatic saving of files when closing the program
  • 64-bit and GPU acceleration
  • Magnetic timeline: You can move things around without the audio ever going out of sync
  • J and L-cuts are easier: In a scene with two people talking back and forth, Ryan wants the audio of one shot to be heard before actually cutting to the video of that shot. In FCPX, it’s very easy to make that happen.
  • Audition Function: You can now take a clip and “audition” several different takes in the timeline to find the best one.
  • External audio: A nice feature where Final Cut Pro can sync your external audio automatically, with no need for third party plug-ins.
  • Importing is awesome
  • Keyword function
  • The ability of the program to see how many people are in the shot and label it a wide shot or close-up

In episode 107, Ryan is pleased with some aspects of the new Final Cut Pro, but whatever positives he found in the new software were far outweighed by the negatives.  By Episode 125, Ryan has pretty much had it with Final Cut Pro X. Looking for a nice alternative, Connolly looks to Adobe Premiere CS5.5. He says, “Unlike Apple, Adobe doesn’t seem egotistical and seems to really care about their product and their customers. Imagine that.”

Adobe Premiere CS5.5: The Better Alternative

  • This program can import old Final Cut Pro projects, unlike the actual so-called upgrade to Final Cut Pro.
  • Adobe Premiere has faster playback and render times than FCP.
  • Ability to switch hot keys easily to old Final Cut Pro configurations using Keyboard Shortcuts function.
  • Works with DSLR footage natively, whereas before it needed to be converted before going to the program.
  • Obviously, Premiere and After Effects come from the same company, so they’ve made it so that you can add effects to a clip and it will immediately show up in the timeline, with no need to render them before seeing how they look. With FCP, you need to make the effect, render it, then take it into the editing program, render that, and then hope everything comes out OK. If not, you have to repeat all those steps.

The Very Few Downsides to APCS5.5

  • The timeline takes time getting used to if you’re a FCP user, and seems a “little less solid”
  • There’s no plug-in to add widescreen bars

Overall, it looks like Ryan has already jumped Apple’s ship to go on to Premiere.  It’s amazing that Apple would change such a beloved product, but it seems obvious why they did.  They want a broader market with the Final Cut Pro brand, but unfortunately are watering it down to do so.