Final Cut Pro X Icon

Like many editors, we’re working our way through a love-hate relationship with Final Cut Pro X at Rewatchable.  On one hand, it’s missing a ton of pro features, can’t roundtrip with Motion (or anything else), and is packed with erratic behavior and inexplicable bugs.  On the other hand, editing is remarkably faster thanks to the program’s emphasis on thumbnails and waveforms, and the scrubbing features allow editors to focus on story far more – and far more quickly – than traditional non-linear editors.  When it works, it’s perfect for what we do.  When it doesn’t work, we lose big chunks of time finding workarounds and recreating work in more stable software.

Just a few weeks ago, the first major revision to Final Cut Pro X (iTunes link) was released by Apple, taking the software from 10.0 to 10.0.1.  Here’s what we’ve noticed since updating:

Pros:

  • Much more stable.  With FCPX 10.0, you could expect to crash once or twice an hour.  Now, I crash once or twice a day.  Can’t wait ’til it gets to ‘doesn’t crash’, but the stability improvements are dramatic and welcome.
  • Full Screen View.  It was insane that 10.0 didn’t ship with this. The new methodology behind Final Cut Pro X really demands one big screen, and you want every possible pixel of that one big screen available for editing, monitoring, and selecting footage.
  • Multiple Clip Syncing. In version 10.0, if you selected a single audio clip and multiple video clips, they just wouldn’t sync.  The resulting compound clip would just be a big pile of unsynced clips.  Now, with 10.0.1, it works great.  The ultimate testament to how well this feature is coming along is that it was able to sync some peaked-audio footage that Pluraleyes couldn’t.  Can’t believe this fix didn’t make the release notes.  For DSLR shops like Rewatchable, this was the biggest feature fix.

Cons:

  • Still incredibly slow loading projects.  If you have a disk with more than 3-4 projects on it, the loading of the project window takes far too long.  I currently have six two-minute projects and one one-hour project on my drive, and it takes over a minute to go from launch to being able to work.  That’s with a fast SSD and a Firewire 800 media drive.  Unacceptable.
  • Unpredictable output.  Sometimes you’ll get a project looking perfect in the timeline, and when you export it, the resulting file has random crazy audio problems, kerning issues on fonts, or blips on transitions.  Part of what’s beautiful about Final Cut Pro X is how simple the output process has become.  Part of what’s infuriating about Final Cut Pro X is how little control or input you have when things go wrong with that output, even when using Compressor.
  • Font issues.  Occasionally, when you load a project, fonts will change.  Weights.  Faces.  On their own.  For no reason.  We work predominantly on short-form videos, so it’s easy enough to check and repair fonts before final delivery, but if you work on longer videos consistently, I could see this being a real showstopper.