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Final Cut Pro X Announced At NAB

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Okay so we’re going to be talking about Final Cut Pro X, which was announced by Apple at the NAB Final Cut Pro supermeet in Las Vegas at 7 PM on April 12, 2011

There were some things that kind of struck interest to me in regard to the new Final Cut Pro X that was announced. It has some features, but my initial impression was that it looked like a beefed up iMovie… with the same “bubbly” feeling, high contrast interface colors, and very distracting. No sir, I didn’t like the look of the new interface. Perhaps it will grow on me. I suppose it will have to. I’d have to say, to be honest, the interface wasn’t that appealing to me as a professional video editor. I like neutral and grey colored interface and icons for graphical editing so that interface colors don’t interfere with my focus on the work. I can see all those highly saturated colored tabs/buttons becoming distracting out of the corner of your eye when you’re looking at a UI all day, everyday. I mean… Final Cut Pro X is supposed to be a video editing application where the users focus is on how the completed picture looks, not how you should be directed out of the corner of your eye to another area of the interface by a flashy, colored button. It is my belief that all the surrounding color will also make one consciously distracted from focussing on the color of the video they’re working on. The UI of Final Cut Pro X looks more like a website than a video editing application to me.

It seems as though Apple has slimmed down their development to appeal more to the consumer users in terms of interface design, which was a concern for many that have heard rumors of the development before today. Granted though, it does have some pro features: notably 64 bit, multithread processing, and ability to handle 4k media. The audio syncing in subframe level is exciting too.

FCPX Screenshot 1
FCPX Screenshot 2
FCPX Screenshot 3


Some other things that I noticed in regard to the application is that as of now it’s only one application. So, for example, I have several licenses of Final Cut Studio. Every time a new version comes out I cherish the fact that I own a previous version of the studio so that I can upgrade at a cheaper upgrade price. This is common practice amongst any application that you buy from any software manufacturer. Generally when a new version is released previous license holders can pay a subsidized fee to upgrade opposed to paying the full retail price for a new version. So now that I see that only Final Cut Pro is available as a standalone product again…

First they went from standalone applications to the package suite, now they’re going back to individual products?!? I really wish Apple would make up their mind. It’s a concern for me as a previous license holder of several versions and others are also asking the same question… where is my break now? Not that I would expect one, but those that may have spent several thousands of dollars on previous versions are probably feeling like they’re left high and dry now that it appears as though the standalone version of Final Cut Pro is $299 regardless of whether you have purchased previous versions of Final Cut Pro or not. It seems like there should be some sort of break for previous license holders in that regard. Of course Apple may have upgrade pricing available for previous version holders. It’s possible that there wasn’t enough time to mention the upgrade pricing during their announcement.

Another thing that was obvious was the absence of the rest of the programs that make up the Apple suite. Where’s Compressor, DVD Studio Pro, and the rest of the apps that previously made up Final Cut Studio? When you’re done editing in Final Cut Pro X what do you do with it? Do they expect you to export via QuickTime conversion and then bring it in to iDVD or post to MobileMe directly from FinalCutProx menu or what? There’s a big question mark there about what’s going on with the rest of the applications that were in previous versions of Final Cut Studio now that Final Cut Pro X is available as a standalone application.

I would really like to see some moving forward with the development of Motion. Compressor was great! DVD Studio Pro, well… you know was very long in the tooth to be honest, but people still burn DVD’s believe it or not. Soundtrack Pro was awesome and I hope they keep it around. Color is a brand-new product that is really just it’s in its infancy with Apple. It’s still a 1.x first version essentially. I mean, the last version was Color 1.5.3 that came with the previous Final Cut Studio. So what’s going on with that?

Let’s look at some other application development history now. Shake was updated to 4.1 to support Intel Processors. It was supposedly their biggest update. The price went from several thousand down to $500 for a license. Yep, and then it was discontinued! Final Cut Pro was several thousand, then they release their supposedly biggest update and dramatically drop the price. I wonder if they’ll sell as many $299 licenses of Final Cut Pro X as they will sell if an iPhone 5 was released this summer at the same price. No comparison really since one is marketed to a closed group whereas everyone “needs” a phone, right? So why put that much energy into something that doesn’t produce a reciprocated value in profit? Economically it doesn’t make sense, unless you try to expand your market. With YouTube raging on and new video editors sprouting up it makes sense to Apple to market towards a more affordable demographic that can pick up the techniques quickly so that they can get right to work slapping something together to upload to the web. That’s my gut feeling on the situation at this time. Of course my opinion may change later on.

So initial impressions are that the new standalone version of Final Cut is a fluffed up eyecandy app. Looks like there’s some additional features but nothing really worth writing home about. Here’s a summary list anyway.

  • 64 bit
  • 4K clip handling
  • background rendering
  • multi-thread processing
  • people detection
  • editing during ingest
  • instant color matching
  • smart media collection based off keywords
  • magnetic timeline
  • new method of nesting
  • shake stabilization on import

Jasper Thayer is the developer of FinalCutProX.net

He has over 15 Apple Pro Certifications for video editing and special effects including Apple Certified Trainer for Final Cut Pro X and Apple Certified Trainer for Motion 5. Jasper is also an AWS Certified Developer and AWS Certified Solutions Architect.

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