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Monday
Nov182013

Fenwick has a new project.

If you’ve been following my blog for a few years you may remember back in the summer of 2010 I created a project that I called “Switch to Premiere Pro” or “#X2PPro”. If you check your twitter feed you will see that that hashtag was used in 2010 and 2011. At the time I was very unhappy with  what Apple was doing with Final Cut Pro and its progress. I set out on my own to find a replacement for a tool that I had used for a long time.

The “campaign”, if you will, proved to be quite successful. Many of my professional peers were shocked that I was considering leaving Final Cut Pro, a tool that I had used for over a decade. Even Adobe Systems noticed my blog entries and asked me to be a part of a few events designed to promote Premier Pro.

Not wanting to be a “spilled milk” kind of guy I left one part of the story out of my blog. After six months of following the “Adobe Way” I tired of the application and moved on. The biggest stumbling block that I had was the lack of what is commonly called Smart Renders. Smart Renders allow you to begin rendering a timeline and then abort that render midway while keeping what has been rendered thus far. Since Adobe’s biggest selling point was a lack of rendering due to the power of the Mercury Playback Engine, I guess it took a while for the good people at Adobe to decide that this was an important feature. What this resulted in was often times getting to the end of a project but requiring one long massive render in order to deliver. This made it very difficult to calculate how long it would take to send a file to a client.

For me, in my workflow, that was a dealbreaker.

[EDIT: To be fair, Adobe has made great stride in the area of Smart Renders in subsequent versions of Premier but it was a little to little, to late for me. I had already moved on.]

In the spring of 2011 Apple announced their new “Final Cut Pro X” at the NAB show in Las Vegas. By the time the software was released that summer the entire production community had decided that Apple had collectively lost their way. Many people were still using Final Cut 7, or as I liked to call it, Final Cut Classic,  at that time.

Over the next six months Apple’s credibility to the professional market began to crumble. The lack of what many called “professional features” in this allegedly new version of an old favorite was a travesty. At that time in the professional editorial community the big question was not whether or not to use FCPX but whether they would be moving to Avid or to Adobe as their next edit platform. It would seem that Apple’s dominance in the editorial world had come to a complete and utter end.

However, there was a problem with that story. 

Although thousands upon thousands of professionals thought that Final Cut Pro was dead, millions of consumers saw this as an opportunity to buy a tool that, as it turned out, was extremely powerful. Although previously Apple would take multiple years between updates of their old Final Cut Pro, within a couple of months the first update to FCPX  arrived. And the updates did not stop there.

Over the next two years the updates came fast and furious. About half of those updates represented major feature additions while a few of the updates were actually just bug fixes. But nonetheless, the application got stronger and stronger with each passing month.

And then a very curious thing happened. Many editors started to look at FCPX with new eyes. The newly imagined Multicam feature was perhaps the first reason that made everybody look again at the “little edit system that could”. Many people have written blog posts about all of the additional features that slowly got added back into FCPX, so I won’t begin to do that here. But suffice it to say, that eventually they had my attention.

In the spring of 2012 I chose two consecutive projects, back to back, and decided to dive in headfirst. The first piece was easy, I was able to work by myself, and I didn’t have anybody shoulder surfing, being critical of what I was doing. I worked a little bit slower at first, but very quickly I found that I was working much faster than I had before. The second piece that I cut in FCPX was an on-site, same day turnaround edit where many people would be watching me work. Granted, it’s difficult sometimes to work with people over your shoulder, but add in the fact that I was working with essentially a new tool, and many people would say I was absolutely crazy for taking on the project. Not to mention a few of the people I was working with had enough experience in the business to look at me and wonder what I was thinking.

But the application performed flawlessly, and the project was a success.

In the subsequent months I recommended to my office that we move all of our projects to Final Cut Pro X. I would be lying if I told you that the move was simple. However, the difficulties were not in what the application could and could not do, but instead the major difficulties were caused by individuals who did not want to let go of the past.

I’ve been doing this stuff for a long time, over 30 years, and if there’s one thing that I’ve learned over the decades it’s this, things will always change. ALWAYS.

In the 80s I edited on U-MATIC tape, 1 inch, and Beta SP, those are TAPE formats by the way. In the 90’s I cut on 8mm Video, Mini-DV, DVCam and multiple computer formats and applications. It has only been for the past 12 years that any one application, and or platform, has taken on a relative dominance. If you are under 35 years old you may not remember a day when Final Cut Pro did not exist. But I can assure you from experience, that the industry was way different back then.

It’s good to learn.

It’s good to stretch yourself.

It is only when we truly stretch ourselves that we excel.

The bottom line is this, the tool doesn’t matter nearly as much as the craftsman. However, I can tell you that Final Cut Pro X is an extremely powerful tool. Today, on November 18th, 2013, we are on the cusp of the next major release of this application. I believe in the next couple of weeks we will see Final Cut Pro X 10.1. If the rumor mill is even remotely correct, we are going to see some wonderful new features, features that, I believe, are going to make all of the doubters take a second look at this application.

And this is where you come in. I am launching a brand-new podcast. I am calling it FCPX Grill. In this show, I am going to speak with people who are successfully using Final Cut Pro X now. I am going to ask them about their businesses and how they use this tool. I’m going to ask them what they’re stumbling block was when they first started using the application. I’m also going to ask them what their “ah ha moment” was, where they decided that this was an application that was worth putting their time into.

I have found over the past 18 months that every time I get to have an intelligent conversation with someone else who enjoys using Final Cut Pro X that I am energized by that discussion. I believe that if I enjoy having the conversation, you, the listener, will enjoy listening to it. And that is why I am creating this podcast.

I don’t know how long this show will last. But in less than a week I was able to record two months worth of shows. I also believe that once these episodes start to air that other people will come forward and want to join the conversation.

I think you’re going to like these discussions. The shows will appear in iTunes in the next couple of days, and for now they will also be folded into the feed for digitalCINEMAcafe. Please feel free to comment in iTunes or if you’d would rather, you can find the shows on the digitalCINEMAcafe website.

Later…

Chris Fenwick

TLDR: I have a new podcast, you should listen.

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Reader Comments (17)

Hey Chris, I'm really looking forward to this! As a Dad With A Camera, I'm keen on learning how to edit and make worth watching out of all the footage that I've recorded. Will be helpful to know how others learned how to use FCPX, and to maybe see their work and get useful tips!
November 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStephen
Stephen... glad you found the show. I hope you enjoy it. Tell a friend.
November 19, 2013 | Registered CommenterChris Fenwick
Chris,
I am one of those millions that had problems learning FC7 sufficiently when I practice law 10 hours a day, play music at clubs at night and weekends as well as flyfish for salmon in our wonderful rivers of Alaska. I picked up FCPX and Compressor with minimal effort and have been learning as a pace generated by my available time as well as Apple releases. I am able to get a project out with the powerful FCPX in minimal time. I am looking forward to Apples updates and am so glad I stayed with FCPX. Sincerely, Joe Ray Skrha
November 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Ray Skrha
Until the major post community adopts FCPX, by that I mean feature films, episodic TV, national commercial editors and networks, FCPX will a tool for hobbyists. At this point in the game any additional new features will only be preaching to the choir. I doubt the upgrade will be important enough of a difference to sway those editors that use and love Avid as well as the gains in users and features that Adobe has established. The only people that are truly excited by the coming upgrade either make their living selling training or make 3rd party software that you need to make FCPX work in multi seat / established post workflows. I am glad you have found a tool that works for you but FCPX will never be the dominant NLE or recover the leadership position FCP once held
November 19, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterblinky123
Wow! Have you come along way since that initial bash post of FCPX. All good, I'm glad you're on board, so-to-speak. If you look at the responses to that initial post several years ago, I stated, this, FCPX, was the future of editing, and I still hold strong on that opinion. I look forward to your new FCPX Grill podcast.

Take care,
Steve M.
November 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve M.
I have lots of videos of my kids playing little league. thanks to apple i can now add flashy transitions and do all kinds of neat stuff when I make the end of the season videos for the kids. thanks apple for such a fun tool. will the new update have a genius feature like iTunes where FCPX picks shots for me. that would be awesome
November 19, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterroger rabbit 24
@Blinky123,
There are, so called major post community facilities, using FCPX in their everyday work flow. Just because the post house for AMC's the Walking Dead doesn't use FCPX, doesn't by any means deem it a hobbyist software. There are some broadcast television productions that are indeed edited on FCPX. To say it isn't a professional editing platform is pure lack of knowledge of its capability. It's only a matter of time, and I'll predict a very short time, that major motion pictures will be edited in FCPX. I for one certainly don't need to know, nor care, that major commercial editors and the like are using FCPX to deem it worthy of being called or considered a professional editing application.
November 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve M.
Blinky123, you seriously need to get out more. You clearly are just another one of those clueless pundits arguing out of their backsides. "Until the major post community adopts FCPX, by that I mean feature films, episodic TV, national commercial editors and networks," LOL... as if there weren't a HUGE list of just those people, only you are in denial. Maybe catch a clue FIRST, then type. But you just keep telling yourself that to justify using whatever it is you use (no one actually cares).
November 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndie M.
Hi Chris - great post and interesting read. We're a corporate production company in the UK who switched when everyone said "don't" because we could see the potential. Read our story here: http://bit.ly/1fowQkX and see our stuff here: http://www.tech-tv.co.uk Happy contribute to the podcast if you'd like us to. Drop me a line through our website if so. Cheers, Matt
November 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatt
Great article, glad to see others making the move. We are a small post facility of 4 editors and are in the middle of switching from FCP7 to X ourselves. Look forward to future articles and podcasts.
November 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVrod-21
Blinky... ha.... echoes from 1999... I've heard this all before. You go ahead, I'm sure you have good reasons to use whatever it is you are using. That really isn't the point. I'm using FCPX, I'm getting my work done faster and more efficiently. Thats really all there is to say.

Good luck to you.

I need to go download some more cool FREE plug ins from www.alex4d.com

later...
November 22, 2013 | Registered CommenterChris Fenwick
Your spot on Chris! Long time Adobe fan and really love Premiere and Integration of the other Adobe apps. But one thing that Final Cut X has that Premiere Pro doesn't is the whole implementation of keywords, ranged tagging, stars etc.....essentially a completely new way to work, organize and find your media. That is the essence of editing. Premiere is still behind the "sub-clip" mentality and Final Cut has gone way beyond that for editing. When I am editing, I am really focused on the material, performance and the construction of the story, Final Cut X excels at this where Premiere doesn't and kind of gets in my way.

The nice thing is that I can do my initial cut in Final Cut X and just export a XML and finish in Premiere and After Effects very easily. So for me that's how I am moving forward, cutting in Final Cut X for all the organizational tools and finishing in Adobe CC.

Its nice to have choices.
November 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRamone
Look forward to these podcasts. After Effects for compositing work is the main reason I am sticking with an all Adobe workflow but perhaps you can convince me otherwise.
November 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJames B
I work for a small production house in Minneapolis (4 edit suites, two full time editors). We edit with FCP Classic... for now and are looking closely at Premiere and FCPX. My fellow editor and I have been reading all the articles and wishing we could find one about a professional editor switching from Premiere to FCPX. When I scanned the beginning of this article I thought I had found it. But I was disappointed after reading the full article. I was hoping for some more details. Would you be willing to address this issue more fully in a upcoming post? When you put the two softwares up against each other, what ALL the pros/cons you see? Why would you choose one over another?
November 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChad
Ramone... GOOD thoughts on FCPX - XML - PPro... had never thought of that... to be honest.. I still do most of my compositing in AE and I have a tutorial on my AE>FCPX workflow.

http://chrisfenwick.com/home/2013/9/4/tutorial-after-effects-to-fcpx-link.html

Recently I played a bit with the green screen on a project, was surprised how well it worked (on THAT project). being able to key IN the timeline was soooo fast... but to be fair.. the controls are not really high end and if it works its great, if it doesn't its hard to pull a good key. I'd love to see something as powerful as Keylight built into FCPX.
November 26, 2013 | Registered CommenterChris Fenwick
Chad..

I've been considering doing an FCPX hangout on G+... myself and maybe a few others out there could join in. We could address and discuss what you are talking about.

At some point you need to just make a jump. I got bagged by an early version of PPro, I FULLY understand it is different today then it was then (5.5) but we chose FCPX and have been very happy.
November 26, 2013 | Registered CommenterChris Fenwick
Hey Chris,

Alex4D pointed me to your podcast. I really like it. In the first episode you wondered where FCPX stores custom Color Presets. When you save a custom color preset in FCPX it creates a Color Presets folder in your users > Movies > Final Cut Events folder. Color presets have a .cboard (color board) extension.

So if you want to share custom color presets over multiple systems all you have to do is share this Color Presets folder and everyone will be able to use the custom presets on any of your machines. We have created a shared Color Presets folder on our Xsan to make it available on multiple bays working on a shared project.

Happy to see you made the switch. We have been using FCPX since day 1, first on two test bays and later in full production. I run two post houses for national broadcast, one in Brussels and one in Paris. Since September last year we have 12 bays exclusively running FCPX, teamed with Resolve for grading and Smoke 2013 for high-end finishing. We also have used FCPX for on-location editing for our national broadcaster during the Olympic Games in London. Very impressive. Our editors and our clients are extremely happy with this new workflow, and it's getting better all the time.

Kind regards,

Ronny Courtens
November 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRonny Courtens

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