Overall Satisfaction with Final Cut Pro X
Our company and post-production team almost exclusively uses Final Cut Pro X for editing. Final Cut helps make sure that everyone at our company including our freelancers are using software that works well in the Apple ecosystem, updates regularly to address the changing technology and ensures that project files are easily shareable between editors. By our experience, it is also the fastest NLE out there.
- The magnetic timeline was as controversial as it was ground-breaking. After adapting from other editing platforms, I consider it a major pro as it takes several keystrokes out of nearly every edit - saving you massive amounts of time.
- Auto-saving. I can't tell you how much progress I lost prior to having this feature - and I was a fastidious "Command-S" user... A simple feature, but incredibly helpful.
- Background Rendering. I originally thought this was a gimmick - but having to hit "Command-R" is a think of the past. No more waiting for the render - no more manually adjusting playback resolution just to see the edit, it just works -and it works fast.
- The default file management settings need to be able to be adjusted in preferences. By default, they are set within your library - which is never a setting I would want to use as a pro editor - and annoying to correct after the fact if you forget. It's easy enough to change, but I have to do it for every project.
- I'd like to see a move towards an easier collaborative file sharing or project file system. It works about as good as it every has - but I think there is room for improvement. On larger projects, my editors are ALWAYS sharing project files... so built-in project versioning and collaboration should be something that becomes a standard in NLEs.
- Audio editing - though keyframing audio is significantly easier in FCPX, it's a bit difficult to view your audio tracks if you have multiple channels, dual mono, stereo, etc on the timeline. This was a bit of a step backward - the oversimplifying of the audio editing.
- From a cost standpoint, it's hard to beat the investment into FCPX. I paid for the software 9 years ago, and my entire team has been using it since - without any more investment. In 5-6 months, Adobe CC (Premiere Pro) costs more than FCPX - it's pretty obvious which is a better scenario.
- One of the biggest drawbacks has been training - so many editors abandoned ship when Apple launched FCPX, they didn't market it well or seem to provide much assistance to the pro editing community that so loved FCP7, so of course, not many people jumped over to FCPX. We end up training more editors on FCPX than we find have to experience. There is a cost to this - although in the long run, if an editor is a good editor, it is well worth it.
- I think Final Cut Pro X has allowed our editors to focus on what matters: focusing on the story, flow, and being a creative editor - not just clicking buttons and making the software work. It's a more natural editing process overall and it's very easy to shift entire sections around when you need to rearrange.
I first learned to edit on Adobe Premiere Pro, and then FCP7. Comparatively, FCP7 just worked. Adobe crashed all the time (back in the day). Apple clearly also had the edge on the user interface - not just doing what NLEs had been doing for years but making improvements to the process of editing. When I switched to FCPX it was tough at first, but once I became accustomed to the magnetic timeline, I realized it was once again the changes were for a better user experience - saved time - and let you focus on story first and take the computer out of the way. Premiere Pro - through a solid editing platform, hasn't changed much over the years and still requires much of the clunky key-stroke heavy processes that early NLEs required. Avid is ancient compared to FCPX - and only those who learned it in film school or have been in the business for years stick with it. It's time to get with the era we're in and move beyond our processes, get the computer out of the way and let good editing be good editing and storytelling triumph. FCPX is the most natural editing process you will find.
I find Final Cut Pro X incredibly well suited in an editing environment when there are short recurring video edits - specifically, I found myself reducing the total edit time on a 2-minute web video for a client from 3-4 hours to 1-2 hours when I originally switched from FCP7. I've also used Final Cut Pro X to edit music videos, commercials, half-hour TV episodes, and feature films - all of which FCPX performed very fast and well. Final Cut does become a little more difficult to use on feature film edits when needing to work on multiple audio layers - it does become difficult to manage long form edits with complicated audio, however, that's a problem I recall having with other NLE as well. One other note - FCPX is generally very stable, although because you can edit multiple codecs, formats, frame rates on one timeline - when you get into a long-form edit, it can become slow and often crash. I would imagine this is the same issue you would run into with any NLE due to the pressure this puts on your CPU.