Philip Hodgetts wrote a blog post condensing people’s comments about the speed of FCP X. My quote is toward the bottom. Nice to be amongst a group of editors that I highly respect. http://www.philiphodgetts.com/2013/08/final-cut-pro-x-is-faster/
I wanted to take the time to expand on my quote. I’ll concede that, yes, it’s faster* (*with caveats). Below you’ll see what some of those issues are.
I recently cut a series of commercials for Animal Planet on it. It was a great experience (and I hope to share those spots and workflow with you all one day if I can get permission), but I had major slowdowns in the timeline that almost caused me to have to move over to another NLE. Luckily, I figured those issues out and we were able to get the first cuts out in time.
The quick summary on the fix is that FCP X is still in early days and, while it supports many workflows, it seems that Apple has not tested every possible workflow combination. So, my best recommendation when using FCP X is to try not to push it too hard or work “smarter” than the App. I’ll repeat what I said before: It is still early days for FCP X.
It took seven days to import, log, and edit the first versions of all six spots. I was editing from Alexa footage (about 1100 clips total) and had to do a lot of organization in FCP X. They also shot multicam on all the dialog takes. If I had not experienced those near-show-stopping timeline slowdowns, I believe I could have edited the spots in about 5 days.
I used Philip and Greg’s Sync-N-Link X to quickly and painlessly sync all the timecoded BWFs to the picture. They’ve written a great program, but I had a couple of issues. Batch renaming clips and revealing them in the finder once those clips had been reimported through Sync-N-Link was problematic. My understanding is that this is a current limitation of FCP X and not an issue with Sync-N-Link X. If Apple could fix those issues then I’d have no problem continuing to use Sync-N-Link X since it synced perfectly every time.
I find the event library/browser to be ok, but, again, early development days. I hope for lots more work there. Skimming and keywording are two of the the main reason why you want to use FCP X.
On the other hand, the project library absolutely needs to be rewritten. I can’t stress this enough – it is horrible. It’s beyond painful to organize projects. You can’t select multiple projects and move them into folders. Project names are truncated and you have to look at them in the inspector to see the full name (sometimes you have to hover over a name and wait a few seconds to see it pop up). There are issues dragging events up the chain so you can throw them in folders that are off-screen. There’s a ton of wasted space there. It’s probably the one feature in X that I have to say is really not well thought out. Apple, please completely revise the project library. Currently, it is terrible.
On a more positive note, once you get moving in X and get your cuts built, I find making revisions to be a breeze. Its strength shows when you are sitting with a client. It’s very hands on and tactile. I think that producer/directors really dig that.
I currently don’t recommend it for a truly shared environment. Yes, it can be done, but I wouldn’t cut an effects-heavy feature with tons of editors checking in and out footage or timelines (yet).
Visually organizing clips in the timeline is a pain. On that same note there needs to be a way to choose where, hierarchically, a connected clip is inserted into the timeline. I hope for some sort of development in this arena in a future upgrade to X. There’s a long thread over at the Cow about the magnetic timeline where a few people (ok, me) are requesting some sort of clear hierarchical organization. You can find that here.
I hope for that to be sorted out this year, but who really knows what will happen. If truly shared events/projects is not implemented, I fear FCP X will continue to be used only in very few boutiques and amongst individuals/students. There will continue to be a fervent fan-base, but it won’t be looked at by the “big boys” until that time.
Please don’t take this article as my means for berating young FCP X. Rather, this is my clinical analysis based on now having logged thousands of hours (yes, thousands!) in the software. I do recommend it, you just have to remember…
It’s still early days.