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Apple Showcases Final Cut Pro X Usage in Production of Hollywood Film 'Focus'

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Apr 12, 2001
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Just a few days before the release of the Hollywood romantic comedy film Focus, starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie, Apple has provided a behind-the-scenes look at how Final Cut Pro X was used to produce the movie. The feature page provides an in-depth profile of how Final Cut Pro X was used for editing, screen-ready effects and post-production.


Focus directors John Requa and Glenn Ficarra opted to use Apple's professional video editing software because they found it provided a fast and straightforward workflow. The software gave the directors fine-tuned control over all aspects of the film and provided the flexibility to easily move between editing on a Mac Pro and working with a MacBook Pro on location.
After researching several workflows, Requa and Ficarra decided to cut their major studio feature entirely in Final Cut Pro X. The results were even better than they'd expected. The movie came in on time and under budget, and it played and looked just as they'd envisioned it. "We got exactly the film we set out to make," says Requa. "What I love about Final Cut Pro X is that it allowed me to be involved with, and in control of, every aspect of making our film."
Final Cut Pro X was highly criticized by some professional video editors when it was released in 2011, but the directors of Focus told USA Today that they value how the software is easier to use and resembles the look of iMovie. These comments come amid criticism that Apple is dumbing down certain areas of OS X, including the removal of Aperture in favor of the all-new Photos for Mac app.
"Many editors called the new FCPX 'iMovie Lite,' when it was released, and not ready for the big leagues, but Ficarra says he likes that FCPX is easier to use, and that it's look and feel is akin to iMovie. 'We have a whole generation of kids learning on iMovie,' he says. 'They'll be familiar with this tool when they get into the real world.'"

The film crew used Mac Pro-equipped on-set mobile post systems from a cutting-edge Los Angeles-based post-production company and used metadata markers to identify the best shots taken each day. Final Cut Pro X enabled this metadata to be searchable and handled full-resolution ProRes 4444 files with ease.
Ficarra believes that the metadata advantage gave them unprecedented control over their story line. "I was able to say, 'I need Will's side in this take,'" he says. "And because even his improvisations were specially tagged, we were able to filter and come out with it. The upshot was just infinite searchability. We could change direction so fast and do multiple iterations. Sometimes while we were editing we felt as if we were actually rewriting the movie."
The full-length feature page on Apple's website goes into further details about how Final Cut Pro X was used throughout all stages of the film's production. The in-depth page also outlines other Apple products and third-party hardware used to make the film a reality, including the Mac Pro, iMac, MacBook Pro, iPad, iPhone, Logic Pro X, Motion 5, Xsan, Apogee Quartet, Quantel Pablo Rio system and more.

Final Cut Pro X is $299.99 on the Mac App Store [Direct Link].

Article Link: Apple Showcases Final Cut Pro X Usage in Production of Hollywood Film 'Focus'
 

gugy

macrumors 68040
Jan 31, 2005
3,424
4,208
La Jolla, CA
Apple please bring the 5k TB stand alone display. So I can use FCP and Photoshop with my MacPro.
 
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Traverse

Contributor
Mar 11, 2013
6,991
3,313
Here
I'm glad to see there is still some dedication to professional software. After the destruction of iWork and the discontinuation of Aperture I was losing hope.
 
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street.cory

macrumors 6502
Oct 13, 2009
378
160
I've loved and used FCP X since its release. I didn't need the full range of tools professionals needed upon release. I'm glad Apple has made the needed updates for the professional community to do big things, like produce Hollywood movies.
 
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winston1236

macrumors 68000
Dec 13, 2010
1,899
318
Phew, they finally were able to pay someone to use their software for a movie! Final Cut X isn't used by nearly anyone. It used to be but they ruined it.
 
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superjew1492

macrumors member
Jun 13, 2009
31
0
nobody uses FCP X professionally, with the exception of this movie and one tv show. zero commercial houses. period. professional commercial/film/tv video editor here, freelancing in LA for the past 14 years. avid was the reigning beast for years, and slowly FCP crept in. as an early adopter, but user of both, I applauded as they encroached a 50% market share in post facilities. it was easy to use, and made timeline editing a snap. it just couldn't ever keep up with avid for projects that you had to share across servers with multiple editors simultaneously thanks to the bin structure. but for everything short form (commercials mainly) it was the best of the best. then X came out. and we limped along with 7, waiting for the day apple would wise up and bring along a 64bit version. that day, we are coming to accept, is never coming. all post houses are starting to finally dump 7 thanks to the lack of support and inability to keep up with modern cameras. it is still used, but backslid dramatically. the 50-60% of fcp houses reverted back to avid, and maybe 15% still use 7, while 25% now use premiere. i hated premiere, but in the stark void FCP left behind and Avid can't touch thanks to it's limited editing abilities and archaic design and functionality, premiere has leaped and bounded with significant improvements version after version. i have cried myself to sleep many a night over the inevitable death of fcp 7 thanks to X and i can finally stop, because there is finally a new future ready version of final cut out, and it is premiere CC2014. i have never seen anyone professional use X and i never will. congratulations apple, on killing the product that made me and many like me switch to using apple computers in the first place. enjoy your prosumers, because no professional editor will ever use you again.
 
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sfrancis928

macrumors member
May 31, 2012
50
44
nobody uses FCP X professionally, with the exception of this movie and one tv show. zero commercial houses. period. professional commercial/film/tv video editor here, freelancing in LA for the past 14 years. avid was the reigning beast for years, and slowly FCP crept in. as an early adopter, but user of both, I applauded as they encroached a 50% market share in post facilities. it was easy to use, and made timeline editing a snap. it just couldn't ever keep up with avid for projects that you had to share across servers with multiple editors simultaneously thanks to the bin structure. but for everything short form (commercials mainly) it was the best of the best. then X came out. and we limped along with 7, waiting for the day apple would wise up and bring along a 64bit version. that day, we are coming to accept, is never coming. all post houses are starting to finally dump 7 thanks to the lack of support and inability to keep up with modern cameras. it is still used, but backslid dramatically. the 50-60% of fcp houses reverted back to avid, and maybe 15% still use 7, while 25% now use premiere. i hated premiere, but in the stark void FCP left behind and Avid can't touch thanks to it's limited editing abilities and archaic design and functionality, premiere has leaped and bounded with significant improvements version after version. i have cried myself to sleep many a night over the inevitable death of fcp 7 thanks to X and i can finally stop, because there is finally a new future ready version of final cut out, and it is premiere CC2014. i have never seen anyone professional use X and i never will. congratulations apple, on killing the product that made me and many like me switch to using apple computers in the first place. enjoy your prosumers, because no professional editor will ever use you again.

A very heart-felt rant, but not a lot of talk about why FCPX isn't a professional tool. Maybe that's because it actually is a professional tool. Have you checked it out lately, or has bitterness completely consumed you?
 
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Small White Car

macrumors G4
Aug 29, 2006
10,925
1,234
Washington DC
Final Cut X is an amazing product that's 30% maddening.
Adobe Premiere is a pretty-good product that's 10% maddening.

Pick your poison.

I have to know both. As a freelance editor I keep being brought into places that use one or the other. If one is dying out I've seen no evidence of it. I have no idea which is more popular, I just know that I have to know both to do my job.
 
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usersince86

macrumors 6502
Oct 24, 2002
377
750
Columbus, Ohio
There might be a come back. But Apple lost momentum with FCPX like it has done on several things. It's just the reality of where things are...
 
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superjew1492

macrumors member
Jun 13, 2009
31
0
there is no need until people start adopting it. can it support multiple sequences? the idea that they started ANY editing program marketed as a professional tool where you can't have multiple sequences is insanity. I've made 10 versions of something this morning alone. I'll give it a chance if it deserves it, but the cream rises to the top and premiere is eating their lunch, picking up where 7 left off and listening to professionals and adopting new excellent features with every .1 update. fcp can get better and better, but until it gets good enough to have a facility of professionals handing projects and sequences off to each other, there is no point. the void has been filled and filled well by premiere, and i never NEVER though i would say this, but i'm finally happy with it. plus, even though my rMBP is the greatest thing i've ever bought, with the tight integration of the adobe suite and ability to seamlessly go back and forth with bits in after effects and get my rough timings down tight without ever having to render, i honestly have no urge to go back now. i was the biggest hold out for a 64-bit fcp, but now i couldn't care less. the death of final cut scared the hell out of me, and now i will barely notice. i hope you enjoy x, give premiere a shot.
 
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superjew1492

macrumors member
Jun 13, 2009
31
0
as a freelance editor, since the introduction of x, i've heard of one job that someone wanted an editor knowledgeable with X on, and it was a no budget POS that likely had a student editor take because nobody else would. if there is a market for fcp x editors out there, i haven't seen it. seems purely geared towards iMovie people who want to feel better about themselves. i even heard there was a 64-bit version of fcp made before they scrapped it, burned it down and pissed on the ashes before the phoenix of x rose up. all the fcp team is working on premiere now, so at least i've got SOME version of FCP to enjoy in the future.
 
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Small White Car

macrumors G4
Aug 29, 2006
10,925
1,234
Washington DC
can it support multiple sequences? the idea that they started ANY editing program marketed as a professional tool where you can't have multiple sequences is insanity.

Which is why FCPX can do that.

I don't love this program across the board, but I do find that the people who hate it the most know the least about it.
 
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darcyf

macrumors 6502a
Apr 25, 2011
539
719
Toronto, ON
I love Final Cut Pro X, which was something I wasn't sure I'd ever say when it was first released. In fact, I was a pretty vocal naysayer at that time. But it's come so far since then.

The newly imagined approach FCP X took to the editing process, which initially seemed so foreign and misaligned to me as I was coming out of years of cutting on FCP 7, has proven itself to be so incredibly well thought through and superior to what we had before. And the more they build on it the better it gets. They were really thinking ahead when they came up with FCP X.

I have some old projects I need to dip back into FCP 7 for to this day, and whenever I do I am amazed at how clunky and slow the process there is.

I'm a professional video editor. I've cut for television, short film, music videos, corporate, documentary, you name it. And I can tell you Final Cut Pro X is freaking awesome.
 
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jrlcopy

macrumors 6502
Jun 20, 2007
476
292
Phew, they finally were able to pay someone to use their software for a movie! Final Cut X isn't used by nearly anyone. It used to be but they ruined it.

Haha I bet they came in under budget because apple payed for all their hardware/software. In a world.... where renting a high end computer can host 1k-4k a week, lol shaving that off of your editing budget can be massive!

But in all honesty it's really not that big of a deal. FCPX was just used to assemble the film, and for them they found tagging the best. But all actual exporting happened from a Quantel system, all actual VSFX and green screening happened in another system, and all titles probably happened in a third system.

In all honesty, FCP is probably pretty decent for just assembling as mostly everything happens in the background, you just wouldn't want it as your finishing system.
 
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iSee

macrumors 68040
Oct 25, 2004
3,526
253
Do you mean commercially? Because most of the professionals I know, including myself, use FCPX for all of our work. Or are we not "professionals" because we don't work for major companies?

You aren't a professional because you use FCPX! Obviously. Of course, as a non-professional, you wouldn't understand.

;)
 
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JHankwitz

macrumors 68000
Oct 31, 2005
1,907
58
Wisconsin
I don't love this program across the board, but I do find that the people who hate it the most know the least about it.

This is so very true of most all software. If the user is too lazy to learn how to use it, they just hate it. Tells us more about the user than the software.
 
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mw360

macrumors 68000
Aug 15, 2010
1,681
1,627
Haha I bet they came in under budget because apple payed for all their hardware/software. In a world.... where renting a high end computer can host 1k-4k a week, lol shaving that off of your editing budget can be massive!

But in all honesty it's really not that big of a deal. FCPX was just used to assemble the film, and for them they found tagging the best. But all actual exporting happened from a Quantel system, all actual VSFX and green screening happened in another system, and all titles probably happened in a third system.

In all honesty, FCP is probably pretty decent for just assembling as mostly everything happens in the background, you just wouldn't want it as your finishing system.

They only 'assembled' it using FCPX? I think the term you're looking for is 'edited'. They edited it in FCPX. Editing being the second most important part of the process after the shoot itself. And of course they didn't do the VFX and titles in the editing software, who on Earth thinks they would do that? They used the FCPX editing software to do the editing. Obviously. Please stop reaching for some excuse to dismiss this without knowing what you're talking about.
 
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4God

macrumors 68020
Apr 5, 2005
2,132
267
My Mac
Oh boy, I can see where this thread is going...
Should've put this in the political thread. (Gets popcorn to watch this discussion unfold)
 
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