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Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by dorsal, Feb 22, 2019.
It was a leap of faith, bumpy, scary. Was it the right direction?
Shouldn't this be a poll post?
But my opinion, hell yes. Apple might've had more success with FCP if they'd been more traditional with it that's hard to say, but what FCPX is, is beautiful and special and in my opinion the best NLE on the market.
Yes. It did many things first and many things just better. Proxy workflow, background rendering and overall performance, skimming, lightweight but scaleable, multicam, magnetic timeline, metadata management, 3rd party plugins, price. If you use Resolve you will find features that were firstly found in FCPX as well as the price, and the new Adobe Rush being a clone of it. Still many things missing or are not as good, i.e sound and colour options, but some are done via plug ins and other coming steadily thought the updates.
Gee, I can't believe it's been almost eight years now since the first release of FCP X, and how it wasn't so great at first. Today it's a really slick, professional and very feature-packed video editing application, and it's what I typically use for anything elaborate; even my YouTube Poops! I also recommend taking a look at the "Off the Tracks" documentary about FCP X, its' difficult launch and how it's evolved for the better...
What I especially like is the background rendering, third-party plugin support, unlimited video and audio tracks, its' wide variety of format support, library skimming, the ability to upload videos right to the web, multicam editing, and its' large library of customizable transitions and effects. There are even some effects that were on the pre-2007 versions of iMovie, such as Earthquake and Rain and Ghost Trails (with the latter it's not called that but it's there) and customizable aged film looks. Now we just need electricity, fairy dust and fog to be built-in (i.e. without the need of third-party plugins.) Heck, with that said, FCP X seems to also have quite a bit in common with iMovie HD, including the background rendering.
It does some things nicely, I find the whole workflow for saving/linking/exporting to be an absolute nightmare though.
Had a recent friend project that I had to edit in FCPX, and trying to edit that and return him a file with everything in place to make other minor updates was a massive pain. In Premiere that would have been saving a source file then having him possibly relink to the footage folder on his end.
Granted, this was certainly at least somewhat due to me not being familiar with the software, but it didn't give me any reason to look at switching.
Exactly the same workflow can be achieved with Final Cut. When the library is originally created you can set it up as a referencing library or a packaged library (I invented those two terms - I forget what Apple calls it). If set up as a referencing library your familiar workflow is basically unchanged. With the packaged library, sending over the library will be a bit of a pain since it'll have to contain all the footage inside the library. It's possible to conert between the two library types after creation but becomes a bit of a hassle. - But yeah, if you work with the correct files and know where the buttons for linking in Final Cut are, it's no different workflow wise
Both editors must generally have the same media whether in Premiere or FCPX. In FCPX you can just send the other editor a project (aka timeline) XML file in email which conveys the latest updates. I agree some of the fine points and "gotchas" of this workflow are not well documented.
You can have one editor using proxy-only files, but that entails additional complications. In the current FCPX version proxies cannot be relinked (say if a drive name changes).
Using the 3rd-party utility MergeX, multiple FCPX editors can non-destructively merge their work: http://www.merge.software
Of course - The difference I was trying to point out with packaged vs linked libraries was more to do with how to share the footage vs timeline information - In that a packaged library would contain all the footage inside the library, and thus would be easier to share around if the large file size is not an issue, otherwise a linked library would be better, assuming both editors have the source material already and just want to swap timelines.
Regarding your second paragraph; Is that fairly new? I haven't done colaborative workflows in a while so I haven't had much need for it, but last time I colaborated I could do this.
A proxy-only workflow has been possible since user-specified external storage locations were added in 10.1.2. This enabled placing proxies in a separate storage location vs inside the library. Those proxies could then be distributed to another editor.
However proxies (despite being only 1080p resolution) are ProRes 422 so the overall size is still about 60% that of 4k H264.
The workflow to distribute and use proxy-only media can be somewhat complex and is best documented in Ripple Training's FCPX 10.4 Media Management tutorial: https://www.rippletraining.com/products/final-cut-pro/media-management-in-final-cut-pro-10-4/
Apple was lambasted not only for the magnetic timeline but also the way it was introduced on users, them being 'forced' to replace it. I think Adobe have been taking lessons from this...
They have released a separate video editor called Rush, later rebranded it Adobe Premiere Rush. It has a magnetic timeline. They are developing it as a separate line of video editor to run alongside Premiere. If they want it to become their main video editor than this would be the way to do it as they don't risk alienating any users and they nurture them onto the new product as it improves.
Also, the upcoming Mac Pro I suspect will be marketed in part for its video editing capabilities, maybe there will be a big upgrade to Final Cut Pro then.
As far as I can see, the philosophy behind FCPX was quite forward looking. The problem (as I see it) was execution. I'm not talking about EOLing FCP, and the botched transition. I'm talking about development of FCPX. In a nutshell: development by Apple was (and is) too slow. Way, way, too slow. Feature requests that are no brainers are implemented very, very slowly if at all, as if Apple is dragging their feet. Sound is still a disaster - no, I don't want to learn Logic.
Personally, I'm mulling over transitioning to DaVinci Resolve. Yes, it's often buggy in the beginning, but boy, do they move fast - updates, major changes happen at a speed where a minor point release from BM is bigger than a full year relase from Apple for FCPX. I like that. And it seems BM listens to their users. Add in the fact that it's multi-platform, and that's a powerful advantage - you're no longer stuck with Apple's glacial pace of hardware updates... how long has it been since MacPro was updated? Just not enough hardware choices for FCPX (and no, I'm not interested in hackintoshes).
Now, Resolve still needs to up their game, but I seriously think at this point it really is not a clear-cut choice for FCPX (depending on what you're using your NLE for). And the pace at which DaVinci Resolve is moving, I think within the next 1-2 years, they'll leave FCPX completely in the dust. Plus, while both are cheap at $300, it doesn't hurt that Resolve has a respectable free option for folks to try.
Bottom line, while FCPX was definitely a strike into the future, I think it's been undermined in the marketplace by a poor transition from FCP, slow development all around, including hardware, and people just not trusting Apple after the horrendous way FCP was shut down, Aperture abandoned, and those kinds of shenanigans - people can all too easily imagine waking up one day and finding that FCPX become abandonware.
In short, I'm thinking Resolve is more the future these days than FCPX. YMMV.
From FCPX there's a learning curve. In fact the recently announced Resolve 16 makes a big deal out of a "Cut" page, designed to help users through the complexity of their "Edit" page. The capabilities I've used on the Color page are nice. And, you get a very nicely featured version for free. The $300 version is really aimed at workgroups, as far as I can tell.
Something is definitely going on between Apple and Blackmagic. The eGPUs, and some impressive optimizations for Metal and OpenCL, the Resolve 15 and the beta version of 16 each seem much faster than the previous version on my 2013 era Macs. I don't think it is an accident they are moving and advancing so fast. The energy around Blackmagic right now, the speed at which they are moving, listening and catering to every level of video production professional, reminds me very much of Apple at the height of Final Cut Studio.
I think Apple knows they've blown it with pro film and video. They've lost the trust of too many users, the pulse of the industry and the ability to effectively get it back. I believe Apple is setting up Blackmagic to be the Mac pro video successor going forward. Apple wants to make money selling Macs and, if Apple is going to continue to make pro workstations like the iMac Pro and upcoming Mac Pro, they need userbases that will want to buy them. Making buddies with Blackmagic to build macOS into the platform of choice of Blackmagic software and hardware is a smart move.
FCPX has become something great, but what makes it great also limits it. I love FCPX for short, relatively simple projects. I have not cut any long-form content in a while, but I know trying to organize and workflow something like a 30-60 minute documentary in FCPX would drive me crazy. I think I'd definitely consider Resolve for a project like that at this point.
I agree that the strength of FCPX is definitely in quick turnarounds for shorter projects; But I'd personalise still prefer FCPX for long form content over most alternatives - Like Premiere or even Avid. Resolve is however quickly moving up the list, and the only reason it hasn't overtaken FCPX on that front is familiarity with FCPX.
You need to take quite a different approach to long form content with FCP, but if you create separate events and projects for different scenes or chapters in the larger piece, organising it all can be quite amazing . I recommend following Sven Pape's organisation strategies (This Guy Edits on YT). He's an award winning editor who uses FCP as his go-to platform of choice, but has of course edited on all platforms under the Sun
I agree the rate of progress on FCPX is nothing like DaVinci Resolve. Lots of experienced people have noted that.
From the perspective of unit sales and # of users, FCPX is far more successful than legacy FCP. Apple has announced over 2.5 million "seats" of FCPX. Lots of these are professional users, just not Hollywood or in the traditional "industry".
Chasing the film industry is unwise since that is a tiny market. Avid has a 95% lock on that market, yet their total revenue from that and related support services has declined each year since 2011 and is now only $200 million per year. Apple makes more than that on adapters and watch bands.
There are Industry reports that Avid is still laying off people. Their stock price was near a 24-year low until it got a slight bump in February. If Apple somehow gained 100% of Avid's software market (not consulting) that would probably only be $100 million per year.
Resolve is rapidly improving. FCPX once stood alone as the NLE with the quickest interactive performance and lightning-fast skimmer. Now Resolve is nearly that fast and it's cross platform. In some cases Resolve 15/16 is faster at encoding than FCPX -- on the same Mac hardware.
But FCPX still is better at organizing large-scale long-form projects. Indeed, handling large unscripted documentaries is one of FCPX's major strengths. This is due to FCPX's database-centric tools and range-based keywording. My documentary team has organized and edited very large projects on FCPX -- over 7,000 clips of 4k H264 material totaling about 20 TB or 200+ hr of material in a single library. It worked very well.
That said, FCPX needs to demonstrate some significant improvements, esp. in areas like collaborative workflow and proxy management.
A thumbs up is not enough to say just how bang on this is.
You really hit the nail on the head with the strengths of FCP and where it really needs to get going.
How I like their first transparent and 3-d interfaces... Why the stopped it and developed such flat editing app now (((