The Professionals choice – FCP 7 or FCP X

The time has not been wasted.

Although it has been nearly 2 x months since the release of FCP X, I have not been just watching the daisies grow. I wanted to spend an amount of time using the new application before giving my opinions and also deciding on what my personal choices will be for an future editing application.

Originally I had decided to just evaluate FCP X by editing some personal travel footage, while continuing to use FCP 7 for my professional work. On thinking about this approach, I realised that there was a flaw in my logic – how would I find out professional needs on a private project?

So, I decided to edit 2 different but indicative professional projects (as well as the personal footage) and see how FCP X stood up.

Without spending time on a fanfare before my announcement, I can simply say that Final Cut X is Not ready for intensive use – YET – this is my opinion.

My reasons for this decision are many, but the main concern is the lack of flexibility compared to Final Cut 7. A simple example is that a connected clip cannot have the edges feathered to merge into the clip below as it can be when cropped with FCP 7.


Image from Final Cut X

Image from Final Cut 7

I know this is just one obscure example, but it is just one of many that I have found due to the change from the modification approach of FCP 7 compared to the effects pre-sets approach of FCP X.

I must say that the lack of flexibility of video effect enhancements is some what offset by the extra controls for audio effects. Audio effects also use the pre-sets approach, with layman’s terms, like “More bass”, but have the unlimited controls of FCP 7 and even Soundtrack pro functionality, like “Channel EQ”, DeEsser controls, Compression controls – I could go on – but, I digress from my main discussion point.

The 2nd main deciding factor I have found is that larger projects tend to slow down due to the background rendering process – it is true that can be turned off in the preferences, but it still seems to have some processes running after disabling.

The 3rd main factor is the fiddley and non decisive process in selecting edit points and the sound level bar in the timeline. The curser does not select these as smoothly as FCP 7. It is necessary to wait for the curser to find the edit point or sound line before moving them – most frustrating when you are on a roll in an edit and certainly a time hog compared to FCP 7.

I must say that the edit “IN” & “OUT” process is much quicker than FCP 7. The skimmer takes some getting used to but when I turned it off after doing a days edit I really missed it.

In fact there are many things that work more intuitively in FCP X. I truly hope that the application grows into a program as flexible as FCP 7.

In the meantime FCP 7 is the only way to go for professionals – BUT- FCP X is great for smaller projects. My personal travel project flew through the footage and provided I did not get too complex in the effects, it was quicker to complete.

Where do we go from here?

I am continuing to edit my professional projects in FCP 7 and will continue to offer training for FCP 7 while there is a demand.

I am now offering FCP X training and will be announcing an exciting new service for on-line training within the next day or so – as soon as I have set up Pay Pal and invoicing arrangements.

The new online training will allow my corporate clients to take advantage of on-demand training and be invoiced in bulk once per month.

The new on-line service will also allow non Sydney residents the opportunity for FCP X and FCP 7 training – In fact there is no location world wide that cannot access the training – just a broadband internet connection required.

Watch out for an official announcement in the next day or so.


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