Editing in FCPX

It has been over twelve months since I started using FCPX. When it launched, it came with the tirade of hate and anger and frustration, but between the cracks there were people saying it wasn’t all bad. Based on faith in Phil Hodgetts assessment of the underlying infrastructure and its potential in the future, I made a challenge to myself: use FCPX exclusively for six months. If it ever got so bad I had to run back to FCP7 then I’d accept the facts and move on to Premier Pro or Avid.

Thankfully, it never came to that.

The first two days of editing were hellish. Projects and sequences didn’t work properly. Nothing was where it was supposed to be. The magnetic timeline was confusing and intimidating. Why did my stuff keep moving around automatically?? The file viewer was in the way. Dual screen support sucked. My full-res monitoring didn’t work. Also, heaps of stuff FCP7 could do, FCPX could not.
I persisted though, and after completing two very short projects I was faced with a project that seemed impossible. I had a DVD release coming up in a week. Most of the assets had been prepared and the DVD was virtually ready to go. However, during the run of the project we’d captured about a Terabyte of behind the scenes footage and I had hoped to build it into a package for the special features. I had started it some weeks earlier in FCP7, but editing one small section had taken far longer than I anticipated and it had looked like the project was going to be shelved.
Undeterred, I figured I could at least drop the footage into FCPX and see what I could make of it. The result was a five day edit that left me with a 96 minute documentary feature, and vastly better working knowledge of FCPX and its processes and pitfalls, and a new found confidence that my six-month challenge wasn’t such a difficult goal.

Since then, I haven’t looked back. I edit faster than I have in the past, and large projects are much easier to manage. Some niggles remain (which I anticipate will be fixed in the hopefully not-too-distant X.1 release) but I’m happy working day to day.


In real and relevant news, my email is working again (huzzah!), and I’m doing about five edits simultaneously and it’s pretty stressful. Better than having no work at all though, it all means I get to spend another month or two freelancing. One of these days I should get a proper job, though the attitude of a lot of people I’ve met who work in broadcast isn’t great. “Know as much as you need to know to get by” seems to be the mantra. It makes me sad.


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