Since my article appeared on the Creative Cow Website, Final Cut Pro X: What’s missing for some Pros, I’ve gotten multiple references to throwing the baby out with the bathwater. This one is quite good:
“So I take it that FCP X completely vaporized your copy of FCP 7, and melted your CPU, and that’s why you’re going to spend tens of thousand of dollars to buy new equipment, buy and learn new software; spend hundreds of hours migrating data, and kiss Apple goodbye forever?
Funny. My copy of FCP 7 is running just fine. Wonder what happened to yours?…. I can only wish you the best. You’re about to throw the baby out with the bath water, and you’re in for a rough ride.”
So in other words I’m about to completely uproot everything we’ve done for the past 11 years and throw it all away. Actually what we’re doing is moving to maintain our workflow and continuity we’ve developed at our facility.
As you might have read in some of my other responses in that thread I have said (multiple times) that our 6 copies or so of FCP 7 are still running just fine here. It’s still the same inefficient tool with the digital formats that have been brought to the post production marketplace in the two years+ since it was originally released.
I have been planning to move away from FCP 7 for 6 months now at least and while I knew FCPX would not be the replacement for us back in April, I did wait until the final public product to make the final decision. I wanted to see specifically what Apple put in the product. People seem to think this was a rash decision, it was not.
The final nail in the coffin is the lack of legacy project support. We do a lot of news and documentary programming which often requires us to go back 4 to 6 years to pull out old projects to either revise them or pull elements from them. The new FCPX will never support legacy projects moving forward due to the nature of the underlying design. You might be able to move a sequence forward, but your entire project with full organization as it was, won’t happen. I never say never, but from what I’m told by people who know a lot more than me, it won’t happen.
So what I need today is a very efficient tool that works natively with any digital codec that walks in the door. Being an independent Post Production facility, we do not shoot original material nor do we own cameras. So on any given week we will literally receive very format under the sun and we need to edit with it. An example I’ve already cited, it took three days to convert 24 hours of GoPro material to Apple ProRes before I could start to edit with it. That’s very inefficient.
FCPX does work natively with codecs sort of, it converts everything to ProRes in the background, and that’s better, and worse. You know how it “renders seamlessly in the background?” Well it’s literally rendering constantly in the background so you’re apt to fill up your media array in short order without even realizing it. Read Richard Harrington’s brilliant blog for more details. But it’s the lack of legacy project support that’s at the very top of the list why we are not moving forward with the product.
As I’ve already shown, Adobe Premiere does a great job of opening FCP projects with no third party tools required so that’s a huge relief for a production company like ours.
So right now, FCP 7 still works and it’s currently an inefficient tool for our workflow. FCPX is not ready for us at this time. With Apple’s secrecy, I have no idea what features they will truly add back to the application nor their timeframe. Nor do I expect them ever to add legacy project support. In addition, the removal of FC Studio 3 pretty much forced our hands to a new tool as I will be adding one or two more suites before the end of this summer.
So this is a decision on my part to leave the application and move to another, more efficient product for our workflow that allows us to retain access to our legacy projects. Whether that is Avid or Adobe remains to be seen based on our testing.
I’ve edited on 10 different platforms in my 20 years. Premiere Pro would be the 11th, Avid Media Composer would be a return to the first NLE I ever used. My editors are very excited about what they’ve already seen from Premiere and I have to say, it’s a much more efficient tool in just my short time using it than FCP 7 is today. There’s also very little my editors will have to learn to make the transition, it’s a very easy move from one tool to the other.
So I’m just presenting my opinion here on my decision to leave FCP at this time. The beauty of all this is that I’m not “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” All of the infrastructure that I’ve built for the past 11 years will plug right into the Adobe / Avid workflow. So I literally just have to change the software. If I had to change out all the hardware too, well THAT would be throwing everything away for a new workflow. If anything, I’ve thrown out the bathwater and saved the baby.
Everyone will have a different opinion on what to do for an NLE moving forward. Nobody is right, nobody is wrong. You have to make your decision based on your needs. I’ve made mine.