Having been a user of Final Cut Pro since preview version 1, I was really disappointed when Final Cut Pro X hit the market. I read as many articles about it as possible and did my best to decipher the debates into information that was useful. So, when Apple announced that it was offering a free trial, I was in. (http://www.apple.com/finalcutpro/trial/)
I downloaded the program onto my Intel Core 2 Duo Macbook Pro (sporting 5gigs of RAM, a 7200 RPM 500gig hard drive). I fired up the program-loved the new icon… and then the program opened. I had heard that it looked a lot like iMovie but I wasn’t prepared for just how much it resembled the consumer program. Being a professional mediamaker who has worked on everything from short form to features (and having worked on every system from Avid to Premiere, to Media 100) I was not loving the idea of a professional editing program being based on a consumer program. Yep, my ego was screaming.
After a few deep breaths, I dove in, pulling in some test footage I shot on my t2i for a sci-fi project I have in development. Not being familiar with iMovie, I found it challenging to navigate around and doing some basic editing functions seemed clunky. More breaths… I did a very basic assembly edit of the footage, added some music, played with a few title cards (I did find the title card templates to be beautifully done and impressive). I finished up, and did the final output. I was immediately impressed with the image quality on the output-although I can’t put my finger on why the image quality seemed to look especially pristine, I was happy with the result. However, I was left with a bit of a question mark. Why had Apple abandoned an entire workflow that was industry standard and, as they like to say, simply worked?
Although I have yet to purchase and switch over to FCP X (and I am loving the entire idea of Adobe CS6 suite-more on that another time) I have put my ego aside and realized that Apple has more in mind than simply upgrading an edit suite. As many before me have stated so clearly, they want to change the way we edit. Why, you ask? I think Apple’s reply might be… why not? Let’s face it, as much as we love FCP 7 and the entire Final Cut Studio suite, it has been a long time since the FCP interface had changed, been upgraded, or had anything exciting added to it (with the exception of Color and Soundtrack Pro-which I think are two very powerful and somewhat underrated programs).
As I did more research on FCP X, watched more podcasts (thank you Larry Jordan and filmmakingwebinars.com) I also stumbled across a free basics of editing on Final Cut Pro X tutorial provided by izzyvideo.com (http://www.izzyvideo.com/final-cut-pro-x-tutorial/). I wasn’t familiar with his work until I found this little gem and I was impressed with both the tutorial as well as (drum roll please…) Final Cut Pro X. It was such a straightforward tutorial that it really helped me to step back and… well, for the first time, I found myself getting excited about this new program, this new workflow, this new way of editing. And for the first time-I wanted to buy it. I devoured the rest of the tutorial and am glad I did.
Ultimately I realized I needed to keep an open mind and check my ego at the door. None of us like change, especially when we’ve been doing something the same way for so long. But we are in the midst of a bombardment of change in the entertainment industry-both on a technological front as well as our general ways of doing business. And at the end of the day the only thing that matters is the story that is told. No one who watches an edited program asks themselves “what was this edited on?” or “how did they handle the round-tripping?” They simply want to be emotionally moved, enjoy a story, find some inspiration, take a journey.
Speaking of journeys, this road to the acceptance of change with FCP X has been an up and down one for me. I know that it has taught me to keep an open mind, push my creative boundaries and be willing to jump outside of my comfort zone helping me to continue to embrace the technology which enables us to tell stories in the most amazing ways. Ways that for many indie mediamakers seemed impossible 10 years ago. And now the myriad options are at our fingertips and just an app store away.
Written by Sean Blodgett – an Executive Producer, Director, Editor and Shooter at Creative Motion Entertainment. Recently Sean’s company has completed projects for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, two time Grammy Nominee David Arkenstone, and Life Out Loud Films with their acclaimed feature film LAKE EFFECTS starring Jane Seymour.