ben treston

FCPX Report Card - 10.1


After having used Final Cut Pro X in a professional collaborative environment for nearly six months now, I can safely give FCPX 10.1 a full round up via Report Card -


Although FCPX is a lot friendlier in being able to import more formats out of the box, the Import dialog is one step forward, two steps back. Although it would be nice to be able to set batch file naming on Ingest, I can understand the use of metadata as you can still access the original file names, and rename after ingest. There have been a few cases of files coming in off CF cards where it takes two attempts to ingest, it fails and then you have no option but to delete the referenced media and start again. Although you can “Hide Imported Clips” I wish it were clearer than a very thin grey line to see which clips have been ingested or not. Some cards also don’t ever eject in FCPX, only in Finder - this could be a Mavericks issue. Overall C+ - a bit too simple for Pros, would like things to be more obvious and have some extra control of file naming in the process if needed.


Apart from the magnetic timeline, this is the one area where there is initial friction when coming from FCP7. Most editors want “Bins” of media, but once you have got used to keywording and setting this up and using Smart Collections, this becomes a much superior alternative. My personal favourite is having a preset “Interview Selects” smart collections, so every time I favourite a portion of an interview, I have a dynamic collection of clips than shrinks and grows depending on what has been favourited. Although none of this is new to 10.1 - it is still worth noting how well that has all been though out from the very outset.


Once you learn about the Position Tool (P), the magnetic timeline is not as terrifying. The one trap a lot of colleagues have got into is actually using only the position tool and then losing all of the functions and use of the Magnetic timeline. When you can use Arrow and Position in tandem this becomes very powerful. The trim tool is also very powerful, although muscle memory means I keep jumping to the ’S’ key when wanting to do a Slip edit. Unfortunately I don’t often use the precision edit function. although I really should more often, especially for transitions.


The concept of primary and secondary storylines is very useful, although there are a number of issues that someone may struggle to comprehend. You can end up with a gap clip in a secondary storyline which seems redundant even existing, but there might be cases where you would need this. If my skimmer is parked in a secondary storyline, the ‘Q’ shortcut should insert than into the secondary, rather than connect above. It feels like there is at times forcing and squeezing things into place with the mouse. Knowing that the skimmer always has priority means this becomes a lot more logical, although that is not always clear when starting out. It is very hard to live without the skimmer when ploughing through lots of rushes.


The colour board is a controversial change, however once you get used to it, it is not as tricky as first expected. I do wish it could be made larger for easier movement of the pucks, and perhaps to have all three tabs (Colour, Exposure, Saturation) visible at once instead of tricky shortcuts to get between them. The new architecture for plugins and the way looks are previewed is excellent and much to look forward to.


Two steps forward and one back here. It is great to have the video animation editor available on the timeline, but easily trying to set a keyframe on frame 1 of a clip is near impossible without careful clicking and possible use of the inspector to do this. The Ken Burns effect is excellent, but is hardly useable until you can choose to disable the Ease-In and Ease-Out that comes as default. A clunky workaround is to expand the clip so you hide the start and end, not ideal. Re-timing is a thousand times better and I wish I had more use of speed ramping so I could continue to use this, especially the Blade retime tool.


It is a much nicer place having sample accurate audio trimming and much better live waveforms. Skimming audio means hearing effects is very useful and much more accurate. This would be an A+ if there was a keyboard shortcut to allow you to dip the audio handles on the edges of a given clip with one keystroke. FCP7 had this (for audio transitions), so I wish this was the case. A lot of camera clips come in as panned Stereo and need to be dual mono, so this becomes constant changing of clips to correct this. FCP7 didn’t treat ingested clips like this.


A big improvement here. Being able to output multiple targets using Bundles is awesome. Having Compressor 4.1 is also a big plus. The only down side is not being able to export selections of a project - a few times there have been stray gap clips which have been included in the end of project, or some off cuts at the end of the project.