Yesterday I briefly brought up the stepped up video capabilities of my new Nikon D7000. As you might have assumed, I am not particularly interested in DSLR video for my personal projects but since I get it for free on a camera I own I may just give it a little bit of effort and time.
I am no stranger to nonlinear video editing and have worked on a few medium sized projects with real pros in the past. In fact I am an advocate of video software for still photo presentations and use both iMovie as well as the older versions Final Cut for just that purpose. It's amazing what you can accomplish with iMovie and a few minutes of your time. When needed I usually opt for an iMovie "slide show" versus using Aperture's built in tools. If you haven't played with iMovie and your still photos, you really should give it a try.
Moving on to the matter at hand - what about FCP X? Well considering that my need for slide shows has not been overwhelming, I already own FCP 7, and other factors I have largely ignored FCP X. That is about to change.
As of today you can download a trial version of FCP X from apple. I did and was blown away. First off do not listen to all the curmugeons out there that lament the passing of a couple of old FCP features and capabilities. Anyone shooting HD with a DSLR, producing still slideshows, or any normal person that does not have a LONG time with older software and the biases it naturally generates towards a particular workflow will never miss those "features".
FCP X is probably the best thing to happen to video editing since nonlinear editing was concevied. It is absolutely amazing as long as you don't need a few legacy oriented features. It's faster, easier, quicker to edit, etc, etc. It has some truely amazing capabilities out of the box. If you didn't know any other video editing software and compared FCP X to everything else out there I cannot believe that other offerings would be of any interest to you at all.
Ask yourself this question - Have you EVER seen older digital technology that far far far surpasses newer approachs? Maybe once that happened temporarily (can you say Windows) but for the most part newer is better when it comes to digital technology. In this case I can say (being mainly a still photographer) that FCP X is WAY better than what has come before. More stable? who knows, maybe not yet. Able to drop into decade old work-flows with no changes and letting people work exactly the way they are used to using video editors - ummmm no. Better conceptually and in a lot of ways more capable? - Absolutely.
No matter whether you shoot stills and need to produce some slick audio visuals or if you are getting into HD in any kind of serious way you owe it to yourself to give the trial a spin. Some of the really cool cataloging, keywording, and such may be familiar to all of you Aperture users but be forewarned - if you have not played with a pro-level video editor before it will take some amount of time investment to really explore and grasp what FCP X is capable of doing. Don't waste you 30 days - set aside some real time to explore it with a fresh set of eyes.