Fun With Final Cut Pro X

Hey, I'm a guy, so when I get a brand spanking new, extremely complicated device like a new piece of software I don't read anything about it - like the instructions. I dive right in and do non-clinical testing. After I got done with real work today I chucked my very very first FCP X test together. Does it suck? Yes. Do I know what I am doing yet? Ummm, No. I can tell you that I learned a heck of a lot about the software in my tiny little bit of testing so it can't be that tuff to learn.

My main goal was to at least get comfortable with the basic workings and behavior of the new FCP. My secondary goal was to chuck everything I could at it as fast as I could to see if I could break it. I used an iMac 27" Sandy Bridge with 4 core i7 2gig VRAM and 16gig RAM connected to two monitors. The reset of the test went something like this…

  1. Shoot about a minute of StupidCrap™ 1080p HD at 24 fps with the Nikon D7000 - I choose to shoot my dusty old guitar amp and some of my film processing supplies that are in the corner.
  2. Grab about 400 random StupidCrap™ images lying about in Aperture - these are strait out of the camera JPEGs that I don't even remember when I shot. Interesting because they even include all my rejects. Interesting fact - the video and all the images were shot with the same lens over the last decade. A Nikon AFS 28-70 f 2.8 that I picked up in 1999 - one set of the stills was even shot on Portra way way back. Who would have thought I would be using that lens to do crap like this.
  3. Use lots of rendering effects and a couple of grading layers to spice things up. Heck I even used some cheesy ones that I don't like on top of a couple I do like. One thing I did learn is that I am going to most likely build my own rendering effects like the flashes you see in Motion 5 to suit my tastes.
  4. Chuck in a cool song and do a lousy job at timing transitions to song changes.
  5. Spend about 15 minutes smashing it all together.

Here is what I learned:

  • There are a ton of useful transitions, effects, etc. bundled with FCP X. Having said that if you value subtlety it would really pay off for you to pay the extra 49 bucks for Motion 5 so you can do your one. I am.
  • FCP X is fast. I could not get it to choke no matter what I did. The background rendering in no way inhibited me from working and caught up with me unbelievably fast.
  • Did I say fast - it rendered an H.264 quicktime file output of my finished StupidCrap™ movie in under a minute. That's fast.
  • The organizational capabilities for your media are fantastic. If you like Aperture you will LOVE FCP X.
  • Almost everything you need is in FCP X - not a lot of need for a bunch of other Apps. I did mention Motion 5 but that is really only for building effects, etc. Once you do they along with any parameters you publish for them are available in the FCP X inspector just like the ones it comes with. Very cool.
  • Even though this was StupidCrap™ I can tell you for a fact that doing the exact same thing in FCP 7 would have taken me 4 or 5 times as long - maybe longer. Partially due to the apps speed but more due to how easy and slick things work in the new app. Amazing once you get the hang of it you can fly. Maybe I am the only one on the planet who thinks this but for the most part things work like you would think they would - every thing is very... direct - not like FCP 7.
  • Everything you see is pretty much my first try - take a look at how smooth and clean all the machinations are on both the HD and the rendering of the stills. I swear I used to have to futz with things till the cows came home in FCP 7 to get it soooo smoooooth. iMovie - forget it.

For your entertainment. Extra bonus points if you can guess how many different stills I actually chucked in here… <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/F-PU5Coojds" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> RB

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