PC Magazine: Apple’s Final Cut Pro X makes serious leaps and bounds past its predecessor

“Apple’s completely revamped Final Cut Pro X makes serious leaps and bounds past its predecessor in terms of usability and performance,” Michael Muchmore reports for PC Magazine. “The upgrade is a complete from-the-ground-up-rewrite that takes advantage of modern 64-bit multicore CPUs, and is a radical departure for the increasingly popular software suite.”

“In fact, it’s changed so much that it may throw some professional users for a temporary loop; more on this later,” Muchmore reports. “But for the pro-sumer enthusiasts that make up the bulk of PCMag’s readership—people moving up from iMovie or another consumer-level app, Final Cut Pro X is a huge leap forward in terms of usability and raw power. While its interface looks a lot more like iMovie’s, with a free-form trackless ‘Magnetic Timeline’ view, the program still packs vastly more editing power than the iLife video editor.”

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Muchmore reports, “The pro video community is in a furor over this new release, and they have some valid complaints, like the lack of multicam support, the inability to open projects created in previous versions, and fewer disc output options. But it’s important to remember that, although this is version X, it’s also, in a sense, a version 1.0 application. Apple takes its pro users very seriously indeed, and I would expect to see them address many of the complaints in an update; there are rumors to this effect already. Once those issues are addressed, the performance gains thanks to 64-bit and multicore support, the two-thirds price cut, and some nimble new tools in a fluid, highly usable and precise interface should go a long way to winning even dissenting Final Cut users’ approval.”

Much more in the full review here.

Related articles:
Shake product designer explains Apple and Final Cut Pro X – June 29, 2011
Apple answers Final Cut Pro X questions; promises multicam editing and more – June 29, 2011
Change.org petition demands that Apple not change Final Cut Pro – June 27, 2011
Final Cut Pro X ‘backlash’ coming from competitors scared to death over Apple’s $299 price tag? – June 24, 2011
Conan blasts Apple’s new Final Cut Pro X (with video) – June 24, 2011
Answers to the unanswered questions about Apple’s new Final Cut Pro X – June 23, 2011
‘Professional’ video editors freak out over Final Cut Pro X – June 23, 2011
Apple revolutionizes video editing with Final Cut Pro X – June 21, 2011


  1. This is a re-post of mine from another site, but I thought it was appropriate to this discussion:

    I think that among a lot of the fuss, complaints, attacks, etc.. we have missed another sideline. Assume for the sake of argument that FCPX will be the best thing since sliced bread. That all of the concerns and worries are resolved and this truly becomes a professional level product that can properly interface with the business world. How long do you think it will take to get there? One Year? Two? Three? More? If you read the FAQ Apple will support Multicam in “the next major release.” Given Apple’s track record, that will be about 18 months away before we get v1.0 of mulicam. My personal guess (no facts, just a guess) is that it will take at least 2+ years before this product is ready for the professional market.

    Considering that we have not had a material upgrade to FCP in over 2 years already, that would mean that I would be sitting on the same basic software deck for 4+ years.

    This is what irks me probably the most, as now I am confronted with two options: 1) Stick with what I have for a couple more years with no updates/support and hope that I will like where FCPX lands or 2) Jump ship and start over with another package.

    Tossing coin in the air……
    What a shame.

  2. @David,
    It’s probably a mistake to make any judgements about this regarding “Apple’s track record” because this is a substantially different matter. First it’s a pro app (or is meant to be) and the clear intent was to broaden it’s market by making it more approachable and cheaper. Done.

    Second, given the furor over this release, the unprecendented offer of a refund, you would think (and I’m betting they will) a series of rather dramatic upgrades will be coming out forthwith. Witness the furor over Antennagate. Whether this IS bad form for Apple or not, it LOOKS like it due to all the teeth gnashing. So..don’t be surprised to see a faster time table on multi camera support, a way to hide or shield other content from view (for clients who see competitors work on your screen), and possibly even a means by which FCP 7 projects CAN be imported into FCP X…It’s not an impossible task by any means (just some naming and file conventions to be dealt with and some coding issues to address…) There will be upgrades to this WAY sooner than most people suspect because Steve HATES bad press…and because as they almost always do…it’s the right thing to do.

    1. @PR,
      I do hope that you are right. Though I have not seen many major release jumps come out very quickly, I can definitely see your point and can’t argue with it. I’m currently taking a wait and see attitude as I can continue to work as before.

      1. @David,

        I think PR is very much correct. I’d also add that if importing of existing projects isn’t an issue for you that you have little to worry about really.

        For my personal use, I’m really good with FCPX. For my company, the benefits outweigh the issues, with the exception of inability to import. We’ll survive this, but many pros I know are hurt big time. I really hope Apple gives us something for import as well.

  3. I understand the perception thing of the pricing, but I don’t think it’s valid. On the last go ’round of Logic Studio the price was cut in half from $999 to $499. I know many audio guys who own both Logic and ProTools or another DAW.
    I also understand how places have workflows in place etc. But, at some point, you have to let go of the old code and think of a new way of doing things. Pros (and people in general) don’t often like to have to change and learn new things.
    And to those that don’t like it, don’t upgrade until it has the features you need/want.

    1. @Scott,

      It’s not about changing workflows. It’s not about not liking change or new things.

      It’s about being able to access and work with the existing libraries of projects most pros have because there is no import function.

      “And to those that don’t like it, don’t upgrade until it has the features you need/want.”

      What happens when you need new licenses for FCP7 or the OS or other software isn’t compatible with it?

  4. Apple has clearly drawn a line in the sand.

    It’s not like they don’t know how to make a professional editing package with all the features required, it’s that they have chosen not to.

    Pros are clearly not the target market for FCP X anymore. It was dishonest of Apple to still pitch it as a pro solution with so many essential features stripped.

    They could have communicated the omissions to users but they chose not to.

    I’m already looking at the alternatives for my business, as I can’t wait another 4 years for upgrades that may or may not be delivered on the whim of an engineering team, which clearly has the average home user who dabbles in video foremost in mind.

  5. It is unfortunate to see so much hysteria, abuse and pointlessness resulting from the reaction to this release, much of it the trash of people who have probably never edited a video, owned a post facility or even a Mac, and certainly all of it from people who cannot put their name to their rant but who, nonetheless, feel the need to vent their spleen in public. It’s certainly not the procedure envisioned by those who championed free speech and who were not afraid to put their name to their protest.
    It is quite evident from its nomenclature that Apple intended this to be a ‘pro’ product. It is also quite evident that it is a product with necessary enhancements to be delivered that will meet the needs of professional users. It is also quite evident that Apple needed to undertake a complete rewrite to facilitate current and future technological developments rather than endlessly tweaking an existing and now outmoded technology. It is also quite evident that current pro users can continue using the existing technology until the new version provides the functions that they require.
    To talk of switching to another product altogether is patently ridiculous: who would establish an entirely new workflow when they (a) can continue with the one they currently use and/or (b) wait until promised features bring the product in line with their expectations?
    There is a level of snobbery in this discussion that exposes so-called “pros” as most unprofessional. The abusiveness of many comments suggests that the respondents are not involved in the industry in any legitimate form. Level-headedness appears to have deserted the discussion to such an extent as to render it valueless.
    Vox-pop is great in theory, but it brings with the risk of tub-thumping, partisanship and blinkered subjectivity. There is so little reasoned discussion here that it renders the existence of these forums virtually meaningless.
    The most pathetic comment here is from MrEdofCourse who has the audacity to complain about the low cost of the new version, suggesting that it is indicative of Apple’s consumer rather than pro intentions.
    Enough of this vitriol: keep using FCP 7 until FCP X provides the features you need or upgrade and be happy. It reminds me of the Pagemaker/InDesign/Quark hoo-ha years ago.

  6. @David Parr

    It may be possible for some people to continue using FCP 7 as you point out, but since FCP X requires a learning curve to use the app, I’d rather spend the money switching to Avid now than wait for what may never be a complete solution.

    It’s been 4 years since Final Cut was significantly upgraded and it’s showing signs of age. There’s no clear timeline from Apple on returning features to FCP X and the FAQ is full of workarounds that shouldn’t be needed. Add to that the fact that transcoding to edit in 7 takes time, I’d be crazy not to look at the alternatives.

    If I can edit natively in Media Composer now, with better support for my previous FCP 7 projects then it seems like a good time to switch.

    Best Wishes.

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