Film editor: Apple’s Final Cut Pro X is flexible, powerful, incredibly innovative software

“If you’re an editor working with Apple’s Final Cut Pro, you’re probably well aware of the controversy and debate surrounding its latest release, which the company has dubbed Final Cut Pro X,” Lawrence Jordan, A.C.E. writes for the Motion Picture Editors Guild Magazine.

“On a fundamental level, FCP X is indeed a flexible, powerful and incredibly innovative piece of software,” Jordan writes. “It simply is not Final Cut Pro in any way, shape or form. It is a super-charged update of iMovie, and Apple would have received a lot less flack from some of its most loyal (and vocal) customers if it had just presented FCP X this way.”

“Marketing debacles aside, once you dig in and start to really understand the breadth and depth of the things it can do, it’s hard to argue that Final Cut Pro X is not groundbreaking,” Jordan writes. “It’s a slick, sophisticated and innovative rethinking of the editing paradigm that, considering Apple’s weight and power in the marketplace, will very likely be embraced by an entire new generation of media creators––people who will be crafting stories into the future, for platforms and devices that don’t even exist yet.”

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Jordan writes, “Although I can’t recommend it to my fellow editors for editing features or television in its current incarnation (after all, it is only version 1.0), I look forward to what Final Cut Pro X will have to offer as it matures and as Apple begins to deliver on promises of a professional-level product that meets the needs and expectations of both its new and experienced users.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Gartenberg on Final Cut Pro X: Why Apple dares to change your apps – July 17, 2011
IT Enquirer reviews Apple’s Final Cut Pro X: Very much a professional’s tool – July 8, 2011
Apple to allow additional Final Cut Pro 7 enterprise licenses; FCP X improvements coming soon – July 7, 2011
Former Avid employee on Final Cut Pro X: Only Apple seems capable of pushing boundaries – July 5, 2011
Why Apple built Final Cut Pro X – July 1, 2011
PC Magazine: Apple’s Final Cut Pro X makes serious leaps and bounds past its predecessor – June 30, 2011
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 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. Yes an unfortunate reading of the video software tea leaves for Apple. (Fortunately a rare occurrence.) FCPX is not ready literally for prime time but someday it will be and then it’ll be a force to reckon with. I just hope there are not too many defections in the interim.

    1. I agree. But they are going to have to make it more like 7 to capture the high ground. One-window editing alone makes it slow and unusable for large projects. And burying critical features five clicks deep doesn’t help either.

  2. Apple is clearly moving away from support of content creators both on the hardware and the software side. Don’t look for FCPX to improve all that much, don’t look for a big Mea Culpa by the film industry over it either if it does. Apple is not interested in a handful of feature film editors, but is quite happy selling to millions of casual video editors.

    The handwriting is on the wall.

    1. I think you’re wrong. FCPX was such a monumental change from FCP that Apple really should have launched it as a different product, either iMovie Pro or a completely new line. I think Apple will continually add features from FCP to FCPX to bring it to feature parity and beyond.

      The problem is Apple felt pressured to release FCPX because it had been so long between FCP updates that it had a product which was not capable of replacing FCP, at least not the way FCP is used or features which are needed by professional editors.

      But think of it this way – how nice will FCPX be, at its current substantially reduced price, when it does gain missing features?

      1. I think that you nailed it, Biz. Now that Apple restarted sales of FCP 7 again, there is less to complain about. It was an error in execution by Apple that should not have happened. Apple isn’t perfect, but generally tries to rectify its mistakes as it did in this case. The only thing that surprised me is that Apple did not drop the price of FCP 7 to the FCP X level when they brought it back. That would have earned back some good will.

      2. Ladies and gentlemen please – The Price Thing – as in its “… greatly reduced…” price.

        FCP, when it was available by itself, and yes it used to be, was $299.00. Period. FCPX is not price reduced at all. Please stop using this as a rationale for FCPX, which may be a fine consumer product, but it’s definitely NOT less expensive than FCP was. About a year and a half ago Apple stopped selling FCP as a standalone product and bundled it into FCS [Final Cut Studio] which costs about $999. So, one last time, all together, FCPX is not less expensive than FCP was. It is less expensive than FCS, but not less than FCP. Over and out.

  3. Not a pro editor yet, but was just playing around with my new copy of FCP X when I saw this story pop up. From what I’ve seen so far, FCP X is fantastic. Of course, I didn’t use the older versions of FCP, so I didn’t have prejudiced expectations.

    Way to go, Randy Ubillos!

    1. Think of it this way…
      supposed you had only used dos computers before… then you found a windows machine. You would think that was pretty cool right?

      But the people that had their Macs discontinued and told that the windows machine was the new replacement for their beloved Macs wouldn’t be thinking it was so great.

      Such are the differences in what you can do with the older version… FCP 7, and what you can’t do with newer version FCPx

  4. Hahahahahahahaha, way to bury the lede, MDN!

    “It is a super-charged update of iMovie…”

    “…I can’t recommend it to my fellow editors for editing features or television…”

    The author simply reiterates what 99% of us who work in the entertainment industry have been saying since FCP X’s release.

    1. The FCP X emperor is naked. He might have a pretty face and speak with an eloquent economy of words, but, even though a lot of people like him, he’s just a figure head with no real power or influence.

      hmmmm…..where have I heard this before?

  5. FCP X can be delight to use but it really needs an update badly. I thought we would have heard something on this by now. We are heading to October and I thought Apple said there would be an update this Fall. I have had to many crashs so far. I have now completed six full project. Really like the way it works. It needs a few things and the bugs fixed to really make it go. I have no plans of ever going back to the old FCP. Once you change how you do things I don’t think you can go back because it is so different.

      1. Thanks for reminding me that we all have 10 days left of Summer according to the weatherman. Trouble is, we are talking about the software business, which I am in. I am well aware of what is generally accepted as a Fall release, November isn’t it.

  6. FCPX may be a good piece of software, but… it guaranteed no feature film or national show can use it until it’s brought BACK to where it was in many respects. The real take from the article is “Not Ready for Prime Time”. It’s just not. MDN. We love you. You picked the wrong pull quotes. Apple made a mistake with FCPX, enough that they had to bring back FCP7 quietly, and it made a recent list of Apple’s top ten failures, right next to the G4 Cube, and the iPod Photo. FCP 7 went from being a part of the workflow of “Conan” to being the butt of the joke on the same show. It’s most viral video accomplishment so far, actually. Apple can make mistakes MDN, it’s OK. You can stop trying to redeem the FCPX project. Go read the reviews on the App Store. By the time you are done reading all the negative reviews, you’ll be standing alone in defending it.

  7. Actually, putting all the debate and dramas aside for a moment- cause hey realistically right now most FCP professional users have issues with FCP X…

    One thing seems to have passed everyone by- apart from the obvious lack of CURRENT pro sound workflow support and monitoring issues…

    Apple has a future leaning plan, something the competitors will be unable to match- that’ll leave em in the gutters scrambling, wondering how they missed it…

    It’s been designed for Multi touch!! And NOT for the iPad… Apple is planning ahead, setting itself up for the ultimate touch based editor… More than likely with a direct connection to Logic Pro X for sound design… To work on a new iMac TOUCH or the new 19″ iPad PRO!

    You read it here first!!! And come on think about it… Finally editing will come back to it roots and touching the footage again- just like using a Steinbeck – ok maybe not but faster definately than a mouse…

    We gotta dream a bit more!

    1. Wow! I was all ready to call you crazy, then I thought about it……I’m still gonna call you crazy, but in a “them two Wright boys’ll never get that winged contraption off the ground” sort of way.

    2. Completely agree, I’ve said it from the beginning. The future for FCP is multi-touch, and it’ll probably be great on an iPad Pro or something like that. But as it stands, it sucks on a laptop or desktop which is what professionals use right now to make a living. When Apple brings enough pro features to it, even if it’s on a tablet form factor, we’ll switch in droves.

      1. Exactly… totally agree.

        I was reminded of the subtleness of Apple’s planning when I updated iTunes 2 weeks back. All of a sudden the volume fader had increased in size dramatically, as though it was waiting for a finger to touch and control it. And that of course assumes we would have a computer that was touch able… iMac Touch.

        iPad Pro I tell ya… gonna happen… Big, thin and beautiful.

    3. @Brau

      FCPX is groundbreaking somewhat. It replaced FC-Express. Its great for amateurs and home users. A step above the free editors, but not that much over $100 Sony Vegas.

      The *ISSUE* is that FCPX doesn’t replace FCP. Its loosely the same argument that GIMP is equal to Photoshop since it can do almost everything PS can do… true for home users, college students, etc. For those in the business, no – its not.

  8. Hey, FCP 5 was the first version that was worth sung for TV for Film projects. Now that they have decided to start over, maybe they will get around to making usable in a few years. “Update of iMovie”, you bet.

  9. It IS groundbreaking, but not ready for prime time. Once the missing features are brought back and FC7 imports are possible, FCX will be unbeatable. For now, I’m sticking with FC7

  10. I think almost everyone misses the key point. EVERYTHING Apple does that is NOT hardware is done to help drive sales of the hardware. That includes are the services (iTunes Store, iCloud, App Store, etc.), and it includes software.

    Even the pro-level Mac software from Apple exists to drive profit from sales of Macs, not to profit from selling the software itself. Therefore, from Apple’s perspective, it makes perfect sense to make Final Cut Pro X more desirable, accessible, and affordable to a much larger audience of Mac customers (most of whom never used “Final Cut anything” before)… even if it is initially less satisfactory for the smaller audience of current Final Cut Studio users. It’s about selling the hardware, not about selling the software.

    Over time, Final Cut Pro X will help increase Apple’s overall profit by attracting new content creators who will need to buy the latest (more powerful) Mac hardware, and do it more often. Any current negative impact from upset Final Cut Studio users will simply be overwhelmed, and even they will become happy users too, “over time…”

  11. Apple wants to cut off its ties with the demanding pro market, and it’s just a matter of time until Logic gets butchered as well. It’s rather ironic, considering the amount of professionals that stayed with Apple’s during the darker days.

  12. I keep hearing that FCP X is only a “step above iMovie”, for advanced home users, etc, and it soulds as if it were just another Premiere Elements, while it is not.

    There is the elite group of professional video editors who work in broadcast TV and motion picture industries. Their toolkit tends to be worth over $20k. However, what everybody here seems to forget is the the large (and ignored) majority of video editors who DON’T fall into this group: professional event videographers (wedding documentarists). They run the gamut of lone agents shooting on a cheap HMC-150 with a clip-on shotgun mike, all the way to high-end outfits with three cameramen, light kit, several wireless mics, and an audio engineer. All these people successfully make a decent living recording and producing video, and many (if not most) use FCP. By all accepted criteria, they are professionals, and for them, FCP X is a major time saver and a godsend.

    Not EVERY professional video editor is cutting the next Grand Torino. Some of them are cutting Estelle’s and Jason’s wedding.

    Apple is certainly going to sell many more copies of FCP than it did before. That means that it will significantly expand its user base. Which further means that it will have a vested interest to continue and invest money into development of FCP. Which in the end means that FCP will likely quickly gain all it seems to be missing in order to satisfy that high-end sliver of professional video editor army that has those high-end demands.

    The way this was handled leaves a lot to be desired, though…

  13. The short-sighted video toads who rushed out to replace FinalCut Pro with Adobe Premier, which will also have a significant learning curve, deserve exactly what they got.

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