Back in June, Film Riot's Ryan Connolly reviewed Apple's Final Cut Pro X (Episode 107) and was not too complimentary. Final Cut Pro has been industry standard for awhile, but the new version leaves a lot to be desired. Mainly, the big problem is that old FCP projects cannot be uploaded into the new version, yet allows projects from the low-grade starter editing software iMovie to be imported. Ryan feels, rightly, that this is an insult to professional editors everywhere who have used the other iterations of FPC in the past.  It's also a shame, since Apple has always made a great product for professionals, and now seem to be tailoring their high-end software to amateurs and leaving the pros out in the cold.

Final Cut Pro X: The Other Many Negatives

  • FCPX is not an upgrade, but completely different software. An editor who is used to all of the functions of the older versions now has to re-learn everything.
  • There's no "reconnect media" function, which is used when one of your files doesn't import correctly or the file name has changed, and you can easily go back and locate it.
  • No OMF or XML export.
  • No multi-camera editing.
  • They've also removed a ton of third-party support for various effects
  • The color correction isn't very good.
  • FCPX has a bunch of effects that seem cool, but can't be changed much in any way.

Final Cut Pro X: The Somewhat Good

In fact there are only a few things Ryan likes about Final Cut Pro X and only a couple of them are major:

  • Unlimited undo
  • Automatic saving of files when closing the program
  • 64-bit and GPU acceleration
  • Magnetic timeline: You can move things around without the audio ever going out of sync
  • J and L-cuts are easier: In a scene with two people talking back and forth, Ryan wants the audio of one shot to be heard before actually cutting to the video of that shot. In FCPX, it's very easy to make that happen.
  • Audition Function: You can now take a clip and "audition" several different takes in the timeline to find the best one.
  • External audio: A nice feature where Final Cut Pro can sync your external audio automatically, with no need for third party plug-ins.
  • Importing is awesome
  • Keyword function
  • The ability of the program to see how many people are in the shot and label it a wide shot or close-up
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In episode 107, Ryan is pleased with some aspects of the new Final Cut Pro, but whatever positives he found in the new software were far outweighed by the negatives.  By Episode 125, Ryan has pretty much had it with Final Cut Pro X. Looking for a nice alternative, Connolly looks to Adobe Premiere CS5.5. He says, "Unlike Apple, Adobe doesn't seem egotistical and seems to really care about their product and their customers. Imagine that."

Adobe Premiere CS5.5: The Better Alternative

  • This program can import old Final Cut Pro projects, unlike the actual so-called upgrade to Final Cut Pro.
  • Adobe Premiere has faster playback and render times than FCP.
  • Ability to switch hot keys easily to old Final Cut Pro configurations using Keyboard Shortcuts function.
  • Works with DSLR footage natively, whereas before it needed to be converted before going to the program.
  • Obviously, Premiere and After Effects come from the same company, so they've made it so that you can add effects to a clip and it will immediately show up in the timeline, with no need to render them before seeing how they look. With FCP, you need to make the effect, render it, then take it into the editing program, render that, and then hope everything comes out OK. If not, you have to repeat all those steps.

The Very Few Downsides to APCS5.5

  • The timeline takes time getting used to if you're a FCP user, and seems a "little less solid"
  • There's no plug-in to add widescreen bars

Overall, it looks like Ryan has already jumped Apple's ship to go on to Premiere.  It's amazing that Apple would change such a beloved product, but it seems obvious why they did.  They want a broader market with the Final Cut Pro brand, but unfortunately are watering it down to do so.

  • Evren De

    i begin to get use to and like fcpx , with the recent updates its getting in to shape, at first i begin to u se cs6 more but now, fcpx is getting better and eventually it will take of adobe as old fcp did, although thats my opinion, i use them both but somehow fcp coughts my eye more, adobe feels more loosy yet it improved a lot, maybe its a habit as i begin editing with fcp back in the days

  • killroy

    You should check what Avid does for graphic cards in up dates.

  • killroy

    What version FCP X were you useing?
    There is  XML export. And there is multi-camera editing. With and without time code syncing.

  • Rowby Goren

    I meant "Adobe Premiere hardware FORUM" (not program) :)

  • Rowby Goren

    Suggestions for those considering moving to Adobe Premiere. Visit the Adobe Premiere Hardware program and let the experts there guide you through your hardware selection. The hardware experts there are amazingly helpful and will save you many headaches -- and get you more bang for your hardware buck.

  • K.Madhusudhan

    I totally agree with James Nelson, you brought us to ground reality. Thanks. I was really confused where to I am clear....I will buy CS5 pro for my Mac. Certainly I don't like to encourage something which insults a professional. Thanks to Ryan Connolly.

  • James Nelson

    I love it when people use words in reviews like "pro" equipment insinuating that alternatives are non-pro equipment, whatever that's supposed to mean. The professionals that I know use whatever tools get the job done, wheither it costs thousands, or something they constructed in the basement. I remember when FCP wasn't even considered a "pro" application, independents used it because they could afford it, and it was a tool that got the job done. Adobe has stepped up to the plate and taken up the mantle. I use Avid and CS5, and I have to say I like CS5 a whole lot. It's fast, and comes with a lot of additional post-production accessories, that I've always wanted to try like AE and En.

    Finally when the finished product comes out, who gives a damn what NLE system I used? I'm not making films necessarily for the old-heads who've been working pro for decades. I'm trying to get to that level, and to reach that plateau I've got to make films. CS5 is an excellent tool especially if you haven't committed to any particular NLE system. FCPX may be as well, but for those who have projects in earlier versions, this non-compatibility issue would have been a deal breaker for me. Especially if I was pro. Who has time to sit on projects and wait for Apple to decide if in the future they will retify the problem?

  • Traci

    Ian Stubbs,
    I am exporting a Final Cut Pro X movie in H2.64 Quick Time Movie, and sending it to a friend who is trying to open it in CS3, and it won't open. I have sent him i movies and they opened why won't they open from Final Cut Pro X

  • Lloyd Ambrose

    This just proves how much Final cut sucks. Adobe can import ANY file into the timeline and INSTANTLY render ANY video format. With final cut, if you have a .flv file, or a .mxf, .mpeg, .wmv, or any file that's not .mov, you must convert it (which is an extremely annoying process). Plus if you have the entire cs5.5 master collection, then you can do anything back and forth between programs, from premier to After effects to audition to soundbooth to photoshop to Flash. Why in the hell is Final Cut still the industry standard??

  • Daniel Lord

    I have an '07 MacPro (x1900 ATI GFX card) and the latest update of Final Cut X won't install! Apple cavalierly decided to make obsolete many video cards for machines that are not that old by requiring OpenCL for the updates to Final Cut X and Motion and Compressor 4. The least expensive card I can get is a GeFore 8800 and tat will cost me $499. I have decided I'll just move to Adobe Premiere CS5.5 since I use AE and need to upgrade AE from CS4 anyway. I like the 50% discount to switch. Sure I will upgrade my hardware one day—but I want to do it on MY terms and not APPLE's capricious ones. I've been using FCP for several years but this is that last insult I'll endure.

  • Ian Stubbs

    In order to understand why FCPX is a Pro application you have to give it an extended try. The metadata facilities really come into their own on big productions with hundreds or even thousands of clips. The integration with Motion 5 is very powerful and way beyond home video needs or abilities. Editing is really fast and the visual feedback from the timeline is stunning. This a new way of working. Some will love and others will hate. It provides an upgrade path for iMovie users because iMovie projects are simple and it uses a similar underlying paradigm. FCP 7 projects can be very complex and some things will not translate. I think there will be a way in time, whether provided by Apple or a third party. Give FCPX a proper chance before you write it off. I've been in pro video for 30+ years and, for some projects, it is my NLE of choice already.

  • Tim Schmoyer

    When I saw this video, it was the deciding factor for me to take the plunge and grab Adobe Production Premium CS5.5 while Adobe was still offering 50% off for Final Cut Pro users. I bought Final Cut Pro X, but had to go back to Final Cut Express after using it a couple times. I guess Premiere is now my upgrade from FCE.