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In this article, experienced editor Marcos Castiel puts the case for and against the use of Final Cut Pro. Marcos makes some very well made points and comparisons. Well worth a read.

The Case Against Final Cut Pro

I started as an editor on AVID then Final Cut Pro 7 came out and a lot of small production companies started investing in it. After all, it was a much cheaper option compared to Avid. 

Like so many freelance editors at the time I learned Final Cut Pro7 and started cutting most of my projects on it. As time went by, I found myself going back to Avid less and less, not by choice, just because the general editing ecosystem in commercials had migrated away from Avid in Europe.

In 2011 when Final Cut Pro X came out I was both excited and afraid. Excited because it was an evolution of Final Cut Pro 7 and afraid because it was also a revolution; the trackless concept of the magnetic timeline felt alien, wrong, against all that I was taught and trained to do.

I edit the kind of projects that, when the editor is done with the cut, the edit goes into a pipeline. It goes out to be graded, then to post-production, CG, cleanups, sound mixing, and often this happens at different companies. That means a lot of editors depend on export tools within their NLE to send this information out. We export OMFs for sound or AAFS, XMLs, and sometimes even the old EDL.

apple_launch_FCPX_final_cut_pro_x

 

So cut to 2011, Final Cut Pro X is announced and I am thinking, “Looks cool, a big change, will check it out tomorrow.”

Tomorrow arrives and there is this huge backlash on the web, no OMF or XML export, and a bunch of other things missing. For me, the whole XML and OMF was the deal-breaker.

I can’t cut a commercial on an NLE and then have no way to export the information other people need to finish it. 

Like so many others, realising that Final Cut Pro 7 was dead, I started thinking about where to go next. I could go back to Avid, no sweat, but I did not. I tried out Adobe Premiere Pro and it felt familiar and safe almost like Final Cut Pro 7 with a different set of clothes on. 

The years passed and I cut a ton of projects on Premiere. It's a great NLE, it has a lot going for it for sure.

In late 2019 I was in New York cutting a commercial for Lipton Ice Tea. Afterwards, I was flying from New York to Shanghai to cut a Gatorade commercial being shot there. The thing was, we wrapped the Lipton project five days earlier than expected so I had time to kill. 

I could have gone to museums, art galleries, but instead I thought to myself: “What’s happening with Final Cut Pro X? How far along has it come? Is anyone using it for the kind of projects I am cutting?”

So I looked around and I was surprised to see how much it had evolved, or at least fixed its shortcomings. 

I bought it and for those five free days I played around with it. At the end of those five days I was sold on it. So much so that I decided there and then that I would cut the Gatorade commercial on it.

Gatorade Every Drop Counts

 

I got on the plane, arrived in China, straight to set, and my buddy from MPC, Barry Greaves (who was the VFX supervisor on that film) comes up to me and asks me to check a couple of shots, since this was a seamless transitions kind of film. 

I said “no worries mate”, open up my MacBook Pro (at the time a 2015 15” Retina) fire up Final Cut Pro X, import some media, and then it hits me, “I don’t know enough about this software to be working on it.” 

Here’s the thing, you can train and watch tutorials but until the moment you use a new NLE on a job you just don’t know enough about it.

The real world is very different from the tutorials, and it takes time to learn and build muscle memory to be fast and proficient on an NLE. 

To be honest, after a couple of days on set and another ten days on the editing suite, I was rocking Final Cut Pro X. Not flying through it as I was used to doing on Premiere, but Final Cut Pro X was so fast that in the end my lack of experience on it was cancelled out by how fast the damn thing is.

So, you’re thinking “this guy seems to like Final Cut Pro, what’s the deal with the title of this article ‘The Case Against Final Cut Pro”? It’s because, if you are thinking about having a go at Final Cut Pro, I want to give you both sides of the coin; all the small and big issues that you will have to live with if you start cutting on Final Cut Pro, as well as all the things that make Final Cut Pro great.

First, there are a lot of Final Cut Pro users out there, but, being honest, there are not a lot of professional film editors using it. Most high-end commercials, TV series, and Feature films are being cut on either AVID or Premiere.

That is not a reflection on Final Cut Pro; it is a professional NLE and it can handle anything you throw at it. So why aren’t professional film editors using it?

Apple jumped the gun on Final Cut Pro X. It was not ready for professional use when it came out and it got a bad reputation. That is one of the reasons, and the bad reputation is still around, but the main reason is change. 

Change can be frightening, and when you spend years editing on track-based NLEs, Final Cut is scary as hell, but change can also be good.

When a producer asks you what you need to cut his project and you say that you are using Final Cut Pro, get ready for a talk. I get that all the time, especially from German and French producers, so much to the point that now I avoid that conversation, I just don’t tell them which NLE I am using.

If I have to travel and edit on another editing suite, I just make sure they have a Mac, and if they don’t have Final Cut Pro, I install the trial version or run the whole thing from my laptop. 

If anyone raises the issue I give a short answer, the workflow works, and I think it's the editor's prerogative to choose the NLE. 

the case final cut pro 02

 

Being fair that conversation only happens once. When the agency, producers and clients see how fast I am using the software, how much creative freedom it gives everyone in the room, the subject never comes up again.

Workflow: the bad news is that you will depend on third-party companies to use Final Cut Pro. 

Final Cut Pro native XMLs: they work fine with some software like Resolve, but not with Premiere, Nuke and others. 

That’s the reason post productions companies are a bit afraid of people cutting on Final Cut Pro. 

To work around this I, like so many other editors, use XtoCC a third-party app to convert a Final Cut Pro XML into “standard” XML and X2PRO audio to export AFFs from the Final Cut Pro XML for the sound studios. 

There is no big secret here, these third-party apps work very well, and they are what allows me to use Final Cut Pro for the kind of projects I cut, but if in the future Apple decides to somehow block these apps, or the companies that make them go bust, well you get the picture... It’s a risk, a small risk I think, but still a risk. 

Of course, Apple can at any time come out with a more expensive version of Final Cut Pro that has all those features built-in, like Final Cut Pro7 had, or they might not.

There is another minor inconveniences to using Final Cut Pro, some missing features like dupe detection or flattening Multicam clips, but those, although I miss them, especially the dupe detection, at the end of the day those are minor things you can work around.

Another argument against using Final Cut Pro is storage. Here is an example: I am cutting a commercial for Peloton at the moment. I asked the DIT on set to transcode to Apple ProRes 422 LT at original camera resolution, the final master will be 1080P, but I like to have a notion pixel by pixel of how far can I zoom in if I need to. 

It was a one-day shoot with two Arri Alexa cameras at 4k. I got 1TB of footage, my Final Cut Pro cache file is around 300 GB at the moment. Why is that?

Because Final Cut Pro renders a lot, especially if you are a timeline editor as opposed to a Bin editor (more on that later). What I take from this is that Final Cut Pro will use up more storage space than the competition, but there are ways inside the program to manage that.

Collaboration, there are no built-in tools on FPC to collaborate with other editors on the same Library, there are great third-party tools out there , I like PostLab a lot.

VODAFONE New Life

 

And the final argument against Final Cut Pro is the very thing that makes it great: the Magnetic Timeline. 

You will despair, you will hate it, that is until it clicks in your head, it suddenly makes sense and you think, “why has no one thought of this before?” 

Get ready for a rough couple of weeks when you first start using it, but if you stick with it for a bit of time, you might find it was worth it.

Video Playback: Final Cut Pro works with Blackmagic, but they don’t play well together. I hear AJA is better, but I have never tried it. Video out through an HDMI cable is the best option for Final Cut Pro. 

No eucom support: that is a shame because the one thing I miss is using an external mixer.

The last one is the interface, and that’s a personal thing. I think it has not aged well, it feels a bit “cute” for my taste.

So that’s the case against Final Cut Pro. Now let me tell you why it was the right decision for me to change to it, but each editor has their view on the NLE they prefer, and what works for some might not work for others. 

 

The Case for Final Cut Pro

Fast! The damn thing is fast, I can´t stress that enough. There is no way to explain how fluid the editing is. It's one of the things you have to try out and see, but I will use an analogy: AVID is a Porsche, Premiere is a Ferrari, Final Cut Pro is an F-18. 

Not exaggerating, Avid and Premiere are very fast cars and they are great, but Final Cut Pro is not a car, it's a fighter jet that goes at Mach speed. 

That, at the end of that day, saves you time, and time is quality of life.

I think Final Cut Pro saves me one hour a day, maybe even an hour and a half. That’s more time to be creative on some days, or the chance to leave the editing room a couple of hours earlier and do something else altogether.

The Magnetic Timeline: a lot of stuff has been written about this feature since it's the one that defines Final Cut Pro and makes it great. 

It's liberating, at this point pretty much everyone has an idea of how it works, so I will not go into too much detail. The main thing is that it removes a barrier between the editor and the edit. 

You can edit almost at the speed of your thoughts. No worrying about which tracks are selected (none since Final Cut Pro has no tracks) or losing sync with that piece of sound design. 

the case final cut pro 03

 

The magnetic timeline is one of those brilliant insights that, in retrospect, looks simple. So much so that I think it is, or will be, the new standard for all the other NLEs out there. Sooner or later both Avid, Resolve and Premier will have to embrace it.

There is a new generation of editors growing up on Final Cut Pro and they will never touch a track-based NLE, and why should they when the alternative is so much better.

Bin editors and Timeline editors.

Bin editors go through the footage, select the bits they like, create a sub clip, and place it in a bin. 

the case final cut pro 01

 

Timeline editors will do the same but place all the strings/selects on a timeline. Personally I am a timeline editor. I started as a bin editor on Avid but changed. I like it when I am looking for a specific moment of a shot to see the other options around that shot, and that happens more naturally when you organise (and organise is the keyword here) your strings on a timeline.

Final Cut Pro allows me to be both, the way you can mark ranges of a shot as a favourite and have final cut only play out your favourites is an evolution of the bin concept, it works like a timeline.

But sometimes I have to be a timeline editor (that explanation would be long, but it has to be with footage shot at 50 frames but to be edited at 25 frames), and what I do is miss or think Final Cut should do better to allow me to have multiple timelines open on different tabs at the same time. That, and a scrolling timeline.

Speed Ramp: yes you can speed ramp on Premiere and Avid, but it takes time, speed ramping on Final Cut Pro is easy and intuitive. I use speed ramp a lot, not the kind the viewer will notice, the invisible kind, speeding up the back end or front end of a clip to gain some frames there, or the middle to accentuate a moment in action. In Final Cut Pro that operation is painless and fast, not so much on the other NLEs around.

Compound Clips: yes you can nest a bunch of clips on Premiere and create a sequence within your timeline, and at first glance, it looks like they are the same. But they are not.

Let's take this example: I have a timeline in Final Cut Pro its 56 minutes long, episode 4 of a Netflix series. It plays well and I'm happy with all the scenes, but now it's the time I start playing with structure. What happens if I place scene 14 before scene 4, or if I create another night on that episode, and so on?

That’s when I love compound clips. First I will snapshot my project (duplicate the timeline), on that snapshot I will select all shots, music sound effects of each scene and create a single compound clip.

Let's say the episode has 34 scenes. Now when I look at my timeline, instead of 500 shots, 150 SFX, 15 musics, all I have are 34 compound clips, that I can move around until I find a structure for that episode that I like. When that is done I just break apart those compound clips back to their individual components, all without having to leave the timeline once.

Trust me it takes almost more time to write this explanation than to do it on Final Cut Pro. You can do it on Premiere, but it's a way longer process.

Glória Official Trailer on Netflix

 

Compound clips are one of the most powerful features of Final Cut Pro, they are great for pulling strings out of a project into the viewer. That’s useful sometimes, to clean up your timeline, they are a tool that helps the editor stay organised and focused.

Auditions: if you are not familiar with the Audition, basically it is a container in the timeline where you can drop shots that you like, audition them on your edit and pick the one that works best. 

This feature alone saves me so much time, and also the ability to be able to go to the producer or director and say, yes for this line here I had four takes I liked, and here they are in the context of the edit, with just the press of a shortcut.

Roles is an extremely powerful tool. I use it regularly not only for audio, but I also have a video role just for Auditions. When I see a clip on my timeline that’s orange I know that’s an audition, might be good to share that with the director at some point, or if I get a temp VFX for the post-production house, I will place that on top of the shot they worked on assign my VFX role to it and again with a glance I can “read” my timeline. 

But where roles really shines is in audio. Right now, I am in the middle of an edit, it's a 60” commercial. I have an English VO from the agency, another from the director and a German VO, one music I like, and another four musics the agency likes. When I am playing the commercial and someone goes, can we listen to it with music C and German VO, I click two buttons on the timeline Index and that’s it, here we go, and even if I move stuff around and change the edit nothing gets out of sync.

Protergia - Elements of Nature

 

Finishing: as I mentioned earlier, my workflow is one where other people and companies pick up my edit and they go through the process of finishing it, color grading, VFX, and sound. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t like to present my edit as finished as possible. You only get one chance at a first impression. 

After I have an edit, I think is good enough to present, I do a little finishing on it, I do a rough sound design, and I do a bit of color grading if the footage needs it, I might drop a flare on a shot, and stuff like that. After Effects is a great companion to Final Cut Pro, but the truth is that a lot of stuff I usually did on AE (because they were a pain to do in PP) I can easily do them on Final Cut Pro. So I have been visiting AE less and less and staying more inside Final Cut Pro alone. 

Plug-Ins: I don’t know why exactly but plug-ins work better in Final Cut Pro than they do in PP. They feel more integrated somehow and they are faster.

You have them for all tastes and flavours, MotionVFX has some great ones. I don’t use a lot of plug-ins, but some like mflare tend to be very useful on some edits. It depends on the context of the edit you are working on.

So, my two cents on Final Cut Pro are: First, it can and it is used professionally every day by editors working on all sorts of projects.

It's the fastest NLE around, the easiest to learn by far, it may look simple, but if you dig deeper you will find almost all the features you need for every workflow.

If you are thinking about changing from a track-based NLE to Final Cut Pro, I would recommend two things. Check out the Final Cut Pro training at Ripple Training, their tutorials are very useful, even if you are an experienced editor. I would start there as the first step. Second, buy a Final Cut Pro keyboard cover. It will be very useful for the first couple of weeks until you build muscle memory for the shortcuts you use the most. 

Finally, Cut Pro, Avid, Premiere, all of them are very good NLEs, and none of them will make you a better editor, they are just tools to tell stories. It's the stories you tell and how you tell them that matter. However, Final Cut Pro will make you a faster editor, and you will enjoy the process of editing a lot more. With PP or Avid, even if you know those NLEs like the back of your hand, you will find sometimes a slowdown, a barrier between you and your edit. In Final Cut Pro that barrier is almost non-existing.

 

 

 


Written by
BloggerExpert

A passionate cinephile, Marcos Castiel entered the filmmaking word with an eye towards directing, but quickly discovered the storytelling power of editing and made the switch, never looking back.

He began his career on the agency side, cutting his teeth editing global campaigns at Publicis, before moving to the production side where he spent a decade at top production and post houses, developing his reel across multiple genres.

Looking to further broaden his creative output, he made the shift to freelance and continued editing top international campaigns, earning industry acclaim including a Cannes Lions shortlist for his work with Visa and a  LIA shortlist for Editorial a project with Amnesty International. 
Marcos is a member of the Guild of British Film Editors. 

Marcos has edited an original Netflix Series "Gloria", he just finished editing a feature film and is attached to another Netflix project starting soon.

When not traveling the globe for his career or inspiration, Castiel enjoys time with his wife and two children.

 

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Daniel Rutledge's Avatar
Daniel Rutledge replied the topic: #119458 15 Mar 2022 15:08
Why FCPX will (probably) never catch on.

Before you decide to TL;DR this comment: I originally started writing it as a spec article for this site in 2019. It addresses a lot of the same themes, but in a different way, and from a slightly different perspective. So if you are interested in the content of the article, you may find my comment interesting as well.

I have been working as a freelancer in NYC for the past five years. Before that I ran a production department at a website. When I started there in 2010, it was a FCP 6/7 shop. The owner was a major cheapskate. We had one academic copy of the software installed on three computers. They couldn't all be online at the same time while running FCP Studio. Who remembers those days? Shortly after FCPX launched, I switched the edit suite over. I think we switched when 10.0.3 was released (or whenever Multicam support was added). A big part of the choice was that I knew I could get money for it, since we were allowed at least five installs on a single license for $299. The owner of the website was ready to continue with our existing setup forever, but I sold him on the faster turnovers and render times. Switching to Adobe was out of the question. I had been begging him to buy a newer version of Production Suite, so I could up our titles and graphics. But we were limited to (I think) a version of CS 3.5 that had come installed on one of the computers that he had bought used. It was basically useless. Anyway, this is the long way to say that I am a diehard FCPX user from day one. It was an uphill battle, but I created a professional environment over the years, one that forced FCPX down the throats of more than two dozen junior editors, freelancers, and interns. But after the last five years of kicking around the NYC post production scene, I can say with great confidence that FCPX will never make a significant dent in the pro market.

I know the arguments. What is "pro"? What about this or that example? The world isn't just NYC and LA! I can't argue with any of that. I hope and pray that I am wrong. In my years of freelancing, I came across maybe three advertisements for FCPX gigs, and they all seemed to be posted by non industry people. They were artists or passionate amateurs who had raised some money for pet projects. They were not establishing longstanding edit environments that would force professional editors to change horses.

My experience with editors who I forced to switch when I ran the FCPX based shop was a mixed bag. I based hiring on editing ability and not software knowledge. It was a check in your column if you knew FCPX, but I just wanted good editors. When I first switched the shop over, we were straddling the fence. We still had some projects ongoing in FCP7 and all new projects were supposed to be started in X. My junior editor kept starting new projects in 7 and making excuses for why she wasn't switching to X. Ultimately, I think she was afraid of how different it was. It was really messing up my workflow for the shop, so after she did this on five projects, I uninstalled 7 on all but one machine and changed the password on it. She threw a chair at me and stormed out (after saying some awful things to/about me). That was the extreme, but I never had anyone come in and say, "I am so excited to work in FCPX!" Most of them are shocked when they learn the basics in about two hours. After two weeks (max) every person I brought in was basically up and running independently. But they still don't like it. I've only had two people really come to like it. Surprisingly, the woman who threw the chair at me, and the guy we hired right out of school who replaced her when she left. There was this one guy that we hired during a busy period, who worked pretty much full time for two years, and he actually knew X when we hired him. He never liked it. All his personal projects and independent client work, he did in Premiere. After knowing him for years, I asked him why that was. He said that there were all these track based things you couldn't do in FCPX and he could never get the bins organized right. I realized that for years he had been forcing FCPX to perform like a regular NLE. I would have hated it too.

To me, this gets to the core of why FCPX will never catch on in the wider pro environment. Laziness. I don’t mean that he wasn’t a hard worker (he was). There are a lot of different kinds of laziness, so this may not mean what you think it does. What opened my eyes to this was not an experience with FCPX, but with DaVinci Resolve. As much as everyone hates FCPX, people (in theory) love Resolve. For years Blackmagicdesign has been steadily building up Resolve, but in the past it never could really crossover widely. My experience (and the widely held consensus) was that the editing functionality just wasn't there yet. The color tools are great, but the edit tools and environment just weren’t good enough to work in natively. In my experience, this all changed with the release of version 14. Since then I can say with confidence that it has come to perform better than Premiere. Playback is almost on par with FCPX, and it is really developing into a great organizational tool. After a particularly nightmarish Premiere/Resolve round trip, I convinced this one production company to try doing an upcoming broadcast commercial soup to nuts in Resolve. It was the perfect test. We were shooting RAW, there was no Dialogue, and it was a pretty straight forward 30 second spot. From my POV it went off close to perfectly, but the owner of the company hated it. He likes to go in and tinker with edits. He's not an editor, more of an enthusiast. Resolve has kind of a steep learning curve. I did a lot of work to become fluent with it. He wants to just pop in on a whim. I notice that even with Premiere, he still hasn't transitioned completely from FCP7 (mentally). Again, this is a bit of an extreme case, but it is representative of the attitude I experience with most editors.

"I'm too busy to learn new software!" they tend to say with an aggressive tone. Often, there is a thinly veiled criticism of all my perceived free time (that I must have since I know FCPX, Premiere, and Resolve about equally well. I would jump on an AVID edit in a heartbeat too, but it has been years since I used it regularly). Most people who say this to me are no busier than I am. All it really takes is finding the right project and saying to yourself, " I will cut this in NLEofyourchoice." And then there is a little pain, but ultimately one project is all it takes to learn most of what you need. So it is a kind of laziness that leads to the decision. Your choice is: you could do this project in the NLE you are familiar with in 4 eight-hour days, or you could do it in 4 nine-hour days (and maybe one of those will be ten hours because something is bound to go wrong). And maybe to prepare for this leap of faith, you will need to spend your train ride watching tutorials and reading user manuals. Maybe you'll have to skip watching a football game one weekend. But the pay off is that you will have all the benefits of this new tool. With Resolve, those amazing color tools are always right there and you will save yourself the pain and minimum of a half day with a Premiere round trip (that XML language is ancient and the AAF is broken). With FCPX the improved playback is like getting a new computer, the Multicam tool, the metadata organizing, same day turnarounds, etc. So it is laziness. The person who would rather stick with what they know for an easier ride in the moment, rather than invest a little time and effort for future benefits, is just being lazy.

Whenever I tell people I prefer to work primarily in FCPX, they think I'm joking. Seriously, this is true. They laugh, and then look uncomfortable when they realize I am serious. I’m not exaggerating. This has happened to me many times. Well, in the last few years I have transitioned to working pretty exclusively on VFX and motion graphics. I am no longer in the trenches of the NLE wars. I wrote the majority of this in 2019, when I had only been freelancing for a little over two years. It doesn’t seem like things have changed much, judging by Marcos’s article. But, like him, I do believe that ultimately all of the advances that FCPX pioneered will become part of every NLE. Resolve and Premiere each have implemented strange little iMovie-esque apps or interfaces, Resolve has really been leaning into metadata in a very FCPX way. We may not get there in the way that we want, but eventually all of our proselytizing will have been proven right.
PhilipHodgetts's Avatar
PhilipHodgetts replied the topic: #119460 15 Mar 2022 18:28
There is actually no such thing as "standard" XML. Technically the format for FCP classic XML is xmeml. The format for FCP X XML is fcpxml. The XML format for Motion is yet another XML format. The project format for Premiere Pro is an XML (but undocumented), and many cameras include XML files as sidecar files for metadata.

And we (the makers of XtoCC and SendToX) aren't going anywhere.
Oliver Peters's Avatar
Oliver Peters replied the topic: #119461 15 Mar 2022 18:39
I've got to chime in from the standpoint of looking at DaVinci Resolve as the greener pasture. It's pretty cool for editing simple projects. But...

I'm currently grading a film that was cut on Resolve and I'm having to do editorial fixes on it now. If you try doing edit changes to a feature film timeline after there are a bunch of grading nodes on every clip, performance with native media is absolutely glacial. R17 is pretty buggy and there have been a lot of glitches. In general, I would have had a smoother process if this had been cut in Premiere or FCP and round-tripped to Resolve for the grade.

The editorial model in Resolve leaves a lot to be desired. Definitely not ready if you want to use it as an uber-NLE for really complex jobs.
DaveM's Avatar
DaveM replied the topic: #119483 15 Mar 2022 23:02
Oliver Peters wrote:


I'm currently grading a film that was cut on Resolve and I'm having to do editorial fixes on it now. If you try doing edit changes to a feature film timeline after there are a bunch of grading nodes on every clip, performance with native media is absolutely glacial.
Have you tried using the "ByPass Color Grades and Fusion Effects" button on the color page? It's for your exact use case...

See attached image.
Oliver Peters's Avatar
Oliver Peters replied the topic: #119485 15 Mar 2022 23:12
Yes, didn't help.
DaveM's Avatar
DaveM replied the topic: #119486 15 Mar 2022 23:21

Yes, didn't help.

Have you tried caching/"pre-rendering" nodes? Here's a decent article that mentions some of the more common ways to optimize the performance of Resolve:

5 Tips to Improve Performance in DaVinci Resolve 

Hmm. If your "native media" is something other than a flavor of ProRes or DNx that may also explain why the "magic button" didn't help. There a lots of way to optimize Resolve. Curious...
Oliver Peters's Avatar
Oliver Peters replied the topic: #119487 15 Mar 2022 23:34
Thanks for the suggestions. As a frame of reference, I've been grading with Resolve for over a decade. Since around Resolve 7 or 8.

This is a film made up of native RED 6K camera files. I have completely graded the film. The current issue is simply sliding a few clips a bit earlier on the timeline. These are outtakes in the credit roll that need to be adjusted to fit into the modified credit roll. The credit roll is a pre-rendered 4K ProRes 444XQ clip. Trimming the ends of clips responds quickly. Dragging and sliding is insanely slow. Bypassing grades and effects makes no difference.

As far as caching, I've run into all sorts of issues on this project with caching. For example, when I was using caching, I was unable to duplicate a timeline. Beachball for 30 min before I quit. This has been a problematic project where I've had to migrate the timeline about 4 times into fresh, new projects.

So right now, Resolve is on my s-list. My general feeling is that it's far too complex of an application with way too many settings minefields to be casually approached as an NLE in the same way people can approach FCP or even Vegas on the PC side. And people think Media Composer is complicated :)
DaveM's Avatar
DaveM replied the topic: #119488 16 Mar 2022 00:42

Thanks for the suggestions. As a frame of reference, I've been grading with Resolve for over a decade. Since around Resolve 7 or 8.

[clipped]

So right now, Resolve is on my s-list. My general feeling is that it's far too complex of an application with way too many settings minefields to be casually approached as an NLE in the same way people can approach FCP or even Vegas on the PC side. And people think Media Composer is complicated :)

Hmm. Sorry for my somewhat facile questions/comments.

I approach Resolve primarily from an editor's POV (been revisiting/using Resolve since v.12). Things have changed a lot in the last few versions (w.r.t. performance related aspects), so I try to revisit the manual whenever it is updated (Chapter 8, especially).

So, are you using an optimized media or proxy workflow, at all? I've never dealt with native RED files (everything I use for editing is in an appropriate flavor of ProRes, with proxies made as needed). I wonder if you might be "fighting" the way that Resolve is intended to work best for editing. Maybe I am missing something...

30 minute beachballs gotta suck. I would imagine you have to have a good amount of experience to even let something go for that long without just force quitting... ;-)

Heck, I've run into cases where certain H.264 and H.265 HD-size files have caused issues or less-than-stellar performance if not transcoded first...
Oliver Peters's Avatar
Oliver Peters replied the topic: #119489 16 Mar 2022 01:41
Admittedly my approach to Resolve is as a colorist and online editor. I have not used it as my primary, creative ("offline") editor, although my son does use it for his YouTube channel. Tracks make more sense to him :) So the editing I have done is in the context of finishing and that's always with native files. However, this has included completely overcutting every shot in a film, because the AAF from Media Composer ended up with shots not quite in sync.

To be clear, you don't grade a movie from optimized files if you have camera RAW files to work with. For instance on this film, I've had to make significant changes to the RAW settings. Quite a few would appear underexposed if I had stuck to the clip's recorded metadata. If the film had been shot with H.264 media, then I completely agree, optimized would be the way to go for performance.

As far as using it as a primary NLE, I don't believe in the user-app, all-in-one NLE. It's hard to do it right and none have been commercially successful thus far as the dominant NLE in their class (think Avid DS, Autodesk Smoke, etc). I also feel it has an awkward editing model and is the worst of the 4 main contenders when it comes to pure editing. Plus the bizarre fact that it has 2 completely different editing model. So it just isn't the NLE I turn to because there are better options.

As far as the all-in-one idea, Fusion and Fairlight and bolted in and feel the least integrated of all the Resolve tools. As an example, you can't grade a clip in the Color page and then enter that clip with the grade back into Fusion. You have to apply separate color tools inside of Fusion, since it more or less works like a compound clip or maybe a Dynamic Link clip in the Adobe world. And then if you do apply a Fusion color tool, those control don't show up in the Color page. So there's a definite "left to right" workflow in moving through the modes/pages.

Let's talk about color management. I think you'd be hard-pressed to find any general editor who can completely explain the various color management options in the project settings. Get them wrong, change them midstream, or send the timeline file to another editor with different settings and you have a mess. For example with RED files, you get a totally different look if you use their LUT versus a Color Space Transform vs DaVinci Color Managed.

I'm not saying it's a bad tool. That's certainly not the case. It is, however, a very deep tool with quite a few potential gotchas. It's just not the tool that people should be jumping up and down about as the obvious alternative to FCP. Or as an alternative to Premiere or Media Composer for that matter. Of course, others probably have a completely different experience. I get that and that's fine, too.
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FilmYak replied the topic: #119491 16 Mar 2022 07:49
I found the “Avid = Porsche, Premiere = Ferrari, FCP = F18 fighter jet” analogy pretty funny. I use a similar one. For me, Avid and Premiere are 4-cylinder gasoline engine cars, and FCP is a Tesla.

They’ll all get you where you want to go, but two of them are slow and underpowered (track management alone is like dealing with stop-and-go traffic), while the other one will get you there faster and in style.
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Albo replied the topic: #119493 16 Mar 2022 11:38
Well I am happy to learn that I have a Tesla.
Probably the only one I can afford ;-)
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P_H_L_L_L replied the topic: #119503 17 Mar 2022 09:58
I've kind of grown into FCPX from FCP7 but unlike many others, instead of mocking the seemingly simplistic magnetic timeline, I stuck with it. I've tried editing in Premiere after using FCPX for so long and I hated it, too clunky, too messy. I was asked to look into Resolve because 'it's what everyone uses for grading'. I disliked Resolves (v16) editing tools because it's just not as easy as FCPX. I did an edit in FCPX and used the xml into Resolve for grading and then back into FCPX. I hated that, because invariably changes, little 'tweeks' are made after the grade. In FCPX I've gotten used to doing all my colour work using adjustment layers. I find this is similar to nodes in resolve in that I can copy adjustment layers onto other similar clips, I can rename all the adjustments to something meaningful so at a glance can see what effects they have so when I show other people I can turn on an off options I think they might like to see.

A few years ago, I went to a expo all to do with the industry and there was a company that did a demo of their FCPX training. I thought I'd sit in as there's always benefit in seeing how other people do even the simplest of things. Anyway, after the demonstration I overheard a conversation from a guy that worked in the BBC and was asking what kind of discount he could get to train 200 people in FCPX. I thought to myself if the BBC are looking to switch to FCPX, it shows they must think it's a great product. I do. At the end of the day, you feel most comfortable using what you like and have experience with. I do think the slur on FCPX for being a 'not serious', being for kids, it's a toy etc is actually a good thing. Who wants to work with something overly complex and unwieldy? Give me easy to use every time.
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DmitriZigany replied the topic: #119506 17 Mar 2022 14:05
FCPX was actually what made me decide to go all-in on video as a "career"!
Before FCPX I had only dabbled in video, but I just didn't like editing... when FCPX was released and I read all the horrified reactions I just got curious, and I just loved it straight away. Finally an NLE that worked the way my mind had always wanted video editing to work. And editing was now fun! So I promtly bought my first professional video camera and off I was! :)
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Oliver Peters replied the topic: #119519 17 Mar 2022 16:54
"I hated that, because invariably changes, little 'tweeks' are made after the grade. In FCPX I've gotten used to doing all my colour work using adjustment layers."

I've been grading in Resolve since the BMD software version became available and Apple Color was EOL'ed. Obviously, the color tools are the origin of Resolve and the item everyone looks at as being best-of-breed. However, I've graded with a bunch of different systems over time, including within several different NLEs. While I like Resolve, I preferred Color, both for its quality and workflow.

Resolve is great for "surgical" work, but I always felt Color gave me a more pleasing result. It also used a layer method, somewhat like adjustment layers.

Where Resolve breaks down for me - versus grading within other NLEs like FCP - is the poor workflow when you need to grade in-context. For example, stack up 4 clips with different grade in each. That's easier to do within the timeline than it is to do in Resolve's node and clip/filmstrip structure. You can't grade within the edit page on the proper timeline. Plus on long projects, once you end up with a very complex graded timeline, performance is very poor if you try to go back and then make more editorial changes.

For most jobs, it's often easier and faster to grade in Avid Symphony or FCP or Premiere with Lumetri. There's a reason so much TV programming is graded in Symphony and not roundtripped to Resolve. The FCP color toolkit has become very good and if you want more, then up it a notch with Color Finale or a similar plug-in.
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P_H_L_L_L replied the topic: #119520 17 Mar 2022 17:17
Thanks for the feedback Oliver. I'm pleased that someone as experienced as yourself respects the colour tools in FCPX. I'm by no means experienced in resolve, I only did a little training and grade one 30 second ad, but it was enough to want to keep to a pure FCPX workflow. I'll have to have a look at Color Finale. That's another thing I love about FCPX is the many different and often free plugins.
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anickt replied the topic: #119522 17 Mar 2022 19:28
From what I have seen, people just don’t take the time to learn what FCPX can do. In YouTube comments I see people say “I’ve been using FCPX for 5 years and I didn’t know it does that” and it’s typically something that, if they’d had any formal training, they would have learned in the first hour. I have been using FCPX/Motion since it was released (and editing professionally for 40 years) and the few times I’ve gone back to Premiere and Resolve I just shake my head and wonder how anyone (except where they don’t have a choice) would choose one of them over FCP. FWIW I think Ripple Training is best. I have no connection to them except as a customer.

PS - I have done all color work with FCP tools or Color Finale.
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alex4D replied the topic: #119523 17 Mar 2022 19:31
Making their better product better won’t make much difference if Apple won’t develop and maintain an ongoing marketing strategy

It’s a mindshare battle, not a features battle.
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anickt replied the topic: #119525 17 Mar 2022 20:52
It’s been that way for a while hasn’t it
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P_H_L_L_L replied the topic: #119526 17 Mar 2022 20:58

It’s been that way for a while hasn’t it
Let's just hope it doesn't meet the same fate as some other abandoned Apple tools. The photo management and editing software called Aperture is a great example. No idea why they killed it off. It was a slow demise as well, like they just lost interest and forgot it was there, then it just became incompatible with their own OS
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Buhardilla replied the topic: #119533 18 Mar 2022 11:55
Abandonedware? Shake, Aperture, Color, … Apple does it overnight. I sincerely fear for the future of Motion
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realworldmedia replied the topic: #119557 19 Mar 2022 07:14

From what I have seen, people just don’t take the time to learn what FCPX can do.

Guilty as charged.

Confession: until a few days ago when I searched online for a solution, I had no idea that FCPX could reflect a clip horizontally. 
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japplegate replied the topic: #119572 21 Mar 2022 17:05
The Case Against Final Cut Pro - Review

Pre-claimer: I personally have never worked on Avid, so I am obviously biased between FCP and Premiere. I rarely work with post production companies and all my editing is done within FCP, so my experience is a bit limited besides the work I do for clients and myself. With that said, I am so glad I made the switch to FCP as I find my workflow speed has doubled.

I first began editing on FCP in 2006. At the time it was amazing for what I was doing which was cutting directors cuts of music videos and director reels. Shortly after that I saw Premiere making its way into the production studios (if not already married to Avid). I moved with the trend, continued to work in Premiere and became an avid Premiere editor (see what I did there?). The switch back to FCP was a tough one because the workflow was completely terrifying. I would open the software and instantly be stuck where to begin. One day I dove in with both feet and discovered the magic behind FCP. Below are some of my thoughts in response to blog post, “The Case Against Final Cut Pro” by Marcos.

XML: glad he mentioned his work arounds, if I ever need to do this in the future.

Dup detection and flattening multicam clips: Had no idea there was such a thing as dup detection in premiere so don’t miss it in FCP. I LOVE the multicam compound clip workflow in FCP, and found it very useful, with minimal learning curve.

Storage Space: This boggled me for the longest time until I youtubed basically “WTF FCP Storage Space” lol. Because I don’t always want my timeline rendered, this is a bit annoying, however knowing that when I finish a project I can shrink the file size for the final archive, that was a game changer.

Magnetic Timeline: YES YES YES. Totally agree with him, took time to get used but but I also believe this will be the new normal going forward.

Software Speed: FCP winds. I loved Premiere for most of my editing life but always remember figuring out what I’m going to do while I wait for export or rendering. With FCP, I don't have that luxury of ‘down time’ (render time).

Bin editors and Timeline Editors: Curious which one you are! I’m a timeline editor.

Speed Ramp: FCP has this basically integrated into the software whereas Premiere was such a finicky process. I do a lot of speed ramps for product videos, again another time saver.

Compound Clips: I LOVE Compound Clips! I used to Nest in Premiere and I remember this being a headache so I would stay away from nesting if possible. Therefor, I can barely remember its pros or cons, so I believe him when he says it has its limitations.

Auditions: Say what? I need to play with this and understand its uses.

Roles: Another one I did not know existed in the FCP software and will definitely be looking into this as well, sounds super helpful when working with particularly picky clients.

There is a small fear a client will ask me to work in Premiere, just because I’ve grown so accustomed to FCP again, but it's good that I know both softwares if need be.
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alex4D replied the topic: #119586 22 Mar 2022 18:22
It doesn't feel like Final Cut is abandoned.

Motion 5 is such a great application for creative motion graphics. Apple sells it as a toolkit maker for Final Cut. Which means that the vast majority of updates over the last 10+ years have been about adding features to Final Cut. At least Motion survives, because it has value to Apple. As an appendage to an application that can be used to promote new Apple hardware and OSes - Final Cut.

A pity, considering that Cavalry has taken many ideas from Motion and slapped on an ancient UI to make After Effects users happy. Shows how influential it could have been for the last 10-15 years if Apple had supported its development for motion graphics creation.
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sconnor99 replied the topic: #119597 23 Mar 2022 14:10
The fact that there has only been small incremental upgrades tells me all I need to know about the future of Final Cut Pro, when the "X" was removed from the name I was hopeful that version 'XI" might be on the way but now I'm not so hopeful. Dont get me wrong FCP is my primary edit tool, I love working with it, it's fast and stable and does almost everything I need. I'm just greedy! Apple raised the bar with FCPX (eventually) and i would have loved that innovation to continue.
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cseeman replied the topic: #119600 23 Mar 2022 14:22
I think a lot of the disappointment comes from the fact they did a lot of initial innovation in the early releases but eventually, the updates have become catchup features (even if implemented better) to other NLEs. Things like an audio mixer or scrolling timeline have been years in the asking. Perhaps good roto tools (at least for Motion). Perhaps clip connections to connected clips and secondary storylines would be an advancement on innovation. One can hope that by allowing the discussion of new features (dupe detection, voice isolation) they will consider breaking the silence more generally and give us hints at things to come. Maybe some amazing tools for collaboration that might excite facilities.