Larry Jordan Blog

The Sound of 1,700 Jaws Dropping

Posted by on April 13, 2011

Final Cut Pro X - Main Interface
[Image courtesy Apple Inc. Click for enlarged view.]

Apple this evening provided a “sneak peek” at the next version of Final Cut Pro – now called “Final Cut Pro X” at the NAB SuperMeet in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The new Final Cut Pro is a bold move – a totally redesigned interface, 64-bit memory addressing, multi-processor support, tight integration of metadata in the project file with metadata stored in the clip not just in the project, heavy use of automation to simplify tedious tasks, and a rethinking of the entire concept of what it means to edit.

I can’t think of any other company that could so totally redefine what a non-linear video editor is than Apple. Since the release of Final Cut Pro 1, each version of FCP has contained incremental improvements. This is a complete restatement at every possible level.

As Phil Schiller, senior VP for world-wide marketing for Apple told me after the presentation, “This is a total rethinking of how we tell stories visually.”

Love it or hate it, our editing life won’t be the same again.

Oh, and did I mention — it has a ship date of June, with a suggested retail price of $299, and will be sold through the App Store (more on that in a bit).


But to look at Final Cut Pro in terms of its features or spec list misses a much bigger point that I want to reflect on for a bit. And it all revolves around a term I used in my first line – this was a “sneak peek.”

This is why you won’t see anything about the new Final Cut on Apple’s website – this is a preview, not the launch. There is still much work that needs to be done on the software.

Understanding an Apple event is like understanding a meeting of the Federal Reserve Bank. It is essential to concentrate on both what was said, and what was not said.

After the presentation, I spoke with Richard Townhill, Director of Pro Video Product Marketing for Apple (who served as the host for Apple’s presentation) who told me that “the purpose of today is to focus exclusively on Final Cut Pro, highlight some of the new features, and give people a chance to see and comment on the new interface. We will have much more to say about both Final Cut and our other applications in the future.”

Final Cut has been rewritten from the ground up and borrows a lot from other siblings in the suite. The audio cleanup and processing borrows heavily from Soundtrack Pro, primary and secondary color correction tools are taken from Color (see the screen shot below), and some of the motion effects techniques are taken from Motion.

However, this does not mean these other applications are dead – simply that Apple is not talking about them… yet.

I was reading posts this evening on IMUG and Twitter, where users were saying: “is it iMovie on Steroids?” I think this is a premature question.

Final Cut Pro X - Main Interface
[Image courtesy Apple Inc. Click for enlarged view.]


After the presentation, I went down front to talk with the folks from Apple about what I saw. And I asked Richard directly: “Explain to me why this isn’t a big version of iMovie?”

Richard replied: “We designed this to have professional features for the professional user. The reason we chose to present it here at the Supermeet was that we wanted the professional user to see it and understand what we are doing.”

As one attendee said to me after the event: “Both a Ford and a Ferrari have an accelerator, but that doesn’t make them the same car.”

Also, what viewers in the audience did NOT see was who from Apple was attending the presentation that did not appear on stage.

Somehow, I managed to sit in the Apple executive section of the hall. In front of me was Phil Schiller, Senior VP for Worldwide Marketing. The head of PR was sitting to his right. The two lead engineering directors, or VPs, were sitting on either side of me. I was surrounded by top-level executives from engineering, PR, marketing, product management — literally a dozen extremely senior executives were sitting in the front two rows.

Apple would not send this level of executive talent simply to watch the roll-out of a product that they did not care about.

SIDE NOTE: I was sandwiched between two senior engineering executives who had as much fun as anyone in the audience watching the demo and applauding. I suspect it was because they were finally seeing the public result of years of behind-the-scenes work.

Another interesting data point. This presentation was almost exactly the same one that I saw six weeks ago in Cupertino. Apple used it then to get feedback from a small group; I suspect they are using this exact presentation tonight for the same reason — to get reactions from a much larger group.


Based on tonight’s presentation several long-standing irritants with Final Cut Pro disappear:

* Rendering is now in the background and much faster because it harnesses the power of the GPU.
* The 4 GB memory limit is gone – FCP will use as much RAM as you have installed on your system.
* FCP X now uses all the processors on your system, not just one and a half.

In addition, a flock of new features were added:
* It supports editing video image sizes from standard definition up to 4K.
* It uses fewer tools from the Tool palette (which is no longer there, by the way) by making the cursor smarter. WHERE you click something determines WHAT you can do with it.
* A lot of existing features are jazzed up (linking and grouping are replaced by the much more elegant Clip Connection and Compound Clips)
* While new features like the magnetic timeline, permanent audio sync and auto-metadata generation are flat-out stunning.

NOTE: Nothing said, or implied tonight, indicated that you would need any special hardware. My guess is that any Mac you buy now will run FCP perfectly. Also, contrary to some rumors, I spoke with Apple engineering about Thunderbolt. This is a system level I/O connection. If your Mac has it, ANY version of FCP – or any other Mac application – will take advantage of it.

Final Cut Pro X - Main Interface
[Image courtesy Apple Inc. Click for enlarged view.]


While the slide show was identical to the February meeting, the demo was not. Randy Ubillos, who did the demo, added more features and additional explanations on effects (see the screen shot above). However, I was told later that the build that was demoed was the same build that was shown in February – and that the application has moved significantly forward since that time.

In other words, what we saw tonight was nowhere near the final form of the application.

I was also very impressed that audio was not treated as an unwelcome step-child. First, the demo paid a lot of attention to setting and maintaining audio sync, however lots of little details were also obvious:

* Sample rate precision in scrolling an audio clip
* Pitch corrected audio scrolling in slow motion
* Displaying waveforms at a size big enough to see what they look like
* Displaying audio levels within the waveform that are approaching clipping (as one engineer near me remarked, “And THAT took us a LONG while to figure out.”)
* Displaying audio peaks for the entire mix that are approaching clipping
* Improved audio cleanup controls, which can be applied or ignored by the user (these look to be borrowed from Soundtrack Pro)
* Adding fades with a keystroke, or by pulling in the top corners of a clip, with four different fade shapes, rather than the limit of two inside FCP 7; these, too, borrow interface ideas from Soundtrack Pro.


In brief, the crowd was loving it. Granted, many of them got well-lubricated at the no-host bar before the event, but nonetheless, everyone seemed to have a good time.

The new interface drew applause, 64-bit support and background rendering had people drooling and the new price of $299 received a standing ovation.


I’ve been thinking hard about this since I first saw the software six weeks ago.

And, truthfully, I’m very torn. There are some features here that I really like a LOT. There are a few that I don’t like at all. But there is a great deal that has not yet been said.

And that, I think, is the key point. The devil is ALWAYS in the details.

Apple has done its usual magnificent job of previewing a new product. But this is only the preview.

I met Randy Ubillos, Chief Architect for Video Applications at Apple, after he presented the demo of the software. I told him that parts of what I saw I liked a lot and parts had me quite concerned. And I asked if Apple was interested in our feedback. He immediately said that Apple is VERY interested in our feedback, that they are listening and want to make this application something that all of us can be proud of using.

I believe him. And I also believe that it is way too early to make any final decisions about this version. There are too many unanswered questions. For example, here are some questions the answers to which are still unknown:

* The retail price for FCP is $299 – but what is the retail price of the other software parts of the Suite? Are we back to ala carte pricing?

* The application will be sold through the Mac App store. What happens to all the great data files that were available with the suite in earlier versions?

* How does FCP X work with existing FCP 7 projects?

* What other applications ship with Final Cut and how do they integrate?

* How many of our existing plug-ins, peripherals, hardware, and other gear need to be updated to work with the new software?

* Editing does not exist in a vacuum, how do we share files, clips, metadata, and project information with other software tools?

* How does it handle media?

* How has QuickTime changed to support what Final Cut Pro X can do?

* Real-time, native video processing is great for editing – however, we still need to encode to get files on the web. How?

As of tonight, Apple hasn’t provided answers to these, or many other questions. As they do, or as I’m able to find them out, I’ll share them with you in this blog and my newsletter.

As one engineer told me at the Cupertino meeting in February, Final Cut Pro is still a work in progress. We’ve seen the outline of the work – the rough cut, if you will. Now we need to give the engineers time to listen to our feedback, polish it up, and deliver the final cut of Final Cut.


I’ve made a promise to myself to provide training on the new version of Final Cut Pro as soon as possible after the release date.

If you are interested in getting up to speed quickly on the new version – please sign up for my free monthly Final Cut Studio newsletter. As I learn more, I’ll be sharing it with you there.

And as I make new training available, I’ll announce it there first.

For now, I’m going back to the drawing boards. I’ve got a lot of new work to do.


UPDATE – April 13, 2011

I just posted an eight minute audio review and commentary on the new version of Final Cut Pro X, with Michael Kammes. You can hear it here.


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Leave a response

  1. Mark Palmos Apr 13, 2011 05:28

    Hello Larry,

    Thanks for the informative and well thought out response to the meet last night.

    I look forwards to hearing more about FCPX and particularly the future of Motion and Compressor and their integration.

    Mark Palmos, UK.

  2. jagadish Apr 13, 2011 05:54

    thanks for the information.

  3. Chris Cox Apr 13, 2011 05:56

    Great write up Larry, answered and explained a lot of things that were on my mind as I was reading through your blog article. Lots of unanswered things as you suggested, however I believe that the future is looking good for the final release.

    The pure fact of 64 bit, background rendering, more than 4GB ram are points that definitely are exciting alone.

  4. chris wilby Apr 13, 2011 07:05

    Well done Larry in bringing us so early a thoughtfull and intelligent look at the new beast. Keep it up!

  5. Ray Roman Apr 13, 2011 07:06

    Thanks for all the info! I’m looking forward to working with the software when it’s released in June.

  6. Lee Berger Apr 13, 2011 08:13

    Thanks for Blog Larry. Looking forward to seeing larger screen grabs of the interface (there is one at MacRumors), and of course more detail when Apple launches the app.

  7. Don Apr 13, 2011 08:46

    what Happens to the People. that Already own Final Cut Studio. will there be a Up Grade or do we have to Buy a Whole NEW Program ?

  8. Newsman Apr 13, 2011 08:54

    If it looks like iMovie and it quacks like iMovie then it must be iMovie.

    At least they’re not taking away the Timeline like they did when they completely screwed up iMovie HD, which had a Timeline and even the ability to rubberband audio in the Timeline.

    I just don’t understand why Apple would even think about taking away functions rather than adding. Why dumb it down?

    It takes a lot of time and money to learn FCS. Now All I can say is that Randy is not very dandy. Larry, please, I hope you and your brethren who Apple will listen to will not be shy or intimidated. Tell Apple to not screw us up by leaning heavily towards a pro-lite or consumer-friendly video editing application.

  9. Don Dulmage Apr 13, 2011 09:59

    Thanks Larry for a very good review. You are the Man. Two questions that I don’t see mentioned.

    Will AVCHD now edit without having to transpose to ProRes?

    What version of a desktop will be needed to run the software? Is my 3 year old 2 x 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon with 10GB 800MHz of memory headed for the scrap heap?

    Again, thanks for all of your great help over the years. When I moved from Media 100 to FCP your Linda.Com lessons got me up and going fast.
    Now your webinairs, news letters, and Utube videos are keeping me up to date. As I said at the start of this, you are the Man.

  10. Larry Apr 13, 2011 10:03

    Apple said that it would “edit all formats of video natively” — so I would assume from that statement that AVCHD would not need transcoding.

    As for supported hardware, they haven’t indicated anything. However, my guess is that all Intel Macs would be supported.


  11. Larry Apr 13, 2011 10:04

    I’m not sure I agree – as one person said at the event, both Fords and Ferraris have accelerators, but that doesn’t make them identical. We need t learn more before making any decisions.


  12. Larry Apr 13, 2011 10:05


    If you think about it, the retail price of $299 is less than the upgrade price to FCP 7. However, Apple has not indicated anything one way or the other about upgrade pricing.


  13. Larry Apr 13, 2011 10:06

    Good point on the screen shots – Apple sent me huge ones, I just reduced them from the blog. Will get bigger ones posted later today – when I have a break from NAB.


  14. Larry Apr 13, 2011 10:06

    Thanks – there is a LOT of new stuff to learn. I’ll share it as quickly as I can.


  15. Michael Liebergot Apr 13, 2011 10:23

    Larry thank you very much for the feedback.

    I hope that you’re correct in that the new FCP will run on Intel Macs, as I have a 2.66 Quad Core running Snow Leopard, that runs great, but I can’t afford to update right now.

    $299 a great price point, upgrade or not. But a new system and now I am talking 2K at least.

  16. Jon Chappell Apr 13, 2011 10:24

    The fact that they are distributing via the App Store tells us a lot. Every App Store app is self-contained so there will be no suite, although other apps may be available separately. There is no upgrade pricing so everyone will have to re-purchase FCP. It will not overwrite FCP 7 so we can still use it if FCPX has any missing features.

  17. Jon Chappell Apr 13, 2011 10:26

    Also, people on the App Store complain about 4 GB Xcode downloads so I can’t see Apple bundling 50 GB worth of content with the app. Most likely this will be a separate download or it will be discontinued. Remember that FCP 7 won’t be deleted though, so we can continue to use the old content.

  18. Jayson Apr 13, 2011 10:37

    Love the post Larry. Looking forward to more info as the time indicator moves forward.

  19. Christoffer Koller Apr 13, 2011 10:42

    Hi Larry,
    Thanxs once again for a well written and well thought piece about the new FCP X. I’m a FCP Trainer based in Vienna, Austria and I must say I do get a lot of ideas from reading your Newsletter, which is always remarkable. I hope I can contribute soon.
    As you stated, a lot of questions still are unanswered we’ll se how Apple is dealing with Keyboard shortcuts, XML import / export, Multichannel, Multiclip Production (Can FCP X read Auxillary TC?, …)
    Will keep you posted about questions I encounter and hopefully I will get training on the new software as soon as possible …


  20. Newsman Apr 13, 2011 10:45

    Larry, was there anything about Blu-ray support or DVD authoring?

  21. foljs Apr 13, 2011 10:52


    If it looks like iMovie and it quacks like iMovie then it must be iMovie.

    If it “looks like iMovie” it just means Apple finally got around to redoing it’s inherited UI ―most of it a legacy from when they bought the app.

    As to how it “quacks like iMovie”, it boggles the mind that even a remotely related to the field professional would came to such a conclusion…

    I just don’t understand why Apple would even think about taking away functions rather than adding. Why dumb it down?

    You just don’t understand. Let’s leave it at that.

    What exactly have the took away –besides the price? Have you seen something SPECIFIC taken away, or are you just repeating the usual rant of people that fear that FCP will somehow be iMovie, oh and that the lower price means it’s no longer pro and other such nonsense?

    Suddenly, the video web is filled with people frothing at the mouth because FCP got a nicer, more streamlined UI and a smaller price tag.

    No trasncoding, 64-bit full-memory use, multi-core usage, huge workflow improvements (from the magnetic strip to audio sync and color matching) and people are complaining why exactly?

  22. Jeff Hockman Apr 13, 2011 11:23

    I used Incite software years ago and I think it’s funny that premiere and now fcp are using a GUI that looks a lot like Incite. it seems as though editing with processors is finally starting to catch up to the speed of hardware.

    One thing that I see is missing is the left side of the timeline telling you which layer you are on.

  23. Larry Apr 13, 2011 11:26


    During the demo, Apple made a point of noting that individual tracks no longer exist. You simple stack things as you need them. Personally, this is one of the features I’m least comfortable with, but this may also be a case of me not understanding how it works.


  24. Larry Apr 13, 2011 11:27

    No. Apple was VERY careful to talk ONLY about Final Cut Pro – and even then in a very limited and focused way.


  25. Newsman Apr 13, 2011 11:38

    I don’t see time codes in the clip viewer in each individual window. I this going to be a click and drag system like iMovie or can you hit I and O for in and out points and easily make frame by frame adjustments?

  26. Chuck Braverman Apr 13, 2011 11:40

    Thanks Larry for the detailed report.

  27. Tom Verga Apr 13, 2011 11:42

    Great coverage, Larry-thank you! If you happen to get a chance to give feedback to Apple, please ask them to incorporate an easy-to-use yet powerful character generator. “Text” and Boris are just dreadful!

  28. Newsman Apr 13, 2011 12:05

    foljs, I use iMove, Final Cut Express FCP, Compressor and DVD Studio Pro almost every day. I also use Color and Motion.

    Even Stevie Wonder can see that FCP is heading in the iMovie direction. Did you enlarge and look closely at the pictures?

    If couldn’t care less about beauty of the UI. I’m interested in the functions. The same guy who, in my opinion, diminished the quality of iMovie the first time he got his hands on it, now has his hands all over FCP. I’m concerned.

    Based on the pictures and descriptions in this blog and others, there should be concern. I mentioned the time codes. Why no time codes? I use time codes all the time when I’m cutting, and want to see them all the time. Why no destination controls? Are we getting a large selection of music/sound loops which I use all time? The so-called precision editor is straight out of iMovie.

    This is the time for serious people to ask serious questions. Now. Before it’s too late.

    As I mentioned, a lot of people have invested a lot of time and money over the years in order to learn how use FCS. They’ve made a serious commitment to this product.

    If- and I emphasize the “if,” Apple has any fancy ideas that would affect this product then we should all make a loud and clear statement. They’re big boys at Apple. I’m sure they can take the criticism. Don’t worry. You won’t be in their doghouse.

  29. Richard Apr 13, 2011 12:19

    Thanks for the insight. I had moved from Premiere Pro to FXExpress and was considering a move to FCPro. This development looks interesting and I sincerely hope that the new version is not a dumbed down offering. I do not want to return to Prem Pro with its clunky, unreliable process.

  30. Roel Bus Apr 13, 2011 12:19

    Thanks Larry,
    Your experience shows through to take this presentation for what it is: a preview. Apple showed features they are working on, and a complete rewrite to a familiar program is always daunting, even if it is better. Learning takes time (but fun if you have it) but knowing your keystrokes is nice…
    I am very anxious to follow the developments, and my feeling is there will be a suite available with content for a higher price, with separate apps on the app store for less to keep all options open (invite new editors, more affordable to have multiple platforms and/or applications, etc.)
    In any event, the preview is sparking enough debate and feedback that the “final” version will indeed be ‘jaw-dropping’ as you called it.

  31. James Apr 13, 2011 12:26

    Larry, did anyone give any hints about FCP X support for 3-D? And if not, does that surprise you?

  32. Timothy Barksdale Apr 13, 2011 12:48

    I am somewhat relieved by the fact that Apple actually has put in a ton of work on this new version.

    There are other trends in other areas which I see as potentially troublesome as well. When large companies abandon things it is because they can’t make enough money from that thing- in this day and age. This is a poor way to lead a creative industry.

    But, Apple is innovative to the point of being exceptional. Excellence is a standard regularly achieved by the hardware and software products. So I hold hope that many of us who are smaller and need upgrades to portions of Studio Pro are going to be thrown under the bus….

  33. Newsman Apr 13, 2011 13:11

    One more question, Larry. Can you de-link the audio from the video in the Timeline and then roll either in either direction?

  34. Arnie Schlissel Apr 13, 2011 13:19

    re: the comments about it looking like iMovie…

    Have you seen Smoke? To me, it looks a lot more like that UI than iMovie.

    There will always be those who hate anything different or new. Who cares?

    While I’m already impressed, I’m reserving my real judgement for when I can get my hands on it.

  35. Tom Ruffin Apr 13, 2011 13:29

    I am new to your blog but love the way you are disseminating the information. I must say at first glance I am both fearful and excited. I love what looks to be a nicely integrated color correction feature however I never did take the time to learn I movie and really do not want to. My fear is now the same with digital cameras…. Everyone who got one of those thought they were a photographer. I certainly hope that everyone who gets into this will not assume they are an editor. Peace and keep the info flowing.


  36. Jeff Apr 13, 2011 13:49

    I’m cautiously optimistic about this revision. With the number of different formats, framerates, and resolutions I receive from shooters it will be a boon to be able to mix resolutions and formats in a timeline without rendering. As long as I can move files back and forth with After Effects I’ve got a feeling the rest of the learning curve won’t be too bad.

    I am concerned about the side applications, particularly Compressor. Despite my reliance on it, I find the program to be plagued with slowness, hangups, and crashes when I’m working on batches. I can only hope that the revisions to the Pro level programs will all include better batching support, it’s currently a huge time-suck for me to have to babysit a machine that should be cranking math on its own.

  37. Steve Douglas Apr 13, 2011 13:54

    Love that it is 64 bit, love that it allows rendering while you are still working, love that it locks the audio to the video and a few other features I’ve seen. It is too early to tell but hate that it appears that we will have to learn an entirely new NLE from scratch.

  38. Demara Apr 13, 2011 14:02

    Hi, thanks for the great article.

    I have a question… What was the price of FCP 7? From what I know, it’s never been sold by itself before, and instead as part of a studio. If it came with all those other components with one whole price, how can we really say for sure that the price is “lowered” or not?


  39. Arnie Apr 13, 2011 14:07

    Hmm… wonder if I can buy the $299 FCP and then get the discount AVID is offering on Media Composer. :)

  40. Frank T Apr 13, 2011 14:24


    FCP sure has come a long way since version 1 (when you & I “met” via an online fcp community I cannot remember the name of now…).

    This is the first time since version 1 I’ve been as excited about a release. I hope it lives up to its hype!

    -Frank T
    central ohio

  41. tim visterin Apr 13, 2011 14:50


    A good review, thank you for that.
    One question keeps popping up in my head: keyboard shortcuts.
    Are they the same?(ex.: shift+z = fit to window)…

    I am to be honest a little worried, not to learn the software again but to loose speed in my workflow.


  42. Peter Samet Apr 13, 2011 15:13

    You mentioned that it employs Motion-style techniques. Can you talk about the motion gfx engine in more detail? Is it primarily keyframe based, or does it focus on behaviors?

    Thanks! Great blog post, btw. Cleared up a lot of questions for me.

  43. Chribbe Apr 13, 2011 16:00

    There must be a boxed version or something like it. The Mac App stores license agreement says no use for commercial work, right? So how are big companies or schools going to do with all there licenses….?

    But I love the way they are going with FCP. This makes editing so much more fun and easy. To me it all comes down to that Apple wants to focus on editing, making better so we can put our time at making the right choices.

    Well done “sneak peak”. Of course all the other questions will be answered in the coming months.

  44. Wayne Apr 13, 2011 16:18

    When I read early descriptions of the demo, I was worried. When I watched the video, I was impressed. I don’t see how any professional editor could see the demo and feel that the features were “iMovie-like”.

    The video didn’t cover the end (most interesting part) of the demo, so I’m not sure if they showed things like a waveform monitor, if they actually demonstrated titling, or how sophisticated the color correction is. How well it works with multiple users and roles will be a HUGE point, and as you say we simply don’t know the answer to that yet.

    BUT, I’d edit with it in a heartbeat. I’ve developed my own style for organizing a project and working to the first rough edit that’s full of workarounds that keywords, Audition (was that what they called the mechanism for alternate groups of clips) and the magnetic timeline will totally obsolete, making my life EASY. You simply haven’t done serious editing if you don’t see background rendering (and import, and hopefully export), sample-level audio syncing, waveform audio syncing, rolling shutter correction, and a (hopefully) good titler as absolute God-sends.

    I love the move away from fixed tracks, even as I hope that we can eventually get some kind of video and audio stylesheets that allow us to do something akin to track-wise effects rather than clip-wise effects.

  45. Wayne Apr 13, 2011 16:28

    Second comment: people who think that putting the new FCP on the App Store or making some things “simpler” implies it’s not professional need to look at MOST professions where it’s not the tool but the craftsman that distinguishes the work. Nothing I’ve seen so far indicates that they’re REMOVING functionality, so a good editor will still do better work than a hack, whether well paid, poorly paid, or unpaid.

  46. Tim Merritt Apr 13, 2011 16:33

    Look closely at the large image Larry linked to. There is a lot to be inferred from the details there. Another thing: Apple prominently called this a “Sneak Peek,” which means short on details. It’s just a peek! *There is more to come.* Calm down, be patient.

  47. John A. Mozzer Apr 13, 2011 16:35

    I hope Apple will continue to provide their excellent one-to-one training and workshops at their Apple Stores on this new forthcoming version. The stores are too noisy to seriously work with audio. Nevertheless, I’ve learned a lot in recent years just by signing up specifically for “Final Cut” when scheduling one-to-one training sessions at one of my local stores.

  48. Thomas Payne Apr 13, 2011 17:26

    Thanks Larry. I agree, the concept where “individual tracks no longer exist” is strange – but inviting. With all of the amazing GUI mojo demonstrated yesterday it seems like it would be an easy matter to just right-click on the timeline and choose a conventional stacked presentation of all audio tracks in play. That, in itself, can be an important visual assessment tool for the editing process.

  49. TJ Daly Apr 13, 2011 17:28

    Hello Larry,

    Thank you for a great article and summary of the Final Cut preview. I agree that it’s difficult to reach conclusions about the software without the “devilish” details. My favorite line from the event was “timelines are no longer fragile”. That could save me a lot of time.

    The timeline demonstration reminds me about the advantages of working with the keyboard that you taught in your class – speed! I hope the magnetic timeline is keyboard friendly. The overall interface is a welcome leap forward. Regardless of how many times I resize items in the current browser it still looks like 1999 in there.

    A question for you Larry… there seemed to be a lot of emphasis on keywords/tagging clips, etc. Did they just need to come up with more to say about the new browser/viewer or is this a key competitive feature moving forward?

    Thank you,

  50. Craig Apr 13, 2011 17:29

    The price point is a little disconcerting. I know $299 sounds exciting, and everyone was blithely chearing, but what about the rest of the suite? I paid $299 for the last full suite upgrade. Are Motion, Soundtrack, etc. going to hit us for $299 each as well?

    It will take a LOOOOONG time to ROI another $1K software investment…

  51. FCP X « Film Editing Apr 13, 2011 17:40

    [...] for the entire standalone application, people– not the upgrade. For a familiar voice, read Larry Jordan’s blog post about the big [...]

  52. Scott Apr 13, 2011 17:51

    Larry: As for supported hardware, they haven’t indicated anything. However, my guess is that all Intel Macs would be supported.

    Actually, it’s likely to be limited to the same system requirements as Lion (10.7), which is currently Macs with an Intel Core 2 Duo or later CPU.

  53. Rusty Apr 13, 2011 17:56

    My unanswered questions:

    1) Is the viewer eliminated? It looks like it’s sort of merged with the browser in those pictures.

    2) I’ve heard a lot of rumors about Apple eliminating log and capture for tape acquisition. Any info on that?

  54. Alvaro Apr 13, 2011 18:16

    Hello there Larry!

    I have to thank you for sharing with us your experience at the super meeting. I think that your insight on FCPX is a significant one and for a person like me has a lot of value. Will keep an eye on your new post as they become available.
    Thanks again and keep having a great day!

    Panama, Central America.

  55. David Apr 13, 2011 18:28

    Any idea if there are easy-ease keyframes in Final Cut, and if they borrowed a graph editor similar to Motion (or AE). Even in FCP 7 where they “fixed” speed ramping, it was done pretty terribly.

    Also, do those fade types you mentioned work for video as well (like a filmic fade perhaps)? — that would be niiiice.

    Thanks Larry!

  56. keith j Apr 13, 2011 18:48

    Hopefully Apple will make archiving projects a new feature in FCP X. It would be great to have something like “Packaging” in Adobe InDesign where I can have it collect all the media, fonts, images, clips, files, etc and put them in one folder or burn directly to multiple disks or blu-ray.

  57. John Schroter Apr 13, 2011 19:09

    It looks to me like Apple finally absorbed Motion, Color, Soundtrack, and possibly Compressor and Shake into one app like most people have been clamoring for, so we shouldn’t really be wondering where they are or if they’re DOA. One app to rule them all. I’m sure DVD Studio Pro has already seen its final release, though.

    My guess is that for the advanced Final Cut Studio features, they may enable an in-app purchase and install those like a plug-in under the effects and motion button on the top right of the timeline. Randy said you can keyframe the color mask, but he didn’t mention tracking, and COLOR has a great tracking tool not to mention the multiple secondaries. I don’t think Apple would buy Final Touch only to kill its best features. I’m sure we’ll see a companion iPad app control surface for the advanced COLOR tools as well. All in good time my dearies.

  58. Christopher G Apr 13, 2011 19:22

    I wonder will any features be lost from the current version to X, as features were lost when moving from quicktime 7 pro to version X.


  59. AndyC Apr 13, 2011 19:53


    Is there any information on Intel based computers running 32bit processors are going to be supported?

    If you’ve noticed in the Mac App Store certain Apps running at 64bit are not downloadable on 32bit systems.

  60. Anthony Apr 13, 2011 20:07

    Well considered review. Thanks.

    Here are my questions:
    1. Can you search metadata across projects, be they opened or not?
    2. Since the metadata is file-contained, can you search it from Spotlight?
    3. Can you group anything other than video clips into auditions? For instance, a series of pre-adjusted filters?
    4. (Blue sky thinking here) How much of a leap would it be to merge the Faces tech from iPhoto into the shot recognition feature from FCPX? Let me tag one face in one project with a name, and let it be recognized forever more.

  61. Lachlan Apr 13, 2011 20:25

    Hi Larry – thanks for your thorough review of the event.

    One thing I’m curious about is whether the different types of edit we’ve had access to previously: ie. Insert/ Overwrite/ Fit to Fill/ Superimpose/ Replace etc. are still available to us in the new version of FCP?

    Are we still able to do three point edits or is that paradigm out the window?

    Also, I don’t see the ability to enable/disable tracks or lock them – are these things still present?

    Please tell me that it’s still possible to do things like paste the audio of a track without the video etc.

    Sorry for all the questions(!)

    Best Wishes,


  62. Dave Barnard Apr 13, 2011 20:27

    Auto camera matching is the best new feature for me, it will make low budget multicamera shoots far easier and is worth $299 for this feature alone.

    However, having read a few reports today, I still don’t know if it supports videotape I/O

    If it doesn’t, then it’s a new type of “professional” application

    Tape is going to be around for a long time for pro work, if only for dealing
    with archive material, something we do a lot of.

    I do hope Apple are more open to the user community for the development of FCP X, we’re all going to have to learn a new application for our work, and it is only one of the options out there.

  63. JVo Apr 13, 2011 21:31

    If anyone would like to see the presentation nearly verbatim, one attendee kindly recorded the whole thing, in two parts:

    Part I:
    Part II:

    My two cents: On the iMovie comparisons, without a doubt the new generation iMovie (‘09-’11) was the proving ground for this new UI. However, if you watch the demo, you’ll see that they have been able to bring a huge amount of functionality into that paradigm, and are able to make a lot of things that were clunky and awkward (like re-timing) in the old FCP much more straightforward. The new approach is more about have a layered (not literally) UI, where the most common tasks are front and center, but just below the surface is the ability to have much more control. Also, I would assume the way the application will evolve will be similar to the new iMovie; some features will be left out of the initial release, and then the stuff that’s actually needed will be added back as people’s needs demand.

    Still, it’s funny to see certain features touted as so amazing, such as the direct audio level manipulation and ability to control the types of fades, when these have been in products like Vegas for many, many years.


  64. Larry Apr 13, 2011 21:51


    These are all good questions, which Apple has not yet provided answers.


  65. Larry Apr 13, 2011 21:53

    According to Apple:

    1. Yes.
    2. The assumption is yes.
    3. Apple has not talked about effects at all.
    4. My GUESS is that this is on their roadmap for the future, but not in this release. That is a GUESS, I don’t know anything about this for sure.


  66. Larry Apr 13, 2011 21:53

    I suspect you’ll need to be fully 64-bit compliant.


  67. Larry Apr 13, 2011 21:53

    These are all good questions, which Apple has not yet provided answers.


  68. Larry Apr 13, 2011 21:54


    This is an interesting assumption, however, everything I have discovered so far leads me to say this is also untrue. There will be separate apps.


  69. Larry Apr 13, 2011 21:55

    I can’t speak for all keyframes, but in the demo, the keyframes DID support ease-in, ease-out based on the HUD that appeared on the screen. No idea on how video fades work.


  70. Larry Apr 13, 2011 21:56

    Yes, the Viewer is gone. Merged between a revised Browser and the Canvas.

    I don’t know about log and capture.


  71. Larry Apr 13, 2011 21:56

    Apple hasn’t said. My GUESS is that you’ll need to run at least 10.6.x.


  72. Larry Apr 13, 2011 21:57

    These are all good questions, don’t know the answers.


  73. Larry Apr 13, 2011 21:58

    I think metadata will be important to Apple going forward.


  74. Scott Chestnut Apr 13, 2011 22:28

    Hey Larry, I don’t think there’s anything bad about “looking” like iMovie but I think the fact may imply that FCPX will “work” like iMovie which to me would be a disaster. IMovie is okay for stringing together shots of your heli-skiing trip, but that’s about it, otherwise it’s a kluge. It was okay until Randy Ubillos re-wrote it and many people complained about the change.

    I think Avid discovered long ago that editing comes in many shapes and sizes and that no two have the same needs. As long as FCPX is fully customizable everyone should be fine but that said, I think the lack of a Viewer might imply more iMovie than it does FCP and that alone is concerning.

  75. Lachlan Apr 13, 2011 22:31

    Hi again Larry,

    Did you see if it’s possible to resize the new combined viewer/browser thing? I’m not fancying squinting at my clips on a small preview window to determine my in and out points …

    So many unanswered questions … I guess I’ll just keep chugging along with what I’ve got until feature parity is assured, everything is explained, the new version is deemed stable, I have a spare couple of weeks to get my head around it and the path becomes clearer(!)

    Best Wishes,


  76. [...] Larry Jordan writes a great level-headed review, as he was one of the few that got to preview FCPX a few months ago in Cupertino [...]

  77. Larry Apr 13, 2011 23:47

    I didn’t see them demoing any resizing, but then again that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.


  78. Matthew Thomas Apr 13, 2011 23:57


    I was also at the event, and have some feedback that Apple might appreciate. Did they give you any idea how they expect users like myself to share suggestions or concerns with them?

  79. Bill Apr 13, 2011 23:57

    I’m wondering if FCP X will require Mac OS X Lion as both seem to be targeting “Summer 2011.”

    Beyond that, I wonder how well it will integrate with Final Cut Server, a key feature for a few shops I’m familiar with.

    I think the biggest issue for most will be the apparent loss of a multiple monitor format.

  80. RazorX Apr 14, 2011 00:09

    It’s funny listening to Apple fan boys praise how new and cool the FCPX features are, because yes to “them” it is all new (yay 64-bit!), but nothing new to Premiere or Avid users.

    Re: “totally redefine what a non-linear video editor is than Apple” Well that’s emotion taking things too far. Apple isn’t redefining the realm of Editing at all. This is just FCP playing catch up feature-wise to what Premiere and Avid have already been providing for the last year.

  81. Athanasios Karalias Apr 14, 2011 00:15

    Thank you for a nice review Larry!
    I really don’t understand people wondering about the hardware compatibility.
    Yes I am sure it will need 10.7 Lion and I am certain it will run on all Intel Macs that support the full 64 bit kernel.

    As for the gentleman who thinks this is iMovie, I believe he did not really, really watched close.

    I don’t believe it will be sold as a studio package & maybe we will not need the extra apps (except certain cases) if they integrated the functionality or some of it in the Application (I think they did).

    All we have to do is sit and wait tight, cause I am convinced the big WOW is yet to come.

    Keep the good work up!

  82. Les Apr 14, 2011 00:27

    The functionality looks awesome. The interface is simpler (with everything easily assessable under the hood), and more streamlined. It allows all of us to be stretched to think and work in new ways.

    IT WILL PROVE BETTER! Final Cut X is not just different, and it’s not a step back. A newbie can pick up the essentials in a weekend, instead of weeks or months.

    Forget about the past, and what you’ve ‘invested.’ That was then, and what we needed to do then. Let it go and embrace what already on the surface is an extraordinary application.

    Lastly, and I feel most importantly, is the paradigm shift out of the quasi technical-rut—there has never been a time to be more creative!

  83. Larry Apr 14, 2011 01:34


    I can agree with some of your points – though not all Adobe software is yet 64-bit. I think my use of the term “redefine” is meant more as the interface than the underlying technology. There are things I’ve seen in how it integrates metadata, reviews and edits clips, and the general user functionality that is completely – or, at least, seriously different from both Avid and Adobe.

    Whether that difference is better or worse still remains to be seen.


  84. Larry Apr 14, 2011 01:34

    This is a GREAT question and I’ve sent a note to Apple asking them to let me know what to tell you.


  85. Larry Apr 14, 2011 01:35


    Keep in mind that nothing is “lost” until Apple actually releases the product. We don’t know what it doesn’t do yet.


  86. Larry Apr 14, 2011 01:37

    All good questions and, so far, we don’t have any answers.


  87. BMillz Apr 14, 2011 01:40

    Why isn’t anyone talking about how ugly this interface looks? White on Dark backgrounds = not fun on the eyes. Please tell me this isn’t how it will look. The background rendering and all that stuff is great, but I HOPE this interface is customizable and has the ability to look a little like the final cut of yesteryear.

  88. Larry Apr 14, 2011 01:45


    I asked that question of Apple — however, they have not yet provided an answer.


  89. ccap1 Apr 14, 2011 02:32

    I notice the menubar lacks “sequence”, “effects” and “tools” and adds
    “clip” and “share”.
    That “Share” makes it seem kind of iLife and is troubling.

    Clip options could mean to replace Sequence settings if the timeline is resolution independent, but the missing effects menu is a little disconcerting, though those could be available at an “inspector” level and through contextual clicking. Still no menu item means there is nowhere to examine the full toolset sans icons and mouse clicks.

    Still it isn’t done yet and what is there is really promising.

  90. ccap1 Apr 14, 2011 02:36

    Oh yeah, and what’s up with no “tools” menu? Forgot to gripe about that one.

  91. Floris Apr 14, 2011 03:09

    One thing I noticed: the new Final Cut Pro X logo. It has the same ‘visual’ on the slate as the one used for Final Cut Studio the past edition. Maybe I am looking to far into it, but it might mean all apps are included. I still think we haven’t even seen 50% of what is in there, and Apple is deliberately holding things off. With a june release date, I cannot imagine that the product is not 95% finished by now. Because it is a complete rebuild, heavy beta testing is needed so that must be the phase they are in now. I would expect they need to finish early june to properly test it before they release it at the end of June. But I am no expert on software releases.

  92. Mark Huckle Apr 14, 2011 03:42

    Will the new version allow us to export to Bluray as we do DVD?

  93. ccap1 Apr 14, 2011 03:47

    Oh yeah, That’s a single window interface. Wonder if you can break that up if necessary?

  94. JaR Apr 14, 2011 04:13

    Thanks to machineurs watch NAB 2011 FCP X Keynote in HD:



  95. Omar Apr 14, 2011 05:12

    What about native RED Camera format .r3d ?

  96. Victor Apr 14, 2011 05:27

    Hey Newsman,

    Maybe FCP X isn’t for you, but that’s ok, there are other NLEs that you can use.

    Learning new things is part of the curve, if you don’t, then no one will hire you. Adapt or move on.

  97. Wan Kum Wai Apr 14, 2011 05:33

    Hi Larry
    Does the new fcp support .mxf edit natively?
    Or do we still need to purchase the plug in


  98. Dan Apr 14, 2011 05:53


    Seeing as you have Apple’s ear how about asking them to implement JKL trimming with both sides of the edit being displayed.

  99. Dan Apr 14, 2011 06:05

    … Oh and integration of GET as well. I’d buy you a beer for that one!

  100. Matthias Apr 14, 2011 06:34

    Hi Larry, did you ever work with the now discontinued Avid Liquid ? They had Background-Rendering, and usage of the GPU for FX and other features like direct menus with related content in every part of the UI and a great CC…
    I think a lot of the ideas of this great application can be found in FCP X.

    Looks great to get away from this Photoshop-like UI and forward to something more fluid.

    Just hope we do not loose a trimming tool and finally get a constant loop while trimming, like in Liquid.

    What I expect as well is a live Audio-Mix function where we can adjust levels on an external fader while the sequence plays back, this is another thing I still love in Liquid….

    A by the way in Liquid we could always mix all formats and codecs in a timeline and then choose a different rendercodec like YUV uncompressed or MPG2-I-Frame or IBP. So using compressed files natively and then render everything to uncompressed gave really optimum quality codec-wise. So I hope we get this now from the new FCP…

    Thanks for reading
    Matthias who was Alpha and Betatester for Fast/// Pinnacle and AVID

  101. Michael-451 Apr 14, 2011 07:35

    Hello Larry, and many thanks for the further info on FCP X & clarification of some of the demo points! :)

    The $299 stand-alone price for FCP X was mentioned as being App Store price? Does this suggest that the other Studio apps will also be stand-alones on the App Store (as with iLife & iWork apps), as others have mentioned – while presumably the full suite will still be available in physical release, along with the many GB’s of additional content – hopefully at similar prices for full purchase/upgrade versions ($999/299) as with FCP7/Studio3?

    Very keen to know what has been happening with Motion – not to mention Shake features – hopefully we will be seeing a “Super-Motion”, or something equivalent to the long-promised “Phenomenon” Shake replacement? (will this also build in more of Color?)

    DVD Studio Pro also still a curiosity – wondering if there might still be a slim chance of a new release with some Blu-Ray burning (if not authoring) support – or has this just been too much of a “bag-of-hurt” for Steve&Co.? ;)

  102. Meridarcey Apr 14, 2011 08:50

    Interesting people being concerned about upgrading and cost… Nobody makes you upgrade, it’s your call. Also, Apple have always offered excellent and extremely cheap upgrade prices. Remember how much it cost to buy “Color” before Apple purchased the company and added it to the Final Cut Studio???? Thousands I am pretty sure.

    I hope it uses HUD floating menus like in Aperture in full screen mode. Be ace…

    Final Cut X. Exciting times.

  103. Brittany Apr 14, 2011 09:37

    Watching the videos of the sneak peak keynote, I was as excited as the people in the audience. Audition, the Magnetic Timeline, easy color correction new organization methods, background rendering, 64-bit, and native format support! How could you not love it? Not three hours ago, I was struggling to quickly finish a project in FCP7 because of all the problems that will be FIXED in FCPX.

    But, now that I’m sitting in front of my edit station again in my Two Up configuration, I’m realizing all the little features of the current version that may or may not be left behind in the old one. Tools, Capture settings, Export settings, keyboard commands, basic in/out, Window arrangements, even control over the image wireframes to enlarge or shrink an image. How will all of this work? Previous posters have been asking great questions and I hope all of you forward those concerns directly to Apple (can we still use the FCP feedback site?) rather than blast them in blog comments. If there was ever a company that actually listened to its users, it’s Apple. Don’t be shy.

    I’m nervous and excited for the new release. It is a sneak peek but a pretty big peek into what FCP will be for years to come. Great blog post, Larry. Thank you for your unique and honest perspectives.

  104. Dolph Apr 14, 2011 09:38

    What about multiple framerates in one timeline. For example 24 in 30. Now it’s working, but it’s not a nice 2:3 pulldown. It copies whole frames where you get jittering in pans.

  105. Simon Apr 14, 2011 09:39

    “The same guy who, in my opinion, diminished the quality of iMovie the first time he got his hands on it, now has his hands all over FCP. I’m concerned.”

    Newsman, the guy who did the iMovie revision you so hate was the same guy who designed FCP in the very beginning!

    I don’t know how you can judge a piece of software without having used it. Nothing in the demos so far indicated any sort of dumbing down other than making dull commonly used editing tasks much faster and simpler. Thats a GOOD thing, not a bad one. If you prefer long winded ways of doing things, fine. I just want to get on with the creative task of editing, not to be bogged down in technicalities.

  106. Simon Apr 14, 2011 09:42

    “White on Dark backgrounds = not fun on the eyes”
    I disagree. A darker interface is better for editing. There’s a reason other video editing systems use a dark background, particularly for CC software.

  107. Newsman Apr 14, 2011 10:09

    I was looking again at the UI, and I hope there’s a way to turn off snapping. You can’t do that in iMovie and it’s a serious pain the arse to be precise in certain edits. And- as previously mentioned- I don’t see a way to de-link audio and video and then do roll-edits. I use those functions in virtually every project I edit.

    And based on Apple’s demo, this seems to be a click and drag system without the ability to hit in and out points before inserting video in the Timeline. That would be very careless and unthinking. It would make an editor’s job much more difficult. (It wouldn’t make much difference for a lazy editor.) Which takes me back to this question: WHERE ARE THE TIMECODES FOR INDIVIDUAL WINDOWS? Yes, the caps means I’m yelling.

    Message to Apple: When using b-roll to cover audio tracks and soundbites, it saves time when you hit in and out points and you’re able to instantly know the length of the clip you’re about to insert/overwrite.

    Can you imagine if Sony, Canon or Panasonic announced that all those manual controls we love and use in their cameras will henceforth be eliminated and will become automatic controls? You probably can’t imagine that.

    Perhaps all these functions and others still exist but are not obvious in the new UI. However, Apple usually doesn’t publicly float trial balloons like this. There must be a serious debate about these choices. Mr. Jobs, please step in and do something. Save Apple’s pro app.

  108. Marcus R. Moore Apr 14, 2011 10:25

    2.5 months isn’t that far off, if we pessimistically say this will come out at the END of June. It will be interesting to see how Apple moves it’s message forward from here. From the mixed reactions post event, it’s clear that Apple will have an uphill battle with some people, or at the very least, some people need to see some much deeper technical info before they’ll know where they features they need/want have gone.

    This is NOT a step backward, and even better, this is not standing still- quite frankly, Apple is the only company that can do this kind of interface redesign. Why? Because as Steve Cohen said at the pre NAB Editor’s Lounge panel, a company like Avid needs to keep it’s customers happy to stay alive. That means good things for AVID users in terms of support, but it also means AVID is going to play it safe in some regards. If AVID took a chance on a new interface layout, and it didn’t go over well– they’re done, as a platform and as a company. Premier maybe not so much. But Apple’s financial fortunes obviously don’t rely on selling Final Cut X. Even if people are leery of this release, Apple can continue to invest and develop it until the cows come home if they want to.

    That said, I personally I love the new UI. I get a lot more information out of just looking at it, about video content, about audio content. And a darker interface puts much more focus on the content and not the interface. I’d be very surprised if you couldn’t customize colours for everything to suit your tastes, and as was demonstrated, there is a much more compact thumbnail view for the timeline, which is pretty much what we have now.

    So like a lot of people, I have a bunch of questions following the presentation, but unlike a lot of the negative nellies out there, based on the depth that was shown in the demo, if I wonder if there’s a specific feature from the current version, I’m going to assume that it’s there, and not that it’s… not.

  109. Helge Krabye Apr 14, 2011 12:25

    Thoughtful reflections! With the increasing amount of video formats, codecs and storing solutions, I am not in doubt that FCPX will support these even better than before. One wish that is high on my list, is an internal audiomixer with a master channel that supports plugins (to be able to use a limiter on the total mix).

  110. [...] The Sound of 1,700 Jaws Dropping by FCP guru, Larry Jordan. [...]

  111. Ted Beke Apr 14, 2011 13:05

    Hi Larry,
    I can’t help but notice there is no auto-select buttons or feed buttons on the timeline. Is this going to be a very mouse intensive program? That’s kind of my biggest problem with FCP now, is that you have to use the mouse way to much.

    However, I am very excited about the magnetic timeline, compound clips, and clip connection. I spend so much time shifting around audio, this is going to cut my editing in half.

    This brings me to another concern. Is there going to be anyway to pick where your video goes, or is it always going to drop directly on top of another piece of video if they’re stacked. Like you, I am extremely curious about the details.

  112. Jonah Lee Walker Apr 14, 2011 13:37

    I have come to rely on Final Cut pretty heavily in my business, so this scares me and excites me. The 64Bit and Multi-threading is very exciting, as is resolution Independence, but auto color correction, image stabilization and even the magnetic timeline kind of scare me really. Sounds like it will make a mess. I projects with so many graphics that I get up to 18-20 levels of video, with different types of things put specifically onto different levels for organization and this automatically making new tracks sounds like it will make a mess more than anything.

    It is the details that I am not even hearing that scare me. I rely a lot on the viewer window, which seems to have changed completely. Can I still look at the waveform of a clip before i cut it in easily to get a clean cut as I edit?

    Working on all the effects in the timeline might be nice, but is also weird to have it an always moving target, it was convenient to work on effects in the same place in the viewer, is that still possible?

    Do the windows pull apart like they used to? I keep my bins on my second display, but it looks like the viewer and bin are combined, which doesn’t seem convenient for huge projects. I wouldn’t mind the combined bin, if I can have a separate viewer window as well.

    How does FCP handle graphics? Hopefully better than the old version, but it was not mentioned.

    How is the media managed, lets hope not in one file again, I would so much rather have a more AVID like file system.

    If they lose editing to tape it loses a lot of it’s usefulness as I often still have to deliver digitbetas or even HDCAM.

    Just went through the 64 bit thing on After Effects, going to be expensive to have to update all of my plug ins again! Wish they would get some specs out to developers so they can start updating.

    I have a feeling Color is gone, much like Shake before it. They took some of the technology and then killed it. It sucks as I have really grown to like it and would love a massive update to make it even more powerful, but I don’t see it happening.

    I am sure DVD studio is gone as well as Apple will never jump on the Blu-Ray band wagon even though I still often have to deliver discs.

    I could give or take motion, as I mostly use AE, though I do like some of it’s particle effects. And it looks like the main thing I use it for, re-timing clips is now in FCP properly.

    Most the soundtrack features I would rather have rolled into FCP anyway, and it sounds like they are in some form, and hopefully so is retiming with pitch shifting. And control over the hum removal would be nice.

    The other essential App is a truly 64 Bit Compressor (not using QMASTER).

    The one thing no one seems to mention about the app store is that like iTunes you can authorize the apps to be on 5 computers, and a 5 license FCP for $299 is pretty cheap.

  113. John Apr 14, 2011 13:42


    Regarding multiple monitors, iMovie is awesome with a second display. You can just set it to use it as a full screen player, freeing up space on the primary for clips and the (sort of) timeline.

    iMovie makes simple editing really quick. FCPX looks like it will do the same for complex work.

  114. george manzanilla Apr 14, 2011 13:56

    I’m excited to try it. The interface looks refreshing.

  115. John b Apr 14, 2011 16:12

    Mmmm newsman
    You commented…”"If couldn’t care less about beauty of the UI. I’m interested in the functions. The same guy who, in my opinion, diminished the quality of iMovie the first time he got his hands on it, now has his hands all over FCP. I’m concerned”"…..this is “the guy” who created premiere at adobe, wrote final cut at macromedia, then final cut pro at apple, then updated iMovie to it’s current state and now returns to final cut x….so I think he may know his stuff…your don’t like the changes in iMovie? …maybe it’s time to be a little brave, embrace the future of UIs or look at Media 100 or Avid ? Final Cut is moving onwards….

  116. Chris Blaine Apr 14, 2011 17:13

    Having just started using Multiclip to edit multi-camera gigs, I’m a little worried about the lack of the Viewer – I hope there’s a way for Multiclip to still work.

    Personally, I’m hoping they bring everything from Color, Soundtrack and Shake into FCP. Also that they keep it easy for outside developers to add plugins, whilst giving them the opportunity to use more of a GUI for them – for instance the Tiffen set of plug-ins are great… bar for the fact that everything is a drop-down menu or a slider, which becomes a very long-winded way just to look for the right gobo shape without even getting into trying to get it to do what you want it to.

    One last thing that I would LOVE to see in FCP-X would be the ability to graphically mark up the timeline independently of the clips – being able to show where I wanted the acts to fall, where scenes were supposed to run to according to the script, where different days start… The more ways I could get to show the timeline in ways that are more descriptive than merely seeing a bunch of cuts, the easier it would be to think about the way the structure of the story works (or should work and isn’t yet).

  117. Dave Battle Apr 14, 2011 17:56

    So here’s my question – if they’re eliminating the “suite” package and eliminating upgrade pricing aren’t they killing the current FCP editors who use all of the other suite apps? Currently FCP 7 charges $299 for the upgrade. So if they’re eliminating the upgrade price and I want to upgrade 3 of my systems I have to pay $299 for FCPX and then an additional $700? for the other apps for each system? I’ve just gone from an upgrade cost of $900 (3 systems) to $3,000!

    Please tell me it ain’t so!

  118. Mike Apr 14, 2011 17:59

    Looks like Apple took some notes from the folks over at Sony Creative Software. A lot of the features that make Vegas Pro so fast and straight-forward to work with have been incorporated in FCP X (as have many other features)… the majority of the feature list just affirms all the reasons we haven’t been using FCP for our workflow in the past!

  119. Tony1uk Apr 14, 2011 18:01


    I used to be a beta tester for Pinnacle Liquid as well (from 5 to 7.2) until Avid closed it down. I loved that application and still use it sometimes on bootcamp, together with the USB ProBox for monitoring. I kept thinking of Liquid (previously Sony ES3, Fast Studio/Chrome/Blue/Purple, etc.) and its very early implementation of background rendering way before processors became multicore. Yes you could buy accelerator boards for blue, etc. but very quickly it became powerful enough for background rendering without these accelerators. It introduced GPU rendering of layers in version 7 and it was astounding. Together with the mixed timeline it scaled as your computer grew and even with a relatively old gefore card you could get four layers simultaneously without having to render. It also had ‘instant save’ (never had to press save) and you could ingest over a network. I loved it, but then they killed it off, I bought a mac and started using final cut. As well as having excellent contextual menus, you could customise the interface in many ways by moving or removing buttons, etc. This way you could bury some things in menus, or have them out in the open. It was a beautiful piece of software.

    Anyway before Avid bought it and killed it off, Pinnacle had updated the interface to look really toyish. Nothing radical in terms of overhaul, but just gave it the look of Pinnacle Studio in terms of a quite sweet candy look. Just made you feel you were driving a toy car. The older interface looked more like autodesk software but based on icons instead of text-buttons. It was dark and serious looking but based on buttons that made it feel like a pushbutton machine. Would have been great on some touchscreen, I always thought. It could have gone places and my hope was that it would grow its strengths in compositing (like Smoke). It had great addons like the colour corrector, filters, surround sound and even a rudimentory dvd designer.

    As Matthias says, there are overtones of Liquid in this new turn with Final Cut but, as it stands, it feels like there are possible dangers afoot. Apple are dialogically aware people. Dialogically? They know what is being gossiped and what is worrying its customers. They know people are worried about losing these things that are so central to Final Cut ‘Classic’ and worried about ‘Final Cut Classic’ being dumbed down. Why didn’t they address this with “we know you’re worried, but it’s all still there”.

    I am so happy that all this is being added, but it has such a toyish feel. I just hope that it plays nice (XML) with other software and that they see that this is not standalone software like iMovie but part of a modular pipeline that needs to hook-up with much more than itself alone. Again this was the hill that Liquid started to decline. The Liquid stable was a very serious series of software versions (used in many broadcast areas and many will know it and remember it) , but then it started being targeted more squarely toward one man shop event videographers (hence the dvd/menu engine) and it lost its identity. While I hope that Final Cut does not lose its identity too much to iMovie, at the moment, at least, it looks like it is adding and not taking away. Perhaps it is only the toy-overtoned look that is making us worry that things are being stripped away. Perhaps they were only emphasising the new by de-emphasising the old. Hopefully the old is still there.

    I hope so, or me and my new i7 macbook pro with thunderbolt are moving to Avid or Premiere Pro (but sadly not back to Liquid through bootcamp, although the background rendering screams on my new laptop when).

    Please Larry be the voice of conservation…

  120. Carl Apr 14, 2011 18:38

    Looks quite fun and innovative, but in some ways potentially frustrating. I can’t imagine doing complex trims with the “precision editor” for example. And losing the viewer means you also lose some really useful techniques, like ganging a clip and an edit, or ganging two edits for comparison.

    The magnetic timeline seems pretty handy, but will it let you organize your audio in any meaningful way? A traditional track-based approach makes it easy to apply effects or EQ to all the dialogue, or mute a track to watch a scene without music. How will this be possible in FCP X?

    Can’t wait to try it out, but it won’t be in a production environment, that’s for sure!

  121. LDTowers Apr 14, 2011 19:31

    Apple is most certainly not a company that listens to its users. Where do you get that nonsense from? They are a company that makes it’s own decisions and expects the world to follow. This has worked out rather well.
    The reality is, that as Steve Jobs has indicated previously, Apple is not too interested in building trucks anymore. His company is designing and building for the 95% of people who don’t need trucks. FCP X is for that group.
    The reality is that it isn’t just a reflection of an Apple philosophy. It is becoming an industry philosophy. Cheap fast and good enough products to deliver cheap fast and good enough content is becoming the rule.

  122. Oli Newsome Apr 14, 2011 19:58

    I love your work. I’m definitely one of your fans. But several people asked about BluRay authoring, and you didn’t answer any of them. How come?

  123. stu aull Apr 14, 2011 20:57

    Thanks Larry – lots of impressions of the Preview around but yours was The One I wanted to read!!
    Look forward to hearing more from you-

    Stu Aull

  124. Chris Blaine Apr 14, 2011 21:13

    Ok wow just watched the video of the Sneak Peek that’s on Youtube and it explains a ton just seeing it in action rather than reading about it. I can see where Multiclip should fit in ok. And there are some fantastic things for marking up the timeline (could still do with some graphical elements to that though) and it all looks so much easier and efficient to work with, so thumbs up for all that.

    The question of filters remains (and they could do with more options for the copying across of filters too, it’s annoying to only have remove all or to have to go through each clip and each filter, one by one).

    Only worry that I have from watching the demo is the lack of tracks on the timeline. I can see why that can be lovely, but having the ability to keep different shots on different tracks (and therefore easily know which takes you are using, and be able to copy across filters quickly and simply) will be missed.

    And likewise with audio – it’s great to see the magnetic timeline working like that, but I’m sure I can’t be the only person to want to keep dialogue, foley, atmos, SFX and music on separate tracks in order for it to be simple and easy for others to understand, especially if I’m exporting an OMF…

  125. Larry Apr 14, 2011 23:38

    Because I don’t know the answer.


  126. Sokobanja Apr 15, 2011 04:30

    Great post man. Thanx

  127. Gilles Apr 15, 2011 06:37

    Brilliant, Larry. As always.
    In real french however, you should write “à la carte” instead ala carte:-))

  128. Bryan Apr 15, 2011 07:37

    I second all the questions and concerns other posters have asked.

    I’d like to know if Apple has rethought it’s approach to media management. Hopefully they’ve added project management tools, and project-centric media organization tools, and completely redesigned media management, providing more flexible and reliable options for pulling all media into organized folders within a central project folder (ie, graphics, stills, production audio, music, sfx, video, image sequences, etc), as opposed to the current workstation-centric approach, and the current Media Mangler, which dumps every single file in a sequence into one massively cluttered folder.

    On a related note, how does FCPX integrate with Final Cut Server?

    The total loss of a viewer window concerns me the most. Did Apple also reinvent the approach for multiclip editing, ganging, and match framing? If so, it would be nice to see them demonstrate how such crucial tasks are to be handled in FCPX.

    All the new features are great, but the devil is definitely in the details on this one. I will not be shocked if FCPX v1 is missing many of the professional features we rely upon, and we have to wait through at least a couple years worth of revisions before there is a new modern “Final Cut Studio X” suite of applications that fully replaces all the current functionality.

  129. Brandon Ford Apr 15, 2011 12:24

    I along with many other people was very concerned that Apple was forgetting about the Pro Apps community, I was extremely excited when it became official that Apple was debuting a new FCP. I was and still am concerned about Apple “dumbing down” FCP and turning it into “pro” version of iMovie. I believe there should be a separation of professional and consumer products not some program that meets the both somewhere in the middle. ALOT of people including myself got started with FCP in the beginning and have spent tons of money learning the FCP and have equal or more amounts spent in 3rd party Plugins and stuff. I agree it is too early for a final judgement, however there are some serious questions that need to be asked here. The major one(s) are is all my 3rd party plugins going to work with FCPX i.e. (FX Factory Pro, Digital Juice, etc, etc, will it still work with Skake? People still use Shake 4.1 with FCP 7, I could go on and on but I think you get the point.)

    As far as the rest of the suite I am sure since FCP was rewritten the others will be too, I just hope they are or will be available, even if they are separate downloads in the App Store, I have questions about that as well… So many questions, so little information. I just hope in the end it is and will be worth the major changes going on. Good job on the article as usual Mr. Jordan, take care everyone.

  130. Drew Pickard Apr 15, 2011 17:34

    One thing I can say – most likely ALL 3rd party plugins will have to be updated to run on FCP X as 32-bit plugins do not integrate with 64-bit applications.

    This was true with the current 64-bit version of AE and Photoshop but in general, the updated for plugins came within a few months.

    So those editors/workflows with heavy reliance on plugins might have to wait a bit or run concurrent different versions.

    Hopefully these software vendors have seen the writing on the wall and are prepared or aware that they’ll have to upgrade since Apple has been very clearly and steadily moving towards 64-bit everything.

  131. David Ransley Apr 15, 2011 18:02

    Now that FCP-X has been shown to the world there is one feature that I would like them to fix and that is the Autosave function (not the Autosave Vault, it’s OK) I’ve been a non-linear owner/editor since 1993. Back then there was one feature that both D-Vision & LightWorks had that was just wonderful! Each edit was saved when created. If the power went out or if the system crashed none of my edits would be lost. None! Nor would I have to worry about saving my project every few minutes as I do now. Neither was there the intrusion of the Autosave function every few minutes. When my system crashes I become very frustrated. I know that I will loose the last 5 to 10 minutes of my work. (30 minutes if left in the default setting.) So I’m asking you to please share this with your readers. If they are as frustrated with this problem as I am, I encourage them to write to Apple using the “Provide Final Cut Pro Feedback” under the “Final Cut Pro” menu. My hope is that this problem can be buried forever.

  132. bobdmac Apr 15, 2011 18:07

    It’s refreshing to see actual reporting and to see someone asking questions on our behalf.

  133. Newsman Apr 15, 2011 18:21

    John b, no one doubts the brilliance, genius and ability of Randy Ubillos. The guy is tops in his field. He’s an editing Xs & Os God.

    In fact, only somebody with his experience and clout could have so badly messed up iMovie, especially the excellent audio editing functions that used to exist in the now-defunct iMovie HD Timeline. My first editing experience with Apple was with iMovie. So I know what I’m talking about. That’s why I flippantly used the word “guy.” That guy badly messed me up with iMovie.

    Some audio functions have been improved in the latest iMovie, perhaps an acknowledgment that they made mistakes.

    I’ve grown to love most Apple products. I want that to continue. But let’s hope that strategic business decisions do not negatively affect a great product like FCP.

    In fact, if FCP has such an extraordinary rate of satisfaction, why would Apple want to upset people?

    FCP and my Mac Pro and MacBook Pro kick ass. For example, I’ve produced and edited dozens of multicam projects. I’ve used as many as nine cameras. (Yes, I know, I should get a switcher.) Many of those projects have been longer than one hour. I often have two and three sequences going at the same time. The contraption has never crashed and has never given me a problem. I think that’s amazing.

    I think that most folks here would agree that we need complete manual control over every video and audio clip in our Timeline.

    So now that I’ve said more than my two cents, I’ll shut up and hope that Apple will listen to and respect their customers.

    Thanks to Larry for letting us state our opinions.

  134. Michael Long Apr 15, 2011 18:25

    If Newsman and some of the others would use the links others have provided and watch the videos, you’d find many of your questions concerning in/out points (Precision Editor) or waveform editing answered.

    It looks to me like Apple has done a fantastic job of upgrading a system and an interface that hasn’t changed much since Avid introduced the original timeline-based system in 1987.

    That’s 24 years ago folks. Things have changed.

    Reading between the lines, it seems to me that what a few people are REALLY worried about is how Apple has made many of the things they do much, much easier… rendering their previous training and hard won knowledge somewhat superfluous.

    Again, watch the videos. But this time pay attention to the reactions of the professionals in the audience, who weren’t too shy in demonstrating just how THEY felt about the changes.

  135. Larry Apr 15, 2011 18:28


    Your opinions are ALWAYS welcome! I am enjoying reading all of them and learning from each. Thanks for writing.


  136. Vincent Apr 15, 2011 20:54

    I’m a video tyro, so I can’t speak directly to feature set or interface comparison. What I will say is that Apple did the same thing in bringing the Garage Band interface to Logic Pro, and the result was a marked improvement—all the Garage Band ease of use on the surface, with all the Logic features just underneath and easy to get to. They’ve even been migrating some of the Logic features back into Garage Band. It was a great success. I’m hoping Final Cut X represents the same amount of thought and design.

  137. [...] The Sound of 1,700 Jaws Dropping – Larry’s Blog. The new interface drew applause, 64-bit support and background rendering had people drooling and the new price of $299 received a standing ovation. Explore posts in the same categories: Uncategorized [...]

  138. paul Apr 16, 2011 03:13

    It looks great to me but I’m very much an amateur in terms of video editing. It looks to be bridging the prosumer gap, but I wonder if there will be a cheap $99 version for entry level or if that is relegated to iMovie?

    I think we can see some interface cues here too, the next Aperture update will probably be very much the same.

  139. Sjoerd de Vries Apr 16, 2011 03:53

    What me worries the most. Is the lack of a lot. Already noted in the discussions above.
    Also it seems that Apple is killing of several industries who are developing for Final Cut Pro.
    Not only who make hard and software but also training centre (For Apple Pro Training, now with only FCP X)
    I was going for my Master in FCS, I think I stop because it doesn’t matter any more with only FCP X

    I don’t think we will ever see the other applications back.
    On the end of the demonstration of FCP X, the answer to this was “Get rid of upgrade get rid of Final Cut Studio, now only Final Cut Pro X”

  140. Jay Apr 16, 2011 11:16

    Any mention of FCP server? Thoughts on the product or it’s future?

  141. Larry Apr 16, 2011 11:42

    Don’t make hasty decisions on what is, or is not, in the final version.


  142. Larry Apr 16, 2011 11:42

    No mention.


  143. Marcus R. Moore Apr 16, 2011 13:55

    Exactly, Larry. How people are divining what features have been “lost” from what has been announced is a mystery to me. Why should Apple spend an entire presentation saying, “You can still do this! And that feature we’ve had since 2005, well that’s here too!”. This was an editorial focused demo, which is wonderful. It will be great to hear all the other great things this can do, and about the other parts of the suite, which you can now buy alacarte to fit your particular needs.

  144. Dcnblues Apr 16, 2011 15:42

    re- the GUI: There are clearly two kinds of people, those who enjoy the tanning-booth blast of photons a full screen of white provides, while squinting and trying to read some dark text amidst the nova-like particle blast (this web page is a good example). And those who like a calm, elegant, handsome interface with lighter text on darker background.

    I love the look of the new interface, but don’t think this needs to be a battleground. I’m baffled why Apple doesn’t simply offer a better option for those with the second preference in Aqua. Hell, just let those who like their screens to look good invert Aqua, but write a few lines of code that don’t invert graphic images. Problem solved. I don’t understand those that prefer the old look of FCP to the newer FCPX.

  145. Martijn Schroevers Apr 16, 2011 16:07

    The overwhelming feeling I get when I read all the comments on the FCP X presentation is how conservative some of us are: “Hold on to what you’ve got… “I love a rock solid Timeline… “As long as it won’t be iMovie Pro… “Where is my three point editing…?”
    Off course Apple will put all the goodness from iMovie into FCP! That is what progress is all about. Apple learned from iMovie and it would be foolish not to use that experience in FCP. What differenciates the Pro app from a consumer app is the depth of tweaking your video and audio. Is it just a standard solution or can you really manipulate clips to your liking. The impression I get from the presentation is the latter. What we do need on top of that is a first class Chroma Keyer like Keylight or Ultimatte. And for audio a truely great Limiter/Compressor and EQ. But who needs Soundtrack Pro, Motion or Color when their functionality is integrated into FCP? DVD Studio Pro is a dying app as DVD’s are eventually dying like CD’s did. I would not be surprised if you can define in the new FCP prefs what outputs you need, and you get simultaneous background renders to Hi and Low Rez files while you edit… bye bye Compressor. I’m very happy us Pro’s are not left in the dark as I feared a few months ago. It is clear to me Apple still has a strong commitment to pro video and FCP is breaking new grounds. Boldly go where no one has gone before…

  146. Marshall Thompson Apr 16, 2011 19:49

    I just hope it’s backwards compatible. LOVE anything that uses all my 8 cores and background rendering.

  147. Larry Apr 16, 2011 19:56


    Do you know any version of FCP that is backwards compatible?


  148. Jon Wood Apr 16, 2011 21:12

    Any indication of an adjustments-layer type of feature in there? I’d love to be able to add a filter effect to a slug that would effect whatever video was beneath it. This would allow me to move it back and forth to sync with a beat without having to move 4 or 8 keyframes. :)

  149. Larry Apr 16, 2011 21:31


    All I can say is that they didn’t show it on-stage. So I have no idea.


  150. Craig Apr 16, 2011 22:27

    I don’t know if everybody was loving FCPX initially. I was there and you could hear a gasp throughout the room when Apple revealed the UI for the first time. To his credit, the presenter immediately seized the energy and explained the rationale for each change, region by region. This brought folks on board, and admittedly there are some extremely cool things about this application so the Uber-iMovie comparisons (I heard a few Premier Pro comparisons too) began to fade in the moment.

    After the event, as folks began to talk, the iMovie subject resurfaced. I think folks are cautiously optimistic, but may bolt if they don’t like the change. A lot of pros use FCP and Avid, so it’s not like they don’t have a ready option sitting their on their hard drives. Personally, I’m pulling for Apple and liked a lot about FCPX.

  151. Mr. Worried Apr 17, 2011 04:11

    My background is in narrative TV and film. Like many, I’m very excited and very worried about the new final cut.

    In general:
    -I’m excited that apple has decided to rethink what the non-linear editing experience can be. I couldn’t even conceive of what revolutions were possible in the timeline alone until I saw the videos of the presentation.
    -I’m worried that with this version Apple has chosen a market segment — the do-everything-in-one-box user base. Will there still be OMFs, XMLs, timecode displays, etc? Will we be able to edit multicam, collaborate with editors on another computer, and NOT keep audio in synch if we prefer to use it out of context or swap lines? In other words, will the prestigious FCP users, such as the Coens and the editors of the Social Network, still be using it in a year, or is this goodbye?

    Specific excitement:
    -Magnetic timeline (excited x 1000)
    -Visual browsing
    -All the new clip-organizing stuff
    -The new visual in-timeline trimming
    -The audio stuff
    -The new keyframing
    -Compound clips

    Specific worries:
    -No viewer (worried x 1000)
    -No mentions in the presentation of these essential features: match framing; OMF or XML export; multicam; assistant editor stuff like modifying timecode etc..
    -The overemphasis on “audio staying in synch” — there are lots of reasons to not want audio always in synch. Also, if a clip has say 4 mic channels associated with it, can you selectively turn on and off some of those channels without bending over backwards? Because it looks like it’s all totally married in the timeline.

    Basically, I’m just dying to know if Apple intends for this update to maintain FCP’s current place in the industry — if editors like me will be able to keep using Final Cut in film and TV — or if Avid will finally reassert their dominance in that market, while Final Cut becomes exclusively the tool of film students, wedding and corporate video makers, and others who don’t need to interact with assistant editors, sound houses, colorists, and machine rooms and are content to click “color match” and export.

    The answer to this final question is not evident from anything we’ve seen so far.

  152. Javier Apr 17, 2011 06:41

    if apple knows what to do is make a better user experience. I think this FCPX will be a leader standard to follow by competitors, in terms of software environment. My major doubt is how the work with effects and plugins will be implemented. Seems that not only user interface is changed but the processes across the entire workflow, so the users will need to learn again a new way of working (surely to a better one, I think).

  153. Larry Apr 17, 2011 12:01

    These are some excellent questions and, like you, I’m very anxious to learn the answers.


  154. Jason Apr 18, 2011 01:06

    So many people are worried about what seems like a missing viewer, but if the interface pics and demo video are studied closely, then it becomes more apparent that all the functions of the old viewer and timeline view are integrated together contextually! If you scrub on a clip in the browser the viewer displays its video. If you then scrub along the timeline, what ever is under your cursor displays in the viewer. But if you hit play then whatever is under the playhead will be displayed in the viewer. If you select a clip and add one of the 117 video effects or looks to the clip, then a control panel will slide out from the side and the viewer will display the current clip plus the effect being applied!

    There is no loss of functionality, its all contextually displayed in one viewer, thus saving a huge amount of screen real-estate!

    The timecode also changes contextually depending on which source is selected at the time. In the demo, it was shown, you can just type new timecode values into the timecode display, just like you can in garage band! No more entry fields, just type it contextually! Simple!!!

    The demo guy also said you can drive everything in the UI with the keyboard, this means you can still set in and out points in the timeline, or in the media listed in the browser or whatever is selected in the timeline. So again this operation is contextual. In and out points are used in Garage Band, Logic, Motion and most likely iMove (haven’t used it) they are not about to disappear in this new version of Final Cut Pro.

    To view large versions of the audio, you can just zoom in on the timeline using the plus and minus keys since the waveforms are completely detailed there along with fade handles and keyframes. No need to see it in a separate viewer.

    Again all video and audio effects are displayed in inspector like control panels that slide out from the side of the screen next to the viewer. It works more like Motion in this regard. But the effects are still stackable, copy and paste-able just like always! Watch the demo with the color corrector as an example!

    As far as Multi-clips go. Camera angles could easily be selected in the timeline, contextually like in the current version of FCP, with some new visual gismo heretofore not demonstrated, or by selecting them using the new audition popup! There are so many ways this could be done, with the new UI, there is no need to fret that it ain’t there!

    As far as insertion behavior, look at the icons just left of the blue arrow along the top of the time line. These icons appear to control how video from the browser is dropped into the timeline or viewer. Also notice there is a little arrow to the right of these icons, meaning there are more controls in a drop down menu.

    For those worried about not having a tool bar, notice the blue arrow icon along the top of the timeline. it also has a drop down menu that may contain the rest of the sacred tool bar icons that no one can live without. This too seems to be borrowed from Motion.

    I believe with thoughtful observation using the several resources given, we can arrive at more constructive ideas how this new interface might operate and cool some of the hot heads that have been posting their worried comments on this site!!


    Jason W.

  155. John J Apr 18, 2011 10:24

    As a working Editor, I’m worried about the idea of losing a viewer and selectable video and audio tracks on the timeline. It takes time to learn how to use in and out points and target tracks, but once you do, you realize how much faster and more precise this method is. Sure, people who aren’t serious about editing, might find this confusing and prefer drag and drop, but anybody who has worked with a Director/Producer sitting behind them calling out shots knows that drag and drop just doesn’t work. Of course, I’m basing all this on a still picture taken of a screen at a conference, so it’s not time to panic yet. But seriously where the Fu– is the viewer and track numbers? I’m starting to go through all those unopened e-mails that Avid has been sending me-just in case…

  156. George E. Kennedy Jr. Apr 18, 2011 10:59

    Larry, As always it was great seeing you at NAB and thanks for putting this in perspective. Hopefully it will allow folks time to digest and understand it’s not the final product.

  157. Michael Liebergot Apr 18, 2011 13:00

    Jason, very good detective work and actually taking the time to study the interface. I think most of what you said will be spot on.

    As I mentioned before FCP, I worked in Sony Vegas, and the interface and workflow, at least form the pics and video, seem to resemble Vegas. In Vegas all of the powerful features are available to you (color correction, scopes, multi cam, tools, effects etc.), but they are neatly slotted away over the timeline.

    Editing is primarily done, and quickly and precisely so, on the timeline itself. If one wishes to use a trimmer, one is available, as you can simply click on a clip in the browser and the window that is also the viewer for the timeline changes to a trimmer. Set your in/out points and drag or import to the timeline.

    When you are editing on the timeline, the viewer reflects that.

    So just becuase you don’t see the old familiar things doesn’t mean they’re not there.

  158. Bill Rabinovitch Apr 18, 2011 14:35

    Color wheel selectivity for Timeline clips beyond the few available & why– Bill Rabinovitch

    In past forums for years I’ve mentioned desiring the ability to associate viewer selectable individual color for clips in the Timeline — beyond the very few & therefore useless available now. As Projects & Timelines become ever more complex this visual associating, arranging & grouping chosen from a color wheel – especially regarding alternative takes will pay dividends for the artistically inclined a thousand times over in creating better films & far more rapidly than ever before as being visually organized by color priority – besides looking very, very cool.
    Please pass to Apple.

    Bill Rabinovitch

  159. Jason Apr 18, 2011 17:33


    Their has been concern expressed about plug-ins becoming obsolete in this new version of FCPX, but lets look at a few facts before getting too worried:

    1. Final Cut Pro, Motion and Final Cut Express all use the same modern plug-in architect called FXPlug! It was invented for the more sophisticated needs of Motion and then later adopted by FCP version 5.1.2, to largely replace its antiquated plug-in SDK.

    2. with every new release of Final Cut Studio the FXPlug SDK has been incrementally updated and enhanced without causing major heart ache for Final Cut Pro users or Plug-in developers.

    3. With the 64 bit FCPX, It doesn’t seem likely that Apple would abandon the FXPlug architecture for something new. Its far more plausible that they will simply update FXPlug once again with any required enhancements that FCPX or Motion would require, with little fanfare or major reinvestments required on the user’s part.

    4. Even though the host application runs with 64bit processing, this may or may not require 64bit only plug-ins installed. I can certainly imagine a hybrid situation where FCPX could still hand processing assignments to 32bit plugins for compatibility sake.

    5. Other reason’s why FXPlug might have to be updated, is to handle 4K, resolution independence, new colorspaces, and multi-core processing!

    I believe Apple strives to push their software tech forward with a good deal of strategy! As an apple developer, I’m aquatinted with many of their core technologies and as I see it, FXPlug is relatively young and still has a long life ahead of it, in the upcoming FCPX and future versions of Motion.

    -Jason W.

  160. Per Chr Apr 18, 2011 18:22

    Thank you for the review,

    I use a lot of editing and effects software, and over the time you learn that there is a line between simplicity and flexibility. To that seems to be the hardest challenge for a software GUI developer. As an Avid editor I wish for some of these functions presented, but changing a user-interface that much can quite a challenge for an editor. If the everything is a easy to use as it looks like I guess its ok, but the we need to be prepared for more editors with a different background stealing you customers by edit for less. But, then again, we have seen that before when final cut entered the marked, an a lot of us are still around.


  161. Alex Roberts Apr 18, 2011 18:27

    Cheers Larry & Cheers Jason,

    Interesting insight. Whenever a new version of Final Cut is released I always have this pang of fear that i’ll be completely lost on it but soon I forget the old version and only notices the new benefits.

    Really looking forward to Larry’s new tutorials on this when they hit Lynda.

    Thanks again


  162. Bill Rabinovitch Apr 18, 2011 19:32

    Color wheel selectivity for clips on Timeline beyond the few available. FURTHER Explanation & followup on a radical new way of envisioning this.

    It’s the labels I want this ability with — & actually to take this further in a whole new way never done before within FCP X. Possibly some sort of alternative interactive overlay that can be Toggled on & off where things can be organized by color — that will shift things around & on a layered clip level show them in a whole new light — by color & color gradation. This will be primarily a visual tool for artist editors who think in terms of color. Am sure some Apple guy can run far with this.

    Bill Rabinovitch

  163. Andrew C. Apr 20, 2011 18:59

    wow, this is amazing
    i currently work with FCE (not FCP) and am eager to know if there will be an express version, which i find to be a bit un-apple-like and hard to use
    looking forward to the release!
    Andrew C.

  164. Deano Apr 21, 2011 09:20

    I would have to say having watched the presentation that there was a lot of talk about “how to edit” which is unusual pitch for seasoned professional editors.

    A lot of automation was shown and again I would suggest that somebody editing for a living would like to control those changes themselves. There was also a lot of mouse based editing and no talk of keyboard editing and the all important probably most complained about Media Management for large projects.

    No timeline could be a headache in the making and that interface I could imagine strain the eyes after long sessions editing.

    Little of what I saw was new 64bit, (Adobe CS5), Background rendering (Pinnacle/Avid Liquid), Handles on audio (Sony Vegas).

    The Apple business structure means they can sell this for a relatively low price and make the money on hardware which is where they have the largest profit margins, couple that with the potential cost of the FCS applications and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it cost more than the current FCS overall.

  165. Michael Liebergot Apr 21, 2011 10:06

    BTW, since there are lots of general questions about what is or isn’t in the new FCPX, one of which was the inclusion of multicam.

    If one looks at the pics of the interface:

    You’ll notice a button 3rd from the right above the timeline, which has a movie symbol with the number 2 on it. I bet you that this is the button for multicam.

    I really find it hard to believe that Apple would take much if anything out of the new FCPX. However with that being said one of the things that I do see going away are tools for tape ingest ie. “Log and Capture.”
    This is because Apple really seems to have been pushing the masses to move away from tape and focusing on digital content and deliver.

    So tape is obsolete to them.

    Just a guess but this seems to have been Apple stance for the last couple of years.

  166. Kevin Davis Apr 23, 2011 17:23

    Contrary to popular belief tape is not obsolete. It really irritates me when a small minority of folks throw words about without fully appreciating the meaning of what they say.

    I work as a freelance FCP compliance editor via agency bookings. I’ve worked on a vast number of commercial projects for TX. I can categorically say with 100 percent certainty that tape is NOT dead. The fast number (over 90%) of media acquisitions come as HDCAM SR tapes, some of which are ingested via fcp offline suites. To suggest FCP X will cease to support such functionality is an absolute nonsense.

    The future is certainly bright but not orange – its Apple.

  167. David Robinson Apr 26, 2011 09:57

    First off, thank you Larry for a great post. I find it amazing the other posts and comments that can be found at other sites and sources. If I see the term “fanboy” used one more time, I think I’m going to scream! I’m inspired by what is happening with FCP X and can’t wait to start learning it and using it and more importantly, making money with it. It surprises me that so many so called creative editors seem so uninspired!

    Something I noticed today, CrumplePop announced a new plugin called Lumineux. On the web page for this plugin, it says “for Final Cut Pro 6+7+X”. Do they know something new or are they just banking that FX Plug will be supported? Could be great news!

  168. David Robinson Apr 26, 2011 14:03

    On closer inspection of the CrumplePop Lumineux product shows that it is not actually a plugin, but a collection of video clips.

  169. Mike Janowski May 02, 2011 16:48

    the ultra-exciting black-on-black “growl” interface, even tinier buttons, more crap per surface area of screen…don’t they realize their market is, ahem, “maturing”, and would like something a bit more, uh, readable?

  170. [...] Larry Jordan on the new Final Cut Pro X:- [...]

  171. Jules May 03, 2011 19:29

    “Dcnblues Apr 16, 2011 15:42
    re- the GUI: There are clearly two kinds of people, those who enjoy the tanning-booth blast of photons a full screen of white provides, while squinting and trying to read some dark text amidst the nova-like particle blast (this web page is a good example). And those who like a calm, elegant, handsome interface with lighter text on darker background.”

    When I try and read on a website with a dark background and white text, after about 5 minutes my eyes start tripping out and I can’t read the page anymore and have to turn it off.

    This never happens on a white page with black text.

    I like the fact my credit card is black with silver text because it looks kind of cool, but I don’t stare at it for hours on end.

  172. Marcus R. Moore May 05, 2011 10:02

    Which is why the interface isn’t black, and the text isn’t white. This more neutral interface pallet has been standard in the ultra high end for a while, and IS easier on the eyes, and puts more focus on the content, and less on the interface.

  173. Ringoroo May 17, 2011 16:58

    I’ve been a professional editor for 15 years (mainly for the BBC), starting with tape, soon moving over to Avid (then using various other non-linear editing systems). I started using FCP about 6 years ago and loved it. I would now choose it hands down over any other NLE software.
    I’ve been eagerly awaiting FCPX but had the same concerns as many who have posted here.
    I read this blog (many thanks for your well informed views by the way Larry) and all of the comments before watching the videos of the demo. After reading I was a more than a little concerned, mainly about the possible loss of in depth control of the footage and edits. However, I then watched the demonstration and was blown away ! A large amount of the questions posted here are answered if you pay careful attention to some of the more throw away comments. As suggested earlier spending time telling us what still exists in FCPX rather than telling us about what’s new would be rather a waste of the relatively short time on stage. I do agree though that a bit of reassurance wouldn’t have gone amiss.
    Regarding the display (my working day is 10 hours or more in front of the screen) I can see the reason behind moving to a much darker interface but personally I find Mid Grey to be far better for concentration and longevity, after all it isn’t ALL about the video display, we do have to work with menus, options, effects etc for many long hours. But as most decent software these days allows some degree of customisation I find it hard to believe that Apple would not give some options in this area.
    Overall I think that it will be a huge step forward and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

  174. Ringoroo May 17, 2011 18:27

    Just to add to my thoughts about the display… in a professional setup there would be a client monitor that shows a full screen image of the edit (or rushes, depending on what’s playing) so talk about focusing on the video rather than the software environment is redundant as the the separate display allows complete focus and attention on the footage.
    Where this doesn’t apply is in a less professional environment – and all serious editors won’t (I ought to say “shouldn’t”) be subjected to this – after all, how can you seriously and objectively judge the quality of your media if you can’t view it on a high quality monitor ?

  175. warrick May 27, 2011 03:15

    Was compressor mentioned at all. FCP for me is useless without it! Is this built into FCP X like Premiere?

  176. Larry May 27, 2011 09:36

    Compressor was not mentioned.


  177. reason 6 review May 31, 2012 22:41

    You really make it seem so easy with your
    presentation but I find this matter to be actually something which I think I
    would never understand. It seems too complex and very broad for me.
    I am looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!