Apple's Final Cut Pro X

Apple’s Final Cut Pro X
Are you upgrading?

Apple’s Final Cut Pro 7 was well on its way to becoming the right arm of indie filmmakers everywhere. Even Oscar®-winning editors Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter of The Social Network relied on Final Cut Pro 7 to craft the Hollywood blockbuster. Now with all the anti-buzz surrounding the release of Final Cut Pro X, Apple’s newest version of its nonlinear editing software, what’s an editor to do?

First, the good news: the new Final Cut Pro X costs $299, a steep discount from previous versions. FCPX’s new media organization, with its custom keywords and metadata, makes clips easily retrievable, and the upgrades in rendering are standout improvements.

But instead of embracing the leaner and meaner program, many in the video-editing blogosphere have been bewildered by the new version and its missing features, such as backwards compatibility with FCP7, multicamera support and workflow from tapes.

Adobe, maker of the rival nonlinear editing system Premiere, is capitalizing on the resistance by discounting its products and targeting Apple’s customers.

On the Final Cut Pro X FAQ page, Apple says some of these features will be “available soon” and the company reiterated the promises with enterprise users earlier this month. David Pogue of the New York Times defended FCPX in a rebuttal of sorts and author Philip Hodgetts answered more questions on his blog.

A 7000-plus-signature petition calling for the reinstatement of the previous version of FCP as Apple’s professional editing software may not have much impact, but the concerns continue to provoke discussion online about whether FCPX is worth the upgrade for individuals and production houses.

Eric Maierson of the Emmy/Webby/duPont awards-winning multimedia studio said in a post, “Final Cut X is still too awkward and clunky to play big-time ball,” while professional editor Matthew Levie arrived at a similar conclusion after a five-day test drive, saying despite key advances, “it will still be very difficult to use professionally”.

But the Conan O’Brien editors may have summed it up best, creating this viral video that captured what many video editors have been feeling:

Are you upgrading or abandoning? Are you making a big change in your production house or institution? Facebook or reply to us on Twitter @povdocs with the hashtag #fcpx and we’ll follow up with your responses.

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Alva French is a freelance multimedia journalist and was a POV Digital intern in Summer 2011. She has been blogging on French and Francophone music, politics and culture since 2007 and is an aspiring documentary filmmaker. Alva is currently an M.A. candidate in International Reporting at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.