FCPX 2nd Day

For a better look at the FCP-X introduction, check out these videos: part 1, and especially part 2. What’s striking to me on second viewing is how much of the demo focused on editing. There were none of the de rigueur things we’ve gotten so used to — no mention of the number of realtime layers, for example, and little discussion of which media formats can be used. Instead, they talked about how editors work.

A few examples: The timeline doesn’t have tracks — it just has empty space. Sync picture and sound clips can be moved around as single objects. You can have multiple, independently editable timelines in the same sequence. Instead of audio keyframes, you drag the ends of fades. When you trim, all the clips in the timeline move. Speed ramps are done by grabbing part of the clip itself and stretching it.

It remains to be seen whether I would want to cut a complex sequence without asymmetrical trimming. Or whether I’d want to look at a timeline where sync audio clips and dialog edits weren’t visible. Or whether I’d want to lock music and sound effects to picture clips all the time in order to keep sync when trimming. Or whether I could do without the ability to lock two sequences together and compare them side by side. Nor is it clear how you’d turn over to sound, or share a project between editors, or handle big projects.

But whatever you think of this demo — and today’s reaction was pretty mixed in some circles — it focused on how we work. That’s where the innovation was, and that’s what got the crowd charged up.

Explore posts in the same categories: Avid, Avid vs. Final Cut, Final Cut

11 Comments on “FCPX 2nd Day”

  1. Chi-Ho Lee Says:


    We don’t know that this version doesn’t have asymmetrical trimming. They didn’t show that feature but we shouldn’t take that to mean that it doesn’t exist.

    If you go back to the video, the demo showed that you can open a menu to change clip appearance of filmstrip to an overview mode where the filmstrip goes away and the clips shrink to a small size. Inside that menu were six icons, I bet one of them shows the traditional view of picture and sound clips in the timeline. As least, I’m guessing here.

    I don’t think that people should jump to the conclusion that certain features don’t exist because they didn’t show it in the demo. They didn’t show any titling but I’m willing to bet $100 against anyone that it has a titler.

    But as most people have been saying, it’s a very small glimpse of the new capabilities, not a summary of what it’s complete feature set.


  2. Justin Barham Says:

    Great entry Steve. I had the same reaction: they’re focussing on actual editorial. This is a good thing.

  3. THomas Vordal Says:

    Of course focusing on the creative process rather than the technological is positive.

    But the technological interface barrier wasn’t really the problem with FCP7, was it? (It never is for people who actually bother to learn how the software is used, whether we’re talking about Avid, FCP, Premiere etc.)

    I’m not opposed to new paradigms in non-linear editing, but unless something has been done with FCP’s achilles heel – media management and interchangeability – I’d sure like to know why.

  4. Anthony Oetzmann Says:

    As a dialogue and effects editor, I routinely collaborate with picture editors, so the interchange is my biggest question mark, but that’ll be resolved in due time as we learn more details of this application. I’m familiar with the Media Composer due to basic necessity, and because I think it’s a good idea to know the language of the picture department.

    The editing innovation I see in this application has me hoping Avid will try to best them, though as Steve has mentioned in the pre-NAB panel, they may not have the resources to do that as quickly as we’d like.

    I’ve seen this kind of innovative push in an audio application as well, and it too has some shortcomings to a similar degree as I hear people talking about FCP. That program is Reaper and I’m keeping careful track of that as well, because it offers me ease of use, customizability and innovative interface concepts that the established industry players lack. It saves time, but it has problems with interchangability to a degree.

    I’ll be getting FCP X for my MacbookPro and possibly a Hackintosh’ed i7 PC, on which my Protools systems run. Maybe not right away as it becomes available, but I see this as the next step in interface development. It’ll certainly help me improve my knowledge of picture editors because it’s easier to use with a lower entry barrier.

    The newer kids on the block may not stand up to all the pressures we face. I know Reaper doesn’t as Protools does in some situations.

    But I welcome the pressure this puts on our tool makers.

  5. Leo Says:

    My thoughts about your comments about asymmetrical trimming is that you are thinking in “Avid” way.
    Lets assume that clip grouping and linking works like Apple says it work.
    Maybe in that case you don’t need asymmetrical trimming to keep things in sync.
    About your concern about sync like in your example with the music. Probably there will be two options like “dont compress time, fill with slug” and “only allow roll edits” or something similar.

  6. Steve Says:

    My impression is that the FCP designers don’t see the need for asymmetrical trimming. But it gives you a specific kind of power that the current FC badly lacks. This is hard to explain to folks who haven’t used it extensively (and even some Avid-ites fall into that camp.)

    You can adjust any transition, picture or sound, with full scrubbing & playing at that point, and have everything else move the correct way, forward OR backwards. Every trim is different and you sometimes have to think for a minute to figure out which way you want things to go. But once you do, you can make very complex adjustments very quickly.

    No question, if every piece of non-sync audio were locked to picture somewhere, that would be a big improvement — and I’ve been asking for that feature from Avid for at least 15 years.

    But I don’t think it would replace asymmetrical trimming, and depending on how it’s implemented, I don’t think it’ll be very precise. Often you want to shorten the head of one thing and the tail of something else, or the A side of one and the B side of another. Just dragging picture and sound along to keep sync isn’t the same thing. You’d be in sync when you were done, but you’d have to go in and adjust each of the separate elements individually. That takes time and thought.

    Final Cut is more focused on moving rectangles around in the timeline. MC is more focused on transitions — on the cut rather than the clip. The difference is subtle, and a matter of personal preference, and in the end, you can get the job done either way.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m eager to try the new timeline features in FCPX, and I think they’re very innovative. But without the ability to scrub and adjust audio on one cut and simultaneously trim picture somewhere else, A or B side, forward or back as needed, I’m not going to be as fast as I am now.

    • Bill Russo Says:

      You’ve touched on a number of really important things here Steve.

      I’ve been an (avid) asymmetric trimmer ever since I learned it from your first “Tips & Tricks”. I LIVE in asymmetric trim. Particularly when cutting dialog in a drama. Pushing dialog into overlap and constantly hitting play and readjusting for that sweet spot – I cannot live without it.

      This is where you are working TO THE FRAME. In fact ALWAYS working to the frame. Every frame fights for its survival.

      As you said Avid is focused on the cut rather than the clip. These compound clips sound like a friendlier version of FCP nests and will be useful for moving blocks of scenes around but in the end you will need to pay attention to the detail of the new transition. For me that means asymmetric trim.

      FCP can do asymmetric trim “quite well” but WITHOUT sound scrub and nowhere near as elegantly as Avid. Let’s hope that is fixed.

      While running the Editing department at our national film school I tried to get my students to use asymmetric trim, sadly very few persevered and mastered it. Many who had only been exposed to FCP and never having been exposed to an actual frame of film and a splicer, were often happy with the spot where they hit the spacebar. That’s when they began to learn the fine detail of cutting to the frame.

      This is where Avid excells.

  7. Alain Says:

    Dragging the end of fades Is a feature that has been in Lightworks for ages. And the asymmetric trim is even more powerful than Avid’s.

    About the magnetic timeline. I think it can be really useful but on the other hand you ‘ll spend a lot of time establishing sync relationships within the timeline. So in the end it’s just another way of working, but nothing revolutionary.

    What seems weird to me is all the automated functions like shot detection, face detection etc. As an editor, the only selects I trust is the ones I made myself having looked at the rushes. Not the one some software (or even an assistant) makes for me. I wouldn’t feel comfortable editing this way because I wouldn’t be sure of having seen everything. In film school I always need to tell my impatient students to watch first and edit later. I’m sure this kind of features will make that some editors will watch rushes even less.

    Anyway, to make an analogy with camera’s. Autofocus and auto-exposure has been around for ages, but never on highend camera’s. The reason is control and as a result higher quality. Editing isn’t any different I believe.

  8. Marcus Moore Says:

    @Alain- But I think that’s the point. Apple will gather that data for you if you choose, but you’re not bound to it. But I can certainly see the need to do a universal search for all singles, or all two shots. But the key thing is that this automatically generated info, supplemented by user defined metadata, this becomes even more powerful. Apple hasn’t made a system that determines “good takes”, it’s farming out easily identifiable user data to the computer.

    My question is, does it do “Face Detection” as well as “Shot Detection”. If FCPX can detect human faces like iPhoto- that will be wonderful. So would a sound-search function for locating dialogue, like AVID or PP [I can’t remember which] just got.

    There’s nothing wrong with automatic functions as long as you can override them.

  9. Eric Maran Says:

    If you watch the full 60 minutes of the NAB demo, they do show a section on J and L edits (asymmetric trimming) – part of their INLINE PRECISION EDITOR that replaces all of the trim-based tools – and you can definitely scrub in the editor.

    I really got the sense by watching the demo that they’re just showing what makes this version really different than the previous version and that even though there’s an extremely user friendly version of the tools, that you can still dig as deep as required to really fine-tune your edit.

  10. Steve Says:

    Eric, I don’t think J & L edits are asymmetric trims — that is, a trim where you adjust one cut in one direction and another in the opposite direction. (Picture to the left, sound to the right, eg.) But hopefully we’ll know a lot more very soon and won’t have to speculate.

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