Waiting on Final Cut Pro X 10.1
and the new Mac Pro.


It's been an interesting ride editing with Final Cut Pro over the last dozen or so years. The excitement of non-linear video editing on a Mac that you owned with affordable software that actually worked was a milestone for many.

The launch of FCPX 10.0 certainly was interesting, as have been the 2+ years since. Now we are on the dawn of a new version of FCPX and a new Mac Pro as well.

At a Special event on Oct 22nd 2013, Apple announced a new version of FCPX will be released in December along with the new Mac Pro.

I expect the next update of Final Cut Pro X will be a full point release versus a dot release like all updates have been so far. I expect it to not only add new original features, but also add back some of the requested features that have been missing from Final Cut Pro X in its first 2+ years. According to Apple, there have been no major FCPX feature updates for over a year. It looks like they've been saving the new features for 10.1.

Will 10.1 be a paid upgrade?
Could be
. Although Philip Hodgetts thinks 10.1 will be a free update. That would be a nice and welcome Christmas present.

The usual upgrade cycle between paid versions of FCP is around 2 years. FCPX is 2 years and 6 months at this point.

According to the Final Cut Pro X Terms Of Service:
"Apple may provide you any such upgrades and updates that it may release up to, but not including, the next major release of the Apple Software, for free. With respect to this Apple Software, for example, if you originally purchased a license for version 10.0 of the Apple Software, Apple may provide you for free any software upgrades or updates it might release (e.g. version 10.0.1 or 10.0.2) up to, but not including, version 10.1"


"Is Final Cut Pro X professional" is a headline-seeking question, with its variations, that I've seen lingering from FCPX's original release. The answer to that question is "yes" and that has been documented many, many times by professional filmmakers, TV producers, news groups, event videographers, post production houses, pro editors and more. Most Final Cut Pro X editors really don't need anyone to tell them whether FCPX is professional. They already know it is.

Does FCPX fit every professional workflow? Does Avid or Premiere Pro?. The answer is, no single NLE fits everyone's professional workflow. Does FCPX need improvements? Yes. Does Avid and Premiere also need improvements? Absolutely. If you have your own definition of professional (professional - engaged in a specified activity as one's main paid occupation rather than as a pastime ) or other special requirements or workflows (working with proprietary hardware, software, editors or producers), you'll have to decide which NLE is right for you.You might have a different question, but the professional question has been answered. Final Cut Pro X is certainly professional. If you have any lingering doubts, ask Michael Cioni (Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Spiderman, Pirates Of The Caribbean) who said:

"Final Cut Pro X is possibly the most powerful editing tool ever built. Final Cut Pro X is a powerful alternative to Avid Media Composer. Regardless of what you've heard, most people's opinion seem to be based on what they've been told, not what the've actually done."


Final Cut Pro X 10.1 will attract even more pros to its growing roster of high-end professionals.
If you bet against FCPX initially, you should reconsider it when FCPX 10.1 arrives.


The New Mac Pro


In an unusual move, Apple has tied together the release of the new Mac Pro and FCPX 10.1. Some are complaining about the new Mac Pro, even before its release. A common complaint I've read is concerning peripheral cable clutter.

Cable clutter, really? That won't be any different for me from what I have now with my 2008 Mac Pro.


Another complaint I've seen is that the new Mac Pro is not rack mountable.
Yep. Nothing's changed. Neither is the old Mac Pro. It takes up 12 rack spaces when put it in a rack vertically.



But the new Mac Pro sure is a lot smaller.
8 of them occupy the same space as a current Mac Pro and 4-6 can fit on a rack shelf and only take up 4 vertical rack spaces.

There are no PCIe slots or room for additional hard drives besides the built in SSD internal storage. So I do have a few PCIe cards that I will have to either replace or add to a multiple slot Thunderbolt 2 PCIe card chassis. And I'll be adding Thunderbolt 2 external storage to my new Mac Pro for sure. I'm expecting that FCPX and the new Mac Pro, with its dual GPUs, next gen Xeon processors, Thunderbolt 2, 4K support and new PCIe based SSD, will be quite the high performance 4K pro video editing solution. It would be a nice surprise to get a free or discounted copy of FCPX with the purchase of a new Mac Pro.


BREAKING NEWS: Editors are a vocal bunch with strong opinions.

If I wasted my time writing about software that I don't like and will never use, it would be a full time job.

Every editor has their own ideas about what features they want to see added to Final Cut Pro X 10.1. Some actually use FCPX and offer constructive suggestions on how to improve it. And then there are the "my-NLE-can-beat-up-your-NLE" puffed-up bullfrogs on both sides of the FCPX fence.

Professional: exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace.
Does a real professional waste time trashing the software that others are using? No, that's petty, jealous, crybaby nonsense and certainly not a trait of a real professional. They are just puffed up bullfrogs, croaking for attention. Ignore the bullfrogs and try FCPX for yourself. There is a free 30 day trial you can download here and there are many free tutorials to help you get started.

David Pogue talked to FCPX's product managers at Apple after its release in June 2011:
“missing features” generally fall into three categories:
features that are actually there and have just been moved around
features that Apple intends to restore and
features that require a third-party (non-Apple) add-on or plug-in.

"FCP X offers legions of amazing features that the old version didn’t have, but it doesn’t have all the features of the old one, either. It’s only fair, however, to separate what’s really missing from knee-jerk “It’s so different!” hysteria."

Knee-jerk hysteria indeed. That was 2011.
In 2013, after 9 FCPX updates, most requested features fall into 3 main categories:

1) Media management improvements.

2) Interface improvements.

3) Workflow improvements

Media management improvements.

Foolproof media management for easy archiving and moving events and projects. A single folder structure (Library), like Logic Pro X has, for both Events and Projects would be much more efficient than the two folder system that exists now (for example the prior two import windows have been consolidated in to one). Every item in an Event and Project, including customized titles, effects, compound clips and all media, should be properly tracked and accounted for when it's archived, copied or moved.  No more missing icons or other surprises upon opening the archived project. Also add the ability to trim a project to just the media that is actually used in a project with a handles option.

A single master searchable database across all Events and Projects, hidden or not, would be a welcome addition.

Interface improvements

Custom recallable window layouts including multiple scope windows open at the same time.
A full height timeline window on 2nd monitor with individual lane height adjustments.
An improved, fully featured dedicated keyframe editor.
An improved, single window, color corrector interface with a white balance color picker and keyframeable parameters.
Pro audio features including a mixing board and dedicated audio editor.
True Timeline markers that stay in place and don't move with clips.
And of course, a scrolling timeline option.


The back-and-forth, back-and-forth 3 tabbed, multiple windowed color board needs a serious makeover. Most prefer a single window with all color controls visible with traditional color wheels.




Workflow improvements

The most requested workflow improvement I've seen is a more collaborative workflow;
multiple editors working on a SAN on the same project at the same time.

No more spinning beachballs.
True roundtripping with the other Pro Apps - Motion, Logic Pro X and Aperture
Incremental time stamped project versions with a history window contained in a single folder.
Favorite effects, titles and transitions.

Alex4d, who provides dozens of free plugins for FCPX, would like to see better XML, multiuser editing and store integration:

"I hope Apple implement a ‘sub-ecosystem’ – an in-app-based way for post production people to access products and services for Final Cut Pro X, Motion 5, Logic Pro X and Aperture."

Creative Cow has their own FCPX wishlist here.
LAFCPUG's wishlist is here
Oliver Peters wishlist is here
My master wishlist is here

I expect the FCPX team will continue to add features that are much better versions than previous incarnations (like they did with multicam, persistent selections, inline precision editor, auditions, Share menu, etc). Logic Pro X has really set the bar high for Apple's pro apps. I'd like to see FCPX 10.1 clear that bar.

FCPX 10.1 should have new unique features that no one has (like the skimmer or the magnetic timeline) - where the puck is going, magic NLE features. Whatever the Final Cut Pro X team has up their sleeves, these are the features that will justify a full point paid upgrade.

As a professional editor and proponent of Final Cut Pro X, I'm expecting 10.1 to be a major upgrade to an already professional, forward-looking, NLE.

Originally published September 30th, 2013.
Updated October 21.
Updated October 28.
Updated November 22.
Updated December 10.

Copyright © 2013 Richard Taylor. All rights reserved.
Apple, Final Cut Pro X, Mac Pro and Logic Pro X are registered trademarks of Apple Inc
Final Cut Pro X images from the App Store or Apple's website.

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