Foxvideo Productions

Media Production

September 2015

The 'Right' screwdriver.

I’ve had access to the Internet since 1996 and back then the web was a very different place, mostly grey text pages with blue hyperlinks, with very few pictures and certainly no video clips, however it did offer quick access to information. As an early adopter of professional non-linear video editing we’d had to rely on monthly magazines with several weeks lead time for information, the Internet allowed almost ‘realtime’ access to other non-linear video editors worldwide via ‘user forums’, this gave users of similar systems a way to exchange information, offer problem solving solutions and give tips and tricks for this ‘new’ way of working and I was certainly an avid (definitely no pun intended!) reader and contributor to several forums including the Media100 and DVDoctor forums among others.

I can remember many online ‘discussions’ about which computer system (Mac or PC) was best, which non-linear system was the best or which way of doing something was best, these discussions sometimes got very heated and some users were banned from certain forums, even now a look on Google still brings up some of the threads I was involved in over 12 years ago!

Where am I going with this? Final Cut Pro 7 vs FCPX.

In 2011 Apple introduced FCPX to the world, this was a radically different approach to non-linear video editing, it was even referred to by some FCP7 hardliners in a derogatory way as iMovie Pro as much of the interface had iMovie similarities. At first many FCP7 users were totally against it, they had wanted FCP8 and to them, FCPX was far from being the new FCP8. I stayed out of the argument publicly but privately FCPX was not for me and many early users requested refunds. Apple then agreed to offer a 30 day trial, so I downloaded it, tried it and gave up on it, it was too radically different for me, I’d been using FCP7 for 11 years and didn’t see the need, or want to change.

I finally gave in, and in late 2013 bought FCPX, I’d done several of the video training courses, read the articles and even bought a couple of FCPX specific plugins but, I still didn’t get on with it. I edited a piece sometime back on FCP7 and thought, as I knew the footage and the edit I’d replicate it in FCPX as a way of learning and using the program - it was a total disaster, took me 3 days to do in FCPX what had taken me a few hours in FCP7.

For the type of work I currently do, I still go to FCP7 as my editor of choice (with Premiere CS6 as an alternative if I need it), I can throw an edit together in a few hours and get it up on the web for the people I work for, that is until this week.....

Although I could have done this particular edit in FCP7, FCPX was the ‘proper’ way to go and it turned out a very reasonable result which, when I showed it to the client, commented it ‘somehow looked better’ than other edits I’d done for him (!)

Bible1

The edit.....? It was a green screen shoot, a 5 minute piece to camera to be illustrated in the edit with drop-ins and some text. I’d shot it on a JVC HM700 with the green screen background and lights I’ve mentioned in an earlier blog post, we’d done a test, made some tweaks then shot for ‘real’ last Monday night.

bible2

After importing the footage to FCPX, I found the right take to use and dropped it in, we’d had to cut to do a second take at one point and I found the take for that and added it to the edit, I’d previously bought Hawaiki Keyer 2, I’d used the trial on our test and found it superior to the FCPX GS keyer. With the footage keyed, I dropped in the background and the inserts, adding some text seemed easier than FCP7 and, If I’m honest the basic edit was ready in around half the time it would have taken had I used FCP7. A few tweaks, a intro / outro music sting and I loaded the edit to an iPad to show the client who was well pleased with the result, he’s taken it to a meeting this weekend to try for additional funding for the project.

Some of the more sensible forum posters in the early days of NLE had said ‘whatever the right tool for the job’ was the correct answer to the Mac vs PC and Avid vs Final Cut Pro vs Premiere argument, although I’d accepted this long ago, my recent FCP7 / FCPX experience has shown they were right all along, I still prefer FCP7 but in the same way as I have more than one screwdriver in my toolbox, I have 3 very different editing systems and will continue to use each (for as long as I can) depending on the type of edit.

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