Final Cut Studio X: Everything Just Changed In Post (Whether You Like It Or Not)

Final Cut Studio X: Everything Just Changed In Post (Whether You Like It Or Not)

Apple has just released an update to its flagship video editing application, Final Cut Pro. The new version, now known as Final Cut Pro X, has some of the audio editing features of Soundtrack Pro and a simplified the user experience, but will potentially alienate pro film makers and audio engineers.

On the Mac App Store page for Final Cut Pro X, Apple has coined the phrase, “Everything just changed in post.” Unfortunately, it seems not for the better.

Apple also released new versions of Compressor and Motion. Absent from the update list are Soundtrack Pro, DVD Studio Pro and Color. Many of the features of these applications have been built into Final Cut Pro X.

Audio editing in Final Cut Pro has never been great. There was a Apple certification course for sound editing in Final Cut Pro (I have a taught a number of these courses). The course focused on the use of Soundtrack Pro in conjunction with Final Cut Pro for basic audio post production, often referred to as sweetening.

If Soundtrack Pro was not beefy enough for your needs, you could always export as an OMF file (An OMF file is a generic project format that allows you to transport projects between digital audio workstations) and take your audio project into a separate digital audio workstation, such as Pro Tools, Logic Pro and Nuendo.

Well that has all changed. It seems that the ability to export audio from Final Cut Pro X has been removed. No longer can you export audio as an OMF. The audio is “stuck” inside the project.

Steve Martin wrote an in-depth first look and review of Final Cut Pro X and mentions this shortcoming. Final Cut Pro X adds many of the features of Soundtrack Pro in the latest version, but it by no means possesses the same editing prowess as Soundtrack Pro or external digital audio workstations. This could potentially push many professional editors away from Final Cut Pro X.

A quick look at the ratings and reviews on the Mac App Store show some pretty unhappy customers.

Maybe the X is for all of the features Apple is cutting?

  • Bobby McCallister-Knight

    I understand there is no backwards compatibility with Final Cut Pro 7 files. You can import iMovie–but not FCP 7 files.  This is a disaster. This needs to be fixed immediately.

  • Jason Gaines

    Hi Bobby,

    Absolutely right. I really recommend reading Steve Martin’s full article linked in the post (if you haven’t already). He does a great job talking about the nice new features and the missing workflow techniques.

  • CharliK

    or not. 

    If you started a project in FCP7 you likely had a game plan that included all the things you could do in that version of the Studio package. Switching over mid project to FCPX could be the disaster. And a costly one at that. Which is why almost every pro house isn’t going to switch mid project anyway. And isn’t bothered by the lack of said feature. 

  • pangeomedia

    After using FCP X for a whole day, my initial response has changed. At first, I thought, “This is just all wrong. Too many shortcomings.” After all, there’s no backward project compatibility, no export, and plenty of missing features that exist comfortably in Final Cut Studio, Soundtrack, DVD, et al. After using it a few hours it got worse. There’s more to learn. 

    Then something interesting happened. By the end of the day, as I waded through the new interface tools, attempted to adopt the tools to my workflow, I noticed something. Editing was faster, easier, less convoluted and FCP in Studio. Many of the ‘missing features’ in FCP X were not those I used often in Studio (but still miss). Regardless, FCP X was, within a day, a better user experience for me and my workflow adapted quickly.

    So, here’s what I think. This is typical Apple. Out with the old, in with the new. It’s life. Deal with it. By this time next year, FCP X will have added many missing features and functions from Studio. In two years those of us who opted for the upgrade will be two years ahead on some very attractive workflow improvements, and have new features, all in 64-bit goodness.

    And, FWIW, FCP X absolutely screams on a new Mac with an SSD. Screams. FC Studio never screamed.

    My initial fears and disappointments have abated, and I’m impressed with how quickly a project comes together in the new workflow.

    No, I haven’t dumped FC Studio, older projects, or the other Mac that houses it. And I won’t for awhile. But I’m convinced FCP X is faster and easier to use (get over the hump) for some projects and will improve quickly. Time is money.

  • Jason Gaines

    I agree. There is one constant in this world and it is that things can and will change. FCP X is certainly no exception. You’re right, there probably are a good deal of features that are new and helpful over previous versions.

    I am not speaking from a film/video editing standpoint. All I was mentioning is that for many projects, the sound editing tools in FCPX are lacking. Honestly, they were lacking in Soundtrack Pro, too. The difference was that you could export through OMF files to work with DAWs. Everyone may not do this, but a number of people do.

    I feel/hope these features will be added in future updates.

  • David Maddox

    You will need to be able to open FCP7 files at some point. This has nothing to do with switching in the middle of a project, which is never recommended. But when that client calls you in a couple of months, and says, “Hey, remember that TV special we did in January? We need to make a couple of quick changes.” Either you’ll have to completely start over, or you’ll have to also keep a copy of FCP7 on your system forever.

  • X Y

    Final cut Pro X is imovie on steroids! How the hell could it compare to the professional suite FCS!!! Apple could had revamp FCS but bullsh@#$%ing us that this is FC new software…… Avid media or premiere, even back to vegas video!

About the author

Jason GainesJason Gaines is an author, musician and educator. He has experience performing in Broadway shows, studio sessions and various large and small jazz groups in New York City. He has written music for television and independent film. He uses Logic Pro professionally and consultants with audio and post houses throughout the United States and Canada. He is currently finishing his first book for Oxford University Press that involves writing music for film and television with technology.

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