If you’ve been paying any attention to the tech world lately you’ve probably heard about the debacle that is Final Cut Pro X. For those of you who don’t know, FCP has been the defacto standard for professional video editors over the last few years, and Apple just released the newest version of it.
The reactions weren’t just bad, they were scathing. The editors of the Conan show even made a video about it.
I’ll say right now, these bad reviews from the pros are completely justified. I’m not sure how Apple could release a “professional” level application that won’t allow you to import old FCP projects, but will allow you to import iMovie projects.
That said, most of the features that have been left out will really be irrelvent to you unless you’re a professional.
So now that we’ve established that this program totally sucks in that regard, I want to say this:
Final Cut Pro X is the video editor that I’ve been dreaming about.
The Move Towards Video
Over the last few years we’ve seen a sharp increase in the amount of bloggers who are using video to not only present information in a new way to their readers, but also to do a better job of building relationships and selling a message.
For a long time I was reluctant to do much video on Location 180. I had a PC, and the editing options I had were either way too limited, or had too steep a learning curve for me to want to put much effort in to it. I also didn’t have a camera that shot high enough quality footage to make it worth my time.
Well things have changed. I’ve got a Mac now, and iMovie could not have made video editing more simple. I’ve also got a decent HD camera, so the quality is there.
Bottom line, these days I actually have a nice setup to capture and edit useful, high quality videos.
Over the next few years I think the bloggers who will be most successful are the ones who embrace a variety of different media channels to get their message across. Whether it’s video, audio, photography etc., everyone learns and prefers to take in information in different ways. Whether it’s through real or perceived value, the more you options you can give your readers, the better.
Due to this, I’ve been ramping up my video. It’s something I’ve always liked doing, but I’m just now finding how worth it is to brush up on my movie making chops and do things a bit different.
iMovie Was Great, and Now It’s Not
When I first got my Mac and started playing around with iMovie, I couldn’t get over how great it was. Not only was it the easiest video editor I’ve ever used, but it was free. I got to the point where I could put together something decent in just a few minutes, and that program alone got me re-motivated to embrace video.
Well now it’s 6 months later and things are a little bit different. I’m expanding my abilities and the things I want to do, and unfortunately iMovie can’t quite keep up. Simple things like taking a mono audio track and expanding it to stereo so that the audio comes in both left and right channels is way more difficult than it should be. Actually, anything using audio in general with iMovie totally sucks.
Titles and captions in iMovie, while very easy to do have now become way too overused, and there is little flexibility to do anything different. Due to this, you can tell when something has been made by iMovie, because it all looks the same!
However, these issues pale in comparison to my biggest issue, which is importing video. I use a camera that shoots in what must be the most unfriendly video format known to man, AVCHD. While the video quality is excellent, it seems that for some reason it’s taken years for major software programs to come around to embracing the format.
iMovie can do nothing with this. Nothing.
So I have to use Adobe Media Encoder to encode it to something else, and with hundreds of options with very subtle differences, I never know what I’m going to get.
As you can tell, I’ve been waiting for an update to iMovie or something similar that keeps it’s ease of use while still giving me professional level tools.
Introducing iMovie Pro (ahem, Final Cut Pro X)
Some members of the media have not-so-affectionately referred to the latest FCP as “iMovie Pro”. I’d refer to it as the same thing, the difference is that I’m ecstatic about it, whereas they’ve made it a derogatory term.
There’s a reason for this though, FCP X looks and feels exactly like a better iMovie.
I’ve gone back and forth on the prospect of learning how to use previous versions of Final Cut. However, it isn’t cheap and there’s a relatively steep learning curve. I opened up FCP X for the first time and immediately was able to start editing. As mentioned above, I was even able to import old iMovie projects.
This version of FCP is exactly what I’d hoped a newer iMovie would be, but I never expected this program to have the Final Cut Pro name on it. Does that matter to me? Absolutely not. Should it matter to you? Chances are, absolutely not.
So what are some of the features that I’m most excited about? And how does this help me as a blogger?
- Improved audio capabilities – I recently purchased a sweet lavalier mic off Amazon that’s perfect for shooting interviews or doing videos in places where there’s normally a lot of background noise. The problem is that it’s a mono mic, so if left alone, sound will only come from one channel. For some crazy reason iMovie has no way to deal with this aside from exporting it into a sound editing program and changing it that way. If you’re going to embrace video, it’s small investments like this that will make a world of difference, and FCP X will make your life a thousand times easier.
- Native Support for AVCHD – This alone was worth it for me. I took my memory card, put it in my computer, hit import, and immediately it recognized my files. You have no idea how excited I was the first time I did this. This is saving me hours of work, and ultimately giving me much higher quality video.
- Ability to Set In/Out Points – iMovie was made simple on purpose, but due to this, it became too simple. Things like trimming a clip or selecting pieces of a clip to use were kind of a pain due to their simplicity. Not anymore. FCP X has all of the features like this that a video editor should have, while still maintaining ease of use.
- Greater Flexibility With Effects and Titles – My movies don’t have to look like they were done in iMovie anymore. Sure many of the same features are there, and it’s still just as easy to add them, but now there are many more options which are more customizable that allow me to be much more creative with my work.
I could go on, but you can see all of the features here
I’m Not a Professional
If by some chance you happen to be a professional video editor and you’re reading, you’re probably shaking your head in disgust as I write this. I (admittedly) don’t really know much about video editing. The things that excite me are probably the most basic of features, but you know what? I’m ok with that.
I really believe that if you have a blog, and you want to see significant growth over the next few years, you’ll be at a huge advantage if you learn how to utilize video in one way or another. As technology and bandwidth improve, it’s only going to get easier to add video, and the demand will just keep rising.
If you decide to take this seriously iMovie will very quickly leave you limited in what you can do. FCP 7, Adobe Premiere and Avid will take more time than you’re probably willing to commit to become proficient at. FCP X is the perfect balance between profesional and amateur and is without a doubt the best video editor I’ve ever used for my own, non-professional purposes.
If you do anything with video right now and use iMovie, spend the $300 and upgrade to Final Cut Pro X, I promise the quality of your videos will improve dramatically.
NOTE: There are no affiliate links or anything of the sort in this post, I just really feel FCP is that good for amateur videographers.
Today I’ve also released the final video in the 4 part Location Rebel video series. It’s called Job Security 2.0 and Happiness. If you haven’t checked out Location Rebel, now would be an awesome time to do so.
In the coming week there will be a lot more information released on the program itself, as well as an introduction to our three case studies that we’ll be following along with.