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Final Cut Pro X Review
Technology should make our lives easier
• Slick and attractive interface
• Multicam support
• Magnetic trackless timeline
• Fast performance speeds
• Macs only
• Not suitable for beginners
As the name suggests, Final Cut Pro X is not your average consumer video editing program – this software from Apple is designed for the professional and has a professional-sized price tag to go with it. Final Cut Pro X has speed, precision editing features and a new, clean interface.
While beginners may not be so enthusiastic about this software, editors looking to move to a pro-level package will find a lot in Final Cut’s favor. Judging Final Cut on its merits as a high-end piece of kit, how does it rate in terms of professional video editing capabilities?
The whole Final Cut Pro X package is optimized to work best on the MacBook Pro with Retina display. If you have this equipment then the video editing software allows you to view your video alongside the editing interface on the same 15-inch screen. Without the MacBook Pro you can still use Final Cut Pro X with other Mac equipment – you’ll need at least a Core 2 Duo processor, 2.4GB of disk space, between 2 and 4GB RAM, graphics card and 256MB of VRAM (up to 512 MB is recommended.)
Installing the software is easy since you buy it from the Apple App Store and once you’ve clicked on the icon it is available in your Mac’s Finder to be accessed and run. Updates are delivered automatically.
The simplified single-window interface allows you to import your data from a variety of sources such as video cameras, external hard drives, video from tape, DSLRs and professional digital video cameras like the Sony XAVC. You can continue with your editing while the import process takes place. Once the data is imported you choose from a Filmstrip view which shows your clips in visual form, or a List view which displays the metadata associated with the clips. We like the organizational features built into the Final Cut Pro software which auto-analyzes your footage and applies metadata and tags so you can find your clips more easily. You can also add your own search terms to find shots, and even apply tags to only one part of a clip.
Working on the road or outside your Mac is easier when you create proxies of your master sources so you can work more quickly. You can also start projects in iMovie and move into the Final Cut Pro studio to complete the precision editing.
The “Magnetic Timeline” in Final Cut Pro X is a precision editing tool that many video editing software packages lack. The shots fit together magnetically to remove any black gaps and they also automatically shift and move when there are potential collisions and syncing issues. The software is set up to allow for sophisticated multicam editing and the Clip Connections feature allows you to keep all your different elements together as you move clips and make changes. The Auditions feature is a way of collecting different “takes” at the same point in the timeline so you can scroll through them to “audition” them and choose the best for your project. Small changes in the way the timeline operates give you more precision and control, including improved ways to trim clips. All these features and more make for a professional-level editing package that makes it easier to create sophisticated movie projects, advertising and visuals.
Final Cut Pro X contains a wide selection of effects for experimenting with drop shadows, glow, and lighting, working with advanced color features, adding customizable effects and transitions, or adding themed animations and transitions already designed for your use.
Audio editing takes place on multiple channels which can be hidden or displayed depending on what you need to edit. If you decide to add music and sound effects from your Mac you can easily use iTunes and Aperture libraries and search content without having to leave the Final Cut editing screen. There is also a royalty-free sound effects library with more than 1,300 clips. Repair problematic sound clips with the automatic enhancement feature or by hand, and synch audio which is recorded separately from the camera. In short, the audio editing features are a big plus in Final Cut Pro X’s favor. There’s a significant amount of choice in which features to use and you will end up with a professional –sounding video if you spend some time with the tools.
The Final Cut Pro X system is designed to work with modern multicore Macs and therefore is designed with speed and performance in mind. With 64-bit quality and GPU utilization you can work at a good speed and render, move and edit your movie without interruptions. We were pleased with the overall performance of this software, which is in alignment with its pro-level status.
Create a polished final project with titles and menu options created using the Final Cut tools. The software includes a comprehensive set of templates which you can modify to create your own look, or start from scratch with your own design. If you don’t want to go with the templates you get a lot of control over how text is positioned and you don’t need any external program to create a professional finish to your discs.
Export using preset channels to have your work displayed on iPhones, iPads, Apple TV, DVD, Blu-ray, QuickTime, and the internet. There is direct sharing with YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo and CNN iReport, or you can use the HTTP live streaming method to share video over the web. You can export your final version or single clips or ranges.
Ease of use
The interface is clean and simple, making use of the standard arrangement of source clips in the top left of the screen, a preview panel on the right, and the timeline running across the bottom of the screen. Using keyboard shortcuts makes editing quicker, and the Magnetic Timeline makes it easy to organize and drag-and-drop clips to be trimmed and edited.
Help & support
Apple gives a good amount of support to users of its products and the Final Cut Pro package is no exception. Look at a large selection of documentation online to find out how to use the different aspects of the software features, and download articles in PDF form. Access user forums and groups, and learn about video editing from manuals, blogs and web tutorials.
Final Cut Pro X gives the professional and semi-professional video editor some serious tools to work with and a range of top-class features for creating a high quality final product. Beginners and home movie makers will probably find something to suit them better elsewhere but those that want a more comprehensive and sophisticated video editing package will find a lot on offer here.
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