Learning FCPx

I had to edit my friend’s pre-wedding montage this year. As a challenge to myself, I took the chance to have the project edited in Final Cut Pro X. Final Cut Pro X debuted (last year?) to much cries of dumbing down and iMovie Pro. I wanted to find out for myself and at the same time add another “feather” to my cap. There was only one thing to do. I scrapped up SGD$370 and purchased Final Cut Pro X via the Mac App store. And the next step, go to the nearest library and check out Peachpit’s Final Cut Pro X by Diana Weynand. So I embarked on my journey to learn Final Cut Pro X.

I spent my evenings running through the book and learning the basics of FCPx by just clicking everything in sight. I have a confession to make, I didn’t finish reading the book. The software isn’t hard to figure out if you are familar with the original Final Cut Pro or Avid. I can’t speak for Premiere Pro since I never had a hands on before. Coupled together with the help of the internet, pretty much any editor should be able to make sense of the software. There are things made better in FCPx while others are harder than before.

Things that are better

  • You can switch on waveforms for the audio track right on the timeline panel itself. No more going into the sequence settings panel.
  • You can shift multiple video or audio within the edit and have the video and audio close the gap that your video or audio has left behind. No more ttt and shifting here and there.
  • You can assign keywords and ratings to clips to make for easier searching. More work for a logger but it makes it easier to look for clips.
  • You have audio and video scrubbing! The audio scrubbing might be a little too much at first when you use it.
  • More text effects and video transitions!

Things that are worse

  • You can no longer view all the attributes timeline in one panel. These have been shifted to the timeline itself. This is a problem when you do not have enough screen real estate to open all the layers that you need. Also, the attributes timeline isn’t seperate into the individual attribute such as position or scale. You keep having to shfit between the inspector and the timeline.
  • You can no longer have certain clips be on specifc tracks because there is no longer any tracks. For an example, you want to keep the sequence neat and easy to understand by keeping the subtitles on track 8. Or you want to seperate SOT, music, SFX and VO in their seperate tracks, you can no longer do this. The clip will fall to the lowest possible “track” unless another clip is occupying a higher “track”.
  • You have to make a clip into a storyline just to add a transition to it. Why? I can see no advantages to this.
  • The panels can no longer peel off so having a dual monitor setup would be less useful than having a single large screen.


I have not used FCPx for long and I am far from comfortable with it. Currently my day to day editing software is Avid, though not by choice. If it were up to me, I would have probably stick to the original Final Cut Pro.

Regardless of my choices, as a video editor, I must be adaptable and at least have a basic working knowledge on how each editing software works. If you are a video editor I would suggest borrowing a Mac with FCPx installed just to play around with it, just to get a feel of it. I’ll probably have to check out the Peachpit’s Final Cut Pro X by Diana Weynand again to read through the rest of the book.