Apple Final Cut Pro X Reviewed: Not Ready for Professionals

OnlineVideo.net published my review of Apple’s Final Cut Pro X here. At about 3500 words, it’s one of the longest reviews I’ve written in awhile, with 16 screen shots. My conclusion?

While not fully rendered, my project is done, and this review almost, as well. To be honest, though I haven’t explored all the performance-related options, and admittedly don’t fully comprehend all new features: even if FCPX did offer multi-cam, there wasn’t enough to make me switch to FCPX from my current solutions. Recognize, of course, that as an experienced user of Final Cut Pro 7 and Premiere Pro, FCPX would have to be better by an order of magnitude to make me abandon my current solutions (for more on that, see here). And frankly, for most basic editing, it’s not even incrementally better, it’s just different, at least for experienced users who have already mastered other solutions.

There’s nothing here that will convince Adobe users to take a serious look, and given the lack of equivalent high-end functionality, most professional FCP 7 users will have to be dragged over kicking and screaming (which many have been). Of course, if you’re outgrowing iMovie or just starting out in editing, your analysis is quite different — it’s tabula rasa, baby. I would suggest, however, that in this consumer/prosumer space, the most relevant competition is Adobe Premiere Elements for the Mac, which costs $99 and can probably do 99 percent of what Final Cut Pro X in editing, and much more in other areas like DVD and Blu-ray authoring, and multiple format streaming support.

Let’s take the Apple fanboys (on one side) and jilted FCP 7 pros (on the other) out of the picture for a moment. If this product was released by some unknown Silicon Valley startup, and judged solely on its merits, it would be an innovative release that competes well with most consumer programs, but has some critical feature gaps for even prosumer use. Released as iMovie Pro, as perhaps it should have been, the program would be a fantastic upgrade, if a bit overpriced.

As a replacement for Final Cut Pro 7 or Premiere Pro in its 1.0 state? Fuhgetaboutit.

Check out the article for a comprehensive look at the new product.

About Jan Ozer

I help companies train new technical hires in streaming media-related positions; I also help companies optimize their codec selections and encoding stacks, and evaluate new encoders and codecs.

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