My Future Post Software

On my Twitter feed a couple of weeks ago I wondered out loud if any new FCP X functionality had appeared with the release of OS X Lion that week. I was thinking of things like Versions, Resume and Full Screen, and it seems that none of those are yet part of FCP X. The iWork suite got an update via the Mac App Store just as Lion was being released, but not FCP X, so I assume such things will come as part of a bigger FCP X update that is undoubtedly in the works.

The interesting thing was that someone then @replied me asking if I’d taken the FCP X jump and telling me that I was a brave man if that was the case…

Now of course I haven’t jumped straight into FCP X to the exclusion of all others. That would be madness at this moment in time, not bravery! But it did make me think “wow, does FCP X have *that* bad a reputation that if I talk about using it that I’ll be seen as not-professional and lose out on work because of it”?

I’m sure that’s not true, having had a chance to think about it for a couple of weeks, but it does raise a question that I feel like I should answer, which is “what am I going to do about my choice of editing software in the future”? And now I hope to answer that.

I had written a long post about each option, but it boils down to this;

For the moment, Final Cut Pro 7/Final Cut Studio still works more than adequately. So I’m not going to rush into anything. For the next six months, 99% probability is that I’m going to be using FCP 7.

Avid isn’t an option for me, it’s too expensive, especially considering that it doesn’t come with DVD authoring, audio tools, motion graphics capabilities… I’m not a big tape user, and my projects generally aren’t going to be shared between two systems, so it’s not right for me. It’s the industry standard and I’m happy using it, I’ll keep downloading the demo versions when a new one comes out so I’m up to speed with the latest refinements, but it’s not right for me.

Adobe has a *very* attractive offer on right now for people who want to switch from FCP 7. The Premiere Pro interface is pretty darn similar to Final Cut Pro 7, you can map the shortcuts to be the Final Cut shortcuts, it’s 64bit there’s not a lot of downside. Encore can make you BluRay discs, that’s pretty cool, Photoshop is Photoshop. I don’t have experience of After Effects but I imagine there are one or two tutorials online to get me up to speed with what I need… So will I join the hundreds if not thousands moving to Premiere? I’m fairly certain in my mind that Premiere is part of my future, at least for some of my work.

“Why only some?” I hear you ask… Well, whilst Final Cut Pro 7 still works, I’m going to keep using that, because I know it so well. But I have to tell you, I get far more excited at the prospect of a fully-functional Final Cut Pro X than I do about Adobe Premiere Pro. It’s not that either is better or worse than the other, but simply that I could have more fun editing in FCP X.

Fun?!? This is serious professional work, it can’t be fun!

Well, screw that. If it’s not fun I’m going to do something else. And the best work I’ve ever done, I’ve had a great heap of fun doing. But there’s another point which I think is important. As long as the software does what you need it to do, it doesn’t matter what software you use. The editor is the one who makes the edit, not the software. What makes a great piece of editing software is when the software gets out of the way and lets you make your edit, stays stable through the whole process, then quickly exports what you’ve done. The way Final Cut Pro X is designed is to do that. Yes, it requires a different mentality when you’re cutting, the timeline works differently etc etc. But people will get used to that.

The real test of FCP X will be whether it enables you to do your job more easily and creatively, or enables you to try more things out more quickly. That’s when we’ll know how good a piece of software it really is. So in answer to my original question, what am I doing about software in the future? For now, nothing, Final Cut Pro 7 works fine for now. I will be getting the Adobe Production Suite and when I’m confident with it I’ll start using it. And I’ll keep learning & using Final Cut Pro X. When I’m confident with it I’ll start using it.

But watch this space. Everything is almost certain to change!