Apple Releases Final Cut X Update and a Free Trial

For some reason, I have been holding back on my opinion of Final Cut Pro X. Odd, since my livelihood depends on it, and about 40% of the kind of work I do utilizes workflows that the new Final Cut Pro could not accommodate.

How so? That 40% is broadcast television, and I am the offline editor on those projects. I do the offline edit, then pass it off to the online editor at another facility who does the color grading and graphics on a different system (not FCP), who in turn passes on the audio to an audio post facility for the mix.

Final Cut Pro X's inability to export EDLs and XML's makes that kind of workflow impossible. My first thought when FCP X was released was why would Apple do this? They have been in the game long enough to have an intimate knowledge of post production workflows. This was not a simple oversight.

Indeed, I believe it was a deliberate attempt by Apple to try to force a certain workflow, one that saw projects use final FCP from start to finish and exclude the use of other, competing systems. They suggest as much on their FCP X site:

"Final Cut Pro X includes the key sound editing and colour grading features from Final Cut Studio, so now you can use a single application for the entire post production workflow."

But just as I have started seriously considering switching to another software, it looks like things may have turned the corner. Not sure if its due to the intense backlash from pro users, but Apple has released its first major update to Final Cut Pro X. Among the biggest new features is support for XML. This adds the option to both import and export projects and events in XML format. Apple's Final Cut Pro X page reads:

"Now you can import and export Final Cut Pro X project and Event information via a rich XML format. XML interchange enables a wide range of third-party workflows, including high-end visual effects, color grading, and media asset management. Blackmagic Design's DaVinci Resolve, Square Box System's CatDV, and many other third-party applications will offer XML-based work flows with Final Cut Pro X."

Sounds like a bit of an about-face to me, but I ain't complaining.

You can read about all the new features in the update here.

AND, just for good measure, Apple has tossed a fully functioning trial version into the mix, so users can test it out for free.

"We know we've done something revolutionary with Final Cut Pro" says Apple's Richard Townhill, "and we sincerely think that our professional customers will love it. And some of that is letting them know we will make good on the promises we made, and the (Final Cut Pro X) 10.1 update is the first public indication that we're doing that."

Amen to that.