A few days ago Tech Crunch reported that a new upgrade to Final Cut Pro is immanent. The last half year has been a little nerve-racking for those of us who use FCP day in and day out, as reports have surfaced that the team working on the Pro apps had been reassigned to work on iOS stuff, that it was actually going to be retooled to be more like iMovie, and other such things. Now, evidently, Apple is getting ready to release its most ambitious offering in the history of FCP. According to the Tech Crunch report, Apple invited some video professionals in to beta test, and they described it as ‘dramatic and ambitious.’ Larry Jordan, one of the people invited to demo the forthcoming release, even described it as ‘jaw-dropping.’
We will see.
Supposedly it is supposed to land sometime this Spring, possibly in April. Such a release date would mean that they are merely polishing it up right now, with the major features already implemented. Still, it’s somewhat cathartic to list out the new features I’d like to see and taste the inevitable disappointment that comes with whatever gets shipped.
1. Full integration. It is excruciatingly annoying to have to send files to other programs, then send them back to FCP. Supposedly it is seamless- you send a file to Soundtrack, do your editing and mixing and then save it, and then the changes are reflected in FCP. If you have to make a quick change, you go back to Soundtrack, make the change, save, and go back to FCP, with the changes showing up. Does this actually work? Sometimes. (The roundtrip from FCP to Motion is much more seamless than from FCP to Soundtrack) The better question is- why should it need to? Granted, the overhaul needed to pull this off would be immense, but one can dream. And one can be disappointed.
2. Play nice with H.264 codecs. My Canon T2i takes better video than a Sony Z1, but it is a pain to use the footage. Make it less of a pain.
3. 64 bit. My Mac Pro has all this memory and processing power and graphics power just sitting there most of the time, begging to be used. Please, let me use it. Honestly, if this isn’t part of the update no one should seriously consider buying it. There, I said it.
4. Background rendering. (see above)
5. Merge Color into Final Cut. Color is an amazing tool. The only problem is that it is not actually part of Final Cut. (see #1) You make your color corrections in Color, render them and send them back to Final Cut. One might expect it to look the same. One would be wrong. 95% of the time I just use the 3 way color correcter because at least it ends up looking how it shows me that it looks.
6. Better media management. I am already disorganized enough in my file management as it is without Final Cut adding to the disorganization.
7. Make Compressor something you don’t wish you didn’t have to use. It’s not that it doesn’t end up doing what it is supposed to do well. It’s just that it’s rather clunky to use. Less clunky, please.
8. Make some system-wide functions project based. One of the things you invariably do in FCP is capturing footage and rendering. Right now, the capture scratch folder is set on a system-wide level; that is, there is one folder on your hard drive where footage gets captured to, and then specific project files within that scratch folder. The difficulty is if you are wanting to keep all the files for a project in one folder (a novel idea) you have to manually set the capture scratch every single time, and if you forget then any new project footage would get saved in the last set scratch location. I’ve gotten used to it, but it seems like it would be far more intuitive to keep all of one’s files in one place on a per-project basis without the software compelling you to do otherwise. The same goes for render files.
Those are a few of the biggies for the suite as whole.