VERSIONING VIA AUDITION
Or when you are finishing your edit, and worrying about having to do 20 variations of a close, each with a different station graphic, or with a different version that all use the same graphic, but with multiple versions of the local news teams -- the new Audition function in FCPX provides those 20 alternate versions in the one project, without having to create 20 different physical copies of that project file and media. All of them are instantly accessible, without needlessly filling up your storage volume with 20 redundant copies of your media project.
Here is the close-up of the Event Library with its color coded keywords. This is Clip View, highlighting the image in the Viewer Pane with all of its available information displayed alongside.
One not so minor aspect of handling all of your content is now called Clip Connection. While it appears on the surface as not much more than a visual identifier for linked media in your timeline, it is actually tracking that source media, VO, graphics, music, and foley as a single piece of media, not as a disparate grouped of items loosely cobbled together as previous versions of FCP did. This is a quantum change in the approach to handling media.
So fundamental is the change that Apple was able to bring us the Magnetic Timeline, by far one of the most controversial features of the FCPX.
Let's be really honest here: Apple has had an incredibly poor track record with video sync for as long as they have been in the video editing space. While I cannot see the future, I can see this as the one thing that makes me think the ground has shook under Cupertino and they finally woke up, this time creating what could be a game changer.
Final Cut Pro now fully supports editing surround sound, with dynamic control for speaker assignment and balancing.
So what does the Magnetic Timeline have to do with game-changing media management? It works in conjunction with Clip Connections to allow you to move content around while maintaining clip, project and event sync. Clips being moved in the timeline push other media out of the way, but only vertically in the timeline.
This closeup of the timeline shows how the Clip Connections offer visual links to the various parts of your media, all while maintaining sync for all of those elements.
Apple has said many times that they finally understand the concept that "sync is holy." In my limited experience with the pre-release version, I never saw media being moved in the timeline in a way that caused ripples of my content or connection downstream of the edit I was working on.
So against all outward expectations, it really looks like Apple got maintaining clip and time sync right this time. So far, anyway. It waits to be seen how all of this works when we start adding RAW and the high-end workflows with dual system sound to the mix. I am going to go out on a limb here and say that it certainly cannot possibly be any worse at maintaining sync than it is in FCP 7.
This is a close up of the Event Library and Clip Viewer. The Smart Collections created in the Auto Analysis are listed in the Library and are color coded purple, User Defined Keywords appear Blue.
Nothing shows the power of what Apple has attempted in the mining of all of this metadata within FCPX more than the simple concept of "Range Based Keywords".
Ok, let's say I have 3 clips in my viewer selected, all from different cameras, days and types of content and on different drives. I can select part of the first clip, all of the second clip and a bit of the third, and then define a keyword for that selection. Under that keyword, all of those separate entities now appear in the Event Library as a single clip!
Now that is truly a revolution, all because Apple vested the ranch into creating, handling and maintaining metadata like no one has before.
Here we show the richness in the display of available Metadata from the Event Library, Listing in the Clip Viewer or revealing all of the parts of your edit in the New Timeline Index
As I said at the beginning, the initial release of FCPX is not intended for the Professional Editor.
This is the Import media dialog screen, note it offers users the ability to turn on and off the AutoContent Analysis during import if the user so desires. Make sure you always check the "Create Smart Collections" button to get the most out of the background processing.
At launch, there is no support for any tape based capture, no support of third-party hardware or codecs, and you cannot send an EDL or XML to allow the edits performed to be viewed or used in any other editing or finishing system.
Apple is keenly aware that FCPX is not ready for professional editing out of the gate. I have been assured both privately and publicly that support for third-party tools by AJA, Blackmagic, Matrox and others will be implemented, but how soon? I know for a fact that many of the FCP developers were all but avoided at Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference (WWDC) in early June.
I also know that many of the decisions were postponed to not create the perfect storm of disaster that came the last time that Apple decided to release major updates to the OS, QuickTime and Final Cut Pro all at once. Hardware releases in particular have been pushed back enough to allow for both the forthcoming Lion OS and the rollout of Thunderbolt I/O connectiv-ity to be handled together.
In the meantime Apple is allowing FCPX to stand right along side of the FCS suite already on your Mac, so that you can see for yourself the power of what is possible. Let's just hope that Apple does not take a couple of years to show us what that is.
For the time being, I am going to be getting to know the new FCP X using it for my web based media and lots of testing.
COMING IN PART II: Why FCPX is such a big deal anyway....