In a review of FCP X’s multicam feature (new to 10.0.3) Scott Simmons claims:
Itâ€™s far and away the easiest and most powerful way to setup and manipulate all the angles when prepping for the edit.
I completely agree with Scott. Before the release of multicam in FCP X, I joked that Apple needed to make it “idiot proof”, which was my way of saying that multicam was now used by people who did not necessarily follow the traditional path to multicam. This started me thinking about the feature set and what, if anything, it might tell us about who FCP X is designed for.
Shortly after FCP X was released, I attempted a similar analysis based on the demographics of the video editing marketplace. That remains an interesting perspective.
Let’s start with multicam. Who needs it? Particularly who needs to switch up to 64 angles? Multicam is certainly popular in event production but those folk are equally well served with Premiere Pro CS 5.5’s four angle multicam. 64 angles puts it into Media Composer territory and solidly in the realm of reality TV production where 16 concurrent cameras (or more) is common, particularly with challenge-type reality competitions.
Sure, simplicity of use (and the ability to mix and match formats and manage multiple clips in an angle) is a bonus that no-one should complain about, but all pointers are that this implementation is solidly aimed at “big” multicam projects. An activity that was difficult (and required specialized knowledge) in FCP 7 has become very easy in FCP X.
Another feature I tend to associate with high end production is Merged Clips from dual system (separate recordings of audio and video). Indeed, we’ve made software that batch syncs dual systemÂ that’s sold largely into the high end. Merged Clips in FCP X are incredibly easy – the antithesis of FCP 7 Merged Clips. Clip metadata is used to get sync close, and then audio waveforms are used to finish the alignment.
While the use of dual system is definitely increasing – driven in part by the easy ability to merge clips (both in FCP X and using DualEyes) – the people who use double system workflows care about the quality of audio, not normally something the “YouTube” producer appears to do!
Taking a leaf out of Media Composer’s “we’ll manage the media locations for you” approach, FCP X adopts both “leave the media where it is” and “we’ll manage locations for you” approaches. If you want to manage media locations manually, you can (and in Media Composer you can use AMA for that purpose). If you prefer FCP X to manage it for you, that’s fine too.
Since media locations in FCP 7 were a constant battle, with many a tutorial and DVD created to break down the confusion, simplifying – and borrowing from Media Composer – the project structures is a definite positive, regardless of the type of work you do. (And if that’s using centralized storage, that’s fine as well.)
Broadcast Video Out
I think the intent here is obvious. There is a subset of FCP X users for whom ColorSync is perceived as not being adequate. Now, I think it’s a major step up for the majority of users who never had a video monitor in FCP 1-7 or if they did, was an uncalibrated “television”. I wrote – before Broadcast Video Out was announced – that I thought ColorSync was an excellent solution and I still do. The first opportunity I had to compare the iMac display against a broadcast video monitor (Rec 709) confirmed what I theorized: there was no visible difference between the two.
Regardless, there are those who must have that video output for a calibrated monitor. The target is rather obvious: broadcasters and those producing for broadcast. Another “high end” feature for “high end” production, but one that does not have wide appeal outside of that niche.
Speed (64 bit, Linear Light Engine, No rendering, Keyword Collections)
Something of an intangible “feature” but one I hear consistently: FCP X is faster to edit with to get to a result. Whether it’s metadata tagging or the Magnetic Timeline, the lack of time wasted in rendering or some combination of them, for those who make the mindset shift to FCP X, it works faster. It was Bill Davis’ third bullet point in his recent Five Ways I Think FCP-X is Changing Editing for the BetterÂ post, and it’s something I’ve written about before.
Who needs speed? Who doesn’t? The people that don’t need speed are those for whom editing is more hobby than professional work. Those editing professionally need the job done as quickly as is possible commensurate with the level of quality the project requires. (That is not a single data point, by the way.)
That’s only five features from FCP X, but those five alone clearly define FCP X’s target (and suitability) as being for those who edit professionally, and at a high level of production complexity and quality. Why would Apple have invested in these features if FCP X was only for “YouTube videos” and “prosumers” (whatever that term may mean)?