The present and future of post production business and technology

Final Cut Pro X is faster!

From my personal use of Final Cut Pro X I’ve felt it was faster and more fluid: that editing had become fun again. I loved Media 100 in my early NLE days. It was fluid and fast but very limited, so when Final Cut Pro 1 was in beta I jumped to it for the power. Fortunately I’m a smart guy and the complexity never really bothered me, but I didn’t feel like Final Cut Pro 1-7 was particularly fluid.

As I’ve travelled and spoken at various groups, person after person has come up to me and say some variation of:

“Final Cut Pro X took me (a longish time) to adapt, but now I’ve got to understand it, I’ve never edited faster”.

The specific words change, but the sentiment does not. And apparently I’m not the only one.I’ve collected snippets that I come across over the last year where people comment on their move to Final Cut Pro X that there has to be something to it. I present them with minimal editorial comment. For these people, Final Cut Pro x is faster.

Emphasis added by me.

Michael Sanders at (I did not keep specific URLs for many of these quotes but you should be able to search for them)

I recently did four discussion type programmes on it (multicam discussions and a few PSC inserts) and the producer and director were over the moon at the speed and flexibility. However more interestingly Craig Seeman over at the BBC is cutting lots of The Culture Show on it and the producer is again very impressed at the speed they can work at.  He details is exploits a lot on Creative Cow.

Craig Slattery‘s own words 0 Jan 11, 2013 at where he specifies the workflow and the job in a lot of detail.

I turned to the director and said, ‘why do YOU think we have achieved so much in such a short time?’ He said, ‘I think its because its so visual, you really fell like you are in it’.

And that’s what I have been experiencing since we started the trial in X. Its unlike any other NLE, the way it affects you tonally and visually. I will post my workflow later today, but just briefly, I’ve been using projects in the same way as I use sequences in FCP7 and the instant visual reference to material that you have already worked on, ie cut down is brilliant.

Jeremy Garchow (at if I recall correctly)

FCPX is incredibly fast at organizing huge swaths of data, extremely easily. You can save those sorts for later, or not. I can’t tell you how much faster it is, I have never timed it, but from experience, it is simply faster.

Steve Connor on Dec 19, 2011 at 5:04:05 am

FCPX is certainly faster, I can say this because I’ve been using it more or less every day for the last few months, I used FCP for years so I am qualified to make the comparison.

Nick Militello

I feel FCPX really works best when you take the time to go through the event browser and keyword your clips.  This made editing so much easier.  You would be looking for a “cu” “low” “fast” “city” “turn” and there is was.  I just don’t feel I would have been able to find those moments so quickly in any other software.

Michael Sanders

Kerry I’m doing some similar stuff (monthly not weekly) and honestly think I’m cutting them faster in X that I did in 7.   In fact the client commented the other day we were editing faster which is a bad thing as they might start paying me less.

After which, Oliver Peters asked Michael Sanders why he thought he was working faster in FCP X than in the earlier version. Michael replied:

Oliver.  In all honesty I am cutting faster but It’s down to a combination of things:

1) My new non rentina MBP is stupidly fast (top of the range with SSD)

2) FCP X works very well on this machine.

3) The key to FCP X is renaming media (and doing batch renaming is very quick) and smart collections – master that and it finding material becomes very fast.  Reject is also great as you never see a clip again.

4) Actually editing is very fast.  J and L cuts are quick, multi-cam is a smooth and having the append clip is great.  Once you get the idea of story lines it makes real sense.

5) With the tools available for colour correction and audio tweaking, I find I’m doing more in less time.

6) Even with my esoteric workflows, getting material in and out is super fast – but that could be 1 & 2.

Oliver Peters continued his skepticism. (I have a lot of respect for Oliver even when we don’t always agree.)

While I believe some people are faster on X, I take all of these claims with a HUGE grain of salt, based on my own experiences. Especially when you consider total ingest-to-deliver times. It can be a fun editing experience or extreme exercise in frustration, just depending on your workflow, style and expectations.

Howard SIlver “Silver, Howard”

It is fast and –I don’t know if anyone else feels this way but –after 2 decades of editing the same way on the same drab interface, it feels fresh and the new workflow and interface stimulates the creative side. There are free plug-ins for almost everything, low cost ones for everything else. If you need to use Color or STP, there’s Xto7.

Robin Kurz

I know that *I’m* a lot faster with X, due to its far superior organizational and metadata tools for starters. And on the pilot I recently edited next to a (very experienced) gentleman on a Symphony, we both had to transcode the 20hrs. of footage we were using first (me Proxy, him AMA), and I was literally nearly *three days* faster than him since I got started immediately on ingest and transcoded in the background while he had to sit there staring at a render bar for those three consecutive days. I’d say the larger the project the bigger the speed gap gets, too. No question about it IMO. So… no salt here. 🙂

Later changes and corrections on longer timelines were also *far* less problematic in X than they were on the Symphony. His biggest reoccurring problem: sync, sync and sync.

The main reason that I have seen why people are slower with X is that they simply never took the time to actually *learn* and understand it first. I’ve seen several seasoned editors try it, not get it, or try to use it as if it were the NLE they’ve been using until now and then chuck it because “I’ve been editing for 20 years, so I damn well know what I’m doing. If it doesn’t work the way I want it or I can’t figure it out, then it clearly sucks”.

I don’t personally know of anyone who has been using X for any extended period of time that doesn’t feel they’re noticeably faster, though there are sure to be some (but I take THEM with a huge grain of salt, since they more often than not turn out to be one of the editors described above). And mind you, that’s *especially* in the context of ingest-to-deliver. Taking every time-relevant aspect into account: ingest to editing *and* output, because that’s exactly where X shines for me. Thoughout the *entire* process, not just editing. Since, like I said, I already had a near three day head-start before even a single edit was made, in one of many examples.

Michael Towe

On the plus side I find that the actual act of editing, at least for me, feels much faster. I still hit a few roadblocks where I need to stop and think things through, but once I figure out the FCPX way of doing it it’s that much faster the next time. Again you need to think like FCPX does, trying to make it work the way you think it should is an experiment in frustration.

Matt Smith Lyons @mattsmithlyons on Twitter

Yes @AdobePremiere is amazing, but X is just too fluid and fast for me to ignore. The absence of track patching alone helps creative flow immensely.

Olivier Galliano who was assistant editor on the low budget French TV series ‘Lazy Company.’  When we say assistant, that was for the seven post produced on FCP7, Olivier took on the job of main editor for the remaining three which were cut on FCPX.  Full story at

So the “experiment” were a huge success, it was a really a great experience. It was so fun and efficient that each time I have to go back to FCP7, it is very painful. Now I’m trying to convert all my fellow colleague editors to FCPX. I’m also looking forward to updating my organizing & cutting methods in FCPX for the next season of the series. I hope to use FCPX on more this time, maybe for finishing too.

Frank Jonen @frankjonen on Twitter

I’m starting to warm up to FCPX myself. Saved me 2 presentations so far. Very fast app to cut on.

So I had to ask him why? Frank responded:

Presentation at 4:30pm. 10am realized it’d be nice to have footage to show. 10 mins rendered & on iPad at 3:50pm

I didn’t have to wait for the app and I didn’t have to render constantly unlike with OTHER apps.

(Ok, small editorial comment. I’m not convinced FCP X requires less rendering than Vegas, Premiere Pro CC or even Media Composer 6 or 7)

The Need for Speed: Tools to Help You Edit Faster

Anyone who’s joined the FCPX bandwagon will tell you one of the main draws is speed (or at least I will). FCPX let’s you do things quicker. But how we interact with the system (and computers in general) has its limitations.


Psssst,  Robin! Please don’t tell everyone how strong X is!  Next thing you know that broadcast-niche crowd will want to use it…reality tv and the like.   Keep it on the low-down that you can be faster and have better tools with X and that some of us feel like we are going back in time and edit slower when we use FCP7, PP or MC!  🙂

Seriously, the more I am using X (for non broadcast right now as most facilities are not there yet), the more I really really like it.  IF Apple keeps developing it, it will become a killer tool.

Sam Mestman in We Make Movies (Better): A Final Cut Pro X/RED feature film workflow, Part 1

Well, part of me selfishly wants to keep this workflow to myself so I can keep my competitive advantage. Part of me wants to keep delivering projects in half the time I used to, but still charging the same rate.

How fast is this workflow? Well, what used to take an assistant and me, working around the clock in shifts during the full shoot and probably an extra week or two using Final Cut 7, can now be done by just one person in FCPX, in less time. On the most recent film I worked on using this workflow, I was able to get an assembly edit of the entire film done within two days of the film wrapping, and I didn’t even have to drive myself crazy doing it. How? Simple: The metadata-based project prep in FCP X and R3D proxy workflow.

Deyson Ortiz  on the Facebook Final Cut Pro Users group:

I hated FCPX when it first came out, simply because I had to learn something new and it was a new way of thinking when it came to editing. But once I got over my anger and gave it an honest test I can say it is the BEST version of FCP ever. It is FAST, Smooth and Smart. I can edit in half the time I did before and when clients have changes or revisions I can turn them around easier and quicker than before.

Dave Bittner @bittner on Twitter

The deeper I dig into Final Cut X, the more impressed I am with its potential time savings. Lots of hidden power in there.

Jared Brandon on Facebook (I Honestly Love Final Cut Pro X from memory)

 We edit continuously throughout the day. I started shooting at 7:30am. By 9am I had 2 minutes of draft footage cut and on the timeline. 90% of the edit was done by 4:30pm.  For me it’s the magnetic timeline. It takes all the tedious mouse/keyboard strokes out of the editing process. The edit feels like it just falls into place. It only takes 5 mins to export. I play it in Quicktime.

David Cleverly  also on Facebook

I love FCPX. Honestly. I can now edit ten times faster than before and charge twice as much because folk think I must be extremely talented because I understand it!! LOL

(More editorializing: Like many I’m skeptical  of a 10x speed up in editing. I take it as hyperbole to make the point, rather than literally.)

Totie HermanpastedGraphic.pdfFinal Cut Pro Users (Facebook)

This mood reel for an upcoming film was originally edited in FCP 7. The director wanted it to be more sexy, spiced up and out there…so I moved it to FCP X and the result is indeed much more sexy and out there than could have been done using 7 in a fraction of the time and effort. X makes editing more creative and of luck to all who endeavour to open their minds to the world of FCPX.

Craig Slattery, a freelance editor who has become the first person to cut items for the BBC’s Culture Show on FCP X.

“It’s really up to us – the editors,” he says. “There’s really no reason that FCP X won’t do the job now and, once you’ve got your head around it, it’s so much faster than FCP 7. To drive it forward, we really need to be asking our productions if we can use it.”

Nick Watsonwho edited the documentary “The Man Who Shot Beautiful Women” using Final Cut Pro X for the BBC

Would I use it again? Yes, definitely. It’s a very slick editing tool. Who knows whether it will catch on in the professional television sector and at the moment the signs aren’t promising. Disdain, disbelief and contempt are the general responses I’ve received when I mention the X. Have these people used the X? No. I say don’t knock it till you tried it.

George Ayoub · Beirut, Lebanon

I’ve been cutting on FCP X for 2 years now, and I have to say that the ease and intuitiveness of it all are what allowed me to get certain projects with hours of footage done on time. It truly does get you excited about editing again.

Darren Vallence

Not true for me. I hate fcp7 and I am much faster on FCP X by 50% at least much better to edit on.

Justin O’Newton on Facebook

I miss DVD Studio Pro, but I don’t think you could pay me to go back to FCP7 full time, as the FCPX workflow is faster by an order of magnitude. X still needs some work, don’t get me wrong, but using 7 is like going back in time .

Braden Storrs

FCP 7 is great NLE for sure, but I had to use it today after using FCP X for so long now. It took twice as long to do anything. Going back it feels like they made everything overly difficult to do for no good reason. In so many ways FCP X cut out the pointless extra work for navigating the UI and getting to your editing tools/parameters. It is such a large step forward. Without daily user experience and understanding of the software you just can’t appreciate the differences. I’ve also got a lot of experience with Premiere which is very much FCP 8. FCP X has ruined them both for me. Both of them feel like they have bad arthritis compared to FCP X’s Olympic editing speed. It won’t seem that way at first as you learn it, but you’ll get there. Then you’ll go back and understand what we are talking about. If you consider yourself above FCP X because Apple offended you and you won’t ever give 10 a chance then I wish you good luck, you’re going to need it.

Deyson Ortiz

Agree 100% Braden Storrsn. I think if most FCP7 editors took the time to give FCPX a full hearted try they will be very impressed.  I have been finishing projects in half the time as before with better quality with incredible fluid workflow. It may look simple but there are so many hidden features it is mind boggling.

Michael Garber on Facebook

Interesting. I’ve noticed this little shift since CC was released the other day. I really want to see CC succeed. But, I tried using it yesterday to do some stuff and it failed on every task. FCP X did a better job in every category. I don’t know of another NLE where I could get a solid first cut of a 1hr 45min 4-camera multicam with major audio correction and make a DVD in just under a day. That included capturing all 4 tapes.

Richard Leverton @EditorRich on Twitter

I went to #FCPXit’s really fast & I love the keywords/favourites for organising. It gets out of the way & lets me edit!

Perry Childs from Pyrmont Productions Editing a real World Audi Job

The speed of organizing the footage in FCPX, and the ease in which you can skim through it all helped me complete the client approval cut in around 6 hours. With minimal revisions requested by the client, the final edit was delivered after a total of around 10 hrs. Far quicker than I could have done in FCP7.

Bill Streeter

So I switched from FCP7 to FCPX about a year and a half ago in spite of all the negativity, mainly because they just added back the multi-cam feature. And after about a few hours of working with it I realized I really enjoyed working with it. Then I took some tutorials and realized that there were some really great things about it, like the way you can quickly organize footage or the fact that you can start working while your footage is still ingesting.

And then as I got used to working in it I realized not only was I having more fun cutting than I had since I first learned to cut film on a Steenbeck in film school years ago (I loved the Steenbeck) but I was cutting faster than I ever had before. I understand why people were angry/distraught over the launch of FCPX when it first came out but it’s really grown into a great tool in the 9 updates it’s had since it’s launched.

I can’t ever see myself wanting to go back to the old way of doing things in FCP7. I know everyone has their preferred way of working but I can only assume that people who really hate on FCPX at this point just haven’t taken the time to see what it can actually do or learn how it actually works at this point. True trying to make it work like 7 will frustrate you, but if you take the time to see how you should be working with it I think you might come to the same conclusion I did.

I have yet to meet, or hear of, or read, anyone who has committed the time to truly get to know Final Cut Pro X who does not say that Final Cut Pro X is faster. However, I’ll leave the last cautionary word to Shane Ross (a very experienced reality/documentary editor who remains skeptical about Final Cut Pro X):

And just because FCX is faster, doesn’t mean that it is the right tool. It still cannot do a lot of what I need done. Yeah yeah…wait until the next major version. Whatever. The editing paradigm in employs doesn’t work for me. They broke something that worked.

If they keep pushing for faster, they are going to just keep getting “good enough” or crap. And I am not going there.

Increasingly, Shane’s opinion is becoming the minority opinion.






79 responses to “Final Cut Pro X is faster!”

  1. Shameer M.

    What will be interesting to see is how FCP X runs on the new Mac Pro.

    1. Philip

      As Phil Schiller said. the new Mac Pro is for their FCP X, Aperture and Logic Pro (X) customers. I think FCP X’s next version will totally scream on the upcoming Mac Pro. Pity is, I’m super happy with my MacBook Pro Retina that I can’t justify a Mac Pro.

      1. FCP X is still faster with REDCODE RAW native on my 2008 Mac Pro than it is on my maxed out rMBP with a thunderbolt drive. So yes, I’m chomping at the bit for the new 2013 MP. Any one “satisfied” with FCPX on a rMBP obviously is not running the latest GPU on a current Mac Pro.

        1. Jim Wiseman

          @Ben Balser: What GPU card are you running?

  2. I wonder what Shane Ross can’t do in FCPX… Also – while speed is a great asset of FCPX, I don’t think there is a rush to sacrifice quality for the sake of speed. By editing faster, I have more time to spend making things better.

    Thanks for the article!

  3. Chris Wilby

    If anybody has listened to Kanen Flowers ‘That Post Show’ podcast you will hear how schizophrenic FCPX has made some ‘professional’ users 🙂

    1. Who are too lazy to “learn” something new.

    2. You’re correct Chris, I have made the schizophrenic comment several times on TPS … because that’s exactly how FCPX is, schizophrenic. It does some things amazingly well, better than the other NLEs, while other things it’s maddeningly silly and not well thought out. Yep, schizophrenic.

      1. Chris Wilby

        … and sarcastic. Scott, FCPX is an inanimate object. Get over it! 🙂

        1. Hey you’re the one who brought it up

          1. Chris Wilby


          2. Chris Wilby

            I take it all back Scott… after having read this garbage!


  4. Glad to hear many are having a good experience with it. I’ve used it for several projects to give it a fair shot – it’s simply not the tool for me, but I understand the allure. Keywording system – wow. Simplest proxy workflow I’ve ever seen in an NLE. Capable tools for color work, sound, etc. Dead simple to understand UI.

    BUT for some reason I’ve had endless stability issues, even with the latest updates (as of my last work in, in March) whereas it seems many others have not. Oh well.

    How you feel about FCPX is exactly how I feel about the whole package of Premiere Pro/Audition/After Effects/Photoshop/Illustrator. The act of interacting with an NLE became fun for me again, and the feeling of being wowed by my tools was back, not unlike when I first discovered keyframes. 🙂

    Maybe FCP X (or XI?) is in the cards for me in days to come. We’ll see. Good to know another viable option exists and is getting better.

    1. Philip

      Stability issues with FCP X point directly to an unstable system. I love the Adobe suite but not a single person who migrated there talks about how they’re editing faster. Just saying.

      1. Craig Shamwell

        This is not necessarily an historically accurate statement Phil. I have suggested to some using FCPX on sightly older systems to make sure to edit files directly from the internal sata drive and not on an external FW drive for optimum speed. I also have recommended moving unused events and projects to not-in-use folders as FCPX has to use resources to continually manage all those folders and files. I use a late model Imac with TB Externals that I can edit from now. But there have been many times when independent of the system and memory, FCPX just didn’t work well. But with every update this is becoming less of a headache.

        1. Philip

          You need to get introduced to Event Manager X. Once again I repeat, the article is only a bunch of quotes from dozens of individuals. When I see dozens of individuals moving to PPro CC and spontaneously telling how much faster they are, I’ll report it. (Haven’t see any.) Ditto when people say it about Media Composer. (Again, haven’t seen it).

          So, for all the people who I quoted, FCP X is faster. Point me to the Twitter and forum posts where people are spontaneously saying that about any other NLE? Ditto in person. Every person I’ve met who has taken the time to understand FCP X (and some admit it took them months) they are now cutting faster than ever before.

          1. Craig Shamwell

            I wasn’t disagreeing with you in general, FCPX is absolutely faster than any editor I have used. But I was saying that some stability issues have not always been historically “system’ issues. One area especially has been the use of “type”, where the system would lock up doing certain things.

      2. Terry S.

        Although Adobe has made great strides to accommodate FCP 7 users, the interface is still clunky and less intuitive to grasp that FCP ever was. Instead of migrating to Premiere CS6/CC, I chose to embrace Apple’s new edit tool and find that Final Cut Pro X is far more superior to most alternatives. They truly have built the editorial tool for the present and future of this industry. And although it did not accommodate all features from FCP7, with third-party solution providers, those features are now returning with helpful plugins and outstanding effects, filters, and templates,

        The faster performance is so apparent in the acquisition process. Like you said, Philip, to Terry Curren on your recent podcast, you can have multiple formats of media for ingest and it’s almost instantly available for use in projects, where if you were still using FCP7, you would be waiting several days to weeks for it to transcode the footage for use in said projects. Who has that time to waste. Most don’t.

    2. jay

      FCPX needs up to date hardware or it will be a frustration in my opinion.

  5. I don’t entirely disagree that FCPX feels a lot faster then other NLEs but just to say it’s “faster” is a rather subjective term. I’ve said from day one (in blog posts and podcasts including TPS!!) that the whole concept of skimming (and Hover Scrubbing for that matter) really does feel like it speeds up the editing process, especially when dealing with large amounts of footage, but in the end that might be at the expense of the overall quality of the project as it just encourages editors NOT to watch their footage and in the end that is a bad thing.

    FCPX probably is faster for slamming together talking heads with broll, a quickie multicam, or anything that is going to require extensive transcoding. Where it’s not faster IMHO are things like music videos, complex timelines that benefit for extensive timeline organization and anything that requires extensive audio editing.

    There’s a coupe of comments above that mention FCPX being better in terms of track patching and sync, sync, sync. While that’s probably true from the standpoint of an inexperienced editor if track patching and sync, sync, sync is slowing you down in the edit then you need to either learn your tool better or you’re just doing it wrong. I’ve never met an editor beyond a student who complains about track patching and keeping stuff in sync. Never and I’ve met and talked with hundreds of the over the years. 

    But like any NLE / tool there are good things and bad things about FCPX, Avid, Premiere and making blanket statements like the title of this post only fan the flames of controversy as “faster” in any NLE is relative to both the user and the task that is trying to be accomplished. 

    1. Robin S. Kurz

      Sorry, but that’s a complete red herring IMHO. I do narrative and commercial that e.g. ALL have excessive pre and post roll and multiple takes in takes etc. To say just because I can find what I’m looking for exponentially faster through skimming and the likes, just to “slam it together” is utter nonsense. I find what I’m looking for much faster to THEN watch it, frame by frame if needed. Tedious JKL isn’t a replacement by any stretch of the imagination, which I was left with otherwise. If anything I was constantly missing things of interest that way.

      And whether you like it or not, the fact that even a student doesn’t complain about essential functionality as something such as SYNCH (how much more important can you get?) is the trademark of a truly powerful and intuitive tool that clearly lets you work faster because you have that much less to worry about. To play the “then you don’t know what you’re doing” card drives the point that much more home. As if “it just works and I get it” were somehow a trait to avoid.

      But then, maybe that in itself is exactly what irks the “pros” so much? Their little light in the vast dark tunnel of NLE complexity (and expense!) isn’t needed or required anymore?

    2. Robin S. Kurz

      Oh, and how you could somehow think that peripheral feature’s such as being able to preview effects, titles and transitions *in real-time* AND in context *without even having to apply them* doesn’t save you literally HOURS on a complex and/or long form edit by themselves, points to you never actually having used X on an actual project or otherwise, sorry. Because if you had and “knew what you were doing” I don’t see how you could ever make such wayward assertions.

      1. As is usually the case with knee-jerk FCPX defenders you use the old argument that I have never “used X on an actual project or otherwise” which is far from the truth as I’ve used it on quite a few projects (including one huge on-going job right now) of varying shapes and complexities. That’s how I properly evaluate an NLE. Actually using the darn things and that’s why I can honestly say FCPX has a lot of +s and -s … Just like EVERY NLE.

        Fast preview of effects are awesome and do save a lot of time given that you are doing a job that require lots of effects which is only a portion of the jobs that I do. You mention how you scrub footage and “THEN watch it” which is great and how it should be done.

        The discussion of SYNC is an important one as that’s even one of Apple’e big marketing bullet points about the magnetic timeline. It’s important to always put that into context as experiences editors don’t have problems keeping items in sync, no matter what kind of timeline they have. That’s a marketing solution in search of a problem. Sync issues can happen in FCPX just as easy if you have a piece of audio connected to the wrong thing and you move it. It’s all part of being an editor. And I stand by what I said, if you’re an experienced editor using FCPX, PPro, Avid, whatever and you are constantly throwing stuff out of sync in your timeline then you’re doing something wrong.

        1. Marcus R Moore

          As a subscriber to Scott’s twitter feed, I can attest that Scott doesn’t speak from a position of ignorance. He always seems to be juggling jobs on different NLEs. Speaking both positively and negatively about all of them.

          Though I don’t agree with all of his editing preferences, his is one of the few sane, objective, and thankfully ‘informed’ opinions on fcpx.

          His is a good bellwether opinion.

        2. Scott,

          I guess I’m a professional editor since 95% of my work are TVCs with big agencies and production companies involved. (You can check my work at ).

          I know how to deal with sync in other NLEs, I have been doing that for years. But when you are editing, FCPX lets you focus on storytelling instead of having to think on what to select or not in order to trim without affecting the entire timeline.

          The fact that you are able to go the hard way without problems doesn’t mean It’s better than the easy way.

          Nowadays it is not necessary (and thus, not enough) to learn complicated software in order to tell a story.

          1. I dunno Leo … I don’t find editing and keeping sync in Avid, for example, hard. In fact if you want to get into the storytelling aspect of it finessing and trimming in Avid, IMHO (and that’s all it is MHO) is better for nuts and bolts storytelling since you can dynamically trim many, many different ways in many different directions. I’d much rather tell my story by playing media and not click and drag. Now that’s not a hard and fast rule overall as we know there’s many ways to do many things.

          2. Scott, I’m not saying that keeping sync is hard on avid but you have to take care of it. That’s enough to distract you a from the storytelling. Perhaps one can’t realize that before experiencing FCPX way enough and going back to Avid after that.

            In complex timelines, with lots of sound fx, music, dialogue and titles, there are too much clics involved with a tradicional NLE before starting to trim.

          3. Robin S. Kurz

            Good to know you’re not just basing your opinion on some blog post and making wild assumptions – which is factually 90% of what is written about X to date – but on actual experience, Scott. I, too, was rather under the opposite impression until now. Sorry.

            But that doesn’t change the fact that I think you are way off on the matters of synch. As Leo pointed out nicely and I already mentioned before, the point is that you don’t even have to think about it in X. Ever. That’s a fact. And I’m only talking about CLIP synch, not music, FX (i.e. connected clip) etc. synch. But even the connected clip concept is far superior. Play it down as much as you like, but that whole aspect is huge, as banal as you would seem to want to make it. And it’s (ironically) huge to me *because* I am an experienced editor. Yes, in regards to speed. Even way before things such as keywording will save me literally *hours* of work along the rest of the way.

            I’ve been using FCP in production since v1.2 and have taught it on and off for about 8 years. And up until X I doubt there was ever an edit where I didn’t at minimum *once* zoom out after e.g. having done something in the beginning of the timeline to be greeted by endless, dreaded red synch-flags at the end, not to mention anything on V2, 3, 4 etc. not being anywhere close to where they should have been in context. Be it that I simply forgot to reactivate the Link button once (just the mere existence of that function/button suddenly strikes me as painfully ironic :D) or because something was “left behind” on a ripple edit etc. etc. etc. It drove me NUTS. My years on Premiere and Avid showed very little difference. It was also the *number one* issue that newcomers had.

            “experienced editors don’t have problems keeping items in sync”… wow. Think about that for a moment.

            To brush that off as some sort of “marketing thing” or “well, that’s experience, you learn it eventually” is when I have to ask: WHY? Why is that even something I have to constantly keep in mind to begin with? That makes absolutely no sense to me. The way X handles it (now) makes *perfect* sense to me. What you need/want 99% of the time is the state it is in by default and very hard to get out of. Not the other way around. Any NLE that forces you to keep something like synch in mind at *any* point of the editing process, even as a side notion (and which in fact doesn’t other than X? Seriously?), has already lost and IMHO proves wonderfully why X’s approach is superior on so many levels. And I’m by no means saying X is “the perfect NLE”, but that is one of many bullet points that get it much closer to being that than any other NLE I know of/have used.

            The seemingly trivial synch thing by itself translates into a LOT of saved time for me. Meaning *speed*, yes. Something like that has absolutely nothing to do with experience and never *should* to begin with. I’m amazed you should even suggest that. It strikes me as a poor cop-out for an obviously inferior paradigm, sorry. MHO, too, yes.

        3. Craig Shamwell

          Sorry Marcus, but just because you say it, doesn’t make it true.
          “FCPX probably is faster for slamming together talking heads with broll, a quickie multicam, or anything that is going to require extensive transcoding. Where it’s not faster IMHO are things like music videos, complex timelines that benefit for extensive timeline organization and anything that requires extensive audio editing.”
          This is what Scott wrote and this is simply not true at all……not even close!!
          And with all the available tools to make just these kinds of situations easier than FCP7 of Premiere, just shows that Scott has not really made himself aware of how powerful FCPX has become. I am not trying to be combative or defensive of FCPX just because I am vested in Apple machines. I hated the early versions of FCPX at first. But even Pro Editors have Synch Problems from time to time. and I can say that losing synch in FCPX is no where near as scary as it was in FCP7. I am sure others will testify to the same. And the use of Compound Clips in the situations you speak of is short of amazing!

          1. “just shows that Scott has not really made himself aware of how powerful FCPX has become.”

            Yep, there’s that knee jerk reaction / argument again when someone is critical of FCPX. I can assure you I have logged a LOT of hours in FCPX and am well aware of what it can and can’t do well, at least from my viewpoint.

          2. Chris Wilby

            Sorry Scott, but I find, and have found your comments (especially on TPS) about FCPX as very schizophrenic (:-) ). I wish you would make your mind up… have you even got round to using and up to date version of it yet?

          3. Weston Woodbury

            Just to add another 2c, in learning and using FCPX for real world projects, I’ve found a lot I like about FCPX, but plenty to not like as well. For some projects–sure, it’s ideal. It’s likely that the speed of the edit is a big determining factor on those projects.

            But, to ardently defend any and every criticism or bad experience anyone has in FCPX sure isn’t very open minded.

            Use what makes you happy and let others have an opinion too, even if it’s, “you know what, I disagree, FCP hasn’t been that much faster for me.”. So what? Great! Use whatever you want then: virtually zero percent of what makes a good video/show/film comes down to what app made the cuts.

          4. Philip

            Guys, keep it civilized and NOT personal. Scott’s opinion is as valid as anyone else’s. I’ve found that, although we don’t always agree, Scott thinks about what he’s saying and speaks from his experience.

            We can all be civilized and still disagree.

  6. FCP X for multicam dslr video projects is a lot quicker and easier to edit with than its competitors currently. Also the speed update in 10.0.6 speed rendering was a bonus and again this was a free update due a code rewrite.

  7. Brian Klein

    If you know how to properly use FCPX, then without question, it is a faster app to get you to 90%. Or even 95%. I get more time to play with timing in FCPX, I get to try more edit combinations in FCPX. When it comes to assembling a story, I feel the tools in FCPX are second to none.

    Getting that extra 5-10% (audio sweetening and color correction) might be a little harder to do in FCPX than in Premiere or Avid, but most people don’t need that, or an xml to Resolve or other apps will do the trick. [ahem, x to 7… :)] I’m hoping the next version of FCPX will address some of these shortcomings.

    Outside of that, I feel a joy editing in FCPX that I don’t feel in other editing apps. When you learn how to get it to work for you, you absolutely will not turn back.

    Also, I will say that I use FCPX for narrative projects, and I use Premiere Pro for graphics heavy projects. I don’t feel like FCPX is a good tool when you are trying to implement it with After Effects, and even it’s collaborative tools with Motion are lacking.

  8. I’m pretty sure I don’t know how to ‘properly’ use FCP X. 🙂 Not as blind as I used FCP 6, but how many years did I have on that starting at v1.5?! The faster for me comes from the fluidity of the app.

    The rendering thing is, you don’t HAVE to wait for it to render, it won’t slow you down much if you don’t wait. Unless you stack up effects on a clip and need to see them in detail (really a job for a compositing app, but hey) waiting for a clear render isn’t necessary. In comparison, there are NLE / compositing all-in-one apps that are dreadfully slow and cost a lot more (+twice if you’re in Europe and UK). So there. 🙂

    On FCP 6 I rarely had an effect that I didn’t have to wait for to render before I could play it back. While the text rendering is rather disappointing in FCP X (was sharper in Legacy FPCs) I really don’t look back anymore. I found my use cases for FCP X, they’re just not my main work. They’re ‘additional content’, most of it never goes public. But, I can do them, which helps during a job or prepping for one.

    Main work requires freedom of choice in picture size and image aspect ratio as well as proper support for image sequences. Neither of which are present in FCP X. Like Avid, Apple now has this “daddy knows best” attitude about what my frame should be like. Disappointing but today’s reality.

    1. Ronny Courtens


      Maybe some ideas for your main work:

      1. Image sequences.

      Although the best workflow for working with image sequences is to turn them into a video clip before importing them in an NLE, you can import image sequences and work with them in FCPX. It actually takes longer to explain this than to do it (-:

      A. Import the image sequence in FCPX, group-select all the images of the sequence in the Event Browser and press ALT+G to turn the images into a Compound Clip. Set the format and frame rate for your CC. The image sequence will appear as a single compound clip in your Event Browser.

      B. Change the speed of your image sequence.
      Now here’s the rub: by default every image in the CC will have a duration of 10 seconds, which is wrong. That’s something that needs to be addressed in the way FCPX handles imported image sequences. But you can easily change the duration of the stills.

      R-click your CC and select Open in Timeline. In the timeline press CMD+A, then CTRL+D. Now enter 1 and press Return. All your images will now have a duration of one frame, which is correct.

      So, in short: Import image sequence, create CC, change duration. The whole process takes about 20 seconds. I do agree FCPX should be able to recognize images sequences properly, just like Motion does. Perhaps in the next major update.

      2. Custom frame sizes and aspect ratio.

      Create a custom sized blank image in Photoshop, or a custom sized black video in Motion and save the still or video. Any frame size, any aspect ratio (e.g.: 600×1700).

      Import the custom sized still or video in FCPX, R-click the imported file in the Event Browser and choose Open In Timeline.

      The Timeline that opens will have the required custom size and aspect ratio. Now you can drop any number of clips into it and export. The exported video will have the custom size and aspect ratio you want. You can store custom sized stills or movies in a separate Event for later re-use if you wish.

      Note: As FCPX is used by a large number of different people I think the dev team has wanted to keep the available project settings simple. Maybe over time they will add an Advanced mode where you can create much more custom preferences, just like they recently did with Logic X. Until they do, this is a fast and easy workaround.

      Kind regards,


      1. Greg

        Wouldn’t the images have a duration of whatever you’ve got set in Preferences?

        1. Ronny Courtens

          Nope. The duration you set in Preferences is the selection duration. When you select a still in the Event browser it makes the duration of the selection whatever you have set in the Editing preferences. A still is always imported with a duration of 10 seconds.

  9. Sharon Long

    our edit facility is giving Premiere a try and we are experiencing some issues with audio file playback. We are still using MacPros, and are in the middle of troubleshooting. But nothing slows down editing more than unresolved technical problems.
    I have a feeling that FCX combined with the shiny new Mac Pros, will be even awesomely faster.

    1. Craig Shamwell

      Sharon you do not have wait for the Mac Pros, I have a iMac 27, 32g mem, SSD Drive, i7 and its fast as hell. Others will confirm. I used an older (2008) MacPro that I had to change out the Graphics Card for FCPX to work. Depending on your workflow, I can say having used Premiere, FCPX is easier and faster at pretty much everything. If your Mac Pros are not 64 bit, it won’t matter what you use (Adobe or Apple).

      1. Jim Wiseman

        What GPU card are you using in your Mac Pro? I have a 2010 and 2012 3.33 Ghz Hexacore.

  10. Robin S. Kurz

    I’m very flattered that I made the quote list, Philip. Thanks. But… you misspelled my name. 😉 Cheers, RK

    1. Philip

      My bad. Sorry Robin. I’ll fix it immediately.

      1. Robin S. Kurz

        Not a problem. You’re not the first and certainly not the last. 😉

        That’s what I get for having a name that is more popular in its anglicized version. 😀

      2. Robin S. Kurz

        Two more things, Philip. For one it’s kind of a bummer that you have the email addresses in plain text. You might want to consider

        Also, in case you haven’t seen them before, there are some very insightful takes on FCP X here from some very experienced editors. The best part actually being WHEN they wrote them (a full TWO years ago) and were still all for using X already. There are 13 occurrences of “fast” not even counting the comments (which bring is to *22*). 😉

  11. Thanks Philip, but I would like to know what brought you to write this article?
    I am no FCPX user, but I can see from the demos and user interface that it would likely be fast to use. (I think it has even had an effect on Premiere adopting some of these ideas in CC) But thats not the core of the issue to me, its the right tool for the job that is the issue..
    An example of this is that “FinalCutExpress” is also fast to use.. There are reasons people nicked named FCPX just an upgrade to FC-express.
    For the type of work I do, FCPX probably would be a better faster tool, but I stay in Premiere and AfterFX etc, because I walk a handle of the tools above and beyond the FCPX eco-system.
    Its all a matter of preference. Not one is better then the other.

    But I know you know this, so whats the motivation for this story?


    1. Philip

      You’ll notice it’s not an article but simply a collection of quotes. I just kept seeing people writing how much faster they were, and hearing it over and again in person, BUT only about FCP X. I have no heard one person who’s moved to Premiere Pro say they’re working faster. (They love the familiarity and toolset though). And never heard a switcher going to Media Composer who felt compelled to post how much faster they were working.

      So I thought it was intersting. Nothing more.

      1. I haven’t used FCPX so I can’t say how fast it is. That said, I find working with Premiere Pro (especially on my suped up Win8 workstation) extremely quick compared with other NLEs I’ve used over the years. And yay, no transcoding!

        I’m not sure how many folks you’ve talked to regarding which is faster that have actually tried Premiere Pro, but I am fairly certain there are lots of folks working with Premiere Pro that are very impressed with its performance.

        Not sure about these “tests.” Pure speed is hard to test anyway, you know. Further, why test rendering speed with a single real time effect when no rendering is actually required? Why not test a multi-layered composite instead?

        For me, it’s more about smoother workflow. You get that with Adobe tools: Photoshop, AE, AME and Premiere Pro all work very well together. It’s a smooth and quick experience.

        Full disclosure: I am an Adobe employee working in support for Premiere Pro and After Effects.


        1. Philip

          Kevin, there were no tests. these are just dozens of spontaneous comments culled from Twitter, CreativeCow and other places. No-one asked. These are all unprompted quotes that most people had no idea they would be quoted.

          And if ever I hear people saying the same thing about moving to Premiere Pro, I’ll write the same “article”. I do like the integration between the Adobe tools, and if you have to go to AE regularly, then PPro is a really good choice.

          I simplified for the title, but you will find people claiming form 40% faster to 10x faster. (The former I believe, the latter I consider to be hyperbole!) About Premiere Pro people say how much they like the familiarity and the “FCP 8” they never got from Apple.

        2. Chris Wilby

          Kevin Monahan = Adobe fan boy!

          1. Of course I am, Chris. I work for the company! 😉

          2. Philip

            And proud Kevin should be! He works for a great company that make great software.

          3. Robin S. Kurz

            You may want to actually READ the post in its entirety before you post ad hominem malarky, Chris. :/

      2. That’s it. They love the status quo.

        1. Chris Wilby

          Robin I did read the post in its entirety; so you can keep your informal fallacy to yourself!

  12. I’m absolutely feeling the additional speed of FCPx. The turning point for me was understanding that it is not a step on from FCP7, but a completely redesigned app. Once I got that into my head, and doing things the FCPx way rather than trying to mould X to my archaic FCP7 workflows, everything got easier and a lot faster.

    The other thing I noticed is that editing started to get fun again. Less time thinking about the interface I am using, and more time just editing. More time to fool around with different options, play with different ideas, and in the end creating a better finished product.

  13. Nice to be quoted !

    Great article thanks 🙂

  14. Craig Shamwell

    I have to say it was refreshing to see so many positive comments posted by Phillip on behalf of editors who actually use FCPX as well as other Editors. Lets face it…the Editing World is a “persnickety”” bunch!! I found myself feeling “special”, knowing how to do something that most could not do. I was proud of my effort to learn complex programs and produce commercials and such. And to be honest, I remember when I first used iMovie….reluctantly….for the first time thinking, how can this “so inexpensive” piece of software actually do anything for me, after reading a post from a Pro who used it in his workflow? But I was just taken at how there was absolutely no……RENDERING TIME!!! How could this be? And after just a few minutes with only my prior knowledge of editing, I was doing things faster than I was doing in FCP6! I starting asking myself why FCP was not as intuitive and easy? Seeing the transitions and filters before I used them was so freaking cool!! But still, when FCPX came out, I too was thinking, it looks like iMovie!! And as fond as I was of iMovie, I didn’t want “MY” main editing tool to look like iMovie!!! And then there was the instability and that annoying magnetic timeline! Delete one clip and everything could disappear!! What?, no Mulit-Cam…you cannot be serious?!?! I too felt Apple was abandoning the Pro market and its loyal followers. And for the most part, a lot of Professionals wanted things their way or not at all. So they abandoned ship and said things that are hard to take back. And I believe that most of those folks truly believed what they felt. But after a few weeks, while I was pissed… I just kept using it because, after all….it was easier to edit and just more fun….like iMovie!! So here we are now with a Final Cut Pro X, that is just not supposed to be this good! But it is! And for the way media distribution is changing and the speed at which its needed to get turned around, nothing can compete with it, looking at time vs production value. For the majority of freelance video media creationist on any kind of a budget, its a clear choice. For 300 bucks you can put it on 3 machines and plug-in support is unparallelled. Which segways into my last point. To say Apple has abandoned the Pro-Market is actually just the opposite of what they have done. They opened up a whole industry with the ability for third party plug-in creation. How many new plug-ins are “created exclusively for FCPX” that you see?? TONS!!! This is not “Not supportive of the Pro Market”! What Apple has done, disagree or not, is do what Apple has always done. They develop on the premise that no one can know what they are missing if it doesn’t exist! So they create it! They dare to go outside the comfort zone of the folks that use their products and push them beyond. Any doubters out their about the useability of FCPX in the money making world of editing need to step back and take a deep breath and realize, that the 300 bucks for what this editor can do, at much faster speeds is well worth the time learning, REGARDLESS OF WHAT YOU USE NOW AND LOVE! Ignoring what Phillip has done in posting what professional editors have said is at the very least….not very Professional at all!

    1. Shameer M.

      “They dare to go outside the comfort zone of the folks that use their products and push them beyond.”

      And that’s why I really respect Apple. They’re one of the few tech / product companies that do practice this.

  15. Shameer M.

    When Apple just released Logic Pro X, they developed a new companion iOS app (Logic Remote) that could be used to control Logic Pro from an iPad.

    It would be cool if they developed something similar to this for FCPX when they release the next update.

    1. Craig Shamwell

      Pixel Film Studios has already done just that! Which would be good for field editing. But I use a AVID/EUPHONICS MC TRANSPORT Jog/Shuttle device. And I have to tell you that contrary to AVID saying it is not compatible with FCPX, it most surely is!! It is one of the best most important pieces of equipment I have ever purchased. DO not use the latest software with it, its buggy. But several versions earlier works great. The feel and weight of the device is second to none and buttons are programmable through the not so easy interface. Avid could sell tons of these to FCPX users if they were smart!

      1. Robin S. Kurz

        No, Craig. What PFS (and others) have made is something completely and utterly different. There is no comparison, on any level. You might actually want to look at it sometime.

        And yes, I’d venture to say that it’s a given that there will be an “FCP Remote” at some point, maybe, hopefully with the next version. As opposed to the “ProCutX’s” of the world, which I have found to be completely useless for various reasons, that could mean some *serious* added value, far beyond anything any other NLE has to offer.

  16. Phillip,

    Regard FCPX being faster than other NLE or not I think most people confuses processing speed vs editing speed.

    If a NLE requires render all the time it’s slow, but once a NLE is able to play some effects in realtime without rendering there is another speed definition and there is where FCPX excels: workflow.

    In FCPX you start working in the moment you are ingesting, copying, making proxies and analyzing clips in background. Some may say background tasks are not really background task since it pauses while you are playing, but it is true too that background tasks resumes automatically and you end up with all the proxies and render finished without noticing it.

    And almost every thing involved in editing is improved eliminating steps. Clip skimming saves a lot, really a lot, of time. PPro approach to skimming is not the same and you don’t gain so much speed over traditional opening clips and scrubbing compared to FCPX.

    And one thing people tends to forget about not converting clips to a “faster” codec option: Once you have to export your edits it’s much, much slower than if you have already converted all the footage and that happens approaching the deadline, that moment where you need to be faster. You always have more time to waste at the beginning of a project than at the end.

  17. Patrick James

    I have been using FCPX since its launch, on the very first day I downloaded it. It did take a bit of study to “rewire” myself to it, but I remember that I quickly saw benefits even right at the very beginning. The more I used it the more I realised it really is a huge advance in NLEing.

    Looking through the various quotes in the article I notice that someone identifies the keywords and marking up of materials in the events brower. I really agree that this is a superb aspect of FCPX.

    I remember well working in TV when NLEs were at their very beginning, at the start of the 90s. At that time I was not editing video myself but worked with video editors. I would take home copies of the rushes as VHS tapes and sit with a pen and paper and create “ins” and “outs” with quotes and notes.

    It was at that stage, right at the beginning, that the editing was really happening. I found that the more I did sitting at home with the VHS tapes the better the editing process in the suite.

    I think that FCPX makes that initial marking up of materials extremely simple and logical. It is so easy to find things. Most importantly that initial marking up helps you get your mind around all the materials, you get a handle on all the important and relevant shots etc.

    FCPX has many other superb qualities but I strongly recommend that people check out the keywords system in the Events browser if they have not done so already.