Final Cut Pro X First Thoughts

First impressions on making the transition from Final Cut Express to Final Cut Pro X - by David R. Beebe
Transitioning from FCE to FCPX has been easier than I thought. Not to say there hasn't been a few changes to my workflow.

Oh joy, oh rapture:

For the very first time, I can merge photos and videos from my Canon still cameras along with Pat's Canon video camera clips. FCPX shows the imported video clips named by time stamp (yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm:ss) rather than FCE's sequential clip number (which was different than the .mts filename used by the camcorder). For still photos, Aperture can export the edited versions with a similar filename template of image date and image time: "yyyy-mm-dd hh-mm-ss". I can then create a smart album by selecting all events with the same "yyyy-mm-dd" in the text field. This results in a list sorted by filename which is so much easier than FCE where I had to drop in all the video to the timeline first then figure out which photos fell in between clips.

Still photos in the timeline:

FCPX imports still images as 10 second video clips (as did FCE) but the preference for 4 second still durations is not automatic. If you add a clip as-is to the timeline, it drops in at the full 10 seconds. You need to click on the clip in the event browser (somewhere near center will do) and it will then set in and out points for 4 seconds. Now you can place the image in the timeline. If you forget, you can cntl-D to type in a new duration (which in this case would be 4;).

The controls in the effects browser for placement are mostly familiar but they are used in new ways. For example, the X & Y placement coordinates are completely different. The numbers are a lot smaller in range and can be either manually entered or scrolled through after clicking on the field. For cropping, whatever dimension fills the frame either horizontally or vertically is shown as 100% even when the source is larger than the 1920x1280 window. I really do miss the ability to click on the center point of a photo and drag it to where I wanted it in the frame as I could with FCE.

Some sample values for placing multiple still images in the frame:
For 4 - 16x9 horizontal images, scale all to 50% and placed a X +/- 45 and y +/- 25 (don't forget to select them and group them with opt-g)
For 3 - 16x9 vertical images, place the 2 outside images at X +/- 61 and the center image scaled to 111%.
For 2 - 4x3 vertical images, place 1 zoomed to 136% with an X +/- 38 to fill much of the frame with the other image at X +/- 52
For 2 - 2x3 vertical images, the larger of the two will need to be scaled more to help fill the frame