FCP X comes to the rescue

Lately Premiere Pro has been crashing on me. A lot. I don’t know if it is OS X Mountain Lion, something about my particular machine, something about the very long projects I’ve been editing or something about Premiere Pro but it has gotten to be much more than an annoyance. Before I spend the money to go to CS 6 and see if it works better I thought I’d give Final Cut Pro X another chance. I’ve tried it a few times (thank you Apple for finally offering a free trial on this product!) and found it just different enough from all the other non-linear editing tools I’ve used that I couldn’t quite get the hang of it. I had some small projects to do this week that were low pressure so I decided to try FCP X one more time.

This time I got some help. Izzy over at IzzyVideo.com made some really useful tutorials that made all the difference for me. FCP X isn’t that different from Vegas or Premiere Pro but the combination of the new “magnetic timeline” and the different keyboard shortcuts can throw you for a loop. Izzy made it all seem simple and clear. The proof is that I got my projects done with plenty of time to spare and now feel pretty comfortable using FCP X for the basics. Now I need to dig in and try an advanced project.

If I make the switch, which now seems likely, I’ll also want to consider moving to Apple’s Motion. I’m not a pro with After Effects. I can usually get what I need from it but not at lightning speed. Motion seems easier to use for most of what I end up doing. There’s no free trial but it is only $49.95. Motion is probably in my future too.

The projects I did with FCP X this week are internal-use only so I can’t share them. Here’s an idea of some of the things I needed to do and did get done:

  • Line up clips and photos with music and narration
  • Duck music during narration
  • Build creative titles layering text on shapes on textures
  • Imply motion with a Ken Burns effect on a collage of photos
  • Use transitions to cover abrupt changes

FCP X helped me get all those things done. One thing it couldn’t help me with was to deliver the finished files as Windows Media so the client could use them in a PowerPoint 2007 slideshow. Fortunately I still have Sony Vegas on my Windows machine and it happily rendered my .mov files into .wmv files. Beats telling the client to upgrade to Office 2010 so they can use .mp4 files.