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The Latest Final Cut Pro

Dale Johnson Posted by Dale Johnson in Features February 7th, 2012

By Dale Johnson Technology Editor

Apple has released an update for Final Cut Pro Ten this week (FCP 10.0.3).  Not every one will be a user of FCP, but if you fall into this group of nonusers, you may find the following of interest. 

Many users of FCP are still on version 7, which is true for me as well.  But I’m wondering if FCP X is worth a try?   You can now acquire this editing software for $300.

Three hundred dollars?

When I got into digital non-linear editing in the mid-90s, Avid was the dominant NLE system.  It cost about $100,000 to $120,000 to get into that system.  Then Media100 entered the picture, so to speak. Media100 had excellent picture quality and only cost $23,000.  That was for the software.  It would operate only on a Mac. True of all NLEs at the time.  So the computer was $6,000, and the monitor $2,000.  This all was designed to work with Beta SP tape, so a recorder was acquired for $10,000.  Hard drives for digital storage, were SCSI drives at the time.  I bought four of these, each able to store four gigs of data, for a total of 16 gigs.  That cost me $7,500.  (Today you can purchase 2,000 gigs of data storage for just over $100.)

Total cost for the M-100 system was about $48,000.  Versus $300 today?  Well….you still need a computer and it will still have to be a Mac to use FCP X.  A Mac laptop can be had for as little as $1,200 that will run this new software.  That’s probably a minimum cost for the computer however, and you will also need hard drives for data storage, but at a much more economical cost than 15 years ago!

If you’re just coming to video editing, or considering upgrading to a more sophisticated system, FCP X may be an attractive bargain.  You can download a full featured test version that will run for 30 days, if you just want to try it.

I understand that it may be quite similar to iMovie in some respects, so if you’re currently using that, FCP X may be an easy transition.  The sophistication and power will certainly exceed what can be accomplished in iMovie.

When first released, FCP X was quickly disparaged by the community of current FCP users for not allowing projects in FCP 7 to be transferred into FCP X.  Two guys, who were not Apple employees, have written an app to be able to move projects from FCP 7 to FCP X now, overcoming one of the major criticisms. A little app sells for $10—at the Apple Store.

I have no stake in Apple or FCP.  I love FCP 7, but I may have to move on just to remain current, even though X will mean a new learning curve for me.  It uses a completely different interface, called a magnetic timeline, and negates the old track based timelines we’ve all grown so used to.  However, there are some pretty powerful color correction, audio and video effects, and filters all incorporated into a single system.  It’s a great deal, for the price.

If you are interested in FCP 10.0.3, click

Final Cut Pro

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