This was “mess with stuff I’ve had but haven’t had a chance to mess with yet” weekend. I’ve been waiting to try out Final Cut Pro X but didn’t have any footage to experiment with. Then I remembered that I also hadn’t tried the waterproof housing on the GoPro I got last Christmas yet either, so it was time to jump in the pool. I was looking forward to getting some slow-mo cannonballs with the boy to test out 60fps, but surprisingly he didn’t want to go swimming. Fortunately, it was very hot so the rest of the family was more than willing.

This is the result, a lot of camera grabbing and splashing later. There was a short segment where I floated the camera on some flip flops and let it just glide along the water. That was kind of fun, but my ghetto rig wasn’t very stealth when I first started as you can see in some clips above, LOL. I’m not too thrilled with the clarity of the GoPro HD and the audio quality blows big time. I wish there were some good FCPX tutorials out there since I didn’t really know what I was doing either. Not really happy with the limited color grading capabilities, although I may just be doing it wrong. Might want to come back to this piece later after I get a chance to learn how to do it better.

Overall, the basic learning curve on FCPX is fairly easy. But as you can see, the edit is pretty basic as well. I didn’t bother trying to figure out any of the more complex features. I love how simple it is to slow down / speed up the clips by dragging, but I definitely need to learn how to do more precise timing editing. I like to cut to music, and not necessarily in a linear manner, so not knowing the tools kind of jacked me up a little.

One of the biggest “pros” I think is the ability for FCPX to render things in the background while still allowing you to preview the edits, mostly real time. There was some jumpiness, but for the most part I was able to keep going without waiting for renders to take place. I used a dual core iMac…hardly a video processing powerhouse, and the speed was decent. I was also working off a Drobo, so not even direct on the internal hard drive.

Another big “pro” for me is the ability to use native H.264 files without needing to convert them to AIC or some other format. Plus, you can set FCPX to reference the files wherever they are stored versus making duplicate copies in the project folder. I hate having multiple files taking up unnecessary storage space.

All-in-all, I’m fairly happy with FCPX. It does feel like iMovie on steroids, which is both good and bad. But I am a bit disappointed in the lack of some more pro features. However, that comes with 3 big caveats:

  1. I’m a total amateur.
  2. I probably just don’t know how to do certain things yet.
  3. If Apple history is any indication, more features are just around the corner.

I definitely like this better than Final Cut Express. Time to retire that app, but it’s a bummer FCPX won’t convert FCE files. I sure hope we don’t start seeing a bunch of people using the canned themes though. Most of those are horrible and need to stay in iMovie.

Music by Smash Mouth.