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FCPX- diary part 1

We are pleased to start publishing the thoughts, findings and humour of a Final Cut Pro X newbie.  Called The FCPX Man Diary, it really does start right from the beginning with entry number one.


The FCPX Man Diary


We live in interesting times. Or more accurately, in my case, other people live in interesting times. As a middle aged TV producer I tend to live about two years behind those brave, risk-taking pioneers who actively seek out new technology and whose work inhabits the Staff Choice pages of Vimeo.

So it was that when Apple announced that they had revolutionised non-linear editing with Final Cut Pro X I did what comes naturally. I ignored it.

But after two years of hiding the game is up. In the same way that Filofax, cell phones, the internet, GPS, DSLR video and even – may God have mercy on my soul – Twitter tracked me down to my Cave of Complacency  (well Superman has his Fortress of Solitude, so why not?)
I have been found by the FCP X mob.

As good fortune would have it though, my mob is less of the villagers with pitchforks and burning torches kind and more like a group of  kindly citizens trying to get me to see the error of my ways. And I can see their point. I remember looking back on that first Filofax and wondering how I lived without it Same went for the first cell phone, my Canon 5D MkII and Final Cut Pro 7. So, it is time for a deep breath and my first step on the road to joining generation X.

But like a kid waiting for Christmas morning who wakes to find it is only Christmas Eve there are things I have to do before I can even look under the tree for my new present (which I am going to have to buy myself). First is an upgrade to Mac OSX 10.8.5 on my MacBook  Pro : and no,  it’s not one of those new ones with Thunderbolt and a screen that means I can throw away my spectacles. I will only start looking at those two years after their issue date.

Now, people who know about these things have told me that you should never, ever upgrade your laptop’s operating system before you have backed everything up and definitely not when you are away from home.  I am presently 12,000 miles from home. The only way I could get further from home, and add an element of physical danger to proceedings, is to fly from London up to the Arctic ice cap and download Mountain Lion whilst sitting next to a polar bear. But what the hell….

It worked. One application I didn’t even know I had has been rendered obsolete but my laptop has not caught fire, so now it’s time for the real present giving. Again, people who know about these things have told me I should partition my disc and take other precautions before purchasing X, Motion and Compressor. But I have gained courage from my reckless OS episode so I am going to ignore them again.

Oh dear. After a few hours of a slow download I may be in a bit of distress. I have looked in my Applications folder and FCP 7 seems to have disappeared. Ha! Once again my bravery has been rewarded. It is still there but in a new folder along with the rest of my Final Cut Studio stuff.

Now, in the company of a very patient, understanding, articulate and expert friend and colleague I am opening my new Final Cut Pro X. It’s a good start. Not only does the application actually pop up on screen along with a sexy new icon in my Dock, but I am able to get my head around the initial lesson, which is that I must stop calling it X and start calling it Ten. With practice I believe I can crack that.

The rest of the brief overview is less comprehensible. I am told to forget everything I knew about non-linear editing. Considering the paucity of my knowledge that shouldn’t be too onerous.  My friend is now telling me some important stuff and pointing at the GUI and clicking things with the mouse.

I don’t know if you have ever seen one of those cartoons where a human is talking to a dog and all the animal can hear is ‘Woof, woof”. I am experiencing something similar here but like a good dog I keep nodding and verbally wagging my tail until the lid is closed on my laptop.
I am not discouraged.  I have been here before with all the other new technologies. I know that ahead lies anger, frustration followed by knowledge, understanding and peace. It’s a bit like one of those journeys in a Kung Fu film.

Tomorrow I fly back to the splendid isolation of my homeland. Twelve thousand miles of economy class air travel. But that journey seems like a trip to the corner shop compared to what lies ahead. It will be an interesting few months.

To be continued ……



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