Final Cut Pro 8: A Wish List

Final Cut Pro 8: A Wish List

On the heels of the recent uncharacteristically Apple statement about the future of Final Cut Pro, and then a fantastic post by a fellow Hollywood Tech Neighbor Philip Hodgetts, speculation has one again fanned the flames of excitement within the collective Final Cut Pro Kool-Aid drinkers.  Thus, I thought I would examine the current gaps I see in the product.  A wish list, as it were.  And no, not minor keyboard shortcuts and the like, but fundamental features which I believe are needed to kick ass and chew bubblegum.  Admittedly, many of these keep the “Pro” in “Pro Apps.”

Unfortunately, this *needs* to be said:  None of the views expressed within this entry constitute any advanced product knowledge nor anything more than an educated guess. It’s Apple, you should know this by now.  If I knew anything, I’d be shot.

Here are my top 20:

  1. 64-bit.  Yeah, we all know it’s happening.  Good.
  2. Stereoscopic Built in.  FCP needs a filter – much like 3D toolbox – which allows for a video track to have a second video track overlayed and locked to it at the same time.  This filter needs various flavors of 3D (side by side, over/under, interlaced, anaglyph, etc.) convergence, sync points, and basic color controls – all keyframeable.  These “tweaks” and timecode (plus other metadata) needs to be exportable via XML or EDL for use with other systems.Yes, I know 3D Toolbox and Cineform do this, but native support is, of course, welcomed.  This is a massive feature that Avid has and FCP doesn’t, and I don’t expect Mr. Jobs to ignore the fact that Hollywood uses Avid for this fact – and not FCP.
  3. blah blah blah send to mobile me which sends to Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, grandma’s rotary phone with one click blah blah blah also send to iTunes cloud for sharing your video and video playlists with friends blah blah blah.
  4. Unlimited RT was cool for a couple years, but now, c’mon – just support more native formats in the timeline.  Log & Transfer has still has some good uses when you don’t want to edit in the native camera codec, but realistically, every other NLE supports more and more native camera formats in the timeline.  If Apple wants to continue to make their apps more geared towards consumers, then support what consumers are generating.  That being said, native DPX and image sequence support would be very, very, very nice.
  5. Add mixing of frame rates, frame sizes, and audio sample rates without needing Unlimited RT.
  6. Shared projects.  FCP has always been a single user environment.  Aside from XML exchanges, (which – let’s face it – bloat your project quickly) FCP really needs some kind of shared project environment, a la Avid Unity.  I concede I can see where this may be rolled into an XSan environment, but collaboration is being stifled by this limitation.
  7. Break the large frame size restriction.  Large graphics and frame sizes will bring FCP to it’s knees.  I’m sure 64-bit will help to remedy this.
  8. More efficient round tripping without exporting.  The Motion roundtrip is great.  The Soundtrack Pro is not.
  9. More efficient Compressor CPU utilization (have you seen how bad it is?) and a more reliable QMaster for distributed rendering.  QMaster breaks or loses track of nodes way to often and is not nearly as efficient as it could be.  I’d love to see a PC verison of QMaster to add PC’s into the mix (Hey, Apple *has* made a few Windows apps)
  10. Distributed Rendering – not just Compressor encode based.  Maybe even background rendering whenever the mouse isn’t moving. (i.e. the system is never idling – always rendering)
  11. Better support for uber high powered video cards (NVidia 4800, 5600, 5800, etc) with or without SDI, plus better leveraging of the card’s GPU.  I’d love to get a high end video card and have the option of using SDI for output instead of a Kona or Blackmagic card.
  12. Blah blah FCP project blah blah iPad blah blah look at what I’m doing to this video in real time blah blah blah get video from iPhone too blah blah blah roundtrip video from apple mobile devices along with comments blah blah blah
  13. Initial deployment of cloud based editing.  C’mon, the writing is on the wall.  It may not be ready for primetime, but there has got to be some hooks to edit material already sitting in the cloud.
  14. Email notifications for everything.  Renders, exports, media moving, FTPing, etc.
  15. Skinnable and/or color scheme changes, and more control over ALL text and button sizes – not just Browser and Timeline text.
  16. Versioning, not just incremental autosaves.
  17. Facial and verbal recognition and tagging of this in FCP, which populates the metadata fields in the browser, with markers.  Couple this with a form of Script Sync, and we now have a way to associate searchable media and text for faster usage.  Facial recognition has been out for a few years with iPhoto, many applications out there have decent verbal recognition, and Script Sync…well, the other “A” company has had it for many, many years.
  18. Edit while live capturing of the same footage.  Several other plug-ins have already been doing it for years.
  19. R3D native support.  Wavelets got FCP on the map with RED users, but the hand tieing because of the extractions made it a pain.
  20. Real Time LUT based filters.  Apply a filter that reads LUTs and BOOM, instant RT “looks” for the Editor.  Maybe even applying a LUT while capturing or during Log & Transfer for permanent bake-in….?
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  • Jeremy
    Posted at 13:25h, 29 July Reply

    We have a bunch of Macs and PC’s at our studio, even a few hackintoshes for on set DIT. Unfortunately RED has decided to publish a lot of their tools to Mac and not so much PC, so that is the reason for the Hackintoshes, since it’s costly to build a custom Mac Pro into a portable case.

    That said, I like the FCP studio a lot, it’s cohesiveness is far better than Adobe’s, but I feel with the simple addition of CUDA technology, Adobe has pushed milestones ahead of Apple. Sure, the way Premiere does it is still a little flawed, but to have stacks and stacks of effects real time, just for going out and buying a cheap $150 video card, is priceless to me. I also see that Apple isn’t really interested in the Nvidia bandwagon anytime soon, while Adobe has been using CUDA technology since CS4.

    I have a feeling that it would take an enormous effort to rival the progress Adobe has made. Plus we have seen technologies like this before on Matrox cards, but nothing like a processor that a GPU would provide. I hope Apple has something up their sleeve, otherwise this will be a type of trend that Adob will specialize in.

  • Paul13Walnut5
    Posted at 06:20h, 13 September Reply

    How about a counter in ‘Capture Now’ mode, showing time elapsed and hard disk space used?

    I would also like to be able to mix font sizes and styles in one layer. One of the very few things I miss from Premiere.
    Fed up creating multiple layers.

    h.264 compatible off-lining (even v low res just to speed up cutting, then only need to pro-res the footage that actually makes the cut)

    a lower than DV res offline capture setting (handy for MacBookers)

    More than 2.5GB of RAM being seen.

    • Michael Kammes
      Posted at 15:52h, 13 September Reply

      Some Good Notions, Paulie.

      Some, however, are already there / addressed:

      There is a lower than DV Resolution. Offline RT!

      As for Capture Now, the 3rd panel over (Capture Settings) in the Log and Capture window, show how much Free Space and how that translates to time.

      When FCP is written into 64 Bit, it WILL see more than 2.5GB of RAM. The 16 bit limitation is what is preventing it currently.

      RT H.264 is very difficult – heck, Avid just introduced it via AMA. It looks great, but is very CPU intensive on the decode. Given the lapse of time for FCP timeline “updates”, it’s not surprising it hasn’t been done yet! But I, too, see it on the roadmap.

      I’d also love to mixed text options, too. We can hope!

  • Billy
    Posted at 16:09h, 18 October Reply

    mmm. so you want all this features…well get Sony Vegas Pro 10…I had used FCS for over 5 years and Sony Vegas Pro for 3 years…And Sony Vegas Pro its just a killer much better then FCS it would change the way you look at film…it just better work flow…!!!!!

  • Spencer Johnston
    Posted at 18:06h, 18 October Reply

    thanks for the laugh. I actually thought you were serious for a minute.

  • vego
    Posted at 05:02h, 31 December Reply

    Since getting my first LCII in 93, I have been a big fan of Apple. I love apple also that it is not MS, not cause of marketing, i think i like just having choice, plus i am more productive in the mac os space. In “93” nothing in windows-land could touch system 8, or was it 7.6.1. but – Vegas Pro 10 is very nice for pro-summer to pro work, (if heavier on the pro-summer side) and has a free online download that is fully functional with watermark.

    now FCS is also in the pro-summer game and is a little bit more on the pro side of that game. but the windows space has definitely moved past apple.

    what i hear from the a few people who have predicted things properly, for whatever reason, over the last 10 or 12 years, they say apple is repositioning final cut studio more for the pro-summer market. and for real pro work, they will let people go elsewhere. primarily the new developments will be in ease of use and interface overhaul, not in catering to the needs of the pro space.

    i still love apple, and i use it for me daily stuff, but avid 64 on windows 7 – 64 is the space we all are gravitating to, at least here in southern europe, for over 200k projects, and largely vegas for the sub 200k and sub 100k projects.

    i wish FCS 5 will blow the doors off in the pro space, but that is not what we are hearing through the creative/tech grapevine. it is great for the sub 200,000 euro project market. not for bigger projects, as compared to what exists out there.

    i think final cut drove plenty of mac hardware sales, but i think that space is shrinking, the mac laptops have exploded in popularity here, but the mac pro space has stopped growing. (athens/rome/barcelona).

    and dare i add that vegas pro is not american. i do unfortunately think we over here have started to consider such things, sadly. enjoy 2011.

  • vego
    Posted at 05:42h, 31 December Reply

    i was involved in the 2008 Thessaloniki international film festival (TIFF) and i associate with the people who help organize it. and i am pitching for a project in the 2011 TIFF. An informal survey during production shows that comparing 2008 to 2010, that fewer of the sub 100k and far fewer of the sub 30k projects are FCP this year. maybe it is not avids’ improvements, maybe it is windows’ 7 improvements, not sure, but it is a trend. maybe creatives here in south eastern europe are very sensitive to american politics, not sure, but it is a trend. we had both iranian and palestinian film makers in this years entrants.

  • Lewis
    Posted at 11:39h, 05 January Reply

    I think no1 thing they should have in Final Cut Pro 8 is a pen tool that you can actually use to mask things with like adobe after effects, because the one they have now is pointless 😐

  • Michael Sanders
    Posted at 09:58h, 24 January Reply

    How about watch folders? A file goes into a folder and automatically gets added to the FCP project.

    And a used flag – seriously how hard can that be?

  • Benjamin
    Posted at 11:55h, 27 February Reply

    I could care less about all the futuristic stuff mentioned in the article. I would ask for only 2 things: 1) Improve the trim tool to allow more complex trims, etc. 2) Add the ability to view the source monitor on the timeline. That’s it. But I would assume Apple isn’t even considering stuff like that. Come on Jobs, I hope you will remember people actually edit with this software!

  • gerrit
    Posted at 09:34h, 07 March Reply

    There’s a lot of simple (or problems that seem simple).

    • Better integration with the other Pro Apps (IE Motion, Soundtrack Pro, Color etc).. Right now the workflow wouldn’t be so bad if they were great apps, but lets face it – they aren’t. For something simple like a title with kerning or a word in superscript, you either have to go through an annoying process for Motion, use Boris 3D text (which stinks) or create it in Photoshop.

    • Can we please get some control over the tabs? I spend about 30 minutes a day closing tabs. Why can’t I set a maximum of 10 sequence tabs open at once? After 10, they become unusable anyways.

    • Select multiple keyframes to move or change at once (without selecting all of the keyframes). Although I guess this is an advantage of Motion, Soundtrack Pro etc.

    • Better trimming tool

  • Pierre
    Posted at 00:11h, 16 March Reply

    Mr Jobs,
    I really feel happy to know I’ll soon have to pay once more to get what I’m hoping as a real NLE, in order to work without losing my time because it’s been created by people who never spent a day with a real editor…
    Here are my wishes :
    1- could you simply give the editor a quick and simple way to know if a clip is already on the timeline, and if it is, where it is? (please see Premiere Pro)
    2- could you create a really efficient title tool in FCP, which allows to write subtitles seeing what they fill in the screen without making a test, automatically sending to the second line? (please see Premiere Pro)
    3- could you imagine something to automatically store and name the FCP created titles into a bin, to be able to use them a second time without copying/pasting from the TL? (please see Premiere Pro)
    4- should it be possible to save a project with its own system settings, I mean capture/render/thumbnails directories ? It should be great to not send everything everywhere because you forgot to change the settings when opening an old project, isn’t it? (please see Premiere Pro)

    Written from France in bad english!

  • oana
    Posted at 00:11h, 07 April Reply

    it would be nice to have the option to lock cuts/edits/videos on a track, at a certain point in the timeline, so that when moving everything else, they stay in that location regardless of what’s happening around (without having to lock the whole track – i used that function in pro tools and it makes such a difference).
    also, a better “paste” target. when copying an edit/video from the same sequence or a different one, it only copies it it to the video track it was previously on…not fun at all.

  • Gerard
    Posted at 12:12h, 29 April Reply

    Googled onto this one… Interesting, in retrospect. 🙂

  • Paul
    Posted at 12:39h, 29 April Reply

    Did I miss something Gerard? FCP8 isn’t out yet.

    Well, one lives in hope.

  • Gerard
    Posted at 13:32h, 29 April Reply

    “Some people call it Final Cut 8”.

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