I Forgive you FCPX

The year was 2011. I was still using Final Cut Pro 6, not the infamous 7, so I was due for an upgrade, which I was slap happy about. I downloaded FCPX with great enthusiasm, waited impatiently for the green download button to say OPEN, and there is was. The great editor apocalypse of 2011. FCPX blew up my whole world. I returned it a few hours later and downloaded Adobe Premiere Pro CS5. For this die-hard Apple fan, this was hard to do. Creatively, this broke my heart (yes, I’m being dramatic), because I can trace all my creative awakenings to an Apple product.
2000 – my brother shows me a blue iMac with Final Cut Pro 2 installed on it. My brother told me I could be a filmmaker with just a computer and a camera. It was that easy to get immersed into the creative process of making movies.
2002 – I got my first Apple computer, a Powerbook G4 along with a DV camera, and a firewire cable. I opened iMovie for the first time to edit footage of my dog, the only thing I could think of to film at the time. If I had known YouTube was going to be a thing, I would’ve kept filming my dog. But I was a filmmaker and filmmakers make art…hahaha…I just flashed back to all my terrible film school movies. Oh, man. Anyway.
2002 – My brother saw me editing in iMovie and says, “what’s that?” I said, “iMovie.” And he said, “just get Final Cut Pro already.” So I did. I bought Final Cut Pro 3.
2002 – Also marks the year I got rejected from film school. But that sad tale is not the point of this blog.
2008 – I got accepted into film school. Oh, maybe there was a point to mentioning I got rejected from film school. Anyway, by the of Fall 2009, I went off to film school with a 13in. Powerbook, and Final Cut Pro 4. It was time for an upgrade. I’m a real filmmaker now…hahaha…that really was my thought process for purchasing a Mac Pro G5 tower with the Final Cut Pro suite.
2010 – I mistakenly got Shake, which Apple bought out to only use in Motion. That pissed me off. That was the first time I switched to an Adobe product, After Effects.
2010 – I hauled ass out of film school because that sucked. Like really sucked. It was going to be okay. I had my studio on my Mac Pro. I’m still a filmmaker.
2011 – The apocalypse. Crap.

The apocalypse was the end of an era. It marked the end of my love affair with Apple. Don’t get me wrong; I still only use Apple. I didn’t jump to PC. Well, I tried, but that was a disaster. There wasn’t a PC I bought that I didn’t want to chuck out of a window. Anyway, I’m leading off the point, as if there was one, am I right?
Adobe saved my process, it saved my workflow, but it didn’t necessarily save my creativity. I wasn’t excited in the same way I was when my brother showed me his iMac and Final Cut Pro 2.

Let’s get to the point at hand. Dramatics aside, FCPX needs no forgiveness from me, and after a long journey back to FCPX, I now understand the thinking behind FCPX. As an editor, I always kept up with FCPX. I always made it a point to keep up to date every two years just in case. However, I always walked away frustrated. Recently I decided to leave the Adobe ecosystem, which left my options open. Do I go back to FCPX considering my past trauma? Do I use DaVinci Resolve, which feels like a nice balance between FCPX and Premiere Pro? Do I spend a lot of money and start investing in AVID Media Composer? Well, Media Composer was thrown off the list quick. That’s a big investment.
Just a disclaimer, I’m not switching back to FCPX because I think it’s superior over Adobe or anything else. In fact, I don’t hate Adobe at all. I could honestly continue using it and not be mad. However, I have four reasons I’m switching, and those reasons I could not overlook.

  1. My favorite piece of tech right now is my iPad Pro with Pencil. When I say favorite, I mean, I am like a three-year-old carrying around a dirty security blanket, aka “Binky”. Having the iPad Pro has allowed me to digitally paint, video edit, and animate projects from start to finish. My creative workflow changed. Editing in iMovie or LumaFusion has changed how I see editing. The way I see editing is the reason FCPX exists. FCPX was far ahead of their time by pushing editing where it was going and not staying where it was. I couldn’t see that ten years ago. My process had to catch up. I know everyone was mad about losing FCP7, but from what I understand, the code to FCP7 was old, and they had to rebuild the software from the ground up. If you’re going to rebuild, don’t build the same thing but slightly different. Build to where you’re going, and that’s the birth of FCPX.
  2. To piggyback on that, Adobe’s integration with the iPad Pro was limiting. If I was video editing, I couldn’t start a project on my iPad and bring it to my desktop. Same thing with digital painting. I could use Procreate and go to Photoshop on the desktop, but if I wanted to go from Photoshop to Procreate, I couldn’t. You can’t do it with Photoshop iOS either. The files were too big. The workflow between my iPad, whether it be writing, filmmaking, animation, or illustration, is fundamental to me. Editors Note: I just found out I can export LumaFusion projects to FCP and with Sidecar I can edit with any NLE on my iPad. My level of excitement can’t be expressed in words so I won’t even try.
  3. Adobe became increasingly unstable. I’m not a computer person. I don’t understand the language other than knowing what specs I need for my computer. When I started hearing Mac users switch to PC because of CUTA processing and rendering or whatever, I was like, “do you mean I have to buy a PC?” I was not ready for that leap. Plus, I had no idea what they were talking about, and I didn’t care. Still don’t. I just want the thing to work. With every new update, which now seemed like it was every five minutes, my system would freak out, plug-ins wouldn’t work, and videos would take longer to render. I have a pretty spec’d out iMac. Things should work. I have 32GB of ram, and Photoshop automatically takes 20GB of that (I might be exaggerating, but not by much).
  4. Premiere Pro would crash so much that I started expecting it. The crashes became part of my workflow. Even though I’m excellent at remembering to save, Premiere didn’t seem to care that I did because it wouldn’t open my projects anymore. For some reason, every project was corrupted on some level. I tried to find solutions, but it seemed everybody either had this problem or a different problem they were trying to solve. Animate CC would work one day just fine, and the next, it wouldn’t do anything right. Photoshop was killing my ram, and After Effects, well, After Effects is still an angel. I love you 😘After Effects 😍.

With a combination of creative friction in my workflow and becoming unstable to use, I had to break up with Adobe. So here were are.
2020 – Official break up begins. I cancel my subscription to Adobe. Clean break. However, it gave me a lot of reasons to enjoy my tech again. I got into Affinity Photo and Designer as a replacement to Photoshop and Illustrator. I got Rough Animator to animate. LumaFusion, and iMovie projects can be loaded into FCPX. I started creating music in Garageband and bringing it into Logic Pro X. Creatively, I was having fun again.

I started with DaVinci Resolve because it’s free and I’ve heard fantastic things about it. I was convinced I was going to switch to it, but I had one issue. I didn’t want to get burned again. DaVinci is excellent, but I don’t know Blackmagic’s endgame or what the future with DaVince is. Besides, Blackmagic makes their money on hardware, not software. In other words, I’m using the free version because why not? And I’m keeping an eye on them.

That leads me back to FCPX. For some reason, FCPX just made sense. I couldn’t figure out what changed. Every two years, I would try using FCPX and quickly fled from it. I don’t necessarily believe it’s better than using Adobe. So, what was different? I concluded that it came down to my process with my technology. Having the ability to edit on the iPad right in my hand, and literally with my fingertips changed how I interacted with an editor. I outgrew the old way of editing and adapted the new approach. Things just worked, and it opened me up creatively.

I was 17 years old when my brother showed me that iMac. I was 17 when I knew my dream of being an artist was possible; possible through myself and not dependant on anyone else. Except my mother. I needed her to bankroll my Apple obsession for a while. You can’t forget to thank your mom.

The technology you use can either hinder your creative process and create new paths to your creative process. I don’t care about graphics card, Adobe vs. FCPX, this or that or how much something costs. I just want to feel like I did when I was 17. Creative.

Thanks for reading. Like, share, comment, or point out something I missed. I love it all. Take care, and happy editing.

P.S. check out what I found in my office. The last copy of Final Cut Studio 2 and Shake 4. Good times.

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