Add me to the list of satisfied users: I like Final Cut Pro X

In a previous post I talked about our problem with choosing a video editing software to teach our students since the release of Final Cut Pro X. With its release came the demise of Final Cut Pro 7 and Final Cut Express. FCE carried a student price of about $70 — pretty good price for a modified version of the high-end editor.

Because we don’t have enough computer lab space for nearly 400 students per semester, we needed to find a quality editing program they could afford to buy for their required laptops. Our professors were able to negotiate a favorable educational price for FCPX for our students. It’s higher than I would like—the cost of two or three text books—but the program is good and they don’t have books to buy for this class.

Since our students are using it, well, that means I have to learn it. We had a one day training session with our in-house Final Cut trainer, Olga Kyle. I fall into that lucky bunch of people who have tried iMovie (and hated it) but didn’t have too much time invested in Final Cut Pro 7. That makes the transition pretty easy for me. The interface in FCPX is friendly but the a little too simplistic for someone who has created more than a few videos. While I learned a ton, there’s only such much you can learn in a few hours. Here’s my most recent video. Below it is a list of things I couldn’t figure out on the fly.

This practice video was an afterthought. I shot the interview footage just to try out the camera angle and use of a wireless mic. Those two things were successful. Then I decided to play around with the program by adding some still photos. Here’s what I couldn’t figure out quickly and tons of excuses. Remember, this was a practice video!

• How to separate the audio and video tracks.
• The still photo/intro slide covers up a shaky shot. When press conference started I wasn’t quite ready.
• I couldn’t figure out what size to make the stills, so several don’t cover up the video.
• I have no idea how to use curtains.
• I did resize the photos in Photoshop. Through trial and error I came upon a size of 2200 x 1200 pixels at 72 ppi. Even at that size the jpg files were about 6mb, which seems unreasonably large but then, the stills look like crap in the video.
• The only transition I could find was a cross fade.
• At the end I just ran out of energy and put on last crappy video clip in.

What worked:
• It’s easy to move clips around and easy to do referencing.
• I think this technique (video and stills) could work well to make the post game press conferences more interesting.
• Colleague Reuben Stern suggested adding simple caption info and even some stats to the video. I love those ideas.

WHAT I LEARNED: I like working in FCPX and I need to keep at it so that I don’t forget the few things I know. Though the price is a bit high, I’m glad we were able to get FCPX for our students to use.

I need to write more, I need to get more of my thoughts out of my head and into yours. Aren’t thoughts just like other possessions? I cleaned out my garage today and managed to throw or give some things away, but not enough. I kind of feel that way about my thoughts. Every now and then I need to give some away.

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