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It is Possible to be Too Suite

I just upgraded to Final Cut Studio 2.

I know, welcome to 2007, right? Hey, I’ve been busy. And I was getting by on FCP4 and the couple million dollars in Avid equipment I have access to.

But I finally bit the bullet and upgraded at home. I’m very glad I did. It is faster, seems more stable, and has some features I really, really like.

But it misses the mark in a couple ways. Ways I think could be improved. At the root of all these is a philosophical outlook on the suite of tools.

Apple seems to view FCS2 as a bunch of applications centered around video production, and these applications all play well with each other. Very egalitarian. However, it’s stupid. No one is buying a seat of Final Cut Studio 2 just to use Soundtrack Pro or DVD Studio. Both are great tools, true. But if you are a sound professional, you are likely using Pro Tools. If you are a DVD producer you are likely using... whatever it is they use. People use Soundtrack and it’s brothers because they use Final Cut. Final Cut is not just one of a suite of programs. It is not even first among equals. Final Cut is the big dog, and all others should submit to it’s dominance.

Here are just a few simple suggestions:

Right now, if I want to add a title slate, I need to launch motion, create a project, save it, drag it into FCP and add it to the timeline. Why cant I just right click on a bin and say “create MOTN file”, drag it into the timeline and be done. I realize it’s not much difference, but it’s fast, and keeps me in the “flow” - and working productively is all about flow.

I have Motion. It came in the box. I know this. You know this. It’s not like I’m asking you to create a AEP file - though that’d be AWESOME. Create a MOTN file that is a simple text object, and let me either hand it off to someone or do it myself later. Sure, I could have a presaved file, but it’s not the right length, it doesn’t say the right thing, etc. I have to launch Motion. LET ME STAY IN FINAL CUT!

Similar is Soundtrack. I like Soundtrack. I actually LIKE Soundtrack. But working with it is a pain sometimes. I simply don’t understand why there cannot be a “Foley” palette in Final Cut that lets me have access to all the sound effects that ship with Soundtrack. If I have an edit of say, a fight and I’ve temped in audio of a bunch of punches, I can do it either by bringing in all the audio into a bin in FCP, with non of the handy sorting, searching and tagging that exists in Soundtrack, or I can go into soundtrack, and have to constantly export and conform with every video edit change.

Also, seeing as temp music is insanely useful, let me just grab AACs and MP3s from my iTunes library. I’m not saying make it iMovie, but let me read any and all media Quicktime can.

Overall, I’m digging the party, even if I arrived fashionably late. But I hope at NAB2009 we see the Apple recognizes that I don’t want Final Cut Studio. I want editing, with benefits.

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