Final Cut Pro X Migration for Final Cut Studio (FCP7) Users

Are you a current Apple Final Cut Studio (FCP7) user and thinking of making the jump to the new Final Cut Pro X that was released today? Then you might want to read this first.

Let me cut right to the chase. When relating it to the previous version, FCPX is quite revolutionary. It’s so revolutionary that it really is an entirely different product. You might as well consider other NLEs such as Adobe Premiere or AVID before you commit to it. Apple made the mistake of keeping the Final Cut Pro name with this product, when in reality it’s more like iMovie Pro. You can import your old iMovie projects, but not your old Final Cut Pro projects. See my point? Yes, that’s messed up.

Thankfully, FCP7 and FCPX can co-exist on the same system. But, if you’ve also purchased the new Motion 5 you will need to move it into a sub folder (I put the new FCPX, Compressor 4 and Motion 5 in a new Applications sub-folder) otherwise FCP7 will refuse to launch.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m extremely excited about this new product. I really am. But it will take a while before I’m using it full time for my show. Here’s why…

There’s no way to open or migrate your old projects. That means all of your old sequences will have to be re-created from scratch. I don’t know about you but I have a lot of key sequences in FCP7 that I’ll now have to re-create from scratch or export as movie files in order to use in FCPX. Nothing can be migrated. Nothing.

There’s no way to use your old plugins. I own FxFactory, Magic Bullet Looks, and numerous other plugins for FCP7. None of them work with FCPX. You’ll have to wait for Noise Industries, Red Giant Software, etc. to update them to support the new 64-bit FCPX. The sad thing is that I’m sure it will be a huge effort for them to update their plugins, and it will no doubt come with an upgrade cost.

I also upgraded to Compressor 4, even though there don’t seem to be any obvious differences between 4.0 and 3.5.3. One nit is that all of my own custom profiles aren’t present and I have yet to find a way to move them over. The new Motion 5 looks like a nice upgrade from 4, however I haven’t used it yet to give my opinion.

I have been waiting a long time for a 64-bit version of FCP. Editing a television show is demanding on FCP7, frequently crashing and waiting forever for things to render, even on my monster Mac Pro. I’m glad it’s here, but Apple made it difficult for previous users of FCP to migrate. I’m still pushing forward with it, but I won’t be removing FCP7 from my Mac anytime soon.

If you’re considering jumping to the new Final Cut Pro X, think about it before you do so. If you’re in the middle of projects and think that it’s as simple as upgrading to the latest version of Pages, it’s not. There’s no backward-compatibility. My advice is to hold off until a 3rd party developer creates a utility to migrate your old FCP7 projects, or wait until you have time to slowly phase out FCP7 and make the difficult manual migration to FCPX. And, if you rely on 3rd party plugins for transitions or filters (hey Mr. Lieberman!) you will want to hold off until they have been updated.

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