New in OS X: Get MacRumors Push Notifications on your Mac

Resubscribe Now Close

Apple Showcases Final Cut Pro X Usage in Production of Hollywood Film 'Focus'

Just a few days before the release of the Hollywood romantic comedy film Focus, starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie, Apple has provided a behind-the-scenes look at how Final Cut Pro X was used to produce the movie. The feature page provides an in-depth profile of how Final Cut Pro X was used for editing, screen-ready effects and post-production.

Focus Final Cut Pro X
Focus directors John Requa and Glenn Ficarra opted to use Apple's professional video editing software because they found it provided a fast and straightforward workflow. The software gave the directors fine-tuned control over all aspects of the film and provided the flexibility to easily move between editing on a Mac Pro and working with a MacBook Pro on location.
After researching several workflows, Requa and Ficarra decided to cut their major studio feature entirely in Final Cut Pro X. The results were even better than they’d expected. The movie came in on time and under budget, and it played and looked just as they’d envisioned it. “We got exactly the film we set out to make,” says Requa. “What I love about Final Cut Pro X is that it allowed me to be involved with, and in control of, every aspect of making our film.”
Final Cut Pro X was highly criticized by some professional video editors when it was released in 2011, but the directors of Focus told USA Today that they value how the software is easier to use and resembles the look of iMovie. These comments come amid criticism that Apple is dumbing down certain areas of OS X, including the removal of Aperture in favor of the all-new Photos for Mac app.
"Many editors called the new FCPX 'iMovie Lite,' when it was released, and not ready for the big leagues, but Ficarra says he likes that FCPX is easier to use, and that it's look and feel is akin to iMovie. 'We have a whole generation of kids learning on iMovie,' he says. 'They'll be familiar with this tool when they get into the real world.'"
focus_final_cut_pro
The film crew used Mac Pro-equipped on-set mobile post systems from a cutting-edge Los Angeles-based post-production company and used metadata markers to identify the best shots taken each day. Final Cut Pro X enabled this metadata to be searchable and handled full-resolution ProRes 4444 files with ease.
Ficarra believes that the metadata advantage gave them unprecedented control over their story line. “I was able to say, ‘I need Will’s side in this take,’” he says. “And because even his improvisations were specially tagged, we were able to filter and come out with it. The upshot was just infinite searchability. We could change direction so fast and do multiple iterations. Sometimes while we were editing we felt as if we were actually rewriting the movie.”
The full-length feature page on Apple's website goes into further details about how Final Cut Pro X was used throughout all stages of the film's production. The in-depth page also outlines other Apple products and third-party hardware used to make the film a reality, including the Mac Pro, iMac, MacBook Pro, iPad, iPhone, Logic Pro X, Motion 5, Xsan, Apogee Quartet, Quantel Pablo Rio system and more.

Final Cut Pro X is $299.99 on the Mac App Store [Direct Link].



Top Rated Comments

(View all)

19 months ago

nobody uses FCP X professionally, with the exception of this movie and one tv show. zero commercial houses. period. professional commercial/film/tv video editor here, freelancing in LA for the past 14 years. avid was the reigning beast for years, and slowly FCP crept in. as an early adopter, but user of both, I applauded as they encroached a 50% market share in post facilities. it was easy to use, and made timeline editing a snap. it just couldn't ever keep up with avid for projects that you had to share across servers with multiple editors simultaneously thanks to the bin structure. but for everything short form (commercials mainly) it was the best of the best. then X came out. and we limped along with 7, waiting for the day apple would wise up and bring along a 64bit version. that day, we are coming to accept, is never coming. all post houses are starting to finally dump 7 thanks to the lack of support and inability to keep up with modern cameras. it is still used, but backslid dramatically. the 50-60% of fcp houses reverted back to avid, and maybe 15% still use 7, while 25% now use premiere. i hated premiere, but in the stark void FCP left behind and Avid can't touch thanks to it's limited editing abilities and archaic design and functionality, premiere has leaped and bounded with significant improvements version after version. i have cried myself to sleep many a night over the inevitable death of fcp 7 thanks to X and i can finally stop, because there is finally a new future ready version of final cut out, and it is premiere CC2014. i have never seen anyone professional use X and i never will. congratulations apple, on killing the product that made me and many like me switch to using apple computers in the first place. enjoy your prosumers, because no professional editor will ever use you again.


A very heart-felt rant, but not a lot of talk about why FCPX isn't a professional tool. Maybe that's because it actually is a professional tool. Have you checked it out lately, or has bitterness completely consumed you?
Rating: 52 Votes
19 months ago

can it support multiple sequences? the idea that they started ANY editing program marketed as a professional tool where you can't have multiple sequences is insanity.


Which is why FCPX can do that.

I don't love this program across the board, but I do find that the people who hate it the most know the least about it.
Rating: 34 Votes
19 months ago
nobody uses FCP X professionally, with the exception of this movie and one tv show. zero commercial houses. period. professional commercial/film/tv video editor here, freelancing in LA for the past 14 years. avid was the reigning beast for years, and slowly FCP crept in. as an early adopter, but user of both, I applauded as they encroached a 50% market share in post facilities. it was easy to use, and made timeline editing a snap. it just couldn't ever keep up with avid for projects that you had to share across servers with multiple editors simultaneously thanks to the bin structure. but for everything short form (commercials mainly) it was the best of the best. then X came out. and we limped along with 7, waiting for the day apple would wise up and bring along a 64bit version. that day, we are coming to accept, is never coming. all post houses are starting to finally dump 7 thanks to the lack of support and inability to keep up with modern cameras. it is still used, but backslid dramatically. the 50-60% of fcp houses reverted back to avid, and maybe 15% still use 7, while 25% now use premiere. i hated premiere, but in the stark void FCP left behind and Avid can't touch thanks to it's limited editing abilities and archaic design and functionality, premiere has leaped and bounded with significant improvements version after version. i have cried myself to sleep many a night over the inevitable death of fcp 7 thanks to X and i can finally stop, because there is finally a new future ready version of final cut out, and it is premiere CC2014. i have never seen anyone professional use X and i never will. congratulations apple, on killing the product that made me and many like me switch to using apple computers in the first place. enjoy your prosumers, because no professional editor will ever use you again.
Rating: 29 Votes
19 months ago

nobody uses FCP X professionally


Do you mean commercially? Because most of the professionals I know, including myself, use FCPX for all of our work. Or are we not "professionals" because we don't work for major companies?
Rating: 22 Votes
19 months ago

nobody uses FCP X professionally, with the exception of this movie and one tv show. zero commercial houses. period.


My nobody friend just used it to produce the 2015 Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner for world documentary. So there's that.
Rating: 21 Votes
19 months ago
Phew, they finally were able to pay someone to use their software for a movie! Final Cut X isn't used by nearly anyone. It used to be but they ruined it.
Rating: 16 Votes
19 months ago
Well...er...hrumphfff. 3..2...1 "This movie was obviously NOT made by "professionals"."

Ad nauseum....:rolleyes:
Rating: 14 Votes
19 months ago
I also work in the post-production industry. When I first saw FCPX, I was thoroughly impressed with its well-rethought interface and AMAZING power under-the-hood. It's ability to edit H.264 video WHILE also re-encoding into ProRes 422 on a Core 2 Duo processor blew my mind. Amazing performance. I loved that Apple was trying to rethink HOW we work on a edit with the use of tags and metadata, rather than just constantly clipping things.

But once I delved past the interface, I realized how problematic it would be to use it at our boutique production company. We have lots of shared fibre-channel RAID space where we store media (and access as read-only the vast majority of the time), but then pass around small project files as we're making selects. But the way FCPX handles this data is bad for collaborative environments like ours. Everything is stored in one folder. In that folder there's a separate file for the meta-data you've labelled on clips. A different file that actually contains your sequence. And then also all of the transcoded clips are kept there, too. Meaning if you want to pass selects and a sequence around, you're either passing around multi-gigabyte folders all the time, or carefully replacing sequence and meta-data files behind FCPX's back, constantly. In addition, because it uses iMovie's "events" structure, you are constantly staring at unrelated items in your bin unless you move those files out of the working folder. It's a lot of unnecessary file shuffling.

Couple this with the fact that it uses iMove lingo like "events" and "projects" instead of "projects" and "sequences," and one could see why my company is not using FCPX.

Which is a shame, because under-the-hood, it is absolutely amazing. I will probably use it at home for future personal projects (where I don't need to worry about shuffling project files and selects), but it is not appropriate for collaboration.

Also: The people who rejected FCPX before even trying it because it merely looked like iMovie are jerks. And there are a lot of them.

Adobe Premiere has MANY MANY MANY severe stability problems (especially when coupled with our AJA video-preview equipment). The only reason we (and most post houses are using it) is that it keeps the same project file paradigm that FCP7 used.

Side Note: On "Pro" vs. Consumer— I am also of the mind that you are a "professional" if you're getting paid to do something. Crayons are a professional tool if you use them to make something you get paid for. So pick the right tool and shut up.
Rating: 14 Votes
19 months ago
Today they showcase it tomorrow they kill it. I do not trust Apple that they are any serious about pro software anymore.
Rating: 12 Votes
19 months ago
Oh boy, I can see where this thread is going...
Should've put this in the political thread. (Gets popcorn to watch this discussion unfold)
Rating: 10 Votes

[ Read All Comments ]