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Solving FCP failings (or at least some of them)

June 20, 2008

Final Cut Pro has a lot of fans and a big market share. But these two things do not innately indicate the quality of the product on a holistic level. Popularity should not be taken as by default proxy to Quality, rather popularity simply speaks in substantial part to the budget of the great rolling juggernaught of the Apple marketing machine.

What bothers me with FCP is that its good feature set, accessible price, flexible structure and fluid workflow are greatly let down by some major and tragically obvious technical failings. The sort of failings that often leave me scratching my head in bewilderment as to how they were overlooked.

FCP has the worst audio tools of any NLE on the market – it cant even playback mp3’s without rendering. WTF..!?

FC Studio does not have an Uninstaller. Dragging the app to the bin leaves behind a destructive mess. Do Apple really belive their product to be so amazing and so perfect that you’ll never need or want to uninstall?

The way FCP handles Preferences is fundamentally flawed. The preference files are horribly prone to corruption and the statement ‘have you tried trashing your preferences?‘ has become a worn out cliché from Apple support and on user forums. Why exactly are the Preferences so notoriously unstable that the only solution is to throw them away?

FCP is the only software ive ever encountered where simple point-releases (and their resulting project files) are incompatible with previous point-releases. Version 6.0.3 project files cannot be opened in 6.0.2. You’ve got to be kidding me. Issues like this point to some serious instability and issues in the underlying code base of FCP that is being band-aid patched on the fly (probably because Apple is syphoning off respources to i-phone development instead of ProApps).

FCP cannot work with 4k video sizes, its engine is capped and restricted in Quicktime (for reasons unknown) to 2k – evidently a flaw deep down in the engine that cannot be rectified without serious re-writing. (or else I assume they would have fixed this by now since there is more and more 4k production everyday thansk to Red and others)

The list goes on. For every 3 things that FCP does superbly there’s at least 1 rather tedious, ill-conceived flaw in need of rectifying but which has gone unfixed for many versions now….

But hooray for Free 3rd party plugins that come to the rescue…!

Whilst many of those issues above remain outstanding problems, Digital Rebellion have developed a pair of free utilities that address at least two of them and make FCP just that little bit more functional than it is out of the box.

The first is a dedicated FCStudio uninstaller that adds in what the Apple developers seemingly ignored. Using the DR uninstaller you can cleanly and totally remove FCS from your system leaving behind not a trace. Perfect for re-installs or misguided updates that need to be purged.

The second is an FCStudio Preference Manager.

Avoid the all to common need to ‘trash the preferences’ by using this simple utility to backup and restore your entire preference file settings. And indeed the DR utility doesn’t just handle preferences from FCP but all preferences for all applications in the FCStudio.

Those who work in multi-workstation studios or education institutions where its important to manage many computers and FC systems together, this utility is perfect for quickly loading in standard preference settings to use on multiple machines.

Hooray for Digital Rebellion! Its just a tradgedy that they had to make these utilities in the first to make up for what should’ve been obvious and easilly recitifed flaws in FCP.

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