When Final Cut Pro X launched it lacked many features editors considered to be essential. Over time the folks at Apple have added many of these features (though some are left to the world of Third Party Plug-ins). So, in the spirit that Apple is out there listening to Final Cut Pro X users, here’s a list of features I’d love to see added one day.
Colour Coded Roles
I’m a sucker for organization. Granted, my desk is usually pretty messy but I take great pride in ensuring my timelines are not. Back in the track based days I was very strict about what tracks featured dialogue, which featured music, and which featured sound effects. Avid’s Media Composer made this even easier with the ability to colour code tracks (did I just compliment Avid?), a feature I had long wished legacy Final Cut Pro would adopt. However, with Final Cut Pro X tracks are now gone and they aren’t coming back. But Final Cut Pro X introduced a new feature for people like me to keep things organized: roles. The problem is that while it’s very easy to give a clip a specific role, there’s no easy way to visualize it in the timeline. Colour coding would help ensure that at a quick glance you could see which tracks are dialogue, which tracks are SFX, and which are music.
The folks over at Disproportionate Pictures have done a really great write up on roles and how colour coding would be beneficial that you should definitely read.
Connect Audio to Audio
One of the biggest changes to Final Cut Pro X was the removal of tracks, and the switch to the notion of “story lines”. Generally speaking they work great and I’m all for them, however there’s sometimes when I’d love for them to behave a little differently than they currently do. One such way is the ability to connect audio to other audio. This would be extremely helpful for ensuring music edits don’t fall out of sync, or sound effects added to specific timing in your music track stay locked to the music track and not the video track. The reality is that sure, generally speaking you want your sound locked to picture, but there are times when you want it locked to your other sounds (say, an added drum beat) and there currently is no way (that I know of) to do so.
Ability to Lock Sections of Your Edit
For a lot of the edits we do we’ll have portions of the video timed to our music track. The problem can be that if the client wants to make a change to a portion of the video, let’s say in the middle section, the portions at the end that are perfectly synced to the music can fall out of sync quite easily and I’ll have to spend time getting things back into place. This was easy to deal with back when we had tracks in legacy Final Cut Pro, but not so easy in Final Cut Pro X. I’ve been using markers to try and give myself visual cues of where things line up, but it’d be great to have the ability to lock certain portions of your timeline so that no matter how things ripple those elements won’t fall out of line.
I’d love the ability to tell Final Cut to watch a folder to instantly import media from (iTunes has a similar feature). I realize this could very quickly get messy especially if the feature were abused, but if implemented correctly I could see it being insanely useful. For example: tell Final Cut to watch this folder labelled “graphics” or this folder labeled “sound effects”. Every time a new file is added to it, it instantly gets added to Final Cut saving you the import step, and thus saving your time. Combined with roles and smart collections this would be a power-user’s (and assistant editor’s) dream!
This one’s pretty specific, but I’d love the ability to add draggable guides, similar to those found in Motion and After Effects. This would help instances where you’re trying to straighten a shot, or ensure text is all perfectly aligned. Apparently there are third-party plug-ins that can do this, but it’d be great to see it natively integrated.
A Better Subtitle Plugin
Again, this one can apparently be solved with any number of third party plugins, but it’d be really nice if Final Cut Pro had a built in tool for easily creating hard-coded subtitles. After all, it’s a little more useful than say, the “Ferris Wheel” text (but please keep that Star Wars crawl plugin!)
Plug-ins That Travel
Final Cut Pro X has an incredible amount of wonderful third party plug-ins. The problem is that if you install one on your main system and then the project is handed off to another editor, or the colour suite, or even the end client, if that plug-in isn’t installed on their system you will encounter issues. It would be great if there was a way to ensure that your plug-ins traveled with projects from machine to machine. Obviously there are issues with licensing which is why it will probably never happen, but coming up with a solution so that these elements don’t fall “offline” would go a long way.
We recently got paste attributes en masse. Now I’d like to be able to remove them en masse as well.
The latest version of iMovie has received not only a Yosemite make-over but several wonderful new features I’d like to see ported over to Final Cut Pro X (especially the non-connected audio region). Thomas Grove Carter created a wonderful video highlighting many of these features which you should definitely look at.
No piece of software is perfect, and there's always going to be room for improvement. These are just a handful of an ever growing list of features I wish Final Cut Pro X had. While I can get by without them, having them would increase my efficiency saving me time, and the client money. So if you’re out there Apple and ever want to chat you know where you can find me.
If your curious about some of my favourite features of Final Cut Pro X, I've written about that as well.