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FCP X Just Got It’s Big Break On a $100,000,000 Studio Feature – How Will This Change The Face of Post-Production?

The largely controversial Final Cut Pro X may have just got the break that it needed so badly when news emerged a few days ago revealing FCP X is being used to edit a $100M upcoming studio feature. Although over the past year the controversy surrounding FCP X has largely died down as the software has improved immensely, most editors still haven’t given it a fair shot and have either stuck with FCP 7, moved to Premiere Pro, or in some rare cases have gone back to Avid. As it currently stands, the post-production market is still very much dispersed amongst the major editing players, and there is clearly room for one NLE to take the bull by the horns and become what FCP 7 once was. The news that broke this week may just push FCP X to become just that. 

Let’s get up to speed on exactly what is going on with this new blockbuster being cut on Final Cut Pro X.

Several months back, there were a number of rumors popping up online about a film with a reported budget of $100M that was being cut on FCP X. The sources seemed certain that this information was true, and while I was intrigued by the news, I didn’t want to post an article about it until there was some more concrete evidence pointing to FCP X as their primary NLE. A few days ago, that evidence emerged as a video that was released by Digital Cinema Society gives us the information we needed. In the video (which I’ve embedded below) Neil Smith of LumaForge confirms that a team of six editors are currently working on a Blockbuster film, using FCP X as their primary NLE. It’s also worth noting that he specifically refers to the studio as being “under a water tower”, which as many of you already know, likely means Warner Bros. This has led many to believe that this is a confirmation that the film in question is “Focus”, which is starring Will Smith and slated for a release later this year. Here is the plot summary from Wikipedia:

Nicky Spurgeon, a professional con artist, takes a young, attractive woman under his wing. They get involved romantically but that becomes perilous in a business where they lie and cheat for a living. The complications of the encounter haunt them when they meet up again in the future. Complicating matters even more, Nicky finds himself at odds with another suitor for the girl’s affections, as well as a run-in with a former flame…all before the heist of a lifetime.

Apparently, the directors of the film have been huge advocates for FCP X after using it personally on their own smaller projects, and fought with the higher ups to get FCP X used on the film, pointing out it’s speed advantages and relatively low cost.

For those of you that weren’t using Final Cut Pro in the early days (versions 1 – 4), you may not realize that it took quite a few years to gain traction in the professional market. Just like FCP X when it first launched, FCP was considered to be a non-professional software that was used only on pro-sumer level projects. This changed drastically when the feature film ‘Cold Mountain’ was the first large scale production to use Final Cut Pro and from that point forward, everything changed. All it takes it one major film or show to give an NLE their seal of approval and editors all over the world inevitably take notice. It is very possible that FCP X is about to have it’s big breakout moment, and in fact I would bet on it.

I wrote an article a few weeks back on the new release of FCP X 10.1, which is worth reading if you want to brush up on the new features FCP X has to offer.

About Author

Noam Kroll is an award-winning Los Angeles based filmmaker, and the founder of the boutique production house, Creative Rebellion. His work can be seen at international film festivals, on network television, and in various publications across the globe. Follow Noam on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more content like this!

12 Comments

  • j. reid vanvoris
    January 28, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    As soon as some one says “never”, then, of course, it’s inevitable. I’d love to see a BTS of the complete post workflow on the film.

    Reply
  • ashley
    January 29, 2014 at 1:57 am

    the only problem with Finalcut pro x is that its only on apple and it don’t have a option like it can run on pc or mac.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      February 3, 2014 at 5:55 pm

      Yes if you’re on a PC, then it is definitely not an option. Unless you want to set up a hackintosh that is,

      Reply
  • Frank
    February 4, 2014 at 4:41 am

    I work on Avid all day editing reality tv and used to use FCP for personal projects. I’m way faster on Avid now but still don’t like using it on a single screen at home (a 27″ imac). I tried FCP X briefly, but the anger that lingered from the abandonment of FCP 7’s workflow meant it didn’t last long. The fact that there was only one monitor within the program, not a source/record side was a big WTF?! moment.

    That said, what I miss about FCP is that it’s about a thousand times easier to figure out how to do certain things. Simple brightness and contrast changes now must go through the ‘color effect’ filter in Avid. Changing the speed on a piece of audio NEVER produces the desired results and the audiosuite doesn’t have a simple ‘speed change’ filter. In FCP, it was always built right into the right click on a clip. I’ve used Avid all day everyday for the past several years and there are still things that I’m not quite sure how to do that a novice could figure out in FCP just by intuition. Avid remains cumbersome for newcomers and long-time users can have a difficult time figuring out how to do something new without a demo from a fellow editor or youtube.

    Have another project, a sci-fi short film coming up, so maybe I’ll give FCP X another shot. And I’m STILL using FCP 7 at home! I’m just not as fast with it as I am (and have to be) on Avid.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      February 15, 2014 at 2:14 am

      Thanks for the comment Frank! It is definitely worth another look… I know a handful of Avid editors that are considering switching over at the moment for what it’s worth.

      Reply
  • George Washington
    July 14, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    Here’s a short, but interesting article about FCP X: http://story-architect.com/?p=1344

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      July 18, 2014 at 8:38 pm

      Thanks for the share George. Will check this out later.

      Reply
  • Jimbo Jones
    September 11, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    Good Job FCPX. If you add up all the features cut on Media Compser, the budgets would total in the trillions. Hundreds and probably thousands of features have been cut on Media Composer, and FCPX’s big deal is…………….ONE! FAIL. It’s still iMovie Pro.

    Reply
    • Paul Jay
      September 17, 2014 at 11:51 am

      BMW cars suck!!!
      Have you ever driven one?
      NO, but they suck!

      Reply
  • David McWhinney
    October 6, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    Excited to hear that the big movie guys are giving FCP X a go
    Would be interesting to hear Walter Murch’s thought on that
    Worth noting also that the biggest news organization in the world the BBC are now on board with FCP X for their news gathering and editing …thats a big statement.
    A number of other shows are also edited at the BBC on FCP X with maybe more to follow
    I have won over skeptics ( Avid, Prem pro, FCP 7 ) to FCP X with a quick run through of an edit workflow

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      October 7, 2014 at 8:48 pm

      Thanks for the comment David. There are more and more facilities using it every day and I feel like this year we have finally reached a bit more of a tipping point. Still not as widespread professionally as FCP 7 was of course, but it’s on the way there!

      Reply
  • […] while ago I posted an article about FCP X getting it’s big break on an unknown $100MM Hollywood feature film, and in the past week details have finally emerged that the film in question is Will Smith’s […]

    Reply
  • […] Last year, I posted an article that teased some info about a $100 million Warner Bros. feature that … While it took a while for concrete details to emerge about the film itself, eventually we learned that the film in question was Focus – a very large scale Hollywood production starring Will Smith. After reading up on the production/post on Focus, what was most interesting to me wasn’t simply how they pulled it off, but rather why they chose to use FCP X in the first place. As someone that has been editing with FCP X since day one, I know how stable the software has become and how capable it truly is of cutting a feature of this scale, but I was still very much intrigued as to what led the filmmakers to go down this path. […]

    Reply

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