Premiere Pro & FCP X Are Both Now Playing In The Big Leagues With Fincher’s Gone Girl & Will Smith’s Focus

A 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 upcoming feature “Focus”. This is of course coming after the news that David Fincher’s “Gone Girl” was cut using Adobe Premiere, which if nothing else signals the fact that things are changing faster than ever in the post-world.

Readers of this site know that I am a big fan of FCP X, but I also enjoy using Premiere Pro and occasionally even Media Composer when a client requests it. While it used to be uncommon for a producer, editor, or post-house to run so many different pieces of software, now it’s becoming the normal thing to do and that has largely been illustrated by the two Hollywood level feature films that we’re discussing here. For freelance editors, the days of learning a single editing system are over… In order to survive as a freelance editor today, you need to be able to run as many NLE’s as you can (at least the major ones) so you don’t prohibit yourself from taking on work as a result of not knowing how to use the software that the client is requesting.

In many ways, choosing an editing system is much like choosing a camera – You pick the right tool for the job. I love FCP X, but for good reason I don’t cut every project it in. The same goes for Premiere Pro and Avid. Well… Avid I don’t like so much, but it definitely has a time and a place!

The point is that this type of open mentality when it comes to software is slowly trickling up to much bigger productions as well. It’s just taking them longer to come around since they have more rigid infrastructures and pipelines that have been built around specific pieces of software and hardware. Filmmakers on every scale are now understanding the benefits of having the ability to tap into specific tools for specific jobs, as opposed to believing that they need to buy into one perfect system that will do it all. Granted, the majority of Hollywood features are still being cut on Avid at the moment, but these two films certainly signal that there is a change going on and I don’t doubt that Avid’s foothold will continue to be diminished over the next couple of years. Not only because their software doesn’t appeal to the younger generation of editors, but also because Avid as a company is in a lot of financial trouble. But that’s another article.

If you haven’t already seen it, here’s the Premiere promo-spot that showcases how it was used on ‘Gone Girl’:

And here is the trailer for ‘Focus’, cut on FCP X:

What do you think? Do these two films truly signify a change in the post industry, or are these two films simply the odd ones out? Comment below!

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!


  • […] 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 […]

  • […] If you missed my last post-related article, be sure to click here to read about how both FCP X and Premiere are now being used on major Hollywoo… […]

  • Hi Noam, Thanks for your posts.
    I decided to cut my last job on a really slow PC running Light works, the sound was out of sync at times, but I just wanted to try something different. Lightworks was great, even running on a pretty useless machine. I spent more time thinking about the edit, more time making decisions, more time walking around the block, like when I used to cut 35mm. When I listen to these guys in the clip talk about “roundtripping” and “instant vfx” I think, lets create a slow film movement where we have a little less tech, but much better lunches, then we might get some more real innovations in story telling.

    • Hi Jack, this is one of my favorite comments to date. I couldn’t agree more with you… I’m also drawn to films that focus on the basics – great acting, cinematography, story, music, and post production over vfx driven films. Also, great to hear your experience with Lightworks. Haven’t tried it much myself yet, but will have to give it a try.

    • Xiong

      Totally, that’s been my mindset as well. Keep it simple, focus on the art of story telling rather then heavy post production. Its very Dogme 95 in spirit, which is lacking in today’s digital age. People consume clips like candy at such high rates, such as youtube, that most young film makers growing up lack the discipline; they just want the candy. They find tutorials on vfx work, build these massive vistas and landscapes to only fill them with hollow characters and story. They focus on action, wanting to be the next “Die Hard” but forget that John McClane had a personality, Hans Gruber was interesting; that it took more then just explosions to make history, it took talent and restraint.

      There’s been a huge influx of independent films, which is good, but there are a lot of crap to sort through. My rule of thumb with most indie films and shorts are: “If within the first 10-15 minutes the characters pull out a gun, I’m done with this film.” I’ve been sticking to the same discipline, If this production needs me to spend hours of time in vfx work to make the story mean something, then I had a pretty shitty story to begin with. If I can strip all of the effects/elements away from the movie and still have an interesting story, then I might have something engaging.

      • I always enjoy your comments as they are very much in line with my own thoughts, especially in this instance. I look at some of my favorite films this year (and arguably some of the best) which are movies like Boyhood and Gone Girl, and they are so phenomenal because of their use of characters. In a film like Gone Girl which did have a need for quite a bit of VFX, it is all hidden beneath the surface and feels woven into the fabric of the film as opposed to being a separate layer or gimmick. There are certainly great VFX spectacle films, but in my opinion in order for them to work well they should be done on a higher level, whereas character driven material can be done so well even at a micro-level.


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