Bugs & Fixes: Troubleshooting Final Cut Pro X

Coinciding with this week’s release of Final Cut Pro X, Apple has posted well over a dozen new Knowledge Base articles detailing various quirks of the new software. I’ve summarized the key issues below. I follow that with a brief look at users’ largely negative assessment of the update.

Import problems The two most significant issues involve importing data into Final Cut Pro X:

First up, if the media card from your camera contains both photos and video, you may not be able to directly select and import photos into Final Cut Pro. Instead, as detailed in an Apple support article, you instead need to drag the desired photo files to an existing or newly created Final Cut pro event.

In the second instance, another Apple support article notes that “Movie files located in iTunes, iPhoto, or Aperture will not be viewable in the Media Browser in Final Cut Pro X.” The solution is to bypass the Media Browser and drag the desired files from the windows of the relevant application to an event in Final Cut Pro.

Source file modified when editing a clip Another issue, potentially a serious one, is that editing a clip after using the “Open in Timeline” command in Final Cut Pro X will modify the source file. According to this Apple support article, if you want to restore the original source file, you can choose Undo (although this will presumably undo your clip edit as well). If you don’t want to use Undo or you don’t realize what happened until after it’s too late to Undo, your only option is to reimport the original file from its source (e.g., your camera’s media storage). This will create a new clip. If you no longer have the source media, there is no way to retrieve the unedited clip.

Font List freeze If you have an “unusable” font, the Font List in Final Cut Pro X’s Inspector will become “unresponsive.” The solution is to remove the unusable font and restart Final Cut Pro X. To identify which font is the unusable one, this Apple support article recommends using Font Book, as detailed in the Validate Problematic Fonts section of yet another support article.

Share menu error This Apple support article states: “When you use the Share menu options in Final Cut Pro, quit Final Cut Pro, leave the Share Monitor open, and then reopen Final Cut Pro, an alert message may appear: ‘Final Cut Pro generated an error or unexpectedly quit.’” Apple’s recommended work-around is to quit both Final Cut Pro and Share Monitor, not just the former.

Motion 5 and Photoshop import bug According to one more Apple support article, CMYK Photoshop (.psd) files imported into Motion 5 “may not behave as expected.” The article did not offer details as to what “not as expected” means. However, the solution is to change the file’s color mode to RGB in Photoshop. Then import the revised file.

User reaction None of Apple’s troubleshooting advice addresses the major criticism cited by those who have purchased Apple’s video editing package: Final Cut Pro X is not an update of the previous version as much as it is a complete rewrite (similar to how Apple overhauled iMovie a couple of years ago). To many users, the result of the rewrite is an inferior program. One huge and immediate negative consequence is that the new version cannot open files created with the prior version of Final Cut Pro.

To get a sense of the overall user reaction, check out the reviews of Final Cut Pro X in the Mac App Store. Currently, almost 50% of the reviews rate the program with just one star! Read the reviews and you’ll find comments such as “big and clunky,” “horrible,” “laughable,” “useless,” “no longer a professional application” and “more like an upgrade of iMovie.” I have rarely seen such harsh reviews of an Apple product. As pointed out by David Pogue, the true situation may not be quite as bad as users’ initial reactions suggest. But it still looks pretty bad—at least until Apple improves the program with promised updates.

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