DATA SHARE THURSDAYS: Editing System Showdown (3/4) Color and Visual Effects

Final Cut Pro X Perhaps the biggest disappointment in FCP X is the death of Apple Color. Originally a $25K program, it was a very powerful resource in FCP 7. Apple has simply copied all of the other editing platforms using in-program software plugins. The color matching plugin is a great tool and the grading options are what is to be expected with plugins but there is much lacking in the way of traditional professional coloring options.

Graphics need to be done within other programs for quality purposes. FCP X does come with a nice set of plugins but for professional work these options will never cut it. FCP X does not yet have XML support which is essential in sending a raw timeline into programs like Adobe After Effects without rendering and losing a certain amount of quality. There are some 3rd party AppleScript programs that will do the job but until Apple gets the XML straightened out (which they are working on) it puts a serious damper on other professional options. At the moment shots need to be rendered out of FCP X and imported into your color/graphics/animation software.

Avid Media Composer 6

For in program color correction AMC 6 uses some 3rd party plugins but for the most part Avid is not trying to appeal to a broad novice market; therefore it is expected that you would use an external resource for color correction. I’ve found that AAF files will open nicely in DaVinci Resolve (the leading software in professional color correction).

AMC 6 is also very smooth when it comes to using EDL and other scripting options for graphic effects. AMC 6 has some graphic plugins, however it is expected that most of this work will be done by a separate professional program.

Final Cut Pro 7

Hands down FCP 7 is still the best option for color/graphics/animation interplay. Originally packaged with Apple Color, FCP 7's seamless timeline to Apple Color is a very quick and powerful option. Apple Color can still hold its own against DaVinci Resolve (which is a color-force to be reckoned with)! On top of being bundled with Apple Color, FCP 7 also contains color plugins for those less adept.

Using EDL is an easy way of taking the FCP 7 timeline into other programs. FCP 7 also has many graphic plugins as well as some great professional plugins from Red Giant.

Conclusion

Final Cut Pro 7 is hands down the best option when it comes to color correction and professional graphics/animation interplay. Avid Media Composer 6 realizes that the professional is not going to use a plugin for color correction/graphics/animation so it allows for cross-software communication. Final Cut Pro X is still a baby and needs to develop more in the way using external sources. Apple is working on these changes and hopefully we'll see them within the upcoming versions.

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