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Final Cut Pro 4: Beyond EvolutionaryYou say you want a revolution?
It's surprising to me where I've found value in Final Cut Pro 4. One of the first things I was pleased to see is what I came to know in the Avid world as Dupe Detection, an indispensable little function that augments my failing memory by placing a colored bar in the timeline under repeated shots. I see this as a critical utility for long-form editors. I moaned about its absence in version 3 and was appropriately pleased to find it in 4. No surprise. But, the degree to which I've come to love button mapping -- now that's a surprise.
I never put much stock in keyboard and button mapping. In FCP 3 you couldn't move buttons around and people would say, "Well, what if you move from system to system, don't you want your button pattern on every system?" I would reply, "You can't move the buttons around so they are the same on every system." So when the FCP people announced that I'd be able to map my keyboard and add buttons I thought, "Big deal." When they claimed it'd "improve speed for left-handed users" by allowing us "to move buttons to more convenient positions," I was even more convinced that this feature's primary value would be playing practical jokes on other editors (the L-K-J keys, etc.). It turns out, keystroke for keystroke, no single improvement in this upgrade has meant more to me. I can sum up my adoration in this simple equation; Up Arrow = Zoom In (and the corollary Down Arrow = Zoom Out). If there's one thing I do more than any other while editing it's zoom in and out on the timeline. I've turned zoom in and zoom out into one-finger keystrokes and I love it! I was all set to assign scrolling left and right, the other constant in my editing, to the left and right arrow buttons but scrolling isn't offered as a button. Sad, because that seems to be about the only function or command in the whole program you can't turn into a button. I know because I've gone button crazy.
More recently, I've cut back on my mapping. Since the button bars take up the same space as the project, bin and sequence tabs, overenthusiastic buttoneering can create space issues. The other problem is too many buttons can produce a forest that hides the tree you need. The only complaint I have about the whole button system is I wish the color choices for the buttons were a bit more? contrasty. I'm all for subtlety unless it diminishes readability. For example, the two buttons I glance at constantly -- Snapping and Linking. In FCP 3 they were too small. Now they're too pale. OK, this isn't funny anymore.
Related Keywords:upgrade, Final Cut Pro 4, free programs, evolution, change the world, Peter May, review, Apple
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