Apple has updated Final Cut Pro X to address some of editors’ biggest concerns (XML, shared media) and now offers a free trial version. It’s worth a download.

As I noted in my original review, I found FCP X to be very “discoverable” — it is easy to figure out how to do almost everything:

In earlier versions of FCP, if you didn’t know what you were doing, it was incredibly frustrating to even get started. That’s why there was a whole industry of classes and tutorials. They weren’t teaching editing. They were teaching Final Cut Pro.

Let me amend that a bit.

While you don’t need a class to get going in FCP X, I’d urge you to check out Ripple Training’s terrific video tutorials for FCP X. Having now watched 20 of the 39 lessons, I realize how much I was missing.

A few examples:

  • Split edits. L-cuts and J-cuts in FCP X are so easy you keep thinking there’s another step. Once you Expand a clip (or all clips), you can drag the audio or video separately. Bumping audio clips get out of each other’s way.

  • Compound clips are basically groups. If you’re familiar with design programs, you’re used to Command-G to group objects together. It’s the same idea.

  • Connected clips pin to a specific frame in the main storyline, rather than floating in the timeline. It’s so tempting to fall back into thinking of stacked video clips the way they used to work in legacy FCP, but so wrong. It’s not a piano roll anymore. Everything is connected, always. Once you accept that, everything makes a lot more sense.

If I were Apple, I’d license Ripple Training’s videos and just give them away. They’re very smartly done, and would relieve a lot of the knee-jerk “It’s iMovie Pro!” responses. The app is much more sophisticated than it appears at first glance.