Final Cut Pro 7 vs FCPX in a Deathmatch

by planetMitch20 Comments

Clearhead media sent us this one – a deathmatch between Final Cut Pro and Final Cut Pro X to see which is faster.

[source: this tweet: @planetmitch A little deathmatch between #FCP7 and #FCPX to see which platform is quickest, from start to finish!]
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The deathmatch

Clearhead // FCP7 vs FCPX Deathmatch! from Clearhead on Vimeo.

We have played with and given feedback on FCP X here (

But we wanted to do a side-by-side comparison compared to FCP 7. So we got the same clip and a few different audio tracks and created a race. A race to upload to Vimeo!

Take a look. The results are pretty surprising!


This is by no means a scientific test.

Music is John Williams : Star Wars (The Imperial March) and in no way affiliated to the film.


(cover photo credit: snap from the video)

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  1. A nice comparison, but saying that FCP7 “won” because the export/share process in FCPX had some issues seems a bit disingenuous. FCPX clearly would have won if they had simply exported to Compressor as they did with FCP7, and uploaded to Vimeo via the desktop uploader.

    It is valuable to know that the “Share” features of FCPX may not be as reliable as they could be, and that better feedback during the process is needed. However, it appears that a simple job like the one used for this demo could be finished much faster with FCPX than FCP7, and with much fewer hoops to jump through (the clip syncing process is particularly illuminating).

    1. Hi Rick. Thanks for commenting, really appreciated. I think we just wanted to use it ‘off-the-cuff’, exploring as we went along to maybe help other people who would do the same thing, to save them the same mistakes.

      We also wanted to see what the ‘share’ option could do, as the lack of key professional authoring in FCP X has really disappointed us as a creative agency.

      I have to admit I dislike immensely the ‘share’ option. I think it is a consumer ‘buzz’ word, but one that lacks substantial detail and precision.

      When we film a ‘rematch’ we shall export straight to compressor and see, however it’s a shame that we still have a lack of comprehensive ETA on delivery of exports and uploads along with a lack of basic details. If a program like MPEG Streamclip can get this feature right, then why cant FCP?

      Many thanks once again.

  2. Now some parts of FCP actually look quite good, however, they should have build them on top of, or at least, built them with the same features as FCP7, its almost like they developed it, and then hit the release button, then someone noticed they had to scroll down in the to-do list. This is the first video I’ve seen of someone actually using FCPX.

    1. Thanks Tyler, for the very positive feedback and hopefully it is a help of some sort.

      We totally agree. Apple are normally so good at releasing BETA’s to test to a large group of people, so why this time did they choose a select amount of people, seem to not listen to them and then release it before it is totally ‘cooked’.

      We await the first update to see if we have some of our features back (the most pressing one for us is the use of the magic trackpad to zoom in and out of the timeline!). This is our initial thoughts (which has been updated) and here is our response to what we heard at the London Supermeet,

      Take a look!

  3. They should really start timing from the camera card. FCP7 needs transferring to disk and then transcoding. FCPX needs neither.

    To go with flow of the design of FCPX, you insert your camera card, set up the import, and immediately begin editing off the card. Later, when you need a new tea, you look and notice it’s all been transferred to your editing disk in the background. And you don’t know how you could start editing one set of files and finish editing another.

    This isn’t a cool trick. It’s designed that way. With a good batch of files, transferring and transcoding for FCP7 can take 8 hours. But no matter how much footage you have, FCPX will let you start editing in about a minute. No contest, really.

    1. Hi Brad, once again thank you for watching and responding, I think it really helps the community.

      We wanted to test this with one simple clip and a few audio tracks, so we could test in the most basic form, the workflow timings between each version. For one clip to be uploaded into each version and compared, wouldn’t have made a large difference to the amount of time in the end result, but this is something we shall definitely do in our ‘rematch’ planned for this week.

      We totally dig and appreciate the front end, it is great for DSLR users like ourselves. However it is the back end that worries us the most, and how there is a dearth of precision and ‘professional authouring’ for a creative agency like ourselves.

      It’s great to have your feedback!

  4. If you follow Brad’s example, I would highly suggest copying your original footage from your card to a external hard drive first before ingesting directly from the card into FCP for obvious reasons, or maybe not so obvious!

    1. Author

      Hi Alex

      in fact, if you look at the splash screen when FCPX launches it says 10.0 – so for sure, it is ten. Nobody knows why Apple skipped 8 & 9

  5. Definitely – this mirrors my experience too.

    But rather more chillingly, did I hear camera audio and synced audio on the FCPX edit? The audio didn’t sound as good as the FCP/Pluraleyes track, and this whole mojo of knowing which audio goes with which video is very old school now that we’re so used to asking PluralEyes to take what we throw at it and make sense of the whole melange.

    Furthermore, when FCP-X is busy ‘sharing’, it won’t do anything else. At least when we exported a master from FCP7, we could encode and upload to various deployments in the background whilst we continued to earn money in the foreground.

    Virtual beer to you all – FCP-X is iMovie Pro and should be applauded for that. It isn’t FCP.

    1. Hi Matt.

      We totally agree with your Pluraleyes comment! You can pretty much chuck anything at it, and 99 times out of a 100 it will deliver. To be honest we have tried syncing a few other clips, one-by-one and the results have been ‘spotty’ to say the least.

      You cant even seem to send out a quicktme ‘reference file’ so you have to now send out a massive file to then send to compressor etc. Some of the key features developed over the past 10 years have been just cast aside, which is bitterly disappointing. Also totally agree with the poorly thought out ‘sharing’ options. As I said in the comparison, we are professionals and I don’t want to ‘share’ with anyone, apart from my client and they don’t want me to ‘share’… they want me to authour and deliver!

      Thanks for everyone’s continued contribution!

  6. You can have the Share command work in the background so it does not tie up FCP X by going to the Advanced tab in the Share drop down and change the Background Rendering to This Computer.

    Also one other tip during the editing process – FCP X has a keyboard shortcut to top and tail clips: Option-[ removes the top and Option-] removes the tail.

  7. This was test especially designed for the new features of the final cut pro x. If you take other situation … forexamle, you have a n audio from one conference, and the footage form 3 dslr cameras, and need to sync everything + edit multi cam, i thing you are pretty f..ed in final cut pro x.

  8. Where FCPX should score is on being able to start editing immediately. However I have found the background syncing sound to be flawed and trying to correct it is not at all as easy as in FCP7. Pluraleyes gets it 100% right almost every time or it fails completely and one has to manually sync (thank God for the clapper on my iPad).

    When Apple get it right, then it will be good. As for the “Share” option, I haven’t tried it and now I won’t – it will be back to my preferred method of exporting Quicktime WAV and then transcoding with Mpeg Streamclip or iSkysoft Media Converter to get to the preferred output codec.

  9. I’ve found FCPX can’t sync audio too.

    Click for picture:

    If you look at the two timelines in the image above, you can clearly see sync points. You can also clearly see the drift. It looks nearly in sync at the beginning, then completely out by the end. It’s no wonder FCPX can’t sync if the wave forms look like that.

    One was recorded with Canon 550D, the other on a Tascam DR-100.

    Initially I thought the problem was the DR-100 files are 24-bit, so I transcoded one to 16-bit and tested. Same problem.

  10. Hi Thomas – yes, I expect both were 48khz. I’ve been using FCPX ever since and have not run into the problem again.

    And with the latest updates FCPX performance is outstanding. Today I found it was possible to edit narive h264 on a low end MacBook Air without any problem at all.

    For me, comparing fcpx and fcp7 has now become irrelevant as comparing OS9 and OSX.

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