First impressions of Final Cut Pro

Today I spent my evening helping a friend figure out how to burn DVDs from video he put together in Final Cut Pro. He’s a Mac neophyte, and not really a techie guy in general.

This was my first time working with Final Cut Pro.

The Bad: The interface is just plain weird. It isn’t very attractive for one thing: The blue-grey reminded me of a submarine. But that’s just the start of it. The widgets are absurdly small even on windows that didn’t need small absurdly widgets. There’s no reason that a “Batch Start” widget should be shorter than Aqua’s close widgets!

Everything was just nonstandard looking, and (worse) nonstandard behaving.Final Cut Pro is an absurdly complicated program, so complexity is expected, but it hasn’t hit the sweet spot. The interface feels like it could have half the complexity while still having all the features.

The Good: Resizable scroll bars. Grabbing the top edge of the scroll car and dragging it up zooms out. This probably sounds weird, but it’s really just the inverse of proportional scrollbars. With proportional scroll bars, as you see more of the document the scroll car gets bigger. With Final Cut’s scroll bars, as you make the scroll car bigger you zoom out to see more of the document. I’d love to have these in many Mac OS X applications.

The main video editing window seems perfectly reasonable, too. I didn’t have a lot of time to try this out.