In all the speculation about FCPX, nobody has mentioned about third party audio plugins. There is the rumour of Soundtrack Pro being incorporated, but what about being able to install specialist plugins that can do tasks like precision compressing or transient noise reduction? What tools could be available?
Final Cut Pro has lacked some professional audio features for a while now. The compressor for example isn't great and the GUI is hardly intuitive, it has served us well though over seven years of outputting broadcast productions. We have seen how roundtripping via Soundtrack Pro can remove background noise, but doing that for every clip is a pain and we don't want to get to picture lock just yet either.
So one of our hopes for FCPX is the ability to install third party audio plugins that do specific tasks well. We came across this interview of Marie Ebbing & Jonathon Stevens using reNOVAtor by Algorithmix and were blown away by how easy it was to remove incidental background noise from audio tracks. We didn't know until today that there are two types of background noise: broadband such as hiss, hum e.t.c and transient such as coughs, car horns and squeaky chairs!
reNOVAtor is pretty expensive at over â‚¬2000 so we can't see it being ported for FCPX, but a 'lite' $99 version would sell like hot cakes.
When we first started to experiment with Ableton we were more than impressed with its compressor. The GUI just seemed to make sense instantly. A lot easier to visualise what is going on with a display like that as opposed to FCP's antiquated sliders. Although Ableton is a music making and DJ mixing tool, this video should give you an insight into how audio processing GUI's should be done. BTW do not download the Ableton trial if you plan on getting anything done this weekend!
After a day of using the compressor in Ableton, it almost makes us cry having to go back to that horrid grey Final Cut Pro sliderfest.
FCP7 doesn't really support custom GUI's. There are companies out there who do use custom graphic elements like colour sliders in the viewer window, but these have issues when trying to save the parameters. So please could we have custom GUI's supported for all plugins, audio and video. If FCPX hasn't got some of these tools as standard then we really hope that the program gets opened up to audio developers, that way we just might see some tools like the multi-band compressor VintageWarmer appearing on the platform. Making your voiceovers sound like they've been processed by an old piece of outboard valve (tube) kit would be terrific.
We will see what FCPX will bring in the next month, fingers crossed.